Monday, June 19, 2017

be UNCOMMON book launch

Excited to be part of Carey Scott's book launch team for her new book releasing soon!! This is a book for us women, whom desire to grow strong in our faith and to be Uncommon: Pursuing a Life of Passion and Purpose. As I read through this book, Jesus's Words kept coming to mind, that as Christians we are called to to be lights in this world and Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 "let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven" and I also like these powerful words Jesus said in John 17 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. I certainly want to live by those words, but yet it is a struggle at times in this world to be a light and be who we are called to be.

It can be a struggle in this world to be a Christian to a world that seems full of hate and/or selfish, but when you are in the Word and growing a relationship with our Father God, you will see His beauty and the need to share His message. That is what this book shares. Carey tackles issues us women deal with today, using scripture and biblical stories of women from the Bible. At the end of each chapter is scrirpture to focus on and memorize, questions to study with and prayer. May we be strong in our faith to not be common like the world but uncommon because that is what we as Christians are called to be in this world, salt-seasoning. As Carey stated in her book, "72% of Americans believe our morals are in decline." She states..."The Bible is very clear about how we are to live and how we are not...the Bible is an all-inclusive blueprint for how to do life." These words stir my soul... "When you become a believer you choose to exchange these ways/worlds way for HIS ways. God doesn't expect us to do it perfectly, but HE is hoping you do it purposefully. God's spirit is the one who calls us to live better and gives us the ability to do so." I so believe that! I want to be uncommon! "HE wants us to be different in how we run our families, ministries, community groups, and companies." "Truth is as Jesus followers we won't always make sense to the world. We weren't designed to fit in here. Instead we were designed to shine Jesus into the world. Our job is to listen to what God wants us to do, even if it's not what the world thinks we should do." No wonder I feel like a black-sheep some days and maybe you do too? So if we’re going to be women with uncommon wisdom, we have to ask God for it. Because He is the only source of it.
“As an uncommon woman, you will find yourself:
1. relying on God above all else
2. full of hope in the hard places
3. standing up for what’s right
4. holding on to joy no matter what
5. able to step out of your comfort zone
6. willing to risk your reputation
7. resolved to not give up or give in
8. untangled from your past failures, fears and insecurities
9. capable of looking past your circumstances
10. understanding there is a calling on your life
11. trusting the plan and ways of God.”
Carey Scott #beUncommon #booklaunch

Right now, through the end of the month Carey is offering a free chapter and some preorder goodies at her web-site  http://careyscott.org/uncommon/




Friday, June 16, 2017

Summer mode: Weekly encouragement and snapshots!

