Monday, July 6, 2015

I Can Be Happy for You

This book's title I'm Happy for You (Sort Of...Not Really) grabbed me almost instantly.  As the subtitle explained the book's theme as "Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison," I decided that Kay Wills Wyma might be able to offer some insight into a personal struggle I have.

I don't think I realized how bad it was until I found myself identifying with what she wrote on nearly every page.

I have what Kay Wills Wyma calls Obsessive Comparison Disorder.
"Comparison surrounds us so thoroughly that we don't even realize how it's suffocating us, stealing our contentment....The good news is that we can silence comparison when we learn to recognize its insidious invitation to self-obsession. Because really, that's what comparison does; it makes life all about me, how I measure up or fall short."  
Whether it's a Facebook or Twitter post or a conversation with a friend I run into in the grocery store aisle, I seem compelled to compare my own performance or that of my children to someone else's.

My thoughts take off in a million different directions.  "Do I do as much as that other woman at church does?  Did her daughter make the team, but not mine?  Is my appearance as satisfactory as that other mom I see picking her child up from school?  Is my daughter a better piano player than her classmate?"

This book called all these topics to the forefront of my mind and made me realize that comparison is a near constant, though unwelcome, presence in my life.  With humor and dignity and plenty of personal examples of her own failures, Kay Wills Wyma calls us to really be content and learn how to be happy for others.

Wyma quotes Jody Capehart as saying, "We are uniquely gifted by God for His purpose. When we rest in His assurance, happy with who we are, we are freed to say to others, 'I am happy for you' - and mean it."

She talks about "yardstick living" - the constant need to measure ourselves or our children against some predetermined measurement.  She reminds us instead to strive after our potential - "Not someone else's, not a predetermined spot we measure ourselves against, but our potential.  Might focusing on the reality that we each have differing "bests" free us to spur others on to strive after their potential?"

I love Wyma's reminder of how this should look in regards to our children.
"And I asked myself, Am I loving them well?  Really loving them for who they are, not who I want them to be or think they ought to be or who society says they should be?  Am I loving them for the special individuals they are?  Am I helping them discover their unique gifting and building them up in that?  Even when such gifting might take them down a road that looks a bit different from what I or everyone around me expects or values?" 
We can find freedom when we let go of comparison.  "The urge to maintain appearances chains us to performance and leads us away from contentment.  Freedom comes when we each focus on doing our best rather than being the best."

Just a couple of days ago, I found myself thinking, "Oh, their family did that and we didn't.  Are my kids missing out?  Should I have done more?"   Then I caught myself and realized that comparison was sliding in, no matter how much I've been trying to keep it out.

She so perfectly puts what I want the attitude to be for the children in our home.
"My hope is that home will be a sweet memory for each of them....I hope it's a place where they know they're accepted and loved, regardless of how society says they measure up.  A place where their worth is not determined by their ability to act or look a certain way but simply by their being who they were created to be.  A place where they're challenged to reach their unique potential and to encourage and celebrate with others as they do the same."
Kay summarizes her book with the following:  "The source of power - to mentally reboot, refocus perspective, be grateful, manage expectations, and be genuinely happy for others - comes from God, who does it for us."

Yes, if you struggle with comparison and discontentment at times, like I do, read this book.  I'm on my second reading, marking more passages so that I can review them in the days to come.  May I learn to live in gratitude for how God has made me and our children, seek to reach our own potential, and genuinely celebrate with others in their accomplishments.

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.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Saturday Salutes

July 4, 2014

One of the best posts I read on the recent Supreme Court decision concerning marriage is Randy Alcorn's Here We Stand:  An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage.

Hilary shares How to Set Screen Time Boundaries with Your Children. 

Sara writes about Why Our Kids Need Us to Make the Most of Summer (and Step Away from the Screen).

Robin has Top Ten DIY Ways to Organize Homeschool Supplies.  These ideas would also work for non-homeschoolers with their school/art/craft supplies.

