Wednesday, July 30, 2014

5 Books I Read in July


I slowed down a bit in July, but I was still able to finish reading five books.  The first four were on my 2014 reading list, and the last one was a short ebook that I read on my Kindle.

  • A Faith Full Marriage by Paul Chappell
  • Piece de Resistance by Sandra Byrd.  This was the third and final book in the French Twist series.
  • Speak Love:  Making Your Words Matter by Annie F. Downs
  • The Young Lady in Waiting by Jackie Kendall and Debby Jones.  I thought this book was written for teenage girls, but it's actually geared more toward single women, college age and up.  That said, I think it would definitely be a helpful read for young women within that age group.  The lessons focus on developing your relationship with Christ during your single years and allowing Him to develop your relationships with men in His time.
  • Found:  God's Will by John MacArthur 

What have you been reading lately?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Acting Like Eve

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"Ever since the Garden of Eden, women have often felt they could and should know as much as God. Much pain in our world has resulted from dependence on our wisdom rather than on our Father's." ~from The Young Lady in Waiting by Jackie Kendall and Debby Jones

While I don't believe that we would necessarily vocalize the sentiments expressed in the above quote, I do think we sometimes show it in the way we act.

Anytime that I choose a course of action without taking my decision to God in prayer, I'm relying on my own wisdom.  This tendency reminds me of some Old Testament stories involving Sarah arranging Abraham's marriage with Hagar or Rebekah orchestrating Isaac's blessing for Jacob instead of Esau.  Both of these women were attempting to help God fulfill His promises and they relied on their own wisdom to "fix" the situation.

Let me not cast stones; I am prone to act in the same way.  Sarah tried to manage her husband and Rebekah her child.  It can be difficult to turn situations over to the Lord, especially those that involve our families.  We feel like we can work everything out ourselves.  Instead we must learn to trust God - which often involves waiting on His timing or trusting Him even when we don't see how circumstances could possibly turn out for good.  He has a purpose in what is developing in their lives and our interfering may not be what's best for them.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Proverbs 3:5.  "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."  That's a big step of faith - trusting God to work His will in His way and not depending on my own wisdom.

Easy to say; often very hard to do.  Let's ask God for His power to trust His wisdom today!

Friday, July 25, 2014

What Those Wedding Vows Really Mean

Dear 1991 Bride,

My, how lovely you look today!  You found the wedding dress in a short amount of time, pulled everything together with the help of your family and so many precious church ladies, and now your wedding day is here.

Your groom is quite handsome!  The music you've chosen is beautiful and this special day is going well.

Now, let's have a little talk.

Those words you're about to say so smoothly in your wedding vows...those aren't just words.  There's a lifetime of meaning behind them.

Take, as an example, "for better or worse."  Yes, in spite of what you think now, there will be "worse."  Most days will be of the "better" variety, but there will be the "worse" days.  Days when selfishness wins, and silly arguments prevail, and patience goes out the window, and words you'll later wish you could take back will come out of your mouth.

"For richer for poorer"...yeah, that, too.  Budgeting and sacrifices and not buying that new dress and throwing a meal in the slow cooker instead of eating out is part of maturing and acting like an adult with your money.  Enjoy the richer days, too, when they come.  But realize that "richer" encompasses so much more than money, and take to time to enjoy the shared laughter and his arm around you in church and holding hands in the car and sitting together quietly at the end of the day.

"In sickness and in health"  will mean a middle of the night ER visit for your kidney stones, his stay in the hospital with a lung disease, a miscarriage, and his back surgery.

"To love and to cherish" won't be just the romantic nights and the unexpected gifts and the fun vacations.  While those will be nice, loving and cherishing will more often involve serving each other when you don't feel like it - you washing his laundry and his washing your car, you cooking supper and him mowing the lawn.

But you won't ever be sorry that you've kept those vows.  When it's July 27, 2014, and you celebrate 23 years of marriage, you'll be so glad that God gave you him for a husband and that the commitment you make today is still being honored.


Your 2014 Self, A Married Woman of 23 Years

Happy 23rd anniversary (as of Sunday), sweetheart!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fold My Girl for Me

I read the following poem in The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot.  It's a prayer that echoes in my heart for each of my precious girls.

