Monday, March 30, 2015

"Savor"ing the Everyday

I just have to tell you about this gorgeous book!

This book is hardcover with a rich texture that will scream "TAKE ME HOME"! Then when you get it home and you are through admiring the sheer prettiness of the packaging and you open it up- you will be so proud of that impulse book buy. You know the one where the cover is gorgeous and you aren't really sure about the book but you buy it anyway.

Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are is a book of devotions of course, but it also is a thought provoking, soul searching kind of book. I really found the questions that are asked everyday making me think hard about areas of my life. And the daily "stories" were fun to read while also making the questions come to life in my mind. Throw in a couple of delicious recipes throughout and this is a best seller in the making.

I am thoroughly looking forward to picking this book up every morning before walking into work and reading that day's passage. Which means a lot because I am the world's worst at actually continuing with a daily devotion book after a few weeks. But this one just keeps calling my name so we will see if I can keep it up!

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

**Of course- affiliated links included.

Monday, March 16, 2015

imperfect Hospitality

I love having people over for dinner and having parties, however I hate to cook and clean to make that happen. Well, not really the cooking part, more the cleaning part.

I have come to realize though that I don't have to have the perfect house to practice hospitality. I just need a willing heart. It also doesn't have to be at my house. I can practice hospitality just by inviting someone to lunch or dinner.

I am good at imperfect hospitality. To me imperfect hospitality is going out to eat at a restaurant instead of at my house. It is not having a completely clean house or a perfectly set table.

Perfect hospitality is the perfectly clean house, a home cooked meal, and a perfectly set table. I am really not good at that.

I love practicing imperfect hospitality. It is normally spur of the moment and ends up being more fun than anything that I could have planned. (And I don't have to clean up afterwards.)

So if your house isn't perfectly clean and it keeps you from asking a friend over for dinner, think about going to a restaurant instead or even grabbing a coffee and sitting in the break room together at work. Because hospitality isn't necessarily hosting people in your home. Hospitality is about hosting people in your heart. Talk to them about God, about life, or about what book you are reading. The point of hospitality is to invest in another person and let them into your heart.

Sometimes, I find myself holding back from practicing hospitality because I get caught up in that perfect image. I have to remind myself that imperfect hospitality is perfect for me. I have to make myself let go of that "perfect" image in my head and remind myself that hospitality of the heart means so much more than hospitality of the home.

Do you like imperfect or perfect hospitality more? What is your favorite way to show hospitality?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Holley Gerth

Holley has a new book out!!!! And we all know how much I love her and her writing. 

In You're Loved No Matter What: Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect , Holley drives home that God loves you despite all your flaws and mistakes. My favorite chapter in this particular book is chapter 2- "Embracing the Freedom That's Already Yours". Maybe it's because this was the chapter that I desperately needed right now or maybe it was because I needed Holley's words right as I was reading, but this was the chapter that meant the most to me. Especially this:
"There's a distinct difference between a mistake and a sin. Mistakes help us learn. Sin is a choice we deliberately make even though we know better. Mistakes are done in innocence. Sin comes from a heart that holds rebellion. Mistakes lead to growth. Sin leads to decay. Not only will you make mistakes, but you must make mistakes. That's the way babies learn to walk, kids find out how to ride bikes, and grown-ups figure out how to find their way in the world."

This book came during a week where I was ready to give up. It seemed like everything I was doing was resulting in failure as a mom and as a wife. But then I read the above quote. For some reason it was those words that reminded me that mistakes happen. I am going to make them and my children are going to make them. That doesn't mean that I am a failure and it doesn't mean that I am loved any less because of the mistakes we are making. And those mistakes are not necessarily a result of my parenting. 
Those mistakes required a whole lot of grace on my part and on the part of others that week. I will admit I did not handle some of it very well.  But that's the thing- God loved us through that week and he gave us the grace that we needed. Grace I had a hard time giving myself.

I wish that everyone of you could meet Holley. I do. Because as I say with all her books, reading her words is like talking to her. She is that friend that everyone needs to have. 

**I received this book in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own. 
***Affiliated links used in this post. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

"Big Thoughts for Little People"

I love apps that will teach my children something while letting them have fun.

Miles has a favorite new app on my iPhone and I am excited to share it with you. It is called "Big Thoughts for Little People". (Or as Miles calls it the "ABC game) When you download the game you automatically get 3 letters. Each letter comes with a puzzle, a memory verse, a "color and trace" page, and a couple more activities. Miles especially loves the puzzles and tracing pages. We have all the letters and once your child plays the app once, you will too. The app is better on an iPad but I don't have one of those. It works great on the iPhone too but the bigger letters would be great.

As you can see, the graphics are great and very kid friendly. 

I would love for this app to be available on Androids too because I would put it on Miles' tablet in a heartbeat. Until then though, I guess I will be sharing my iPhone every chance he can get. 

Oh and apparently I am completely unable to link to the App Store so go to the store and search. I am recommending this app to everyone I know. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"No Longer A Slumdog" {a review and a giveaway}

"No Longer a Slumdog" is a captivating book that will grab you heartstrings and not let go. The founder of Gospel for Asia, K.P Yohannan, wrote this book to spread awareness of the suffering that children go through in Asia. Being able to put a face and a story behind the abstract children you hear about on the news is a game changer. These stories are shocking and hearwrenching. But the knowledge that they are real children and that this really happened to them is horrifying. Then there is the knowledge that through Gospel for Asia, these children's lives were transformed. They give you hope that even through the darkest of circumstances there is the hope to overcome.

So here is the giveaway. There is no one winner. That's right! Every single one of you who is reading this post can get a copy of this book for FREE! All you have to do is click here

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Help spread the word about Gospel for Asia and receive the hope that is "No Longer a Slumdog" by ordering your copy and sharing it today. 

**I received this book through FlyBy Promotions in exchange for my review and for offering each of you a free copy.**

Thursday, March 5, 2015

"The Unveiled Wife" {a review}

Since one of my goals this year is to focus on my marriage, this book title jumped out at me. I was excited to see it on the list of books available for review from Tyndale Publishers and quickly signed up.

I have to be honest and tell you that this book was definitely not what I expected. I was thinking that it would be another marriage book full of advice and maybe if I was lucky, a few personal stories. Instead, the book is an intimate look at the Smith marriage and all of their struggles in their first years of marriage. It takes a lot (a whole lot) of courage to be as open as Jennifer Smith is in this book. And I really appreciated her openness and honesty. 

Smith tells of her courtship of both Christ and her husband and how there were obstacles along the way. She doesn't hold back and even talks about the most intimate of struggles that any marriage faces and she shows that a marriage can grow in spite of  the struggles it faces. Their marriage is also proof that intimacy is so much more than what we tend to think. She also shows that their is a direct effect on the relationships of marriage depending on your relationship with God. 

I love that Smith doesn't hold back on the tough subjects. I love that she doesn't try to make everything seem perfect when it's not. And I love that she reiterates what I always say. Love is a choice. Marriage is a choice. Marriage is hard. But you can makes the choices that will make you marriage and your relationship with God stronger everyday. 

** I received this book from Tyndale Publisher in exchange for my review.**