Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young

Missionary Sarah Young provides a year's worth of daily inspirations in her devotional "Jesus Calling." Unlike other devotionals in circulation, "Jesus Calling" is written in a conversational tone; it's as if Jesus is speaking directly to the reader. Pertinent scripture passages are included at the end of each daily devotion.

As I read through the inspirational devotional messages, I felt drawn closer to the Lord. Imagining Jesus speaking these biblically-sound passages made reading the devotions a more personal experience. Peace--and more precisely, peace in Christ--is a resounding theme throughout the devotional. Throughout the turbulent times in which we live--both inside our homes and in society in general--the peace we can only find in Jesus is our anchor.

This uniquely written devotional is sure to inspire anyone who is blessed to read it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Book Review: "The Principle of the Path" by Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley's "The Principle of the Path" is about choosing the correct path to get to where you want to be in all aspects of life. It's about realizing when we are on the wrong path and how to change our direction to reach our goals. Ultimately, the main premise of the book is that our intentions are meaningless if we choose the wrong path.

Stanley's conversational tone drew me in right away. I felt as though I was talking with a friend and it was a conversation that was intriguing enough that I didn't want to put the book down. Peppered with personal anecdotes, Stanley illustrates how our best intentions don't guarantee that we'll end up where we want to be. Seemingly wise people can make a string of bad choices and end up on a path that destroys finances, family ties and health. No one is immune from bad decisions and detours on destructive paths.

Using biblical stories surrounding such figures as Solomon, David and Saul, Andy Stanley presents the major way people can avoid destructive paths that lead to despair: trust in God. Our need for God and His way for our lives trumps the daily desires of our hearts. And if we are honest with ourselves about the choices we make, we can tell right away if our choices are biblical and aligned with the desires of God or if they are self-serving.

This book is an essential read for people in all stages of life. Anyone who cares about reaching their goals and avoiding pitfalls along the way should read "The Principle of the Path."

Friday, May 8, 2009


Perception is an interesting concept. And people perceive a wide-variety of shared experiences differently. Adults tend to muddle perception. We complicate things and measure people or circumstances based on our personal standards. Children, on the other hand, offer simple, straightforward perceptions of everything--from what people look like to the meaning of a word. I love the innocence of it.

I recently asked Nathan--who is almost 5--to draw a picture of me. Here is how Nate perceived me on that particular day:

He gave me all of the basic parts a person needs: arms (sans hands), legs (sans feet), eyes, nose and a mouth--a smiling mouth, at that. He gave me brown, unkempt hair, which is spot on most of the time. He also made me stuck in the mud, but gave me a very long pencil. I look happy, which is probably the most important aspect of this masterpiece.

How does your child perceive you? Have him or her draw a picture of you. You'll be amazed by how perceptive even the smallest children can be. In the mean time, I'll continue to try to decipher the meaning of the mud and the pencil.

I'm glad I'm 5'1"

Being short has its advantages. You can get taller people to reach things for you. You can still ride the kiddy rides with your children and you can fit, relatively comfortably, in a toddler car bed. Yes, I said *toddler* car bed.

Brandon, my almost 3-year-old, has the habit of getting up at precisely 1:19 am to retrieve me from my Queen-size bed and lead me to his much smaller place of rest. "Rest" really isn't the best choice of words for that toddler car bed, for rarely does real rest transpire. I'm about two inches too long (never thought I'd say *that* about my stature) to fully fit the confines of the bed. So I scrunch up, use a way-too-small child-size pillow, and try to make the best of it.

And something amazing happens every time I squeeze into bed with Brandon. He laughs, smiles, pats me and rolls over and goes to sleep. It makes the sore neck worth it.


One day, while we were watching "The Brave Little Toaster," Nathan turned to me and asked me how to spell the word "heart" (he seems to be at that inquisitive, everything.needs.to.be.spelled.for.me age.) I spelled the word for him and he looked at me and said "mom, you are my heart." What did I do to deserve that beautiful tribute from my eldest son? Nothing extraordinary, in the eyes of society, that is. But to Nathan--and most likely to Brandon, too--I'm the bees knees. And I remember my mom that same way.

My mom and I were very close--but also very much like oil and water. Maybe too similar for our own good in some areas. As I child, I didn't appreciate her like I should've; no child truly appreciates his or her mother like a mom should be appreciated. But after *my* first week of motherhood with a colicky, needy--but adorable--baby, I finally understood. I called her up in my new-mother-zombie-like state to say thank you to her for just being my mom. I'll never take her for granted again. She's my Supermom.

Nate and Brandon thank me everyday for being their mom. With random hugs and kisses, simplified yet beautiful drawings of our family and genuine love that only a child can offer. To them, I'm Supermom everyday and that's the best job I've ever had.

If I had a million dollars...

I think I would be miserable.

And many people would probably label me as insane, but I don't play the lottery and I actually wouldn't want to win the lottery (at least a big jackpot, anyway!) Why? Maybe it's a self-control thing. What would I buy with the money? Probably a bunch of self-gratifying, frivolous things. Knowing myself, I would most assuredly give some money to my church and other charities that I champion. But also knowing myself, I'd probably be enamored with the money and the stuff it could get me.

Not a very high opinion of myself, you say? I think that large quantities of money can turn anyone into someone they never thought they'd become. People say that money is the root of all evil. Let's face it: we need money to live. I think a word is missing. The *excessive* love of money is the true culprit. When money becomes the focus, everything else loses out. Family, friends, responsibility--and most important--God. When money becomes our god, everything else is going to fall apart. Money can buy you things, but it won't bring lasting peace. Only Jesus fulfill that yearning in our hearts.

