Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Whatcha Reading?




Miz B @ Should B Reading Hosts this meme ~ Go here if you would like to join in on the fun and learn about some great books out there!

Here are the rules:


To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

* What are you currently reading?
* What did you recently finish reading?
* What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading ~ (all for Review)









Just about to finish Shades of Morning :)

What I will read next: (for Review)





Monday, 28 June 2010

Simple Secrets Review by Jenna

This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Simple Secrets
Barbour Books (June 1, 2010)


by


Nancy Mehl






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband Norman and her son, Danny. She’s authored nine books and is currently at work on her newest series for Barbour Publishing.



All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”



CREATING FICTION FULL OF FAITH, HOPE AND HEART…



Nancy Mehl is a mystery writer who loves to set her novels in her home state of Kansas. Her three-in-one book, COZY IN KANSAS, contains the first three Ivy Towers’s mysteries: IN THE DEAD OF WINTER, BYE BYE BERTIE, and FOR WHOM THE WEDDING BELL TOLLS which was nominated for the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award in mystery.



She and her husband attend Believer’s Tabernacle in Wichita.





ABOUT THE BOOK



Graphic designer Gracie Temple wants it all: the big city lifestyle and a successful job in advertising. And it looks like her life is on the right track when she takes a job at a struggling, midsize firm in Wichita.



But Gracie Temple's uncle left her a house in a rural Mennonite community. She soon learns he secluded himself for years to protect a secret about her own father. Now it's up to Gracie to decide if she'll keep the secret or if she can afford to expose it.



Sam Goodrich loves his fruit farm in Harmony, Kansas. But when he meets city-girl Gracie, he begins to wonder if he could leave it behind for a woman who makes him feel things he's never felt before.



When someone tries to keep Gracie from discovering the truth behind the town's collection of secrets, will Sam and Gracie cling to their faith to help them decide what's most important...before it's too late?



If you would like to read the first chapter of Simple Secrets, go HERE.


Jennas Review:
Gracie is a graphic designer who has the dream of any girl making it big, the city, car, late night scene, ya know. She inherits a house from her unknown uncle in a small town in Kansas with some secrets. Like, the ones that are even worse than finding the Christmas presents in the back of your parents closet. This Mennonite town has more secrets than a high school building. Gracie goes through the book discovering and getting clues to these secrets, but someone keeps getting in the way. Along the story meeting Sam. Who LOVES his assortment of fruits on his farm. He wants a wife and a family, but somehow drawn the newness of Gracie. Sam and Gracie's faith is tested to the limits. But it's up to you to find out if she figures out the secrets and if Sam and Gracie keep their faith above all other obstacles. This book was really well written and with every twist your clench gets tighter to the pages. It's a book for anyone & I recommend it 100%!

thanks for reading my review!
Jenna.





Friday, 25 June 2010

It's Friday and we are going Blog Hopping :)




I'm joining Jennifer again this week for her Blog Hop!! It is one of my Favorite meme's because I have met soooo many people who share the Love of books with me so join in here

I love to read Christian Fiction, Memoirs, or YA and sometimes you will see a review posted from my kids as well! Here is a little more about the Hop! Thanks for coming to visit! :) Have a blessed weekend

BOUT THE HOP:

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new book-related blogs that we may be missing out on! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list below!!

The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun! This is a weekly event! And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added! We get over 200 links every week!!

Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.

If you start following someone through the Hop, leave a comment on their blog to let them know! Stop back during the week to see other blogs that are added! And, most importantly, the idea is to HAVE FUN!!

DISCLAIMER:
The Hop isn't just for you to throw your link in there and not visit any other blogs. It's all about networking and finding new blogs that are of interest. So, in the spirit of the Hop, try to make some time to visit other blogs and don't post your link if you are not planning on visiting other blogs in the Hop that week. This is a weekly event, so if you don't have time this week, that's fine! We'll see you next week!

If you sign Linky, please share the love and POST ABOUT THE HOP ON YOUR BLOG! How else will anyone else find out about it and come join the party?


Thursday, 24 June 2010

A Guys Guide To Life ~ Review



Jason Boyett authors this book titled "A Guy's Guide To Life." This book is a Great resource for boys entering middle school! The subjects range from Peer Pressure, grooming, Faith, Family, and also includes Sex. I love how Jason breaks these subjects down a bit further into three categories: Mind ~ Body ~ Soul.....I think these are invaluable and I truly appreciate how he relates to these boys through Humor and Straight forward talk not dodging anything, especially some subjects that others might think embarassing!


When I requested this book to review I knew it was something I would read but pass on to my DH and allow him to read and discuss with our son. I am thrilled to pass this on. I would share that I feel this book could be a group study done with young teen boys. The chapter on Dating is filled with Excellent Advice as is the chapter titled "Your Neighbor." The one I think all boys will turn to right away is the sex chapter. Jason Boyett knew this and even shares that fact in the first paragraph of this chapter! LOL He covers this subject straight forward and doesn't shy away from anything and as a parent these days I truly appreciate that!

For our family we will use this book as a great way to open lines of communication! I would recommend this to anyone who has a middle school aged son, grandson, or even nephew! Again this book would also be a great for a study group in my humble opinion.

Thankyou Thomas Nelson and BookSneeze for giving me a complimentary copy of this book in return for this honest review.



Tuesday, 22 June 2010

A Maze of Grace ~ Review



About the book:

In A Maze of Grace: A Memoir of Second Chances, author Trish Ryan picks up her story where she left off in her first book. In He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, she told the story of how a new-age dabbler turned to Jesus for relationship advice and ended up with a "happily-ever-after" husband and a newfound Christian faith. In her second book she offers an "applied spirituality," testing her beliefs to see if they really work. As you read of Trish's struggles with infertility, depression, body image, and sex, you'll be encouraged with the nuggets of wisdom found along the way.


