Monday, August 28, 2017

Deeper Waters ~ Book Launch

I recently finished an online book study of Denise Hughes new book ~ Deeper Waters~Immersed in the Life-Changing Truth of God's Word and just the title alone spoke much to me, because there are times when I have felt like I have been in "deep waters". However, it is the truth and hope of God that got me out of those deep waters (times of trouble, despair, anxiety, worries, wrong choices, etc..). I can't imagine going through life without the truth of hope and light God brings to us through His Word! So I was excited to be a part of the discussion and helping to launch her new book, which releases September 1. I also started reading Women of the World~How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin as this is a book we are reading through in the small group I am part of. I love how God lined up both of these books at the same time in my hands! They really do pair well together. I have been reading the Bible and doing Bible study for years, but these two books are showing me so much more that is found through God's Word and some new study habits to make. Denise shares her read it, write it, pray it method. She shares the difference between the telescope and microscope approach to Bible study.

You may be thinking, well don't I just have to read the Bible or parts of it to know God, no there is more! There may be times you read it and are confused or wonder is it really worth my time, which even I would tell you YES it is worth your time and should be worth your time! God's Words has been changing me and I am in awe of how wonderful and amazing our God is! Denise goes into depth about the reasons we need to be studying God's Word, with helpful suggestions and the transformation that takes place when we are.

It was only in the last few years that I personally read through the entire Bible and started studying one book at a time from the Bible. Before that, I did Bible study workbooks and groups, which are useful, but you need to be in God's Word yourself, so that you can hear from Him.  Jen Wilkin says, our hearts can not love, what the mind does not know. Which I never really thought of that way, but yes we need to let our minds know so we can transform our hearts, because our hearts can be liars/feelings can be liars. Denise shares the more time we spend in the Bible, the more familiar we will become with God's voice. That is so important, because not only are people watching us and how we act as Christians, but also, how are we going to be truth tellers if we don't know it ourselves. I also like how Denise emphasized the importance of writing the Word too and the research behind it. (Side note: Denise's Word Writer's Bible Studies are great, I have completed two of them!) We need to be like Ezra from the Bible, he wrote the Word, invited others to also, which made an impact that has carried on to even now! Ezra 7:10 Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the Lord, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel. Denise's new book Deeper Waters~Immersed in the Life-Changing Truth of God's Word, is broken down to, 4-parts based on that scripture message from Ezra. At the end of the book, Denise provides the readers with a read-through the Bible study plan, along, with a place to write out Psalm 119, and scriptures to read and pray through. She provides you with a step-by-step process to do during your reading of the Word, such as prayer, writing, suggested references to help get a better understanding of God's Word. This book though is so much more than a how to study the Bible and why, Denise also shares her walk of faith, which is a truly encouraging story of hope and redemption, that only God can do. So if you, like me desire to have a deeper relationship with God and know Him, learn to hear God's voice through His Word, and be able to discern what is true from untrue, then this is a highly recommended book!

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book that spoke to me:
  •  Many voices will compete for our attention, but we'll find our way when we choose to listen to the voice of a trusted Friend.
  • God's Word is the only unchanging eternal reality we can look to.
  • When the deep waters of suffering threaten to take the very breath right out of us, the deeper of life with God speak hope into the impossible.
  • Just as water sustains physical life. God's Word sustains spiritual life. 
  • Time alone in His presence does more to quiet my soul than anything this world can offer.
  • We're here to bring God glory, and we do that by becoming more like Him.
  • Writing the Word helps us slow down and prevents us from skimming too quickly over the text.
  • God gave us His Word so we'll consume it.
  • The voice of God never contradicts what is written in His Word.
  • A relationship grows when people invest in one another by spending time together, and our relationship with God is no different. We get to know Him when we read and study His Word. 
  • Scripture and prayer have become inextricably intertwined. The one informs the other, and the latter returns me to the former. 
  • God makes it clear we'll be held accountable for what we know and what we've been given.
  • When we plant our roots deep, nourished by the living water of the Word, we become a glorious display of the Lord's splendor.

