Saturday, November 15, 2014

Two Book Series that Made Me Laugh and Cry

Snuggling up with a good book is always a good way to relieve stress any time of year.  In the Fall as the weather gets colder, I am finding myself enjoying a good book next to the warm bukhari unwinding from hectic school days.  This month our whole family has been reading the same book series which has been fun except when someone who is ahead gives away what is going to happen next.  I find when school is in session I gravitate to books that are easy to read and sometimes hard to put down.  My nonfiction gets put back on the shelf only to be taken out on weekends and breaks from school.

This fall I have read two different series.  I found both of them for $1.99 a book which I thought was a good deal.  ( I did notice that the first series is not longer at that low price.)  In both series, the romance part might be a little much but the books are clean and the plots were overall enjoyable to read.

1.  The Other Way Home Series  by Sally John
This series is set in a small town not far from Chicago.  Each book concentrates on two different story lines featuring two different couples with the stories intersecting.  Sometimes it is someone finding a second chance at love or a couple finding love again.  Others are finding love for the first time.  Each story has the characters working through issues that are keeping them from living fully in God's love and grace.  I enjoyed getting to know the characters of the town as I laughed and cried through their adventures.  I especially like the third book about a high school math teacher.  As I read, I was also reminded that everyone including me has issues we need to deal with, and God's grace is always there to help us through the healing process.  Sometimes he sends people into our lives to help with the process.   These books were relaxing reads for my busy weeks.

In order the books are....
A Journey by Chance
After All These Years
Just to See You Smile
The Winding Road Home

2.  The Discarded Heroes Series by Ronie Kendig
This series is set around a team of elite warriors who have had trouble adjusting back to civilian life.  In the books, they find their place as a part of this team that goes in and takes care of problems under the radar.  Each book focuses on one or two members of the team as they deal with PTSD issues.  Each team members has different PTSD symptoms showing the different sides to this issue.   As the first series was relaxing to read, this series was intense and hard to put down.   My husband, son and I have read the whole series with W. just starting the last book.  The books gave me a great appreciation for our military guys and all they go through mentally and emotionally once they come home.  I enjoyed the comradeship of the team and how they became a family who stuck together through thick and thin.   The plots were full of humorous quips, interesting twists, tear felt moments, and issues to think about.

In order the books are...

Is there a book or series you have enjoyed this month?   I would love to hear about it.  If you are interested in other books that people are reading I am linking up with Modern Ms. Darcy in her monthly twitterture linkup.   TJ

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Sunday, November 02, 2014

Quotes Fall 2014

As the season changes, the kids and I are enjoying our fall break.  It feels good to just sit for a bit and think about the last few months.  School has kept me busy so I haven't blogged that much.  Where do I start?  As I go through my journal, I decided to start with words or quotes that have met me where I am at.  This fall has been hard for me.  My emotions have been like a roller coaster.  School has taken more out of me than normal.  In the midst of it all, I have felt God's presence and guidance.  Here are some of the words that have helped me.

From Martin Luther King, Jr.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at the times of challenge and controversy."
From Elisabeth Elliot in her book Keep a Quiet Heart.
Heaven is not here, it's There.  If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next." 

This one is the quote I keep going back to again and again in the last month.  
From Lysa TeurKeust in her post When Fear Chases Me.
"God is not just a quick refuge from the storm but He's the place where fear no longer has access to me"
"Fear can't catch what it can no longer reach." 
A great reminder from Proverbs.
"Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit."
From Spiritual Warfare for Women by Leighann McCoy
"The giants God allows Satan to put in your life (as fierce and ferocious as they might seem) are divine invitations (filtered through the heart of God) for you to partner with God in taking them down so the world will know there is a God in your corner of it." 
From The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan
"Under God's economy, nothing really changes until our minds do.  Transformation is the fruit of a changed outlook.  First our minds are renewed, and then we are transformed, and then everything is different, even if it stays the same.  God is more interested in changing your thinking than in changing your circumstances.  He wants you to have the same attitude as the very mind of Christ." 

What have you read or heard lately that still has you thinking?


Saturday, October 04, 2014

What Digging Cisterns and People Pleasing Have in Common

It all started with a pumpkin coffee.  Someone had sent me some pumpkin coffee, and I was sharing a pot of coffee with two young ladies who have been volunteering at the school where I work.  One lady had pretty much grown up here, but the other lady new to this country.  I asked the lady who had only been here a month what was the hardest thing for her.  The conversation went many directions, but she ended up sharing  how the craving for approval was something she was having to fight here.  Everything was new, and she was trying to find her place.  Even though I am not new, I can relate to her struggles.   I, too, am finding that I am craving others approval and finding my places amidst the many changes.   I am wanting someone to say good job.  You are on the right track.  After they left, I put the conversation to the back of my mind, but God wasn't finished with me and this topic yet.

The other night before going to sleep I started reading a book called A Woman and Her God by various ladies.  The chapter I was reading was by Beth Moore.  She wrote how in Psalm 63, David craved time with God.  Discipline and having a daily time with God was good but if we don't crave God it is often going through the motions.  If we don't find satisfaction with God then we will look for it in other places like the approval of others.  She advised going to God each morning and emptying our cup before him-giving our troubles, sins, and insecurities.   Next, we should admit to God that He alone is our sole satisfaction, remind ourselves of how His love never fails and ask God to satisfy us.  I really liked this next statement from the book. "One thing that is so incredible about allowing our Father to meet our needs first thing in the morning is that if our husband or friend showers us with love later on, our cup overflows.  But it's not their job to initially meet the needs of our soul." (p.10) Wow!  My time with God sometimes becomes an item on my checklist when it really needs to be a meeting with a Father who can satisfy the hidden places in my heart.

Then yesterday morning as I was reading in Jeremiah, I came across this verse.
"For my people have committed a double evil; They have abandoned Me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that cannot hold water." (Jeremiah 2:13 HCSB)
Once again, God was telling me that I am seeking satisfaction in places that don't satisfy.   Looking back on the past week, I see where my speech was drawing attention to me or wanting others to say good job.  I am craving deeper friendships but seeking it the wrong way.   I need to be going to the fountain of living water first.  Not only will my soul be satisfied but then I will also have something to give to those around me.   Why do we work so hard finding satisfaction in things that don't satisfy?  I have no idea but know I do it more often then I would like.

Thanks for letting me share with you.  Somehow writing all this out helps me process what I am learning but also keeps me accountable to friends who read this blog.  Blessings, TJ

Dear God, Thank you for not giving up on me.  May I crave my time with you each day and seek to fill my cup with the living water that comes only from you.  Forgive me for seeking approval and satisfaction in other things.  Satisfy me with You.  May I then go about my day with a servant's heart ready to love and serve those you send my way.  In Jesus name, Amen