So if I had a million dollars, I'd probably look better, live in a bigger house and drive a newer car. But I wouldn't be me. And I like my sales-rack wearing, smaller-house living, affordable-car driving self just the way that I am.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I love to watch my children sleep

After a particularly rough day, the countdown to bedtime (for the boys AND me!) begins around 2 or 3 pm. And I try to fill that seemingly endless span of time with fun stuff to do--like playing outside when the weather cooperates, looking at "I Spy" books or playing Leapster games with the boys or making crafts. TV creeps in there, too--probably too much--but I try to interact with both boys on a personal level.

On a personal level. Too many times we can forget about being personable with our own children. Sometimes we think of stuff to do just to get closer to that wonderful bedtime hour. But how much we miss with our children when we wish our time with them away. This is a lesson I'm learning. It's hard--especially as a stay-at-home mom who spends so much time with the kids--to be engaged with them all day. I'll admit it: I don't particularly like to play, especially some of the things boys like to play, although digging for worms is kinda fun. I like "me" time, but sometimes the "me" moments outweigh the "kid" moments--and that's no good.

When I make a connection with one of the boys, nothing can beat that feeling. As an example, I've tried over the past couple of months to explain to Nathan (almost 5 years old) about how Jesus died for our sins but then rose again to conquer death. He can tell anyone now that Jesus suffered for us.

He knows that "bad guys" put thorns on Jesus' head, that the aforementioned bad guys offered a thirsty Jesus vinegar, instead of ice cold milk (Nate's drink of choice), that they whipped Him and gave him "boo-boos" and that he died on a cross. And after telling me all that one day, he turned to me and said "I love Jesus, mommy" and it doesn't get much better than that from my perspective. It makes all those moments when you just wish the clock would strike bedtime hour melt away.

I still love to watch my children sleep though. It's a wonderful opportunity to sit next to them, to appreciate them for who they are, and to thank God for the honor of being their mother.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Second to being a Christian...

Or second and third, if you want to be precise. I'm a wife and mother. Two roles that I think are really taken for granted in society today. People aren't measured by *who* they are--or what positive impact they may make on society; they are judged by their bank accounts and the prestige that comes from their career choice. Guess what? I'm a college-educated woman who actually held a "real" job before I became a stay-at-home-- mom to Nathan in July 2004. And know something else? We always planned for me to be a stay-at-home mother when the time came. I knew it was coming. But the transition wasn't easy...

I remember my last day of work. Cleaning out my desk, saying goodbye to my co-workers. Waddling out to my car for the last time (hey, I was 8 1/2 months pregnant and waddled like a penguin. I may have even been wearing black and white.) I cried the whole way out to my little car and most of the way home. I was entering a whole new phase of my life and I really don't like change too much, so this was a BIG step. I prayed. I prayed that I would be a good mother to Nathan. I prayed for peace in my heart because I was kinda scared. And I *felt* peace because I knew God was with me and that He had planned this for me and *that*--all by itself--made everything okay. And it has been. One of my very favorite Bible verses-and the first that I had ever committed to memory is:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He
will make your path straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

You *have* to put all of your faith in God--that He knows what is best for you and His timing is NEVER off. If you don't place your faith in God, you put your faith in yourself (and let's face it, we aren't perfect, but God is!!), put faith in others and put faith in the ways of this world. This world is temporal--it WILL pass away. Heaven is forever, so I choose to live for that day.

Back to my original point (if I remember what that is! lol!) Don't measure me for my bank account or some fancy job, or you'll be dissappointed. Measure me by my faith instead. My faith is bigger than any bank account--and more important, too.

Here's the skinny on me

If you are going to read my blog, you probably should know some things about me. First and foremost, I'm a born again Christian. For those of you who aren't born again, you probably just imagined me standing on a street corner, condemning people to eternal damnation, right (admit it!) I honestly may have thought that way, too, before I accepted Christ as my savior and Lord of my life. But it's not like that at all.

To put it in simple terms, before I accepted Christ, I was unsure. Unsure of what? Unsure of my salvation. I never really *knew* if I was going to heaven, but I always thought that being "good enough" would get me through the pearly gates. Hey, guess what? That's not biblical. But before I accepted Christ, I never picked up my Bible, so I didn't know that. I just followed what everyone else in my religion did. The Holy Spirit had other plans for me, though. My older sister Lisa had accepted Christ a few years before and she had witnessed--or proclaimed the truths of the Gospel and salvation through Christ--to me. And I didn't bite...at first.

It took my sister, Saturday nights with Charles Stanley and some serious soul searching for me to make the most important decision of my life. It came down to one question: am I here to please God or man?? I chose God--and forever became a child of God--in August, 2003.

I'm still a relatively new Christian. I'm still learning. But I'm changed. And I am blessed to remember who I was before I accepted Christ and who I've become--and who I'm striving to become.

And so it begins

I always wondered what all of the blogging hype was about. Then I read a couple of blogs from friends and family and realized that blogging is a great way to stay connected and make connections. It's a great way to spread a message, to offer insight into topics and to help to those who may need it.

With this blog, I aim to talk about issues that affect mothers, daughters, sisters, writers, and Christians because--well, I'm all of those things. And I'm no expert on any of them, but I take each role seriously and I'm working on them all, little by little, in my little corner of the world.

My goal--with every word I write--is to give all of the glory to God. For without Him, I am nothing. I want to raise people up with my words and not bring them down. I want to encourage, not discourage.

And so it begins...