30 Things I’ve Learned {In My 30 Years}

30 Things I have learned

I’m celebrating a birthday that is bringing a whole new decade along with it. The big 3-0! I started to jot down a few things that I’ve learned and thought that maybe someone could benefit from my wisdom (or lack there of). There are many things I wish I would’ve known when I was younger, but I’m thankful for everything that has lead me to know what I do now.

Here goes!

1. Life as a kid was easy. Come on, don’t you remember thinking it was the end of the world when you couldn’t go to a friend’s house or go skating on Friday night because you got a D on an assignment? Or what about that bag of gummy sharks at the candy store you wanted, but couldn’t afford because you blew your allowance on some other gummy candy earlier in the week. These were our biggest problems. Need I say more?

2. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Yeah, yeah. Textbook, I know. (Pun intended) Give a person time before you decide what you think they are. You wouldn’t want that same book to be judging you by your cover. Give people a chance. I have found that prejudging a person before truly knowing them can lead to a complete misrepresentation of who that person really is.

3. It always gets better. Though I’ve been through some pretty rough times in my 30 years, I have learned that anger, pain, frustration, and struggles always get better. It just takes time. You may never forget the things that happened, but with time the direct effect lessens. Every day is a new day to begin again.

4. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Believe me, if there was a money tree, I would have found it. Budgeting and making sure to live within your means is one of the most important parts of life.

5. Change your atmosphere. Don’t let your atmosphere change you. Don’t become someone else because of who or what you’re around. Be a light to where you go and shine bright.

6. Floss. Yes, I went there. I am preaching to myself, even as I enter my thirties. No one likes gingivitis breath. Floss daily, just do it. (And I’ll try to remember too)

Live in the moment

7. Live in the moment. Though I know this, it’s still one of the hardest things to live out. I’m a think-aheader so being present can be hard. If you can learn to live within the now, you can truly make the most of your memories. You’ll also gain a new perspective when you pay attention to what’s in front of you right now.

8. Love wins. I have been known to act in revenge and hate when met with the same. But the ultimate win is when you show love to someone who doesn’t deserve it.

9. Don’t diet. With what I’ve experienced in these 30 years, I am firm in the fact that diets will never work long term. Adapt your eating habits to a plan for eating that includes everything you like and keep it all in moderation. Life is too short to deprive yourself of the good stuff.

10. Say no. People pleasing can be destructive. Say no when you don’t want to say yes so that when you say yes, it means more. No does not mean never, it simply means not right now.

11. Be in pictures. Don’t go through life stepping out of pictures because of x,y,z. Take pictures, document your adventures, and make memories. Don’t look back and wish you had taken more pictures with so & so. Do it now!

12. Your childhood shapes you. Like it or not, how you are raised and what your family was like will shape what your future family will become. Whether by good example and striving to take on those characteristics or by bad and the want to do it the opposite. It shapes the person you become. Remember this as you raise children of your own.

Gift

13. Forgive. Give grace. I’m not just talking about praying over your dinner. Others will disappoint you. You will disappoint yourself. Learn to give grace in order to release yourself of the baggage that unforgiveness can pile on. Grace is one gift that Jesus gave us that we can also give others.

14. Surround yourself with those that love you. Life isn’t easy. It will bring many trials and it was never meant to be lived alone. It’s always good to have friends who will be there for you at a moment’s notice. It’s good to be the same for someone else, too.

15. Music heals. Sometimes saying words or hearing someone’s advice just won’t do. There is power in music. In my teenage years, music helped me cope with situations when I couldn’t express my thoughts. To this day, worship music has become one of the best ways for me to decompress. 

16. Save, save, save. Save a little, if not a lot, at all times. You may feel a little sting at first, but you will thank yourself later. A little financial discipline will go a long way. It’s the easiest way to plan for an emergency, or perhaps a cruise. 😉

17. Shop around. Don’t buy the first one you see. Make sure that same thing isn’t cheaper elsewhere. Stores bank on convenience, yet it’s not always convenient to spend 25% more to save time. This is especially true on big ticket items.

