Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Updated links for (In)Mercy!!!!!!





I know that I posted this on Monday and that it is only Wednesday BUT I have updated links for you for PHASE 5 of the Mercy House Fundraiser.
(In)Mercy Line at Dayspring

An update from Kristin about the first 4 phases.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"God is Able" {A review}

God is Able  is my first Priscilla Shirer book EVER. I know- cue the strange looks. Either way- she is now on my authors to read list.




Are you questioning if God is still able? Do you doubt that he can really get it done? Then this is the book for you. Through scripture, through encouragement, and through personal stories, Shirer shows us that God IS ABLE. God can do anything. 

I know that for me, there is never doubt that God is able. My question is always "Why?" Why is the answer always no? Why did God let this happen? Why did God allow that person to die? 
Is that you too? Then pick up this book.

Great book for a book club, a study, or a gift.


**I received a copy of this book through Icon Media in exchange for my review. Opinions are my own.**
***Affiliated links used.***

"Whispers of Hope" {a review}

I am not a huge Beth Moore fan. Please don't hold that against me. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed "Whispers of Hope: 10 weeks of devotional and prayer". This book is  a devotional and a prayer journal all wrapped up into one.

   
The introduction gives you an explaination of the P.R.A.I.S.E. prayer format.
P- Praise
R- Repentence
A- Acknowledgment
I- Intersession
S- Supplication for Self
E- Equipping

Each day is set up as follows:
Scripture Reading
Devotional
Prayer Journal

If you do the math that is 70 days of prayer journalling! Of course you can stretch that out or condense it. It is of course up to you. I will definitely be going back and doing the prayer journal and devotionals now that I am done with the review.

This would be a great Christmas gift for a friend, secret sister, or a Sunday School teacher. When day 1 gives you this:
"What God is doing in your life right now may not make sense to you, but it's not because he is nonsensical. It's because He's creative. God wants us to surrender to His will, but we tend to want a blueprint of His plans so we can decide whether or not to surrender" (pg 5); how can you not want this book?????

So check it out to day here:Whispers of Hope: 10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer today!

**I received a copy of this book from Icon Media in exchange for my review. All opinions expressed are my own.**

***Affiliated links used.***


Monday, November 25, 2013

Mercy House Update and one final phase

It has been an honor and a privilege to blog for Mercy House and to help raise money for them. I met Kristin and heard her speak at Allume and it just solidified the cause in my heart. I know that I mentioned that by the time we got to Allume that the first four phases of the project had been FULLY FUNDED! And with in the first 10 mins of a call for help at Allume $4000 had been raised.

So here we are at the week of Thanksgiving when most Americans will start their Christmas shopping. So how about this year you give a gift that will keep giving. Donate to Mercy House and then give a card showing how much you gave in honor of your family member. Or downsize your budget and give to Mercy House as a family for Christmas. Dayspring even has a line of items that you can buy and give as a gift that will go towards this project. Click here to check out the gorgeous tee shirt (that I have- it is the most comfortable shirt! But buy a size up because it will shrink when washed.), an amazing poster (it is even more amazing in person), or some postcards for the note writer in your life.   Because y'all- it has been amazing to see the project happen at speeds we never imagined when starting. Let's see if we can get all 5 phases fully funded by the end of this campaign!!!!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

"Winter in Full Bloom" {a review}


Her mom's confession changes Lily's life forever. A search that leads to Australia sparks an unexpected romance that can lead to happiness or heartbreak depending on where Lily's search leads. 

This was my first Anita Higman novel that certainly will not be my last.
Winter in Full Bloom is an endearing novel with family secrets and romance equally balanced. I did spend most of this novel waiting for the other shoe to drop and I was fully satisfied with the ending.

With Christmas right around the corner this would be a good gift for the reader in your life.


