Tag Archives: book review

An Unlikely Bunch – The Gift of Friendship

Gift of Friendship

I’ll just start out by being really honest with you. I didn’t want to be a part of their “group”. When Dominic “recommended” that I go to the new bible study meeting at church I was less than enthused.

There were several times over the course of the past 4 years that I wanted to participate in one of the bible studies, but there never seemed to be time. But now it was HIS idea so somehow it was a priority. And I didn’t want to go.

You see we were really struggling, no…I was really struggling. My attitude and behavior were less than ideal and I was creating waves in our marriage that were drowning us both. I needed something, I knew it…but I didn’t want it to be something he recommended. Admitting this was a good thing was also an admission that I needed help and I wasn’t ready for that.

I can be a bit overreactive and emotional if you couldn’t tell….

A small piece of me knew that if I didn’t go to this study, I may ruin future opportunities…so that first Monday I got in my car and drove to church. It is a 15 minute drive and I fought with God the entire way. “I DON’T want to be doing this Lord. I know that I need something, but I don’t want it to be the something he recommended. I know I am being terrible right now, so please Lord would you give me even one thing at this study tonight that I could take home with me?”

In my time of desperation, when I called out to God, He heard and He answered.

We are an unlikely bunch. The women in my bible study come from all different places. Some of us are mothers, others grandmas. Some of us are moms of teens and others MOPS. Each of us have a different story to tell. Hurts that have cut us deep and shaped who we are today. Struggles with finances and marriages and freedom from the lies of the enemy.

None of us the same and yet each of us are connected in unity with one goal in mind.

We are seeking a God that loves the very broken women that we are and we are working towards knowing Him more. Becoming a light to those around us, sharing our hurts and our hopes in order to lift one another up.

If you were there with us, you would be warmly welcomed. We don’t have all the answers so we search the God that does. We fail in our jobs and our homes and then we come and share our stories of imperfection. It is a safe place that we can be real and yet walk away lavished in the truth of who we are in Christ.

It was not at all what I expected and exactly what I needed.

I don’t know where you find yourself today. Maybe you have been hurt by the church, or by women…I know it happens and can I just say that I am sorry! I know that I have been that judgmental woman myself, believing that I wouldn’t fit in with “that group.” But boy when I prayed that simple prayer for God to give me one thing I could take home, He gave me an unlikely group of women that have become friends. And I am so grateful.

It is my prayer that we can continue to be that gift to more women that join us…that His love would spread into our homes and our workplaces and communities. That by gathering together as imperfect women, seeking God, we will be able to then be a blessing to someone else who really needs it.

I think that is exactly why God gave us friendships, and today I celebrate that!  Celebrating the friendships that give life today and celebrating the launch of this new book. The Gift of Friendship – Stories that Celebrate the Beauty of Shared Moments by Dawn Camp is available for sale now. A beautiful book filled with stories from women who are doing life with friends. The hard, the wonderful, the scary moments that happen in friendship are all shared in this book. A perfect gift for the friends in your life!

The Song {And a Giveaway!} #awakenlove

The Song 2

I have shared before that Dominic and I spent way too many years struggling in our marriage. We just weren’t equipped to handle marriage well and we were far from God…it was not a good mix.

Unfortunately we built up a lot of bad habits during that time and learned how to fight well and love poorly. Today I am so grateful for the grace that has been poured out on our marriage and the restoration that we have seen take place.

It isn’t easy and it takes work and a lot of prayer – but God is faithful!

Today we work together and spend most of our days and nights together. There have been “interesting” moments for sure, but for the most part we both feel blessed that we have this opportunity now.

But the one thing we are the worst at is finding time for just the two of us.

Date night? What is that?! 🙂

In fact a few weekends ago we had some clients to visit in the afternoon and decided to get dinner out together afterwards and Dominic felt guilty that we were having a nice dinner and the kids were a home eating leftovers. (They survived if you can believe it!) 😉

Time together just the two of us, not doing work, is so important though. 

It is easy to get busy, make excuses and not participate in things because there is always something else that needs our attention.