Good news this book releases September 1, but if you order before that date, there are some really wonderful presale freebies, such as:
  • A FREE copy of Word Writers: James
    The Introduction and Ch. 1 of Deeper Waters 
  • A 365-Day Bible Reading Plan
  • 18 Scripture Prayer Cards
For more information about this book and more, go to Denise's web-site at  http://denisejhughes.com/deeper-waters/




Friday, August 25, 2017

August 25: Weekly rewind, commonplace notes, encouragement, and snapshots!

So hard to believe this is the last full week of August, where has summer gone? But I have to admit I am ready for some fall weather! We had a great week in homeschooling this week!! We finished week 5!! This week I visited with a friend about homeschooling, she and her husband had some questions and are looking into it for their family. Which I think is so wonderful and I love sharing our homeschool journey with others. I encourage anyone that is thinking about homeschooling to pray and do some research, you really can't go wrong homeschooling your children. My husband and I both agree it is one of the best decisions we made, even though at first he was a little reluctant. As a Christian, I also trust God has a plan and He will bring us through the other side of this in years to come. It isn't always easy, but oh so worth it and that is how most things in life here on earth are. This week was also our first day of co-op for the new homeschooling year! The kids are enjoying their classes and it is great to see so many of our friends again!

Going to keep this short this week, as I have some reading and book reviews to write about. So many great books are coming out over the next month, I am looking forward to sharing. This is definitely one of the benefits to blogging, being a part of book launches, but also I have made some great friends too through it.
Watch for some upcoming reviews on these books releasing soon: Deeper Waters by Denise Hughes, Becoming Mom Strong by Heidi St. John, Daring To Hope by Katie Davis Majors, Fierced Hearted by Holley Gerth, and Walk It Out by Tricia Goyer.

Commonplace Notes:
  • History is something worth digging into, because history is more than just a sense of dates on a time-line. History is really HIStory-God's story, the unfolding of the Master's plan. ~ Mom Strong
  • Love must be God-centered or it is not true love. ~ John Piper
  • Our souls wait for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name. Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us, according as we have hoped in You. ~Psalm 33:20-22
  • When we plant our roots deep, nourished by the living water of the Word, we become a glorious display of the Lord's splendor.~Deeper Waters
  • The heart cannot love what the mind does not know.~Women of the Word

Encouraging Reads:
I rarely read news articles posted on social media, I go to the source. If we are going to be reading these articles we need to also ponder the truth of it….As people of the Truth, we bear double responsibility to ensure our facts are straight, our knowledge is accurate, our convictions shaped by reality. Today, more than ever, we need to read deeply and consider wisely. Today, more than ever, we cannot allow our opinions to be formed by mere headlines. Until you read the article, don’t believe the headline! https://www.challies.com/articles/today-more-than-ever-read-beyond-the-headlines/
God of Truth, Logic, Wisdom, and direction http://sallyclarkson.com/blog/2017/8/17/prioritizing-gods-word
Check out this post and a new book coming soon, plus I am excited to help share the message…Have you heard the rumor? I have to admit it’s true. I am not a superwoman. Yes, that’s right. I’ll admit it here. http://www.triciagoyer.com/rumor-true/

We need to understand this deep in our souls and guard against it, because if we’re in a battle (and the Bible clearly says we are), it makes perfect sense that the devil would choose to use offenses to trap and enslave us. http://heidistjohn.com/blog/current-events/devastating-distraction-the-snare-of-offense

Peek into our week:

We spent another Saturday at the Nature Center, learning about amphibians and made toad-fairy houses.
 

We also ran into lots of familiar faces!
Special day, little man received his certificate and is ready for the next level of The Mailbox Club!
Thankful to have been able to watch the eclipse with my family!
Having fun with dad, doing a little yard work!

