Nov 17, 2015

The Road to Becoming by Jenny Simmons :: Review

When I first read the write-up for The Road to Becoming by Jenny Simmons, I have to say, I scoffed.  Jenny was the lead singer of the band Addison Road who travelled the United States and were pretty big stars.  What I scoffed at was the sub heading for the book; Rediscovering Your Life in the Not-How-I-Planned-it Moments and the thought that this woman would know anything about living a life that the rest of us could relate to!?!!?

And eat that scoff I did!

Jenny writes one of the best stories I have read in a long time! She tells the true tale of her life but so real, so relatable, that I was laughing and crying more times then in all other books I've read combined!

The story takes place over about two years of her life, with nice references and walks down memory lane that make us, the reader, feel like she's a good friend.  The whole story reads like a conversation over coffee and I imagine Jenny to talk much the same as she writes.  She tells of how she walks through various seasons focusing on the loss of dreams, the burying of life plans, the desert wondering when we don't know what lies ahead, and then finally, the coming through it all into the still yet unknown but God lead and life changing path that is before us.

I related waaay to much to her writings and often felt like I had written whole sections myself!  I shared many of her humours renditions of life's events with my husband and he laughed along with me.  Jenny's story telling is brilliant and her openness refreshing and encouraging!

I don't think there is anyone I would not recommend this book to!  But I would certainly pass it a long to anyone who's ever dreamed and seen that dream die and wonder what lies ahead.  To anyone who's looked at life, seen the hand dealt and wondered what they are to do with it all.  And I'd certainly pass this book along to anyone who's struggling with where they are at in their current season.

It's a charming, endearing book and one that I sincerely enjoyed!

I received this book, from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.

Oct 26, 2015

Life is What Happens While You're Busy Making Other Plans

I don't even know if I can put to words all the changes, growth, adjusting that has transpired in my life...over the last few weeks.  I touched on it here, speaking about God changing my heart towards my sin of idolatry and gluttony, plus throwing in the desire to pursue more exercise!  

Let's just say, if you don't believe in miracles, we should talk!

hahahah! *sigh*

In that post I also mentioned how I've been reviewing my heart, our life choices and overall, examination of my life and where it's at.  A tad mid-life crisis sounding eh?! lol!!!   But then...not so funny. Because I mean, what if? What IF this is my mid point?  What if I only had another thirty some years before I stood before God and had to give an account?  What if I only had three more decades, how would I fill my days, use my time, make an impact?!   What would I do, where would I go, who would I meet, how would I make it all count?

So of course, hubby and I began dreaming, scheming almost, if you will, about what we could do, where we could go, how we should live.  We spent much time in prayer and for the last while thought we might have an inkling of where the days ahead might lead.  But God, His humour...His ways, always get me.  So while my husband and I were pondering ideas of what may lay ahead, of the big things, the little things, the everyday things, God turns us around and drops, of all things, a job into my lap!

A job??  Really??  

And in essence, it's not so much a job as a ministry opportunity....for pay...not a lot of pay but something, which is certainly helpful! lol!!  And it's crazy, it's in these moments when your faith leaps forward because this ministry is exactly something that has been on my heart for a few years now!  I am working with young pregnant and early parenting women, a demographic that has had my heart for some time but one that I never knew exactly how to help! 

My aunt and cousin had come for their annual visit this summer and my aunt had talked about how there was going to be a maternity house opening in her area, a six hour drive from here.  I thought it would be amazing to be apart of that but no way for it to happen.  Then just two short weeks ago, through a local event, I learned of just that kind of home not 30 minutes from my door!  So I met with the Executive Director and a week later began work!  

The organization is Crowns of Life but I will be working specifically for their Susan Shirley Program.  You can check out the Facebook page here or their website here.

I'm working a bit more then part time, in the evenings, to try to balance it with our schedules, as hubby's work will probably slow down over the winter but right now, he's still pretty busy.  I haven't worked outside the home in over eight years! (Other then the occasional photography shoot!)  We will have a learning curve figuring out how to balance everything, and though I worry a bit, I'm also pretty calm as I know God has a plan and He will work it all out!

And it's just funny, funny how we had set our sights in one direction and never would have dreamt this in a million years but yet, this is what God has placed in our laps.  It fell so fast, so perfectly and though I have my reserves about working outside the home again, I can't argue with the peace I have about it all!  I have no idea how long this season will last and so we are taking it as it comes, one day at a time!

My title for this post is a John Lennon quote, not that I'm a big Beatles fan but just something I found articulated my feelings well.  That while we plan and ponder on the days ahead, life just keeps on keeping on.  That we can dream and plan but yet not lose sight of the now, of the things God brings along and places in our path.  I know we, (hubby and I) often struggle with just how much we are to do, how and when we are to be active participants in God's plans or when to just wait patiently.   I wish I had answers to that, but I don't.  What I do know is that when you wait on the Lord, regardless of  your plans, He is faithful to answer.