18. Don’t believe everything that you hear (or see). Truth will always be proven in one way or another. Discern what you believe before you jump into something.

19. Mistakes are lessons in disguise. Hindsight is 20/20 eh? In the middle and after a mistake it can be hard to see, but down the road we learn from them. Just like a child who touches a hot pan feels the consequences of his action, he learns to not touch a hot pan again. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes that make you smarter and teach you a lesson.

20. Be joyful. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Always be joyful”. While the always part isn’t easy, try to find the joy in things, people, and places. Laugh at stupid and silly things. Don’t always take things seriously and find joy in the mundane.

21. Don’t make hasty decisions. In the wake of emotion or impulse, it’s easy to go with first thought. Take the time to weigh the options and formulate pros and cons for your decision. This makes regret less likely and boosts confidence in yourself.

22. Cheaper isn’t always better. While I am a diehard frugal freak, I have most definitely learned that buying things because they are cheaper doesn’t mean they are better. You don’t want to purchase a cheaper version only to have it break or simply not work and then have to buy another. Then you may have just as well bought the more expensive version in the first place.

23. Follow your gut. Hearts can be mislead by fleshy emotion. Most often, I go with my gut feeling. I have learned that this is often the Holy Spirit giving you a nudge even when it may seem hard or inconvenient.

Pray Without Ceasing

24. Pray without ceasing. At any given moment, there is a reason to pray. From thanksgiving, to praise, to petitions. God wants us to come to Him for every need and praying keeps us in that relationship with Him.

25. God first. It’s hard to imagine putting anything before our family, our friends, our husband, our wife, our children, or even ourselves. Living our life for God and by His Word means that all those other things will fall into place just right. Putting God first means your time, your money, your faith, your friends, etc. Seek Him first and everything else will fall into place.

26. Slow down. Life is fast-paced and it only gets faster the older you get. Find the time to slow down and rest when you get a chance. You do not always have to be doing something.

27. A parent’s music from their childhood will always be weird to their kids. When I was young, my parents would play their oldies and think they were the most awesome tunes ever to hit the airwaves.I would think, “uuuummmm, THIS was cool?” I thought my Nsync and Nirvana would never be this way to my kids, but  they don’t understand it. I think this theory will carry on for generations to come.

28. Be an encouragement. The bible says that sweet words are like honey. Speaking encouragement over people can change their entire day. This also goes for yourself. Find the good in everyone and tell them about it. P.S.- tell your parents that their music is awesome.

29. The best way to get social is to get off social media. While Facebook can be fun (and addicting), it’s real relationships in real life that make a true difference. Balance is key. Don’t let the life in front of you be overlooked by the one in your hand or at your fingertips.

thirty

30. THIRTY IS STILL YOUNG. This last year leading to thirty has been full of the realization that I can still consider this a young age. There is more life left in this body of mine. More years to enjoy God’s creation and love. And more years to fulfill my purpose. I will embrace it and try to live by the very things that I have learned within them.

Cheers to many more years to come!

Savor: A Devotional For Living Abundantly

Savor 1

I was pretty excited when Family Christian asked me to review a brand new devotional that recently came out. Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are by Shauna Niequist came out in March and I heard great things about it. So I set out to get my hands on a copy and to my surprise (sorta), they were out at my local store. Next thing I knew, I received this opportunity to review it and of course I said YES!

Savor 2

A few things I want to point out about this devotional:

1) It is simple. This isn’t a super deep, studying, and very involved devo. Shauna is to the point sharing her heart through her stories.

2) It makes you think. It may be simple, but there is still time for reflection. The Bible verses and thought-provoking questions are great for helping you to relate each daily reading to your walk with God.

3) It is real. My favorite part of every day is reading Shauna’s experiences. Some make me laugh. Some make me cry. But they are all accessible and remind me that we’re all human. They truly are encouraging.

