Monday, April 25, 2016

sneak peek of my new book!

We are close to the one-month countdown until my devotional officially releases! June 1 is the day, although you can pre-order online now! A sneak peek of what's inside is below... but first the official picture and description of the book:



"Within the pages of this beautiful women’s devotional, you’ll find the encouragement you need to celebrate every day, as you are reminded that your heavenly Father pours out His love on your life. With more than 180 just-right-sized readings, each encouraging devotional is accompanied by a related scripture selection that will leave you feeling perfectly loved."


Now, my favorite part... the sneak peek of what's inside! This one is from the section on endurance and shows the general format of the devos.

~~~

Immerse Yourself in God’s Word 
I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11 NLT

Enduring through difficulty can feel impossible, but it isn’t. Read, study, or memorize God’s Word and give yourself ammunition to make it through difficult times.

When you are alone, the Holy Spirit can remind you of Hebrews 13:5.  When you are scared, you’ll remember Psalm 23. When you need healing, Isaiah 53:4–5 will come to mind. The Word of God is filled with power. It will strengthen you when you need it the most.

~~~

There you go! If you want more of these bite-sized nuggets for your morning, pre-order a copy, okay? Thanks! I really hope you enjoy it. 

By the way, if you're looking for a mom's day gift, you can always pre-order it and put a nice note in her card saying that a book will be mailed to her soon!

I remember thinking of you, my audience, when writing it. I hope you are encouraged to live daily for Jesus as you read what's inside. 

Have a great day... and thanks for reading and being interested in my writing!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A day at the zoo!!


Yesterday, my parents and I took the boys to the zoo while Erik was at work and getting ready for a weekend fishing trip. The animals were awesome and a vivid reminder that our God is an amazing Creator of this world! Here's a glimpse of the day! (lots of pics to follow!)

Lunch time! (Once B put his hat on backwards, J followed and grandpa couldn't resist the trend!)

 

Goats and the baby animals came next, including the petting area where you get up and close and personal, particularly if they know you have food! 


We saw baby piglets just a few days old!


Next was a highlight... Watching the penguins get fed!!



Beautiful underwater creatures came next!




I thought this one was just a plant in the water... Amazing how it blended in!


Another big moment was the feisty bears!! They put on quite the show! (keep an eye on all three bears... the one on the left is heading to the rock for some extra sun!)


Why hello there, Bear!




And yes, those are striped jammy pants on Jase because I completely forgot to change his diaper until ...well, let's just say it was absolutely necessary! 😳


B and J have loved learning about cheetahs recently so it was fun to have something similar to see! (Leopard!)

This was just a glimpse of what was, all in all, an amazing, fun day! 


Saturday, March 19, 2016

the rhythm of life

Every once in a while, I think I get lost in the repetitive nature of life. Wake up, prepare food, play/work, prepare food, play/work, prepare food, get kids to bed, work, go to bed. Yep, that's my day! But there is an added constant battle that comes with motherhood as I attempt to keep the kids well fed and well rested and learning about life and Jesus in a way that honors God.

Yeesh, you wouldn't think that sentence would carry so many weight and so many different ways to fulfill it, but it does!

The Lord has been renewing in me my heart for Him. It's always been there and it is the bedrock and foundation of my life, but He's renewing my focus on pulling from Him rather than myself.

There are so many fears and uncertainties that come with motherhood, not to mention all the pressures from everyone else about how best to live your life, it can get exhausting. But at the heart of it all, I come back to praise. I come back to my home - God's heart.

I wish I did a better job of representing Him. I still have my guilty pleasures related to this world that are hard to let go because they do help me relax, and I think that's okay, but probably just for a season. (For one, I'll admit, I'm a Marvel movie fan!) God is slowly turning me toward Him and working on my heart. He's showing me how to trust Him in situations I find impossible. He's showing me how my definition of "not-meeting-Bible-standards" isn't the end of the story. Just because a situation isn't going as planned or as it should go doesn't mean that God can't and won't have the ultimate say. I'm working on getting that perspective back in my mind of His sovereignty. He has the ability to change hearts and literally love on people to move them towards Him in a way where they choose Him willingly -- not because He twisted their free will, but because His love is that powerful. It is that encompassing and beautiful--and He knows how to get through to people in a way that I --and even them -- will never understand.

Trusting Him. Learning. Growing. Every day... and trusting God that in the middle of that trusting, the kiddos will watch and learn about the relationship I have with God. Because when it all comes down to it, it's not so much about a salvation prayer, although that's the beginning. It's about a relationship with God Almighty, who can also become your best friend.

Friday, January 22, 2016

why do we have to go through valleys?

Psalm 23 says that David waked through the valley of the shadow of death. That doesn't sound like much fun. In fact, for many who are going through a difficult time, it begs the question, why do we need valleys? If God is good, couldn't He use His goodness and power to keep life fantastic for us at all time? Wouldn't a life of mountain tops be better?

Actually, that question itself is impossible. A land filled with mountain tops would be a flat valley. Mountaintops are made beautiful by the very fact that there are valleys. And depending on where you are, valleys are filled with foliage that cannot be appreciated from the mountaintop. Both experiences create a fuller experience of life.

