Man, it’s been a while since posting, you guys, and for that I am profoundly sorry.  I’ve not let you in to our crazy life lately, and boy has it been crazy!  These kids keep me on my toes, in my car, and out of my mind…but I wouldn’t have it any other way, honestly.

So when there’s spare time, what are you most likely to do?  Clean? Organize? Just breathe and chill?  Ya, me, too.  And preferably with a good book, right?

I’ve gotten so many great opportunities to read some outstanding books for some great publishers and authors that I just wanted to share them all with you, if that’s ok.  Hopefully, you’ll find some of them to your liking and pick them up for some relaxing “me time” this summer.

 

If you like Christian romance/suspense novels, check out Shadows on the Sand by Gayle Roper.  This book is set in Seaside, New Jersey.  If you’ve every read or seen Safe Haven, this book reminds me a little of that.  Carrie and her sister have found themselves in this sleepy little town after running away from a horrible past that will soon catch up to them.  Carrie meets Greg, who’s lost his wife and family, and they begin a relationship.  However, strange things begin to happen in the quaint cafe Carrie owns, her waitress disappears and her dishwasher is killed.  So Carrie and Greg go about solving the mystery of both their pasts.  I loved how this book was written in both first and third person!  A good read, for sure. Thanks to Blogging For Books for my review copy.

Now, if your style is less fiction and more non-fiction, I was blessed to be able to be on a book launch team for Sheila Walsh’s new book The Storm Inside.  And, ladies, can I tell you, she is spot on when it comes to storms we, as women, face if not daily, definitely sometime in life.  I had the privilege of serving on a team that brought Sheila to speak at a women’s event in our town and she is the real deal.  Her testimony and background will bring you to tears.  So if anyone can speak on the topic of the storm inside us all, she can.  In this book, Sheila walks us through 10 common storms we all face, from heartbreak to rage, from shame to disappointment.  She covers it all!  None of these things seem fair.  We don’t want any of these storms to come, but they do.  And a great quote by Sheila, “Fair doesn’t live here anymore, but Jesus does!”  Most definitely worth a read.  You’ll be changed.

 

 

I’ve got to tell you, this next book kind of fell in my lap.  It was just an ordinary trip to the city with the fam and a routine stop at Lifeway.  We saw a table set up with book piles and bowls of candy.  I was drawn to the books, the kids to the candy.  Behind the table was the sweetest lady, the author of the said book piles.  As we visited, we found out we knew the same people  from the same small town of which we lived.  And some hour and a half later, I left Lifeway with a new friend.  So, when Regina Jennings was looking for readers to be on her new book launch team, I was all over it!  This book, Caught In the Middle, is for all you historical romance buffs.  I loved the character development in this story.  Anne Tillerton is everything a little girl would want to be in the wild west.  She hunts buffalo, holds train robbers at gun point, but then is forced to take on a motherly role when little Sammy enters the picture.  Nick is her friend’s brother and is indebted to her for saving his life on the train.  We slowly see him loosen his grip on his faith in his career and begin to put it more in a relationship with Anne.  I love the chemistry between these two throughout the story.  You will enjoy this one, folks!

 

 

Finally, on my summer read list, well, my everyday read list actually…The Bible.  But, this summer, I was given the high privilege of reviewing the new Study Bible for Women by B&H Publishing.  I was so intrigued by this because I have the commentary that compliments this Bible, The Women’s Evangelical Commentary Old/New Testament.  I love opening this Bible to page one and seeing some familiar names as editors: Dorothy Patterson, Rhonda Kelley, Candi Finch and Susie Hawkins.  Thumbing through this Bible, you automatically see some incredible helps and study aides.  For instance, most Bibles have that space for you to put your family tree, your salvation experience, and your marriage date, etc.  This Bible starts right off in this spot giving us a background on the Ketubah, a Jewish marriage contract.  I love it!  Then it gives us an introduction from one of my personal heroines of the faith, Mrs. Dorothy Patterson.  She leaves such a personal mark on this Bible, giving us some of her own personal notes on how to study the Bible.  The beginning of each book of this Bible the editors have given us a timeline, who wrote the book, when it was written and so much more.  We find random word studies in the middle of texts that help us understand what we’re reading.  And then, my favorite part, what makes this Bible so uniquely designed for us women, is the Biblical Womanhood sections you will find throughout your readings.  The beautifully souled women that edited this Bible were thinking of us as they took the scriptures and applied it directly to how we can live a Biblical Womanhood.  Ladies, you need this Bible in your study corner of your home.  You’ll be blessed!

 

So, that’s my list.  I hope you find something you’ll enjoy!  I know I did.

Soak up some sun, take a refreshing swim, and crack open a good book this summer!

