Friday, October 10, 2008

Fall Into Reading 2008

Ooh, I just found this awesome reading challenge and since I LOVE to read, I couldn't wait to join the fun. You can check out the "rules" over at Callapidder Days. Feel free to join me in reading this Fall!

Here's my top 21 of the books I hope to finish by the end of December (in no particular order):
  1. A Time To Gather (Safe Harbor Series #2) - Sally John & Gary Smalley
  2. Learning to Breathe Again: Choosing Life and Finding Hope After a Shattering Loss (need to finish) - Tammy Trent
  3. Carried Safely Home: The Spiritual Legacy of an Adoptive Family (need to finish) - Kristin Swick Wong
  4. Wide Awake: The Future Is Waiting Within You (need to finish) - Erwin Raphael McManus
  5. Having a Mary Spirit: Allowing God to Change Us from the Inside Out (need to finish) - Joanna Weaver
  6. Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile - Rob Bell
  7. Nights in Rodanthe - Nicholas Sparks
  8. Get Out of That Pit: Straight Talk About God's Deliverance (need to finish) - Beth Moore
  9. The Connected Child: Bringing Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family (need to finish) - Karyn B. Purvis
  10. Get Known Before the Book Deal: Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow An Author Platform (on order!)- Christina Katz
  11. The S.O.S. for PMS: Practical Help and Relief For Moms - Mary M. Byers
  12. Sisterchicks Go Brit! (Sisterchicks Series #7) - Robin Jones Gunn
  13. Blue Heart Blessed (need to finish) - Susan Meissner
  14. Clippings From My Notebook (need to finish) - Corrie Ten Boom
  15. Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
  16. Bella - Lisa Samson
  17. Multiple Bles8ings: Surviving to Thriving with Twins & Sextuplets - Kate Gosselin
  18. Fireproof - Eric Wilson, Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick
  19. The Love Dare - Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick
  20. Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication - Andy Stanley
  21. NLT Bible - Isaiah, Romans & Luke

Please be sure to leave me a comment if you choose to join the fun!

On that note, I'm going to sign off and head to bed to choose which book I'm going to kick off the challenge with! Good books are most definitely a reason to be LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

Happy reading!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

life is like...

...a cup of coffee. For the past three months I've been battling my coffee maker. You see, each night, I grind the coffee and set the timer for 4:45 so that it's ready for me when I wake up at 5:00. My new favorite time of day. :-)

Well, the coffee has been there waiting for me, but as soon as mix it up just the way I like it, I'm disappointed to taste that it's bitter---again.

And so I've spent countless hours (o.k., minutes!) running the coffee maker through it's "clean" function and hand washing all hand-washable parts. And yet, day in and day out, the coffee has the same funky taste instead of the one I love oh-so-much.

Until last Saturday when my sweet man beat me to the punch and mixed up a fresh brew. Guess what?!? It was the cup of coffee I have been craving for MONTHS! The next day I told him that I was going to pay close attention to his technique to find out what I was doing wrong.

The funny thing is that he doesn't even WASH the coffee pot. Rather, he gives it a quick rinse and swirl. Hmmm. So, that wasn't the solution or even the cause of what I refer to as my "coffee funk."

Next, he poured in the water and put some beans in the grinder. This is where I paid close attention. How long did he grind the beans for??? 10 whole seconds less than I did! And guess what? The coffee was sweet the very last drop!

And there it was, the ticket I had been looking for back to my long-lost-friend. A delicious cup of hot, piping, delicious JAVA!!!

Can I tell you how pleased I was with my husband? Not only did he make me coffee two days in a row, but he finally solved my coffee-conundrum. (That phrase has got to be in the latest version of the dictionary, don't ya think?)

And that my friend, is called LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!!!

Enjoy your morning routine! (And, feel free to post a comment about how to brew the perfect cup of cofee...or even what your own morning routine's always fun to hear from those of you to take the time to drop by!)


(Warning: this story has a subtle gross-factor.)

While I was at my oldest daughter's dance class last night, two of the parents told me an awful story about a guy who was speeding in their neighborhood the night before. One of the mom's had a car full of girls who unfortunately were watching as he ran over their neighbor's cat. Ugh.