** I received this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.

***Affiliated links used.**

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Journey of a Dream

1 year.
Wow!
One year ago, Holley Gerth recognized some part of me that I am still not sure of and made me a part of her God Sized Dream Team. 100 women- 100 dreams- 1 woman who wanted to help us realize what dream God had given us and to help us get there. I don't really remember what I told Holley my dream was outside of growing a blog to encourage other moms and women so that they knew they were not alone and to someday write a book. Well- little did I know that my dream today would be so far from writing a book. And just look at this blog- part of that dream has come true.
About 4-6 months in, I realized that I was already living the dream that I had had as a child. I was a stay at home mom. Those struggles have brought me to my knees more times than I want to admit and probably should have more times than I let it.
In March of 2013, I bought a ticket to a blogging conference called Allume. It went along with my dream and God was saying "go". I can't even begin to tell you all the things that happened that made the trip almost not happen. But God kept making a way. I would never have believed what he had in store for me.
I met my "dream team" sisters and turned online friendships into real life ones. I fell in love with an organization called Sole Hope. And I had a new dream in my heart. At the end of this heart changing weekend, God pushed me to go talk to this particular woman and tell her I wanted to speak next year. I didn't do it. I pulled a Moses. "Why me? I hate public speaking. I have no platform, I have no experience, and I don't have a large following. Who would want to hear me speak?" But God kept at it and about a week after being home- I sent that woman an email telling her. Of course she is on a sabbatical from all things Allume for a few weeks so who knows if and when I hear from her but I followed God's pushing.
This journey of dreaming has been complicated, wild, fulfilling, scary, and so, so worth every step. I have sisters that God has given me at a time in my life that I need them. I have this space to encourage and dream. I am (in)courage leader. And I get to review books! (God definitely blessed me there.)
So about this space here. I am going to be using it for great things in the months to come. I am going to promote, support, and raise awareness about all these organizations that I am unable to financially support; Sole Hope, Compassion, The Seed Company/ End Bible Poverty, and Exodus Road.
God has given me a dream, a space, and a voice. Holley and this team have given me the confidence and support to dream these dreams and to reach for the stars.

So HAPPY ANNIVERSARY DREAM TEAM!!!!!!! And Happy Birthday Holley! Here is to another year of God working in our lives, dreaming, and seeing where this journey takes us!

*Want to learn more about helping Hentown Mama grow, supporting a mission trip to Uganda with Sole Hope in late 2014-early 2015, helping me go to a Dream Team meet up in Branson in March, or help me go back to Allume next year? You can check out the partnership opp. tab at the top of the page or email me at laura@hentownmama.com.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How Can You Help In The Philippines?

Have you been watching the news about the super storm that hit the Philippines? Have you seen the devastation there? Can you even imagine?
Here in south GA, the weather is cold. As in freeze warning cold (in November! And just so you know I am not a plan of the cold at all. That is why I live in south GA.) But you know what? I am sitting in my house, with a heater and a fireplace, food in the kitchen, blankets, and most importantly I know where all my family members are. So already today, I am 100 times more at peace then the people affected by this super storm halfway around the world. It is warm in the Philippines right now but these people have no homes, no way of knowing where their next meal is coming from, no way to know if the water is contaminated or not, and worst of all they don't know where all their family members are. Whole villages are gone- WHOLE VILLAGES! Thousands of people are homeless, missing, or dead.
Compassion is just one organization that is getting involved. It is personal for Compassion. They have sponsored children who are missing. They have sponsors all over the U.S. waiting for word about their children. Children that are parts of their families. So what can you do?

1. PRAY!- You can pray. Pray for everyone involved. Their safety, healing, and love. Pray for the missing people to be found. Pray for the injured to be healed. Pray for the rescue workers. Prayer doesn't cost us anything and ALL of us can do it.

2. DONATE- If you are financially able you can click the button below and donate to Compassion to help in the efforts over there.
Help Children Affected by Philippines Typhoon 
Do you want to know more? You can CLICK HERE for more information about Compassion and their relief efforts.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Loving Yourself

I am going to tell y'all right off the bat that it is ironic that I am writing this post today because I am feeling rejected and a little depressed. But not for the reason behind the post.


I have struggled with weight for several years now- 9 to be exact. Since my second child. And I am not "big". But a size 12 has been a constant struggle. I did lose back down to an 8 but a pregnancy soon followed and that went out the window. So for 3 years I have heard from people who supposedly love me that I am huge, fluffy, fat, and embarrassing. Just last week my grandmother tried to give me and 2X shirt and warned me it might be a little tight since I was so big now. So here's the thing that I have realized. I am happy in my size 12 body. Seriously. I don't have a lot of clothes that really fit but I will work on that. I like to eat. And when I was smaller I couldn't eat like I wanted to and I was so obsessed with a scale that I was miserable. And I actually spent Allume wearing a large sweater to cover up my "fat rolls" because no matter what I wore they were there and I was embarrassed. But for some reason coming home from that changed my perspective.