If you have a few basic craft items at home, you can make this Fireworks 4th of July Craft with your kids today!

Finally, Ann shares Last Minute Patriotic Decor Ideas.  These are very pretty, but I may have to wait until next year to use them at my house!

Hope you have a wonderful day celebrating our great nation and thanking God for the freedoms we have today!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

2015 Goals: June Update

We ended June with a bang!  It's been so much fun having my brother, sister-in-law, and their four kids here visiting for a few days this week.  Now we're looking forward to July with camps for both girls followed by some traveling.  Hope your summer is going well!

Here's how I did on working towards my yearly goals in June.

1.  Read through the Bible in 100 days. 

2.  Write a new, very specific prayer list for my husband and my children at the beginning of each month.  Done in June.

3.  Spend one hour with each daughter each month doing an activity that she likes to do.  I took my older daughter shopping for makeup for the first time and then she celebrated with a Mocha Frappe.  Our younger daughter had a little of her own money to spend, so we went shopping, stopped by the library, and then she used a gift card she'd won to finish off our day at Sweet Frog.

4.  Send a note or e-mail of encouragement to someone every week.  Done in June - and I even sent a couple of extra ones since I've been behind with this goal the past few months.

5.  Complete my reading plan each month.  Read three of the four books I planned to finish.

6.  Exercise for 25 minutes a day, 4 times a week.   Done in June.

7.  Eat at least 3 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.  The Bounty Box we're trying is helping me meet this goal!

 8.  Complete Copyblogger's collection of 15 ebooks and implement 5 changes to my blog by June 30.  I finished reading all 15 ebooks by my goal date!  However, I've only implemented 2 changes to my blog, so I'm going to continue to work on that part of the goal. 

How are you doing with your goals?

Monday, June 29, 2015

6 Books I Read in June


I'm happy to be keeping up with most of my reading goals in spite of our lively summer schedule.

I didn't read the marriage book I had planned on for June (The 10 Commandments of Marriage by Ed Young). I put it on hold at the library and waited on it all month, but it never came in.  I'm selective about what books I spend money on these days and wasn't sure this one was good enough to buy!  I'll try to read it later this year.

Here's what I did read from my list this month.

  • What Happens When Women Pray by Evelyn Carol Christenson.  I was glad I persevered through the first half of this book, because the last several chapters were very helpful.  There were excellent reminders about scheduling our personal prayer time and on praying in God's will.
  • Hopeful Parenting:  Encouragement for Raising Kids Who Love God by David Jeremiah.  This truly was a book of encouragement for parents!  The author reminds us that ultimately our children belong to God and He provides the resources we need to parent our children.  Training our children in the ways of God should be one of our greatest priorities as we see them as the blessing in our lives that God intended them to be.
  • Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph (This was a re-read.)  I enjoyed reading through this book again.  Courtney inspires Christian women in every area of their walk with the Lord, from personal devotions to their marriage and parenting.

These are the other books I read in June.
  • Imposter by Davis Bunn.  This was my fiction read for our family vacation in the mountains.
  • Fodor's Boston.  Read through this in preparation for our trip to Boston next month! 
  • I'm Happy for You (Sort Of...Not Really):  Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison by Kay Wills Wyma.  I've already mentioned how much I love this book, and I'll write a full review post on it soon.

Here are the books I hope to read in July.

SpiritualIn a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson
Marriage When Sinners Say "I Do" - Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage by Dave Harvey
ParentingWhen More Is Not Enough:  How to Stop Giving Your Kids What They Want and Give Them What They Need by Amy L. Sullivan
Personal GrowthI'm Happy for You (Sort of...Not Really):  Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison by Kay Wills Wyma.  Yes, I'm reading this book again!  I marked it up the first time through, but want to read it again more slowly and absorb its message even more.

What have you been reading lately?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Five Favorites on a Friday

Our summer schedule has taken the wind out of my blogging sails!!

