Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Book Review: Life's Too Short to Miss the Big Picture for Moms

As moms, we have so many experiences with our children that are great learning experiences for both them and us. In her book, Life's Too Short to Miss the Big Picture for Moms, Melanie Simpson shares stories from motherhood that have been learning experiences for her. 

Take for instance the struggles she has dealt with in finding out her son has Asperger's Syndrome.  Simpson shares her feelings and fears. She also shares some of the ways she sees how maybe she has failed in certain areas and some ways she has been victorious.  Some of Simpson's stories are light hearted and funny, such as her kiddie pool swimming experience, while others are more serious, like the remembrance of her grandmother.

All in all, this was a wonderful book.  As I read it, I was reminded to use each experience with my own children as a learning experience, to look at my failures as ways to improve myself and to just really enjoy being the mom of my boys.

I received a free copy of this book from Leafwood Publishers for the purpose of an honest review.


Just what I needed.....

I good night's sleep

In my own bed

Not getting up with fussy kids

Or scared kids

Or sleepwalking kids.

But waking up in my bed to the smell of Wrigley's Doublemint Gum.

So now can someone explain to me how a six year old miraculously sleeps 8 hours with a piece of gum in his mouth?

Maybe he was sleepwalking and put it in his mouth before climbing into my bed.

Whatever.....I am refreshed.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chaplain Update

In recent days, Jeff has had phone "interviews" and face to face interviews about his placement with a new unit. Things seem to be well underway.

After leaving from a meeting Sunday, he was contacted by one of the Soldiers wanting him to perform his wedding ceremony.

It seems that things either move very slowly or quite quickly.

I try to remember during the slow times that God is preparing us for those "fast times."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

No Longer Going Through the Motions

What six year old does not want to go to heaven?

What sixty year old does not want to go to heaven?

If you ask, I think most people will say they want to go to heaven when they die.  Some will say they think they will. And fewer will be certain they will. 

There is but ONE way, however, to get to heaven.

Through Jesus Christ.

I don't believe in all paths to heaven. I don't believe in many paths to heaven.  I believe in ONE path to heaven. 

I believe in Jesus Christ.

I believe He is God's Son.

I believe He came to earth, born of the virgin Mary.

I believe that He was crucified on a cross for my (and your) sins.

I believe that after the stone was placed over the tomb, Jesus conquered death, raising from the dead Himself. 

Do you believe?

Four years ago, Colin believed.  What six year old raised in church wouldn't?  He confessed Jesus as his Savior and Lord and was baptized.

The night he came to us with his revelation as a sinner, I was scared to death.  Yes, I was happy, but truthfully, I wondered if he really knew what the whole thing was about.  Did he really understand?  Did he really believe?

You see, I couldn't tell him, "Oh, you are too young," or "You think your are ready, but you aren't really."  I had to believe that God would guide him. 

I remember when Jeff was on the phone with our preacher, I grabbed my Bible and said, "Lord, I want this to be real. Please let me have peace about this."  I opened my bible. I read the words, "I will reveal Myself in My time."  I closed my Bible and let it be. 

On his own accord, Colin went before the church to make is profession of faith and was later baptized. 

Still, I remembered that he was six years old. I have secretly prayed for him, for God to reveal Himself to Colin if he just went through the motions.

That was four years ago.

The other night, Colin got out of bed and came to me.  It was late and he was crying, but when I asked what was wrong, he didn't want to talk about it.

He finally opened up to me and said he was worried about the end of the world (thanks to our pastor's good preaching!).  I told him we had nothing to worry about because we would go to heaven.  He knew his little brothers were not saved and was worried that God wouldn't allow them into heaven. I tried to explain to him that God knew that and He knew their hearts, and because they were little He would allow them into heaven. 

Colin then said the word's I couldn't believe, "I'm afraid He won't take me." 

My heart broke and then it rejoiced.

You see, Colin has been having a private struggle with his salvation.  He knew we had talked to him about his salvation. He didn't remember it. I now think he was going through the motions of doing what his six year old mind told him was right. 

God was revealing Himself to Colin. It was His time.  

This morning, Colin, on his own accord, went again before the church.  Our pastor explained to the congregation about Colin's revelation.  Our church rejoiced with him and the courage it took to profess his faith in Christ. 

This time, he is not going through the motions.  God has spoken to him, revealed Himself to Colin. 

With this experience, I wonder how many adults are out there that have gone through the motions as well, adults who "confessed their faith," were baptized, and joined the church because it seemed like the right thing to whatever age....but really truly do no have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

As we spoke with our church family, one of the ladies reminisced about her experience.  She realized at the age of 55 that she had just gone through the motions. She gave her life to Jesus and was baptized.  Another church member praised Colin for his courage and told him that he was a true witness to others in the church who need to do the same thing.

As I share Colin's story with you, I hope that you will consider your own salvation.  Have you truly confessed Jesus as your Savior and Lord, have you totally rejected Him, or have you just gone through the motions and not given yourself wholly to Him?