So since it is summer, our schedule is a little different, less sitting and learning, more exploring, spending time together relaxing, lots of play time, and getting together with friends. We certainly took advantage of that this week, yes, even this introvert, can you believe it! Since I am spending less time on the PC and social media these days, I am going to do a little different format to my weekly blog post. I will still share some snapshots of our week and encouraging links, but also share some quotes and scripture from my journal notebook. Some people call these commonplace notebooks, but I have been writing quotes, thoughts, scripture, prayers, and blessings before it was the thing to do. So call it what you may, here are a few (and when I say it is just a few, I write pages and pages a week in my notebooks) written words for you to ponder on, much like I am doing:
  • Choose to be kind. Choosing kindness takes courage~from the book Uncommon by Carey Scott
  • Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. Romans 12:9-13 msg, from the Bible of course 
  • We are all under God's authority. ~ from For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
  • Change your habits and you can change anything into a possibility. Make gratitude your attitude of habit. Habits are the spine of our self-control. To love your life, do nothing with rush or resentment. When you work faithfully, creativity comes faithfully, keep sowing. Read more words on paper than on screens. A habit of hope can resuscitate anything. ~words from Ann Voskamp
  • As long as you are breathing, it's not too late to be the person you hope to be. ~from Only Love Today by Rachel Marcy Stafford
  • We want an education which shall nourish the mind while not neglecting either physical or vocational training. In short, we want a working philosophy of education. ~from Charlotte Mason Volume 6 
  • Sometimes the most holy thing we can do is be still. ~from Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner
  • Do we publicly use HIS name for my own glory? "Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order tobe  seen by them...Matthew 6:1 It's all about the heart. Each time we call out HIS name publicly, we must carefully examine; am I doing this to be impressive,or  am I doing this because HE's impressive? ~from She Reads Truth, prayer in the Bible
  • Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little. Then He said to her, your sins are forgiven. Luke 7:47-48 Bible
Encouraging reads: 
I share a lot about books and read a lot, but this is the book that I love and is alive!!! “The Bible is a living book that has lasted already more than 2500 years and even though scientists, scholars, and archaeologists have tried to pull it apart they have not been able to stop God’s Word from spreading all over the world… just as Jesus predicted.” http://annvoskamp.com/2017/06/dear-christian-why-you-never-have-to-be-ashamed-of-the-bible-stand-with-the-one-million-who-honor-the-bible/ 
4 Crazy Things People Say When They Find Out We Homeschool https://www.sonlight.com/blog/crazy-things-people-say.html 
I have a dream (lol)… The dream is me always smiling. I stand in my kitchen watching over my children while we homeschool happily. I am always dressed to perfection and own a spectacular apron which personifies the glory of homemaking. There are fresh-baked cookies in the oven ready for my family to devour. We get through our lessons with little fuss, anxious to continue exploring. We play games together, cook together, and we are constantly encouraging each other. https://thehomeschoolmomblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/02/the-dream/ 
For reals, haha 10 Things I Hate About Homeschooling http://hifalutinhomeschooler.com/10-things-i-hate-about-homeschooling/ 
They are little sinners, and they are immature, and we are too. https://thebeautifulordinary.net/2017/06/09/children-are-the-pruning-shears-patience/
 Simply endure. Two little words… one big command. http://careyscott.org/how-to-find-hope-in-hard-places/ 
our home is simply one context provided for the freedom of our making. It is our canvas. http://www.storywarren.com/the-art-of-days-part-one/ 
Because of Jesus, no matter what, you’ve got this…I’ve got this… even when we feel like we don’t. http://lisawhittle.com/need-know-life-live-now/

Snapshots from our week:

Ready for movie and pizza night, watching Trolls again and she is rocking it with Troll rings!
PJs and ice cream for dessert!
Saturday was fun day at home, but definitely need to up-size in our pool. Not so little anymore!
Bless, she fell asleep while reading.
Little man watching the road crew retarring our road from afar!

From the book Women Who Move Mountains


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From Messes to Messages   
Porch Storiesand Fresh Market Friday




Monday, June 12, 2017

Women Who Move Mountains~Praying with Confidence, Boldness, and Grace ~ review

Ladies, this new book by Sue Detweiler,Women Who Move Mountains~Praying with Confidence, Boldness, and Grace is much more then just a book to read, it is full of godly wisdom of how to overcome some of the many challenges we face in our lives being wives and mothers in this world. She shares stories from women who have overcome anxiety, depression, addiction, abuse, etc... Her story of how she came to believe and journey is so very encouraging. I have been reading through the book and doing the Bible study portion she provides for each chapter. I am half-way through, but already know enough that this a book I would recommend. I just finished chapter 10 of how to learn to pray with peace and help with overcoming anxiety, working through Psalm 37. Anyone that knows me personally,  knows I have had bouts of dealing with anxiety and panic attacks, and I am thankful because of God that I haven't had a panic attack in a few years, so this chapter really resonated with me. This is not some book you will read through quickly, but will want to take the time to do the study part, to get in the Word and pray through it yourself or with some other women. I look forward to finishing the book over the next month, learning from her stories and wisdom, but most importantly growing in faith while going through the Bible sections in the book and hearing from God. 

