Gratitude

We had a super fun women’s event at church that included some exercise and two awesome ladies sharing a message. Yummy food, exercise, worship, and time with friends turned into a sweet time. Plus, the ladies did so well sharing! I love seeing people shine and talk about things they are passionate about!

One of the ladies talked again about how gratitude changes our brains! I love hearing about the plasticity of our brains and how we can literally change them for good. Instead of getting stuck in hurts, negative thinking, worry, and so much more we can make steps toward other ways of thinking that make new neuron pathways. Now, I’m not an expert and I’m speaking from a small bit but I do love how the research continually shows positive results in both secular and not studies. Anyway, I thought I’d take a few moments to write out some of the things I’m grateful for lately! What’s on your list?

  1. Sunshine!
  2. My husband! I could go on and on but I’ll leave it here today.
  3. All my kiddos! I’m so thankful for each of my pregnancies and all the time I’ve gotten with my kids. They’re such a gift!
  4. A fenced in backyard
  5. Our recently installed dishwasher
  6. I’m still feeling so thankful to have gotten the chance to go back to South Africa
  7. My pastors–they are full of wisdom, perseverance, and love–and so much more.
  8. Walking with friends
  9. Being able to go on runs! Even if my pace is slower in this season
  10. Parks and lots of park

Gratitude breeds gratitude and I could keep going on my list but for now I’m going to go enjoy my little family.

Happy Sunday!

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Mother’s Day and Lately

May is a month full of celebrating! My husband’s birthday kicks off the month and then Mother’s Day follows shortly after. There are a few other birthdays too. The weather seems to be a guessing game but this year was wonderful–warm, sunny, and no bugs.

I’ve had some thoughts mulling in my head surrounding the last few weeks.

We’ve been in full on transition with the kids still after coming back from our trip to Africa. Transition is just hard! Parenting is hard some days! You can go from wonderful moments to what in the world happened the next. I recently read about expecting problems to arise from a Sally Clarkson quote and that feels so true in this season. I can expect problems to arise throughout the day. I can expect big feelings from little people who need help navigating them.

Yet, throughout the days I am just still so incredibly thankful to be sharing my life with these little people and their daddy. Sometimes I can hardly remember the days when I was worried and questioning God about if I would even get the chance to be married! Other days that feels like yesterday.

My questions for God have changed and I keep needing to remind myself that He is faithful. He always has been and He will be yet again. Things may not turn out how I expect but He always brings good to the situation. He is for me and for my family.

Plus, He’s a big God who can handle all my feelings. David’s psalms show us such a variety of emotion all packed sometimes into one psalm.

My post-Africa trip, Mother’s Day, and Enoch’s due date (which happened to have been Ryan’s birthday) feelings have been all over. Mother’s Day while absolutely a gift stirs up missing and grieving our sweet second baby. All the while thinking and praying for the other women out there who long to be moms or who have experienced loss.

With Enoch, I’m so thankful for friends who remember him. I find it hard to wrap my head around that he would be 2! Equally hard to imagine not having Melea. Thus, being so thankful for the gift and joy that came after such grief. Being pregnant again this time around feels so sacred. Each day still feels like such a milestone and gift. As Asher says, “I can hardly believe we’re going to have another baby!” Me either, buddy!

Plus, getting to go back to Africa? Again?! I couldn’t be more thankful. Going back to Africa with a team was full of so many sweet moments and felt like home. I simply loved getting to show others this place I love. Leaving of course was bittersweet. Ready to see my babies but not ready to leave. Grieving again and sad to not have gone back to live (yet?). And so thankful for all that’s been given because I stayed and for all that God has for us here. Church, jobs, a house, and all of it are so good.

Well. If you made it this far, you deserve a gold star ☺️ a few ramblings from my heart lately.

Writing

Writing in this space used to come so easily! I used to write more than just book reviews. The blogging realm has changed so much (and so have I). Now there are podcasts, newsletters, Instagram mini novels, and so much information out there. So many people getting book deals and trying to get people on their “launch” teams to help advertise. Culture will continue to change and technology will keep on changing.