Please pray for Colin has he willingly embarks on the journey that God has laid out for him.  Next Sunday, he will be baptized by his daddy. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Book Review: The Widow of Saunders Creek

The Widow of Saunders Creek, written by Tracey Bateman, is about a young Army widow, Corrie Saunders, who has just left Dallas to go "home" to the house her and her husband were to share. However, her husband was killed in action while serving his country.  She has chosen to move to the small town named after his family.

She begins rennovations on their home without her husband, but with the help of his preacher-cousin, Eli.  During this process, she senses that her husband Jarrod is trying to make contact with her.  As she seeks him, she receives mixed signals from his family about what she is actually sensing.  Is it Jarrod or something else? 

Corrie finds comfort in new friends as she struggles with the loss of her husband and the odd things happening at her house. She also struggles with the feelings she is beginning to have for Eli. She must choose to seek Jesus in her troubles or follow her own path.

I was a little weary on reading this book due to the references to witches. However, I am glad I stuck with it.  The author, Tracey Bateman, shows how we should seek Christ in our struggles and stand on the promises of the Bible. I was very pleased with the plot of the story. If you like Christian fiction, I think you would like this book.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this honest review.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Book Review: Heaven in Her Arms

We all know that Mary was the mother of Jesus. We remember the scripture of when the angel appeared before her with the announcement of her role in Jesus' life.  We felt her fear when she searched three days for Jesus only to find him in the temple in Jerusalem.  Other than that, we probably never really thought much about her.

In her book, Heaven in Her Arms: Why God Chose Mary to Raise His Son and What It Means for You, Catherine Hickman introduces us to the Mary who should become our model for womanhood.

Mary was real.  Her emotions were real. Her questions, fears, and struggles were real.  We should not look at her as merely a Bible character, but as a real mother.

Hickman explains that Mary was chosen has the mother of Jesus because of who she was. She was a child of God who loved her Lord.  She was humble and obedient.

Hickman takes the scripture we know of Mary and digs deeper.  She shows us how Mary questioned, prayed, praised, and obeyed.  She explains how Mary needed support and found that support in Elizabeth.  Regardless of how difficult it may have been for Mary to be the mother of Jesus, she was obedient to God. Her prayer life, her praises, and the wisdom she sought from the Lord should be an example to us. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  The new, indepth look at Mary was refreshing and encouraging. I am happy to recommend this book for your reading.

I recieved a free copy of this book from Booksneeze for the purpose of an honest review. 

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Happy Birthday, Carson!

Today, we celebrated Carson's 6th birthday during a joint party with Kylie and Anna Laura.  The kids enjoyed an egg hunt, pinata (sorry about that hit Leslie and Richie), cake times 3, and gifts. 

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Book Review: Miracles & Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories from Doctors

When I heard from Nancy Kennedy that she would be having a second Miracles & Moments of Grace book come out, I was so excited. Luckily, the book was made available for review from Leafwood Publishers. 

In Miracles & Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories from Doctors, Kennedy has compiled 50 stories from doctors from all walks of medicine.  Each story is unique and touching.  Perhaps my favorite was the story of the new mother who had just given birth to a child with Down Syndrome.  Dr. Eaker told the story of having to "break the news" to this mother.  Her response: "Isn't God great!"  This mother had something in her life that made her believe that God had chosen her to be the mother of this child because she would love her for who she was.

Also included in this book are stories of doctors who experienced both healing and loss of their patients, stories of doctors seeing the humanity of their patients instead of their problems, and doctors who themselves (or a loved one) becomes the patient. Indeed, each story either shows how God works miracles or provides is amazing grace in times of need.

Like the first book in the MMG series, this book did not disappoint. I most definitely recommend this book and can't wait to see if there will be a third!

I received a free copy of this book from Leafwood Publishers for the purpose of my honest review.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Praying for our Husbands

Recently, Hilarie and I decided to read The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian.

Upon finishing the book, there are some things that I have discovered.

I don't pray for my husband nearly enough.  I do pray for him. In fact, I pray for him daily.  However, the quality of my prayers is weak I have found. I usually pray for current needs of my husband. I need to pray for his future as well.

There are so many specific aspects of Jeff's life that I need to pray about.  My prayers are usually broad and general. That is so sad.  I love him more than that.

I realize that as I pray for Jeff, God will work in me as well.  He will make me the wife I am supposed to be while I am praying for Him to make Jeff the man he is supposed to be. 

As I strengthen my own walk with the Lord, I will work on my prayer life. I will pray for the specific needs (immediate and future) of my husband.  I will hand Jeff over to God, to mold him and shape him in His image.

I recieved a copy of this book from Jeff after he attended CAST last year in Baltimore.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Lord, Be Glorified: Worship Link Up

Today, I am linking up with Kristi for her weekly Worship Link Up.

I told you that our spring revival services were held last week.  Well, one of the songs that really spoke to me was Lord, Be Glorified (I think that is the title because every time I look it up it has different titles and lyrics).

In my life Lord, be glorified, be glorified!
In my life Lord, be glorified, be glorified today.

