Walking on Water

waves

I didn’t learn to swim until I was 34 years old. One month to the day before I competed in my first triathlon. I do well under pressure. Most of the time.

Now, instead of swimming. I’m walking. On water. And it is probably the first time ever in my life I have not tried to figure out what the heck I’m doing and why. I am enjoying the scenery as long as I keep my eyes off the waves.

Soul Graffiti Art Studio opened for business in late October 2013. I didn’t have tables or chairs until 3 days before the first class. Pressure, yet again.

Sometimes I feel like I’m gonna crack or fail or sink under the waves. I hold my breath. Or take shallow breaths until I realize my chest feels tight. Remember that word, pressure? Yes. And when I feel that way, I know it’s time to pause. Center myself and ask me a series of questions:

1) Who do you belong to? (the who)

2) What is your calling/purpose? (the calling)

3) Where are you headed? (the vision)

4) What is your part? (the obedience)

5) What do you need to let go of right now? (God’s part)

These questions help me keep my eyes off the waves and on the One who “gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord of hosts is his name” (Jeremiah 31:35).

And most often, I lose balance and shift from my center when I try to do HIS job. I can’t control the waves. But, He can. What is my part? What is your part?

Tonight, I am resting well. Resting because I’ve done my part. Now, while I sleep the Lord never slumbers. He’s got my back. And yours.

A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman: Book Review

I could use a million words to tell you how many ways and list all the reasons why I LOVE Emily Freeman’s new book A Million Little Ways.

However, since I think you should read Emily’s amazing book and not waste your time reading my lengthy review, I will refrain and use a few powerfully persuasive paragraphs.

Let me start by saying, you have to read A Million Little Ways. If you don’t have the money to buy it, I will buy and give you a copy. That’s how serious I am. I have nothing to gain from Emily selling copies of her book. Yes, I did get a free copy for writing this honest review, but I have already also purchased about a dozen copies to give away as gifts.

Yes, friends, it’s that good.

This is why…because every single page is all about you!

Yes, you. You becoming more aware of who you are in Christ and how He created you to be who you are. That my friends is art. And the best kind of art is a life well lived.

Emily will walk you through 12 chapters as you sink deeper into the knowledge of who you are in Christ. You are a masterpiece! Did you know that?

Okay, I promised this would be short. But it’s already getting long. Here are my final thoughts on A Million Little Ways:

Emily uses her God-given writing ability in A Million Little Ways to share her art with us. Like Emily, I believe there are a million little ways to let Christ in you shine, create, and change the world. And you don’t have to wield a brush and a palette to do it.

Your life is your canvas. Every single second is a stroke of life and energy on the canvas of your life.

What does your canvas look like? Remember there are a million little ways to get started. The first step just might be clicking right here to go to Amazon and order your copy of A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman! When you read it, let me know what you think. Can’t wait to hear from you!

A Confident Heart Devotional by Renee Swope: Book Review

With authenticity and wisdom, Renee Swope has written a devotional that will deepen your relationship with Jesus. In A Confident Heart Devotional, she uses a powerful technique that helps you use “God says…” statements to replace your “when I say…” statements.

I cannot think of a more powerful way to eradicate lies from your daily life than to replace them with the truth of God’s word. I have been using this devotional in the mornings as I spend time meditating on God’s word. It is more than your typical 5 minute morning devotion. I find myself chewing on the “God says…” statements all day!

A Confident Heart Devotional has 60 devotionals that will help you to meditate on truth daily as you become more aware of the “when I say…” statements. One example Renee uses is “When I say my life is too hard…” God says “I am with you in the middle of these trials. I will neither leave you nor forsake you.” What a powerful shift in perspective!

As a life coach, I partner with clients each week who are learning to discern truth from lies. I will recommend Renee’s new devotional to my clients. I was especially excited about Appendix B at the end of A Confident Heart Devotional. Renee compiled all of the “when I say….” statements with the “God says…” statements. Just this appendix is well worth buying the book.

I hope you will consider purchasing a copy of Renee Swope’s A Confident Heart Devotional. It would also make a fantastic Christmas gift. You can purchase a copy here from Amazon. If you read it, let me know what you think!

 

**I received a free copy of A Confident Heart Devotional by Renee Swope from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review. My review are my personal thoughts and insights and reflect my honest opinion. 

