Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pardon Me.....

This silly blog is driving me nuts.....
After I did the last review it completely messed up my formatting.  :(  I am posting this in the hopes that it somehow prompts the silly thing to work correctly.  Otherwise, I have a problem I don't know how to fix.  LOL

(((sigh))) For some reason blogger won't accept the ranking system thing at the bottom of my post.  If I put it there, then it eats all my sidebars and won't show any posts after that.  So I removed it.  However, I really need to have my reviews ranked so that I can receive more books to review.  Quite the quandry.

Where Will You Go From Here?

Valorie Burton is a certified profession and executive coach.  A Christian, Valorie takes a Biblical view of recovery after a life-changing setback. 

As one at the beginning of recovery from such a setback, I found Valorie's advice concrete and reassuring.  She walks you through the steps of recovery from denial to goal setting.  Sharing the stories of others (and her own) that have had to pull up from the ditch, she understands the pain and difficulty that clouds all judgement. 

Thought provoking questions are provided in each chapter to guide your thinking.  Scripture reminds me who is really in charge :) 

I took forever to read this book.  Each chapter had so much for me to learn and glean from.  I'm getting ready to do a second read through as I get my feet firmly planted on solid ground.  I am so thankful to have received Valorie's book for review, as I truly believe it has changed my perspective and given me concrete ways to move forward in my life.  This book is available through Amazon with prices starting at $9.96.

***I received this book free for honest review as part of the Blogging for Books program through WaterBrook Press. ***

Speech - Psalm 19:14, Psalm 141:3

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.

***This study was mainly for me.  I don't want others to think I am pointing fingers.  I NEEDED to read this and hear this and know that it was true.  I am sharing in the hopes that it will bless others.***

Words are powerful.  Not just spoken words, but words written, blogged, twittered and sang.  As I consider my words:
Are they always honest?  kind?  encouraging?
Am I using words to express the love of Jesus to those around me?
Should I practice silence?
Does this HAVE to be said?
What are the consequences if I DO or DON'T speak?
Does love guide my words?

Those are the tough questions that I am contemplating this morning.  I can say that I started several years ago to monitor my speech (I'm NOT perfect though!!!!!) so I do have a tendence to think twice before I speak.  I also have written many letters this year, only to throw them away a few days later.  I think that it is good to write out your feelings in a letter, set it aside for a day or so and then decide if it should be mailed.  Once I actually mailed a letter (several years ago) but since then they usually get thrown away. 

The thing to remember is that words - no matter the delivery method - can't ever be taken back.  Yes, sometimes things NEED to be said.  Frequently,  the words I want to say won't make any positive difference in the situation.  If they won't impact the situation in a positive way, why take a chance that they will make a negative impact? 

Yes, sometimes bottling things up will make a situation explosive.  Share your feelings with a trusted friend (removed from the difficult situation).  Write in a journal (oh the journals I have filled!).  Write a letter to the person and then throw it away (I don't suggest email, it is way to easy to push send).  Someone suggested to me that I write out all the things I want to say, give them to God and bury them somewhere - or watch them burn in a fire.  All those hurt feelings and anger can be taken away by Him if we let Him anyway. 

So, today, I urge you to reflect on your words.  Let God guide you daily so that everything that you (or I!!!!!!) say will glorify Him.

Monday, July 25, 2011

God is Always There

During the past (almost) year, we have done a lot of leaning on our friends.  Although we weren't terribly private people before, my wonderful husband and I prefered to be the one to do the supporting, rather than being the ones supported.  Things change (in an instant) though and I can honestly say that I now know what it is like to be on the receiving end of unconditional love and support.  We have been blessed beyond measure and even farther beyond what we will ever deserve.

With that said, our friends have their own lives.  Their own families.  Their own chores, errands, plans and dreams.  While our world felt like it had fallen apart and stopped altogether, their lives were ticking along nicely.  In reality, as much as I might have wanted them to, they couldn't all sit here day after day and hold my hand. 

All the earthly support in the world can't be there 24/7.  So when fear strikes in the middle of the night, after a particularly hard day (the 3rd one this week) or when you know all are busy and don't want to be a bother.....who do you lean on?  If you are a Christian, the easy answer is God.  And that is true.  But when you are at the bottom of the pit, to scared to look out or even think about climbing out, calling on God doesn't always seem helpful. 

God is there.  He wants to comfort you.  He wants you to lean in His arms and be carried by His strength.  Here are some suggestions for things that you can do from the bottom of the pit to feel close to your Father.

* read the Psalms
   I am on my 3rd read-through of Psalms this year.  Every time I have been encouraged and lifted up by selections that I just didn't notice the time before.  The Psalms were written by people at the bottom of the pit, they speak the words that you can't and help you explain the emotions that are smothering you.

* pray
   Even if it is my favorite "God, I don't know what to do now" prayer.  He hears and you will feel closer just by talking to Him.  Pour your heart out and then just sit in silence and listen.  God says the most wonderful things to me when I just listen.