As Any Mother to the Savior

As Thou didst walk the lanes of Galilee,
So, loving Savior, walk with her for me,
For since the years have passed and she is grown,
I cannot follow; she must walk alone.

Be Thou my feet that I have had to stay,
For Thou canst comrade her on every way;
Be Thou my voice when sinful things allure,
Pleading with her to choose those which endure.
Be Thou my hands that would keep hers in mine,
And all things else that mothers must resign.

When she was little, I could walk and guide,
But now I pray that Thou be at her side.
And as Thy blessed mother folded Thee,
So, loving Savior, fold my girl for me.

Monday, July 21, 2014

He Speaks Through His Word

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"God's way of speaking to you and of getting at you will be through His Word.  Dwell in it, therefore.  Begin each day with a portion of it.  Pray for grace to see when He is speaking to you, and for grace to adjust yourself to what He thus shows you.  Do that and you will be a successful Christian..."  ~excerpted from a letter to Philip and Katharine Howard from a veteran missionary, shared in Elisabeth Elliot's book The Shaping of a Christian Family

Dwell in God's Word.  What a powerful thought, what a noble goal!  May I read and study the Bible so that I can be taught, convicted, and encouraged on a daily basis.  As His Word infiltrates my mind, I can live for Him in full confidence that I am doing His will.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday Salutes

Erin celebrates One Six Down.  Two More Sixes To Go.

Jessica tells us How to Love Your Neighbors.

Patty encourages us For the Days When You Are Not Enough.

Jamie has 12 Easy Ways to Improve Your Mood.

If you're looking for an easy and delicious slow cooker meal, try this Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings.  I made it for supper on Tuesday night and will definitely be serving it again.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, July 18, 2014

It Doesn't Have to Be Big or Expensive

Now that our girls are older, I often think that I have to spend lots of money and plan big activities to entertain them.  Not so.

Since this was one of our slower weeks for the summer, I wanted the three of us to do something together.  However, we've spent money on several outings lately, so I wanted an inexpensive option.  The weather was also a factor for part of the week.

Then I realized that we hadn't done a game day in quite awhile and thought I'd see if that still appealed to them.

When I mentioned it at breakfast, they were excited!  We took turns choosing games to play and had a fun afternoon.

Just like we'd done previously, we interspersed game playing with a little work, focusing on cleaning out their closets.

Here are the games we played.  [Amazon links are affiliate links.]

Bakers Dozen

Strawberry Shortcake Princess Hide and Seek


Scrabble Turbo Slam

Classic Pit

Disney Princess Old Maid

The afternoon was a great reminder that even at 13 and 11, spending time together - even just at home playing games - is what's important. not how much we spend or how big the activity.  Now I'm inspired, so I think we might have an "at-home" spa afternoon and do pedicures and fancy hairdo's!

What games do your kids like to play?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Three Keys to Having Caleb's Spirit

"But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it." ~Numbers 14:24

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Moses sent twelve spies into the promised land to search it out.  On their return, ten of the twelve spies told of the difficulties the Israelites would face in conquering the land.  Caleb was one of two who encouraged the people to go up and take the land.  

What was different about Caleb?  What was this "another spirit" that he had?

In the surrounding verses, I found three qualities Caleb had that I think may have contributed to that spirit.

1.  Caleb had faith in God.  "The Lord is with us," Caleb say in Numbers 14:8-9.  "If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us."  Caleb understood that God would give the people the strength to complete what He had commanded them to do.  He had faith that God would accomplish His will.  Do I have that same faith?  Like Caleb, do I claim the promises of God to see victory in my life?

2.  Caleb was obedient.  "Only rebel not ye against the Lord," Caleb says in verse 9.  In recounting this story in Joshua 14:8, he says, "Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the Lord my God."  There was nothing halfhearted about his obedience; he did it fully.  Do I listen when I feel the Holy Spirit impressing something on my heart?  Do I choose only the commands I want to obey or do I ask for His help to do the difficult things - like loving my enemies or putting others' needs ahead of my own?

3.  Caleb had courage.  "Neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not." [Numbers 14:9]  It takes courage to live the Christian life.  Our choices are usually the opposite from what out culture embraces.  But Caleb had God's perspective - if He is with us, who can stand against us?

Let's see if we can follow these same principles and develop a spirit like Caleb's!