November 08, 2015

For the Love by Jen Hatmaker

For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
Published by Nelson Books
Copyright 2015

I have read other things by Jen Hatmaker and not really connected with her before but this book was very different for me.  She seems to be so down to earth here in a way I had not seen before with her.  
This book is funny and yet very poignant.

Jen shares her heart on life, family and the church in a way that, I feel, will really connect with today's Christian woman.  She uses personal stories and scripture to show us how to live a Godly life in a, sometimes, very confusing world.

The book is based in solid biblical truth and connects scripture throughout the text to show us how to live our daily lives from the trenches.  She holds nothing back, ladies!  I love that about Jen.

The book is peppered with humor and some great takeaways.

My favorite takeaway came early in the book when she said, "If it is not also true for a poor single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn't true."  Wow, that was profound for me and colors how I see many things in life now.  She goes on to say, "Theology is either true everywhere or it isn't true anywhere."  
That will preach!

She gives us permission to find out who we are and live that life.  She lets us know it is ok not to be a people pleaser or try to live up to other's expectations for our lives.  We are to be who God called us to be not what the world tells us to be.

I would recommend this book to women of all ages but especially those of us in the trenches between 30 and 50 years old with or without children.  It is loaded with mom stuff but there is a lot that just hits home for women in general.  

I am also a mom of teens like Jen and, like her, I find that I am learning something new every single day as I live these years with my children.  

Her wisdom as a mom AND woman of a certain age really hits home for me in this one.

Oh, and there are recipes.... every great book has RECIPES!

I give this one a 5 out of 5!

This book was provided to me free of charge for an open and honest review.  

You can find out more about Jen on her blog... Jen

October 31, 2015

Finishing October with Family Photos

I made it...

I made it to the end of October and to the end of the Write 31 Days Challenge.  

This post is a little bit late because our Saturday blew up!

The Habit of Taking Pictures is represented by this post because I try to take at least one every day.

I thought I would give the brain a bit of a rest and just share some October photos with you guys.  I know my mom would surely want to see some since she reminds me all the time of how she NEVER gets to see pictures.  LOL  

So, here they are...

Senior Night... last home game of the season.  She loves her Daddy!

Twin Day at school for Red Ribbon Week

Throwback Day - 1940's for one and uniform day for JROTC for the other.

Nerd Day!

More Senior Night

Dress to Impress Day

Halloween costumes... Bane (the mask is coming from a friend when he gets to school)
 and Portrait of Dorian Gray 

Another Portrait of Dorian Gray

Just because I love her!  

There was a lot of Senior and Band stuff this month and she is tired!  LOL

Someone else had a birthday this month...

No photos of him... there was a birthday box sent and lots of conversations but no photos today.

22 years now!

October 30, 2015

The Habit of Prayer

I do not think that there is one person on the entire planet that ever feels like they pray enough.  
I know I don't.  

There is no wrong place or time to pray.  There is no wrong position to pray from... kneeling, standing, sitting, lying down, driving with your eyes open or head bowed in a pew.  The problem is that we just don't do it.  We are bombarded from the moment we wake up in the morning with the crazy.  I love this quote from C. S. Lewis...

We need to find that time and place to be quiet and spend time connecting with God but like Lewis says here it needs to be constant all day and not just once or twice a day.

Prayer is about relationship and communication with God.  We pray in order to build that relationship.  He knows all of the things we are going to say but He uses all of it to shape us to look more like Jesus.  You wouldn't only talk to your spouse when you are in trouble so why do we only talk to God when we are in trouble?  God wants to be the FIRST on our list when we need to talk to someone.

The Jesus Habits gives a great list entitled...

What Are the Enemies of the Habit of Prayer?

*  Praying for the wrong reasons
*  Praying while hanging onto sin
*  Praying when you have had a closed Bible
*  Praying but not believing God will answer
*  Praying with God not being number one
*  Praying with hypocrisy
*  Praying with an unforgiving spirit
*  Praying while there is conflict in your marriage
*  Praying without being a Christian
*  Prayers that never get offered

This is the abbreviated list but there is more explanation and detail with each item listed.