For us to be dogmatic and assume all of life should head in a certain direction is an invalid conclusion because the beauty in life and the beauty in creation comes from the multidimensional terrain.

God didn't make this life a flatland. He made it a beautiful world of valleys and mountain tops. It's our job to trust Him through it all. As we trust Him, we can hunt for the beauty in the valleys and soak in the majesty of the mountain tops.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My first book is at the publisher!

I am beyond excited, relieved, and grateful because... I just pressed "send" and my first full-length book is at the publisher! WOW!

(That's one reason I've been quiet on here; all my extra writing energies have gone to that! The other is my two children...!)

I can't quite describe the feeling I had as I did my final review and edit of the process. Every devotional represents a "eureka" moment I had in the past few months. A moment of, "That would be perfect!" Sometimes it involved other people... I asked a few of you for permission to share your story and I'm blessed that you were okay with it! I grabbed lots of Sunday sermons, your conversations, my random thoughts, my mistakes, my stories, your stories...

I hope it turns out to be a vehicle that truly encourages and blesses its audience and that they feel a touch of God's love and encouragement every time they read it.

Oh, the book is titled "Today God Wants You to Know... You Are Loved." It's almost two hundred short devotionals with a title, verse, and copy. It's published by Barbour Publishing... to whom I am very grateful they have provided me with this opportunity, as well as the previous books to which they have allowed me to be a contributing writer .

I do have to thank my husband for allowing me to go on this journey. I know it took a lot of mental time and energy and a few late nights for me, but you were gracious enough to let me go on it. THANK YOU! I love you dearly.

Thank you to my parents and my in-laws for helping with the kiddos so I could write... Erik and I couldn't have done it without you! To everyone who allowed me to share your story (a few of you don't yet know that I shared it; some of you do!), a big huge thank you!

Thank you also to my BFF, April, who edited the project the summer she's preparing to get married! She's amazing and had excellent feedback!

I'll keep you posted when it comes out next spring. Maybe I'll get to post a few sneak peeks too. We shall see!

Thanks for enjoying this journey with me.

:-)


"Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it)" Ephesians 3:20-21, Amplified


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Shutterfly update... pics of the family!

Today I got another bright orange box in the mail. If you haven't gotten one yet, I highly encourage you to check out Shutterfly! Every time you get a bright orange package, you have family memories coming your way in a unique form.

This time it was another book. I was catching up on winter/spring of this year, so I had a lot of fun as I pulled pictures together. I consider this my scrapbook for the kids!

Here's a peek:


8x8 photo book is the one I most commonly get; I always try to remember to label the spine with the time of the year the book covers. This time it was "winter/spring 2015."



Occasionally I love putting pages in my book that are all photos. Sometimes on the page before or after I'll have a note describing the event. This time it is picture of our boys birthday and the cakes we made for them! (top left and bottom right) 



I liked this particular style because I could put a bunch of pics on a page and then there was plenty of room for text/description. Erik and I tried to write a bunch of fun things about the boys that we will love to remember years down the road!

This isn't the only Shutterfly package I have at home right now. My grandma's 91st birthday is Saturday, and I thought a mug was a nice choice... that's something I like getting for grandparents who like coffee! One grandma has gotten a new mug every year for the past three Christmases!



Mugs are an easy and practical way to give pictures to family members!

Anyhoo, I thought I'd share. I love the accomplishment of getting photos printed and memories documented and sharing them with others. :-) Thought you may like it too. 

The boys are doing awesome right now. Such a fun stage... Glad it's summer and we can always get outside!

All for now! 

Friday, June 19, 2015

You are not alone. Parenting is hard. And we're just in the beginning.

Just put the final kid in the bed for the night. I played a game on the iPad outside their door decompressing while hoping I didn't hear any noise from the bedroom before going downstairs. And yes, I came downstairs a few minutes ago... the boys are down for the night.

THANK GOD!

It was one of those rough days. The kiddos were testing mommy's patience and boundaries over and over and over... if you have dealt with toddlers at any point, you know what I mean. Add in all the normal "stressors" for a day, and let's just say it was a very loooong mommy day that I am glad is over.

Oh and it top it all off, we had to clean up pee off the floor after bath. B is not potty trained yet, but he knows better. Then, after being disciplined by going to bed without stories, he wouldn't stay in bed. Oh and he laughed at all my spankings. I'm going to have to come up with a different discipline plan, apparently!

I started lamenting to a friend, then thought you mommies out there might understand my "drama" of the day... and the fact that that I am sweaty and tired of being a mommy today. Very ready for an evening of... cleaning the kitchen and eating chocolate teddy grahams that I bought for a specific recipe.

Tomorrow our cousins are coming over and I'm very excited. The kids will have more than just me to entertain them and then we are going to grandma and grandpa's for a birthday party. RELIEF!

So yeah. Know that you are not alone. Parenting is constant and exhausting. You try not to be led by your emotions and you try not to let your emotions get the best of you as you show these kiddos their boundaries. It's always good to remember these are just kiddos trying to have lots of fun and learn how to live life well in this world.

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." -Prov. 22:6