Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Book Review: How Can I Possibly Forgive?

I have had the opportunity to join Sara Horn's launch team for her new book How Can I Possibly Forgive? Rescuing Your Heart from Resentment and Regret.  I was excited about this opportunity because I have read other books written by Sara such as My So-Called Life as a Submissive Wife and GodStrong. In those books, I appreciated Sara's use of humor and honesty in her writing.  I felt a connection with her through her personal stories. Therefore, I looked forward to reading her newest book which is available on October 1.

After reading How Can I Possibly Forgive?, I have to say that Sara did not disappointment me.  She used wit and honesty to tell her personal experience with forgiveness.  In her book, Sara did not sugar coat things that she isn't so proud of.  Instead, she told what she did that she wasn't proud of and what a better choice in offering forgiveness should have been.

Throughout the book, Sara Horn also connected her life's experiences with the Bible.  She gave examples from Joseph and Naomi to Jonah. In each example, we can see a correlation to that experience with things that have happened in our own lives. Sara always has a way of showing her readers they are not alone in valleys of life.  This book, like her others, offers hope and shows how we can make better choices to become the people God wants us to be.

One of the things I like about this book is the mini sections I like to call "Five Ways." In each section, Sara offers some suggestions for working through forgiveness.  Such topics include forgiving yourself, letting go of your anger with God, and asking for forgiveness.  Another thing I like about the book is the discussion questions found in the back. These could be used for small groups or for independent reflection and journaling.

We have all had to deal with the issue of forgiveness in our lives and will continue to do so.  This book is a great tool in helping us deal with the hurts that can cause resentment and regret.  I have already begun to talk to others about things I have read in this book to help them with the healing process that comes through forgiveness. This book is also a good tool for helping us have a stronger relationship with Christ and live more like Him, the ultimate example of offering forgiveness.

I highly recommend this book for those looking to learn more about healing through forgiveness.  Sara Horn's books are always insightful and thought provoking.


*****

I received a free copy of this book as part of Sara Horn's launch team for the purpose of an honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review, only to give my honest opinion of the book.

For more information about Sara Horn and her books, visit www.sarahorn.com.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Missing this space

Seriously, I am.

I am missing being here....writing....sharing....hopefully making a difference.

Life has a way of happening.

Mine happens a lot!

We are smack dab in the middle of soccer.

We are smack dab in the middle of the first quarter of school.

We are living life and loving it.

So, could you forgive me for neglecting this space for the last few weeks?

Forgiveness.....


Do you consider that the "F" word?  Why is it such a difficult word?

I am reading a book right now....

Are you ready????


Sara Horn's new book How Can I Possibly Forgive?

Haven't heard of it?  That's OK, It will be released on October 1.  And can I just say.....It is awesome. I am blessed to be a part of Sara's Launch Team for this amazing book! I can't wait to tell you more about it after I actually finish reading it.

I love Sara's writing.  She's honest, funny, and well, honest.  I appreciate that so much.  When I read her books, it's like having a conversation with a best friend.

And a book on forgiveness.....

Well, isn't that what so many of us need?

For some people, forgiveness is easy.  For others, well, not so much.

Looking at my personal experience with forgiveness, I know of instances when it has been easy to forgive and instances when it hasn't been so easy.  Sometimes it is a pride thing. Sometimes we feel that the act was too unforgivable.  Whatever the reason, it isn't good enough.

I have forgiven family.
I have forgiven friends.
I have forgiven strangers.

Most importantly, I have been forgiven.

When I decided to live my life for Christ, I asked God for forgiveness.  You know that Amazing Grace song?  Well, I'm that wretch it is about.  God saved me and forgave me through amazing grace.  How can I, therefore, deny forgiveness to someone???

Resentment is too hard on the soul.  It isn't worth it.

No, I know life isn't fair. I know we want people to get what they deserve. I see a lot of things on Facebook about Karma.  But payback and heartache are not the answer.  God is our ultimate judge. Let Him deal with it.

I can choose to let go, to forgive the hurt, to move on, and to be free from the burden of a hardened heart, or I can choose to harbor the hurt, to let pride stand in the way, to miss out on the amazing joy that comes from letting go and letting God.