This week it's been Vacation Bible School, shopping for camp needs for my older daughter, and catching up on household chores, along with a few fun moments, too!

Keeping it short today, but sharing five of my current favorites!

Favorite book:  I'm Happy for You (Sort of...Not Really):  Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison by Kay Wills Wyma.  I'll write a full review on this book later, but for now, let's just say that the message of this book has hit me right between the eyes. 

Favorite recipe:  Yellow Squash Casserole - perfect use for the squash we were given by friends!

Favorite store:  Palmetto Moon.  This is where we stock up on t-shirts for my daughter to wear to camp.

Favorite delivery service:  The Bounty Box.  We're trying this service which delivers fresh, local produce to my door once a week. We'll see over time if I feel that the convenience and quality of the food is worth the cost.

Favorite package I'm waiting to receive:  Casual Jersey Knit Skirt.  I ordered this in Indigo Blue (with a coupon code!) and am hoping it fits me like it does the model.  :)

What's a current favorite of yours???

Monday, June 22, 2015

10 Traits of a Wise Woman

What makes a woman wise?

In the past few weeks, I've been studying Bible passages about wisdom.  As I seek to support my husband, parent our children, and grow as a Christian, I want to access the wisdom that only God can give. 

Through my Scripture reading, I've found a list of at least ten traits that mark a wise woman.

1.  She fears the Lord.  The Bible is pretty direct in letting us know that this is the place to begin our quest for wisdom.  "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Proverbs 1:7)

2.  She is teachable.  "Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not." (Proverbs 8:33)  "Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." (Proverbs 9:9) Whether learning from God's Word in our personal study or from pastors or Bible teachers or fellow Christians, a wise woman absorbs Biblical knowledge and applies it to her life.

3.  She controls her mouth.  Talk less.  "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise." (Proverbs 10:19)  We also want our speech to be profitable and for our words to build up and encourage others.  "The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness." (Proverbs 15:2)

4.  She plans ahead.  "He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame." (Proverbs 10:5)  Several verses in Proverbs 31 describe the virtuous woman as one who is organized and prepared.

5.  She is careful in her choice of friends. "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed." (Proverbs 13:20)

6.  She fears the pull of sin and stays away from it.  "A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident." (Proverbs 14:16)  We want to recognize our weaknesses and keep ourselves out of situations that might provide temptation.

7.  She seeks the counsel of other wise people. When we don't know how to handle a certain situation, we should seek the Lord in prayer and then, as appropriate, seek advice from those we know who are wise. "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:" (Proverbs 1:5)  "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise." (Proverbs 12:15)

8.  She guides her heart.  "Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way." (Proverbs 23:19)  A wise woman guards her affections.  She monitors her activities so that she has time for the things of the Lord and is not focused on things of the world.  It is wise for us as women to set guidelines to keep worldliness from slipping into our own personal lives or homes.

9.  She considers her latter end.  "O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!" (Deuteronomy 32:29)  This passage is talking about the children of Israel, but I think it can certainly apply to us.  We need to examine the many choices we make - whether small, daily decisions or bigger, potentially life-changing ones - and consider how will they impact our future here and in eternity.

10.  She knows that all that happens in her life is in God's hands.  "For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God:" (Ecclesiastes 9:1a)  From Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, comes this reminder that every event in our life is under God's control.

May the Holy Spirit help us to grow us in wisdom that we might be the Christian women, wives, and mothers that He would have us to be!

What other traits would a wise woman have?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Saturday Salutes

Jessica says Your Kids Aren't Bored - They're Lazy.

Deidra shares 7 Summer Sanity Savers.

Kathie helps us in Training Kids' Hearts with Scripture.

Sharon has 8 Secrets to Keep Your Home Sparkling Clean.

I want to wish my dad a very happy Father's Day and to thank him for the love and wisdom he has always spoken into my life.  I also want to thank my husband for being an amazing father to our two girls.  He knows how to speak wisdom into their lives and is so supportive of all that they do!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!