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Well, after two years off, I’m starting to review books again. I love a good book, but sometimes I let life get in the way of that love. So, here goes…

rising

I REALLY wish I had started the book on page 9. Reading the first few pages really gave a lot away, and I wish I had been kept in suspense. Nonetheless, this book is very well written. Any time we hear about a tragedy that someone has gone through, I believe it’s human nature to want to know more details. It’s our natural curiosity that keeps us wanting to know more. I remember hearing on the news about the guy whose family was killed and burned and he narrowly escaped after being beaten and tied up. I can remember being curious. This book answers just about any question you could think of about those events.

I must admit, my husband has working nights this week, and it’s been hard to get to sleep after reading this book. My worst fear is never for myself but always about not being able to protect my children in a situation like this. A home invasion where the kids are tied up, there is rape, gasoline, fire, etc. It keeps you on the edge of your seat. Again, if it weren’t for the first nine pages I would not have been able to put the book down. Of course, it’s better for my sleep this way.

After you get through the details of “that night and early morning”, you get to the funerals. The way this book is written, it makes  you feel like you were there, You can picture the location, the setting, the people, every detail. You can imagine the friends and the family, and the community of supporters. Again, well written.

The trials, you feel like you are sitting in the courtroom with everyone. The author sets up the room for you. He lets you know where everyone is sitting. He lets you know how people are dressed and how they look. You can picture them as he details their mannerisms. I don’t want to get too detailed in the story line because I want the book to keep you on the edge of your seat as well. You grow to hate the attorneys, especially the one in the second trial. I wonder about the families of the murderers, they are not mentioned in the book.

The nonprofit established after the girls’ deaths, you want to be a part of it. I seriously plan to look it up and donate to the causes they chose. I have always been an advocate of battered women and children. It happens way too often, and groups need funding. This book builds a respect for Bill Petit, the husband, the father. He seems so strong through everything. He remains composed, I know my husband would not keep his composure. I respect his family, they take the high road. They advocate for justice in a calm and collective manner. That usually gets you further. In this case, that proves true.

Rising after the fall, well the title is The Rising, so that tells you there is one. However, to see exactly what that entails, go buy the book. You won’t regret it.

Buy The Rising here.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

 

 

Most people who know me, know I am not a big crier. I didn’t cry at the Titanic or any other movie I can think of at the moment. I have went through several funerals without crying, weird, yes I know. It’s just me. I see the joy in death, especially of a saved person. Getting to meet our Lord and Savior, I am jealous. I have no fear in death. All that to say this Sunday at church, I teared up a bit.

Hearing our Pastor tell us that he was diagnosed with a very rare, very aggressive, very deadly cancer and that the doctors told him maybe 20 months, 5 years on the long side, it was difficult. Hearing him say he accepts God’s plan, but wants to live to see his grandchildren, it was so powerful. I loved when he said that God had already saved him from the most deadly disease that exists..his sin! How true, God already sent His son Jesus to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins! He has already saved us from the most deadly disease on earth.  Please join me in praying for Brother David. He is such an amazing man, a gifted preacher, and a husband and father. I pray wisdom for his doctors, strength for his family, and healing for him.

Everyone should watch this video!

http://vimeo.com/61556118

Truth be told, I received this book to review a LONG time ago. Like, almost a year ago. I am not sure why, but I simply didn’t feel the desire to read it. Strange because it is a very small book. In fact, I just read it within the last hour. My thoughts, why has this book been sitting on my shelf for so long? It was great. As I do with all books I receive for review, I just wrote my name and the year in the back, and I will now pass it on to someone else. OK, onto the book.

It was a great read. I loved the idea of dinner with Jesus. I loved that the character was a stranger but likely won’t stay that way! I enjoyed the factual information on various other religions. The setting and the characters were all basic. The focus was on the truth. There isn’t much to say, it’s worth the read as a Christian. More than that, it’s a great small book to put it the mailbox or with a gift for an unbeliever.

I could have read more; I didn’t want it to end.