In Your church Lord, be glorified, be glorified!
In Your church Lord, be glorified, be glorified today.

In my home Lord, be glorified, be glorified!
In my home Lord, be glorified, be glorified today.

In my words Lord, be glorified, be glorified!
In my words Lord, be glorified, be glorified today.

The verse about my home touched my heart.  You see, I think sometimes when we are out in public, we can put on a good show.  We know that people are watching us and we make sure we are acting all Christian-like. 

But it is at home where our mask comes off. That's where real life happens.

Kids don't do what they're told. They fight with each other and tell their mom, "No." The house gets in a mess just as fast as you can clean it up. Dinner plans get scrapped. The pets make messes or noises or chew up your iPad and cell phone cords. You feel unappreciated, tired, and just ready to burst. 

At home, we lose are tempers, we yell, we make threats, we roll our eyes or stick out our tongues like children.  We act a way that we would never act in public.

That does not glorify God. 

He wants us to glorify Him where ever we are. We shouldn't put on a show when we are out. We should show the love of God everywhere, especially at home. Our kids watch us. They know when we put on a show. They know when we are wrong in our actions. It is up to us to set a good example, the true Christian example. 

So please join me in making our homes a place that truly glorify the Lord.

Remember, to listen to the video, you must mute the play list at the end of the page.

Thank you, Kristi, for allowing me to link up with you this week.

Monday, April 02, 2012

I'm Trying

Have I mentioned that I am loving the E100 Challenge?  When we first began, I signed up for the military spouse edition. It sends me a daily email with the scripture, reflections, and a prayer. In my busy life, it helps me stay in God's word each day. I can read it from my cell phone while waiting in the car, on my iPad during the school day, or I can listen to it from the web page or my audio Bible while I am working.

When I read day 93, 1Peter 1:14-15 (GNT) really stuck out at me.

Be obedient to God, and do not allow your lives to be shaped by those desires you had when you were still ignorant. Instead, be holy in all that you do, just as God who called you is holy.

Let's take a look at these two verses.

First, BE OBEDIENT TO GOD.  Just as we talked about in Sunday school yesterday, that can be so hard, especially if what God is wanting us do is not what fits in "our plans."  Sometimes what He calls us to do isn't easy, or pretty. Regardless, we are commanded to be obedient. My friend Caroline and I were talking about being away from a spouse for a long period of time due to a job, and she asked, "You wouldn't want that would you?"  No, I wouldn't. But if that is what God calls for, then I must be obedient.  Jeff and I have been away from each other due to his civilian job and his army job.  That's just what God has called us to do. So you learn to be obedient. You learn to lean on God and let Him lead and guide you and your decisions.

Second, DO NOT ALLOW YOUR LIVES TO BE SHAPED BY THOSE DESIRES YOU HAD WHEN YOU WERE STILL IGNORANT.  As Christians, we are to be like Christ.  When we surrendered our lives to Him, we gained a new understanding. We were to put away the old and live according to the will of God, according to His word. When we were still ignorant, it is like being a child; we really didn't understand or know better so the things we did were sinful and against God.  But now we do know better. We have the Holy Spirit that lives within us. We are to listen to the Spirit. We are to recognize the things that can shape our lives, that can pull us from living like Christ.

So, that takes us to the third thing, INSTEAD, BE HOLY IN ALL THAT YOU DO, JUST AS GOD WHO CALLED YOU IS HOLY. You see, if we are obedient and we do stay clear of desires of the flesh, then we can live holy (as holy as we can here on earth).  God has called us to a higher purpose: to glorify Him in all we do. We should live our lives as a witness to the love of God, to His Son Jesus Christ.  We should live so that people we see everyday and those who are strangers know that we are set apart, not better, just set apart.  We are sinners. We are no better than anyone else just because we are Christians.  We are just saved from our sins, forgiven. We have a purpose. We have a knowledge that others don't. We have peace, hope, and abundant joy. 

I know that I am not always the best wife, mom, teacher, daughter, friend, or me that I can be.  I let life get to me. I get tired and bogged down. I lose my temper. I don't always let those I love know how much I love them.  I try to find balance, hence the lack of posting on this blog.  I made a promise to God that this blog would be used for His glory. That I would share with you, the world, what He is doing in my life. I would share the weak branches He breaks away, and the fruit He allows to grow.

Through spending time with the Lord, I am becoming more obedient to what He wants in my life. I am controlling my temper better. I am thinking before reacting. I am hopefully showing my love for others more.  He has definitely led me to places where I never expected to be: leading Bible studies, being an army wife, being a leader in my church and school.  He has seen me through difficult times whether physical, financial, or emotional.  God is my rock. He is my everything.  As Carson put it so well last night, "Mama, God made everything. If God wasnt' real, nothing would be real. There would be nothing."

As you journey through this week, Holy Week, I pray that you find a peace that surpasses understanding. I hope that you grow in your relationship with the Lord.  If you don't know Jesus Christ, I pray that He will reveal Himself to you. 

Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Because of His great mercy He gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. This fills us with a living hope...
1Peter 1:3