About the Author:

Trish Ryan was a veteran spiritual seeker who had tried everything from feng shui to astrology. It's an interesting story of of how she turned to Jesus. She was looking for love. Ryan was the quintessential successful thirty something, with a career as an attorney. She had a nice car and lots of dates. But her catalog of relationships horror stories reads like a chick-lit novel: men who cheated, men who left her, world-class bad dates, including one who walked himself out of the closet during dessert. She watched popular TV preacher Joyce Meyers and listened to Christian music CD's. She wanted what they had but she didn't want to tell anybody. Ultimately, Ryan responded to "the invitation to walk toward Jesus at whatever pace you are called." She says, "Jesus was there." Embracing his offer of salvation--her restless soul found peace. She now lives in Boston with her husband.



You know sometimes when you request a book for review you think you have a feel for what you will be reading....in this book "A Maze of Grace" by Trish Ryan I sure thought I did but boy was I wrong! I found this book to be sooo much more than what I "thought" I was going to find. Never have I read a more honest, or authentic account of someone's desire to find what is missing in their life. I love that Trish titled this a MAZE of grace because truly that is how it seemed to me. She went here, then there, then this way or that way but it wasn't until she found Jesus that she realized that maybe the other doors or roads only led her to seek more and with Jesus she no longer felt the need to look elsewhere.

"This is the most honest book I've read in a long time" said my friend Clif from Musings of a Minister and quite frankly I couldn't agree more! No matter what came against Trish Ryan she looked it square in the eye and dealt with it ~ honestly and throughly. I like that! I am alot like that so I could really relate to her and I would recommend this book for sure!

Thank you to the Hachette Group for allowing me the complimentary issue of this book in return for this honest review.






Monday, 21 June 2010

Predator by Terri Blackstock REVIEW



About the book:
When Krista Carmichael's sister is killed by an online predator, she turns herself into "bait" to flush out the murderer. Ryan Adkins never expected his billion-dollar GrapeVyne social network to become a stalking ground, so he joins forces with Krista to bring the killer to justice. But who will protect them when the tables turn?


WOW!! I am sooo glad I was able to read Predator by Terri Blackstock! I did not receive it in time to do the review from Christian Fiction Blog Alliance so I wanted to come back and share it with you all!


Krista has a heart of gold and works ministering to girls in need. Now that she has lost her sister she has a new mission! Teaching everyone about on-line predators! She is willing to do whatever it takes to find her sisters killer ~ even if she has to bait him herself!!

Ryan Adkins started to social network "Grapevyne" in his college dorm and has grown it into a billion dollar corporation!
He never expected it to become a stalking ground for predators.

Together they join forces to find out who is killing these girls but when the stalker turns his sights on Krista, will they be able to control the outcome??

I LOVED this book! ♥ ♥ ♥ &hearts ♥ Highly recommend it to all and especially those who love suspense! I also appreciate the honesty in which Krista wrestles with her Faith and how she continues to seek the Lord despite her frustration and doubts.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Crazy Book Tours new site for book lovers!

Wanted to pass along a great new Book opportunity! Jennifer who brings us the Blog Hop also has a great new Blog where you can participate in Crazy Book Tours! These books are already released Adult Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Memoirs. If you are interested ~ go here to check out the site and read the rules and sign up! :) Pass this along !!

Happy Reading

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Let's Do the Hop!




Jennifer @ CrazyforBooks hosts my Favorite Friday Book meme so come on and join here

ABOUT THE HOP:

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new book-related blogs that we may be missing out on! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list below!!

The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun! This is a weekly event! And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added! We get nearly 200 links every week!!

Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.

If you start following someone through the Hop, leave a comment on their blog to let them know! Stop back during the week to see other blogs that are added! And, most importantly, the idea is to HAVE FUN!!

DISCLAIMER:
The Hop isn't just for you to throw your link in there and not visit any other blogs. It's all about networking and finding new blogs that are of interest. So, in the spirit of the Hop, try to make some time to visit other blogs and don't post your link if you are not planning on visiting other blogs in the Hop that week. This is a weekly event, so if you don't have time this week, that's fine! We'll see you next week!


Happy Friday Everyone! Thanks so much for your visit :)

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Life's Too Short to Miss the Big Picture ~ Review




Leafwood Publishers
Release Date: April 2010
ISBN-10: 0891126406
ISBN-13: 978-0891126409
Paperback, 220 pages
Retail: $14.99

About the Book:

(Brentwood, TN) – Do you ever feel like life is getting the best of you? Do you routinely question if this is really all there is? Do you wish you had more time and energy to focus on family, friends and other important, worthwhile ventures? Don’t miss the big picture—life ahead looks good!

Day-to-day life responsibilities, coupled with the ordinary consequences for each decision, create stress upon stress if we let it pile up. The world is crying for relief—for something more. Life coach and well-known author Steve Diggs’ latest release, Life’s Too Short to Miss the Big Picture, challenges readers to focus on making each day count for something important.

With seventy short Life Note chapters Diggs shares small dragon-slaying habits each reader can develop to see big long-term results. With chapter titles like “Eat Your Problems for Breakfast” and “Stop Petting Piranhas,” the author delivers single takeaway points with humor and honesty. Reading a Steve Diggs book is like having your own personal cheerleader. Each chapter is an energy bite filled with enough insight and nourishment to last the entire day.

About the Author:

Steve Diggs, Personal Finance & Life-Skills Coach, is the author of six books, hundreds of articles, and is a fixture on local and network television and radio. He speaks to enthusiastic audiences worldwide over 250 times yearly. Steve is proud to announce that Bonnie, his bride of 33 years, has just picked his option up for another two years. The couple lives in Brentwood, Tennessee. For more about Steve’s ministry, go to http://www.nodebtnosweat.com or www.SteveDiggs.com.