Book Review: “A Man in the Making” by Rick Johnson

I have a son who will one day be a man. I am a woman and I can in no way teach him how to be a man. But, I can learn more about him and what motivates him, what makes him tick. I can also support my husband as he leads our son into his adulthood and teaches him how to be a man.

The book, A Man in the Making, by Rick Johnson is helping me understand important character traits and how I can best help him as a young boy who will one day be a grown man, father, and teacher to his children.

Rick Johnson helps his readers understand how boys become men of character and virtue. He highlights famous men like Martin Luther King, Jr., John Wooden, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, and Leonardo da Vinci and the character traits that made each one of them an outstanding model of manhood. Johnson discusses courage, honor, nobility, integrity, loyalty, wisdom, vision, compassion, empathy, and intellect as character traits embodied by these historical giants.

In A Man in the Making, Johnson makes relevant points regarding the path our young boys travel into manhood. A path that is filled with possibility and opportunity. Unfortunately in our world today, it is also filled with naysayers and people looking to emasculate our young boys as they are trying to figure out who they really are. Who God made them to be.

As I read A Man in the Making, my heart kept saying yes and my mind was in step with the courageous giants and their character traits that I want my son to embody one day. Our sons don’t just become men. They need strong and loving examples of what it means to be a Godly man. A man who displays healthy and authentic masculinity.

I encourage you to read Rick Johnson’s latest book if you want to learn from the mighty men of valor and courage who have journeyed before us. They have given us a gift. So has Rick Johnson.

 

**As a reviewer for Revell (a division of Baker Publishing Group), I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The review above is my honest opinion.

“The Artist’s Daughter” by Alexandra Kuykendall – Book Review

I was immediately drawn to the title as an artist and the mother of an artist daughter. I am so thankful I read this beautiful and well written memoir, The Artist’s Daughter.

Alexandra Kuykendall is a brave and beautiful soul. I read her soul offering over a three day weekend. I couldn’t put it down and found myself grabbing The Artist’s Daughter whenever I had a few free minutes. Then at night before entering dreamland, I devoured chapters. I laughed and cried. Hoped and prayed.

Alexandra weaves a story of hope and despair, love and confusion. Authentically revealing her personal struggles with a fatherless childhood and then random father appearances throughout her adulthood, Alexandra wrestles with and answers the most basic question we all ponder: am I lovable?

I connected with Alexandra on so many levels even though my father was never absent.  Anyone who reads her memoir will be able to connect with her ability to masterfully weave heart words together into a tapestry of forgiveness and grace. Not only was Alexandra’s father a master artist, so is she. The canvas she paints in The Artist’s Daughter with words will leave you laughing one moment and crying as you turn the page.

If you love to read books that don’t sugar coat reality with whimsical happy endings, you have to read this book. You will be probed by Alexandra’s journey and realize all we really want to know is that we are deeply loved and lovable. Alexandra may have had an earthly father who was not involved, but she knows her Father intimately. Her memoir reveals her faith walk with Him. It is gusty, real, and gracious.

You will enjoy Alexandra’s book, The Artist’s Daughter, best with a cup of tea or coffee and little distractions, but then again, if you are like me, any way will do! You can purchase a copy here. Let me know what you think if you read it.

 

**Disclaimer: In exchange for an honest review, I received a free copy of The Artist’s Daughter from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. My review is an honest representation of my opinion and my opinion alone. 

Book Review: “Embracing Beauty” by Trina Holden

We all know the saying that beauty is only skin deep. Trina Holden challenges that axiom in Embracing Beauty by encouraging mamas everywhere to stop hiding and comparing and embrace who the Master Creator made us to be! We all want to be beautiful and accepted by others, but if you don’t feel confident about who you see in the mirror every day, then it is hard to face the world with confidence. With experience and mama wisdom, Trina Holden offers ideas for all shapes and budgets while gently reminding us that true beauty lies within each of us as Daughters of the Most High and mamas to the children He gave us.

Beauty is all around us. Embracing Beauty teaches us how to capture that everyday beauty and allow it to enrich our lives. Although it is targeted for moms, any woman could benefit from the tools and wisdom that Trina offers.

