Monday, September 26, 2016

The past few weeks in review...What I'm learning about expectations

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

This post has been sitting in the "draft" section for several weeks. God is teaching me a lot about His plans vs. my plans, but it is hard to know how much of that to share in this space. I've been wrestling with the idea of walking in faith during uncertainty. There have been some unexpected things in our lives over the last year, none of which I welcomed. Lost friendships, medical "drama" (for lack of a better word), the death of my husband's grandmother...and other stuff.The one thing I know to be true is that nothing takes Him by surprise, and in that I find rest and peace. 

My husband has been preaching through the Book of James and the last several weeks have challenged my perception about trials and expectations. I've read through the book of James multiple times, but this is the beauty of the living and active Holy Word of God. So as we start out this year I'm making plans, and holding them as loosely as I can with an "If the Lord wills," kind of attitude. I've always said I believed it, but I'm not convinced my heart fully aligned with my words. By the grace of God I'm working on that.

This is all very good to talk about in an abstract way, but how in the world does this work practically? Here is my list. Everyone's will and should look differently as you begin to pray and seek out what God has for you. I love reading how-to books and getting ideas for various things from Pinterest, but other than the Word of God itself, there isn't another book on this planet that has the perfect answer for everyone. So take this list as something I created for me. I do hope this encourages you to evaluate your own life, but that is all I hope for.

1. Consistently spending time in God's Word  ~ Currently I'm reading through the Bible chronologically. I've been at it for a while (over two years), but not as consistently as I would have liked. I read 1-3 chapters a day depending on how much time I have in the morning. I'm currently up to Solomon's reign. 

2. Organized to-do lists ~ The bullet journaling craze is just too overwhelming for me, but I took a few tips from the few blogs I looked at and created an organized to-do list system. So for now it looks like a pretty little journal and I have a separate page and pen color for each list I need. This includes my jobs, church responsibilities, this blog, and home. I work better with organized lists and I have a lot! I also just used a blank journal and pens I already had so this was a free, but fun new tactic. So far I'm enjoying this. 

3. Saying Yes ~ This has been the hardest. My husband and I both have been trying to say, "yes" to as much as we can with the girls. This means we are spending more time together, playing more games, enjoying more smiles and giggles. There are times we can't answer with yes, but we are aiming to make sure the no is out of necessity, not just because we don't want to bother with whatever they are asking. 

4. Planning ahead ~ I'm a chronic procrastinator. My parents could tell you all about it and then my husband continue the story. I've tried to say I work well under pressure, but that isn't really true. I've been told it is a classic perfectionist tactic. I seriously don't see that as true for me either. My self-diagnosis is that I become so overwhelmed when I have a big project or long list that I procrastinate to avoid those feelings...which is ironic because if I would just do the thing, that wouldn't be there. So I'm working ahead when I can and aiming to be the opposite of a procrastinator. Is there a word for that?

5. Putting my family first with the right attitude ~ Now this is a little tricky, because I don't agree with the very popular mentality that time for yourself is something you deserve. My first ministry is to my family - my husband and my daughters. Not me. I need to take care of myself which I do think includes doing what you need to do for both physical and mental health. At the moment, because of the health issues going on with me personally, I'm taking a nap in the afternoons.This is a need and I' making sure I fulfill that need. I don't deserve pleasure time. I'm grateful if I get it, and yes, I get time for myself! I read for pleasure, scrapbook, and walk with my neighbo, among other things. The difference is I am looking at this time as a blessing, not allowing myself to believe it is something I deserve. 

6. Extending more grace ~ Irony, right? The name of this blog was created because I know we need grace! It is so much easier to say than to do. So I pray in the morning that the Holy Spirit would help me extend more grace to my family, to those I encounter in my day, and to myself. It's so easy to get irritated at the small things...there are a lot of small things that go wrong in a day! 

There are probably more things and this isn't going to turn into a series or a book, don't worry! I just want to encourage you to be willing to evaluate and make changes in your own life if you need to for either yourself or your family.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

See the Newsboys in Concert with Adventures in Odyssey

newsboys 

Want to be entered for a chance to win a free trip for four to hear the Newsboys, the award-winning Christian music band, in Dallas? Sign up to be a part of the movement to protect religious freedom for future generations: Bring Your Bible to School Day! Students from kindergarten to college will be bringing their Bibles to school and sharing God with their friends on October 6.

By completing the information on this page, you're automatically entered to win the chance to see the Newsboys with Focus on the Family and Adventures in Odyssey. Don't miss out on the chance to see a fantastic band with your family!

Plus Sign Up for a Free Two-Week Trial of Odyssey Adventure Club

sept-oac-art-250x250 

Getting used to a new school isn’t easy, especially for someone as paranoid as Buddy Norman. In “A Predicament of Biblical Proportions” he envisions wacky worst-case encounters with townsfolk who seem like mobsters, snoops and fairy-tale tyrants—until he gets to know them. He’s also a little confused about Bring Your Bible to School Day. What’s it about? Should he participate? See Odyssey through Buddy’s eyes in this witty celebration of religious freedom.