I am personally not a huge fan of the television. I think about how much family time is lost and sucked into a stupid device. Don’t get me wrong, I watch a few shows, I love a good football game, but seriously I don’t think people realize how much “down” time they spend in front of the tv. I am not judging anyone, because I have the same faults. It amazes me that we don’t make time to read 5 pages from the Bible in a day, but we watch a tv show for an hour, or several shows totaling many hours! I think we just get stuck in a routine. Josh comes home, we eat, put the kids to bed, watch tv, go to bed…exhausted.

I tried to get all of the tvs out of the house, but I was overruled. That is a little extreme, but I would really do it! I did succeed in getting “No tv Monday”. It is amazing how many things get done around the house on Mondays. Seriously, I get tons accomplished! And..I really have never watched much tv. It’s just a little news in the am, maybe a little news in the afternoon or turn something on while the boys are resting. On Mondays, we just spend time without the tv…or other electronic devices (iPod, leapster, wii, whatever). It’s amazing that I don’t have to say “not right now guys, mom’s busy”. I am not busy because I have everything I need to do finished. Josh has been coming home on Mondays and getting things that were long overdue done around the house. This week, he fixed some cracks in the foundation outside. Next week, I think he is going to repaint the foundation. It’s so much easier when the there isn’t a choice of sit on the couch and watch a good show or do something productive. It’s much easier to just be in a mind-set that there is no tv so we may as well do something productive. Monday, I designed Carter’s birthday invitations. Something I haven’t done in a few years for the boys because “there is never enough time”.  Truth is, even with 3 kids and a husband, I just need to manage my time better.  The hours in the day really are enough, we just have to plan and use them wisely.

I am still campaigning for no tv 5 days a week, not sure if that will ever happen. I will take what I can get though!

My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.  Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.   –   Proverbs 4:20-22

 

It is my belief that in order to live life with a purpose, we must do it with intention.  I often hear, I didn’t do it on purpose, I didn’t mean for that to happen, I didn’t mean to forget.  Not that I don’t mess things up or forget things; I do!  However, I try to be intentional about remembering things, intentional about reading my Bible, being a good wife, praying, raising our boys, and more.

One day, many months ago, I was leaving the child care area at church with my three boys, a diaper bag, my Bible, keys, phone, and about 10 pieces of paper from their church activities some of which were dripping paint.  I always take the stairs, it’s healthy plus I don’t have to worry about carrying everything and keeping Kyson from pushing buttons in the elevator. Why the put the emergency call button is on the bottom row, closest for little ones to reach is beyond my understanding.  Anyway, Carter and Maddox are begging to PLEASE take the elevator.  I hesitantly said yes.  As we are standing at the elevator, a sweet Godly woman walks up and says something to the effect of all of these “men of valor”.  I smiled and said thanks or something.  I continued on juggling papers and Kyson and finding my keys, etc.  When we finally reached the van and all the boys were buckled in I sat there and thought about that comment.

I thought, are we raising men of valor?  What is valor exactly?  I looked it up…

val·or

noun
boldness or determination in facing great danger, especially in battle; heroic courage; bravery: a medal for valor.

 Hmmm….will my boys be bold or show determination when facing great danger?  I then thought, what characteristics do we need to build up in our boys so that they will grow up to be men of valor?  A strong relationship with Christ, integrity, confidence, independence.  I decided since they were only 3 and 5 (I wasn’t really thinking of applying this to Kyson at the time) that I would start with that list.   So, first things first, a strong relationship with God.  I was reading through the Chronological Bible last year, as I am this year, and I thought…..I don’t really read the Bible to my boys.  I decided to be intentional about doing that more often. I was amazed at how they listened and how much knowledge they retained. Two examples, we started doing an allowance with the boys last year, they get “Jesus money” and turn in it at church every week.  They also get “share money” where they give to a need or a cause or something.  One week at church a flyer was sent home about sending extra money with the kids to help build a playground for the children at our church’s orphanage in Haiti.  The boys got all of their share money to turned in, as Carter was counting his money he said “Mom, I wish I had more money to help build the kids a playground.” I responded to him that was all we had and that God can do a lot with a little.  He says “Yeah, I know, just like the lady in the Bible who gave the least money and God said she gave the most because she gave all she had”.  I was blown away, not only that he remembered the story, but that he was able to apply it to our lives and his situation.  Then, last fall we drove by the TN School for the Blind.  I decided to make it a teachable moment and talk to the boys about people who are blind.  When I finish, Carter says “Why don’t they just rub that stuff on their eyes”.  I responded “What?”.  He says, “you know mom like in the Bible when the man was blind and Jesus spit on the ground and made mud stuff and rubbed it on his eyes and he could see”.  Wow, again his application, although Jesus isn’t presently here to do that and he didn’t see why they couldn’t just rub stuff on their eyes and wash it out, I was still amazed with what God has been doing through our reading!