4) It has recipes too! I loved coming across all the recipes. Each one had a little story to go along with is so you know that it is a Shauna favorite.

This is a great devotional for daily encouragement. We all need this daily. It is all about living abundantly where you are, as you are. Spending this time each day in God’s presence and reflecting on His love for you and your walk with Him is so very important.

I am thankful for resource like this one!

You can get Savor by Shauna Niequist at Family Christian right now for $16.99. Or you can enter my giveaway and get a copy for free!

 Savor 3

Savor Devotional by Shauna Niequist Giveaway

Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are Giveaway

I was provided with a copy of Savor by Family Christian for review purposes. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

This giveaway will end on Thursday, June 18th at 11:59pm CT. I will contact the winner on Friday, the 19th and they will have 24 hours to respond. If I have not heard from them, I will name a new winner. US entries only.

Let The Journey Begin

Let The Journey Begin

It’s hard to believe that I graduated from high school 12 years ago. Wow does that make me feel old!

It feels like it was just yesterday. It was such an exciting time!

13 years of school was about to come to an end. I felt like such an adult all dressed up in my cap and gown.

Isn’t it funny how much more life there is to be had after graduation? I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was just the beginning. Each year another chance to learn and grow into the person that God made me to be.

I remember thinking that I already had life figured out. And in the last 12 years, God has shown me that I, in fact, do not have it figured out. That I will constantly need His help to get through each and every trial and tribulation.

Sometimes, I wish that I could go back in time and tell myself things that I know now.

You know what though? I am thankful to look back over those years during my journey so far and see where God has been there helping me every step of the way. I see His mark in so many places and though I had no idea what I was doing, God did.

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Let the Journey Begin

Max Lucado has a book for every season of life I have decided. He didn’t forget the graduates! I got the chance to check out Let the Journey Begin which makes a great gift for those who have just walked across that stage for their diploma.

It is chocked full of quotes, scriptures, inspirations, and encouragements for those setting out on a new journey. They are excerpts from Max Lucado’s other books that are so full of wisdom.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “You will never forgive anyone more than God has forgiven you.” So. good.

This is one of those books that makes for an easy devotional in the morning or just a quick pick me up when you need some direction. PERFECT for your graduate. I would have LOVED to get this book when I graduated.

Family Christian is a great place to pick this one up. Let The Journey Begin is $14.99 right now. You could get this as a graduation gift or even just as a little something to slip into their things as they pack up for college. A great reminder that God is with them everywhere they go.

Enjoy and God bless!

I was provided with a copy of Let the Journey Begin by Family Christian. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Leaning On You

Leaning On You

   

Between the peaceful moments of opening my eyes to a new morning full of possibilities and mercy, to closing my eyes and leaving my cares behind as I drift off to sleep, I find myself struggling with the worldly things. Things that are so unimportant, yet feel as though the world itself will end if I don’t figure them out right. now.

You know the things.

The ones that pretty much suck the life out of my body as though it was a bag of lunchmeat being put through a FoodSaver. You can watch every ounce of air slowly being siphoned so that nothing gets out and nothing gets in. These very things that I nonchalantly might say don’t bother me, find a way to push the buttons that I pretend I don’t have. 

I often feel like siphoned salami. Not a very pretty analogy, but true to the way I really feel.

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

It’s in the middle of the mess (there is always a mess) and among the mishaps and crazy that I find the very end of myself. Well hello there scraggly, beat down, and frustrated lady. We meet again.

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. – John 6:63

Can you relate? That place during your day when it feels as though Satan has placed you at the top of his list. The place where even the stranger who doesn’t see you smile at them and doesn’t smile back at you can make you curl up and cry. I end up in this place all too often.

I imagine Jesus watching over me as I have my little pity parties. (Heh, I’m sure that He gets a kick out of my toddleresque tantrums) How He must grieve to see me overwhelmed, stressed, and consumed by the cares of this world.

