Saturday, February 8, 2014

Our Story and the Stories of Others

Periodically, I get requests from self-published authors to review their books.  I consider and then every once in a while I agree to review the book(s) they've written.  This post is about two such books...

This month I am reading through two books.  The first is a prayer journal of
sorts. Dragonflies, Ketchup and Late-Night Phone Calls.  Daphne Tarango has written an introduction and a series of 31 prayers.  After each prayer is a place to write what you are thankful for in the morning, noon, and night.  I wasn't sure what to expect with this journal.  I had read the introduction online, which I enjoyed!  The prayers are simple ones and simply expressed.  I have to admit that I don't have time to write down at morning, noon, or night.  Instead, when I sit down each day before the day has begun, I think through the previous day and find things I can be thankful for.  It has been a good exercise for me.  Yes, I could simply follow this practice in a blank notebook, but it has been nice to have it all pre-set for me.  And I did truly enjoy Ms. Tarango's story about ketchup and late-night phone calls...  Late-night phone calls truly can be a blessing.

Along with this book, I've been reading a second book:  Women of the Secret Place.  If you've read this blog before, you know that I wear my heart on my
sleeve and talk honestly about life and its struggles.  I'm not a candy-coated, gushy kind of person.  Something that comforts me are the stories of others.  That is just this book is.  This book is a compilation of stories by Ruth Carmichael Ellinger and several others (including Daphne Tarango).  Each story is a snippet of life and a lesson someone has learned or a trial they have walked through with the Lord.  There was a story or two that I wasn't encouraged by or didn't entirely agreed with.  But, that is okay.  We are all different women and our lives are different.  This book is a book about diversity, yet it reminds us that we are one in the Lord and that we need to love the differences we have--understanding that the Lord teaches us each differently.

Both books have been encouraging reads to me this month...

Please note that I did receive complimentary copies of these two books for review.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


The past few weeks have been strange ones for me.  We own two homes.  We're closing on one next week and have listed the one we live in.  We're the kind of folks that continually work on our homes.  I have had this list with our new home--my goal for the past twelve months has been to write down one thing a month.  When we moved in here two years ago, we thought we would stay put for a very long time.  We also bought a house which had a million and one things to do on it that the inspector completely missed.  After we bought it, my stomach stayed in knots for probably six months or more.  I grieved.  I struggled.  I worked hard to fix everything I could and still manage to homeschool, love my family well, and take care of the day to day needs of my home.  My husband worked hard, too.  He did the big projects that I couldn't do.  We fixed it together.

Several of my friends have asked me how I'm doing as I ponder moving.  How do I feel about starting over? Honestly, I'm okay.  I know that the peace I have is coming from the Lord and the certainty that I feel because of how He has confirmed and reassured me of this move over and over.  He prepared my heart and has planted some simple lessons in my heart.

1)  Don't judge.  Fight it.  I may come in with a preconceived idea because of a website or a comment someone said.  But, I need to give people and places a chance.

2)  Not everyone is going to like me.  I know this sounds silly, but I'm a people pleaser and I want to be liked!  Two weeks ago, I saw someone who the Lord gave me a deep affection for but who never cared for me to reach out to me.  I saw her walking across a street and I followed her for a moment.  I asked her how she was and I could tell--I needed to let go of that affection.  I can pray when the Lord prompts, but it isn't a relationship I should pursue.  I need to shake the dust off my feet and walk on, so to speak.  On the other hand, a dear sweet sister in the Lord from my church touched my heart on Sunday morning when she told me how much she would miss me and how the Lord had used me to remind her how loved she is.  I will always treasure that conversation with her.  God gives me an affection for people and I need to be obedient to pursue.  But, I also need to let that pursuit go when it is time and not have my feelings hurt.  Not everyone is going to like me or want me to care about them.

3)  I need to focus on my children and homeschooling.  I may be blogging and reviewing less in the future.  I need to commit to less.  I have taken on a lot of little commitments that add up.  I'm trying to wrap things up and decrease my projects and responsibilities.  I'm a Martha and I need to seek to be more of a Mary.

4)  I need to trust God and His providence.  I need to wait, walk forward, and be patient.  I need to be active, but not push doors that are supposed to stay shut.

I find myself thankful in this time.  The past few weeks haven't been easy, but I'm standing and I'm fighting the stress so that I won't make myself sick this time like I did two years ago when we bought this house.  I'd appreciate your prayers...