START SMALL IF YOU HAVE TO, BUT START
by Steve Diggs

As a habit, I don’t put bumper stickers on my car. It’s partially because they distract from the appearance of the car, but there’s actually another reason why my car is a sticker-free zone. Frankly, I don’t generally prefer to go around announcing all my political beliefs and preferences to a world that mostly doesn’t care—and when it does, can become hostile.

But what about those bumper stickers that tell the world that I’m a Christian? You know the ones. Sometimes they’re in the shape of a fish. Others make a proclamation of belief in Jesus as the Way to God. Why don’t I put those particular stickers on my car? After all, if I’m really serious about Jesus, don’t I want to be a walking, talking billboard? Isn’t life too short to miss such opportunities?

This is where it’s going to get a bit tougher, because this is going to force me to admit an embarrassing truth. I don’t put those bumper stickers on my car because I’m afraid I’ll do something that will destroy my witness. I’m afraid I’ll do more harm than good. What if I cut another driver off in traffic, or lose my temper and glare at someone? Do I really want the last thing they see as I pull away to be a sign advertising my allegiance to Jesus? It’s the same reason I don’t wear many “Jesus shirts.” I love and respect other Christians who attach the bumper stickers and wear the clothes—as long as they are 66 Life’s Too Short to Miss the Big Picture really representing Jesus. But as I say elsewhere in this book, Jesus gets some of his worst PR from professing Christians who don’t live their profession.

Recently I was working on a project with one of my dearest friends, Pat Boone. One thing about Pat—he’s not ashamed to proclaim his faith. As a matter of fact, he wears neck chains and rings with godly symbols all the time. One day as we were wrapping up some work in his den, Pat pulled out a ring and said, “Steve, I have a gift for you.” I wasn’t quite sure how to handle a guy giving me jewelry. But in a moment I saw what it was: a beautifully designed ring with a very large cross in the middle—just like the one Pat was wearing.

Ah, this was perfect for me! Not as bold as a bumper sticker or as bombastic as a tee-shirt—but at least it was something. It was a start. So I thanked Pat profusely and accepted the gift. As I put the ring on my pinky, I decided that this would be my first witness to the world, so I turned the cross outward.

Since that day, I’ve worn my cross ring 24/7. As a matter of fact, recently a young woman at a cash register noticed it when I paid my bill. Over the months I’d seen her on a number of occasions. I had always been amiable and friendly. She said, “I really like your ring.” I thanked her politely and walked on. Was she another Christian who had been encouraged by my ring? Was she a seeker who had run me through whatever litmus test she uses to assess whether Christians are real or fakes? I don’t know. But at least in that one particular case, I was able to smile in my heart as I walked away knowing that I had acted like Jesus would want me to act. I had not embarrassed my Master.

Now for you Christians who are much more mature than I am—those of you with fifteen “Jesus stickers” on your car, a gold cross chain around your neck, and an “I love Jesus” tee-shirt with Scripture verses on both front and back panels—my baby step probably sounds pretty pathetic. But for me it was a start.

Maybe it would do us all well to realize two things:
1. Life is too short not to be a walking, talking, living, breathing banner for Jesus.
2. Life is also too short not to walk the walk if we talk the talk.

Frankly, this is sort of exciting for me. Who knows, it may help me graduate to a bumper sticker—or even a tee-shirt.

Excerpt from Life's Too Short to Miss the Big Picture,
with permission from Leafwood Publishers.



My Review:

I Loved this book "Life's too short to miss the big Picture" For me, it is more like a devotional than a "book" because it has 70 chapters that are very short but boy do they pack a powerful punch! Steve Diggs is full of wisdom and this book covers just about any topic you can imagine! I would recommend this book for families to share in their devotion time, or for kids to read because it shares a story and backs everything up with Scripture! I love to learn from Life Coaches and Steve Diggs is a great one! This book is full of honesty, integrity, and humor as well! Families or individuals matter not ~ everyone can benefit from reading Life's Too Short to Miss the Big Picture!


Thank you Kathy Carlton Willis Communications for this book! I received a complimentary copy in return for my humble review!



Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Out of the Spin Cycle ~ Review




About the Book:
THERE’S MORE TO MOTHERHOOD THAN LOADS OF LAUNDRY
Biblical inspiration for some of motherhood’s greatest struggles

Life for mothers often feels like a balancing act. During these years, top priorities like raising godly children and tending your own spiritual health can seem sidelined by daily demands of diaper changes and mounting loads of laundry. It’s never quite as simple as it seems it would be. What’s a mom to do?

“I remember feeling panicky and desperate, overwhelmed and lost,” remembers author and speaker Jen Hatmaker about life as a new mother. “My romantic notion of motherhood was hijacked by such delights as breast pumps, sitz baths, and hemorrhoids. When I try to remember my deep thought life during that season, there is only a black hole of diapers, schedules and Elmo. There were so many elements of parenting I was unaware of when I signed up for it.”

The mother of three kids, now in their elementary and middle school years, Hatmaker learned many lessons along the way about motherhood. Whether it’s handling the stress of an ever-growing to-do list, feeling like you’ve lost your identity or just wishing God was closer during the times of teething and temper tantrums, Hatmaker found the answers in the teachings of Jesus.

She shares these insights in her book Out of the Spin Cycle: Devotions to Lighten Your Mother Load. This refreshing and encouraging collection of 40 devotions helps mothers connect the words and deeds of Jesus to the everyday struggles of their own lives. Along with her own laugh-out-loud tales of rearing small children, keen biblical wisdom and the eye of an understanding mom, Hatmaker helps shepherd mothers through the terrain of this new chapter in their lives through these powerful devotions.