Hoping to catch the big one! Man and his dog! Oh Zeke!
Daddy's nail salon is now open!
As per my hubby, driving lessons now in session. He started them with how to stop and go, and ended with hot to whip a cookie! Eeck my mama heart!
One of my peaceful places!
Unique cloud formation! Made by our God!


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Worship~The Reason We Were Created


When you think of the word worship, what comes to mind? Here is the short definition; “to fall down before” or “bow down before.” Worship is a state (an attitude) of spirit. Long definition can be read here: https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-worship.html

After reading the newest book Worship~The Reason We Were Created, I see where I have failed to worship my God fully and how it is so much more than I thought. This book is a collection of insights about worship from A.W. Tozer, who is also one of my favorite theologians, as you probably have heard me mention before. As his work is always thought provoking and I have learned a lot from him. He always points everything back to God's Word. The Lord always works on me through his words.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, I desire to want to trust and obey God and to love Him with all my heart, soul, and mind as the scripture says, but often I may only do that half-heartily. I get distracted, I lose my focus, and yes can be selfish. God desires so much more than that from me or any of us who claim to be believers! God is our Creator, He has loved us since the beginning, He has chosen us through Jesus Christ to be holy people. How many of us are acting holy? To be honest, I do not always, I desire to be and fight it many times, but I also fail many times. I realize that what I need is to have a deeper relationship with God than I do some days. To do that I need to spend more time getting to know Him. The more I get to know Him the more my knowledge and love grows and isn't that the truth about with any relationship we have. To get to know our children, spouses, or friends, we need to spend time with them to know their likes and dislike. God even though He is a God of love, we often forget how much He hates sin. Even the tiniest sin is offensive to Him and we ought to remember that before going to Him in prayer or to worship Him. I think we as people sometimes take our salvation too lightly, yes we are saved by grace, but that doesn't give us a right to go on about our lives not letting God be in our daily lives. Here is the thing, He is there whether we like it or not, we may just not be following and are failing Him. We ought to be growing in our faith and letting the Holy Spirit work in us to transform us to be more Christ-like. Hey, I am guilty too of thinking well I am saved, life is good. Oh but there is so much more when we are worshiping our Father God and being obedient to Him. That feeling of joy filling you up and seeing things through His eyes that is one of the best blessings, I think of being in fellowship with God. Also hearing Him and being a part of HIStory!

Here some quotes from the book:
"We all should be willing to work for the Lord, but it is a matter of grace on God's part. I am of the opinion that we should not be concerned about working for God until we have learned the meaning and the delight of worshiping Him"
"These things happening all around us because we are not worshipers. If we truly among the worshipers we will not be spending our time with carnal or worldly religions projects."
"We are brought to God and to faith and to salvation that we might worship and adore Him. We do not come to God that we might be automatic Christians, cookie cutter Christians, Christians stamped out with a die."
"The beautiful part of worship is that it prepares you and enables you to zero in on the important things that must be done for God." 
"The tragedy that happened to Rome on the inside is the same kind of threat that can harm and endangers complacent and worldly church on the inside." 
"The Christian church was never intended to function as a current events forum or to become a religious theater." 
"We are responsible, we are accountable. How utterly tragic to be a barren fig tree, having the outward show of leaves and growth but never producing any fruit! How terrible to know that God intended us to mirror His beautiful light and to have to confess that we are shattered and useless, reflecting nothing!"
"God is not going to give you any approval or comfort until you turn from your known sin and seek His forgiveness and cleansing."
"When will they realize that if they could possibly "discover" God with the intellect, they would be equal to God?...All of the accumulated brainpower in the whole world could not reach God. But the living God, in the space of a short second of time, can reveal Himself to the willing spirit of man." 
"And if there's anything that we've got to have in the church of Christ, it is that we should get back to  the God of our fathers, back again to the holy God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not to the god of our imagination, not to the weak god whom we push around, but to the greatest God almighty."