Next we needed to work on instilling integrity, confidence and independence.  I prayed over how we should do that as parents.  I prayed for God to open opportunities to help us teach these things to the boys.  A few days later, the elevator at church again. Big boys want to ride, I say no we are taking the stairs, we get into the van and buckled in and I almost could have heard God say….You want them to have integrity, confidence and independence yet they cannot ride the elevator up one flight in a safe environment?  Wow!  So, I prayed that the boys would make good decisions and that they would be safe. I spent the next Saturday preparing the boys for riding the elevator alone.  I talked to them about being independent and going in and only pushing the one button to do up or down, I talked to them about how I was trusting them to do the right thing and come straight down the elevator and straight to me.  I told them that since I could not see them they would have to be honest and be boys of integrity.  Oh, how their self-confidence grew from the moment they stepped on that elevator with no adult.  I ran down the stairs to be there when they got out.  They were both beaming from ear to ear.  This has since become a bit of a tradition, but it has not lost its luster.  We continually talk about those big character words and making good choices, even when we think no one is watching.

So, I write this partially to say that before you judge what someone is doing as a parent…consider that maybe they are being intentional about their decision. 

What things do you do with your boys to raise them as men of valor, or to intentionally instill good qualities and characteristics in them? I am constantly reminding myself to parent with the love, grace, mercy and forgiveness that God parents us with.  Constantly because I forget and mess up daily.  Of course we all do, we are not perfect and we all fall short of the glory of God. I am also continually reminding myself to parent with Josh to please God, not other moms or friends or family.  What freedom we experience when we try to please God and not every other person in our lives.  It is a blessing!  Please know, I still respect and covet the caring advice and comments from fellow moms.

 

Celebrating Christmas…simply.  Each of our children have 3 presents from us, they draw names and spend their own money to buy (or make) each other a present, and santa does one family present.  We chose 3 so that we always remember why we celebrate Christmas.  It is not about getting gifts, or a man in a red suit, or elves, or stockings.  We celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.   Matthew 2:11 says this…”And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh”.  Gold and frankincense and myrrh…3 gifts for my Savior, therefore 3 gifts for my boys at Christmas.  The gifts they do receive are nothing lavish…one of Maddox favorite gifts was his $2.00 clearance Thomas sticker book set.  Kyson’s was his $3.50 Mickey Mouse.  Carter’s was his Ben 10 guy that Maddox bought him.  Still, many people would people would question what we consider simplicity, after we all we have a home, a tree, decorations, heat, beds, gifts, and so much more.   I think what is important is what we are teaching our children.  Every day in life, are opportunities to teach our children about Jesus…

I can say this, our boys are far from perfect.  As are Josh and me.  However, they know why we celebrate Christmas, they are truly thankful for gifts they receive, and love giving to others.  I am thankful to God for our family.  I am thankful for every trial and challenge.  I am thankful for our strong-willed boys.  Because, I know God didn’t give me the task of molding their personalities, He already has!  He created them, He designed them, He knows their flaws, and He knows their strengths.  He has taught me that is for Josh and I to train them in the ways of the Lord, not the change them and to conform them to the world’s idea of perfectly behaved children. 

As with so many of my posts, this went from Christmas to something completely different!  It’s just that with visiting different family and seeing so many friends over the holidays, we are so often judged and compared for how we parent our kids.   Sometimes we are judged by disapproving looks, sometimes by smiles or nods of affirmation, and sometimes by spoken criticism or praise.  What I want parents raising their kids to take from this, is that you need not worry about the world’s approval rating for how you are doing; concern yourselves with God’s approval.