Some of the topics that Hatmaker addresses throughout Out of the Spin Cycle include:
Understanding that it’s healthy to ask for help
Steering clear of the havoc of the “mom-comparison trap”
Making time to feed yourself spiritually
How to raise kids to reach an unsaved world
Little acts of discipling our children
Teaching our kids about Jesus and who he is
The kind of discipline kids need
The state of your marriage affects your children


Jen Hatmaker is the author of eight books and Bible studies, including A Modern Girl's Guide to Bible Study. With a heart for the women of her generation, she speaks at retreats and conferences around the country. Jen and her husband, Brandon, reside in Texas with their three children, and lead the ministry work at Austin New Church. Find out more at www.jenhatmaker.com.

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life.  They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.


I was able to interview Jen! What a wonderful woman of God and mother! Let me share with you some of our questions....


What is the link between a mother’s spiritual health and her parenting?

It’s probably more accurate to ask, “What is the link between a mother’s spiritual health and everything else in the whole world?” Good grief! The more of a mess I am as a carrier of the Holy Spirit, the more of a mess I am as a mom, wife, friend, and – let me just say it – driver. (I have a road rage issue. Thank you for understanding.) I put it like this in Out of the Spin Cycle:

Scanning my bookshelves, I see about a billion books on parenting. I read eight books on babies before I ever gave birth to one. I’ve taken Lamaze classes, BabyWise classes (don’t start), parenting classes. I’ve joined Discussion Groups on raising tweens and facilitated book studies on balanced motherhood. I’ve downloaded helpful sermons and read countless websites. I’ve made lists and plans on how to manage summer / chores / homework / discipline / sleepovers / house rules.

And then there is real motherhood, which wrecks out half this stuff.

Because sometimes despite your careful strategizing and planning and reading and organizing, your two-year-old takes his diaper off in the middle of Target and runs up the cereal aisle while you scream after him like a mental patient. And sometimes after you’ve planned the perfect playdate, your daughter bites your new friend’s baby and flushes her phone down the toilet.

And sometimes, when your precious first-born son – the one you read all the baby books for and raised lovingly for ten years – opens a fresh, sassy mouth to you when you are already idling high, you accidentally tell him to get a shovel, go in the backyard, and dig his own grave. This, I don’t have to tell you, is behavior Ted Tripp would frown upon in “Shepherding a Child’s Heart.”

Not surprisingly, when I made that shockingly horrible statement to my son, I was exhausted, stretched thin, out of the Word, and in a prayer slump. I was running on spiritual fumes. My only intake was whiny children, mountains of laundry, a Suite Life of Zac and Cody marathon, and four hundred thousand pieces of correspondence from Elm Grove Elementary to attend to.

There is a simple explanation according to Jesus:

“For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” (Matthew 12:34-35)
Motherhood is like a pitcher with a hole in the bottom; a constant drain on our energy, patience, and tolerance. Every mother who is telling the truth would attest to that. Add another layer like a child with autism, single motherhood, a financial crisis, or a crumbling marriage and it’s a wonder we have anything left to give.

Our only hope to speak with kindness, to lead with patience, to not threaten our children with homicide is to ensure our spiritual reserves are not bone dry. Moms are the middle of the flow chart; the arrows of exertion flow constantly out from us, but when no arrows of strength, grace, and peace are flowing in, the whole mechanism is in danger.

Goodness in = goodness out.

No goodness in = no goodness out.

This is the simplest truth, recognized by Jesus and every other parenting expert, but one most moms fail to take seriously. We’re too busy for the Word. We’re too tired to pray. We have too much going on for a small group. Under the banner of selflessness, we neglect our own spiritual health and sabotage the very service we wanted to render.

When God’s Word is flowing through my life, my baby can spill his fourth drink of the day, and I can say, “It’s just a drink.” When I’m dry, I could literally lie on the soggy floor and bawl over it. When Jesus has spoken peace into my life, I’m able to discipline consistently when my toddler pitches her third tantrum of the morning. If my pitcher is empty, I might lock myself in the bathroom and scream at the top of my lungs.

Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
I mean, obviously, none of us struggle with empty spiritual reserves or Mommy Meltdowns or an anemic relationship with the Word. But our friends do. Let’s pray for them.


Why do you consider your role as mother as that of a servant, and how does that change the way you parent your kids?

By definition, a servant does the menial, excruciating, exhausting, behind-the-scenes work no one else has the energy for. Hello, motherhood. Something about being covered in the urine and vomit of little people while scrubbing toilets and singing “The Wheels on the Bus” for the seventeenth time that day reminds me that yes, indeed, I am a servant.

But Jesus transformed my concept of servanthood after a lovely season of young motherhood when, ahem, I didn’t feel like I was getting enough credit for running the marathon of parenting babies and toddlers everyday (hold your response, please and thank you). I wrote this in Out of the Spin Cycle:

I am one parenting stage ahead of most of you, dear hearts. I’m past naptimes, Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, and preschool waiting lists (“Please, please, please, please…someone get kicked out for biting!”) But the constant need meeting, the incessant talking, the relentless managing all comes back to me…every summer.

Here’s a slice of my life yesterday (add to the Kid Equation my three plus four or five extra neighbor kids at all times, everyday, starting at 8:30 a.m.):

“Can you tie my bow? Will you make me a smoothie? Caleb keeps pressing pause! I have nothing to do. I’m bleeding! Can I watch Weird Al on YouTube? Gavin locked me in the bathroom! I’m starving, Mom! We’re all starving, Mrs. Hatmaker! Will you change these batteries? Sydney won’t get out of my room! Where’s the flashlight? How old do I have to be to legally change my name? No other kids have to do chores! I don’t like to read anymore. When’s lunch? Watch, Mom! Are you watching?”

Moooooooooooooooooooom!!

Mom?

Mama?

I have not had an uninterrupted thought in twelve straight days. I am in the kitchen morning, noon, and night feeding all the children of Garlic Creek. By 9:45 a.m., I’d already broken up three fights. When I refused to make a third round of smoothies, Caleb replied, “This is the worst day of my life.” So when hubs got home at 5:30 and said, “You seem a little tense,” I seriously considered getting in his car (because it doesn’t appear an army of filthy badgers live in it) and driving to Canada.