 

 

 

Any self-proclaimed helicopter mamas out there? (slow awkward hand raise from this side of the computer)

Helicopter mom: defined by Wikipedia as “a parent who pays extremely close attention to a child’s or children’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions.”

Not sure if you’re a helicopter mom?  You can take a quiz here!

While I don’t think some hovering is bad, continued hovering is detrimental.

What we need to be, mamas, is eagles.

I read a very interesting story in one of my mommy devotionals that rocked my hovering world!

It described how the Golden Eagle family prepare and raise their little ones.  The father eagle builds the nest as high as ten thousand feet in the air on the cleft of a rock with large limbs and branches.

The mother eagle’s job is to cushion the inside of the nest.  She uses leaves, grass, and even plucks her own down feathers to make a soft home for her new babies.  But as time passes, and the eaglets get older she begins grabbing up hunks of the soft cushion, exposing the sticks and branches.

You see, she doesn’t want the kiddos to get too comfortable.

Strange things begin to happen with mama eagle and her eaglets.  She starts spreading her wings out further and further until the kids are forced against the edge of the nest.  And then it happens.

The eaglets drop over the edge of the nest.  Free falling.  Flailing their wings.

But hovering near by…

Huge, strong wings come streaking down and scoop them up just in the nick of time.  See, adult Golden Eagles can fly vertically over two hundred miles per hour and can see from miles away.

And this happens over and over.  Until, one day, mama stays in her nest.  Babies free fall and notice mama is not moving.  Nature kicks in and tiny wings begin to flap.  They are flying on their own.

I mean, how neat is that?!  Don’t you want to be a Golden Eagle now?  Not just the pushing them out of the nest part, but the whole process.

And then we compare that to being a helicopter mom.  Always coming to the rescue.  Never letting them do anything on their own.  Never letting them be scared or hurt.

I don’t know about you but the most memorable times of my childhood were when I did something stupid and survived.

For goodness sakes, we didn’t have pegs to stand on when we rode on our friends’ bikes.  We had handlebars.  And we hoped our friends could see around us.  And if we were lucky, they would slow down to stop instead of slamming on their brakes and throwing us into the neighbor’s front yard.

My point is we got hurt.  We had bruises.  We got “C”s.  We built projects out of shoe boxes, coat hangers, and Popsicle sticks that were still sticky.  And we survived.

So as much as I want to hover and shelter my kiddos, I have to remember that Golden Eagle mama.  She loves her kiddos, but she lets them live. (I hope you’re hearing “Free Falling” by Tom Petty)

“He guarded them like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.”-Deuteronomy 32:11

 

 

Broken Puzzles

November 6, 2013 — Leave a comment

“Mommy, will you get me a puzzle?”  Ordinary request from a 4-year-old, right?

Coming into the room I find my daughter on a stool in her closet, reaching for the top shelf, clearly bypassing a rather sizable stack of puzzles.

“Here, babe,” I say as I deliver one Dora Explorer and one dinosaur preschool puzzle her way.

But, my gifts were not received with open arms.  In fact, they were met with crossed arms and a huffy continence.

“No!  Not those!  THOSE!”

I was a little confused. Was that little chubby finger pointing to the tippy-top shelf?  The one covered in a layer of dust?  The one with a slight mound of puzzles missing pieces and pieces missing puzzles?

Surely not.  So, I shove my selected puzzles at her again.  And again, I am met with resistance.

“Mommy, I don’t want those!  I want THOSE! The broken puzzles.”

Hmmm.  Interesting.  This probes me to question.

“Maddie, why would you want to play with the puzzles with the missing pieces instead of these?  They have all their pieces.”  And oh, that sweet preschool spirit springs forth.

“Well, even though they’re broken, I still like them.”

And His Spirit speaks.  Right there.  In a hot pink room.  Using a 4-year-old vessel.

Oh, God.  Thank you!  Thank you that when I’ve messed up, when I’ve done my own thing, when I’ve been broken, you still like me.  No, love me!

Open my eyes to see those around me that have been put on the proverbial tippy-top shelf by society.  Left alone, to “collect dust”.  Oh, how you love them.  And so should I.

We are all broken.  And loved by our great God.  Amen to that!

“The Lord is close to those who are broken…” Psalm 34:18

 

 

My Wal-Mart Angel

August 27, 2013 — Leave a comment

It was a dark and stormy night…actually, it was mid-afternoon and there were clear skies outside but anytime I go into Satan’s fortress that is Wal-Mart, everyone’s mood turns dark and stormy.  It’s like a cloud falls over my kids and overtakes them, turning them from angel to demon in 2.5 seconds.

“I don’t want to sit in the cart!”
“I don’t want to walk!”
“I don’t like that cereal!”
“That’s the only cereal I like!”
“Can I have that for my birthday? Christmas? Easter? New Years?”

