Grieving

I had seen mixed reviews about this book, but mostly positive so I thought I would give it a try since at times I have felt stuck in my own grieving process!  I was not drawn to the cover online, but in person the book actually looks really great and is a nice hardcover.  The idea of having space to journal is awesome, but I did not connect with many of the questions that went along with each devotion.  I did enjoy reading some of the personal stories that were included in the devotional.  The personal stories covered a variety of different scenarios too, which helped broaden the audience of the book.  The book really is intended to speak to a broad range of women.  Men may connect with parts of the book, but the book is geared toward women in my opinion.

Also, I liked the idea of having a table of contents to be able to pick certain sections for specific seasons.  The author did a great job at allowing the reader permission to use the book in whatever way was helpful.  I skipped around a bit trying to find chapters or journal exercises that I wanted to read or do.  Overall, I am glad I read the book even if I did not find it all that helpful nor did it resonate with me in this season.  Perhaps, I will find it helpful later. I am thankful that the author is tackling this subject and desiring to help women going through the grieving process!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

 

 

Friday Five

Five Things I’m Loving!

1. The Nike Training App

These workouts have been a lifesaver since our treadmill quit working. I’m hoping next winter I’ll have a gym membership and car…until then these and hopefully warmer weather will get me through!

2. Poppyseed Dressing

I’ve been on a kick of spinach salads with poppyseed dressing. So tasty! Almost as good as having a Panera here. 

3. My new clock!  

My mama knows how to buy and find me good gifts and I am so grateful! I have been wanting a big clock for a while and she hit the jackpot with this one!

  
4. Prayer Journal 

I got an amazing prayer journal from a dear friend for Christms and I am so loving having scripture prompts along with a place to write out my prayers. 

5. A Second Car

My parents have been soaking up the sun in Mexico so we’ve been so grateful to use their car while they’ve been out of town. They come home today and we are equally grateful to have them back to watch Asher some! And I hear they’re bringing me Tres Leche cake from Cafe Latte! 

Prayer and Fasting

  
Eating his snacks while Ryan prayed 😊

This week begins a time of prayer and fasting at church. I’m so thankful to be part of a church that prioritizes this and really lives it out. Plus, I’m grateful for friends I can text who will pray and believe and even speak out truth to me when I’m struggling. They’re praying and fighting alongside me. 

 I am excited to keep showing Asher how to pray and that prayer is important. So instead of taking the easy route and staying home tonight, we went into church as a family. We split the time in half and took turns praying while the other hung out with Asher.  Asher had fun playing with cars and eating snacks. We had time to pray. A win-win. Even with a later bedtime. 😊

During my prayer time, I spent some time reading in Acts and this stood out:

‭‭Acts‬ ‭1:14‬ ‭AMP‬‬

“All of these with their minds in full agreement devoted themselves steadfastly to prayer, [waiting together]….”

They were steadfast in prayer. They agreed together and prayed together. And then there are these verses…

“If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts [gifts that are to their advantage] to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:13‬ ‭AMP‬‬

“So I say to you, Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:9-10‬ ‭AMP‬‬

I highlighted both of these in my reading from this morning as a reminder for myself to keep asking and to not grow weary in asking. I would rather be the persistent widow who the judge granted what she wanted than be the one who gave up a day too early. Until God tells me to stop asking or He answers, I will keep on asking.  They did not get the walls of Jericho to fall in an hour.  Some things only happen with continued prayer. 

A Year and a Half!

Oh What Fun.png

Asher just had his doctor appointment and I thought about how I used to do these updates so I figured this would be a fun one to do halfway through the year.  He’s closer to 2 than one now!  And he sure looks and acts like a toddler so I suppose it’s fitting :) Oh and the pictures above are from one of the New Years card layouts that I didn’t choose…I’m so close on finishing our real cards :)

What we have learned…everyone loved seeing him play his “where is it?” game at Christmas, he’s quite proficient at climbing and sitting at the table in the big chairs, he became a pro at eating out at restaurants while we were in Africa, we can survive crazy long flights with a toddler, and vacation is wonderful.

What we are enjoying right now…sleep, we enjoyed an awesome vacation, running outside when it’s warm enough, our own space, books, playing with cars, climbing things, and life!

What our biggest struggles are…missing the warm weather we had in South Africa!! And missing South Africa!

Asher’s most exciting milestones…more words, imitating us, making the duck noise & other animal noises, lots of teeth (I think 12-14? his molars came in and he’s working on the upper eye teeth), walking stairs while holding onto the wall, sitting on chairs at the table, hugs, giving Boaz commands, throwing the ball down the stairs for Boaz, and mainly being an awesome little man.

What we are looking forward to…date nights, Grandma & Grandpa coming home from Mexico, planning Ryan’s birthday, meeting Isaiah, answered prayers, spring, and hopefully more travel!

Asher’s likes and dislikes…he still seems to love to explore!  We usually find him climbing and stepping off things.  He claps for himself often and looks to us to clap as well.  He has taken a few cars to bed and has figured out racing the cars on the floor.  He still finds drumsticks to bang on things and likes to ask for us to turn on the music.  The “where is it?” game is pretty cute as is hide and seek with him.  He seems to get a bit upset when someone is in a chair he wants to climb into or when Boaz is in the way or when he wants some food but we haven’t figured out what type of food.

