Read & Refresh ~

It’s snowing outside! (this is a rarity here in Wisconsin this year)

 

The kids woke up and ran out to play.

 

I haven’t seen them much since (except for moments of tossing gloves in the dryer to warm)

 

What a wonderful time to slow down …. to write a little…read a little…catch up on some podcasts – search and pray more about this co-op I am wanting to start…

 

I don’t remember much of my parent’s marriage when I was little. I know they divorced when I was very young; I know that they never were able to be amiable to each other. And perhaps for that reason, growing up,  I never thought of marriage.  Being married myself today, I know that there is so much for me to learn. Marriage is to be a picture of Christ and His church. How can my marriage reflect that if I do not understand what it means and what it ought to look like? The Bible says we become “one flesh” which is certainly easier said than done when we consider our own selfish natures. From the very beginning we were created, in His image, proclaimed “very good.” As we explore man’s fall and the response of God and man, to sin, we see the evil within our hearts. We are confronted with the selfishness that so often rules our hearts and minds; we are encouraged to seek after Jesus and to be filled that we may be holy and that our lives may produce fruit of the spirit and not of the flesh. We see what it looks like to truly surrender to God and how He blesses our life (and the lives of many in the pages of the Bible too) because of their willingness to be full of His heart and way. Oneness: A Call to Honor God in the Marriage Relationship is an eye opening and challenging read calling us into our calling, living and serving by His design. 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of resting and refreshing: Pressing Pause: 100 Quiet Moments for Moms to Meet with Jesus is helping me to do just that. If I am honest, resting and refreshing is not my strong suit. With four children from ages 1 to 11; trying to home educating them, keep a home and be a help meet to my husband….It can be challenging getting enough time at the feet of Jesus. These devotions are simple, yet practical and so very encouraging. We are reminded of the great value of pressing pause now and then. How we ned to do this more often! Each devotion begins with a Bible verse and then a story, practical application if you will, showing us how it all looks. If you aren’t sure what or how to pray, there is a simple little one at the end for you.  And lastly there are questions to ponder. Turn your worries into worship; consider what is in your hands; remember the value of brokenness. This is such a blessing! A way to inspire and renew our spiritual health on those days that seem just impossible. I love how simple, yet applicable, these are to life as a busy mama. 

 

 

 

I have been on a huge decluttering kick as of late. We have a small home for our large family.  Imagine the STUFF! It’s everywhere. All the time. But what about our mind? How about a brain dump? Don’t we need to uncluttered that too  sometimes? Then I found it: Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind and Soul. We can get so overwhelmed by all of the things we have to do, the hopes we have for our marriage and family, our spiritual life, our plans for our home education…..I could go on. We have all been there right? This is full of stories, and Biblical truths, even plans to help ups take action and declutter our selves and our homes. I love how this inspires and encourages us to attack the clutter and chaos – to take our homes back so that we can embrace the peace that Jesus has for us and our families. No more cute bins to organize or stuff; no more lost and found or found and then lost. It’s time to get unstuffed! 🙂 

 

 

Our words are a powerful weapon—for good or for evil. It is not something I am proud to admit, but I know that this is an area I really struggle with. There are over  3,500 verses in the Bible that relate to our words and how God expects us to use them (or keep them silent) and so I am thoroughly enjoying (and being challenged) by Zip It: The Keep It Shut 40-Day Challenge.  Since there is so much power in the tongue; to breathe life into another or to destroy another, this is an area I feel especially led to study and reflect on. I have even at times had my older son read and discuss parts of this book with me. We are responsible for the words we speak; we will one day have to give an answer to God for those words we have spoken. We ought to be wiser, more self controlled, meek and humble in our speech. I loved her book: Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All.and so I was wary but excited to get my hands on this devotional and go deeper. Since its more interactive, each verse also includes opportunities to focus and explore the reading, and ends with a challenge (it sure helps to have a clearly defined goal sometimes). While this is a topic that I do dislike having to confront with this book, I feel encouraged and convicted in a way that truly gives me a desire to tame this tongue of mine!

 

 

 

The Pledge of a Lifetime : Pledge your marriage. I have to admit when I was given this one I wasn’t that eager to get started. There are lots of books out there that try to tell you how to have the best marriage, how to heal a broken marriage – this is one more. I do appreciate that the focus of all conflict resolution and communication is to be the love and wisdom of God. Because this is not as simple as it sounds, this book introduces a simple, effective method of communication: PLEDGE (each letter representing one step in the process): Pause, Listen, Echo, Disarm, Give, Engage. As one who studied and worked extensively in social services and family prevention/intervention I can attest to the value of these things in any time of conflict. And using fictional characters, we are shown the situations and steps in action. There are references to scripture here and there, however it isn’t as integral as I think it could be, within these pages. This does show some very effective methods for communication however that I think just about anyone could benefit from; that said we all ought to be more diligent and evaluate our own methods so that we can better grow and understand our relationships with others. As my kids get older I think I could even try to implement some of these steps to encourage my kids into better relationships with one another.

 

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For now those are the books I am spending my time with.  How about you? What are you reading? What is drawing you in, challenging you, making you giggle? 🙂

 

 

Be blessed friends and enjoy the pages you turn

 

 

 

 

 

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