Category Archives: Books I Love.

Gifts.

I have started multiple 1,000 gifts lists. Never finished one yet. So, I decided I will be adding them on to the bottom of my posts and then maybe….if you don’t see them, please inquire.  The beginning of my list gets a post all of its own.

I am thankful for…..

1. Curly Hair

2. Comfy sheets.

3. Miracles on 5.17.2012.

4. The ability to pray.

5. The love of my Savior.

6. The old rugged cross.

7. Baby Magic smelling toddlers in new footed jamies.

8. Daisies.

9. Outakes

10. Crushed ice

11. the ability to learn

12. helpers

13. swiftly approaching summer break

14. fans

15. a husband whom always keeps me guessing.

16. Fresh pizza dough

17. May 24. 2012

18. Sock Monkeys

19. Fourth of July

20. Quiet nighttime hours

21. Fridays

22. Vintage

23. dreams with happy endings

24. the ability to change

…..more to come.

Have you read 1,000 Gifts? It’s heart changing stuff.

“Life should only be carried by the hands of the unhurried.” ~ Ann Voskamp

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1,000 Gifts.

You have heard of this book, right? It’s just downright lovely and it is incredibly powerful. Life Changing stuff.

Ann Voskamp is the crazy popular writer behind the blog A Holy Experience. Oh my word is she gifted.

Immediately upon reading this book, I felt compelled to start my list of 1,000 things that I am grateful for. Everything from my comfy sheets to my awaiting gift of heaven. I am working slowly. The list becomes a change in me from the inside out. A shift in perspective. A step closer to the heart of Christ.

I decided to implement this as a school project for my oldest children. I equipped them with a pen, and a journal, and instruction. I assigned it back in September. It is due tomorrow.

My hope was to have them write daily from their experiences and not to have them write a list of 1,000 nouns at 11 pm on Feb. 13th.

They have both grown in their own unique ways through this.

My 11 year old daughter came to me this morning and said, “Mom, I got a whole bunch of things for my list while I was sick over the weekend. I am so excited.”  ”Like what?”, I asked. “Well, like Sprite, special toast, and aspirin.”

Amen.

She may not, just yet, realize the powerful change that is going on in her little heart. What a gift in and of itself to learn to look for the positive. To breathe an attitude of gratefulness.

To look for the beauty in the ordinary.

#288 The world’s most comfortable slippers

To effortlessly think, feel, and express all the positive in this world.

#289 the most perfect rose made by my husband with play dough

What could be closer to the heartbeat of Jesus.

#290 Superhero moments. You know the ones where you think you could really fly.

To change from the inside out.

#291 The love of my family that lives within these walls

To possess the God given gift of living fully right where we are.

#292 My baby boy who loves his rubber ducky..so much

Never missing a moment of our life. The gift that the God of the universe has given us.

 #293 candle lit bubble baths

I need to grow in this. A lot of days I miss it. A lot of days my focus is not where it should be. Praise Him for my #294.

#294 that He isn’t finished with me just yet

For more information about the book, please visit here.

 

 

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One Thousand Gifts.

Few videos have touched my heart like this one.

DO NOT MISS IT.

Few books have reached my soul like this one.

DO NOT PASS IT UP.

Few dares have made me as apprehensive as hers.

I AM TAKING IT.

A DARE TO LIVE FULLY …..RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE.

 

 

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Do You Know Who I Am?

When I saw an opportunity on Angela Thomas’ FB page to review her new book DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? on my blog, I jumped at the chance. Just days later, I received her fabulous book in the mail. I quickly read and fell in love with this book, as I expected. I came across Angela’s website a couple years ago and fell in love with her teaching and the heartfelt, transparent way that she communicates.

When thinking about what to say about this book in a short blog post, I have to admit I have struggled because really I just want you to go buy the book and read all the wonderfulness for yourselves! The back of the book beautifully tells you what this book is about. “Angela asks God if He knows her-and loves her-just as she is…right now. Each chapter asks a different question that only God can answer and each time His answer is Yes. I know your heart. I see your struggle. Do you know who I AM?  Angela reveals that the secret to being known and loved lies in an intimate understanding of who God is.”

I found each chapter to be filled with helpful real life stories and scriptures that beautifully reveal more about the character of the unbelievable God we serve. Questions like “Do you know that I Am Afraid to Dream Big?” is answered with “HE IS WORTHY” and “Do You Know I Am Invisible? is answered with “He Is My God Who Sees.”

