Five Minute Fridays

Five Minute Friday: Change

Friday, August 31, 2012

Now, set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. 
And the heart of this community..
I cannot believe this is the last day of August! The summer fly and crawled by... and now autumn is approaching. 
I've always loved autumn, the changing colors of the leaves - they add so much to a season that is full of dying... It's like we don't mourn the end of the gardens or the days of mowing the lawn.
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I love walking on the sidewalks and listening to the leaves as they crunch under my shoes. Oh yes shoes... no more flip-flops (another change).
There is apple picking, followed by all the apple goodies that will be made - again we don't mourn the fact that the best fruit to make such goodies are the ones that are days away from dying - those are the best ones- they have more sugar and cook up beautifully.
Nope the changes of Autumn are not sad, they might be the beginning of the end of the year but these changes come with so much fun stuff we don't focus on the ends. 
Now if only I could figure out how to see all the good stuff that comes with the beginning of the ends of the parts of life - I'm sure the sugar-filled-fruits are there, I just need to stop looking at the ends and focus in on the goodies waiting to be made.


God Creates & Cozy Book Hop

Thursday, August 30, 2012

There are many great children's books that teach the creation story, but we were blessed with a great version. My son has loved this book for at least a year, maybe longer (can't remember when we got it...).
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God Creates and so much more... is a wonderful book. The words are strictly from Genesis so you don't have to worry about issues of lost in translation. But what makes this book so great are the pictures. They are absolutely amazing.
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Every page shows God's hands as they create the world, the waters, the animals, people.

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If you are looking for a great book to read to your kids as you discuss the creation story with your kids I highly recommend this story. There are great devotionals at the end of the book also to continue your discussion.

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What's So Spiritual About Your Gifts?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What's So Spiritual about Your Gifts?
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What's So Spiritual About Your Gifts?
By Henry & Mel Blackaby

The concept of the gifts of the Holy Spirit has been one that has been extremely hard for me to grasp my whole christian life. I never got anything from those tests that are supposed to tell you what your gifts are, in fact they reminded me of the test you took in school that told you what you should be when you grow up. As a result I've been searching for a tool that made sense to me on this subject - I am thrilled to have found something that has helped tremendously.

This book is a super quick read - I am a mommy of two energetic boys, so trust me when I say this is a super quick read. And yet it is packed with information that unravels this mystery of the gifts of the Spirit.

The main point the Blackabys make, is that the Lord gifts believers with the gift of the Holy Spirit - let that sink in for a minute.  This means that all the "gifts" that I was told I had in those tests are mostly, if not all, natural talents, which were also given to me by God, but they are not the same as the Spirit.

Of course some of you are thinking - what about all those gifts the Spirit gives us?  That is what the book discusses.

By focusing on having "an intimate relationship" with God and allowing His Spirit to become your Spirit, you are allowing God to use His gifts through you whenever He needs/wants to.

Our focus as Christians needs to be "What does God want to do through me?" (p 11). Not what spiritual gifts am I honing so that I can do God's will. Do you see the difference? The focus needs to be on allowing God to work through you, not honing skills while waiting for some calling - I think the book does a better job explaining this than I am!

"God is waiting for a heart that is surrendered and ready to obey before you ever hear Him speak." (p 53) This is a huge point because many Christians talk about how they are not walking closely with God but are trying to work on their spiritual gift while they are finding their way back to Him. The Blackaby's say this just isn't possible. You have to be walking closely with the Father in order to hear the Spirit - it just goes together.
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Now don't get me wrong, we, as Christians, are still called to serve, so keep doing acts of service, just don't mix it up with the gifts of the Spirit (it usually is just acts of service). Realize that just because you are gifted at one type of service, it doesn't mean it is a Spiritual Gift, don't brag about it - that seems to a major point in the book.

So now of course the question that came to my mind was, well what am I supposed to do? I am supposed to have these gifts, how do I even know when I'm allowing the Spirit to display His gifts or just serving God's kingdom?

Well here's Blackaby's answer:

  • Don't compare yourself and your abilities to others (Isaiah 66:2)
  • Develop a deep hunger for the Bible (p 39)
  • Check the condition of your heart through prayer (1 Sam 16:7)
  • Find places to serve and allow God to shine through you

There is also a great quote from Oswald Chambers that I'd like to share:
Every element of our own self-reliance
must be put to death by the power of God. The moment
we recognize our complete weakness and our dependence upon Him
will be the very moment that the Spirit of God will exhibit power.