Forgiveness is a God thing.

Unforgiveness is a Satan thing.

Why would we ever let Satan have a stronghold on us like that?

Oh, and I know what you are saying, "But Natasha, you don't know!  You don't have any idea what happened. You don't know my story!"

But I don't have to know your story. I have my own.  And regardless of our stories, I have seen first hand what unforgiveness does to people, to family, to friends.

I know people that have missed out on years of the lives of people they love, all because they chose not to forgive.  They thought it was a punishment to that one person, but unforgiveness affects many people.

Look at it this way.....

I get mad at my brother (Hi, Doug! I'm seriously not mad at you.) because he was careless with our parents' estate.  Now, I don't get my share of the inheritance.  There goes that vacation I wanted. There goes my sons' college funds. There goes.....our relationship. I avoid him. I don't go to family functions because he is going to be there.  I miss out on his children (those innocent bystanders).  I miss out on other family members (more innocent bystanders) because I simply cannot show up somewhere my brother might be.  This goes on for years. A ripple effect of missed opportunities, missed relationships, missed memories.  All because I chose to hold a grudge. I was slighted. I haven't mentioned the fact that I swell up each time his name is mentioned.  The resentment continues when I see those vacation commercials on TV or my kids start talking about college.  Dang it, brother!  It's all your fault.

But forgiving can allow me to move forward. It can help me communicate.  It can help me be aware of people and their intentions. Had I forgiven my brother in this hypothetical example, I could have extended grace to him.  He could have been embarrassed about what had happened and needed my help.  Had I forgiven him, I wouldn't have missed out on sharing life with him and his family.

I think sometimes we feel like if we forgive we are saying to the other person, "It's OK."

I've heard kids say this in the classroom, and it bothers me.  Calling another student "stupid" is not OK.  I realize a child says this because it seems to be the right thing to say.  But we need to have the appropriate response.  We can say, "I forgive you." We can say, "Thank you for the apology." I don't think we should say, "Oh, its OK."

Some people may not realize they have hurt us.  We have the choice to let them know that we were hurt and have forgiven them, or we can just forgive and move on without mentioning it.  I think somethings we definitely need to talk about, but others....just move on.  

Just because I choose to forgive, doesn't make me naive.  I believe that forgiving and moving on doesn't mean that I am going to allow that behavior to happen again.  I may forgive someone for a wrongdoing, but at the same time realize that we do not have a healthy relationship.  I may forgive you for stabbing me in the back, but I am choosing not to keep my relationship with you because I know your heart has not changed and you will probably do it again.  I will continue to pray for you so that you can be the person God intends you to be.

And in all of this....prayer is the key.  Go to God in prayer. Ask him to help you forgive....forgive others....forgive yourself.....seek forgiveness.  Don't deny forgiveness, God didn't deny it when it came to us.

This week, I challenge you to offer grace, the grace found in forgiveness. Can you say this with me....."I forgive you."  Those are life altering words. Try it and see what happens.




Are you interested in Sara's new book?  Find out more information at her webpage.  You can even pre-order an autographed copy.

www.sarahorn.com



Saturday, August 30, 2014

Why, Hello There!

It seems I have neglected this space.  If you've been depending on me, sorry.  Life happens outside of the Internet.  Want to play catch up?

My baby turned 12. Yep. Next July, Colin will be a teenager.....I cringe typing that word. Teenager.  He is an amazing young man and I am so proud of him.

We had our annual Camp Creative again at church. This year's theme was God's Creative Exodus.  I taught the cake decorating class again.  The little ones made frog cupcakes, the middle group made Ten Commandment cakes and the big kids made cakes with a basket weave design. The youth girls made a "Moses Parts the Red Sea" cake.  

We spent a fun Sunday with Jeff's unit in Nashville.  It was sooooo hot.  Thankfully, the firefighters that came to visit with the children turned on the water hose.  If the wind blew just right, oooohhhhh, the mist felt so good.

Fall soccer has started. Honestly, shouldn't we play fall soccer in the fall?  Its been at least 2 weeks since we've had a practice or game due to the heat.  You really shouldn't have fall soccer in the summer.  