"Prayer is a natural as breathing. Prayer should not be restricted to certain times of the day or week when we have quiet time. Prayer is living and active. Prayer is not perfectly contained in a checklist. 
Prayer is not "doing our religious duty." We are called to pray big, risky prayers that require an answer from the ONE who is more powerful than anyone in the universe. 
Most important, prayer is about knowing God intimately. it is about struggling to give birth to God's purposes. And it is about embracing the sweet presence of God and allowing the wind of HIS Spirit to blow freely."

"Without prayer, I didn't have a compass for my life. I spent most of my life just reacting. There are things that happen in life to this day, and all I can do is pray. I can't fix it. I can't change it. But I can pray. We have a to pray with a surrendered heart. That's when we find HIS healing."




(“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Bethany House Publication for providing me with this book for review. My review are my own thoughts.)

Friday, June 9, 2017

End of week encouragement, thoughts, snapshots, and moving forward...

I think my age is starting to catch up to me! This mama is just tired! Not sure if it is from my allergies, long summer days, mind full of things to do, having children (which by the way are a blessing, but you know they are like batteries, keep going and going, and take energy from you.) or just a combo of all things. But I think I may become a hobbit at this point, seriosly considering, ok kidding, slightly... I started our clean out the house project, after putting it off for a while, but I need to bring peace back into our home, there is just too much stuff, and mama gets tired telling everyone to put your stuff away, for the love! My mind doesn't work well with clutter and it seems to be everywhere. I have areas that need to be organized, cleaned, and time to plan our upcoming school year. There is an abundance of stuff we just really do not need, so it needs to go to a new home, anywhere, just not here. So lots of toys, clothes, and kitchen/pantry items are going, going, going...Though there is some in my house that like to hoard things and I am one who doesn't, well unless it is books, so we have a bit of a conflict at times with what we need and what we really need, if you know what I mean. Anyhow, with that also comes weeding out things in my personal life that are not serving or honoring God. So yes, this includes going through reducing online clutter, mental clutter, putting boundaries in use of how I and our family use our time, getting rid of things that distract me, saying my best yeses and no's, and that can also includes people, but those last two items are really hard to do. All this requires, lots of prayer and direction from God! Which means I need time to sit still and hear God and just listen, instead of doing all the talking to Him. Something, that requires lots of self-control for me and grace!

Two things from my reading this week that stuck out to me and one comes from reading Charlotte Mason and For The Children's Sake (All parents should read this, even if you don't homeschool.), is that our atmosphere's at home are of most importance! Sally Clarkson also has a book out about the family atmosphere. She was definitely on to something, because our society is suffering, the children are suffering. In the past I have been guilty not always putting those in my home first or taking care of the atmosphere in the home the proper way. God has given me a calling as a wife, mom and homeschooling my children, and those need to come first and all of that takes place in my home, so my first calling is my home! I am thankful to have a husband that supports that fully and see's the importance! And those are big things, so it doesn't leave a lot of room for other things in my season right now. I think if we are taking care of the atmosphere in our homes, the world would not be in so much chaos as it is, we are failing our families that God gave us, when we are more concerned with things that our not in our control. Our world has turned into a world that runs 24/7, is full of distractions, and scary things. But what if we made our homes a place of love, to share, and serve in, while teaching those in our care and giving glory to God in all those things we do (cleaning, cooking, caring, teaching...)? God made families! What if those things we are involved in with became places to glorify God: our kids activities, jobs, grocery shopping, our neighborhoods, etc..., instead of complaining and just rushing to the next things, we took the time to be present, so we can see and feel the presence of God and those needs right in front of us?  I believe if we are doing this right, we are then able to serve in other places well with the right intention and God will give you all you need to do it right, and it shows to those around us the love of God. But if I am making my family suffer so I can go serve someone else or volunteer, then what am I showing my family? God knows our hearts, and I do believe that is what matters, our heart needs to be in the right place for us to serve our family and others. We are not called to do every good thing. Many times we need to allow God to give us a heart attitude adjustment, because sometimes we are just being plain selfish! So why it is so important for us to slow down, spend time with God, listening!