Recently we started hosting a small group from church at our home every Sunday night. It has been so good to fellowship with other couples, even if all our kids are upstairs.

But even more than that I want us to learn more about each other, so when I was asked if I wanted a copy of THE SONG: Awaken Love Couple’s Devotional  to review, I was excited. I love having resources available that help encourage strengthening a marriage.

The Song 3

This devotional is based on the Song of Solomon in the Bible. It is a 6 week devotional with short lessons for 5 days of each week.

Short stories and some discussion questions to get the couple talking, this is an easy way to increase communication and look at how God’s Word views marriage.

The Awaken Love devotional is a great resource for any couple to have!

I would encourage you to check out this website. It has links to materials you can purchase as well as links to other free resources. These were my favorites. Rekindle your Marriage Resource and 10 Ways to Pray Protection over Your Marriage.

As a part of this post FlyBy is offering the devotional for free to one of my readers. So if you would like to win a copy please leave a comment below and I will pick a winner on Friday November 21st!

#seethesong

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

31 Days of Finding God – HONOR

Thank you for joining me in my series 31 Days of Finding God. Each day I am going to use a prompt from Kate and incorporate that into how I am finding God in my everyday!

Noah 1

Today’s prompt is Honor!

Honoring God is not something I do well. Especially when I am being asked to do something hard or seemingly impossible.

My pull would probably be to act in a dishonorable way, repent and seek to do it right the second time around. : /

In the Bible we have an example of someone who was a very honorable man of God.

Noah.

Noah 4

I was recently sent a children’s book to review by Handlebar Marketing. Noah is a wordless picture book for children and adults alike. The pictures on each page are stunning.

Because there aren’t any words, it allows the opportunity for the reader to share the story in their own words. While I know the “traditional” story of Noah, I wanted to re-read it in Genesis again with fresh eyes. See Genesis 5:32-10:1 to read the entire story for yourself!

First of all, the story starts that Noah was 500 years old when he fathered his 3 boys. How had I never remembered that?!

Second it talks about how wicked man had become. Men and women that weren’t honoring God and God regretted that he had created man. BUT Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Because Noah had lived in an honorable way, righteous and blameless in God’s sight, God came to Noah and said that He was going to send a flood that would wipe out all humanity, all creatures. He then asked Noah (who was over 500 years old!!!) to build an ark.

What I found new in this story (to me ) was that God was very specific with Noah, specific about the size, the rooms and levels. The animals that he was to bring with. While the request may have seem crazy, God guided every step!

Noah 2

The Bible says that when the flood waters came Noah was 600 years old! The animals came that the Lord commanded and God shut them in the ark. And the waters prevailed for 150 days. Noah sent a dove out to find dry land, once the dove returned with an olive branch Noah knew that there would once again be dry land.

Noah 3

Once on dry land, Noah being an honorable man, gave up a burnt offering to God and God was pleased and made a covenant with Noah and future generations.

Genesis 9: 9-11 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you,  and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth.  I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

Sometimes making the right choice is hard. We may have to work, to trust God in the unknown, follow His plan even when it feels crazy or impossible. But when we do, we honor God. And like Noah we will be richly blessed because of it.

This book would be a beautiful addition to your children’s library. What a fun way to tell this important about being honorable to God, to your children.

31 Days Button

In Him, Kristin

**Disclosure – I received a copy of Noah from Handlebar Marketing for free in exchange for my honest review of the product. All opinions expressed here are my own.**

Overrated {A Review and Giveaway} #OverratedBook

Overrated

Can I be honest with you?

Sometimes I am all talk. It sucks to admit that, but it is true.

I have a passionate heart for others. I have blogged here before about difference causes I support and believe in. And I DO believe in them.

But you know what else?

Blogging about it, maybe donating $50 here or there feels good, and at times feels like I am doing enough.

But am I?

Could I do more – of course. But do I? Because in doing more I may be asked to step out of my comfort zone. I may be called to give bigger, go places I am afraid of, serve people in my community….am I ready for that?

In his book “Overrated”, Eugene Cho tackles this very subject. In his own words, “I like to talk about changing the world but I don’t really like to do what it takes.”