And so, we will continue to pray about the days ahead.  We make plans, ponder ideas, scheme dreams but in the mean time we live the life given.  Working to not forget that life is all the moments, the big, the little, the mundane and the grand adventures!  

Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans.


Oct 12, 2015

The Irresistible Community by Bill Donahue :: Review

The Irresistible Community is one of those books you just want to dog-ear, highlight and note take, the whole way through it!  Buuuut, I'm not one of those I just book marked many of my favourite spots...and then decided I should just re-read it again after!  Yes, it was that good!

It was that good in that Mr. Donahue writes all about an area that I think is very much neglected and or missing in many 'churches' today!  The theme of the book is all about building a strong, healthy and biblical community within the church(body).  Using three components of the last supper, the table, the towel and the truth, Donahue builds a convincing and inspiring case about the need of community for believers and what that should look like.

The only thing I did not like about the book was the opening of each chapter, and this is truly just a personal opinion thing.  The author begins each chapter with a short piece written as from a first person perspective of each of the twelve disciples.  He writes well but for me, I'm never a fan of people adding to what we know in scripture about the thoughts and feelings of the people in the Bible.  I chose to not watch movies that portray the same idea, not saying there is anything wrong with it and I know people who greatly enjoy this, but it's not for me.

But honestly that was all I did not like!  I look forward to reading The Irresistible Community again and will maybe break my rule of keeping it pristine and really get into it with highlighters, pen and note book!  I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to grow in a community feel with other believers, to better understand how we should respond, care and act with our brothers and sisters in the Lord and what our calling to our local communities should be as children of God.

I received a copy of this book, from the publisher, in exchange for my unbiased review.


Oct 7, 2015

This Season of Change

Well, Fall has officially settled in...both on the calendar and in the air.  The leaves are changing to their brilliant colours, giving a feast for the eyes where ever they turn.  My cardigans have been freed from the bottom of the dresser drawers and leather boots have replaced sweet Summer sandals. 

A perfect Sunday afternoon had us all taking a walk.  We sought out our apple tree....well one of the few we have, but one that was promising in abundance.   And abundance it had, and so we harvested a small basket full with plans to return another day for more.

. .
It was neat to taste these red treasures, for only a week ago they were much to tart to enjoy but a week and a frost later, we have some sweet treats to both eat fresh and bake up with!  Isn't it crazy how fast things can a week....a day...a minute can change so much!?

I find the season of Autumn riddled with change...or at least the option/hope/expectation of it.  I mean, there is the obvious seasonal changes, the leaves, the coolness, back to school, new routines and for many of us a want or desire to rearrange furniture, paint rooms, switch out decor items, ect.


But for me this year...Autumn has brought with it, a change of heart!  An answered prayer of God working on my sin of over-eating and (food) idolatry.  He is working a miracle in me and I thank Him greatly for it.  It's been a prayer for a long time now to leave this sin, to not feel it's pull and after many, many prayers He has headed my cry, but not before my heart had to line up with some hard truths. 

This is and will be a slow journey...I cannot undue years of damage overnight but He is working in me and it is one battle at a time!  But I feel the change in my heart, the pure longing to never be a slave to this sin again!  Does this mean that I will not struggle with it?! No.  No...I'm sure I will struggle all my life, this torn in my flesh, but He is great and I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!

. I have not been feeling my usual 'Fallness' as I have many years...the desire to change my decor, the baking up a storm marathons...they just aren't there but I think it's because my heavenly Father is helping me focus, this season, on the changes within.  It's not just this area of sin that has my attention as of late, but a whole life examination.  

What changes are needed, wanted, necessary....what does the Lord want me to do with these fleeting days?  How do I live eternally for spread the good news that Christ has died to set us free, to give us life?  How do I share the joy of eternal life with a God that is beyond comprehension?  How do I show that He is worth more then anything this world has to offer?


Because He is!  He is worth so much more then this fading life has to offer us.

It is one of the truths my heart finally came to understand.  That all my comfort, all my desires and all my needs are truly met in Him.  I live not by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.  This sin of mine, is more then a love of food, it's about putting something above God. For our Lord did make many wonderful gifts for us to enjoy, food being one of them, but, as with anything, it has it's place and that place is not above my God!  There are many areas that this sin, idolatry, creeps up!  And it's something I would love to eradicate from my life...

...if only it was that easy!

. I understand my fallen nature, my sin filled heart, and so the idea to walk free from loving things of this world more then loving my God, will only fully come when I see Him in all His glory.

How wonderful that will be!

So until that time, when I stand before my God and give an account for the days spent here, I will continue to change my heart, by His great grace, to be more like His.  I will work towards embracing and counting it all joys when I encounter various trials knowing the growth and good they will produce in me!  Will these changes be not always...will I still fight Him, struggle with fear, worry about tomorrow...all the while knowing better....oh yes, probably more often then I'd care to admit. But will walking worthy of His calling produce a life that will have Him saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"  Yes, yes it will.