Embracing Beauty is a powerful reminder that while worldly beauty is only skin deep, true beauty that resides within each of us, can be shaped and cultivated throughout every season of life.

I had the honor of meeting Trina Holden at Allume. She was a breakout speaker and shared from her heart about humility and grace. She is a foodie like myself and she genuinely loves people. That is one of the many reasons why I am highly recommending her newest book: Embracing Beauty.

As a mother of 3 and one on the way, she understands what it’s like to be pregnant, nursing, sleeping 3 hours at a time, and then struggling to wear something other than PJs the next day! In her book she is just as authentic as she is in person. You will love her sense of humor and jovial spirit as she shares her successes and failures as a woman who is learning to embrace beauty in all seasons of life. I encourage you to consider purchasing Embracing Beauty here on Trina’s website. You will be offered several different choices including PDF, Kindle, Nook, and Paperback. Your wardrobe and heart may thank you!!

 

 

 

Book Review: “On Becoming a Writer” by Denise J. Hughes

I can admit I am hard to please when it comes to good writing. That’s why I was so blown away by Denise J. Hughes. The first time I stumbled upon her blog, I could feel my heart walking step in step with hers. I was smitten with her heart for the Lord. Wow. She makes words come to life. Words seems to dance off the page when she pens them.

She was in the middle of writing a blog series for writers when I first met her at Allume this past October. Let me tell you, she is just as lovely in person as she is on the computer screen. Her spirit is generous and engaging. I understood why her words were so life giving…because she is intimately connected with THE Life Giver, Jesus.

I am extremely excited about Denise’s new ebook: On Becoming a Writer: What Every Blogger Needs to Know. I read every blog post she composed for the compilation of this ebook. I strongly encouraged her virtually and in person at Allume to publish her phenomenal material. I am more than thrilled to offer my review of her fantastic book, On Becoming a Writer.

Denise Hughes is a masterful artist and words are her medium. She uses a vernacular that is rare in our ever more virtual world. When I read her words, I feel like I am sitting across from her in a coffee shop sharing a slice of chocolate cake. Virtual coffee in one hand and invisible fork in the other, I devour her words, one by one.

On Becoming a Writer: What Every Blogger Needs to Know is not just for bloggers. Anyone who is interested in how to become a better writer will benefit from reading Denise’s ebook. She covers the following topics: Getting Started, Knowing Your Style, Learning the Craft, Understanding the Revision Process, Avoiding the Pitfalls, and Becoming a Writer. After reading this book, you will have the tools necessary to hone your craft of writing and be able to compose and create in written form the story that is waiting inside of you.

We all have a story. Denise will help you tell yours. Her words will give life to your words because she knows what it takes to become a writer. Are you ready? Then click here to get your FREE copy before midnight tomorrow, March 26th. Did you catch that? FREE! Hurry over to catch this bargain. If you miss the deadline, the book will be a steal at $4.99. Feel free to pass this information along to your friends and readers. If you grab a  copy let me know what you think! I am sure you will find Denise’s words to be life-giving, too!

 

 

 

Disclaimer: In exchange for my honest review of Denise’s book, I received a free copy. My review is my honest opinion and was not dependent upon receiving a free copy. I would have gladly paid full price for a copy of this fabulous book.

Book Review: “You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream” by Holley Gerth

God-Sized Dreams by Holley Gerth (cover)

As a book lover, I am always looking for new books to read. When I was given the opportunity to read and review Holley Gerth’s “You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream”, I leaped at the opportunity. As a life coach, Holley partners with her clients and helps them embrace their dreams. When you read this book, you will feel like you are in a one-on-one coaching session with her.

Holley Gerth is just like you and me. She is a child of the King with dreams that He has placed within her. We all have dreams. Holley wants you to realize your dreams, but most of all, she wants you to relish in your Creator. The One who placed those dreams within you.

“You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream” is full of powerful tools that will help you begin to realize your dreams. Holley helps you overcome fear and helps you understand certain disclaimers about dreams that other books don’t always address.

Holly will be your biggest supporter and coach along the journey as you seek the Giver of your dreams and His plans for your future. She will challenge you to step out even in the midst of fear and trust Him with the outcomes. She also includes real life stories of dreamers just like you and me. Real people who stepped out in faith and fear…and realized their God-given dreams. This chapter was especially encouraging.

