Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Everybody's Got Something

"Everybody's Got Something" by Robin Roberts

This was such an inspirational story.  Robin is a very upbeat, positive thinker.  We can all learn a lesson from her about how to face challenges in our lives.  Robin was diagnosed with breast cancer and then a few years later was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder that she needed a bone marrow transplant for.  She is an anchor on Good Morning America and a very well known TV personality.  She faced these health battles publicly and many rallied for her.  She credits her family, friends, and faith for bringing her through.  "Make your mess your message."  I really like that, it means whatever you are going through use it to be your message.  Use your trial for good.  Robin really exempified this by talking about bone marrow donors and showing peopel what it is like to go through cancer and survive.  What is the point of going through hard things if you can't use it for good?  That is how good God is, He always turns the bad for our good.  "When you are down and you don't know how to pick yourself up, start where you are."  It just takes one step, and the first is always the hardest.  "Why is my something any worse or more significant than anyone elses?  It's not.  It's just not."  We all have hard things and mine isn't any worse than someones elses.  We need to have compassion for all that are going through something, it's all hard.  "Why not be the one to start the kind of family you've always wanted to be part of?"  Robin has an amazing support system in her family.  She had strong bonds with her two older sister and brother.  Not all of us come from great families but we can all be the ones to start what we desire a family to be.  Dare to begin the cycle of building that loving family.  Look to others who have those bonds for guidance.  "Focus on the fight, not the fright."  It is so easy when we are going through a trial to focus on the bad and how scared we are but that will not get us anywhere except more scared and frustrated.  Focus on the good, what you can do and the scary will become less.  "Life provides losses and heartbreak for all of us-but the greatest tragedy is to have the experience and miss the meaning."  Every trial has a lesson, don't miss it or you may get to redo the trial.  "What a gift it is to have friends who really know you.  What a gift you give someone when you listen with your whole head and your whole heart."  It really is a priceless gift.  Be that gift to others.  "I've often said when fear knocks, let faith answer the door.  Sometimes when fear knocks, faith shows itself through a friend who stands by the door, squeezes your hand and answers it with you."

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hands Free Mama

"Hands Free Mama" by Rachel Macy Stafford

This book has some amazing truths and tools to help us mamas to be less distracted and remember and focus on what really matters.  The author found herself missing out on her life with her two children because she was distracted by technology and over commitment.  She decided that she was tired of living this way.  Rachel started to write about her journey on a blog and many readers felt the same and the book was born.  The book offers helpful tools and insightful questions to help the reader on the journey of being hands free.  In this day there are so many things that require our time we loose sight of who and what really matters.  "The answers were not easy-because grasping what really matters means going to the tender places in one's soul."  We have to take a hard look at ourselves and there we will find healing.  "Because I'm in it for the long haul, which means investing time, focus, energy, and love into the man I'm crazy about."  We can't expect our relationships to thrive and flourish if we don't invest in them.  It takes investing if we want it to last.  It's not easy but it is worth it.  "Today my child stands before me wanting, needing, and hoping to be chosen."  You can't get back today.  No phone call, text, email or app is worth it.  What you choose today will make a difference in shaping your children.  "For it is in the everyday moments, doing routine activities, that we create the past."  What we do today, what we choose, will be our children's past.  "The only thing that really matters is this: I am a loving mother to my children, and I am raising them to be kind and loving people.  And that is enough.  In fact, it's everything."  "Isn't it when we open the doors to our messy souls that the joy, laughter, and love can find its way in?  Isn't it when we show each other our scars that we love each other more?"  Being vulnerable isn't easy but it is when we can truly feel heard and close to a person.  I find the most connection with people who are real and who have gone through similar things.  It is so important to be our true selves, I believe it helps others be their true selves.  "Waiting for the perfect time and perfect conditions means waiting to live."  I don't want to wait to live, there isn't that much time.  Perfect isn't going to happen in this lifetime so we might as well begin.  "You are a good mom.  So you aren't perfect.  You make mistakes and even some poor choices.  Some days your patience is too thin...some days you allow negative thoughts to silence thoughts of gratitude...some days you aren't the mom you want to be.  But hear this, and remember it: When your children need defending, you defend.  When your children need comfort, you comfort.  When your children hurt, you hurt too.  So stop berating yourself.  Stop questioning yourself.  Stop shaming yourself.  And for God's sake, stop critizing yourself.  Stop wondering if you are enough.  Because you are."  I think every mom needs to paste this where it can remind them daily, you are enough.  We all make mistakes but we are good moms, we love our kids.  I found this book to be encouraging, insightful, and helpful.  It is a recommended read for all of us struggling to find balance in our lives.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Almost Heaven