And how I long to hear those words.

So as this season of change wraps it'self around you, I implore you to consider your heart.  Consider His calling on it, big, small, hard, easy, whatever that nudge is, consider the change and pray for His strength to make it.   

Just as the leaves bud each Spring, then burst forth in lush green hues, growing and reaching for the sun to, as a final testament to His glory, transform into something so unbelievably beautiful, so I want my life to reflect this wonderment we see all around us.  I want my life to be filled with and full of His glory.

Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky proclaims the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour out speech;
night after night they communicate knowledge.
There is no speech; there are no words;
their voice is not heard.
Their message has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.

In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun.
 It is like a groom coming from the bridal chamber;
it rejoices like an athlete running a course.
It rises from one end of the heavens
and circles to their other end;
nothing is hidden from its heat.

  The instruction of the Lord is perfect,
renewing one’s life;
the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy,
making the inexperienced wise.
 The precepts of the Lord are right,
making the heart glad;
the command of the Lord is radiant,
making the eyes light up.
 The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are reliable
and altogether righteous.
 They are more desirable than gold—
than an abundance of pure gold;
and sweeter than honey,
which comes from the honeycomb.
 In addition, Your servant is warned by them;
there is great reward in keeping them.

 Who perceives his unintentional sins?
Cleanse me from my hidden faults.
 Moreover, keep Your servant from wilful sins;
do not let them rule over me.
Then I will be innocent
and cleansed from blatant rebellion.
 May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to You,
Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

Sep 17, 2015

September and the Son

Ack! I haven't posted in a while...and so I figure it best to pop in and say that, I am alive and well and that I'm busy as....I'm just busy!

My oldest two are back in school! The first week and a bit is going very well!  Catherine is in grade one now and Olivia is a year behind her age and so is in grade two this year.  This should be good to both challenge her but not overwhelm her...or so we hope!   Routine is settling in nicely and I'm happy for it....mostly! lol!!  The girls are enjoying their nightly reading homework and doing very well with it!  Crazy, they are no longer in the Kindergarten class! My ladies are so big! *sigh*

Joe hasn't fully adjusted to the lack of siblings to annoy playmates and refuses to play outside without his big sisters!  So he constantly annoys Alice, which results in her screaming, which results in him annoying me....maybe I should have signed him up for pre-school?!?! ;) lol!!

Dave's been busy working, a lot!! He's learning...or trying to learn, the art of scheduling!  It's coming but it's not always easy!  He wants to please everyone but there are only so many hours in a day and days in a week!  He's enjoying his work and that is great!  God is being faithful to provide and so we try to be faithful and trust!

I seem to have no end of projects and things on my to-do list...and so some things have fallen by the way side...*ahem, blogging!!?!*  I feel like, just as I start on one thing, something else is vying for my attention...and the days just speed along like that!  Nothing big, just projects, playing with the two Littles at home here, driving kids to school, visiting, cleaning house, hanging with hubby, Netflix (maybe time to cancel that?! lol!!), some reading (behind on that....see last point), and endless amounts of laundry!

We DID get away to the beach before school started!  It was a perfect day for it!!  And even though it was the long weekend, we practically had the place to ourselves! It was such a sweet, family, fun filled time!!  I'd love to think we will get there once more...but we did say, "Goodbye, until next year!" as we pulled away....

I know it's almost, 'officially', fall but I'm just not feeling it!  Crazy, I know!!  I don't have any desire to let go of summer, I guess?!  I have enjoyed the few cooler days we had and remembered how much I love Fall cooking buuuut then the weather turned hot again and even though the leaves are changing, I just don't feel Fall.  Maybe it will come...and maybe not....maybe I'll just skip Autumn this year and gear up for the Christmas season?!  Last year it was maybe that's just how I roll??

So yes...there you have it, September is in full swing and we're all alive, well and busy...but who isn't this time of year eh?!  That return to routine and schedules and that fresh start of the season, it's a great time of year!  I do hope to be back soon with some book reviews and maybe some project posts?!  But then who knows....

I feel antsy I'm waiting for something...but I don't know what....that's not descriptive, I know, but that's all I have....maybe this feeling will work out for me like the fog that blanketed the world this morning.  It was a mass of white that covered everything, until there was nothing to see, no fields, no trees, nothing but white....I knew...I trusted, that the world was still out there but I could not see it!

And then, the sun, it broke through and lit up the emptiness!  And so..thinking on that idea...I wait on the Son.  In my uneasiness, anxiousness, wonders and impatience, I will wait on Him to shine forth and show us the way!  His light is all we need and when I can 'see' nothing else, I can trust that He is there waiting to shine, at just the right moment!


Praying you all have a blessed and God glorifying weekend!! ♥



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