What is pumped into the air in there?  The “Gimme Gas”?

And let me tell you, the minute I cross over the threshold of metal detectors, the deals are being made, my friends.  It is not below me to bribe my kids with McDonald’s, candies, toys, college funds.  As long as I can get in and get out as quickly as possible.

This particular day, I only had one of my littles with me.  Maddie and I had a short list and a time frame, which is always good when it comes to this establishment.  We had our eyes on the prize and for me, that’s the checkout line. We had gotten our things and were checking out, when my sweet angel says to me, “Mommy, can I have a quarter for the claw machine?”

Now, this could have gone two ways.  I say “no,” and it’s settled (in a perfect world). I say “yes,” and it’s settled. But then there’s a third way, and that is where this story gets fun. Continue Reading…

kids talkingCan I just tell you? I could be a stand up comedian with all the material my kids have supplied me with in 6 short years. Especially my daughter.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but kids are funny. I mean, I’ve been around kids my entire adult life, from teaching them to raising them, and they are funny!

When you have kids who can quote the entire Sweet Georgia Brown video, you gloat about that, my friend. You tell others, and when necessary, you have them perform it at parties. Continue Reading…

Tommy Boy Mothering

April 24, 2013 — Leave a comment

You know, after almost 6 years, there are not many things my kids say that surprise me. I’ve heard just about everything.

“Mama, when I grow up, I’m going to be a snakeologist!”

“Mommy, the next time we hit a deer, can I put it on my wall?”

“Look, mommy! I can lay down and play the piano with my feet!”

“Hey mom! I got bronchitis! Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
Continue Reading…

Getting back to my good friend, John, and his account of things.  Now, we left off with the beautiful encounter with Jesus and the Samaritan woman.  Remember how crazy that was!  Jesus, a man, a Jew, talking to this woman, a Samaritan.  None of that mattered to Jesus.  He knew what she needed despite all the social barriers involved.  And He provided her with that Living water.

Our tale today comes from John 4:46-54.  Notice the social barriers again, only this time it’s not Jesus coming to someone, but an unlikely character coming to Jesus.http://www.paulines.ph/paulines_updates/images/centurionfaith.jpg

It says a certain royal official found out that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, and he WENT TO HIM!  This was a high-ranking official seeking the help of a humble carpenter.  Why? Continue Reading…

Childlike Worship

February 11, 2013 — Leave a comment

Growing up in church I sat through many, many children’s specials, musicals, cantatas…you name it, I watched it. It was always the same.  The kids were brought out on stage in some kind of robed ensemble.  If you weren’t the parent lucky enough to get there early and set up your tripod, you raced to the front, heaving the 20 pound VHS camcorder atop your shoulder.  Peering into the cushioned lens of the camera, you searched for your angel and began recording.

I never really could understand what all the hubbub was about.  I mean, most of the time, they just stood up there picking their noses and waving.  Why would anybody film this to watch later?

And then I became a parent. Continue Reading…

A Year Ago Today

January 28, 2013 — Leave a comment
calendar2.jpgAs mommies, we remember everything, don’t we?  When my son was born, I can remember them putting him on my chest, seconds after he was born, and feeling that weight hit me.(my “little” nearly 10 lb bundle!)  When my daughter was born, I can remember going to get her from the nursery and when they wheeled her out she was just screaming.  I felt like an awful mother, thinking she’d been crying the whole time she’d been in there!

Of course, there are so many more things I remember, but isn’t that what we mommies do?  It’s our job to remember.  Not only those important times like births, birthdays, and milestones.  But also everyday things, right?  Does this sound familiar to anyone else out there?

Mommy, where’s my shoes?  Mommy, did I leave my lunchbox at school?  Mommy, how old is the dog?  Mommy, what time does Doc McStuffins come on?

So many things we have to remember.  But for the sake of this post, I want you to think back to one year ago today.  Just one year.  If you are a mother of preschoolers, a lot has happened, right?  Continue Reading…

Yes, I know.  I’ve skipped some words in red.  I am aware, but I actually read this story the other day in my time alone with the Lord and I just had to skip to it in our series here.

We’re still in the book of John, chapter 4 now.  Here we find Jesus leaving Judea traveling to Galilee.  And He has to go through Samaria to get there.  He passes through a town called Sychar.  There he finds Jacob’s well, so He sits down to rest.  Verse 6 says, “It was about six in the evening.”  This time is very significant as we will see here in just a minute.

Now, we do not know this woman’s name.  One commentary says that by John leaving her unnamed, “perhaps the apostle was attempting to give his audience a deeper impression of her perceived unworthiness or to focus more on the woman’s unacceptable lifestyle.” (Women’s Evangelical Commentary) Continue Reading…