Then I imagine myself walking over to Jesus and leaning on His shoulder. He wipes my tears and tells me that I am His daughter. He reminds me that a dirty kitchen, a garden full of weeds, and a stranger that doesn’t smile at me means nothing in the light of eternity spent with Him. I tell Him that I need Him more than He will ever know. Of course, He tells me that He knows everything and that I didn’t even have to say that and then I giggle. We have a little heart to heart and my day is immediately better. 

I lean on Jesus often. It sometimes takes getting to the end of my rope. To the place where I can no longer stand. Let’s lean on Him. His arms are everlasting. When all else fails, they will still be there spread wide for us to take refuge within. Deuteronomy 33:27 says, The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. He drives out the enemy before you; he cries out, ‘Destroy them!’ 

Can I get an AMEN?! The fact that He is eternal means that will always be able to lean on Him. What a comforting thing to reflect on when you’re in the middle of one of “those days”. The enemy may have you at the top of his list, but Jesus has you IN HIS ARMS.

Let It Be Jesus

One of my favorite worship singers, Christy Nockels, came out with a new cd recently and I was floored to be able to review it thanks to Family Christian! Christy’s songs have a way of simply leading me to His presence. Let It Be Jesus, I think, is her best yet!

The entire cd is amazing, but my favorites are:

My Anchor
The Wondrous Cross
Let It Be Jesus
Jesus, Rock of Ages
Leaning On You, Jesus

Leaning On You, Jesus has become my fave! I’ve got this one on repeat in my car right now. You can bet I have some serious mini worship sessions! My girls love it, too. 🙂

Let It Be Jesus 2

 

WANT TO WIN A COPY?! Family Christian gave me one to give away to one of YOU!

You can purchase a copy of Christy Nockels, Let It Be Jesus along with a ton of other awesome music over at Family Christian!

Christy Nockels: Let It Be Jesus
This giveaway will end on Wednesday, May 20th at 11:59pm CT. I will contact the winner on Thursday, May 21st and they will have 24 hours to respond. If I have not heard from them, I will name a new winner.

I was provided with the Christy Nockels CD for review purposes and provided with another for a giveaway. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

The Truth About The Lies

Truth About the Lies

 

We spend hours upon countless hours being fed lies by the enemy. His only purpose on this earth is to do everything that he can to screw up our lives in whatever way he can. It’s a good thing that the Lord placed a warning about this in His Word, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;” (John 10:10). The most important part of that verse is the Truth that is declared with it… “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Even with His warning, it seems as though we still struggle with those lies. Even with His declaration of Truth in that scripture, along comes another attack on our identity and yet, we still flinch. I know I do.

It’s a constant battle. 

But there is something that I want you to know. You don’t HAVE to listen to it. You don’t HAVE to flinch. In fact, you can shoot back at the enemy with the sword of Truth which is the Word of God.

The enemy says you’re alone.
God says not to fear, that HE is always with you. (Isaiah 41:10)

The enemy says you need to see it to believe it.
God says you walk in faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

The enemy says that no one understands you.
God says that you can’t even measure the depth of His understanding. (Isaiah 40:28)

The enemy says that God is completely unapproachable.
God says come BOLDLY to His throne for heaps of grace! (Hebrews 4:16)

The enemy says worry about this and worry about that.
God says to worry about NOTHING. (Philippians 4:6-7)

The enemy says you have no value.
God says you are of great value to Him. (Luke 12:6-7)

The enemy says you aren’t perfect yet. Keep trying.
God says that you’re perfect just the way He made you. (Psalm 139:13-14)

The enemy says that God’s way is too hard.
God says that His way is easy, light, and will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28-30)

The enemy says to hold grudges.
God says forgive your neighbors. (Ephesians 4:32)

The enemy says to give into your temptations.
God says to watch and pray that you may not sin. (Matthew 26:41)

The enemy says to hate others.
God says to love them. (Proverbs 10:12)

The enemy says to fight back against your enemies.
God says to trust Him for judgement. (Proverbs 20:22)

The enemy says give into becoming like the world around you.
God says don’t be like the world, be like Him. (Romans 12:22)

Just about anything that Satan says to you is a lie. You can bet that the Word of God has a weapon of Truth against each and every attempt that he makes. I hope this encourages you to stay strong and stand up for yourself in times of worry or struggle. The Bible was written for these very circumstances and for believers to fight back against the lies.