What sleep looks like…sleep has been great!!  We aim for bedtime around 8 and then he’s still my late sleeper and doesn’t wake up until 8-9.  He is down to one nap.  He naps usually from 1-4 give or take some.   He did great with jet lag and sleeping on the planes too!

What we are eating…food, food, and more food.  He eats whatever we are eating and loves most things.  He seems to really like eating clementines, cheese, whole milk, watermelon, pasta, french fries, and milkshakes!  He stopped nursing around 14 months and didn’t seem to skip a beat.  We’re working on getting more iron rich foods in his diet too.

Who we have seen…Africa people!  We got to stay with June and Aimee while in South Africa.  We also got to see Tom & Jack and the girlfriends while they were home over New Years.  We are going to see baby Isaiah tomorrow!!  We also got to see elephants, lions, tigers, penguins, and all sorts of African wildlife.

At the last doctor’s appointment…he had his 18 month check up and weighed in at just about 26 pounds and 34 1/4 inches.  Still our tall and skinny kid hanging out right around the 50-60 percentile for weight and 90th for height.  I don’t remember his head but he’s still up high for that too.  He is wearing mostly 24 month clothes and size 4-5 diapers.  We used disposables while traveling but otherwise still using cloth.

One Word

  
Since I keep getting asked about what my word is for the year (I did bring it on myself by alluding to the fact that I have one in a previous post!), I figured I better write up a post while it is still January. 

I was not feeling up to finding or picking a word this year. This last fall especially has felt like one foot in front of the other and like I’ve been going with what God said last until I hear anything different.  Probably why I had the word “walk” last year 😉.  

Anyway,  I kept feeling like God really wanted me to make prayer a priority this year. This seemed fitting since lately I’ve been wrestling with even wanting to ask God for anything and I knew we would start our time of prayer when we got back home. Though, I didn’t think that prayer was the word so I left it at that.  

At church in Harrismith, the music was playing beforehand while we were helping set up and the lyrics caught my attention. They were catchy but more than that they really hit where I wanted my focus to be this next year. The song was Lauren Daigle’s “O’Lord.”  Here are a few of the lyrics:

I will stand my ground  where hope can be found

O’Lord O’Lord I know You hear my cry

Your love is lifting me above all the lies

No matter what I face this I know in time

You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right

Still through the tears and the questioning why

I will stand my ground where hope can be found

I don’t want to be standing on my emotions or circumstances or what I don’t see happening–even though it is tempting to put myself smack in the middle of those. Instead, I want to be found standing on God’s word and character. 

Beyond that, I have a slew of books I want to read, some fun family ideas to implement, lots of running to do, relationships to build, and mostly I’m ready for new beginning with lots of prayers and answers to prayers. 

Anyone else pick a word for the year?

December

I feel like I blinked and missed December.  Since we were traveling for most of December, I feel like we should get a restart on it all, but instead here I am standing at the end of 2015 and staring into 2016.  This has been quite a year and I was looking back over the words that I have chosen to focus on in years past.

2008 Friends

2009 Adventure

2010 Joy

2011 Trust

2012 Celebrate

2013 Free

2014 Open

2015 Walk

So much has happened since then and all the little updates show that.  I was single and had yet to even go to Africa and now I’m married, have had babies, and even got to go back to South Africa with my little family.  There’s been much sweetness and goodness right alongside the sadness and hard.

I was thinking I wouldn’t really pick a word for this year since I kind of felt done with that season of picking words, but then I watched the movie War Room on the flight home and then happened to hear a song playing before church while we were in Africa and the word kind of plopped in my lap.  So, I guess I have a word for this next year even though I didn’t intend to have one.  I might write about it at some point (maybe tomorrow?), but not today–I’m giving my heart a rest and a breath free from the angst that comes with a new year and a new word.  Not to mention that I’m still in full throttle processing what going back to South Africa meant and what God’s been saying.  I thought maybe it’d be easier to come back this time, but I’m thinking not.  I have a phone full of pictures a heart full of questions.  And I’m back in the land of the freezing cold weather…I made it half a mile in the cold today and I called that a huge success.

I would add a fun picture from our travels, but they’re all still on my phone so check Instagram for an old one or text me ;)

Time to sign off…until next time!

Hands Free Life

I heard so much buzz about the Hands Free Mama book that when I saw that I could review the Hands Free Life one I jumped at the chance!  Though, once I got the book, I did not get into it right away.  I think I maybe had recently read too many similar books?  I’m not entirely sure, but I did end up reading because I wanted to see what the author had to say.  The chapters included mini declaration boxes and ended with a more poetic type summary box about each Hands Free Life Habit Builder.  The book goes over the 9 habits to live a more fulfilled life.  Personally, I got a little bogged down with some of the more poetic boxes (think Ann VosKamp!) but they were not the majority of the book–some people love that style though so if that’s you then you will love them!  For me, the highlight of the book was reading the stories and just the general real life application of the ideas behind living a distraction free life.  I want to be present and fully engaged with my family and friends so this was a nice kick in the pants reminder.  Also, the book made me want to read the Hands Free Mama book.  I was glad that I stuck with the book to finish it because there were some really great stories in it and the main message is one that I need for my life.  There were not “how-to’s” or an action plan, but mainly inspiration filled stories.  I am thankful that Rachel was willing to write about living hands free in a distraction filled life!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com&gt; book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html&gt; : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”