Now I am not saying we don't serve outside our homes, because we are also called to do that and we are called to community with our church, but I think many times and I have done things for the wrong reason, we get so concerned with serving outside our homes and doing for others, we fail our families, cause we put them last, we become bitter, stressed? Church doesn't just happen at church, it also happens in our homes and communities too (grocery store, golf course, post office, our neighbors next door, greeting the UPS guy, etc...). We have a high rate of divorce, broken families,  anxiety and stress disorders, over-worked, and people that our lost. If we are putting God first in our lives and loving those God has put right in front of us at that moment where we are at: our families, neighbors, friends, stranger we meet on our path, making our homes a place of refuge for those that come in..., We are making a difference, we are raising the next generation to love and serve, they will have encompassed the love of God, if we are doing it in a way that God shows us in His Word. We each have seasons and for such a time as this, and we need to make sure we are doing what God calls us to do, during the right seasons and times.

Another thing I read and this was from a blog post: We are meant to be God's representatives in the world, not His replacements. Oh ouch, I know there has been times where I have got this backwards, not that I am trying to be God, but it is the way I may have said something or did something for the wrong reason. Lots to ponder on, so I take these things to God that have stirred my soul and study His Word and I pray and ask God, what is it you have me to do, and He keeps telling me to love others, to abide in Him, humble myself, be present, pay attention to those people in front of you, slow-down, to not judge or worry about others~He will take care of it, to share His truth and those with open hearts and ears will hear and follow Him. But most important He tells me I am His beloved child~a child of God, and that is what is most important, to spend time with Him and share my heart with Him, to let Him love me, so I can love others well and serve Him. God first loved us and it is where our true source of love comes from!

So back to weeding out, I am going to be more quiet on my blog for a time, I am going to be less on social media and the computer, I am going to slow down, I am going to focus on God's presence and those around me, AND I am going to have less clutter in all areas of my life, with the Lord's help and leading!

Encouraging reads:

So while balance may be a myth, grace is very real and available in spades. http://girlwithblog.com/2017/05/no-thing-balance-whole-lot-grace/
So when I hear the phrase "lost people matter to God" I wholeheartedly agree because that's me from time to time. I lose things like my way and find myself on the driveway. http://www.caseytygrett.com/blog/2017/5/23/when-we-find-lost-things
And you get to do hard & holy things, you can do hard and holy things — for the joy, for the love. Because whatever you do for joy, you can do forever. Habits matter because: Habits are the spine of our self-control.You change your life when you change what you do everyday. http://annvoskamp.com/2017/06/need-to-rescue-your-year-in-the-middle-of-the-year-how-to-make-june-the-new-january/
Cheer Up! You’re Worse (and Better Off) than You Think https://scottsauls.com/2017/06/cheer-up/
Rest isn't only for our tired bodies. It’s also for our weary souls. Our wills, our minds and our emotions get burned out if they never experience rest. Sometimes the silent signals of exhaustion are so deep within our souls that it’s more difficult to recognize than when our bodies cry for physical rest. Our minds must receive rest. Our wills must experience rest. Our emotions must engage in rest. http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/its-ok-to-tell-your-soul-to-rest/
When Jesus came to walk the earth, he came preaching the Kingdom of God. As New Testament believers we can enter into rest through faith in Christ, yet we still must do life in this world. Spiritually, we are restored back to our rightful “place,” just as Augustine described, yet anyone who has lived much time on this earth knows that there is more to it than that. There is a manifesting of this rest, this peace in our day-to-day lives. We still have decisions to make, children to raise, bills to pay and relationships to navigate. We must also take up our place in the Kingdom of God as creative makers and culture influencers. As Christians in the world we are not called to “run and hide” but to “GO”….yet our comings and goings should look distinctly different from the rest of the world and our motives should be distinct as well http://www.storywarren.com/confessions-chaos-and-the-path-that-leads-to-peace/
There’s no question that our culture is rattled; some say it’s the death rattle of the West.  There’s no question that ours is a raw-nerved, anxious generation, and it’s easy to get caught up in the noise and nervousness.  (I’m using the term “generation” in the way Scripture sometimes does, to indicate not so much chronology as character – see Psalm 24:1-6.)  It’s popular to mock millenials for being so utterly incapable of dealing with any stress whatsoever.   While stress and anxiety are more statistically evident among younger generations, it’s not just young people who’re struggling to keep it all together.  http://gentlereformation.com/2017/06/08/dont-become-a-hobbit-unless-god-calls-you-to/