You are loved. You are treasured. You are MIGHTY, STRONG, and HEALED in Jesus Christ. Don’t let the enemy take what is rightfully yours in Christ. Declare these things that God says about you boldly!

It’s Ok to Ask For Help

 

Feet

 

Have you ever felt alone in your struggles?

A few years ago, the inner battle that bound me inside ate away at my mood, my identity, and my life. It became what I thought was the norm. I wouldn’t  talk about it, but accepted that it was “just the way I was”. Struggles with depression, anxiety and overcome by feelings of inadequacy were all a part of everyday life. With two little girls to take care of, I had to put on a happy face.

I had to suffer alone. Or so I thought.

God has a way of exposing issues to the light doesn’t He? You can push those things deep down, but He will find a way to grab your hurt and your pain and  bring them up to the surface like a fishing bobber. No matter what we do, there is no keeping them below the surface.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7

God began revealing Himself to me. I was reading His Word and learning things about myself that I didn’t know. Like the fact that no matter what I have done, He loves me. Or the fact that I don’t have to be perfect. (Can I get a what, what?!)

I was going through the motions of what I could do for myself. Even with little bits of relief here or there, my anxiety remained inside, fighting to control my mood and emotions. I struggled for so long wrestling with my pride, shame, and similar demons. All on my own. There had to be another way. Journaling was big for me, but it didn’t talk back.

Counseling you say? Yeeeeeeeeeah…that would mean that I wasn’t trusting in God. Right? That’s how I felt anyway. It kept me from releasing what I was bottling up. I prayed for God to take it away.

He didn’t.

I could tell this was one of those lessons that God wanted to teach me by walking it out. I secretly hate that phrase. Walking it out sounds like a big old long walk in a ridiculously difficult park. However, sometimes God doesn’t move until you do. I started looking into counseling and asking around for recommendations for biblical counselors in my area. I found that several of my friends went to counselors. I wasn’t alone!

There is no shame in getting help for things that keep you from experiencing Jesus.

That is one of the enemy’s favorite moves. Anything that he can do to get us feeling shame or pride. Keeping those issues inside and thinking we’re the only one. Chances are that you are NOT the only one going through it. 

It’s ok to ask for help. Whether it’s from a close friend, family member, or a counselor. It is ok to seek advice from others. Did you get that? It is OK! Make sure that it’s someone that you trust with your heart.

One of the best things that God has shown me over the last few years is that we are ALL jacked up. For real. There is not one who is righteous. God does not want us sitting around in despair. Reach out if you are in need. God places people in our life for these very purposes.

In the meantime, be sure to pray. Pray for the removal of all worry, anxiety, or depression. Pray for God to guide you to a person who can help you through it. Pray for His peace through your storm. Pray for His presence to wash over you and help you see that He is there.

I pray the same thing for myself often. Life is not without trials. I find myself needing help more often than not. I am thankful for the guidance and wise counsel of others. I will leave you with this verse that gets me every time. It’s a reminder that no matter what I’m going through, Jesus loves me so much that He went through much worse for me to be FREE of the very things that are weighing on me.

overcome

 

 

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe

Miracle

 

Max Lucado, my favorite encouraging Christian author surprised me recently with a new book. I have found so much comfort and healing among the pages of his powerful writings. So of course I wanted to hear about this new one.

This is not just any book, but a novel. How’s that for a little twist in your Max Lucado collection? I have read some of his children’s books that were fiction, but I’ve never seen him write a novel.

Family Christian sent me a copy of Miracle at the Higher Ground Cafe to check out. The cover itself being different from what I’m used to, (very cute!), but the story line brings out everything that I would expect of Max.