~~ Oswald Chambers,  My Utmost for His Highest

I truly think this is a must read for anyone who is unsure about the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of Christians. It truly helped me greatly - I hope I did the book justice in this little review. 

Have you read this book? What did you think? Have you any insight on the gifts of the Holy Spirit? I'd love to hear from you!

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Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quote

Monday, August 27, 2012

Twenty years from now 
you will be more disappointed 
by the things that you didn't do 
than by the ones you did do. 

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So throw off the bowlines. 
Sail away from the safe harbor. 
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
~~ Mark Twain

That's it!  Take this week to rediscover something you want to do - and take at least one step towards doing it. 

Five Minute Fridays

Five Minute Friday: Join

Friday, August 24, 2012

Five Minute Friday - So glad to join in today!

Here's to five minutes of writing without worrying about perfection.

Five Minute Friday

We were not meant to stand alone and figure everything out for ourselves. I don't need anyone to tell me this,  I can see it clearly when I watch children.

They gravitate towards each other - joining in the play, even if they don't know how to speak to each other. The games of tag begin or chase or anything, but they enjoy it.

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Sure some aren't as into it as others, but even those watch intently, learning how to be comfortable with the situation because the desire to join is huge.

This need to join in the group is why I know we were not meant to be an island.

Sure the fears of rejection or ridicule start to show up even in young children, but we can't allow that fear to override the need to join in and enjoy life.


The Deposit Slip

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Deposit Slip 
By Todd M. Johnson

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My husband commented as soon as he saw the jacket for the book- saying he was surprised I was going to read a legal/suspense book. To be honest, this isn't something I tend to pick up on my own, simply because I don't have much time to read, and well I want to sleep at night!  However I am really glad I read this book. It was extremely well written and helped stretch my reading as recently I've fallen into a rut.

So let's start with the description of the book:

When Jared Neaton grew tired of the shady ethics of his big law firm 
and left to go out on his own, he never expected the wheels to fly 
off so quickly. One big case collapsing on him has pushed him to the 
brink and it's all he can do to scrape by. He can't risk another bad loss.

Erin Larson is running out of options. In the wake of her father's death, 

she found a slim piece of paper--a deposit slip--with an unbelievable
 amount on it. Ten million dollars. Only the bank claims it has no record
of the deposit and stonewalls her attempts to find out more. 
This lawsuit, her last chance, has brought only intimidation and threats. 
Now she needs to convince Jared to take a risk, to help her because 
the money is real. And both need to watch their backs as digging 
deeper unleashes something far more dangerous than just threats.

I was quickly sucked in as the characters had plenty of depth. I quickly was involved in their lives and interested in what would happen. There is Jared, who's story isn't just focused on being a killer attorney, but trying to find a way to live with a past he hasn't come to terms with. That whole side of him makes him so much more interesting than just a money-thirsty-attorney. And Jessie, Jared's assistant, she quickly became one of my favorites in the book - yes she probably falls into the minor character realm, but she adds a ton of color to this book. Mrs. Huddleston, the librarian for the small community of Ashley, was a great addition. She added a ton of background for Jared, and helped to tie is some of the other characters that were needed to help build up the mystery. 

The whole mystery part was very well put together, because even though you quickly find out who did it, there are many twists that slowly emerge that keep the interest high. In fact I was a little surprised at the very end of the book, but I won't spoil it for you. 

There were some really great moments, but most of my favorites give away too much, so here are just a couple of my favorite quotes - I can't put them too much into context though, you'll just have to pick this book and read it if you are curious.

"In this universe you were either in control or you were controlled. It wasn't a moral
 issue---it was a fact of nature." (102) 
This line stuck with me because I really stopped to think about if I wasn't in control who was, and why that even matters.

"His thoughts were unmanageable and time slid away. He felt untethered. Whatever spirits had driven him the past thirteen years--through college and law school, then churning out the billable hours and trials at Paisley-- in the last twenty-four hours, they had deserted him." (268)

This little bit of thought from Jared really shows why I enjoyed his character so much - he had so much depth to him. It always makes for a great story when the main character is so round and dynamic.

Granted this isn't what I would consider a serious suspense/thriller type mystery. I mean I was able to read it and sleep just fine at night (many suspense books get into my head too much and keep me awake as I fear the dark corners... I know childish). So if you are looking for a good toe curling mystery, this might not be for you, but if you want a well written story with some twists and turns, you should consider adding this to your list.

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** I received a copy of this book for free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions above are my own and I received no other form of payment for this review.

