Saturday, October 29, 2016

Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin

Product Details

I have liked Lynn's books, so I was happy to get this one.  At first I thought I was going to be a bit disappointed as the book felt a little disjointed as it hopped back and forth between two people, both of which were written in first-person and then also one person's younger years. So it felt like three stories going on together. But in the end, it turned out to be one of the best fiction books I've read in awhile. I like a good chick flick, but sometimes I feel almost silly writing about them because I can feel shallow and silly for spending my time reading things like that. But I still read them because sometimes it's nice to just escape for awhile and get lost in a story that you know is all going to turn out good in the end. And yes, there is a whole line of thought about the horrors of reading what's called romance novels.

Anyway that doesn't have anything to do with this book. This book is good. This is not your happily ever after story. It does have it's that couldn't possibly ever happen in real life moments and yet you know how they say truth is stranger than fiction, so I think some of this could have happened in real life.

It's the story of a young wealthy woman, Anna, whose fiance broker their engagement because she went to a church he didn't approve of. She takes a vacation on Lake Michigan to deal with her heart break. There she meets a man, of course, who is studying to be a minister. She confides in him, he gives her a Bible and she spends a lot of time reading it. He, Derk, wants her to meet his "aunt" (she is the other half of the story both in her younger years and in her older years, both stories are told). Eventually an amazing discovery is made that I will not disclose here.

Now what you all were thinking I was going to say too is that Derk and Anna fell in love and got married, but I'm not going to say that. They did fall in love, but they parted ways. The book ends in a very disturbing place because there are so many questions. The "aunt" tells Anna that she needs to go back to her wealthy life in Chicago. There is a purpose, a reason that she was placed there. The relationship between Anna and her fiance had been patched up, mainly for the sake of her father's business, but she has committed. Anna wonders if she will ever learn to love him and aunt Geesje says this and I think it's so good. "That's up to you. It means making a decision to love him day after day, one loving act at a time. Love is a very powerful emotion, Anneke, but it's also a decision--one you can choose to make." She goes on to talk about the good that Anna could do for the poor in Chicago.  But I like that part about love is a choice and it requires effort. It does sometimes even if you are married to the best man ever. I think this also applies to other relationships as well.

There were a few other things that stood out to me in this book. I don't think I can take the time to list them all, so maybe one more.

"'When my parents were gone and God was all I had,' I said, 'I discovered that He is enough. I survived malarial fever, so I knew He must have  a purpose for me on this earth even though I couldn't see it. I kept moving forward, one tiny step at a time, clinging to Him in faith. And isn't that the definition of faith--moving forward through the darkness, clinging to God?'"

I like that, just moving forward clinging to God even though we can't see what is going on all around us.

In case you can't tell, I really, really enjoyed this book. Geesje didn't have perfect faith, she struggled, she made some decisions she regretted for years, but she, through her many hardships and griefs, had continued to move forward clinging to God's hand. That is what I want to do.

This book was given to me by Bethany House. I am privileged to write a review giving my honest opinion about the book.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Lord, I Believe; Help my Unbelief

The story is familiar, but short. A man who's tired and weary with the constant vigilance required to keep his son safe and alive.

"Imagine the pain of the father. Other dads could watch their children grow and mature; he could only watch his suffer. While others were teaching their sons an occupation, he was just trying to keep his son alive....

"He was desperate and tired, and his prayer reflects both.

"'If you can do anything for him, please have pity on us and help us.'

Listen to that prayer. Does it sound courageous? Confident? Strong? Hardly." -Max Lucado from He Still Moves Stones

I needed this story this morning.

The other day I was discussing this thing called faith with a friend. What is faith? I know the Hebrews definition, "substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.". That sounds good, but how does it convert down to practicality in the hearts that have been struggling, the prayers that have seemingly gone unanswered, the tears that have fallen unheeded, and the hopes that have been crushed under the negativity of life?

