Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Book Review: Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman

While browsing Instagram I frequently came across the book Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman. It looked good to me. It looked like a book I needed to read. The sub caption under the title is "Small-moment living in a fast-moving world." Yes, I needed that. My world has been spinning so fast the last number of months with moving, working, buying a house, remodeling a house, taking care of my husband and three children, that I definitely needed a reminder to slow down. I started reading the book and I felt I was sitting across the table having coffee with Emily, and she was simply just sharing her heart with me. I love reading books that make me feel like that. But, it was also like she was reading my mail my heart.

Small moment living isn't a bad thing. It's good.

It's stopping to notice the little things in life.

It's remembering what's important.

It's acknowledging that I don't have to promote myself or make myself or my life something big, grand or to even be recognized.

It's about making the selfish part of me small, and the God inside of me BIG.

It's determining to be at peace with not being known by people, but knowing that the God of the universe sees and knows me.

Being small is being humble. It's intentionally putting God and others before me and my agenda.

And, it's about not rushing things. Let things be small. Let myself be small like a child. I have a lot to learn from children.

This book was such perfect timing for me and I hope that everyone gives themselves the opportunity to read it.

Some quotes from the book...

"Small is the position of my soul, the posture by which I approach others, God, and myself. When I'm small, I know I can't control opinions, manipulate outcomes, or force my agenda on others. When I'm small, I can move into the world confident as the person I most deeply am because I know I don't move into the world alone. If this is true, then small is my new free."

"Tuesday is the week's producer. What happens here, if done right, if done well, leaves no fingerprints-dinner around the table, laundry folded in the baskets, the meeting with the boss over coffee, five hundred more words toward the deadline. The big stuff of life we save for the weekend. Tuesday holds the ordinary, the everyday, and the small."

"What gives moments meaning is not the moments themselves but the presence of Christ with us in the midst of them. To learn to live well in ordinary time is to keep company with Christ on our simple Tuesdays and remember how he delights in keeping company with us."

"Jesus doesn't say, Come to me, keep company with me, and you'll learn to do nothing, to be passive, to never work again. He says, Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly. Being with Jesus brings a different kind of living and a different kind of working-the kind that starts with being."

Personally, what I take away after reading this book...

I don't want to promote myself in any way-in my thoughts, actions, social media, my conversations, my relationships with others, or in my heart.

I want to be "small" or humble...known by people. I want to be open, vulnerable and transparent with others.

I want to resolve to be happy with whatever place I am at in life. To be content and at peace, knowing God is in control and His timing is perfect.

I want to be free from all selfish ambition and know that my most important goals to accomplish are those that God has created and called me to. I can wait on God and let Him lead me.

I will continue to rest in the truth that God sees me, loves me, and has a great future for me. I can trust Him.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Whole Hearted Parenting Manifesto ~ Brene Brown

The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto
Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and lovable. You will learn this from my words and actions--the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.
I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. You will learn that you are worthy of love, belonging, and joy every time you see me practice self-compassion and embrace my own imperfections.
We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.
We will teach you compassion by practicing compassion with ourselves first; then with each other. We will set and respect boundaries; we will honor hard work, hope, and perseverance. Rest and play will be family values, as well as family practices.
You will learn accountability and respect by watching me make mistakes and make amends, and by watching how I ask for what I need and talk about how I feel.
I want you to know joy, so together we will practice gratitude.
I want you to feel joy, so together we will learn how to be vulnerable.
When uncertainty and scarcity visit, you will be able to draw from the spirit that is a part of our everyday life.
Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.
We will laugh and sing and dance and create. We will always have permission to be ourselves with each other. No matter what, you will always belong here.
As you begin your Wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give to you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly.

I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply, seeing you.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Book Review: Make It Happen

Last year I came across Lara Casey's website, blog and book... Make It Happen. Her book jumped out at me because the theme of the book is to live a life on purpose. I began last year really establishing that I want to live a life on purpose rather than a life of perfection. I began to think and pray about what it really means to live a life on purpose. Along came the book Make It Happen.  