E.E. Cummings

E. E Cummings Quote

Monday, August 20, 2012

It takes courage 
to grow up and 
become who 
you really are.
~~ E. E. Cummings

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And yet so extremely important to figure out who you really are.


Real-Life Discipleship

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Real-life Discipleship - Equipping Disciples Who Make Disciples

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Jim Putman

Discipleship is one of the calling of Christians that is full of questions and confusion. I will admit it was never one of those things I figured would be on my list. I mean that is why other Christians do.

Then I started serving in the high school group at church and realized I wasn't just serving, I was dipping my toe into discipleship. And that was as a scary realization.

So first point, realize that every single Christian is called to be a disciple - Just look at Matthew 4:19, And He said to them, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men."  Sound familiar? Yep it's a call for all followers, not just the original disciples.

That being said, this is a manual that is essential for Christians as they realize this call is meant for each and every one of us. Let's be honest, as soon as this realization hits, the next thought, is how in the world are we supposed to do that?! And that is where this manual comes in.

Second point, this is a serious manual study. It will take at least the 12 weeks set up in the contents. And I recommend having this as a class taught by a seasoned disciple within your church, because again this is a topic that is difficult to swallow.
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All that being said, here's what the manual focuses on: Finding the way to disciple to others no matter where they are in their level of Christian maturity. A great amount of time is spent making sure the stages of maturity for a Christian are understandable. I would quickly say that it is easy to know that not every Christian is at the same point in his or her walk, but that doesn't mean they don't need to be discipled, or be discipling someone else.

The above wheel is the break down of the different levels and it is really the heart of the study. Realizing that each Christian is in a different place allows for understanding of what their needs are. Those needs have to be met before that person can mature into the next level. If you are in a group of spiritual infants, or children, this study will be too much - but if you are in the young adult or parent category, think about this next time the question about discipling others comes up. 

Personally this was great because it helped to show me where I stood in my Christian life, and what I need to do to keep moving forward. There are so many practical steps in growing yourself, and how to guide others through their growing process, that I feel this is a great manual for those times when Christians feel like the call in front of them is just too overwhelming. 

Going into the fall, I figured that there might be groups looking for a great study for the new school year for their study groups or small groups, and this could be a great option. Well maybe I should be more specific, this study would be great for leaders in a church, or serious study groups, as it is full of heavy discussion points. If you decide this is something you are interested in, I'd love to hear from you. Or if you have been part of this study, please let me know what you thought of it. Did it help you? Was it just overwhelming? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Theodore Roosevelt Quote

Monday, August 13, 2012

The credit belongs to the man 
who is actually in the arena, 
whose face if marred by dust and sweat and blood; 
who strives valiantly; who errs, 
who comes short again and again, 
because there is no effort 
without error and shortcoming; 
but who does actually strive to do the deeds; 
who knows great enthusiasms, 
the great devotions; 
who spends himself in a worth cause; 
who at the best knows in the end 
the triumph of high achievement, 
and who at the worst, if he fails, 
at least fails while daring greatly, 
so that his place shall never be with those 
cold and timid souls who neither 
know victory nor defeat.
~~ Theodore Roosevelt


Five Minute Fridays: Connect

Friday, August 10, 2012

This is a Friday I wasn't really looking forward to... a weekend of me and the boys, just us, like an extension of the long week. But here it is and now I must dive into it and see it through. Here's hoping it goes smoothly!

And as it is Friday, that means five minutes of free writing with Lisa-Jo. So clear out 5 minutes and join the party!

Five Minute Friday


Getting married young and having kids right away was a simple recipe to set me apart from my friends from college, high school, just about everyone I knew. I wasn't worried. I mean it's my life, I only have one go round, might as well enjoy it, right? 

Then the lonely pattern began - late nights, early mornings, so many conversations about diapers, new teeth, tantrums all of which left me wondering if that college-educated brain had melted and washed away in one of my three-minute showers.

The need to connect was huge. But the fear of where to start weighed heavily. Do I go back to those friends I rushed away from in order to build my life?  Do I find a way to connect with the mommy groups at church? Do I just accept that this is life and wait for someone else to reach out to me? 

Well after some time, I dove in - called those old friends (a ton - probably annoyed many with my messages of a rambling mommy-scatter-brain) and tried for those new mommy groups of strangers. Oh the fear to connect, or rather, the fear of rejection at the attempt to connect.
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Surprisingly both groups had places for me. 