Listen to this story through a two-week trial only on the Odyssey Adventure Club.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Commit to Bring Your Bible to School October 6

We listened to the new Adventures in Odyssey adventure about bringing your Bible to school and I really loved this episode. I loved that it talked about how it was a great thing to do, but not something you should feel you had to do and that it wasn't wrong if you didn't. I loved the perspectives of why students brought their Bibles and the way it was presented. I always love Adventures in Odyssey and have never been disappointed with how any issue was handled, but this in particular was especially good in explaining the reason why we should take the opportunity to express our religious freedoms. 

We homeschool, so bringing our Bibles to school isn't really something we can participate in on this day, but I plan to talk to the girls and maybe we can discuss a different way to express our religious freedom on this day as a family.  

Celebrate religious freedom with other students across the U.S. on October 6—Bring Your Bible to School Day! Students from kindergarten to college will be bringing their Bibles to school and sharing God with their friends in just a few short weeks. Sign up to be a part of the movement to protect religious freedom for future generations.

By signing up, you’ll receive a free guide with tips, downloadable posters, sticker and T-shirt designs, information on your legal rights, and other fun, interactive activities.

You’ll also be automatically entered for a chance to win a free trip for four to hear the Newsboys, an award-winning Christian music band, in Dallas!

Plus Bring Your Bible to School Comes to Adventures in Odyssey

sept-oac-art-250x250 

Getting used to a new school isn’t easy, especially for someone as paranoid as Buddy Norman. In “A Predicament of Biblical Proportions” he envisions wacky worst-case encounters with townsfolk who seem like mobsters, snoops and fairy-tale tyrants—until he gets to know them. He’s also a little confused about Bring Your Bible to School Day. What’s it about? Should he participate? See Odyssey through Buddy’s eyes in this witty celebration of religious freedom.

Listen to this story through a two-week trial only on the Odyssey Adventure Club.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Dawn at Emberwilde: A Booklook Blogger Review


Sarah E. Ladd is my new favorite author! She captured my heart with The Curiosity Keeper and I was incredibly excited to read the next installment of the Treasures of Surrey Novels. Although they are connected, you could absolutely read this as a standalone novel. (But really, go back and read The Curiosity Keeper! It's great!)

The novel opens with a young woman and her half-sister being swept away from the simply life they know at an all girls boarding school into a life of ease and luxury...or so they think. The preparatory school where they live was created for young girls without means to learn how to provide for themselves through jobs such as being a governess. The heroine, Isabel, had been trained as such and was a teacher in training before her world was turned upside down. Her younger half-sister went from being in a school that would prepare her to be a governess to being given one herself! The change for both girls is not easy, but they are left with no choice as their current situation at the boarding school is not intended for young women of privilege.

As the story progresses Isabel discovers all is not as it seems with her aunt and uncle. She must also learn to discern the character of two young men who have indicated an interest in her well-being. One young man is encouraged by her uncle, the other by her aunt. Both are charming and handsome, but one is not as noble as he seems. (You'll have to read to find out which!)

Isabel also discovers there is some mystery surround the death of her mother and what she had been told all her life may not be exactly the truth.

You will find yourself captivated as I was as you read. It was very hard to put this down and actually go to sleep at night! The intrigue and suspense in this regency era novel will keep you turning pages.

Disclaimer: I received this novel in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Girls Slimline Bible - NLT: A Tyndale Blog Network Review

Packaging 

My girls have a fairly extensive knowledge of the Bible between homeschooling, family devotions, and church which includes Sunday morning services, Sunday School, Wednesday night studies, and Awana. For us the Bible is the most important thing in our lives which helps us know how God wants us to live for Him. All three of my children have accepted the Lord as their Savior and we take every opportunity to train them in the knowledge of Him.

We have enjoyed reviewing this sweet Bible directed towards pre-teen girls. It's hard to believe I have another pre-teen in the house, but according to the definition, we do!  I think this would also be a lovely Bible for young teens as well. 

My 9-year-old Beth has been using this Bible recently for Sunday School and church. She says that one of the things she likes is that there is a Bible reading plan. She likes that it is easy to follow and suited just for young kids. I like that it covers both the Old and New Testaments and is not just a topical study. It does not cover the entire Bible, but that would be difficult for a young person to handle in a year. She also loves the look and feel of this Bible. While that isn't the most important thing when choosing a Bible for your child, it is a nice benefit that she loves showing it to people at Church. You can see how it looks, but what you can't see is how it feels. The cover is soft and a little bit fuzzy. My daughter is a very tactile person, so for her this is a huge benefit! 

There is a nice concordance ad a handful of biblical maps at the end. It is a good resource for her in that it is extensive enough to give her several Scriptures for every topic, but not overwhelming for one her age. The print is also a good size. It isn't large, but neither is it so small it is difficult to read. 

The NLT (New Living Translation) is not my preferred version, nor is it the version my husband preaches from, but for young kids still trying to understand what difficult passages in the Bible are talking about I think it is an acceptable choice alongside another version. My only comment about this beautiful looking Bible is that it become available in alternative versions. While I do encourage looking at various translations of Scripture, it can be confusing for kids when they are reading from one version that another person is not. Also because of programs like AWANA which heavily reinforces Scripture memory we like to have the main Bible our kids use be the same version so they have consistency. I would be much happier if there had been more than one version available. 

Disclaimer: I received this product for review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Welcome!

Hi, my name is Melissa. Pour yourself a cup of tea and stay a while. I'm completely devoted to my Savior, madly in love with my husband, and joyously raising my daughters. I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you enjoy your time here!