Yep…the tag line of his book caught my attention in a big way.

Because if I am honest, this is me.

I have always said that I want to DO something with my life. Make a difference, BE a difference. But what am I doing about it? Not much I am afraid.

Eugene Cho wanted to start living what he was preaching. “Overrated” is his and his families journey to doing more. He challenges the reader to research and understand the causes they support and then get out there do the work.

“We owe it to ourselves to be prayerful, knowledgeable and committed to being experts on the work and conviction to which we feel called. While we may never fully get there, it’s a life long commitment to be a learner. This is, in essence, what it means to be a disciple.”

And these words hit home as well..(I am telling you this is a tough book, tough because it IS convicting but in a good way! I needed these words!)

“Don’t ask people to pray if you’re not willing to pray.”

” Don’t ask people to fast if you’re not fasting.”

“Don’t ask people to serve if you’re not willing to serve….”

I have blogged before about a cause I believe in, but then actually never did much else. Not that spreading awareness is a negative thing. There may be someone who reads our words and it is just the cause they feel called to help. But to be an even greater example, I need to be willing to forge ahead myself first!

Here’s the thing, and the point of this book – be aware. Be aware of why we are telling the stories we are. Why we write about causes we love, is it to make change or make us feel better? Are we willing to do the hard work ourselves, and not for our glory but for God’s? “Let’s not just tell a good story, let’s live a good story.” 

“Ideas, dreams, and visions don’t change the world. Rather, it’s people – like you and me, who faithfully, prayerfully, and tenaciously live out these ideas, dreams, and visions – who change the world.”

Eugene is someone who has struggled with these very issues, he writes with honesty and transparency and challenges the reader to think differently. I was fortunate to receive a  copy of this book from FlyBy Promotions in exchange for my honest review.

They are also giving me a copy to give away here to one lucky reader. So to enter please leave a comment sharing one cause/charity that is near and dear to you! Winner will be chosen on Friday October 3rd.

Check out the book trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kqvd12mEEK4&list=UU4vF_MunQDVGg-P497Bj6nA

Official Websitehttp://areyouoverrated.com
Disclosure: Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and not infulenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

What Your Heart Needs

Phone booth

I am not much of a phone call kind of girl. In fact they sometimes scare the daylights out of me. It is those awkward pauses that might happen and “what if I say something stupid” kind of fears.

I don’t enjoy having to call and order the pizza, in fact for years I refused to do it. (I know what am I 12?!) Calling clients is one of my biggest fears at work, when the reality is that most often I can answer any questions they have and our conversations usually end up just fine.

I guess it is something that has always caused me some sort of anxiety, so I just avoid it if I can. So let me apologize right now if you have ever called my house and I haven’t answered the call…. : /

But this weekend I got a voicemail from my friend Kami (this call I totally missed I swear!!) and I called her back and just had the most wonderful conversation with her.

We don’t see each other but maybe once a year, it isn’t often enough but it was so nice to just catch up and share life a little. To talk to another mom who gets where parenting isn’t usually glamorous or even wonderful. A friend who knows what it is like to have “that” child….you know the one that doesn’t listen and seems to like being naughty. 🙂

And when I got off that call my spirit felt lighter.

I didn’t even realize that I was feeling a little down, but that call lifted me and I am so grateful for it.

Some days we just need that pick me up don’t we?!

Maybe it is a call from a friend, or some retail therapy, even a good cup of coffee if you are into that sort of thing! 😉

If I have learned anything the past several years it is that life isn’t, and won’t, always be easy. I will get frustrated, feel lonely or angry and upset. I will feel misunderstood and left out.

So knowing that these days will come, what can we do to counteract it?

I find for me that I need to surround myself with truth.

The truth of God’s word, a favorite scripture taped to my mirror (Ephesians 3:20-21), or a devotional book filled with inspiring truths that encourage and offer hope.

My dear friend Holley Gerth has written a new devotional called “What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days.” And it releases TODAY!!