We had a back to school painting party where we each painted pencils for our classrooms.  It was fun and good to hang out with the other teachers before school started.  School is in full swing now.  New teammate. New principal. New assistant principal. New students. New year. I am hoping for a good year for me and the boys. Colin is in 7th grade. He has joined the robotics team. I think he will be on the academic team as well.Carson is in 3rd grade.  I hope he will be able to be in GT Art again this year. Carter has started preschool.  He is learning so much already and doing things for Mrs. Terri that I could never get him to do.


I think our biggest news is that Jeff finally completed and turned in his active duty packet.  A few things happened that finally got us to that decision. But all in all, we believe this is what God want us to do. Just pray for us!  We are now going to play that hurry up and wait game!


Somebody is getting old. Had to get glasses.

Until next time....


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Being A Mom is Tough Blog Hop

P31 OBS Blog Hop

For my regular readers, I am taking part in the Being a Mom is Tough Blog Hope.  We are reading Lysa TerKeurst's book Am I Messing Up My Kids? For my new guests, WELCOME!  I'd like to introduce you to those boys who call me Mom.

Colin, Carson, and Carter.  These are my boys, and I am their Mama.  It seems that when I go into daycare or a store or to the park, I hear, "There's Carter's Mom, " or "Hey, Colin's Mama."  Sometimes, when I leave a message on my cousin's voice mail, I don't say my name, but I say, "Hello, this is Colin, Carson, and Carter's Mom. Give me a call  back when you get a chance." Regardless of where we are, I am usually defined by being their mom.  

I do have a name.  My name is Natasha.  And this is me with ALL of by boys.  My husband Jeff is the lucky man who God chose to be the daddy of these boys and the husband of this mama/wife. 
My boys are simply amazing.  What mama wouldn't say that?  

Colin is my firstborn. You know, the one that you made sure everyone washed their hands with before they held him.  The one that you had no idea what you were doing with and wondered if you were even smart enough to mix the formula with water to feed him.  Colin and I spent many, MANY sleepless nights together.  The kid seriously quit sleeping when he came home from the hospital.  He napped while I fed him.  People would always ask, "Do you get to sleep when he sleeps?"  I just laughed (really wanted to cry), "Shoot no!  The kid never sleeps!"  He's the kid that "slept" in the middle of our king size bed for his first 3 years, just so I could sleep. We would put a movie in the VCR, push play, and go to sleep.  Then at whatever time the movie went off, Colin would wake us up to rewind it and start again.  See, the kid never slept.  Don't forget the colic. Oh, colic how I hate thee! Now that he is almost 12, and it's summer, he is sleeping in....a little just because he stays up half the night.  Colin is a very tenderhearted young man.  He has accepted the Lord as his Savior and is very involved in church, serving as an usher and the drummer for the youth praise band.  He plays baseball and soccer. Colin has been on the Academic Team for 3 years, he was on the robotics team for 2 years, and has just returned from his third trip to Space Camp. This summer he earned his first real paycheck for running the sound equipment for a wedding at our church. Now, if I could just get him to clean his room. I know things get tough for him because he is the oldest.  He is paving the way for his brothers.  They get in is space when all he wants is to be away from them.

Carson is my middle child.  Although he is eight years old, he is still very much my baby.  After Carson was born, he was rushed to NICU due to fluid in his lungs.  It was very scary for us, and he still has problems to this day.  He has to have breathing treatments when the weather changes or he will get sick. Living in south central Kentucky where we can experience all four seasons in one week can pose major health risks for him.  We have to be very cautious even with  a runny nose or slight cough.  It's hard for family to understand that we don't visit much due to the cigarette smoke. He has asthma and is allergic to nuts and peanut butter. So, I carry around an EpiPen and inhaler everywhere we go.  Carson is very matter of fact.  Repetition is pointless if he already knows something (Seriously, the two weeks his kindergarten teacher made him trace his name was torture....on both of us.).  In first grade, he was placed into a small reading intervention group because he was having trouble with nonsense words.  I just had to laugh.  Nonsense words??? Are you kidding?  If they don't really exist and he is already reading on a 3rd grade level, Carson doesn't care about nonsense words! Carson loves science.  He loves to read. He learns things, and I'm like, "What?  Where did you learn that?"  He's taught me stuff that I actually had to look up because I just couldn't believe he would know something like that.  Carson is a very neat kid.  He has the advantage of being able to do things with Colin and be a "big kid" or do things with his little brother.  When my youngest child was born, I had to take Carson out of daycare.  He would get up with me during the middle of the night to help me with diapers and bottles. He became my shadow and developed a bond with his baby brother.  I am curious to see what Carson will do as he gets older.  He is such a homebody like his mama, but he loves to learn.  He can be quite a character too! He has the most awesome Charlie Brown dance you have ever seen!
  