If there is a more thankless, unglamorous job than motherhood, I haven’t seen it. I know you get it, girls. Something about being covered in other people’s urine and vomit while scrubbing toilets and hearing your precious cherub say “NO!” to you twelve hundred times a day makes moms bat-poop crazy sometimes. On super bad days, you might even say, “Is this really my life?” Some of you were in a boardroom or office just a couple of years ago, talking grown-up talk and wearing clean clothes. Motherhood comes with no status, no paycheck, no recognition, and very little credit.

“When Jesus was in the house, he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.” (Busted.) “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘If anyone wants to be the first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.’” (Mark 9: 33-35).

When I became a mom, “servant-hood” took on a whole new meaning. In our home, we decided I would be the one to change my daily life and stay at home with the babies. But when I took that as my identity, I developed a sense of entitlement and did a lot of waiting around for credit. I held the emotional position that I was doing everyone a favor. This top-down perspective tainted everything, because if I wasn’t perfectly appreciated, adequately recognized, or verbally praised (and what mom is??), then I became the wounded martyr who was always disgruntled.

Jesus transformed my idea of “being the greatest.” It’s not about receiving credit or being popular. It has nothing to do with position or power or getting our just due. Greatness does not come from recognition or the praises of others.

True greatness comes to us through the back door of servant-hood.

As mothers, this requires an emotional shift. We are not doing our husbands and children a favor. We are intentional servants; consciously deferring to the needs of those God entrusted to us. We make the near constant decision to cast off selfishness and resist entitlement. We deliberately choose ‘servant’ with all our faculties in place, exactly as Jesus did in all His strength and glory.

With His knack for perfect illustrations, Jesus elaborated like this:
“He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me’” (Vs. 36-37).

When I choose servant instead of martyr, my children enjoy the security that they are welcomed in our home. They are not a thorn in my flesh, cutting into my personal time. They aren’t a nuisance, making me sigh with irritation all day. They are welcomed members of this family, loved and purposed. And when my children are welcomed, I have opened the very doors of heaven and invited God Himself into the laughter, chaos, and life of our home.

Now that is greatness.

However, to be fair, I did tell my kids yesterday that the reason we had children was so that we’d never have to pick up dog poop or unload the dishwasher again. So I’m still technically working on that servant thingy.



When we put our relationship with our children over our relationship with God, what threatens to happen?


First of all, we end up raising spoiled brats. (I’m kidding. Sort of. Not really.) We don’t mean to, but when we position our kids as the center of the universe – unfortunately taking God’s rightful place there – then our perspective gets all out of whack and we fail to put God in the center of our kids’ universe. They get the idea that the world revolves around their needs, their feelings, their moods, and let me tell you something Mamas: That is messed up. I know kids like this. You do too. We can’t stand them. (I mean that nicely.) When God is an afterthought for Mom, then God becomes optional for her kids. Of course He does; He’s just not that big of a deal, clearly.

This is to say nothing of the disaster this creates with the Mom. Her entire identity is wrapped up in her children, and that does precious little for her stability when her cherubs discover the phrase “I hate you!” and learn to throw temper tantrums. When there is no Jesus saying, “This is who you are. This is your value. You are loved. You are blessed,” then all we’re left with are our kids who sometimes say, “Instead of living in a family who has to ‘learn to make good choices,’ I WISH I WAS HOMELESS!!” (my Caleb, age six). This doesn’t bode well for the soul.

Plus, you’re disconnected from God.

Plus, you lose touch with your gifts.

Plus, your well runs dry.

Plus, you turn into a cranky, cranky girl.

With God solidly at the center of your universe, you can do this, Mama. Your perspective won’t be decimated by a toddler who decides he hates vegetables and doesn’t want to nap anymore. Every little thing that goes wrong won’t derail you. You won’t forget what you’re good at and what makes you happy. You’ll be able to dig deep and find a little somethin’-somethin’ at the end of the day for your hubby, God love him.



Why is it important for mothers to instill independence in their children, and what does that look like in your home?

This question comes to me at an excellent time: At the beginning of every summer, we reevaluate just exactly what our kids 1.) can, and 2.) should be doing on their own. They’ve had a whole year perfecting their current tasks and chores. (By using the word ‘perfecting’ I’m demonstrating my improvement on control issues and anal retentiveness. But if I may just confide this? My kids’ drawers and clothes used to look like a Gap display, so neat and perfect were the subcategorized stacks. Now? A total cluster.)

An excerpt from Spin Cycle:

It’s a confusing journey God puts moms on. We can barely be apart from our babies for twenty minutes at first. Eighteen years later, we’re supposed to send them into the world responsible and independent. The timeline between those two is about eight hundred bottles of Advil, fifty books on parenting, and eight seasons of Dr. Phil DVDs.

Putting our kids’ best interests first means accepting this fact: They’ll live most of their lives outside our homes. We are either equipping them for success or stunting their growth, sometimes irreparably. Keeping our kids glued to our side cripples their ability to become independent.

Here’s the trick: Those muscles of responsibility must be exercised all along, otherwise they atrophy and our kids can’t stand on their own two feet when it’s time. When we do everything for them, they never learn to do anything on their own. The real tragedy is they don’t even know they can.

Expect this to go over like a sack of dead kittens.

Co-dependence is the bent of the immature heart. Kids push back when we push them toward responsibility. Most don’t go willingly. In my house, it sounds like this: I can’t do that. I’m too little. Will you do it? I don’t know how. This is too hard. My arms are going to fall off. I don’t like growing up. I wish I was a baby again.

Have older kids? It might sound more like: I don’t feel like doing that. I’m not a slave. We do all the work. This house sucks. I’m never making my kids do all this! My friends’ parents pay for everything. (Or later: Can I move back in?)