How do we, how do I grab hold of faith? Am I supposed to be praying for a miracle every day? Yes, I know every day that I wake up alive is in itself a miracle. Every time I stop and ponder and gaze at my little girl, I am in awe of the miracle that God gave us. I don't always think of it as a miracle, but when I stop and think I am brought to tears at the gift of life that God has given to us. Isn't that enough? Should I long for more? Should I just accept this miracle as my miracle from God and not expect anything else? Or should I go on longing, wondering if there are more miracles on the horizon? And what about my friends who never seem to experience a miracle, who seem to have to plod slowly and steadily through each day wondering when the sun's going to break through? Are they just missing the miraculous? Have we become calloused to the standard definition of miracle that we are missing the little everyday miracles and so our faith is not as strong as it should be?

Should I be viewing every new word, every new accomplishment that Amber makes as a miracle? I will say potty-training does seem to require a miracle in both the child's heart and the mom's to have the patience!!! :) :)

Am I looking at faith completely wrong?  How is this supposed to look?

And so I am comforted by this desperate father. He came to Jesus and he didn't even necessarily believe Jesus could heal his son. He says, "If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." He was talking to the Son of God here and he questions whether Jesus can really help him. We know better than that. We know, in our minds and our brains, that God is able. He is able to heal the sick little boy that was born too early, He is able to heal the father tragically wounded in a senseless accident, He is able to take the interrupted pregnancy and make it last all nine months, He is able to provide the funds to pay the endless bills, He is able to have the birth mom sign off on a child so empty arms can be filled, He is able, so is it our faith that makes it unable?

I'm not sure if this man had faith and yet he must have had a little. He had tried the disciples first and they had been unable to help him and so he had turned to Jesus. It makes sense why he might have questioned why Jesus could heal.

Jesus says, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believe." Ah, there it is. I do have to have faith for things to happen. But look at what the man says next. "Lord I believe, help my unbelief."

That right there is the core I want to grab onto with both fists. I do believe, but my faith is lacking, and so I cry out to Jesus, help my unbelief I say. Help me know how to pray. Help me to believe that You are able and that You are even willing and ready to help. Help me to believe. That is what I want to cling to, that desperate but faith-filled prayer. I believe, but help me.

I wonder, this is more of a side note, if God weeps at the fallen state of this world that causes us to struggle with our unbelief, the sickness and death that are a result of sin. While God is able, I do think we can learn more trust and faith by clinging tenaciously to what we can't see when the bottom is falling out of our world, than what we would learn if everything was always smooth sailing.

I want to have more faith, I really do.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ready, Set, Find Christmas

Product Details

Text and illustrations from Scandinavia Publishing House

This is a beautiful glossy hardback board book. Each double page has a few sentences telling the story of the birth of Jesus in very simple form on one side. The rest of that page contains pictures of objects you are supposed to find on the other side of the double page spread. I hope that makes sense. It basically is a spot the object book, with the birth of Jesus as the story.

Okay, before I make you all more confused than ever, let me just move on from the explanation. The book is beautiful. The pages have tabs that stick out featuring main characters of the story. Amber immediately wanted to look at the book.

The book is geared to young readers and I would agree. Upon looking at the book, I thought it would be perfect for Amber, it's a board book, sturdy, and a nice small size. But the objects can be pretty hard to find. Things like a bag or a rake or a water pitcher, etc. take a little looking. She can find some of the bigger objects like the donkey, but for the most part she won't enjoy the real purpose of this book for a couple years yet I would guess. In that respect, the childish design with it being a board book and all seems a little out of place with the age appropriateness of the objects that you are to be looking for, but I still think it would provide fun entertainment for the older ones as well. That was just my observation when critiquing the book.

I am pleased with the book and I think it is a book that Amber can grow into, first looking for the bigger, more obvious objects and then the smaller ones as she gets older.

This book was given me by Book Look Publishers. I am pleased to publish a review stating my honest opinion on the book.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

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So I was thinking sometime I am going to do this nice little post of random things in my life complete with pictures and snappy little captions and everything. Well it turns out I really don't like taking pictures off my camera nor am I big fan of uploading pictures to my blog. It takes time and patience and the pictures don't always cooperate on here like I like them to, so that post will continue its meanderings through the endless maze of brainwaves until either it dies a sad, forgotten death or it comes to life beneath my fingertips.