While as I mentioned, each chapter is stuffed full of things I could attempt to relay to you far less eloquently than originally written, I will share with you the one thing that God has impressed upon my heart this week after reading this book. Honesty. True soul searching, laying utterly transparent before the throne of God kind of honesty. Doesn’t the depth of any relationship fundamentally lie in the level of honesty and openess we put forth?

We all have choices to make in this lifetime on how we live. For some there is a veil of false perfection that is put on daily in order to mask a host of insecurities and hurts. For others there is the same such veil filled with all their faults, both real and exaggerated, in order to beg such attention that they crave…other wise known as the drama queens. I know in my life, I have been both at one time or another and everything in between as well. The older I get, the bigger the desire I find, to just be honest. That is what instantly grabbed my attention in the introduction of this book. Angela talks about an intimate time that she had before God, writing down all of these questions she had for Him, until she had no more. “It was then that God began to speak to her. It was then that she discovered the answer to her need is always found in God. In His character.”

I identified a ton, with many of the questions that Angela chose as chapter titles in this book. The answer is always “Yes He knows who we are”. Do we actually forget that? Do we actually hide that? How much does that hinder and cloud our relationship with Christ? I am going to strive to remain open and honest and in my relationship with Him. For He alone knows me better than I know myself.  I want to know Him more and experience a deeper relationship with Him today than I did yesterday and even deeper still tomorrow.

In order to do this, I need to continually approach His throne…just as I am. Right here, right now….just like this.

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Entitled.

I recently wrote about a book I read called Plan B. It still sits at the front of my brain and I think about it throughout the day sometimes. One thing that really stood out to me is the concept that if you have pure motives, do the best you can, and are doing what’s right, that things should turn out the way you plan. Honestly, I was living with that mindset and realistically that is not true.

I really struggle with that. It’s hard to watch those around you throw caution to the wind, take matters into their own hands, and seem to really be struggling with making right choices and yet everything seems to turn out for them. Meanwhile, you are working your hardest and things are falling apart.

I guess I do live with a sense of entitlement, way down deep in my soul. I hate it now that I realize it. What I guess I didn’t factor into my entitlement is God, people, and just life. When you factor those in, you can do everything “right” and things still may not turn out the way you want. It seems so obvious now that I think of it from this perspective.

I can not and sincerely do not want to control what God has for my life. He can turn my mourning into dancing, He can restore the lost years, He knows what is best for me, and in His freedom I want to live. He knows what He is doing, He can turn the messes of this life into glorious victories. I want to let Him. The question is at what cost will I let Him?

People, well yeah, we all have our issues. Our perspectives on truth, our opinions, and our own baggage that can sway our opinions of what is going on in the world around us at any given time. One of the things that really gets to me quickly, is when people think something about me that just isn’t true. I have to let that go… Just thinking about it can get me angry. People are always going to have their own opinions, act accordingly, and bottom line is I can’t do a darn thing about it anyway. In the words of one of the sweetest ladies I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, Daisy Hepburn….she says “make God your audience, not people”. This is not to say that people’s opinions do not matter because they do. However, that filter needs to be there. Evaluate things prayerfully, discuss them wisely, and then choose to listen to the positive and the constructive and move forward. God will deal with the rest…totally not my job. However, people’s views of you and actions towards you may significantly alter your life. It’s just a fact and then what? Am I going to trust God through it?

Life…is life. One hundred percent beyond my control. The bad is going to come along with the good. It’s not something that I have any say over. The only thing I do have a say over is my response to it.

When life twists and turns in directions you didn’t expect and as Pete Wilson says in Plan B, you end up living in a whiplash moment, may I always have a heart of gratitude and complete trust in my Savior.

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29:11  The Message Version.

I truly believe grasping this will lead to a deeper sense of peace. For in the whole journey of life, the focus should not be on the outcome but rather on the journey itself.

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Plan B.

Every once in awhile you come across a quote or saying that will stick with you through the years. I have recently finished a book that was full of quotes and concepts that I’m sure will stick with me for years to come.

Plan B by Pete Wilson.

Wether you love to read or not, pick this one up. It will be well worth your time. Trust me. Prepare to be disturbed, but in the best way possible. I am by no means someone who is prepared to give you a proper literary review, but if you want random thoughts and quotes from this book…read on….