The setting? An old-fashioned coffee shop with the newness of its grand reopening.
The characters? Interesting and charming at the same time.
The story? A heartwarming one that features the main character, Chelsea’s struggles as a single mom and coffee shop owner, and the help of her guardian angel, Manny which we may never have seen coming.

She wants to revamp the coffee shop and when other methods (ahem- even cupcakes) don’t work, the cafe begins offering internet to draw new customers. Boy did that change things! A mysterious blog comes up and allows the patrons to ask God anything and receive actual answers. Wouldn’t that be nice!

Miracle 2

If you’re a Max fan like me, be sure to check out Miracle at the Higher Ground Cafe for yourself! The chapters are short and the cover is pretty. Not to mention that there is a lot of talk about lattes and God! French Vanilla with whip and yes please!

You can get this one written by Max Lucado with Candace Lee and Eric Newman at Family Christian. Stop by and check it out!

I was provided with a copy of Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe for review purposes by Family Christian. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Grasping Easter On Calvary’s Hill

Over the last few years I’ve felt a tug on my heart around Easter. Not the usual tug of simple remembrance, but a real tug like God wanted me to know something.

I’ve known the meaning of Easter for as long as I can remember. I’ve gone through the motions, but it’s only been recently that I felt God seem to say, “I want you to hear my son’s story. I want you to feel deep compassion for Christ who came to save your life on the cross.”

I have watched The Passion of The Christ many times. It’s pretty easy to see those scenes and to think, “Wow this is terrible. Oh my goodness. Lord have mercy on him.” etc. But I really wanted to get into the word and into the things that Jesus said and did leading up to and during his Crucifixion and also when he rose again in glorious victory.

As painful as it was, it was supposed to happen.

Yet it was our grief he bore, our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, for his own sins! But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed—and we were healed! We—every one of us—have strayed away like sheep! We, who left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet God laid on him the guilt and sins of every one of us! – Isaiah 53:4-6

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

It was God’s will that his son die for our sins. It was this way from the beginning. It’s hard to believe that the purpose of one’s life would be to die, but we NOW know that he didn’t die and that he LIVES! So thankful for his Spirit living inside me.

The devil must really have been laughing to himself as this went down, but you know I think God was probably snickering himself. This terrible scene lead to the salvation of the WORLD. Hallelujah!

Even Jesus feared.

How human does this make our Savior! I’m not the only one…

 He took Peter, James, and John with him and began to be filled with horror and deepest distress. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is crushed by sorrow to the point of death; stay here and watch with me.” 35 He went on a little farther and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the awful hour awaiting him might never come. 36 “Father, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take away this cup from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.” – Mark 14: 33-26

He walked away, perhaps a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed this prayer: “Father, if you are willing, please take away this cup of horror from me. But I want your will, not mine.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him, 44 for he was in such agony of spirit that he broke into a sweat of blood, with great drops falling to the ground as he prayed more and more earnestly. – Luke 22:41-42

Jesus wanted the fear and impending circumstances to go away if it was God’s will. He feared so much he sweat blood. I have been in some serious fear before, but never sweat blood. His was completely warranted I would say.

I love that he said “I want your will, not mine”. Thank you God!

This is how much he loved us.

A man that loved a broken world, DIED for us so that we may live. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. When we’re wallowing in lack of self-worth we should always remember that there is One who loves us so very much that He sent his only son to die for us. 

With Easter coming up, let’s really try to grasp this.

And let’s also grasp the JOY that came with the Resurrection of that same selfless man! He is alive! Not even DEATH could hold down the Savior. He overcame so that each and every one of us can overcome.

I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world. – John 16:33

I adore this verse. Makes me think of Jesus as saying, “Hey, you’re gonna go through some crap, but don’t lose heart, I’ve overcome the worst for you!”

On Calvarys Hill 2

If you’re really wanting some great reading leading up to Easter this year, I have just the thing for you. My favorite author, Max Lucado has a great little companion for getting into the season. On Calvary’s Hill is 40 readings for the Easter Season.