Which will it be? It's unknown at this point. Beings I really do need to upload my pictures to my computer, having small child and taking lots of pictures and things, there's a chance it may happen. But until then.... I am signing of for today. My brain space is at an all time low. It's been taken over by thoughts on mothering and friends and why we need mom friends and other things from the book study this morning.


The Beginner's Bible - KJV



I'm not sure what size I was expecting, but this is a pretty good size heavy Bible. While I realized my daughter was too young for it yet, I was imagining a Bible that she could maybe start taking to church in the next year or so. This Bible is too big for that. I would say she will need to be closer to 4 or 5 before she will be ready to take this to church. The back of the Bible does say for kids 6-10 and I would find that age to be very appropriate.

This is nice hardcover Bible, but it is pretty thick and of pretty good size. Like I said in the title, this is the King James Version. That is what our church uses for the majority of Scripture reading in church so that is why I chose this version. The pictures are nice, though as you can tell from the front cover, not very realistic at all.

The font is of a decent size, but I will be honest. When I opened it up, it struck me immediately as being hard to read. It's not actually hard to read, but I think it's the font and the spacing. They made the font a nice size, but then the spacing between lines is very narrow so it gives the impression of a really full page. The words of Christ in red seemed much easier and more visually appealing to read. So I think the starkness of the black along with the narrow spacing must be some of the problem. Now nobody else may even think this is an issue and may not even notice this, I'm just sharing what my initial impression was.

I do think this is a nice first Bible for children. I am impressed that it has a concordance and even a little introduction to each of the Books of the Bible.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Your Marriage Masterpiece by Al Janssen

Product Details

Transform Your Relationship Through God's Amazing Design.

This book is really not like any others I have ever read on marriage and I enjoy reading books on marriage. It was good. It was not a list of dos and dont's and how to love your wife and respect your husband, etc.

Al approached it in a completely different way than I have ever thought about marriage and God, etc. He viewed that story in Genesis where God made the covenant with Abraham where He walked through the animals as God marriage to us. And then approached the book as looking at how God loved Israel and how He did relationships with them to how we should do marriage. It was an interesting approach. About every other chapter was a vignette either from an angel's perspective or a Biblical marriage or a modern take on a Biblical story to emphasize the point he wanted to bring out.

I think the biggest takeaway for me from this book is marriage is not about my happiness. It's about my husband and I doing life together with God. It's a three-fold-cord so to speak. God sacrificed His Son for us, I am called to sacrifice my wants and wishes for my husband. I am called to submit to him all because of Christ's example.

Marriage is a covenant relationship, not something you back out of if the going gets rough. You have to view it as being for life. There is no other option and I think then we are more likely to give it our best as well. It is too easy today to just find another spouse rather than making it work. I really appreciated the emphasis Al put on marriages being a covenant and there is no room for divorce in a covenant marriage.

We are showcasing Christ to the world in the way that we do marriage, let's make it a positive show.

I enjoyed this book. It was given me by the publisher. By receiving the book, I am consenting to write a review that honestly reflects my opinions and thoughts.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck

Product Details

Rachel is a relatively new-to-me author that I have discovered. The first two books I read by her were The Wedding Chapel and The Wedding Shop and they were hands down some really good books. That's saying a lot because they were written in a style that normally doesn't appeal to me.

So I was excited when I saw she had another book coming out. This was the fourth in a series, so I got the first two from the library and am still waiting on the third one. I think I'm 9th on the waiting list the last time I checked, so it will be awhile.

Anyway, this is the final book in a series of American girl meeting Brighton (think like England) royalty and falling in love. I enjoy the whole prince, king, fairy tale aspect of the stories and think Rachel did a good job at writing them. To me, they aren't as good as the other books I have read from her, but they were still an interesting read. I will say that having four books in this series that are basically the same premise is a little redundant and yet I did enjoy them.

I think one paragraph from the epilogue of the book sums up a lot of what life is about. "'My greatest treasures are my wife and children. I'm aware that when I stand before the Lord of all the ages and He judges my life, He will ask first and foremost if I learned to love my wife and children more than myself. I hope when I say yes, He replies, "Well done"'".

Loving my husband and children more than myself, that requires sacrifice and humility and great dependence on God, but yes, I do believe it is a very important part of my calling as a child of God, my calling as a wife and my calling as a mother and even a friend to love God first and then others next and myself last. But I cannot do it without God.