This should look different depending on where you are on the timeline. Your two-year old cannot make her own dinner, but if you’re doing laundry for a sixteen-year-old, it’s time for a Come To Jesus Meeting. In our house, we live by two rules:

1. What can you and should you be doing on your own? I remember when my three kids (ages 3, 5, and 7 then) brought their dirty clothes downstairs to the laundry room, turned their clothes right side out, and separated them into colored piles. Their heads barely reached the top of the washing machine. My husband said, “It’s like our own little sweatshop.” Your kids can do more than both of you think. Regularly ask this question and reevaluate.

2. Everyone is in charge of his or her own stuff. This includes everything. Your shoes, backpacks, dirty clothes, clutter, bedroom, bathroom stuff, papers, towels, dirty dishes, trash, clean clothes . . . it’s not Mama’s problem. This includes my sweet husband. I was losing untold hours picking up things that didn’t belong to me. We have fifteen minutes of house recovery every night now. If it belongs to you, take care of it.

These two rules have changed my life.

The day to start pushing your kids toward independence is today, Mama. A one-year-old baby has things he should be doing on his own (beyond pooping and pulling out all your Tupperware). My kids are 8, 10, and 12, and they do all their own laundry, put away dishes, vacuum, clean bathrooms, scoop poop, windex, and dust. This summer, we’re adding mowing, menu planning and cooking, and gardening. Every year they can do more. Hopefully this means that by the time they leave us, they’ll know how to clean a house and won’t feed their new father-in-law canned ham when he comes to visit (guilty).


Next summer, I plan to teach my kids how to write my books and correspond with event planners while I read novels and sit on the porch with my girlfriends drinking sweet tea.


What is the danger of the mom-comparison trap?

Oh, nothing too bad, only abject unhappiness. So if you’re okay with that, then by all means, join the Mommy War. I don’t know who invented this little game, but I hate their guts. (Meant kindly.) And listen, doves, there is no winner here. You’re either chronically behind the curve, or you’re faking a perfect life to stay ahead of your competitors. And guess who feels the stress of all this rivalry? The little ones who are supposed to be the jewel in our tiaras.

Here is how I addressed this in Out of the Spin Cycle:
My friend Stephanie teaches first grade at an affluent school in Austin. During the first week of classes, a concerned father (read: crazy) cornered her and asked, “What are you doing to prepare my son for Yale?” Quick on her feet and not in the mood for intimidation, Stephanie answered, “Well, first I’m going to teach him to stop picking his nose and eating the plunder. Next up is walking in a straight line for more than five seconds. I’ll be ready to write a recommendation to Yale by the end of the year, I’m sure.”

Why do people add so much pressure onto an already challenging task? Never is this truer than with motherhood. Early childhood is this bizarre world where we hyperventilate because another mom enrolled her four-month old in Spanish classes, while assuring you that at eleven-months-old, the language acquisition window has certainly closed for your baby. Sorry for your luck.

Or a woman at the park casually asks you what waiting lists you have your two-week old on, while making it crystal clear that unless you expose her to Montessori curriculum (may also insert: Waldorf, High/Scope, Bank Street, Reggio-Emilia, Abeca, whatever), then you’re basically reserving her a spot in “Life Skills Class” in high school. This pressure, I’m pretty sure, is why the term, “It’s 5 o’ clock somewhere” was coined.

This is not a new phenomenon or restricted to the obnoxious world of motherhood, girls. In first century Judea, religious leaders – who overcomplicated the basic obedient life most tried to live – dictated the Jewish culture. In addition to the Law through Moses (which alone would make me consider a pill habit), they piled “extra teachings” on top of the billion rules the Jews already had to follow.

For instance, the rabbis expanded the simple prohibition of certain meat into an impossible system of kosher laws that made the Jews so paranoid, I bet they ate tree bark to be safe. The religious leaders transformed the Ten Commandments into such a complex ethical system of regulations and clauses, pretty much anything but breathing was somehow offensive.

All these extra teachings, additional rules, added standards, and supplementary laws were described by one term familiar to every Jew under the crushing weight of a Law that simply couldn’t be kept: “Yoke.” Each rabbi had his own unique yoke encompassing his interpretations and additional mandates. The rabbis’ yokes were well known, and you could determine who followed whom by which extra rules someone was keeping. Followers were expected to adhere to his yoke, complete with guilt, shame, condemnation, and failure.

Enter Jesus:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

How meaningful those words were to the normal, exhausted, defeated Jew longing for relief. Do you see how this Rabbi was so unlike his contemporaries? This is our Savior. He takes the unnecessary pressure and pointless legalism either thrust on us or self-imposed, and He gently pushes those aside and says, “Come to me.”

There is a rest that only exists in Christ. In His embrace we can discern between what matters and what doesn’t; between what counts and what is simply optional; between what is essential to our holy task as mothers and what is just cultural pressure. Jesus always chooses the simple over the complicated, the humble over the elaborate.

Can you hear the spirit of His voice? He does not want you wasting away in Mom Guilt and condemnation. He hates that you wallow in doubt and succumb to unnecessary pressure as you raise your sweet babies. Come to Him. Come to His gentle ways and His humble approaches. Come to His rest and liberation. Come to that place where you don’t bend to every suggestion or bow to every criticism.

Come and rest.

His yoke is easier than the one you’re wearing.



My Review:

I highly recommend this book for MOMS but especially for new moms or it would be a great book for someone who has just found out they are pregnant to read during those months she is waiting to become a Momma! There is much wisdom in Jens book "Out of the Spin Cycle."

Thank you Jen for your time in answering these questions and for sharing your heart and wisdom with all of us Moms! Thank you Revell books for this complimentary copy! I received no compensation but was asked to share my humble opinion.


For more information, visit www.RevellBooks.com.
Out of the Spin Cycle 
by Jen Hatmaker
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3448-0
Available June 2010; $11.99



Monday, 14 June 2010

What are you reading?