There is also a list on 

Making Prayer a Habit

*  Choose to pray; don't wait until you feel like it
*  Make prayer a part of your day, not just a set time
*  Pray scripture back to God
*  Decide never to make a major decision without praying about it first
*  Pray before leaving your home in the morning
*  Confess sin immediately
*  Try different positions for prayer - standing, sitting, kneeling, on your face...
*  Keep it simple
*  Never give up. Keep on praying.
*  Expect answers

It has lots of great information on how Jesus habits can be implemented in our daily lives.

Here are some resources on prayer to encourage and help you to find more time to pray.  I am certainly not the expert but other people have shared some great stuff online that we can all glean from.  

Have you seen the movie War Room?  There is a book by Priscilla Shirer that is connected to the movie, too.  It is called Fervent.  Prayer strategies for women...

Do you have regular prayer time each day?

Do you have a prayer closet or "war room" in your home?

Do you keep a prayer journal?

October 29, 2015

The Habit of Writing

So much research has been done on the benefits of writing that I don't need to reinvent the wheel here.  I am going to take a moment today to just share some really great links with you on why and how to apply this habit in your life.  

Let's Start With Why

A Few Ways to Incorporate Writing Into Your Day  

(besides blogging and list making)

take a look at her video to learn more

Challenges to Keep You Writing in November

Want to write a whole novel in 30 days?  This is the challenge for you!  It is the National Novel Writing Month Challenge.

If you are not ready to knock out that novel just yet but you have a blog maybe writing every day on the old blog might be the thing for you.  Check out the NaBloPoMo Challenge for November 2015.

Maybe you are not interested in posting all of your words online but you still want a challenge?

The 500 Words a Day Challenge might be just what you are looking for.

This is hosted by Jeff Goins and is very flexible.  You can work through the prompts given or do your own.  You can blog all your words or take them private or a combination of the two.  The only requirement is that you write 500 words a day for a whole month.  You can sign up for the e-mails with the daily details and prompts sent to you to remind you.

Do you practice the craft of writing?

Do you prefer to compose on the keyboard or do you enjoy the handwritten form?

Do you have a favorite writer's link?

From my personal library... 

Your Story Matters by Susan Paul

Becoming a Writer by Dorthea Brandi

Room to Write by Bonnie Goldberg

Write Now! by Karleen Bradford

The Elements of Style by Strunk and White

Write Right! by Jan Venolia

Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

Essentials of English published by Barron's Educational Series

On Being a Writer by Kroeker and Craig

A Christian Writer's Manual of Style by Hudson and Townsend

Freelance Writing for Magazines and Newspapers by Marcia Yudkin

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

I'd Rather Be Writing by Marcia Galub

The Right to Writer:  An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life by Julia Cameron

Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty

Write His Answer by Marlene Bagnull

The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer

A Writer's Book of Days by Judy Reeves

Will Write for Food by Dianne Jacob

The Way to Write and Publish a Cookbook by Doris McFerran Townsend

The Recipe Writer's Handbook by Barbara Gibbs Ostmann and Jane L. Baker

The Joy of Writing a Great Cookbook by Kimberly Yorio

Do you have a favorite book on writing you have read and would like to share?

October 28, 2015

The Habit of Gardening

I, inadvertently, opted out of big gardening projects this past year.  I just did not have it in me to spend another summer fighting the bugs and the heat only to have a small output.  I must admit I missed it.

I am looking forward to getting back on the horse, so to speak, this next spring.  In the meantime, I am going to write up a plan (in the bullet journal) to do a little each day in the garden to prepare for spring.  The fall and winter garden are quiet right now and in dire need of some serious weeding and replenishing of soil nutrients.

It might be a good plan to put some bulbs in so we have that splash of color come early spring.  The early blooming flowers get me excited to plant. too.  