This book was given me by the publisher. A review on this website was not required and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

This Introverted Thing

So I'm sitting here on a quiet Sunday afternoon putting my thoughts out on screen. Later I will likely reread and then post, but for now it's a dumping session that may or may not be edited. This is the second such post today and both posts feel like they have potential to make me vulnerable and be somewhat personal. I'm not sure if I'm okay with that or not.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I went to the lake for a few hours with some friends from church. This going to the lake is a regular occurrence in the summer time around here and I've been meaning to go since we moved up, so finally at the end of the third summer of living here, I made it to a lake day. It was a nice day, a bit chilly and breezy, but in the sun it was nice. There was a nice playground for the kids and of course, the lake.

Just before I left, the conversation shifted to everyone sharing if they were introverted or extroverted. I thought this was a good time to leave and prepared to depart. They made me share before I left. Now before I go further, let me describe for you what I think of as an introvert or an extrovert.

An extrovert is someone who is energized by being with people. This doesn't mean she has to talk a lot or be the main front runner in the conversation. This, to me, means that she loves being with people, listening to what they have to say, hearing what's going on, contributing if she's a talkative person or just taking it all in if she's more quiet.

An introvert is someone who is energized by being at home, by reading, by DIY projects, or by cups of coffee shared with one or two best friends. They may go to social events at times because they really want to or at times because they realize it is the proper thing to do. To me, being an introvert does not mean you are quiet and shy and withdrawn. You may even be very outgoing in conversation when you are with a group of people, but it's more how you feel when you leave and go home. Are you exhausted and feel almost lonely and empty or are you energized and ready to go be with more people?

Now I did not look up any definitions of these words, this is just my own personal definition based on my understanding of these two words.

So which am I? Well, I consider myself hands-down an introvert. I said this at the lake and the comment was made, "but you weren't always like that were you?" Hmm, that poses a whole other topic. Does your personality change as you grow older? Or have I made myself change? I don't really know the answer to this, I can only share it from my perspective.

I was discussing this with another friend, a friend who would have been more outgoing in her younger days as well. What's changed? She thought responsibility made a difference for her. Now, I know I could be treading on extroverts' toes here and that is not my intention at all, but I agree with her. I loved doing youth things, then I got married and I was working a full-time job and I was not with my youth group anymore and I just didn't feel like I had the time to plug in with social activities or the energy to plug in either.

So why not after I moved back to my home area? By then, life had changed me. That first summer back here was a tough one for me. I was grieving and I was sick and I didn't like to be around little children. Yes, I probably had a wrong perspective of life then too, but that's how it was.

Am I saying that extroverts don't take their responsibility seriously? Absolutely not. I don't think that for a minute. I do recognize that I don't have enough stuff to do at home to keep me busy without the 101 projects clambering around in my brain begging to be let out.

Does being an introvert give me a valid reason to shut people out? No, it doesn't. I am still required to care about people and to love them and even to be social with them. But does it mean I might not put the emphasis on big social gatherings like others might? Yes, it probably does, but I will try to support some of them, but not all of them.

I would much rather sit down with a cup of coffee and discuss life with one or two people than share about the weather with a dozen while sipping lemonade. Now, really the choice of drink is totally not the point here, but I needed it to help make my comparison!!

But the world does need extroverts. Someone has to plan the events and show up so that they continue to happen. I have coffee at my house once a month. If everyone was like me, I would be having coffee by myself and eating myself round and roly-poly on biscotti and scones, but thanks to the extroverts I know some people will be showing up and I am grateful for that.

Now comes a somewhat sticky subject that I want to address yet. Do we as introverts enjoy big gatherings? I alluded to the fact in my definition that sometimes we can walk away feeling lonely and empty. This is not anyone's fault by our own. As introverts, and I basically am speaking for myself and one or two other people that I've talked with this about (Please I would love to have discussion on this from both sides.) we thrive a lot more on connection. Yes, I have driven home from social gatherings and wondered why I went and yet I did enjoy myself. But I wasn't planning who I was going to call on my way home and see if they wanted to get together yet that day or go see what other social event was going on that I could go to because I was so completely pumped. No, on the way home, I am unwinding, hoping the little miss will take a nice long nap and that I will be able to have some quiet time. I might regret some of the things I said without thinking and I might wonder why I bothered to go at all because now that things are quiet I wonder what good it did me.