I am not worried about it anymore. And seriously if my being "fat" embarrasses you then I promise it would be better for you to just not be seen with me and not be my friend. I need real friends not people who are my friend because of how I look. And if I apply for a job and the reason I didn't get it is because it was more important for you to hire a size 2 person because it looks better in the office that is fine too. I didn't need that job. (Irony being that I desperately need a part time job right now) Obviously you are not a company that I need to work for. This world is so obsessed with weight and looks that no one cares about character any more. When you sit through a church service and hear about how we should all love exercise and that having a little weight on you is not serving God well there is something seriously wrong. (And yes I am sure that the statements were not actually meant that way but when more than one person came away from it with that feeling it isn't okay.)

So for myself, my well being, and for my kids- I love myself for what I am. And right now that is a size 12, emotionally exhausted and wrecked, mom of 4 boys, with a deep and growing love for God who is okay with what she looks like.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sole Hope

At Allume I met this wonderful woman named Asher. She was beautiful inside and out. And then she told us her story. About a desire to do God's will and how that led to the founding of Sole Hope.



And my heart was sold on the whole thing. I had already signed up for the Sole Hope impact opportunity to cut old blue jeans into the beginnings of shoes. But I went ahead bought a Party Kit to take back to our youth group. I sent a text telling a friend that I had done it and the ball is rolling.
Then came my friend Mel. Mel told Asher she wanted to come and help. And my heart was opened even more. God is saying "GO!" And you know what I am listening. My plan is to go for 10-14 days in 2014 and do all that I can to help Sole Hope while I am there. I have applied to be an ambassador for the organization. I am in the planning stages of several "Cutting Parties". I proudly wear my jacket so that people will ask me "what is Sole Hope?"
But you know what? Sole Hope needs so much more right now. They need supplies for removing the jiggers. And that's where you come in. You can help two ways:
1. Set up a collection box at your church, your office, or anywhere else that will allow you.
Photo credit: Sole Hope Blog
Collect neosporin, bandaids, gloves, gauze pads and wraps, large safety pins, numbing cream, and stickers for children. Then you send all of that to:
Sole Hope
PO Box 1492
Asheville, NC 28802
2. Collect change and send it to the address above. (or collect the change and then send a check for the amount collected to them) They will purchase the medical supplies and get them to Uganda where they are needed.


There are of course other ways to help Sole Hope. You can hold a cutting party or you can make a donation. Just head over to www.solehope.com  and find out all the information.

Oh and a shameless plug- I will begin fundraising for a trip to Sole Hope in January 2014. If you would like to help me get there you can email me at laura@hentownmama.com and I will send you more information. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

"Coming Home For Christmas"

I am about to completely date myself. But do y'all remember Amy Jo Johnson from the original Power Rangers? She was the most amazing pink ranger that they have ever had. Well, I have really liked her as an actress since then and it has been fun to watch her become a better one over the years. She has a new movie out at Walmart just in time for Christmas. "Coming Home for Christmas" is a great new, family movie that my whole house enjoyed.

Kate walks out on her sister's wedding, tearing a hole in the fabric her that holds her family together that cannot be repaired. Mel went through with her wedding only to have her life not turn out how she thought. Their parents Wendy and Al, lose their daughters, their house, and their joy in the years that follow the split. But when their house is sold and all hope of getting it back fades away, Wendy and Al separate. This prompts Kate to try and repair all the holes in their family and to bring Christmas home one last time. What she didn't count on was meeting the owner of the new house and falling for him. Will this derail her plans? Can she "fix" what she broke?

We watched this movie as a family and we all really enjoyed it. I loved not having to worry about what my boys were going to see and hear. This is a story of love, redemption, and of course Christmas cookies. I definitely say head to Walmart and pick up a copy today. Or LEAVE A COMMENT TELLING ME WHAT YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIE IS and I will pick a winner next Monday afternoon. 
**I received a copy of this movie for review and giveaway through Fly By Promotions in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.**

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Behind the Scenes- The Costumes