Sheila hosts today meme "What are you Reading"? I love finding all the books out there! Go here to see all the wonderful books :)

I found out last night that I completely messed up and didn't sign up for the month of July with one of my publishers :( Can you say UPSET!!! I will be missing out on 8 YES E.I.G.H.T books!!! I am sooo very sad! Phew ~ ok, now that I have thrown my little fit ;) This week I will be reading

Midnight Sun (Northern Light Series book #3) ~ I finally broke down and bought this one! I reviewed book 2 and fell in love so I HAD to read the others! I cannot wait to begin this one!



My first Hachette Group review book :)


Contemplating starting this....I have had it a while but haven't had the time.....will let you know how it goes :)


So, what are you reading?

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Bloggiesta Accomplishments




I am happy to report I was able to accomplish all that I had wanted to do. I did arrive to this party late and had a short list but still logged 7hours on implementing My Review Policy along with creating my Book Rating System. I was able to mingle and meet some new bloggers and got some really great tips!

Natasha
did an AWESOME Job hosting and her co-hosts did as well ~ Thank you Ladies! I look forward to doing this again and arriving early ;) next time! This is really a great opportunity to improve, learn, and accomplish so much for your own blog and I am really happy I joined in!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Better Late than Never ~ Blogiesta




If you are a book blogger you have NO DOUBT seen this Bloggiesta around! Natasha @ MawBooksBlog is hosting this amazing and very informative party! :) I am usually one that is late to a party so I would hate to disappoint ;)

Here is a little intro to help set your goals and know what is involved:


Plan. Edit. Develop. Review. Organize.
How to Party!
Bloggiesta begins now and runs through Sunday the 13th (technically the wee hours of Monday morning). You can really start whenever you want within that time but official hours are 8am to 8am (wherever you are). The hours spent on the challenge do NOT need to be in a row. Use the entire 72 hour time frame and see what you can do with it. It’s your call as to how much you want to put into it. But you have to put something into it or it’s not a challenge.
When you begin the Bloggiesta challenge, sign in with Mr. Linky (at the bottom of this post) and link directly to your introductory Bloggiesta post. That will let me and everybody else that you have officially begun and we can go share our mariachi tunes and cheer you on. If you have just discovered this challenge, it’s not to late to sign up. Join us anytime!
How many times (if any) you choose to update is up to you, but you should keep track of the hours spent on the challenge as well as the tasks you have completed. I’m all for making it work for how you best work. You do not need to write a new post for each mini-challenge completed, but do give your awesome hosts some link love and link back to the challenge host on your final summary post.

So now that you have a little back ground here is just the beginning of my TO DO LIST:

Pray and ask the Lord to honor my time and this blog that it may glorify HIM

1) Set up my Review Policy
2) Create a Book Rating System
3) Read the many informative lessons Natasha has on her site and from there I will decide what else I would like to implement here at HeartofABookworm.

Ready.Set. Let the Fiesta Begin :)

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Let's Do the Hop!



ABOUT THE HOP:

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new book-related blogs that we may be missing out on! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list below!!

The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun! This is a weekly event! And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added! We get nearly 200 links every week!!

Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.

If you start following someone through the Hop, leave a comment on their blog to let them know! Stop back during the week to see other blogs that are added! And, most importantly, the idea is to HAVE FUN!!

DISCLAIMER:
The Hop isn't just for you to throw your link in there and not visit any other blogs. It's all about networking and finding new blogs that are of interest. So, in the spirit of the Hop, try to make some time to visit other blogs and don't post your link if you are not planning on visiting other blogs in the Hop that week. This is a weekly event, so if you don't have time this week, that's fine! We'll see you next week!

I LOVE this meme! I have some wonderful people who share the love of reading! Thank you Jennifer for hosting the weekly meme! Go here to link up


Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Waiting on Wednesday



Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the spine This meme spotlights those books that are upcoming and we're eagerly anticipating! Thanks Jill! Join in and share with us those books you can't wait to read!



Only 13 MORE DAYS til this one comes out!!! WOOHOO :)



This one I will have to wait a little longer BUT it does come out ON MY BIRTHDAY :) OCT. 12 2010 is the release date! This will make my birthday even more special! Karen is ONE of my favorite authors so this is too exciting!


What books are you looking forward to reading?

They Almost Always Come Home ~ review





ABOUT THE BOOK:

(Wausau, WI) – At the foundation of each relationship resides the need to know love can survive even when feelings fade. In Cynthia Ruchti’s debut novel, They Almost Always Come Home, readers feel the desperation of this foundational yearning in a marriage clearly pulling loose from its moorings. Compounded by other issues—an unrewarding career and mismatched dreams—it’s enough to drive a man into the arms of the Canadian wilderness. When Greg Holden doesn’t return home from a wilderness canoe trip, his wife Libby wrestles with survivor guilt, a new layer of grief, and the belief that she was supposed to know how to fix her marriage. She planned to leave him—but how can she leave a man who’s no longer there? He was supposed to go fishing, not missing.

Libby has to find him before she can discover how their marriage ends. She plunges into the wilderness on an adventurous and risky manhunt, unsure what she will do if she finds him…or if she doesn’t. She expects to meet hardship, discomfort, and danger in the wilderness. She doesn’t expect to face the stark reality of her spiritual longing and a faint, but steady pulse that promises hope for reviving her marriage. If Greg’s still alive.

They Almost Always Come Home provides a glimpse into common, however uncomfortable, marital conflicts. Cynthia weaves a page-turning story, suspense building scene by scene. Her characters mirror ordinary people, living real-to-life situations, allowing readers to relate and sort through a myriad of emotions and life decisions. If fiction can contain adventure, riveting self-awareness, and romance all between the same covers, this is the book!

