Jan 082014
 

Yes, I realize we are on January 8th right now and I should have probably gotten my resolutions/word for the year post done last week. Having HubbaHubba home for nearly two weeks, a weird round of winter weather hit, and our plans for the holidays get up-ended twice threw me for a loop and a half…Then we all took turns with a super severe cold that threw us intermittently into bed. Yes, it was a rather interesting holiday break for us.

I have been choosing a word to focus on for the year the last couple of years. This year, I have chosen the word Legacy. I want to remember that everything I do is leaving a legacy for my children. All of my choices for my personal life leave a legacy for them, my marriage to HubbaHubba is leaving a legacy, my choices in food, housekeeping, education, all contributes to the legacy I’m leaving them. I want them to have a terrific legacy. A legacy that I wasn’t given. I want better for them, so each decision I make, I am weighing the outcome to how it will affect my girls when they are my age and beyond. I want them to have a legacy of love, hope, joy, peace, diligence, health. And what I pass down to them is totally up to me.

I haven’t made resolutions for years. I hated breaking them in the first few days. However, I’ve come to realize that without goals and plan, nothing gets done….so, this year, I intend to:

Work on the women’s mentorship/education website I have dreamed of having for the last few years. I’m trying to settle on web design this month for it and figuring out the features and how I want it to work so my web designer can finally get to work on this rather huge project…

Continue towards a healthier me. I started Trim Healthy Mama last year in the spring. I had several weeks where I couldn’t stay on this incredible plan due to life throwing me curve ball after curve ball, but in about the seven months I was fairly faithful, I have managed to lose 40 pounds. At least 80 more to go, and with extra diligence and work, I think I can get most of it off in the next 12 months. I also got T-Tapp for working out, I need to be way more diligent on using it…I’ve seen the results of these workouts, they are way more friendly than harder ones, and I know I can do it, I just have to be more purposeful in setting aside the time to do it.

What are your goals for this year? Do you chose a word to focus on?

The Painted Table, a Litfuse Review, AND Chance to Win a Painted Table for Yourself

 Faith, family, Giveaways, Litfuse, Marriage, Womanhood  Comments Off on The Painted Table, a Litfuse Review, AND Chance to Win a Painted Table for Yourself
Jan 072014
 

I was provided a copy of The Painted Table by Suzanne Field through Litfuse for the purposes of this review. All opinions are mine and mine alone, no other compensation was received.

Banner in turquoise and orange for the Painted Table

The Painted Table looked like an interesting book when the opportunity came up for me to review it. it is the story about a family and an heirloom Norwegian table. A story of pain, mental illness, emotional abuse, and healing.

Safee inherits her mother’s antique Norwegian table. She remembers when it first came to them in a beautiful natural wood. However, the state the table is in when she first gets it (against her wishes) is anything but of beauty. It has layer upon layer of paint plastered upon it, and is an ebeneezer to the emotional crippling she received as a child. Yet, with the persistence of her husband, she starts the process of restoring the table to it’s natural beauty and in the process finds peace and healing over her past.

This book is a hard read. Especially for anyone who has suffered through abuse as a child, or seen the ravages of mental illness close hand. However, this book is well worth the difficulty in reading. Suzanne Field takes the reader on a journey that brought me to tears as memories of my upbringing came to the surface, I so identified with Saffee as she went off to college and learned to have a life of her own that wasn’t controlled by her mother. I also identified with her mother’s upbringing which is how the book starts. It wasn’t ideal either and while the first half of the book seems a bit choppy in moving through time, those parts are desperately needed to see how and why everyone turned out the way they did. By the end of the book, I was a blubbering mess as I realized how similar I was to Saffee in regards to my emotions and how I reacted to things. And as she learned a better way of living, I found myself cheering her on to a life of normalcy and of breaking the patterns set by the generations before her. (I too am breaking patterns that were set for me in previous generations, and it is hard, and this book doesn’t sugar coat it at all).

This review, is honestly, very hard for me to write. This book impacted me so profoundly that I am having a very difficult time seperating myself from the review. Just suffice it to say, I think that everyone needs to read this book, especially counselors and pastors. This is a good book to give to someone struggling with the abuse and mental illness that they grew up with or have in their family. It shows a shining example of how with faith and a great support system, we can overcome the pain of the past in story form. Stories teach sometimes better than a lecture can and are less threatening. This book is terrific for that.

You can connect with Suzanne Field on FACEBOOK

And to feel free to PURCHASE your own copy of this book.

Suzanne Field is celebrating her novel The Painted Table with a beautiful hand-painted table giveaway!

paintedtable-400

One winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 18th. Winner will be announced January 20th on Thomas Nelson’s Facebook Page.


Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by the TNZ Facebook Page on the 20th to see if you won.