It did me good. I know these things are good for me. I am reading a book about doing mothering together and she was talking about the different kinds of friends you need, the might-be-friends, the trying-to-be-friends, the good girlfriends, and the best friends forever. We need all of these friends in life and so I will continue to come to social gatherings though maybe not with the extroverts regularity, but I will come. We all need each other, but I think we all need to give each other grace. It would be very easy for me to condemn the extrovert for their seemingly carefree lifestyle,like how can they be going all the time like that, but we are all wired differently and I am grateful for those who show up at social events and also if I want them to give me grace for my way of doing life, then I need to extend them grace as well.

And now I am going to go see if the library has a book that was recommended to me: Quiet, the Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking.

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Love Transformed by Tracie Peterson

Product Details

I don't think I really need to give a synopsis of this book. It's your typical torn away from the one you love, reunited, but one has made some mistakes and decides he needs to pull away for awhile, but then it all works out. Of course, there's generally someone who makes a little trouble, etc. etc. I think the story fits right in with your typical inspirational romance.

I do like Tracie as an author though and do read quite a few of her books. There were some very good points she made in this book, especially in the beginning that I want to bring out. When the male main character, Curtis, is working through some of his past mistakes and regrets, the lady of the house where he was living  had some keen insights.

Let me see if I can pull this together succinctly to where it makes sense.

Curtis was angry at God and felt like God had let all the bad stuff happen to him, his parents died, the woman he loved, Clara, was taken away from him, and then he let himself turn to drinking, women, and robbery and ended up in jail for five years. Aunt Madeline said this to him, "God didn't steal those things away from you, Curtis. That much I know."

"If not God, then who? You and Paul keep telling me God is all-powerful and all-knowing. If that's true, then He knew my parents would get sick, and He had the power to make them well. But He didn't. He knew what those losses would do to me. He knew it would send me to drinking and abominable action, and yet He let it all happen."

"Goodness, Curtis, it seems you can't take responsibility for anything."

"I mean that you were the one who got yourself into that mess with drinking and gambling. You were the one who chose those means of comfort. I'm not about to sit here and let you off the hook for that. Nor am I going to sit here and let you feel sorry for yourself. We all make bad decisions in life, Curtis. We all make mistakes. We are sinful and human."

She goes on to say that God could have kept some of the stuff from happening, like his parents dying, but these are the things that cause our faith to grow as well.

The thing of needing to forgive yourself and let the past be the past was also brought up in this book. I just thought these were some really good points. Sometimes it is easy for us to blame God for bad choices we willingly made. It's not God's fault if I rob a bank or tell a lie or even gossip and it comes back to bite me. That was a choice I made and then I need to deal with the consequences. It's also true, that if I have asked God to forgive me, then I need to forgive myself and allow His blood to wash me clean and focus on moving forward into a deeper relationship with Him.

I thought this and the emphasis on prayer and dependence on God was really good. I enjoyed the book.

This book was given me by Bethany House of the purpose of reading and writing a review. All opinions expressed were my own.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Beautiful Word Coloring Bible

Product Details

Oh my, can you say beautiful? I am so excited about this Bible. It's an NIV Bible with lots of journaling lines and verses to color. The Bible passages are written on two-thirds of the page toward the binding and the rest is either lines for journaling or a verse to color. The pages are a little thicker than to accommodate the coloring, but I would still stick to colored pencils rather than markers just in case. I haven't tried it out, but I plan to use it as my Study Bible for next year.

One thing I don't like, is it's rather smallish as far as size maybe 6 by 8, that's just a rough guess, but then it's pretty thick. I would rather it was a little bigger like your typical study Bibles and then it wouldn't be as thick, but then there wouldn't be as many verses to color either.

A few verses take up a whole page, like the fruit of the Spirit they have all spread out on a page or John 3:16 .

A lot of the verses are meaningful ones that you could reflect on while you are coloring. "Call to me and I will answer you...." "Do not let your heart be troubled...." etc. Then there was this one: "She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy." I really don't know what to make of that verse, but I suppose it can be a good reminder for me to think about the needs around me.

