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

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.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Tips for Familes to Focus on the True Meaning of Easter

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

Easter is just around the corner, and it doesn't matter if you celebrate for one day, or for a whole season, with the egg hunts, plush bunnies, and chocolate filled baskets, it's sometimes too easy to get distracted about why we celebrate the holiday.

I have friends who do everything fun on the day before Easter.  They are Protestants, so they have no problem with that.  Personally I would not want to make Holy Saturday a "fun" day but would instead opt for Easter Monday to have the egg hunt, give fun gifts such as candy and bunnies. (And hey, if you want until the day after Easter, if you get up early enough you might be able to take advantage of half off sales!)  On Easter Sunday, they give their children gifts, but they are usually something like a Bible, spiritual DVD, or the like.  You could even give a milk chocolate cross on this day as well.  (Maybe if you stock a basket with treats that are good for the soul you wouldn't even have to have a second gift giving day.  There are plenty of candy with Bible verses on them.  Stickers are always loved by children as well!)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Book Review: And It Was Beautiful by Kara Tippetts

FTC disclaimer:  I was provided with an ebook from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.

I'd heard of Kara Tippetts when I picked up And It Was Beautiful: Celebrating Life in the Midst of the Long Good-Bye.  I knew Kara Tippetts had passed away.  I knew she had blogged through her illness with breast cancer.  That was about the extent of my knowledge about her.  I hadn't read any of her books, even when my friends were raving about them.   I had lost my mother the year her book The Hardest Peace was released.  There was just no way I could read about someone dying when I had just lived through that with my mother, no matter how amazing the book was.  Ever feel like you're on the outside looking in?  I felt like I was the only one of my friends who hadn't read her book.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review: Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington #BreakingBusy

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

There's a new book out called Breaking Busy.   I don't know of any woman who has extra time on her hands, and personally, my daily schedule looks more like a battle plan than a to do list.  In fact, I've gotten a bit into glam planning because using different colors and stickers helps me be able to tell at a glance what I need to do instead of reading a whole list of things.

I hoped that the author, Alli Worthington, would be able to tell me all the ways that I could quit this crazy schedule of mine.  Some days I wish I could go somewhere I couldn't check e-mail for a week.   But since I work at home, that's not possible.

Monday, January 18, 2016

How to Create Your own Topical Study Bible

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

When I was in college, I bought myself a very average, very plain, King James Version Bible.  My friends, after some time, thought it was a Rainbow Study Bible.  To be honest, I had considered that Bible before purchasing my plain one, but there were topics that didn't interest me, and others that did.  So I decided to DIY my own study Bible.