I realized, though, I miss writing! So much of my writing has been tucked away in my heart and journals as I wrestle through life’s questions. I have wanted to keep a lot more private and sacred. I find myself wanting to tell people what is happening in person rather than through an online media form. Yet, I realize too how I don’t always know how to share information anymore in person!

So, I’m going to start trying to figure out how I want to incorporate more writing into my life. I don’t know if that means in this space or some other way yet. A podcast sounds fun too but the learning curve sounds a bit much for this season of life.

Anyway, that’s where I’m at in case anyone still reads these. ☺️

Stronger than the Struggle

I have loved watching Havilah Cunnington jump into the public scene as she’s done Bible Studies, podcasting, speaking, and grown her ministry Truth to Table.

Her content has been authentic, practical, and easy to understand. She followed this trend into her latest book Stronger than the Struggle.

Somehow I thought the book was more about every day type struggles so I was a little surprised to find it was more about spiritual warfare. If I had focused on the tag line (Uncomplicating Your Spiritual Battle), I might have realized that!

Once I adjusted my mindset, I enjoyed the content of the book and found many practical tips and tools to use. Some stories I had heard or read in some of her other works but much was fresh too. Her writing is easy to read much like she is easy to listen to as well.

This book is great for anyone who is looking to find a simple, strategic approach to understanding spiritual battles. Some is bent toward women but I imagine men would glean from the book as well.

Disclosure: I received the book for free but all opinions are my own!!

Ordering Your Private World

I often read a few books at a time especially about different topics and genres. Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald has been in my rotation of books for a while. I recently finished it and already feel like I could need a reread.

I read the book slowly and found it was not a book I personally could read fast. There were many things to ponder and consider. Plus, that does not even begin the process of putting things into tangible change.

The book does a good job at giving ideas for practical ways to “order” your life as well as includes stories and brings a challenge to the way you may be doing things.

Spiritual maturity and disciplines are explored within some of the chapters as well.

In all, this book really made me think which I am glad about! I would suggest this book to anyone who is curious about growing in their Christian faith and challenging some Western mindsets. Though, be aware that it may be a slower read than others. I’m thankful to have read it and hope to go back through many principles in it.

Disclosure: I received this book for free but all opinions are my own!

Chloe Flavor

I love cookbooks and get a lot from the library so I was excited to find out I could review Chloe Flavor! I had not heard of the author before or followed her at all but I was intrigued about the recipes.

I enjoyed reading her story and her reasons for eating a vegan diet. I find it interesting to hear where people come from and what drives their recipes.

I don’t follow a vegan diet but we often eat meatless meals and are careful about what types of food we eat so I was curious to see what would be included. I have lived with someone who did eat a vegan diet and always enjoyed the fun adventure of trying new things as well as finding substitutes!

The meals are divided by type and organized with great photos. Unfortunately, not every recipe has a photo, but most do. A lot of recipes look easily adjusted to add in meat or dairy if you wanted.

The book itself is a great hardcover with a fun cover photo.

If you like cookbooks and are interested in vegan recipes, this could be a fun one to check out!

Disclosure: I received this book for free but all opinions are my own!

The Last Arrow-Live Big

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Erwin’s latest book “The Last Arrow.” The book was full of encouragement and a call to action. The idea in the book is to use all of the arrows in your quiver. To not save anything. Erwin talks about not giving up or settling for less. The book was a challenge in the sense that it was convicting about not taking things, people, or time for granted.

The book used quite a few biblical examples and was still a fast read. The writing style is one that I found easy to read. I would recommend this book for those who have enjoyed Erwin’s other books and are looking to be challenged in their faith to keep living on fire. The book could be a good reminder if you’ve grown stagnant or lukewarm in your faith. The reminder to stay passionate about the things of God was evident.

This book was provided for free and I am thankful to provide all of my own opinions!!