My youngest son is Carter.  The baby.  Yes, he is four years old, and I still call him The Baby. He asked me the other day if he was a toddler. I informed him he was actually a Preschooler, still though, my baby.  Carter arrived a little early after we found out I had been losing amniotic fluid.  The boy hasn't stopped going since the day he was born.  He is VERY active, VERY rowdy, and VERY funny. You never know what is going to come out of his mouth. The boy loves to play...play outside, play toys, play iPad, play soccer, play baseball, play, play, play.  If you want an adventure, take him to play some miniature golf.  Oh, my!  The first time we took him, we were all sweaty and tired. He and Carson both loved every minute of it and were like wild animals let out of a cage.  During that vacation, I think we played at Goofy Golf every single night!  Carter doesn't realize how little he is.  Being the youngest, he has always been around older kids.  He thinks when Colin's friends come over that they are there to play with him.  He is our social creature.  But you have to be careful around him.  He likes to hit, and he hits hard, in places he shouldn't. We are working on that.  We were embarrassed when he brought his barber to his knees at the ball park one night.  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. He comes ups with something new to say or do all the time. Right now, he is stuck on "Mama, smell my pain."  After saying that, he then shoves something in my face to smell: an armpit, foot, or his butt.  Good times!  But he is definitely my cuddle bug.  We have our routines. We have our "Mommy and Carter Time" because well, it is special to him and he has to have it.  He is definitely a mama's boys.

I absolutely LOVE being a mom.  It is definitely tough.  My kids are no angels and I am no saint. So, yes, things get a little hairy.  They disobey. I fuss. They keep on. I fuss a little louder.  They keep on. I yell.  They tell me I am mean and don't like it when I yell, and I tell them, they are disrespectful and I don't like it when they don't obey me. If they would just do what I said the first time I said it, our lives would be so much simpler!  There are times we are laughing, calm, having a good time, and all of sudden, they are ready to get each other.  I am prying kids off of kids, and swatting butts, and yelling, and they are yelling, and slapping at each other.  It's in those moments I'm like, "Wait! What just happened?"  We all totally lost it in a matter of seconds.  

Sometimes it is so hard to remember that my kids aren't these perfect creatures, that they will disobey and fuss and fight and not make good choices.  That is difficult when I know they know better.  Sixth grade about killed me this year. As a teacher, I take pride in the fact that my kids know (well, should know) what parents and teachers expect, and I had the allusion they would always do the right thing.  But when Colin chose not to do his work for reading the last quarter, I about died.  What? One of the smartest kids in his class?? An F in reading??? He chose not to do the work???? Oh, this mamateacher wasn't going to have it.  It about killed us both, but he brought the F up to a B.  Whew! That was close. 
There are times I wonder where these kids get their stubbornness, their fits of rage, their attitude. Then I look in the mirror and realize that I am the problem.  And honestly, I ask myself on a daily basis, "Am I messing up my kids?"  As a mom, that is a major fear of mine.  Am I going to be too strict? Will I not be strict enough when I need to be?  Will I say something that will ruin their perceptions of themselves? Will they doubt my love for them? Am I able to raise them to be the men God intends for them to be?

God has entrusted me with these children. He chose me to be their mom.  God's ways are perfect, and He doesn't mess up. Why then do I doubt that I can be the mother these kids need me to be?  I know that Satan is fighting for my children just like I am.  I don't want him to get his hands on them, but I worry that my actions will allow him to.  I know I need to lean on God to be the mom I am supposed to be.  I know that if I truly seek Him, God will restore my, refresh my perspective, and guide me.