Hmmm…the complete title of this book is What are you waiting for? The one thing no one ever tells you about sex.  Therefore, it is a bit more difficult to review than books in the past.  I think it is very well written.  I like the layout, the order of topics.  It is not a book to just hand over to your 13-year-old.  However, I do think it is a great read for all women, and men.  I loved learning about yada love.  I truly enjoyed the scripture and Biblical references in the book.  I loved this passage from the book…

The ache in your heart to be known by and to truly know one man was placed in you to be a revelation of a much deeper love.  When you are in intimate physical and emotional communion with your husband, it will be a mere picture of the passionate love of a God who has been seeking your heart since before you were born.

Perhaps you have been seeking too–but somehow you missed hearing Him call your name.  A lot of counterfeit loves lurk out there.  After all, just as you have a Hero fervently seeking your heart, a Villain in eager to stomp on your soul.  He will stop at nothing to see the picture of God’s great love destroyed in your life.  The Villain will woo you in kindergarten starting with seemingly innocent boyfriends, will magnify your dad’s weaknesses so you will hate men, will put a microphone up to your parent’s mouths when their relationship is struggling so you will hate marriage, will lure you into sexting, and will carelessly trample on your virginity and then tell you that you are used goods. He doesn’t play fair.  He introduces lies and counterfeits to us in every shape and form.  He will do his absolute worst to rub out the true picture of God’s love in your life. 

So we keep seeking.

Searching for God.

Searching for true human love.

I wish I had these words as a young girl, a young adult, I love reading them now.  Although it’s too little to late.  As a parent, I hope to train my children in the ways of the Lord that they will be able to recognize the villain and when he is working in their lives.  I think this book is compelling, necessary to be read.  I cling to the understanding that it is the VILLAIN, not a promiscuous girl or a disobedient boy, but the VILLAIN who is trying to steer our children in the direction of forever losing God’s plan for them and keeping them feeling as used goods.  We have love and forgiveness in Christ.  We must fight to lead our children and to love them through their trials.

I will begin this post with the information that I have often thought about an age that children should be saved; as in wondering when is too young and when is too old (yes, I know you are never too old to be saved, but I also wouldn’t want for my children to resist salvation after they knew and understood the details).  Additionally, I didn’t want them to pray to receive Christ just because everyone else was and they didn’t understand what they were doing.   So, although our family often talks about being saved or having Jesus live in our hearts, and we pray for the lost and explain to the kids what that means, we never ask the kids to make any decisions.  I think they are so young!

OK, on to the fun stuff. This afternoon Carter is walking down the hallway with his hands firmly pressed together at his chin, and he says “Dear Jesus, please come and live in my heart forever and ever, I want to stay there always and never go away.”  He repeated the prayer again (he gt a little distracted fumbling over a toy so I guess he wanted to start over to make sure Jesus heard everything 🙂  After I heard those precious words, I sat down with Carter and explained the importance of what he had just said and to make sure that was what he wanted.  We talked about sin and he mostly said “I know what this means mom.”   For those of you who are of a  religion different from Christianity or none at all, here is what our church, we, believe about salvation…http://www.longhollow.com/im_new/the_good_news

I am so happy for my sweet Carter.  He is growing up so fast, and I am so thankful that the Lord has given him to Josh and me to raise.  I love watching as he is being molded into this compassionate, loving, independent, confident little boy.  So, we are rejoicing with the angels for Carter’s decision to ask Jesus to live in his heart and to forgive him for his sins.

This morning, my sweet Maddox crawled in to my bed at 5:05.  Although I was certainly NOT ready to be up, I am so thankful that the Lord gave me the grace and energy to spend some sweet time with my son.  For a 3-year-old, Maddox is quite a conversationalist.  We had the best time laughing, talking, snuggling, giggling, and just being together.  Having 3 small kids, it isn’t always easy to give each of them their own time. However, I have to make this time a priority with each of my boys.   Because it is so precious!

I am not a big fan of resolutions, they always seem to be forgotten about and usually not accomplished.  However, I do have a few goals I would like to post, mostly so that I can remember them and have a little accountability.  I also intent to do monthly progress updates.