Snapshots:
Ready for a little backyard exploring!
A girl and her cat!
This girl is ready for her first PGA Jr league game of the season!
Excited family, ready to go cheer on our little golfer girl!
Beautiful fun day watching her and her team-mates! Looking forward to the next game!
Our silly family 💓💓
My new Plumplanners happy mail!
Received a sweet card from a friend, and new book to review~Women who Move Mountains. How timely these arrived on the same day (God-coincidence), because the sweet sista who sent the card prayed for me!

So encouraged and challenged by Carey Scott's new book coming out soon...She shares messy beautiful stories, takes you through lots of scripture, and many of the women of the Bible and what we can learn from them. Reminds us the most important place to go is the Word and our purpose...
James 1:5 tells us… “If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it… and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking.”
If we’re going to be women with uncommon wisdom, we have to ask God for it. Because He is the only source of it.
“As an uncommon woman, you will find yourself:
1. relying on God above all else
2. full of hope in the hard places
3. standing up for what’s right
4. holding on to joy no matter what
5. able to step out of your comfort zone
6. willing to risk your reputation
7. resolved to not give up or give in
8. untangled from your past failures, fears and insecurities
9. capable of looking past your circumstances
10. understanding there is a calling on your life
11. trusting the plan and ways of God.”
Carey Scott #beUncommon #booklaunch

 ➽📓Linking up with Coffee for Your Heart weekly link-up 💕 and
From Messes to Messages   

Friday, June 2, 2017

Weekly encouragement, thoughts, and snapshots!

Wowzer, June is here!! Bring on summer!! This week has been a bit of a more restful week and much needed. It is so important we remember to slow down, enjoy the surroundings, to rest, and refuel our souls. I am not good at resting, but this year, I have made a point to take a sabbath weekly, sometimes that sabbath time is only a few hours. When you're a mom and a homeschooling mom at that, it is harder to find time to take a whole day, as there is always something needing to be done, but I am finding that most of the time what I think needs to be done, can actually wait. I have to tell myself, what matters most in the eyes of God! If you struggle with finding time to rest, to spend time more wisely, not feel guilty, to know what God's Word says about doing and resting..., Glynnis Whitwer is coming out with a new book, releasing next month just for us women! This book I read in a week, didn't realize there be so much in this book that would resonate with me (so it was hard to put down), as over the last couple years, I have become wiser in using time wisely, saying best yes and no's and going to God first. Over the next couple weeks I will share more about this book, but until then go check it out here: http://glynniswhitwer.com/doingbusybetter/