About the book: A beautiful heirloom ingrained with family memory has become a totem of a life Saffee would rather forget—a childhood disrupted by her mother’s mental illness.
Saffee does not want the table. By the time she inherits the object of her mother’s obsession, the surface is thick with haphazard layers of paint, and heavy with unsettling memories.

After a childhood spent watching her mother slide steadily into insanity, painting and re-painting the ancient table, Saffee has come to fear that seeds of psychosis may lie dormant within her. But as an adult with a family of her own, Saffee must confront her mother’s torment if she wants to defend herself against it.

Traversing four generations over the course of a century, The Painted Table is an epic portrait of inherited memory, proclivity, and guilt. It is a sprawling narrative affirmation that a family artifact—like a family member—can bear the marks of one’s entire past . . . as well as intimations of one’s redemption.

About the author: Suzanne Field, a graduate of the University of Minnesota, has taught English as a Second Language in China, Ukraine, and Hawaii. She has also been a magazine editor and home-school teacher. She and her husband have five children and divide their time between Kansas and Hawaii where she is a tutor and mentor.

What is My Legacy to My Children?

 Faith, family, Legacy, Motherhood  Comments Off on What is My Legacy to My Children?
Nov 112013
 

We recently were blessed to attend Dave Ramsey’s Legacy Journey Live in Tulsa. It was an incredible evening of learning how to lay a financial legacy of blessing to our family and those around us. The evening was full of practical application, tons of information, great stories, illustrations and fun. Who knew learning about financial things could be construed as fun, right? It was enlightening and really lit a fire under us to leave a legacy of generosity and blessing.

As the evening wore on, I kept getting more and more excited. This theme of Legacy applies to so much more than finances. And it struck me, we leave a legacy in everything we do. Not just when we die and what we leave behind in our wills.

If you’ve been reading much on here, I’ve hinted that I didn’t have the world’s most perfect family growing up. I was taught that I wasn’t worth much. Following my dreams and what I wanted to do in life would be a waste of time and be selfish to pursue. I was never allowed to know the details of the family’s finances, every time I asked I was told it was none of my business. Nothing I did was every truly celebrated, not graduating high school, not gaining entry to the college of my choice, getting married and giving birth to the grandchildren, it was all treated as if it was nothing too incredibly special (if it wasn’t blown off totally). I wasn’t even allowed to have birthday parties as a child. I was told that birthday parties are nothing more than telling people you want attention and gifts and doing so would be selfish.

It has taken me years to get to a point where I feel good about myself. I no longer have the continuous low sense of self-worth that was bequeathed to me (I still have times where I have to fight reverting back, but I have learned and am accepting of the fact that I am a child of God who’s life does matter and has meaning and a purpose. It is quite a journey and some days are harder than others for sure, but I’m not where I was).
Since I have come so far (finally. It didn’t happen overnight, and it is a process that I go through sometimes daily still) I started to think about my children. What kind of a legacy am I leaving for them? Am I purposefully living a life that gives them a legacy of belonging, love and faith? Or am I destroying them and their sense of who they are?
These past few years have been quite a journey (not just for me, but also for my husband who has been the most amazing support for me during the rough patches, and my greatest cheerleader, the man who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, my children as change and grow and even with my extended relatives and friends) and I don’t wish for my children to have to start where I did. So what do I do to give them a head start on living the life they have been called to live?

The answer isn’t simple, nor is it easy. I live my life with their Legacy in mind. I want to leave them a legacy full of blessing, wholeness, love and faith.

And how do I go about that? By being intentional. Welcome to a series of posts that was created the night I attended Dave Ramsey’s Legacy Journey Life in Tulsa. Living intentionally with the end in mind is what I have purposed to do and to share about in the coming weeks. Thank you for following along on this journey.

Oct 312013
 

Can’t-Wait Willow is a terrific book! I love how concepts such as delayed gratification are presented in a way for children to easily grasp and identify with.

Willow just can’t say no to some awfully good things, but when the one thing she really wants and has been anxiously waiting for to arrive finally does, she can’t do it because she has spent her time and her money on things that while they are good, they aren’t what she ultimately wanted to do. My children love this book and ask for it to be read very often. My eldest (7) has seen through this book that it is ok to reject the good to get to the best. My youngest (5) loves the story and I know the concept of holding out for the best will click for her. Eventually. I hope…

I love how this book was written to be fun and easily capture a child’s attention, yet explains this concept in such an easy way for them to grasp and understand. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous. I also love how all the girls in this book are very modestly attired (thank you!)

About Shine Bright Kids:

The Shine Bright Kids series provides children and their families with a relevant framework to help instill solid values and teach the importance of making good choices. The series teaches principles including: using good judgment, taking responsibility, self-control, having a positive attitude, and demonstrating perseverance.  Check out their website at www.ShineBrightKids.com for free reward charts, activities and other parenting resources.