I am thankful for God's mercy. I need His forgiveness daily.  I need to not define myself by my mistakes, but take heart in the good moments, those moments that really build my children up.  I have to stop expecting everything to be great and calm and easy all the time.  That's not realistic.  There are going to be days of sibling rivalry, disobedience, and flat out defiance.  There are going to be days they don't clean up their toys, put their dirty dishes away, or clean the pee off the toilet seat.  There are going to be days where we feel like we are going to pull our hair out if we have to spend one more moment together.  But there are also going to be the days we laugh together, swim together, play together. There will be the days we give hugs, kisses, and high fives.  There will be the days we pray together, sing together, and encourage one another.  Those are the days I need to draw my strength from.   I need to dwell on those days, not the tough days.  Those tough days are for learning, for forgiving, for moving on.

No matter what day I am having, I am thankful. Thankful that God gave me an amazing husband and allowed us to be the parents of these precious children.





Saturday, July 12, 2014

In A Word: Intentional







2014 is more than half over.  That is hard to believe.


At the beginning of the year, I joined in with other bloggers to live by one word this year.  My word was INTENTIONAL. Feel free to go back and read about my decision to choose that one word.

 Recently, I reflected on whether or not I'd been living intentionally.

One of the things I mentioned in my decision to live intentionally was to be intentional with my time. 

When I first started this blog, I made a deal with God that it would glorify Him. That I wouldn't spend time here if I wasn't spending time with Him. So, if my posts are few are far between, I am keeping my deal with God.  I don't want to post just for the sake of posting something. I want each word here to be meaningful and worthwhile.

 Last year, while my husband deployed, I began a journey to read the Bible in a year. I ordered my One Year Bible and got started right away.  It was a great journey. One I didn't finish due to getting extremely sick with Fifth's Disease, having my husband return from Afghanistan, getting pregnant, starting school, having a miscarriage, and the million other things that happened.  So, this year, I have been more intentional with my time with God. I am back on track with my Bible reading.  I am also teaching Sunday School and doing Bible studies to grow, to become the woman, wife, teacher, mother, daughter, friend that He has planned for me.

Another way that I have been intentional with my time is by saying "Good-bye" to my long time friend Hay Day.  Yes, that's a game.  I had it downloaded on my phone, and it was a great friend to me during my husband's deployment.  I was able to play it while I lay in bed during sleepless nights.  However, it became quite an addiction.  I had to break up with Hay Day.  I spent entirely too much time playing this game. I didn't gain anything by playing it other than earning a level up.  It didn't make me a better wife or mother. It didn't bring me closer to God.  It only helped me procrastinate and waste time.

Probably one of the things I haven't been so intentional with is taking care of myself.  Since having my miscarriage, I have gained back all of the weight I lost while my husband was deployed. I've even added a few extra pounds.  I'm not happy about it. I know it is a problem.  I am hoping to get back on track. Between the emotional issues surrounded by my miscarriage (its still hard. I find myself going back to that time. I cry about it still.) and the difficult school year I had last year, my anxiety and, well, I guess you could call it depression, have hindered me really taking care of myself.  It is something I know I must work through.  I know I haven't prayed about it enough.  I know I need too.  Sometimes it is just easier to grab the donut, chips, and Dr. Pepper.  But each day is a new day, a day I can be more intentional about my thought processes and be aware of what is leading me to make bad choices about my health. 

I know my body is a temple.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds me so...
I also know that I have to be very intentional with how I treat my body.  I am a work in progress, and I am going to do my best to make this a priority.  Please pray for me.

With school getting ready to start, I want to get started on the right foot.  I am participating in an online study of Awakened by Angela Watson.So far, it has been very enlightening. I am learning a lot about my thought processes.  I think it will really help me in handling stress and how I interact with my coworkers and students this school year. I am thankful to have two coworkers who are doing the study as well. Maybe we can make an impact in our school.

I realize my life is a gift.  Everything about it.  I don't want to waste this gift.  I want my children to know that I love them and care for them because I was intentional in the time in the time I spent with them and I was present, really there, when we were together.  I don't want their memories of me to include a mobile device permanently attached to my hand. I want us to laugh and play and connect in real ways.