"Almost Heaven" by Chris Fabry

Great author, great book.  This book took me a little to get into and I didn't think at first is was going to be as great as his other two but towards the middle I changed my mind.  The way this book was written with first person story telling and also a view from an angel was unique and entertaining.  It seemed to me a little confusing at first but once I figured out the characters it began to flow.  Billy is a bit odd but has an amazing heart for his God.  He is destined for great things but bad always seems to get in the way.  He is a genius when it comes to fixing things and plays the mandolin like nobody else.  Malachi is an angel that is watching over Billy and has his work cut out for him.  But despite the trials Billy never wavers from his faith and because of that God will use him to touch the hearts of many.  "God has seemed massively indifferent to my devotion, if he has even heard my cries."  Oh boy, have I felt like this at times.  Crying out to God over and over and wondering why He isn't doing anything.  "Sometimes, when you know the right thing to do, you simply have to do it, even though it breaks your heart."  I've had to do this numorous times in my life, it's never easy.  "...the struggle of our lives was not a sign that we were failing or losing.  The struggle was a sign that there was still life.  If you stopped struggling, that's when you needed to be worried.  The fight meant God was helping you keep going one more day even if you did't think you could make it."  I read this book when there was a struggle in my life and this spoke to me.  I tell you I know that God gave me this book at just the time I needed it, it wasn't just happenstance.  God is there in the struggle, He hasn't left you.  "For the human followers, it is in losing that they finally discover.  It is in failing that they see.  It is in the abandonment of the trail they believed would lead them to lasting joy that they set out on a new path.  It is much narrower and overgrown, but in the journey through this wilderness of the soul, they discover more about themselves and Him than if every prayer of their wayward hearts had been answered in the affirmative."  Such good words.  We have to let go of the path we thought our lives would take, stop fighting against the struggles and hold on to the One who will deepen our faith and make us more like Him and bring us into glory.  "Some of you may be shaking this morning...from a lack of knowing God loves you and has some kind of plan in the middle of what you call a life.  It can get cloudy and misty at times, so thick you aren't able to see much of the field he has planted you in.  and if that's where you are, I'm here to tell you that you're in a good place.  It probably doesn't feel that way.  But God has you right where you need to be.  Because it's not where you're strong that he will use you; it's where you're weak."  I needed this when I read it and it speaks profoundly to me.  When we are in the midst of a trial it often feels like we have been abandoned by God.  It has helped me to remember and speak truths about who my God is.  He is good and He is love so even in my trials He is good and He is love.  I am strongest when I am weak because that is when He can work the most in me.  "But then there are people like me, who think they are doing exactly what God wants them to do, and they plow through everything that is thrown at them and in the end they're nowhere closer to God than when they started."  It's so hard to keep the path, to keep plowing through the muck and mire but don't give up, God's got a plan even when it is so hard.  "Music has a way of filling in the missing places. It is a gift from God above, who didn't have to provide it, but he did anyway and I half think he decided life just wouldn't be as good without it."  I agree, music lifts my soul and can bring me encouragement and peace.  "When trouble comes, where does help come from?  It comes from The Lord who made heaven and earch.  He is the one who keeps me.  he's the one who won't let my foot slip.  He doesn't nod off during the troubles of my life.  If he really does care, he already knew this was going to happen and had prepared an angel to protect us."  I found such peace in this, such truth.  God already knows all that is going to happen to me and he will protect me, I need not be afraid.  "Success, sometimes, is just loving somebody with a love that doesn't come back the way you want it."  This book spoke to me so profoundly when I was going through a hard trial.  It changed my perspectives on the trials in my life.  There was no mistake I was supossed to read this book at this time in my life.  If you are going through something hard I recommend reading this book.  Hopefully it will bring the encouragement you need to keep walking that path that God has for you no matter the hardship.  God loves you and hasn't forsaken you.

June Bug

"June Bug" by Chris Fabry

If this author's first book was good this, his second, is amazing.  I was captivated by this book, it is so well written.  His books are full of God but not full in your face.  He interveaves faith so well throughout the story.  I think they would be great books for a non believer to read.  June Bug has traveled in an RV with her father and parked at Walmarts her whole life.  It's not your typical life but she is happy.  Then one day she sees a picture of herself on the missing children poster at Walmart.  Everything has changed and she must search for the truth of who she really is.  Soon the past will catch up to them and their lives will be forever changed.  This book is so compelling, you won't want to put it down.  "I try not to be religious.  That sounds stuck-up.  LIke you just follow rules.  I read somebody once who said religion is man's way to God.  We make a list to follow that makes us good people in our own eyes, but we don't take into account what God wants."  It's about a relationship not rules, we can never be good enough to follow the rules.  "My dad once said that if you have somebody who loves you in the world, you don't need a whole lot more."  Ain't that the truth.  Having somebody that loves you will get you far in life.  "I suppose if you want to hear God talking to you he'll do it in a way that you can hear eventually."  He speaks to us all in different ways because we are all unique.  He wants us all to hear His voice, sometimes it just means being still.  "I nodded because I knew he was right, but sometimes your heart and the rest of you don't go in the same direction."  We know in our heart what's right but that doesn't always make the choice an easy one.  I recommend you read this book, it is so good.  It will teach you that love doesn't always look like we think it will.


"Dogwood" by Chris Fabry

This author might be a new favorite.  This is his first novel for adults and it is a good one.  Will is determined to start his life over after getting out of prison in the only place he calls home but the town isn't forgiving.  He is also determined to persue the only woman he has ever loved but Karin is determined to be faithful to her emotionally distant husband.  Ruthie is an old woman who decides that the past shall not lay in the past but all shall be brought to the light so that Will and Karin can have a future.  This book will surprise you, it has a twist I never saw coming.  "Life isn't pretty, so you've got to hug the ugly out of it."  It takes a lot sometimes to find the good in life and its troubles, but it's there if your willing to try.  "Good things can come from pain."  Healing comes from pain and strength you might have never known.  "Most people think the struggle means failure.  It's actually the best thing that could happen.  That struggle will pull you out on the other side a lot stronger, a lot deeper."  It's hard and it's good.  I'm currently learning this.  Don't struggle against the trial but sit in it, learn what God is teaching you and thank Him for the beauty you do find in the midst of it.  The struggle is important, it shapes us.  "When you surround yourself with good people, it doesn't really matter where you are."  The people matter not the place, that is why home is where our heart is, with the people we love.  I highly recommend this book.  It will surprise, encourage and entertain you.  The ending is the best.