Saturday, April 30, 2016

Saturday Salutes


If you like cookie dough, check out Sarah's 25 Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Desserts.  In case you haven't finished (or started ;) your spring cleaning, she also has 10 Spring Cleaning Tasks for Kids.

These tips from Marie would have been helpful about ten years ago - How to Stay Awake While Reading Aloud.

Crystal lists 15 Ways to Start Your Day Well.

Tricia gives us 40 Ways to Be Present in Your Child's Day.

If you enjoy looking at older homes, scroll through Rhoda's pictures in Historic Houses in Marietta, GA.

Have a great weekend!!

Friday, April 29, 2016

5 Books I Read in April

I was missing in action here on the blog earlier this week as our daughters and I got to accompany my husband on a work-related trip to Asheville, NC.


We were blessed with beautiful weather!  My husband and the girls went ziplining on Monday, then we visited the Biltmore House and Gardens on Tuesday.



I'm also excited that I was able to read a few more books this month!  Here are the five that I read; only the first one was on my 2016 reading list.


  • Parenting for the Launch:  Raising Teens to Succeed in the Real World by Dennis Trittin and Arlyn Lawrence.  This book is all about preparing your teens to leave home.  My favorite chapter dealt with helpful skills we can develop to communicate effectively with our teenagers.  The authors also explained changes to look for and embrace, offered advice on preparing them to make decisions and build relationships, and how we transition into guiding and influencing our children instead of telling them exactly what to do.

  • Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman.  Emily reminds us to embrace the small, the ordinary, and the every day; see the beauty in simple moments; and set aside time to let our souls breathe.

  • Hands Free Life by Rachel Macy Stafford.  I'd read Rachel's previous book, Hands Free Mama, but I have to say that I really prefer this book to the first one.  I highlighted a number of passages (and already shared this quote).  The nine habits she develops throughout the book are all key principles for developing a well-balanced life.  I love the personal stories she uses to illustrate each of the habits, and I left the book with a new realization of the importance of relationships.

  • Meet the New You by Elisa Pulliam.  You can read my complete review of this book here.

  • Murder at the Courthouse by A.H. Gabhart.  Okay, this fiction book is not as dramatic as the title sounds.  It's a small town mystery that I enjoyed reading while we were on our trip earlier this week.  I hope to read the second one in the series soon.

Have you read any good books lately?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Friday, April 22, 2016

Book Review: Meet the New You by Elisa Pulliam

If you've ever wanted a personal life coach to guide you in changing the direction of your life, you might want to read Meet the New You:  A 21-Day Plan for Embracing Fresh Attitudes and Focused Habits for Real Life Change by Elisa Pulliam.


This book is laid out in 21 chapters, each with a particular theme.  The chapter opens with a couple of pages to read, followed by a "Trap and Transform" section, which gives activities that reinforce and put into practice what you've read.  Next, a few related questions are asked, with a place given for you to write in your answers.  Each chapter ends with a prayer.

Written from a Christian perspective, the chapter topics include such things as "order your priorities," "discover your talents and spiritual gifting," and "eliminate the excess and concentrate on what's best."  Some of the chapters have a lot of material to consider, especially if the particular topic is one you're wanting to apply in your life, so you may want to take more than one day per chapter.  This would allow you to complete the assignments thoroughly and fully internalize the lesson being taught.

Since Elisa is an actual life coach, her perspective and guidance is helpful.  I think the book meets its goal, which is to "help you assess what your life looks like today while allowing you to gain clarity and vision about tomorrow." 

I also believe you will get out of this book what you put into it.  If you really dig in, put time and thought into answering the questions, and complete the activities given, you can gain a clearer picture of how you want to live, the habits you need to change, and clarity for a new direction in life.

Blogging for Books provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.  All of the opinions expressed in this post are my own and I was not compensated for this review in any other way.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Be a Noticer Today

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Don't we all liked to be noticed? 

Maybe there are days we seem to just blend into the crowd, and we feel like no one notices us as an individual.  If we realize that others - especially our spouse or our children - can feel that way as well, then we can determine to make a difference by taking a minute to notice them in a positive way.

I was inspired to think more about this idea by a portion of a book I'm enjoying, Hands Free Life by Rachel Macy Stafford.
"Let us all be Noticers today.   
Let us notice our children's gifts rather than their flaws.  Let us notice what our spouse does right, not what he or she did wrong.  Let us notice the sacrifices our parents made, rather than all the times they messed up.   
Let us notice how hard people are working, not how quickly they are providing service.  Let us notice where our love and kindness is needed, rather than spew criticism and scrutiny where it is not needed.   
Let us be Noticers.  Love others right where they are....just as they are.  Someone is just waiting for us to notice what's blooming or wilting inside that could use a little undivided attention."
This act of noticing could be as simple as complimenting the cashier at the grocery store on her manicure or thanking your husband for taking out the trash or praising your child for how neatly she put her toys away.  Let's see how many people we can notice and appreciate today!

Who will you notice today?

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Joy-Stealers

Do you ever start your day full of joy and ready to take on the world, only to find that, as the day goes on, your joy has slowly slipped away?

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Several years ago, I read the book Be Joyful by Warren Wiersbe. In the first chapter, he details four things that steal our joy.

  1. Circumstances. Last weekend, I had several activities planned. When my older daughter got sick on Friday night, those plans went out the window. This happens often in our daily lives; we face an unpleasant situation and allow our joy to be snuffed out by the undesirable circumstances that surround us. If we can remember to trust God and submit to His ultimate control of every situation, we can hold on to our joy.

  2. People. Hopefully, few - if any- people would intentionally steal our joy, but perhaps a thoughtless comment or even a bad attitude from a family member, friend, or neighbor drains the joy from our hearts. There are times when we are forced to deal with someone who's unpleasant or who reacts negatively to us.  Often our response in the moment determines whether or not they can take away our joy.  In these situations, we need the fruit of the Spirit to help us respond sweetly and patiently.

  3. Things. Plain-old covetousness can be a reason for our lack of joy. Whether it's other people's possessions, families, position, (or even their blog!), desiring what someone else has makes us unhappy and joyless. Learning to be content, no matter our state, can cause our joy to remain.

  4. Worry. This one came into play over the weekend as well. Monitoring my daughter's high temperature throughout Friday night caused me to worry. When she didn't bounce back from her illness as quickly as I thought she should, more worry began to push away my joy. Even though I attempt to "cast all my care upon Him," I still seem to think worry is part of my duty. Often, if I will live in today instead of in the future, I can focus on maintaining joy.

It would be lovely to say that since I recognize these joy-stealers, I am able to stand against them and continually live in joy. I'm afraid that's not the case. Yet as I continue to grow in Christ, I trust that through His strength and by meditating on His Word, I can recognize and battle these joy-stealers when they attempt to enter my life.

Do you sometimes struggle with one of these joy-stealers?

The original version of this post was published on 2/24/10.
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