I want my husband to know that I cherish him and love him and that he is my heart and soul.  I want every word and every deed to be intentional, to be something that will build him up and make our marriage stronger.  I want him to know exactly what is in my heart and that I am fully devoted to our family.  I want him to know how much he is appreciated and how proud we are of him.

I want those who know me to know that I lived my life to the fullest. That I put everything I had into everything I did.  I want them to know of my love for the Lord, that He leads me and guides me in all that I do.  I want them to see Jesus through me. When you visit here, when you read these blog posts, I want you to be challenged to live for Christ. I want you to click that X in the top right corner and walk away being a better person. I want you to be blessed by this little piece of the Internet.

So, 2014 isn't over. There is still hope for me to be more intentional in the areas of my life that I am still struggling with.  I can continue to be strong in the areas I am being successful in.  The biggest thing is seeing where I am weak and making the choice to do something about it.

What about you, Friend?  How are you keeping up with your One Word challenge?  If you didn't get in on this challenge, what are you waiting for? It's just July!  There is always time to make a difference in your life!  Get started!







Wednesday, July 02, 2014

On, well, a bunch of things

1. Yesterday, I was told I was the "COOLEST MOM EVER." By grown ups. Not sure my children would agree.

Colin is at Space Camp this week. I am missing him, but I know he is having a great time.

Tomorrow he gets to do the EVA mission.  Basically, he will be in an astronaut suit, strapped to a ZERO GRAVITY chair, hoisted into the air, and have to put together that triangular pyramid type thing.  Maybe I am pretty cool.  What's your kid doing this summer?

2. VBS was great.

Three precious children gave their hearts to Jesus. Seeds were planted. There was music, Bible study, laughter, food, and fun. Very thankful to be part of a church that loves children and provides so many opportunities for them to know Christ  How was your VBS?

Speaking of my church, I am also grateful for the opportunities they provide for the adults to serve and grow as well.  We are encouraged to be leaders, to become involved, and to serve God in so many ways.  Thank you, CBC!

3. Lots of political posts on Facebook right now.  I won't go into it all. I know you've seen them. May even be a part of them.

I know that one day I will have to answer to God for the way I lived my life.

Does believing the Bible and believing in God, and believing in Jesus Christ make me a small minded person who cannot think for herself?  I think not.  I don't know about you, but I mess up pretty good when I think by myself.  It takes strength and courage to Let Go and Let God, to put your trust in Him, and to decide to live for Him.

I know I will be ridiculed. I know I will be questioned. I know.....

But I know what my life has been like since I gave my heart to Jesus 10 years ago.  That was the best decision I have ever made.  No, my life isn't perfect.  God never said it would be.  Those words written in red said that in this world I will have trouble, but I can take heart, because Jesus overcame the world.  I believe those words in red.

4. I finished my book study with Wives of Faith.  It was great.  I even came out of my comfort zone and created a squash spaghetti on my own.  Very proud of myself.

Now I am on to my next study.  This school year will be a great transition. New teammates. New principal. New assistant principal.  So, I've decided to renew, or awaken, my mindset.


I am thankful for coworker friends who are going on this journey with me.  Maybe we can be an encouragement to others in our school.

5. It's July.  Seriously. Where did June go?  Luckily, a week of June was spent at the beach.

Oh, sandy beach, I miss you!

6. Speaking of July. Friday is a little something we call Independence Day.  According to usa.gov, The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, is a federal holiday that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

According to the media, it is a time for sales and discounts at local stores.

Independence, or freedom, brings responsibility.  I think sometimes we are moving backwards here in America.

I am thankful for the men and women in uniform who continue to serve our country in order to preserve our freedoms and the freedoms of other nations.  I am thankful for my husband who serves our country and our Lord in helping Soldiers find spiritual freedom.  Most of all, I am thankful for the freedom found in salvation through Jesus Christ.




Friday, June 27, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Lost

It's time for a little Five Minute Friday. Basically, you take a minute (5 really) and write.  You don't over think it. You don't over do it.  Just write. Five minutes. That's all.....