In this book, you will also find a chapter on all the wrong kinds of worship we do. The chapter on genuine worship and how it leaves us when we are genuinely worshiping as we should is where I want to be. "God asks us to seek His face in repentance and love, and we then find all of His gracious fullness awaiting." To truly worship as the scripture says in Matthew 22:37 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Of course, I highly recommend this book, but it won't be an easy read, you will be challenged in your faith, or at least I have been. It will leave you feeling convicted, but it is a good conviction. So if you are not in for that, then you will want to pass, but I say read it not just for you, but also for those around you. If we want change, we need to be willing participants first!  





Moody Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my personal review of this book. My thoughts and review are my own.

Friday, August 18, 2017

August 18: Weekly rewind, commonplace notes, encouragement, and snapshots!

This is a week of celebrations, praises to my Lord!! Every day we need to be praising our Lord and this week reminded me, even the little things are praise worthy. These are a few of things I am thankful for this week:
  • Hearing God answer prayers! Though He always does, sometimes we have to wait and sometimes it is a different answer then we expect, but we trust He knows best.
  • I had two mole biopsies done and they came back benign, this is a first, as many before have come back pre-cancerous.
  • Thankful that we have completed our first month of homeschooling for the new year. They are days when my husband asks me how it went and I say well I didn't bang my head on the wall, because there are those moments when I would like to. However, those moments are few, thankfully! I certainly wouldn't change a thing. A lady said to me, if that were me I would just send them to school. Sure there be days I like to do that, but the teaching and learning together is worth it in the end. Sometimes we have to do hard things for good things to come. Think of Jesus on the cross, He certainly did a hard thing for us, and it resulted in saving sinners like me!
  • I am glad I said yes 14 years ago to going on out on a first date with my man! We have had quite the journey so far, yes there have been some hard times, but all the good times far out way those times and they only made us better together! I love him more and more, and can not imagine what my life would be like without him.
  • I am thankful that our small group Bible study is back meeting regularly, oh how I miss our study time and am thankful for these ladies that encourage me, pray for me, and are there for me. These two ladies are an answer to prayer also!

Of course, there are times when it is hard to find why to be thankful, but it is then that we need to be most thankful, because of Christ, we have hope, we have promises from our God, we have a future, we have breath!

Commonplace Notebook:
  • When we're immersed in the grace and truth of Jesus Christ, we find the path that leads us home.~Deeper Waters
  • There's only one foundation that will last us as individuals or as a nation, regardless of the pressure of the situation: Jesus! He never changes. And He will never leave you or forsake you. - Build your life on the solid rock of Jesus Christ! ~Fixing My Eyes on Jesus
  • Moms need to be strong in the Lord and in power of His might. We dare not rely on human strength for the current battle we're facing in culture. ~MomStrong
  • Our priority must be hearing from the Lord in every aspect of our lives. If we're not listening for the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, we're more likely to fall victim to the latest and greatest parenting fad or to get sucked into the trap of believing we can do it without the Lord - and that's exactly what the enemy wants.~MomStrong
  • As parents, we're accountable for training our children in righteousness. The results are up to God. ~MomStrong
  • We are brought to God and to faith and to salvation that we might worship and adore Him. We do not come to God that we might be automatic Christians, cookie-cutter Christians, Christians stamped out with a die. God has provided His salvation that we might be, individually and personally, vibrant children of God, loving God with all our hearts and worshipping Him in the beauty of holiness. ~Worship A.W. Tozer



Encouraging Reads:


We can be faithful workers, loving parents and diligent dreamers. Like farmers who plant and water, we do what’s within our realm of responsibility. But in the end, we leave it all in God’s hands. http://holleygerth.com/good-news/
Many good things have come into our lives because of technology, but we often miss the subtle ways that what we perceive as blessings can draw us away from the Lord. Let us remember that we need to stop, turn everything off, and give our whole selves to the Lord in the discipline of prayer. http://scottslayton.wpengine.com/2017/08/10/pray-digital-age/
The point is to introduce your children to the true, the beautiful, and the good. To shape their bodies, minds, and souls. To join the great conversation and discuss what it means to be human. http://classicallyhomeschooling.com/delightful-homeschool/


Snapshots, peek into our week:
We went to the Wild Life Refuge and learned about hummingbirds. Crafts and banding!
Hummingbird getting banded.
A hummingbird ready to go!