It’s a compilation from several of his books that relate to Easter and what happened to Jesus during this time. It has got some really great stories and goes into pretty much every aspect of the Crucifixion and Resurrection story. But with an awesome Max Lucado twist, of course.

I especially love that it’s excerpts from so many of his awesome books. Put together they tell the incredible and redeeming story of Jesus Christ.

It’s goooooood stuff y’all. I’ve been trying to read one per day leading up to Easter Sunday.

On Calvarys Hill 1

You can get a copy of One Calvary’s Hill by Max Lucado at Family Christian for $9.99! Makes a fantastic gift idea.

OR you could win the $10 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate and buy your own copy! Enter my giveaway below.

$10 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate Giveaway

This giveaway will end on March 25th, 2015 at 11:59pm CT. I was given a copy of this book for review purposes by Family Christian. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Embracing Awkward: Friends

Friends

I am without a shadow of a doubt, awkward.

I’ve been this way from birth. I like to think of it as marching to the beat of a different drum.

Ok, nevermind. I’m just awkward.

From back in the day trying to make friends on the playground to now- still trying to make friends on the playground. Now I just tote with me Purex, sippie cups, and stuffed kitty cats. It’s not easy to make friends.

Being a mom only makes the whole friend thing harder. Am I right? Schedules, practices, bedtimes, allergies, and let’s not forget that some of us are just introverts. Yep, go ahead and fess up.

It’s just hard sometimes. I have been known to turn into my prepubescent middle school self just hoping to be accepted. Even though I don’t have acne anymore (never really had it, just some really big pimples y’all), I now have offspring to add to this equation. Yes, the extra beings that I can only control to a certain extent. Makes it a bit more sticky I have to say. And let’s face it, the carpool line can be intimidating. Other women can look as though they have it all together. Pinterest can do wonders for the uncrafty. But we don’t really know another woman until we’ve had us a playdate or really talked instead of chit chat.

If a friend still likes me after I introduce them to my children (who may or may not be giving them a mean face for no apparent reason), then we might have a chance! Not that my girls are bad kiddos, they just march to the beat of a different drum. Kinda like their mama. If a friend witnesses the state of my home on a random Tuesday night and they still want to call me a friend, well then we are totally golden.

Eventually you come to a point as a mom when you realize that you can’t do it alone. You put on your big girl panties and accept that friends are just a very important and necessary part of life. Not to smother you with friendliness or to hang out every single day, but to just relate.

A mom friend feels your motherly pain (both figuratively and literally). They’ve probably been through similar situations. A mom friend has kids that remind you that your kids are not the only ones who eat their boogers or leave their dirty towels on the bathroom floor. A mom friend helps you to see that you are not crazy, that we all like to scream into a pillow or lock ourselves in the closet with a chocolate bar every now and then. See? You aren’t the only one!

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These ladies are my closest friends. They all know how awkward I am. They have seen my house a hot mess. They have seen me without makeup (like in this picture, ugh). They have seen me in good times and in bad. 

And they still love me. (omg why?) They embrace my awkward. And I awkwardly embrace theirs.

THAT is a true friend. That’s what it’s all about.

Women Are Scary

 

 I was given the pleasure (and I do say pleasure because I was filled with laughter the whole time I read it) of reading a book and I have GOT to share this one with you. If you are a mom, or thinking of becoming a mom, or currently expecting, or just simply curious about others who you know are moms, then you HAVE to read this book. 

The name of the book really threw me for a loop. I didn’t know what it would be about. Now it makes sense.

Women Are Scary

It’s true and this book examines reasons why. It is beyond hilarious. I kid you not. This book will have you rolling on the floor. The funniest (and kinda sad) part? It’s so true of us moms. I was laughing so hard at how we are. We’re so silly. In this book you’ll find a compilation of honest, funny, scary, complex, simple, and normal situations that we moms go through to find our lifelong friends. I found myself not wanting to admit some of these things (cough cough), but I couldn’t run from it. I do love a full-frontal hug.