Today's prompt: lost

Five Minute Friday
A few years ago, something had happened, can't remember what, but I had said to Colin, "I've lost my marbles."

Later he went to the store with Jeff, and when they were shopping, he told his daddy, "We need to get some marbles."

Jeff asked why, and Colin replied, "Because Mama lost hers."

Bless his heart.

How many times have a felt like I've lost my marbles?  Too many to count.  But I thank God everyday that He helps me to find them.  He may take a few away and replace them with better ones, but God always provides (my marbles).

He provides by answering a prayer.  He provides for sending a friend.  He provides by bringing peace.

He Provides.

I will continue to lose my marbles, my patience, my temper.  But God will continue to be there for me to pick up the pieces, to calm my nerves, to find me when I'm lost in my own sinful nature.

Amazing Grace!  How sweet the sound! I once was lost, but now I'm found!

Thank you, sweet Jesus!





Friday, June 20, 2014

Book Review: Faith, Hope, Love, & Deployment

As a military spouse, I am always searching for something to grow closer to God, strengthen my marriage, and support my Soldier. 
Faith, Hope, Love, & Deployment: 40 Devotions for Military Couples is written by Heather Gray.  She uses her experience as a military spouse to help military couples grow strong in the Lord and in their relationships with one another.

The 40 devotions included in this book covers topics ranging from separation to communication and from children to naysayers.  Each devotion is divided up into sections related to the title: Faith (which includes scripture for both spouses), Hope (a been there, done that personal story from Heather’s experience), Love (an opportunity to reflect on the devotion and write a love letter, so to speak), and Deployment (a challenge for the couple to become closer during separation). Included within these are discussion/reflection questions for the couple.



This is an amazing book for military couples, and I don’t think I have the words to do it justice.  I am thankful for Heather Gray and women like her that use their experience to minister to others. 

If you are a military spouse, I highly suggest you get a copy of this book. If you know a military couple, this would be a great gift to give them.

Please note that the author's husband was KIA in Afghanistan. This book was actually being written before he was killed, and Heather finished the book after debating about it.  For some couples, it may seem awkward to read a devotional written by a military widow. However, for me, I found comfort in Heather's words.  Not everything in the book relates to her husband's death, although certain devotions focus on it.  I see this as an opportunity to use the experiences of another military spouse to help strengthen my own military marriage.

 I received a free copy of this book from Leafwood Publishers for the purpose of review.  I was not required to write a positive review of this book.  



Saturday, June 07, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Hands



Dear Hay Day,
It has been more than a week since I said "good-bye" to you.  Honestly, I thought ending our relationship would hurt more than it did.  Because I haven't missed you, I guess that means that our relationship really meant nothing.

I do want to say thank you for keeping me company while we were together.  You helped me get through late nights when my children refused to sleep.  If I woke up in the middle of the night unable to sleep during Jeff's deployment, you were there for me.  We had lots of fun together, but you really became my obsession.

You were the last thing I thought about at night. When I would wake up, you were the first thing I wanted to get my hands on.  That is really not healthy.  Then you started requiring more of me.  At first, the boat orders and mining were great.  Then you expanded our relationship to a fishing hole and, most recently, a train stop in a small town.  You've tricked me into wanting to spend more time with you.

But....enough is enough. 

I had to say "good-bye."  The best part....I haven't regretted my decision.

I have spent more time doing more important things with my hands.  I have held my Bible more often, and I have even been reading other books as well.  My hands have held on to my children, holding them, playing with them, and tickling them.  My hand have cleaned up, picked up, and been productive.  Holding on to you never accomplished anything. 

So, here it is. We are through.  And I am ok with that!   Good luck to you. 


*****
Five Minute Friday
Five Minute Friday is the baby of Lisa Jo Baker, author of Surprised by Motherhood.  If you would like to participate or read more Five Minute Friday posts, head on over to Lisa Jo's blog.

And yes, I realize today is Saturday!

Feeding Souls



As part of the Wives of Faith Bread and Wine Book Study Group, I have written blog post entitled Feeding Souls.  Head on over to the Wives of Faith Blog to check it out!