* be grateful
   I know that it is hard to be grateful when you are sitting alone in the bottom of the pit, but you CAN find at least one thing a day to be grateful for.  Last fall, around Thanksgiving, I purposed to think of at least 3 things every day that I was thankful for and to openly thank God for those things.  My children picked up on it (I was using prayer time at meals for this) and I think it did all of us good to remember the blessings that God gives us.  Is the sun shining?  Be thankful for that.  Are there flowers you can see/smell?  Be thankful for the beauty that God has provided.  Did the cat just have 11 kittens in the bottom drawer of your dresser?  Be thankful for a sweet reminder of God's creation (and a newspaper ad that can give them all away!).

*  remember others
    While sitting at the bottom of the pit, it is lonely.  In our situation we were all in the pit together, but we each still felt very alone.  I found it humbling to pray for the needs of others.  If you don't know of any others who have needs, watch the news for 5 minutes.  Read the newspaper and pray for the families of those listed in the obituary section.  No matter how terrible your situation, you have God with you, there are others in this world that don't.  How hopeless must their situations be?

*  make plans to get out of the pit
    Let's face it, the pit isn't a fun place to be and you can't stay there forever.  So NOW is a fantastic time to plan your escape.  Get a notebook and ask God to show you His plans for you.  You might get a teeny tiny glimpse.  Work with that.  Jot down your hopes and dreams for your future.  Seek out the advice of those wonderful friends and bounce ideas off of them.  Pray for your dreams.  If you feel God leading you in one specific direction, make plans to take a step that way.  As long as you are open to God's leading along the way you can't go wrong. If you feel that you hit a wall, or have a setback, don't give up!  Reevaluate and start again.  (I speak from experience here.  Norman and I are not ones to sit back and wallow in our pity.  We've been trying many avenues to better our situation.  So far, they have all been dead ends.  We are to the last option.  It seemed drastic, but the way seems clear to us.  So we go forward, knowing that we didn't arrive at this choice lightly, we have exhausted all other options and that God is with us, no matter what.)

*  sing
   I don't care if you can carry a tune, or not, sing.  I think that just the process of singing frees your mind to praise God.  Process the words to your favorite hymn.  Listen to God's promises of mercy and grace and let them wash over you.  I promise that if you aren't on your way out of the pit, you will be heading that way soon enough.

*  banish Satan
    Just the last few weeks, when I feel fear creeping up on me, I have been rebuking Satan.  Fear is not from God, it is from Satan, trying to get a handle on you.  I refuse to let Satan, and fear, rule my life anymore.  I give my problems, concerns and fears to God and I let Him keep them.  I don't take them back.  They aren't mine anymore.  God is far more capable of handling them than I am.

That pit of fear, loneliness and despair is a terrible place to be.  I wish that I could say you will never end up there again.  I can't.  But you don't have to stay there.  If you are reading this, you are alive.  Life is worth living.  Whatever you have lost, a loved one, financial security, relationships, job.......you have your life.  Live it with joy.  Joy in knowing that God is there no matter what happens.  Joy in the small things like flowers and kittens.  Joy in helping those who have found themselves in the pit (who would be more qualified than someone who has been there???).  All problems can't be solved, but we can go on living without the solution.  I encourage you to say a pray, pick up your Bible and purpose today to start living again. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Psalm 119: 46-52, Job 2:10

Remember the word to Your servant,
Upon which You have caused me to hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction,
For Your word has given me life.
The proud have me in great derision,
Yet I do not turn aside from Your law.
I remembered Your judgements of old, O Lord,
And have comforted myself.

God's word is comforting
God's word is salvation - by teaching of Jesus
God's word gives home - through the stories of others
God's word shows God's mercy and faithfulness

But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks.  Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?"  In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

God is good ALL the time.  No matter my problem or situation He is ALWAYS there.
God's promises are true.
God didn't promise an easy life.  He did promise salvation and a home in Heaven for those who will accept Him.
The goal in my life should always be Heaven.

***This was yesterday's study.  It really hit home.  God doesn't cause pain in this world but He also doesn't always stop it.  That is hard for me to swallow.  However, just because God doesn't stop the pain or the terrible situation or the effects of a terrible situation, doesn't mean that He isn't there, helping, leading and blessing along the way.  Today's reading was Psalm 119:65-72.  I probably won't comment on it here as it ended up very personal for me.  I am learning much about pain and affliction.  And I'm leaning on my Saviour!***

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Psalm 119: 15-16

I will meditate on Your precepts,
And Contemplate Your ways.
I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word

Meditate?  Contemplate?  My definition of those words is "to ponder, consider, think about at great length" So, don't just read and go on.  Work it over in your mind and heart (for a day? a week? a month?) and consider personal application.

Is this passage an example for me?
Should I do something? (James 1:22) (we've been discussing this in Sunday School as well!)