As I read the book, I made notes and paused to process the “Go Deeper Guide” at the end of each chapter. These exercises were life changing for me.

You will know that you are chosen, called, and needed in our world today. You play a vital role in this drama called life. And after reading this book, you will know how to move forward. As a life coach, I plan to use the tools Holley discussed in “You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream” in my coaching practice. For more information about Holley Gerth and “You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream”, go to this link.

What are you waiting for? Your dreams are waiting…

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Baker Publishing Group as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. The review is my honest opinion and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review #5: “The Power of Patience”

Title: The Power of Patience

Author: M.J. Ryan

Ranking: MID-SHELF: Fabulous read. Hard to put down at times. Will recommend to friends. Underlined 30% of the book. Would pay full price and buy copies for all my friends because they can’t have mine! Quotable and energizing to the very end.

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I picked this book up on a whim at Barnes and Noble on Saturday. I know, it’s a shock that I was in a book store, right? It was on clearance for $5.98 and after thumbing through it for a couple of minutes, while my children kept begging to go to the children’s section, I decided to buy it.

And, I am glad I did. It is a quick but pithy read.

I confess that I am not very patient. I get frustrated easily when things don’t go my way. Even when I am trying to be patient, I end up frustrated and have a hard time being still. I know this is part of my disposition, but I also know that as God is teaching me to slow down, He is also helping me to choose patience over hurry and discontentment. I don’t think I accidentally stumbled upon Ryan’s discussion of patience.

The Power of Patience is broken down into 3 sections: 1) Patience’s Gifts, 2) The Attitudes of Patience, and 3) The Practices of Patience. Ryan explains what being patient means and that it is a choice, not something we have or don’t have. She also helps us understand that strengthening our patience muscle takes time. Lastly, she gives concrete ways to practice patience in our lives.

She calls patience a “sweet reasonableness” with ourselves and with people in our lives. Things are going to happen that upset and frustrate us. Throughout the book, she says “patience is a decision that we choose to make, not once, but over and over”.

My take away and life application from The Power of Patience is I am a work in process and that I am more patient today than I was last week. I am running the race with endurance and with every hurdle I face, I have a choice to make….patience or frustration. I think we both know what the better choice is….

Here are some of my other favorite quotes from the book:

“You can’t push the river!”

“Technology doesn’t reduce our waiting time–it just changes what we’re waiting for.”

“Long is not forever.” German proverb

“But when trials do come…we have two choices: to rail endlessly against what is happening or to experience our feelings of sorrow, fear, and anger, then engage our patience and allow the challenge to grow our souls.”

“Cut It Out!” By: Kate Megill

If you’ve read any of my posts regarding food, you know that I love to cook using traditional whole fresh foods. However, cooking this way can break the bank. I have learned some secrets and shortcuts along the way that save us money and time, but I am always looking for more ways to save.

My blogger friend, Kate Megill, has not only learned these things, she has written a book about them! It is called “Cut It Out!”:

Kate feeds a family of 10 (the youngest being 9 years old) on a monthly budget of ~$500 without using coupons!! I know it sounds impossible. I feed a family of 4 and needless to say, spend more than $500!

However, I learned a lot from Kate’s book and hope to apply some of those things to my kitchen. Here are the two most important things that I learned more about:

  • Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan!! Need me to say it again? The cornerstone of Kate’s successful budgeting is meal planning. And she does it extremely well. I also meal plan, but after reading Kate’s book, I have some new ideas that will help me cut some corners in my grocery budget.
  • Maintain a well-stocked pantry. I already have a well-stocked pantry, but Kate has a system that she details in her book. She buys things months in advance, but does not go over her budget by doing so. I almost always go over budget when I order my 25 pound box of almond flour or when I make a larger Frontier order. However, by following Kate’s plan, I hope to account for these orders and not break the monthly budget in the future.
You can learn more about Kate’s new book, Cut It Out! at Teaching What is Good .. a book giveaway. You will also have an opportunity to win a free copy of her book!
Even with our dietary restrictions regarding gluten and food dyes, Kate’s book is filled with wisdom and insight. I may never be able to feed my family of 4 on $500, but I know that I will be able to reduce our current monthly grocery allowance by using Kate’s wisdom and tools.