My typical morning routine for the garden often includes a cup of coffee in one hand as I walk around watering trees, shrubs, flowers and herbs.  In the summer I water the grass, too, but once the temperature drops below 60 degrees at night the grass goes dormant and does not need to be watered again until late spring.

I pulled the last of the pomegranates and pecans off the trees and all the other fruit trees are starting to have some yellow and orange tinge to their leaves.  It won't be long before they will be bare and ready for a winter pruning.  The rose bushes will join them for the cold weather trim, too.

If I spend about 10 minutes a day pulling weeds as I water I can get the whole overgrown mess under control again before winter.  So, my plan is to water, weed and enjoy the cooler morning temperatures as soon as the time changes this coming Sunday.  It will, once again, be light enough to go out earlier in the mornings.

Further Reading on This Topic

Good Habits in the Garden

Fall Garden Checklist:  10 Thing To Do

7 Habits of Successful Gardeners

Garden By Habit - great blog with a "read to me" option for her posts

Are you a gardener?

Do you have a favorite thing you enjoy planting and caring for?

What is your favorite time of day to enjoy being in the garden where you live?

October 27, 2015

The Habit of Creativity

One of the biggest things I have realized through reading more about habits is that you cannot ditch one habit without filling that space with something else.  A good habit needs to replace a bad habit.

Over the next few days I want to share some habits I want to add to my life in the spaces as I purge bad habits more and more.

Today, I want to examine the habit of creativity with you.

First of all, I don't believe some people are born with more or less potential for creativity than anyone else.  I think it is something that is nurtured much more than nature. How we raise our children and the kind of example we give them teaches them the importance we place on creativity in our lives and in our homes.  Everyone can have creative outlets and stretch themselves in this realm more.

When we encourage reading, provide lots of print materials, read in front of our children and to our children it raises the likelihood that they will be readers and that they will love books.

When we play music, have instruments in the home, sing together as we work and play, children learn that this is a normal part of life.  When we provide opportunities to play, take lessons, encourage and provide time to practice then they will most likely become musical.

My SIL always has lots of things around the home for "art projects" for her kids.  Her mother provided that for her.  She studied art in college and has some amazing stuff she has produced over the years.  Her mother has painted and done calligraphy for as long as I have known her.  Now, my SIL's daughters are all artistic, too.

If you want creative children then provide creative things for them to do.

As an adult, I want to find that creative child again.  I want to play my flute and piano again.  I want to work on crochet and sewing projects.  I want to pick my calligraphy pens back up and try my hand at some drawing projects.  I want to take my camera out and just photograph things more... maybe even take a photography class.  I want to replace the unproductive parts of my day with creative habits.

When we talk about creativity we are not insinuating that we can create as God does.  He can create something from nothing but we can create using things around us to make something new.  I do believe, as a creation of God we have been given the ability to be unique and creative beings in His image.  I believe we should explore art, music, dance, etc...

This is still very much in progress for me so I have listed three great articles I am contemplating and a book on the subject I will be exploring.

Further Reading

18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently

101 Creative Habits to Explore:  Add More Creativity to Your Daily Life

8 Habits of People Who Always Have Great Ideas (linking creativity to good habits)

A dancer (Twyla Tharp) talks about the habit of creativity and how that plays out in life.  Cannot wait to dive in!  I will let you know what I think.  

Interesting little tidbit about me.. I took dance lessons from about age 3 until I was heading into high school and I took twirling lessons from middle school through high school.  I have done aerobics for decades and trained and taught aerobics for some time in my 30's before baby #3. So, dance and movement to music is a thing with me...  LOL  I love the discipline of dance.  I do Pilates now and that is connected to ballet.  It became very popular in the 1960's in ballet circles as part of their routine to keep them in shape and train their core.

So, now it is your turn... do you have a creative habit you want to explore more?

Do you incorporate some form of creativity into your days?

If you could learn one skill you have never tried before what would it be?


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