We don't trick-or-treat. For several reasons with the main one being how far we live from town and where people trick-or-treat. So we always dress up for our annual church Fall Festival. This year the festival was later than Halloween so I, being the smart person I am, decided that I was not buying costumes until the day of or the day before- you know because they would be on sale. Let me just tell you- DON'T DO THAT!!!!! I went to the store and had to dig through 1 buggy where they had placed all the costumes. It was a hard fought battle to find the two we did find. Thank goodness I had a clown costume left over from VBS! My soon-to-be 9 year old (in 10 more days) had a literal meltdown in the middle of Walmart because I wouldn't buy him a grim reaper costume. My 3 year old had a meltdown because I would not buy a Buzz Lightyear costume that was big enough to fit my 13 year old. And my 7 year old was happy with what he found.
So we get home and cook and cook and cook. (Cake pops are not something I will be attempting again.) And then we got into costumes. My 13 year old decides at the last minute to dress up so all he had was camo. Worked for me! And then came the question I had been avoiding all day. "What are you and Daddy dressing up as?" Apparently my 3 year old would not accept nothing. So I quickly changed into my Allume shirt and throw on my name tag. I was a conference attendee. My hubby was a solider with the full vest and all. And he was okay with dressing up UNTIL we got to the party and NO other adult was dressed up. There are normally at least 3 other adults dressed up- NOBODY this year! He was not happy. But the hostess quickly ran inside and put on a costume just for him.
This was the first year that costumes were actually an issue in our house. Believe me I will do it differently next year. Especially since I will not be at home. I will again be at Allume the weekend we tentatively have down. So I will have costumes before hand and I will not let the kids talk their daddy into dressing up. 

Did you do the whole costume thing this year? What did your kids dress up as?   

Monday, November 4, 2013

What if You Couldn't Read Your Bible?

A couple of months ago, the youth at our church raised money to buy Bibles for Uganda. Bibles that they could read because they were in their native language. And it made me wonder what we would do if we did not speak english and there were no Bibles that we could read. We would be lost and we would have to rely on someone else to read us the word. And we would have no way to know the truth ourselves or dig in further when we wanted to. Would we really know God the way we needed to?

This is just a sample article from Seedlinks. The web and print magazine that comes from The Seed Company and End Bible Poverty. All you have to do is go to www.endbiblepoverty.org. From there you can watch the amazing videos that show you what you can do and where your money goes, read stories that will warm your heart, and learn how to give.

Think about something. If it only takes $10 to translate a Bible into another language and put it into the hands of a mother or a child in Brazil, Uganda, or another country, are you really able to say "no"? For my family that is basically not going out to eat once a month and we can purchase 3-4 Bibles. That says a lot.

What can you do?


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Friday, November 1, 2013

When Mama Needs Abundant Grace

I was gone from home for 5 days. I have been home for 5 days. The problem is that the 5 days I was gone were filled with so much that sleep was the last thing on my mind. Since being home it is all that is on my mind. I am honestly still not sleeping because my mind will not turn off. So I have begged for grace from God, from my hubby, and from my kids. I am so glad that my oldest can get himself up, ready, and on the bus by himself- if not he would not have been at school this week. I have not gotten anything done as far as housework and only the bare minimum as far as laundry goes. Grace has been abundant here this week. Grace for the "craziness" I picked up while at Allume, grace in changing my dreams and throwing everyone for a loop, grace for the lack of housework being done, grace for the lack of "mommy duties" being completed, and grace from God for the lack of patience I have had with people who are questioning my new dreams and decisions. And grace from God for taking my time and questioning when he said "go" and I said "no" or "why". Grace freely given but not really deserved. Grace that I am thankful for.

Linking up today with Lisa Jo Baker and the Five Minute Friday Crew. 

Frame 232


The Kennedy assignation is one of the most followed events in the world to this day with conspiracy theories coming out everyday. In "Frame 232" Wil Mara explores one theory with an exciting, action packed sequence of events.

The Babushka Lady, that's how Margaret Baker will forever be known to the media, the government, and the conspiracy theorist. Margaret holds that secret and the secret of proof of a second assassin close to her heart and in a safety deposit box that only 3 people know about. After her death that number goes up to 4. Her daughter Sheila opens the box and is shocked by what she finds. After bringing Jason Hammond on board to help her decide what to do, she unknowingly sets in motion the events that will change their lives forever. Adventure and action fill the rest of the story as they discover who is actually behind the assassination and bring to end the theories that have floated around for years.

I will confess that it took me a little while to get into this book. It is not my normal go-to reading material. But once interest sparked, I couldn't put the book down. As a wife of a conspiracy theory lover, I can highly recommend this book to those just like him. This is the perfect gift for a guy (or gal) who buys into conspiracy with a passion. A little slow to start but action quickly builds making this a great read.

With Christmas coming, keep this book on your list as a great gift!


**I received this book from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.**