Melanie Dale is a blogger at Unexpected.org and she is just that. Unexpected. And the things that you read in the book may strike you as unexpected, but they are entertaining nonetheless. I feel as though I know Melanie just from reading this and it makes me feel a little less awkward!

This is one of those books that would truly be a gift to give to a friend. They will thank you amidst their laughter. It is honestly one of the funniest books I’ve ever read! You can pre-order this at Family Christian for $15.99!

$10 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate Giveaway

This giveaway will end on Tuesday, March 3rd at 11:59pm CT. I will contact the winner on Wednesday, March 4th and they will have 24 hours to respond. If I have not heard from them I will name a new winner.

I was provided with a copy of Women Are Scary by Family Christian. All opinions are 100% my own.

Out of the Heart the Mouth Speaks

Out of the

 

I’m a fantastic listener. It’s a good thing that people like to talk to me. I can sit for hours and let folks unload their verbal baggage on me. That’s an imperative part of being a friend, sibling, spouse, and even parent. People like be heard. It’s a good thing that I like to listen.

The problem that I have isn’t with listening. No, my problem is speaking.

I’ll admit that it’s an issue of mine mostly around those that I’m closest to. My family.

Let me be real honest with you. My husband, bless him, tends to get the brunt of my words. And when you live with someone, your filter can wear a little thin. I won’t lie to you, there are times when I say things to my husband and almost immediately I think why did I have to say that? Perhaps my honesty with him is less filtered because I know he isn’t going anywhere. Even still, our spouses deserve the same respect that we show others.

God has really been ministering to me about my speaking the last few months. I read an article recently that said that every day we say enough words to write 50-60 pages in a book. In an entire year, we could author 264 books with at least 200 pages. If your books went on sale right now at Barnes and Noble, would you stand behind the words written in them?

I would burn some of mine.

Words are powerful. What you say and what you don’t say matters.

Matthew 6:45 says …for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. If within our hearts we only want to build others up, our words will reflect that. If we say unkind things, we may have a heart issue. The point is to fight the urge to let our hearts become hard and say those things that do build others up. It’s not easy every time. Our flesh and inherent sinful nature will always be resistance, but we can choose to hit the override button and say only things in truth. 

Jesus was all about relationships. Relationships depend heavily on words. Make them good ones. Make them count. Make them uplifting, inspiring, cheerful, heartfelt, motivating, encouraging, truthful words.

Lord I pray for the hearts reading this right now. I pray for you to wash over our hearts and to refresh our spirits with truth. Help us to say only what is good for building others up like you have said in Ephesians 4:29. Give us guidance for when we should speak and when we should be silent. For when we should talk and when we should listen. We pray that you would shine through what we say and that it would bring you glory. 

In Jesus name, 

Amen

Keep It Shut

I told you that God has been working on me and my words? He sent the book Keep It Shut to my door. God isn’t always subtle, is he?!

Family Christian sent me this book written by Karen Ehman to review. I gotta say, this one had me reviewing myself more than the book. It challenged me. It really did.

Karen covers pretty much every aspect surrounding the tongue in Keep It Shut: gossip, people-pleasing, truth-telling, social-sharing, manners, motives, lying, listening, and love. It’s all there!

She is funny! She uses the Bible as a model for which to go by. And she addresses such common issues that life throws our way and also how to react with our words. It’s divided into chapters that cover all the different things that I’ve talked about.

In this book, you will find lots of great tips and many great Bible verses.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to work on their words.

You can find Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman at Family Christian….OR you can win it below!

Keep It Shut Giveaway

Keep It Shut Book Giveaway

This giveaway will end on Monday, February 15th at 11:59pm CT. I will randomly select and winner and I will contact them on Monday the 16th and they will have 24 hours to respond. If I have not heard from them, I will randomly select a new winner.

I was provided with Keep It Shut by Family Christian for review purposes. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.