My old friends brought back the energy that I had as the me I was before I was a married mama. I wanted to feel healthy and strong and look fresh and clean. I wanted to talk about important topics with these friends and slowly rebuild that soggy-educated-brain.

My new mommy friends held a place to land after a hard day of discipline. The smiles and nods that knew my frustration. The words of joy over milestones always fill me up as share about our little ones (and not so little anymore). 

Book review

Travelers Rest

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Travelers Rest
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Travelers Rest
By Ann Tatlock

This book was a great summer read for me, it was easy to read and overall very uplifting. For a Contemporay Christian Fiction book this is one that isn't overly preachy while telling a great story of how life just isn't always fair.

The story follows Jane Marrow as she learns how to live her life after her fiance, Seth Ballantine, is wounded in Iraq. She spends the summer in Asheville near the Veterans Medical Center as Seth learns how to live his life now as a quadriplegic. So there might not be a ton of surprises in this amazing work of fiction, but it was still perfect for me!

I loved how Tatlock really made each character so rich. There was no doubt that I could see these people living this stage of their lives, wishing for the past, or a different future, trying to find a way to cope with the reality of where they now stood. The idea of realizing your life's dream was not going to happen and knowing you have to let it go is the ultimate question that Jane, Seth and so many in this book have to deal with. The concept might not be new, but the story was woven together in a manner that made that alright.

Jane makes some new friends while she spends time in the medical center that enrich her life. It seemed as though these friends were God-sends as she struggles with a past that taints her opinion of the world and an unsure future as Seth wants to end their engagement so as not to sentence her to a life as caregiver. One new friend was Truman Rockaway, who's past is extremely interesting. He has the kind of calming personality that those of an older generation can have and brings so much wisdom and understanding to Jane as she navigates this new normal. Jane also befriends Jon-Paul Pearcy, an attorney, who plays the piano at the medical center to decompress from the demands of his job.
Drum Circle at Pritchard Park, Asheville, NC
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Plus the use of God in the story is subtle but perfect. One of the best lines of the book was spoken by Truman as he tried to answer Jane's question about prayer. He told Jane, "He'll surely answer if He can." (147) Later we find out that even Truman only got this statement half right, but I don't want to spoil that part for you.

I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a great fictional story that fits in with Christian values and American pride.

If you have read this book let me know what you thought! I'd love to discuss it with you! If you've read one of Tatlock's other books and want to share your thoughts, please do, I'd love to hear them.

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*** I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review only. The review is solely my opinion. ***

Do Everything

Five Minute Fridays: Here

Friday, August 03, 2012

Time for Five Minute Fridays!  Take a few minutes and join in on the fun!

Five Minute Friday


Here I sit, cross-legged, amid Cheerios and toys.

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Here I sit with one arm balancing a little boy who desperately wants to walk, with the other I give high-fives off and on to his older brother, so full of energy.

Here I sit wondering... dreaming...

Here I see the future spread out in front of me.

My days fill with laughter, giggles, cries, yells, sounds of all kinds, and yet here I am still dreaming of what is next. I see his little two-toothed grin and wonder when he will be running after his brother for that red fire engine instead of just staring and wishing for it.

I wonder when the preschooler energy will give way to a young boy who wants to study science and read books.

I wonder where our here will be when those days come... what I will be doing... will I still be sitting here with my legs crossed?

Then in a flash the here and now snaps me back into reality, as this two-toothed little boy stops being happy and starts to get hungry, and his older brother stops playing just long enough to ask for lunch.

And this moment passes...

Oh and because the whole time I was writing this song ran through my head I wanted to add it!  I hope you enjoy it!

Guest post

August Blogs

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

I'm breaking from my normal schedule this week because I'm taking part in a great exchange of blog buttons, and wanted to start with introducing this month's blog. So let's start at the beginning - Kathy, from Cornerstone Confessions, set up a great exchange of blog buttons to help out us smaller blogs to gain some extra attention.


I have the pleasure of displaying a button from the blog From Cube to Farm for the month of August.

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You will probably realize quickly that our blogs are not all that similar, but we do have some basic similarities since we are stay-at-home mamas learning how to excel at this job that has no guide.

So if you have the time this month, hop over to From Cube to Farm, and see what you think.

Here are some of the posts that I found interesting:
Home protection: Fire Safety
Home "School" plus Free Printables
Weaning Baby Cold-Turkey

Thanks for allowing me to take this small break from my usual blogging schedule and sharing this blog with you!  I hope you get to enjoy a trip over there.

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