One of the opening quotes of the book is:

“Plans fizzle. Expectations come to nothing. Trusted people let us down- or we let ourselves down. Dreams shatter or slip away. Has it happened to you? Plan A comes to an abrupt stop, and you’re not sure if there even is a plan B.”

I think at some point, we all have woken up and felt this way. Some in big ways. Some in small. Sometimes because our own poor choices bring us consequences that rock our world and worse yet, sometimes the poor choices of others do it for us. So how do we respond?

“When life isn’t turning out the way we had hoped, we almost always default to feeling as if God has abandoned us.”

God Himself never ever changes. Sometimes, it’s all about finding the strength to just make the choice to trust. Sometimes, you need to make this choice daily, or even hourly.

“We must decide if we are going to put our faith in what God does or in who God is.”

um, AMEN.

“Will you worship God even when He is circumstantially nowhere to be found?”

um, WOW. Just a tad bit convicting.

I think sometimes as Christians we expect that just because we pray, God will heal this disease, land us the dream job, and basically protect us from any harm. The part of this book that is really disturbing is the reminder that, that is simply not true. He has the power to do so, but we live in a fallen world. God exists and so does pain and suffering. How do you reconcile the two and how do you respond when they meet?

We need to live in a way where we are “Putting it all, including our fear of the unknown, in the hands of the One who knows everything. And then moving forward because we can trust him. Even in the dark.”

I know for myself the following statement is SO true.

“Whenever we are faithful, whenever we’re obedient, whenever we do the right thing, at some level don’t we expect that life is going to turn around for us?”

If I am going to be honest…yes, yes I do.

I have had periods in life where I am pouring every ounce of my being into something or someone, only to see utter failure be the outcome. I have had periods in my life, where I am so earnestly seeking God and trying to do the right thing and yet I find myself falling short of plan A and at the same time someone along side of me is making billions of wrong choices and finding what seems to be unending successess. This is an issue for me. I struggle with this. The lesson to be learned in it all, is I should not be living with a cause and effect mentality. The reality is I may give it all to someone and they quite frankly may turn around and spit right in my face…..and then what?

…because “even when God is with me, life is not always going to turn out the way I hoped.”

This book asks the tough questions…

“What if we viewed our hardships and challenges as opportunities to be the men or women God has created us to be? “

“Is it possible you don’t really want God? Is it possible you just want what you think God can give you?”

“Can you believe that God is in control now, even when your life isn’t?”

How fortunate that we serve a God so powerful that He can take the worst of circumstances and work them together for good. When the shortcomings and failures of others and this world that we live in affect our life and penetrate the walls of our heart felt hopes and dreams, He takes the pain and turns it into something good. The key is we need to let Him. The key is our response. If while living in the middle of plan B, we can grasp even the tiniest glimpse of the bigger picture that God is… we can begin to let go of the pain. We don’t have to worry about revenge or fear the things that we can not control. I have found after reading this book a renewed desire to live in the place of the bigger picture. “Tis such a cliche’, but….Rise above it.

“Will we ever understand our Plan B dilemmas? On this side of heaven, quite possibly not. Does the way we respond to them matter? More than you will ever know.”

“You may not have had a choice on whether you could have kids or whether your loved one passed away or wether you got fired or your husband had an affair. But you do get to choose how you respond. And in that choice lies an amazing amount of hope. That choice is what makes the journey of transformation possible.

At the time when it is absolutely the hardest time to choose right…it is absolutely the most vital time in which to do so. Drowning in pain can leave you so vulnerable to look for a quick fix and an easy way out and that will simply lead you to an absolute standstill. A road I do not want to wake up and find myself on.

“I am asking you, right in the middle of your Plan B pain, to trust the porcess that is going on in your life. It won’t be finished for a while, but it has begun.

God will finish what He started.

Wait for it.”

Read that one again. Over and over. Memorize it. Grasp it. One of the most repeated promises in the Bible is “I am with you”. I am just so deeply impacted with the truth of that. When you grab ahold of it, the peace that follows, truly begins to wipe away the pain that others and this world can bring you. Isn’t that really the bigger picture?

“You need to know the cross is not just the starting line. It’s the very centerpiece of your story with God. It’s the place where the pain of “you will have trouble” meets the triumph of ” I have defeated the world.”

I am so humbled.


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