I am just so happy with this Bible and so excited about using it. Hopefully I can actually get myself to really use it.  When I got it, I was exclaiming over it and the little miss touched it with her "bugely" hands and I wanted to be annoyed and then I had to remind myself, that while, yes, it is the Word of God and needs to be treated with respect, in other ways it is just a book and I need to be okay with a few marks on it. Now I can always be reminded of my daughter when I use it, except the marks are so small I can barely notice them now.

This book was given me by Book Look Blogger in exchange for my honest review.

Better Together by Jill Savage with Anne McClane

Product Details
Because You're Not Meant to Mom Alone

This book is not strictly for mothers. I think any lady looking to deepen friendships, find new friendships, or just learn how to be a better friend can benefit from this book. Yes, you might have to come up with a few of your own ideas instead of following all the ones in this book, but I think it has some really good advice for all us who want friends and want to be a good friend.

Jill and Ann are a mother/daughter team. It is written in Jill's voice, but Anne does add a few parts here and there. I think in some ways I could have related to Anne more simply because she is in more the stage of motherhood I am in, but I think Jill did a really good job of writing.

The are several key areas that moms can "mom" together: learning together, helping together, caring together, sharing together, praying together, forgiving together, and encouraging together. There were a lot of good practical examples and ideas given for how to be a good practical friend. Obviously, personalities are going to play into what sounds fun or practical or helpful, but I think everyone could glean an idea or two.

They also talk about the different mothering personalities and how we need to be accepting of people who have different styles from us, styles like organization, or introvert/extrovert, or even their ability to go and go and go versus needing to stop and regroup more frequently.

One big takeaway from the book for me came right at the end, "It's (not) the thought that counts." So often we use this as an excuse for not doing anything. I thought about it, so that should count for something. Not so much, just because you thought that that person was doing a really good job as a mom, she has no way of knowing it and it might be just the thing she needs to hear to give her the strength and energy to "mom it" one more day. If someone comes to mind, take action, don't just pass it off. Encouragement is so important to everyone, no matter the stage of life you are in.

Our Bible study group is actually going to use this book this winter and I am really looking forward to it.

This book was given to me by Moody Publishers for the purpose of reading and writing a review on it.

On Mothering a Rainbow Child

This post has been sludging around in my brain for the last few weeks, mostly in the hidden parts buried deep, but occasionally nudging itself to the surface where I think about it for a bit and then it disappears again into a dark hole. So today I'm pulling it out to write some thoughts down and see where it goes.

Now when I say rainbow child, I am referring to a living child born after a pregnancy loss or still born, etc. I am not referring to the other meaning of rainbow that floats around out there in the world and that makes me so sad to think about.

After Nicole was born and before Amber filled my arms, I had a lot of preconceived ideas about motherhood and none of them included exhaustion, feelings of being inadequate, feelings of being overwhelmed with toddler needs, loneliness and yet wanting some alone time etc. etc. etc. In fact, to my shame and embarrassment I would have looked with annoyance and frustration at any mom who would dare to complain about their child and their own exhaustion. My pious thoughts ran along the line of "Be grateful you have a living child" or "If I ever have a living child, I'll never complain about being a mom ever".

Oh dear. Then Amber came along and I loved her dearly, though I think some parts of me were almost apathetic for the first while. I think I could have almost held her at arms length sometimes wondering when the shoe was going to drop and she was going to be taken from us as well. I didn't do this consciously and yet there were times when I would wonder how much I would really miss her if she wasn't with us. This feels very vulnerable to admit. I don't wonder that anymore, because I recognize the huge, gaping, gnawing, empty, raw hole she would leave in my heart if she left us now. I have come to love her like crazy and am delighted to see her light up when she sees me. (And so Amber if you ever read this years from now, you should no without a shadow of a doubt that I love you like crazy.)

