Showing posts with label Christian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christian. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Book Review: You're Already Amazing

FTC Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.


Review of You're Already Amazing by Holly Gerth:

I like reading books for Christian women.  I honestly do, but many times I feel I can't relate to them.  I don't struggle with wondering if I'm "good enough" (I am), if I'm pretty enough (If looks matter that much, that person isn't someone I would want to have in my life), or if my feelings are okay (My mother always taught me you can't help your feelings.  They are what they are.) So many times I am thinking, "Are these the biggest issues facing Christian women today?" (I do think they are, but I just can't relate!)  That's how this book started -- me enjoying reading the book, but not much in it for me until. . .

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Why We Shouldn't Be Self Righteous About Other People's Addictions

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

There is a blog post going around about how addiction is not a disease and that one chose to be an addict.

When you were in school, how many kids did you hear say, "I want to be a meth addict when I grow up."

Unfortunately, drugs often are used as coping skills.  Did you know that 88% of female drug addicts were sexually abused.   Of course there are women who have not been sexually abused who do not use drugs, but that's a staggering fact to me.  Would you say to a little girl who was abused by her father, "You chose this!"  Of course you wouldn't (or at least I hope you wouldn't.)  If you have not been in her shoes, you don't understand her choices.

I am NOT saying being an addict is a good thing, but how many of us have no addiction to anything? It might not be drugs or alcohol, but what about cutting, food, sex, or even caffeine.  (Yes, caffeine is an addictive substance.  Remember that next time you are in line at Starbucks!)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

When Grief Invades Easter

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

I wanted to write, again, about grief and the holidays.  Most people think of grief associated with Christmas, but any holiday can bring up forms of grief.

It's important to have compassion on yourself.  Twenty two years ago, Easter was on April 16, the same as the year I am writing this.

A friend went to church with me that morning, and we heard the glorious story of Jesus conquering death.  I Corinthians 15:55 was shouted from the rooftops.  "Oh death, where is thy sting?  Oh grave, where is they victory?" (KJV)  The triumphant songs signaled the ending of Lent and the start of celebration.  The toe-tapping, joyful songs associated with this glorious day.   April 1995 was the last time I sat in an Easter service without grieving.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

In Memory of Donnie Williams

I don't remember meeting Donnie.  As an active teenager in district events in the Church of the Nazarene in the 1980s, there were all these kids from different churches at events and over time you got to know them.  That's how I met Donnie.  We went to summer camp together, and I think, like many girls, I had a tad bit of a crush on him.  I mean, who wouldn't?  He was adorable, tremendously funny, and had a spiritual side of him that I wished would be shown by the boys in my youth group who were more interested in armpit farts than actually worshiping during the Sunday morning church service.

I never admitted my small teen crush to Donnie, although I often joked with him that I fell for him.  Indeed I did.  The camp tabernacle had a cement floor painted gray.  I remember the ash color vividly.  It was Thursday night of camp, my last camp before heading to college, and I was trying to make sure I said goodbye to everyone before service that evening because I knew Friday mornings were hectic and not conducive to departing sentiments.  There had been a thunderstorm and rain had blown into the area in front of the pews.  We were required to dress up for evening church at that time, and my dress shoes were not a good combo.  As Donnie and I separated from a hug, I took a step back and forgot momentarily about the slick floor. . . until I landed at his feet.  Evidently he had girls falling for him all the time, because by the time social media was invented and we reconnected, he had completely forgotten (or blocked) the incident from him memory.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Embracing Grief at the Holidays

I think most of us can remember a time we loved the holidays.  Santa Claus. Our grandparents giving us huge hugs -- and even bigger gifts.  The smells of the once a year treats from the oven, and laughter of cousins.  I think for many of us somewhere along the way the magic of Christmas has turned into dread or endurance.

My husband and I didn't put up a Christmas tree this year.  It has always been my favorite part of Christmas.  I love looking through the ornaments and remembered so many good times.  The doll my 2nd grade teacher made out of a pack of lifesavers and a styrofoam ball head.  Yes, I have a roll of 33 year old candy in my Christmas decorations.  I loved my teacher, and the fact she made something for me was so special.  (She made one for each of us in our class.)But then there are the other ornaments.  Childhood creations from people who won't speak to me any longer.  Ornaments bought on years the holidays wouldn't be considered "good".  The year a family member threw out all the gifts I gave him.  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Book Review: Take Your Life Back by Stephen Arterburn

FTC disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.