Financial–We need to pay off medical bills and a debt for Josh’s motor (whatever went out on his truck before the transmission)!  So, these debt totals are a little over $3,000.00.  That is going to mean paying about $260.00 a month on these debts to have them paid off by the end of the year.  This is going to be a huge struggle for us with our tight budget.  I am excited to see how God is going to allow us to accomplish this through him, since financially, we cannot do this alone! 

UPDATE: From a medical/truck debt of $3,100.00 on the 1/1/11, a goal debt of $2,840.00 to an actual debt of $2,500.00!!!  Yay for month one, thank you Lord for you faithfulness to provide. 

Feb. UPDATE:  New debt amount is $2,400.00.  Not a good month   Although, we are still lower than our goal debt of paying $260 a month thanks to January.  Praise the Lord, Josh is actually getting overtime, so I am hoping March is a good month!!

March UPDATE:  New Debt Amount is $2,100.00 We paid a little over our goal of $260 a month, so I am not going to complain.  I do wish this was a quicker process though.  Oh well, staying strong. 

House-We are possibly going to need to purchase a dryer this year.  I am praying ours holds out, but it is not looking good.  Possibly we can repair it, but who knows!  I would also somehow like to get a new deck or at least have ours repaired so that we don’t have nails everywhere, rails falling out, and the thing is barely attached to the house at this point.  It’s a bit scary.  We have always dreamed to have a bigger deck with stairs that go to the back yard for the kids, but it has never been a financial priority.  Now, it is a bit of a hazard.  However, this too is a God goal, because it’s not in our budget!

Update:  Well, the back deck is still about to fall off, the dryer still works terribly, and now our dishwasher is not looking good either.  Oh well, we will make do with what we have for now!

Feb. Update–nothing new

March Update-nothing new except after the storm Monday our deck looks a bit mor like it’s about to fall off, lol. 

Reading-I intend to read 24 books this year.  I have never been much of a reader.  Actually, I have never really enjoyed it that much.  I guess school does that to you?  So 2 books a month, here we go!  Oh, and I am also GOING to read through the Bible!  The Chronological Bible, I am keeping up so far and thrilled about actually accomplishing this goal I have started too many times and not finished!  Oh yeah–I plan to get the 24 books I am reading for FREE!!!

Reading Goal Update:  I have read “Lady in Waiting”, “Sun Stand Still”, “The Dragon and the Turtle” (yes I am counting new children’s books too!), and the first 31 days of my chronological Bible (which I LOVE!)  So, 3 books down, at least 21 more to go in 2011, I cannot wait for my next book to arrive!!

Feb. Update-Still reading Secure Daughters, Confident Sons!  Up to date on my Chronological Bible, and Bible Study Book, Boundaries with Kids. 

March Update-AYE-I finally finished Secure Daughters, Confident Sons-review coming soon.  I really need to read more books!  I also enjoyed reading Courdaroy with Carter tonight.  I love the Books from Birth Program!

One more goal.  It’s interesting because we need to get out debt to accomplish our dreams in life to glorify God’s kingdom and live the life we know God has in store for us.  That being said, Josh and I both are planning to go on a mission trip this year!  We, again, cannot accomplish this alone!  Obviously, we don’t have the funds to do this.  So, let’s see where we are led in this part of our lives! 

Praying hard for this goal to become a reality!!!

Feb. Update-PRAYING!

March Update-PRAYING!  I am not one to be a jealous person.  I am not very materialistic.  I do not desire to have the latest clothes or cars or jewelry, or much of anything.  I am however finding myself feeling jealous of all of my friends going on mission trips.  I really want to go! 

Of Course what are goals without a little eat healthier and exercise!  I am not making any specific goals in this area, just to be healthier.

I am sooooo excited to see what God has in store for our family in 2011.  I honestly cannot believe I am even putting these goals in writing, much less posting them for anyone to see!  I just read “Sun Stand Still” and it was a book that makes you remember how big God is, how faithful he is, and how we have to pray and believe and follow simple ordinary steps and watch God do the “extra”.