But that's jumping ahead of myself a bit. The first while after becoming a mom to Amber, I was delighted. Life was good. She was mostly a model child and I was loving being a mom. But as she's gotten older, she's gotten to be a lot more fun, but in many ways, a lot more work. She talks, a lot. Not that I can understand her, but she chatters away and can get her point across reasonably well. She now requires guidance and discipline if I don't want her to grow up to be a self-centered, lazy, controlling young lady. Yes, I say lazy at this age already. She has shown herself to be quite good at picking up toys and then some days will just outright refuse, so yes, I include work ethic even at this stage. Now believe me when I say her chores are very appropriately geared to her age level.

And this is exhausting and some days I get tired of being a mom. Somedays I just dump her on D when he comes home and am like, here it's your turn. Some days I just want to go out for coffee and read a book all by myself and just enjoy the luxury of being alone. And then there are days when I am lonely surrounded by a toddler and just longing for adult conversation. And when I stop and think about these things, I can start to feel very guilty. What am I thinking? Why am I daring to complain about being a mom when I finally have my living child in my arms? What happened to all my glorious resolutions of never complaining and always loving and cherishing my child? Why do I so easily forget?

And then I realize that I am human. I do love Amber and maybe I love Amber a little differently because of the little ones I have lost. I do still get tears in my eyes sometimes when I look at Amber and realize how completely blessed we are. There are times when I sit and hold her tighter when I think of her siblings that have left their holes in my heart. (Of course, that is a very short-lived squeeze because she is so not the cuddly type.)

But I also want you to hear that I do love being a mom. I do love having my little girl with me. Yesterday we went to town and spent some time at the library where Amber loved playing with the toys there. I looked into the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program and came home with visions of reading Amber all these books in the next 2.5 years. So yes, I love being a mom, but it's not always easy.

I don't know if any of this makes sense. I would love to hear from some of you in the same shoes that I am. To those of you who have not experienced a loss, don't feel bad for your feelings of frustration over motherhood. I have them now too and I understand much more. But I would kindly caution you to be careful when and where you express those feelings. Even if you don't mean it as complaining, a mom whose arms are empty is not going to understand your feelings. She might in time, but I do believe there are some ladies who are so in love with being a mom they never think to complain about it all. Oh that I could be more like that.

And to those friends who I have slighted with my pious attitude about never complaining, I do sincerely apologize.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Really Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs

Product Details

More Lessons from Less-Than-Perfect Women

Eight women: the witch at Endor, Jael, the women "taken in adultery", Athaliah, Herodias, Tamar, The women with the "issue of blood", and Bathsheba.  A lot of these women aren't mentioned much in the Bible except for their one "claim to fame" act, but each women has some lessons we can learn from them.

I did enjoy the book. Liz starts out each chapter with a modern day story of the Biblical one, so of course, it isn't always true-to-life for today, but it does make it more real. However, she can get a bit graphic, so I would probably exercise some caution in letting too young of girls read the book.

But it was good to see how we can learn lessons from even the most wicked women like Athaliah and Herodias. At the end of every chapter she had a list of three or so things, along with Bible verses,  we could learn from these women and their stories. I want to share one point per chapter to give you an idea.

The Witch at Endor: Dead men tell no tales. The living God does.

Jael: Leaders do more than command--they do. Deborah went out with Barak to fight. Jael saw what needed to be done and did it. Sometimes we want to pray about a need or point fingers at someone else to have them do it, rather than going out and doing it ourselves.

The woman caught in adultery: Obedience and freedom walk hand in hand

Athaliah: Never confuse what is socially acceptable with what is right.

Bathsheba: Just say no. (I am never sure that Bathsheba was at fault in this story, but we also don't know that she tried to get out of her predicament either by trying to say no.)

Herodias: If someone gently points out your sin, don't chop her head off.

Tamar: In all things, our God reigns. (Tamar is in the ancestry of Jesus)

Woman with the issue of blood: Hope does not disappoint.

Now some of these points might make more sense if you read the whole chapter. If you're looking for a really deep in-depth study of these women told in a very serious, reverent way, this might not be the book for you, but if you're looking for a new perspective, then I'd try it. I enjoyed the book. There is a study guide at the end of the book that I think would be worth doing sometime as well.

This book was given me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

My Great Big God by Andy Holmes

Illustrated by Marta Alvarez 20 Bible Stories to Build a Great Big Faith This is a beautiful hardcover board book that tells 20 Bible ...