I have been a long time fan of books by Stephen Arterburn.  In a world of too many Christian psychology books giving pat answers, I love his approach combing true therapy answers with faith.  Take Your Life Back:  How to Stop Letting The Past and Other People Control you was once again a breath of fresh air in a genre where it seems all too many books give the answer "pray".  (While I'm not saying you shouldn't pray, there are studies and discoveries that can enrich our lives with their knowledge.)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

8 Ideas for Keeping Christ in Advent

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

At the church I attended when I was really little, there was little celebration in the way of holidays with the exception of the Christmas pageant and something mentioned in Sunday School.  I still remember my line from the pageant the year before I was in the angel choir.    I'll be a little light too, and quietly shine the way.  I'll do my part, with all my heart, to shine for Him each day.

I didn't realize until just a few years ago that Advent is NOT a celebration, but a longing.  A yearning for Christ to appear.  I have always loved the song "Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel".  The tune is so haunting, so mournful.  I always thought after I was a teenager the Christmas season began on the first Sunday of Advent and ended on Christmas Day, but Advent is the time of preparation for the Christ Child.

Advent and Lent have a lot of similarities.  When observed the way that has been done traditionally, there's a lot of focus on what is about to come.

But how in this busy world do we take time out from Christmas parties, shopping, and decorating to focus our hearts?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Ellie Claire Bible Journaling Kit Review Giveaway Ends 11/20/16

FTC disclaimer:  I received a free product in exchange for a fair and honest review.  This post contains affiliate links.

When I was offered the opportunity to review the Bible Journaling Kit by Ellie Claire, I was excited.  The kit includes:


  • 4 sheets of word stickers
  • 4 sheets of alphabet stickers
  • 24 "tab" stickers
  • 8 twistable coloring pencils
  • 1 journaling pen
  • 1 pouch with adjustable strap
  • 1 ruled page protector mat with tracing lines
I am not very artistic when it comes to non-fiber arts, but I do enjoy coloring and some Bible journaling.  With my Bible journaling I often just recreate Bible verses with lettering, but still this kit seemed perfect for me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Book Review: RESTORED! God's Salvage Plan for Broken Lives by Dan Schaeffer


FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

A while back I  read the book by Dan Schaeffer entitled “Restored! God's Salvage Plan for Broken Lives”.

When I saw it was using the Biblical book of Ruth to make his points, I was a bit skeptical as I had never heard Ruth taught in this way, but I enjoyed his insights and how he wove practical application into this book while providing examples from the Bible.

It is the rare person who hasn't had some major loss or hurt in life, so this is a book for everyone. Each one of us has reason to do as Naomi did and asked to be called Mara. (In the Hebrew this means bitter.) We can take a look at our lives, the broken pieces, the shattered dreams, and the disappointments and say “My life is a mess. Nothing will ever improve.” and eventually become bitter ourselves.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Saving so you Can Give to Others

FTC disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

When I was a teenager, there was about a year that my mother and I had nothing to eat but potatoes because we were trying to make ends meet.  That is when I decided I was going to do what I could to figure out a way we could afford a bit more variety in our food as well as being able to have the heat set above 58 degrees in winter.

That's when I started reading books like The Complete Tightwad.  Although this book has advice from 20+ years ago, much of it is still quite useful, and one I would recommend to be in any penny pincher's library.  I still read my copy from time to time, usually getting it out every two years or so for a refresher course to see if I'm still doing everything I can -- or even if I can implement something new.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Book Review: The Recovering Spender

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review.  This post contains affiliate links.

I was excited when I had the chance to review The Recovering Spender:  How to Live a Happy, Fulfilled, Debt-Free Life by Lauren Greutman.  As is common in today's world, another financial book by a financial blogger.  I find nothing wrong with that.  I am a financial blogger myself, but I can't read every blog, and I love hearing others' stories of how they got into -- and out of -- debt.

The one thing I found very different about Greutman's story is she was a shopaholic.  I often think of people who get in trouble financially as ones that lose a job, incur a large amount of medical bills, or something similar, it was her shopping that got her family into trouble.

There were different times reading this book, I thought, "That's a terrible idea" -- such as the impulse buy of a house in another state!  Honestly, that's something I would LOVE to do because I admit I'm unhappy where I live now, but I know it's not financially feasible for us to move for a while.  The Greutman family just up and bought a house a few states away.  I feel this was even a bigger problem to their finances than her shopaholic tendencies.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Book review: Life in Spite of Me Living After a Suicide Attempt

FTC disclaimer:  I received a copy of the book from the publisher for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.  This post may contain affiliate links.

In the book Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice, Kristen Anderson was depressed. Not really any one thing contributed to this depression, but she'd been fighting with her parents, three friends had died as well as her grandmother, she had been raped, and the previous night she'd been out until ten in the morning with friends. She was grounded until further notice. She sneaked out to be with friends, left a note saying she was going to take a walk, and later was in a park. She decided to sit on a train car and think. As she heard a train approach, she decided she would end her life. She planned for the train to hit her and she assumed death would come instantly. Instead, she survived, but her legs were cut from her body.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Review: The Illustrator's Notetaking Bible

FTC disclaimer:  I received a copy of this Bible from the publisher in order to facilitate a review.  All opinions are my own.  This post does contain affiliate links.