This book is ideal for any woman that seeks to dig deep into her heart and see what holds her back from her God given purpose and how to achieve it. Lara is extremely vulnerable and transparent as she shares her own personal journey of living her own life on purpose for God's glory.

Some quotes from the book:

"The enemy of taking action is the false belief in 'someday.' Do the good you know you ought to do-and start now. Do it knowing that you might not have as much time as you think. The alternative is to do nothing, and that does, well, nothing. Don't wait to live."

"Fear can hold us back from making what matters happen. Fear can create a false reality where we feel threatened even if nothing has actually happened yet. What do you feel could be threatened in your life?"

"If you want change, choose it."

"We are so quick to limit ourselves, deciding who we are and who we aren't and that's it. We define our identities-our strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, and beliefs-but this rigid defining can hinder us from seeing the potential that God sees. We stay in our little identity boxes, not allowing ourselves to be stretched or challenged. We accept the world's made-up rules for who we are supposed to be, and we believe we cannot break those rules."

"When it comes to our faith, we must choose trust over feelings. There are many times we cannot feel God working, but we can trust that He is. We may not feel loved by God, but we can trust that His love never changes."

"You are going to fail sometimes, and things won't always go the way you hoped. But here's the beautiful paradox about failure: failure will get you further than fear."

"The good you do today changes generations. Life is too short and too valuable to coast through, living by accident. Take your time writing down your goals, pray on them, talk them out with people you trust, and then commit."

Getting Personal:

I was deeply moved by this book. It was very challenging as I answered in my journal the many heart provoking questions that Lara asked throughout the book. I knew that if I am really going to see change and purpose in my life it begins with being honest with God and myself about who I am and where I'm at in life at the moment.

I think it helped me to write out these answers because it opened my eyes to what really holds me back from stepping out into what God has for me...like fear of rejection. It helped me to see what living a life on purpose really means for me personally and not letting my fear of rejection hold me back from it. I want to be open and transparent with people and not let the fear of rejection keep me from meaningful relationships.

For example, I shared with someone how much they mean to me and what a blessing they have been in my life. She responded, "I had no idea." My heart was grieved for the rest of the day. It made me so sad to think that someone so special to me didn't know it. I was reminded that people can't read my mind. I must speak out. I must live life intentionally and in all my relationships.

At the end of the book there are strategies for living a life on purpose that I found so helpful and practical. Some of them are to have a short list of 3-5 things I will accomplish a day, clearing out the clutter in my mind (distractions), and taking social media breaks. I finished the book thinking that I can live a more focused, purposeful, meaningful life. It's worth the read. You can make it happen in your life, too, with the help and grace of God!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Book Review: Women of the Word

I really enjoyed Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. I read it in one day. It was powerful, challenging and encouraging. As Jen says in the beginning of the book, the goal of this book is "equipping women through Bible study."

Quotes from the book:
"We should study asking not just what a particular portion of Scripture wants to tell us, but how that portion of Scripture is telling us the Big Story of the Bible as a whole. Studying the Bible with purpose means keeping its overarching message in view at all times."

"The temptation to make the Bible applicable to our current experience without preserving its ties to its original audience is strong."

"Without prayer, our study is nothing but an intellectual pursuit. With prayer, it is a means of communing with the Lord."

Jen Wilkins does an excellent job addressing the variety of ways that we approach reading/studying God's Word, and showing how they may be faulty. I appreciate her simple, and yet thorough approach to Bible Study. Jen is very clear about the five steps we should take when studying the Bible: purpose, perspective, patience, process, and prayer.

My Personal Thoughts:
It spoke to me the most that I should read the Bible to learn about who God is first, rather than trying to find something out about myself and who I am. She sums it up in this quote:

"Any study of the Bible that seeks to establish our identity without first proclaiming God's identity will render partial and limited help. We must turn around our habit of asking "Who am I?" We must first ask, "What does this passage teach me about God?" before we ask it to teach us anything about ourselves. We must acknowledge that the Bible is a book about God."

I felt really convicted when I read this. The strong pull of this world is to be narcissistic- to have everything revolve around self. I can see now that there is a temptation to allow our Bible study to become so self-focused, as well.

I now have a new perspective as I look forward to digging into God's Word and learning more about who He is!

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