What Your Heat Needs

It is a beautiful book filled with 52 short devotionals. At the end of each day is a prayer and a space where you can write a reflection from the reading.

Holley is the real deal. She is a woman that writes from experience, someone who has been dealt the hard days, and walked through them with grace.

This doesn’t mean that she has enjoyed the process, or even always handled it well, who of us have right!?!

But as you read these devotionals you feel as though you are sitting across from a friend, pouring out your heart, and she understands all you are dealing with.

In her words “Acknowledging the hard parts of our lives doesn’t mean that we’re not grateful for the gifts God has given. We can thank him every day for the child he’s given us while also feeling exhausted when that same child gets on our last nerve….”

“God understands both”

God wants us to bring the good and the bad to Him. (<====Click to Tweet)

He knows there will be hard days, days when our hearts need a lift.

I am so grateful that He has called and gifted Holley with words of hope so that she could bring that message to us. This is a devotional that you will want to get and keep close by for those times when you need a reminder that you are not alone.

Thank you Holley for once again filling my home with words of light, His light that shines through you. I am so blessed to know you and honored to be able to help promote this newest book of yours!

I was graciously given a copy of Holley’s devotional from Revell Books to read and review as a part of a blog tour. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Phone Booth Photo Credit: Monica Arellano-Ongpin

A Time for Rest – Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Balance beam

My word for 2014 is Balance.

The last several months of 2013 were a blur. Dominic and I were so busy at the office that there were times I wondered if we would make it. Now don’t get me wrong, we are blessed and grateful for this business and how God has provided for our family, but I felt very flustered for too long. I needed balance.

I thought that if my one word could be balance that I might be more intentional about finding it.

I can tell you that it has been, and continues to be, a work in progress.

I suppose I hoped that by mid-way through a year I would have been further along, but the reality is that life just happens and I allow myself to get swept up in the wave of it all.

Then one day I got an email from Bonnie Gray  asking if I wanted to be a part of her new book launch team for “Finding Spiritual Whitespace – Awakening Your Soul to Rest“. Her book sounded like JUST what I needed because “rest” seemed so lacking in my daily life.

And by rest – I really don’t mean more time to sleep. While that would be nice, I have become so accustomed to sleeping WITH interruption for the last MANY years, that sleeping through the night seems unnatural to me!

No, what my spirit really needs is finding that rest IN God. In relationship with Him.  (<====Click to Tweet)

“Making room for whitespace means taking the journey to confide in Jesus the way we would if he were standing right here in front of us.” pg 31

My hope is that during these times of busy, I would be intentional about seeking and finding God in the everyday. I don’t want my relationship with God to be one where I treat Him like my 1-800-CRISIS line. It HAS been that way in the past and I found that for many years I felt like God was my enemy because He just didn’t “fix” all of my problems.

Instead, I want to create a spirit of thankfulness in all situations. To find comfort in His promises despite what is happening in the world around me.

Rest

Recently I have done a few things to stay in a closer relationship with God. I have been spending a little time each morning in quiet time, reading the Bible, listening to praise music and praying over my husband and my family.

There are mornings when I am exhausted and don’t want to get up with my alarm. And on those mornings, I usually start my prayer time by thanking God for giving me the energy I need to get through the day, to do a short workout, and be awake and beneficial for my family.

A heart of thankfulness makes all the difference, doesn’t it?! (<====Click to Tweet)

Bonnie share her heart in this book. The deepest parts of the hurts from her past, a past that threatened to drown her once the details started coming to light.

And yet she also offers hope.

Hope that our past doesn’t have to define us. And a path to seeking and finding a loving God that wants us to find our rest IN Him.

I don’t want my life to be defined by how busy I was. I am thankful we are busy, but it can’t take the place of spending time seeking God’s plan for my life. Spending time in His Word, offering up prayers, even when they come from exhaustion, with thankfulness on my lips, and singing His praises are just a few things I am doing to find rest.

What areas of your life do you need to find rest?

Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Purchase a copy for yourself here!

Thank you Bonnie for allowing me to be a part of your amazing team of women seeking to find God, find peace and find rest.

Photo Credit: sherbonbon

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