Eagle's nest and a beautiful view of LBL!
God makes beautiful things! Sunset!
Bible and art lessons, talking donkey!
Yesterday was 14 years ago when I said yes to going on a date with this man. Oh how I love him more and more!!
Looking forward to this new book to review! Tozer is one of my favorites!




Monday, August 14, 2017

More Than Just Making It ~ Book Launch Review!

Thankful to have been part of the book launch for Erin Odom's, new book coming out September,  More Than Just Making It~Hope for the Heart of the Financially Frustrated. This is a good book for those starting out managing their finances or are struggling financially. She pointed out many helpful saving tips, many which we have already been doing, along with providing some ideas for those that are looking to make a little more income to help their financial situation. I do think that sometimes we forget the importance of managing our money and what happens when we don't. She talks about the problems that many American's have and that is a spending problem, but there are also so many that are just are not able to make enough to make ends meet because they have an income problem. She shares their family story, the time they spent on government aide and what they learned from it. It is a touching story, and she brought up some great thoughts for me to ponder on. I enjoyed the information from other financial professionals and quotes from other books on spending/saving, along with her biblical perspective. One she does recommend, Dave Ramsey, which we did years ago and is one program I would highly recommend. In addition, she touches a little on the American culture and how we are spoiled with excess, to which I would agree! We American's do not realize the comforts we have because we live in the US. To find out more about this book, visit the web-site:  http://morethanjustmakingit.com/  where you will find a free 5-day course on Eating Well On A Budget, and some preorder goodies.

This was my favorite part of the book, this reminder of God's provisions:

Favorite quotes:



Friday, August 11, 2017

August 11: Weekly rewind, commonplace notes, encouragement, and snapshots!

You know God calls us to be encouragers, it is written in His Word several times and oh how important it is! This world is full of busyness, troubles, and yes the mundane can be tiresome when we lose our focus. Oh, how I need Jesus every moment! I have been reminded of that lately, how it feels when someone does notice or shares their heart with you, or shares a word of thanks, card or prayer. It really motivates you to keep going, do more, to remind you what you do matters. However, there are going to be times when you won't hear any words or maybe if like me there are days when it happens to just be the kids and I. You have taught them, feed them, played, made sure they are clean, have clean clothes and dishes, took them to their activities, kept them safe, etc...and those are the days that you might be wondering, did I make a difference today, was I really helpful, did I do it well, and maybe it feels like the movie "Groundhound Day". When we start to feel that way, we need to remember we have a God that cares, is with us constantly, and I feel God is an encourager, if we seek Him we will be amazed at just how much He provides for us. He provides daily, sometimes it is subtle ways, a reminder through a bird or a butterfly, or our kids smiles! I have a friend that is constantly looking for His reminders in heart imagines she finds daily from rocks, to leaves, etc... His Word is full of encouragement and reminders, He cares, He notices, He knows our hearts, He knows what we need, but do we forget to seek Him? God doesn't hide from us or forget us. We often times are the ones hiding and forgetting But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. ~Deuteronomy 4:29 There are several places that God reminds us in His Word to seek Him. I don't want to forget, it is why it is so important that I get in the Word daily! God also gave us each other, so let us not forget to reach out to one another! Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11 And moms, remember what you are doing is making a difference, you are raising the next generation, so we need to be encouraging them on and to be strong in the beliefs of God and His truths! But we can't do it if we are not in the Word ourselves and living it out!