Hope you all had a wonderful week and are looking forward to summer, we don't have any vacation plans, as the kids have some activities they are involved in and we will spend time at home and explore locally. My plan though is for us to start back with our regular homeschool routine end of July. Currently, we are doing a lite summer session of learning, but with gardening, fishing, home projects, and summer activities we have plenty of learning opportunities to learn from. That is how we are different from the public school system (plus no testing), we use our everyday living to learn from, and that is many times the best way to learn than to sit down, read and write, and we choose to go year round, as learning is something that never stops and it is something that needs to be taught. Though I still haven't figured out how to put that all in a portfolio for TN homeschool requirements. However, it isn't something I worry about, as I see the progress my children make, and know that they know more than I ever did at their age, plus they are both avid readers, which is so important in this day and age. Where nowadays it seems that people don't want to read and if you read the research on this you would find why reading is so important, and what is happening to us, we have become so dependent on our mobile devices to do everything for us, even think for us, which is scary! I am doing a study of Colossians 3, and I am reminded of the importance of why to keep looking above. We need to keep looking up to where our eternal life is held with Christ, to seek heavenly things not earthly ways/things, to be alert, so that I can live for HIM, since Jesus gave His life for me and is my life. And possibly, maybe God knew there be a time, where He see His people all looking down?? Just a thought, anyhow....

Thankful for God's word. His Truth, never changing! Oh how this stirs me! May my actions and attitude reflect this. I have been raised up with Christ and died with Christ. My life is hidden with Christ, Christ is my life. I will appear with Christ in glory! "I am accepted. I am beloved. God is pleased with me because of Christ." Katie Orr's, Everday Obedience Bible study
Good reads from this week:
Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose? To whom do I belong? Where does my strength come from? http://rachaelcarman.com/practicing-humility/
#WorldChanger is everywhere.  Whether it’s heard at a preschool graduation, emblazoned on throw pillows, or printed on conference t-shirts, our society proclaims to us that we can all be world changers.  This idea, which has subtly saturated our culture and our churches, is problematic for several reasons, ranging from being simply untrue to narcissistic to anti-Gospel. https://www.oshmanodyssey.com/jensblog/the-truth-is-you-are-not-a-worldchanger-and-neither-am-i
Every day, our children are being molded and shaped by our actions and attitudes. These are God-given opportunities to influence the next generation. As our children grow, the kitchen table of influence extends to neighbors who come over for a playdate and friends they bring home from school. No matter what season you’re in, it will be over soon. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/exhausted-mom-lift-your-eyes
While you are finding your feet you can't help see what others are doing. But you can open your eyes wider to what you are accomplishing. Look at what you can do. You are faithful to get up every morning to do it. And if it isn't done as seemingly radiantly, or as grandiose, as others. It doesn't matter. Your gifts, talents, interests are being used in your family. They are radiant. Because no effort, no love, no good work, is invisible to God. http://momentswithmotherculture.blogspot.com/2017/05/finding-your-feet-part-one.html#.WSwhPsa1uM8
No matter what this year holds, God is with me. No matter what trials are coming, God is there. No matter what my family may go through, nothing can separate us from the love of God. I do not know, but God does. I merely need to wait upon Him; trusting and hoping in His power. https://thehomeschoolmomblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/29/for-what-do-i-wait/
Yes, this book, and bonus it also includes an icebreaker, study questions, and video’s to do this as a group study!!! http://lisawhittle.com/pywbo-book-study-videos/

Weekly snapshots:
These kids sang their hearts out for the Lord Sunday morning! This is some of our Sharpening Arrows kids!!
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. John 15:13 Remembering those who have sacrificed their lives in service for our country and thankful to Jesus for being our ultimate sacrifice!

My men, heading out fishing, while us gals relax on the deck!
Thankful for this view! These hummingbirds are impressive little creatures that God designed. What a reminder of how great our God is!
Afternoon reading! Homeschool reading~For The Children's Sake and new book Doing Busy Better, lots of notes from both books for me. Especially love this reminder from Glynnis, "The only thing that matters is what our heavenly Father thinks about us. And that is unchanging. We can rest knowing we are safe and secure in God's unconditional love...And once our identity is secured, we will no longer be women driven to find our worth in what we do." Child of God!
Fishing and Fishing!
Flowers are blooming!
Practicing math skills!
Fascinated by the hummingbirds, we counted 8 the other night!
Some nature journaling from the last week!

Beautiful sunset, made by our awesome God!
I finally have my very own set! Charlotte Mason education.

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From Messes to Messages