The Author:
Cynthia Ruchti writes stories of “hope that glows in the dark.” She writes and produces The Heartbeat of the Home, a syndicated drama/devotional radio broadcast, and is editor for the ministry’s Backyard Friends magazine. She also serves as current president of American Christian Fiction Writers. Cynthia married her childhood sweetheart, who tells his own tales of wilderness adventures.

The Interview:

1. How would you describe your book?

The tagline for the book is “She’d leave her husband…if she could find him.”

When Libby’s husband Greg doesn’t return from a two-week canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness, the authorities write off his disappearance as an unhappy husband’s escape from an oatmeal marriage and mind-numbing career. Their marriage might have survived if their daughter Lacey hadn’t died and if Greg hadn’t been responsible. Libby enlists the aid of her wilderness-savvy father-in-law and her faith-walking best friend to help her search for clues to her husband’s disappearance. What the trio discovers in the wilderness search upends Libby’s assumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.

It’s my prayer that this fictional adventure story and emotional journey will reveal its own hope-laden clues for those struggling to survive or longing to exit what they believe are uninspiring marriages. How can a woman survive a season or a lifetime when she finds it difficult to like the man she loves?

2. How were you different as a writer and as a person when you finished writing They Almost Always Come Home?

This book changed me in a profound way. It forced me to take a more honest look at myself and my reactions to crises so I could write Libby’s character with authenticity. Libby is a composite of many women. I haven’t experienced what she did, but I identify with some of her struggles and longings, as I hope my readers will. I see my friends in her eyes and know that her tears aren’t hers alone. Her shining moments feed my courage. Libby speaks for me and for many others when she discovers that she is stronger than she realized and weaker than she wanted to admit.

Writing her story was a journey for the author as much as for the character.

3. What did you feel the tug on your heart to become a writer?

My journey toward a lifetime of writing began by reading books that stirred me, changed me, convinced me that imagination is a gift from an imaginative Creator. As a child, I read when I should have been sleeping…and still do. I couldn’t wait for the BookMobile (library on wheels) to pull up in front of the post office in our small town and open its arms to me. Somewhere between the pages of a book, my heart warmed to the idea that one day I too might tell stories that made readers stay up past their bedtimes.

4. What books line your bookshelves?

My bookshelves—don’t ask how many!—hold a wide variety of genres. The collection expands faster than a good yeast dough. I’m a mood reader, grabbing a light comedy one day and a literarily rich work the next. Although I appreciate well-written nonfiction, I gravitate toward an emotionally engaging contemporary women’s fiction story.


Something Extra From the Author's Heart

Ten years ago, my husband almost didn’t come home. His canoe adventure with our son Matt soured on Day Two when Bill grew violently ill from what we presume was either pancreatitis or a gall bladder attack. He’s an insulin-dependent diabetic, so any grave illness is a threat. One in the middle of the Canadian wilderness is morgue material.

With no satellite phone with which to call for help, Matt took turns caring for his father and watching the shore for other canoeists happening past their hastily constructed campsite. The few other canoes were headed deeper into the remote areas of the park, not on their way out. None had a satellite phone. And none of them were doctors.

As my husband grew sicker, his diabetes went nuclear. He couldn’t eat, yet needed insulin because his liver thought it should help out by dumping vast quantities of sugar into his system. Even in a hospital setting, the situation would have been difficult to control, and the nearest hospital was light years away across vast stretches of water and woodland, through peopleless, roadless wilderness.

Our son stretched a yellow tarp across the rocks on shore and wrote S.O.S. with charcoal from a dead fire. He scratched out countless notes on pieces of notebook paper torn from their trip journal:

Send rescue! My dad is deathly ill.

To read the rest of the story go here to KCWCblog

My Review:

I found this book to be somewhat slow for me in the beginning but I continued on, and can honestly say I am sooo glad I stuck with it!
Libby and Greg have been married for some time and well, they are not experiencing the best of times when he leaves for his two week adventure. When he doesn't come home Libby is already planning his funeral and is a bit upset he got out of this so easy! With the help of her friend and father-in-law they leave the comfort of their homes and set off to find Greg. Along the way Libby finds so much more than she ever anticipated.

I love how this story really allows you to connect with the difficult situations life throws at us and how we always need to reassess our relationships with all of those we love but most importantly with the Lord!

I would recommend this book to all. It is clean, funny, and to those who are outdoors-y ~ you will get a kick out of it :)

There is a giveaway going for this as well. I will send one name in to the publisher for a chance to win all of this on June 18th!!

North Pak 20 inch cinch sack (lime)

Day Runner journal

Canoe Brand wild rice

Canada's brand blueberry jam

Coleman 60-piece mini first aid kit

Wood canoe/paddle shelf ornament

Six original photography notecards from video trailer

"Hope" hanging ornament

Mini Coleman "lantern" prayer reminder


Happy Reading!!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Monday's ~ What are you reading :)




Thank you Sheila for hosting this meme. Go here to join in or just find other bloggers who love to read and/or find some really good books out there!

I am so thankful for summer and usually it is a time of rest, relaxation and some serious reading time. I am just amazed that although the kids have been out of school since May 25th, we have YET to have a day here at home doing NOTHING. Isn't that just crazy! Needless to say, I pretty much take a book and my Kindle with me EVERYWHERE I GO!!

This week I am reading:

They Almost Always Come Home
~ Just finished! Look for my review on Wednesday!!


Never Without Hope ~ This book I just downloaded on my Kindle! WOW! I have never read this author and from all that I have read about this book and her is that she goes where most authors won't! I like that and so far I am flying through the pages and look forward to seeing Gods redemption unfold in the life of this couple who are believers and fall into sin.



Out of the Spin Cycle ~ This is a review book. Look for my review along with an interview with the author next week!


Life is too short, Don't Miss the big Picture ~ Review book ~ this review will be posted next week as well.


So, what are you reading?