I absolutely love the new craze of Bible journaling, notetaking, and coloring.  When I was in college, I tried unsuccessfully to find a Bible that would allow me wide margins so I could take notes, draw, and paste in clippings from church bulletins, etc.  I couldn't find one, so I opted for a blank book and a plain Bible (very much like a Pew Bible.)

Almost twenty years later, I realize I was no alone in my desire for a Bible like that.  I would have loved the HCSB Illustrator's Notetaking Bible.  There are over 600 images including drawings, text design, and filigree.  I love the text images the best, though.  I am not as artsy as I wish I was, and those seem less daunting for me to color.  (I'm the one who had my Kindergarten teacher call my mother over a deer I colored one day when we were learning about the letter "D" in class.  I've always been self-conscious of my artwork since that day.)  I do love coloring, though.  I always have, I used it as a stress reliever in college, and the very first time I colored in my new Notetakers Bible, I had a stressful day, and I used it to help relax me and help me focus my mind on the Lord.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Book Review: Spiritual Sobriety by Elizabeth Esther

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.  I received a copy of this book for review purposes, but all opinions are my own.

When I was offered the opportunity to review Spiritual Sobriety:  Stumbling Bak to Faith When Good Religion Goes Bad by Elizabeth Esther, I was excited.  I reviewed her book Girl at the Edge of the World when it was released, and I was looking forward to reading her second book.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Book Review: The Life We Never Expected - Parenting Children with Special Needs


FTC disclaimer:  This post does contain affiliate links.

In The Life We Never Expected, Andrew and Rachel Wilson write the book they wish they could have read at the beginning of their journey of raising two children with special needs.  Their son and daughter both have severe autism, and this book is both hope to the special needs parent as well as the story of how they have learned to cope, find joy, and keep their faith through this unexpected part of their life.

I don't have children, but am related to both an adult and child with autism so this was an interesting book for me to read.  I really enjoyed the layout of the book.  There were five sections, which they called "cycles".  Within each cycle, there were five sections relating to thing that special needs parents can relate to -- weeping, waiting, worshiping, witnessing, "and breathe".

Sunday, July 3, 2016

God Or Country -- Or Both?

The churches in my town cancel their own services and have a community service twice a year.  One of these is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the other is the Sunday morning before July 4th.

I can't help but wonder about patriotic services.  I haven't been to one of them in my town so I can't say what they are like, but I have been to all-America church services in the past.  In fact, I even have been to a Memorial Day service where the sermon was more of a history lesson on Abraham Lincoln.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Book Review: Un-Ashamed by Heather Davis Nelson

When I was asked to review Un-Ashamed Healing our Brokenness and Finding Freedom From Shame by Heather Davis Nelson, I was at first reluctant.  Shame is an area I have studied, and I didn't think I would find much more on the topic than I already had encountered.  I am happy to say, though, that I was mistaken.

This book was a fast read for me.  I wanted to devour the information.  Usually when I read a book that quickly, I tend to then re-read it so I can absorb it completely.  This book begins with an overview of shame, how it differs from guilt, and then talks about what it is like to live without shame clouding your world view.  (Can I hear nearly everyone say, "Wow.  Wouldn't that be great?")  Then this book transitions into shame in more specific relationships.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Why I Don't Attend Church on Mother's Day.

Last year, a couple ladies I know asked me to go to church with them that next Sunday.  I said honestly, "I never go to church on Mother's Day."  Truth is, churches have turned me off to going to any service that entire weekend.

The last time I did attend one, I left in tears.  The priest kept repeating that being a mother is God's highest calling for women.  I have to disagree with that.  It is the highest calling IF you are to have children.  Do you think Mother Theresa missed God's highest calling because she wasn't a mother? I think God's highest calling for us is what He has called us to -- and that might not be motherhood.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Why you MIGHT be Given More Than You Can Handle

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people misquote Scripture.  I was in Bible quizzing in high school as I mentioned in my post about memorizing Scripture. Having memorized so much of the Bible, I cringe when I hear it misquoted.

God will never give you anything you can't handle.

It's in the Bible, right?  Actually it isn't.  Most people think that is what I Corinthians 10:13 says, but let's take a look at that verse in a few different versions.

 13 No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.  (NIV)

Monday, March 14, 2016

3 Tips for Fast, Easy, and Fun Scripture Memorization

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

When I was in high school, I memorized the entire book of Matthew.  All 28 chapters.  Every verse. (There are 1,071 of them, by the way!)  Needless to say, I was the top Bible quizzer in my part of the state, and in the top half in our region of the country.  But it wasn't always easy for me to memorize Scripture.  I had to find the way that worked for me.