The girls were traumatized, the moms said they weren't able to stop thinking about it all day, and the owner of the cat spent her day sobbing over her loss.

This morning, when Chelsea woke up, the story was the first thing on her mind. She shared that the girls had told her that the driver of the car only stopped briefly, offered a pathetic "sorry," and then drove off leaving someone else to deal with the mess (and loss) he had created.

As I listened to my daughter speak, I could tell she was really bothered by the man's selfish attitude and inability to take responsibility for his actions. He left a trail of hurt and sad people. Not to mention a dead cat.

I couldn't help but compare the story to some of the struggles we've been having in our household lately. Lots of cranky attitudes. Words carelessly spoken in frustration or downright anger. Actions grounded in selfishness. It's been downright ugly, if I can be totally honest. And I'll admit, not all of the guilty offenders are under the age of 11. :-(

It's sad how we can be so focused on ourselves and our own needs. It's so human, and yet so opposite of how God calls to be.

If there's been any apologizing, many times I hear an apathetic "sorry," while the offender speeds off to pursue their own interests. Sadly, the wounded individual is left to deal with their broken heart and clean up the mess left behind. Wouldn't you know, that the one who was hurt tends to be the next one to "jump in the car" and reap further injury??? And the cycle continues all day long...

I'd like to try to excuse my own words and actions as simply being the only possible reaction to all the crankies around me...but I know better. I alone am responsible for my choices and I alone must deal with the consequences. It's so not how I want to be. But as I work through my own "stuff," God helps me to have more grace and compassion for my kiddos. After all, I'm their example, 24x7. :-)

Did I mention it's been a rough week??? (Actually, it hasn't been all bad; this just happens to be the next area we're focusing on as a family. Geoff and I praying and deep in discussion about possible ideas and solutions. I'll let you know if we find anything that works especially well!)

I pray that your week has been full of positive words and kind actions! This week, I'm holding onto the promise found in Lamentations 3:22-23. It is because of His mercies each day that I am LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!!!

Sweet blessings,

Monday, October 6, 2008

faithful God

"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands." Deuteronomy 7:9

On Friday, I posted about the many different challenges my family faced during the week. I had also asked some of my close friends to pray that God would give me wisdom, grace and patience in caring for my three children.

God is so incredibly faithful. Again, I had expected Him to respond in one way, and instead He showed up big time in completely different ways.

My oldest still really misses her close friend, but she's found ways to remember their time together and bridge the distance between them. She's also enjoyed spending some good one-on-one time with her other friend.

I'm still careful to remind her to not ignore her sadness, but to let it come up and actually feel it. What a blessing to be able to be able to walk through life's difficult times with her, as I know that unfortunately more will come her way.
My middle child is feeling much better and was able to sleep through the night all weekend. (And therefore I was able to enjoy sound sleep as well! Praise God!!!)

The struggles that my two older children were having least week resulted in both of them having more tender feelings towards each other. Liam's heart hurt when he saw Chelsea grieving her friend, while Chelsea was more compassionate to Liam because he was sick. Yesterday the two of them spent HOURS out in the rain playing together. :-)

Above is a picture of the two of them working on some school assignments together. I love seeing Chelsea helping Liam out.

One of my good friends gave me some awesome advice on how to work with Sara and her desire to do the opposite of whatever I asked. However, before I even had a chance to implement the idea, God showed me another way of helping Sara. Choices. I love Parenting With Love & Logic and have been using choices for about seven years now. They work wonders.

God showed me that Sara was struggling with control. He gave me a new way to use choices that would allow her to understand the outcome of her choices and yet truly give her the freedom to choose which option she wanted. It was SO amazing.

Chelsea and Sara had been fighting about something that day, so I shared with Chelsea how I was using choices with her little sister. Wouldn't you know, it worked!?! They were best buddies for the rest of the day.

Isn't that just the sweetest look on my little girl's face? It had been awhile since we saw her beautiful smile light up her face.

God is so good and faithful. He gives us exactly when we need exactly when we need it. I'm also thankful for friends who encourage me, pray for me and share ideas as needed.

I pray that you have friends to do the same, but even more so, I pray that you are able to experience the incredible faithfulness of our God.

Praying that today you are LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!!!