About the Author:  

Christy Ziglar, financial planner, mother of twins and niece of legendary motivator and the world’s original optimist, Zig Ziglar, is bringing the same timeless wisdom and ageless advice to an entirely new, younger audience through her new Shine Bright Kids picture book series.

Christy is available for Q&A, author interviews, Skype calls, etc.!


The first book in the series:  Can’t-Wait Willow!

Willow is so excited that the Over-the-Top Circus has finally come to town! The only problem is, that when left to her own devices, she can’t say “no” to some good things. On the way to the show, she is distracted by enticing treats and fun that she just can’t turn down. Willow arrives late and is sad to find that, not only has she has run out of time, but money, and she won’t be able to enjoy the pink cotton candy she’s been dreaming of. Willow is given valuable advice and a second chance and is ultimately taught the lesson that sometimes in life you have to say “no” to good things to end up with something great!

Find Can’t-Wait Willow! at Barnes & Noble and other fine retailers, as well as http://www.idealsbooks.com

      Buy: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cant-wait-willow-christy-ziglar/1113298086?ean=9780824956486

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How would you like a copy of Can’t Wait Willow for yourself or to give as a gift? Just use Rafflecopter and enter! Giveaway open to US residents only (or those with a forwarding agent in the US please). Prize furnished and sent from FlyBy Promotions. Winner will be drawn on November 12 in honor of my birthday. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the winning email with their mailing address, or a new winner will be selected.

 

 

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The War on Christmas, a New Leaf Publishing Group Launch Team Review

 Book Reviews, Celebration, Christ, Church, Faith, Holidays  Comments Off on The War on Christmas, a New Leaf Publishing Group Launch Team Review
Oct 302013
 

I was given a copy of The War on Christmas edited by Bodie Hodges for the purposes of this review. All opinions are mine and mine alone, no other compensation was received. I was not required to write a positive review.

 

Christmas.

Growing up I never realized that there could be so much controversy and raw emotion of the mention of celebrating such a thing. We always celebrated with a tree, presents, decorations, and a great meal. We would go to church and participate in the services and it was always great when we got to do the readings in the preceding Sundays for the lighting of the Advent candle on the wreath. It was a time filled with wonder and even some mystery.

I was an adult and married when I learned that more than one group of people chose not to celebrate Christmas at all. After doing some research, I wasn’t sure what to believe. I felt that both sides to the argument over whether or not to celebrate Christmas had some valid points and both sides were taking scriptures out of context to prove their point. I hate proof-texting.  And it really is bothersome when it is hard to draw your own conclusion because both sides are so compelling.

So, it was with great excitement that I got to review The War on Christmas, edited by Bodie Hodges. This book takes a good hard look at Christmas and the controversies surrounding it.

The War on Christmas takes a good long look at the origins of our modern celebration of the holiday, where did these particular decorations come from? What really happened the night Christ was born? What are the Greek translations of the words used in Scripture and do they line up with our modern words? Did the church hijack pagan celebrations in an attempt to “Christianize” them? Are we expressly forbidden from celebrating Christmas, or do we have the freedom to do so? Do we worship at the alter of consumerism or do we keep our focus on Christ, his Birth and ultimately the reason He was born? Do our Christmas celebrations point to the Savior, or do they point to self?

The War on Christmas is very easy to read and follow along with the major points. The text is set up in three columns, which I did find a bit choppy for the speed at which I read, but it works very well for the format of the book. The pages are a muted shade of pale blue and are thicker than most pages in other books. The book is full of gorgeous pictures which really add to the points being made. This would make an excellent gift book due to the design of it alone.  This book would make a superb gift for a pastor, teacher, lay person, and seeker. I would also highly suggest reading this book to understand the theological implications of Christmas and the reasons why you have chosen to celebrate or not.

Personally, we came to the conclusion years ago that Christmas is fine. It is fine to take a dedicated time to focus on the birth of our Savior, to dwell on what He has done for us from Creation to the Cross and beyond. Christmas is a great time of year to reach out and witness to our neighbors and point them to Christ and the reasons He came for us. It opens doors that may otherwise be closed to us. However, I won’t condemn those who have chosen to have no part in commemorating the Savior’s birth. As long as you have researched it for yourself, prayed over what you have found and are ready to give solid reasons for why you believe that. For us, it came down to the heart issue, as it should for everyone. We couldn’t find any place in scripture where it says not to commemorate our Savior’s birth or to do so. The Israelites had holidays commemorating their history (aside from the Biblically commanded feasts, they celebrate Hanukah among others, as a way to remember where they’ve come from, the miracles they were given and to celebrate their heritage), and as Christians I see no reason not to do the same. If it weren’t for Christ being born, none of us would be having this argument anyway.