God has been working on me lately in my parenting and also how to get deeper in His Word, through some great books lately and community He has surrounded me with. If you are looking for some helpful books on how to study the Bible deeper, I recommend reading these two books (they really go great together) and I will be sharing more about Deeper Waters as it releases soon:



And for moms in today's world, this is a great read, which will release soon:

In homeschooling news this week, well it has been going good, except we did not like our spelling curriculum, so I sold it and we started new, it is Charlotte Mason spelling through School House Teachers, and this week so much better! If you don't know about School House Teachers, go check them out, it is online downloadable curriculum, videos, education and Bible studies for all ages. I have been a member for two years, and so far we have used some of the art lessons and video lessons for science and Bible. We are also using the grammar lessons from there this year, which is Charlotte Mason styled learning. It has really been great supplement material to use with our main core Sonlight. However, you could make your whole curriculum from there site as they have all subjects.

Commonplace Notebook:
  • The God of the universe, is all powerful and all loving! I praise you!
  • When you obey God, you will find Him at work in your life, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. When you live a life that is clean and pure on the inside, you will shine more brightly on the outside.~Women Who Move Mountains
  • We clearly need God, not just once for salvation, but constantly and continually and in more ways than we can count.~Gospel Centered Mom
  •  Love must be God-centered, or it is not true love. ~ John Piper 
  • God does not command you to be successful. He commands you to be faithful.~Fixing My Eyes On Jesus
  • The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’  -Billy Graham


Encouraging Reads:
What does faith look like for you in the ordinary and mundane of today? https://www.reviveourhearts.com/true-woman/blog/instant-coffee-instant-faith/
I suspect our journey to health lies in a few things: truly prioritizing what we say matters, developing disciplines and habits, waging war against distraction, and committing deeply to a community that will read along with us, as well as help us translate God’s truths into real actions in our daily lives.  https://www.oshmanodyssey.com/jensblog/man-cannot-live-on-spiritual-mcnuggets-alone
Just as rain comes from the sky to break forth new life, so His word does not come back empty, but breaks us free from emptiness.
There are 23 words every actual waking second yanking on our attention spans, and 4 billion people every minute on this planet of 7 billion are clicking and liking words on Facebook, and there are words falling on us, failing us, failing to soften the soil of our being so abundant life can break forth.
When there is an illiteracy of His Word, there’s a warped reading of everything.
When there is a daily reading of God — we can read all the crazy of life.
Read God — and you can read life. http://annvoskamp.com/2017/07/whats-the-greatest-challenge-facing-people-of-faith-the-church-right-now/
We live in a world that tries to convince us that it is all about me. Me time, my wants, my needs, my desires, anything I want. We should get as much as we can from this world that promises it all but leaves us feeling empty…Love her message https://mistyphillip.com/2017/08/07/its-not-all-about-me/
But with homeschooling, you don’t have to teach to the test. You can teach to your reality. https://www.sonlight.com/blog/same-homeschool-experience.html
We do not, and are not, to have faith in man or in ourselves. Our faith is in God alone. And just like that, I begin to hear the words and music filling my heart and mind: http://www.joanneviola.com/2017/08/in-christ-alone/



You’re disoriented, and I am the way.
You’re confused, and I am the truth.
You’re fearful, and I am the life.
http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-most-controversial-claim-jesus-made


Snapshots, peek into our week:

Working on drawing. He is always smiling and I love him for that, he bring lots of joy and adventures!

Such focus and attention to her project.

A couple of our art and Bible lessons we have completed. The Ark of the Covenant and giant grapes!

Ready for church, love my family, missing the hubs. Sunday is my favorite day of the week, we love the church! Aidan said, he wishes he could go to church everyday!
Little man working on writing and drawing his Bible verse Psalm 1:3-4 The kind of person is like a tree that is planted near a stream of water. It always bears its fruit at the right time.
This girl has such a heart for God and encourages me. Writing and drawing scripture.
A beautiful night for fishing and time with my husband!
Zeke is living it up!
Family outing, golf. My man!
My golfer girl!
Family time on the golf course. Impressive golf course! I go for the scenry!
The kids had fun with little frogs they found and my hub snapped this pic of them. Guess they were getting ready to go off roading!
This is really the life of Zeke most days, lazy dog! Ruff-life!
Kids have been doing some nature art drawing on there own in the afternoons, love there creativity!