I am soooo glad that I came upon these verses in Psalm today while I was reading.  These fit in exactly with the information about Bible study that I was talking about in Lorrie's 5 R's bundle.  The 2 questions above are the ones that I am going to ask myself about each passage I study.  From today's study I took away the following points:
1.  meditate
2.  contemplate
3.  take delight in the word of God
4.  memorize

I also started a prayer journal with my Bible study notes.  I am so excited about this.  I will share some tidbits here along the way :)  Also, I've been working at reading through the Bible in a year.  I got behind in the program I was using through Motivated Moms, so I am reading 3 chapters a day from 2 different books....right now I just started Esther and am most of the way through Psalms.  I'm adding a sidebar with where I am reading if anyone is interested.  Please, please feel free to share here or on your blog what God has been saying to you!  Leave me a link as I would love to read and share in your excitement as well :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Godly Womanhood: 5 R's for Godly Womanhood

I've been saying all along that God has been working through this Gabby Moms program to teach and encourage me this last year.  (YOU can share in this teaching, encouragement and sharing also....more on that later)  Just 3 weeks ago, I was searching the internet for Bible study helps.  2 days later I opened Godly Womanhood: 5 R's for Godly Womanhood; a bundle of great products from Lorrie Flem.

The first topic that Lorrie covers is Refresh: A Woman Who Kneels Before the Throne Can Stand Before Anyone.  Timely, eh?    In listening to this audio (also featuring Cindy Rushton) or reading the ebook you will be introduced to the Pregnant BBs and the Pregnant M&Ms......Bible Reading, Bible Study, Memorization, Meditation and Prayer (just read/listen and you will get it!). 

Lorrie doesn't just tell you to DO it....she tells you HOW she does it.  A busy homeschool mom of many, Lorrie give advice and suggestions for when to have quiet time, how to have quiet time and the benefits of doing so. 

Lorrie's advice has really impacted my quiet time.  I found her suggestions practical and was so blessed by her many "this is how I do it" tips.  I NEED to hear how others do it.  Maybe you aren't like me, but if you are, you will love this - Lorrie even shares the scent of her table side candle :)

The 2nd topic that Lorrie tackles is ReKindle: Red Hot is So Cool.  I have to say that this was the most indepth, tactful discussion of marriage and intimacy that I have ever heard/read.  Gleaning from God's word, Lorrie explains the role of a wife and gives practical advice for pretty much all the problems that could possibly come up in that area.  Let me say that a little effort in this area can go a LONG way :)  I couldn't agree more when Lorrie said that sometimes you have to act first and the attitude/desire will come later.

Now, there are 3 more topics in this bundle!!!!!! We will tackle them next month.  I can't wait to share them with you.  If you can't wait to hear more, the 5 R's bundle is available HERE for $24.97.

Have you been blessed by my Gabby Mom reviews?  I hope that you have been blessed just as much as I have been blessed by the products.  Lorrie has a HUGE vision for Godly Womanhood and I feel privileged to be able to learn from her.  If you would also like the opportunity to recieve great products for FREE in return for your honest review (by blog, facebook, twitter, etc), Lorrie would love to have you join the Gabby Mom program.  There is an application process that can get you started HERE.

If you would like to learn more about Lorrie Flem and Eternal Encouragement Magazine, check them out at www.eternalencouragement.com  Want more info about The Gabby Moms?  Head on over to www.thegabbymoms.com  and see what others have to say about this product and others that Lorrie has shared with us. 

***I received this product in return for an honest review from the Gabby Moms program***

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Babies Grow Up

Abigail turned 14 months this past week.  It really doesn't seem like she should be that old.  Anyway, we transitioned from bottle to sippy last night.  It went really, really well.  She didn't even cry, just had a little trouble going to sleep.  I found it bittersweet to watch her sleeping this morning though.....knowing that stage is past.......

Abby is taking toddler formula....we've tried twice with milk and she just can't tolerate it.  Two bottles of milk = a nasty, blistered diaper rash that takes a week to clear up.  As expensive as toddler formula is, I am thankful that we have it so I don't have to worry so much about her nutritional needs. 

Her leg issue cleared up....after about 2 days of expensive shoes.  LOL

She still doesn't talk.  But she makes more sounds.  And uses hand signals.  And screams.  We can generally figure out what she wants.  LOL

The boys are growing too.  Love, love, love them.  I am so incredibly blessed. 

Friday, July 08, 2011

A Creative Streak

Abby and I hit the ground running this morning and caught up on my chores (there always seem to be so many after the day I work LOL).  Laundry, housework, cleaned out the van and did some weeding while the little ones played before it got too hot.....pancakes for brunch.....then I hit my ironing board and sewing machine and ended the day with this....

My new diaper bag/purse.  It is huge.....6 generous outside pockets and 6 huge inside pockets.  I chose the material the same day that little Bear got his hair cut......like a consolation prize for a distraught momma. 

I've got the most beautiful lace scarf on needles right now......hand dyed yard from Knit Picks.  (Shadow Tonal in Summer Blooms I think)

I can't really think of anything else to share right now....we've got lots going on, but I'm going to keep mum about most of it.  I'll share when I can and I'll be sure to update as I finish projects....staying busy!!!!!!