Book Pick of the Week! Real Advice on How To Stop Being Overwhelmed

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How I rate a book usually depends on what I’m looking for at that season in my life. “Overwhelmed, How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity,” by Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory was a God send for me and I devoured it in 2 days. Full disclosure I am an intern for Kathi Lipp, but that’s hardly the reason that I suggest you read this book. because, have such little time to read with 2 jobs, a kid, a dog, a blog and a household I relate to books that give practical tips that I can apply to real life and this book fits the bill.

As single moms if we aren’t careful, being overwhelmed can be a way of life, which isn’t healthy for us or our kids. Kathi and Cheri share their own real life experiences and will keep you turning the pages that are chockfull of practical tips on how to create a plan to allow space in your life and get rid of the insanity. I can’t wait to re-read my  2 favorite chapters, “Just Go with the Flow” vs Personalizing a Well-Defined Work Week and Day and “Just Wing It,” vs Cultivating Peace with a Plan. This is my book pick for the week and I promise you if you decide to read it you will not be disappointed, just get ready to be motivated to make some life changes!

“Life is Beautiful, How a Lost Girl Became a True Confident Child of God” by Sarah Johnson is a Message of Hope

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One Lucky Reader will Receive a Kindle Edition of the Sarah Johnson’s Book, “Life is Beautiful,” by Leaving a Comment! Leave a comment by Monday, October 26th to Enter.

Rarely does a book hit me in my  core like Sarah Johnson’s memoir, “Life is Beautiful, How a  Lost Girl Became a True Confident Child of God.” Sarah’s life is a testament that regardless of how hopeless or tragic a circumstance is God is in control and can take those circumstances and still use it to make something beautiful. Sarah’s story begins with her parents, her brother Zachary and 10 other missionaries  seated in a Cessna Caravan single propeller plane on a mission trip in Guatemala to make a difference in lives of the people there, but unbeknownst to them it was their lives  that would be drastically altered  when the plane violently crashes to the ground, shattering lives and hearts. Sarah’s description of this  horrific crash left me gasping as she describes seeing her father and brother dead and trying desperately to free her trapped mother. When she writes about her mother screaming for her to help her, I had to put the book down for a moment because it was just so unbelievably tragic.  Sarah escapes the crash with minor injuries and we find out that her mother survives  although severely burned and hurt. You may be fooled into thinking that the  premise of this book is about a devastating plane crash, but the real story is of Sarah’s journey from hopelessness, alcoholism, and depression to becoming a confident child of God.

Throughout the book Sarah gives us glimpses of her life and her family’s life leading up to the plane crash. We learn about her father’s drug addiction and his road to redemption that eventually leads them on this life altering trip. We learn about her aunt dying of uterine cancer in their home and Sarah’s insecurities as she navigates adulthood. After the crash Sarah hits rock bottom. She’s drinking too much, she’s sad, angry, depressed and the relationship she has with her recovering mother is strained. You can feel the desperation in her life at that time and how she’s in dire need of peace that passes all understanding which can only happened through God. Eventually she seeks counseling and even better she begins seeking God and this is when the real miracle happens. You get the feeling that Sarah was always in some way seeking God, but was holding back and when she finally surrenders I just wanted to hug her through the book!

I loved this book because Sarah doesn’t sugarcoat her struggles or pain instead she writes about it honestly and with a completely vulnerable heart. Although I couldn’t relate to her personal loss from the plane crash, The pain she experience in the other areas of her life and her desperate need for a healing resonated deeply with me and I’m sure many other lost girls will relate as well. This is a must read  story of hope, resilience and how the love of God has true healing power. You will come away inspired and encouraged by Sarah’s testimony.

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Learn more about Sarah Johnson at http://lifeisbeautifulbook.com/ 

Follow Sarah on:

 Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LifeisBeautifulBook

 Twitter at @SarahMJohnson12

Book Giveaway by NY Times Best Seller Mark Batterson and Joel Clark! Enter Today!

“JACK STAPLES AND THE RING OF TIME” 

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

ENTER BY MONDAY, OCTOBER 26th

 If you’ve ever read, “The Circle Maker,” by NY Times Best selling author Mark Batterson than you won’t want to miss his new children’s book, “Jack Staples and the Ring of Time,” which he wrote with Joel Clark. I love this book! It is so refreshing to read a Christian’s children’s with a character (11 year old Jack Staples) that you can’t help but root for as he enters into a fast past adventure!Looking for  a fun bed time story for the kids? Then ENTER TODAY! If you enter you’ll also win a copy of Mark’s book,  “Praying Circles Around the Lives of Your Children.” I can’t put either of the books down and neither will you!

Enter to win by leaving a comment by Monday, October 26th 

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My Book Pick for June! ‘Make It Happen,” by Lara Casey!

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If you are looking for encouragement to take that leap that you  know you should be taking, then look no further! You’ve got to read “Make it Happen,” by Lara Casey. A couple days ago we were at the book store, I picked up this book and started flipping through it and couldn’t put it down, but I did because I’m cutting down on buying anything that isn’t necessary. Then a day later I headed back to the bookstore because I couldn’t get it off my mind and realized that it was necessary! If you want inspiration along with practical advice on how to live on purpose and take that much anticipated leap this is the book. Head on over to Lara Casey   who is now my new favorite motivator to look at her blog, products and magazine! Yes, she publishes Southern Weddings along with some rocking products (she’s having a 60% sale off of select products). I can’t wait to do a review!

Trying to Instill Better Organizational Skills in Your Kids? Read, “Smart but Scattered.”

Anya is really intelligent and has always done well in school, matter of fact she has achieved a 4.11 for two semesters in a row. But, recently her teacher told me that she needed to work on her executive skills. At first I had  no idea what she was talking about, I mean she’s 8 what kind of executive skills is she supposed to have? She explained that is it the task initiation, the focus, and organizational and few other key skills that kids need to develop . She told me about this book, “Smart but Scattered,” by Dr. Peg Dawson and Dr. Richard Guare that gives you tools on how to help kids reach their full potential by improving their executive skills. I told my mom and I think she heard the worry in my voice and had the book sent overnight, gotta love moms right?

I was concerned, I know there are times that Anya can easily bunny trail, I mean the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But, I didn’t want this lack of focus to become a real issue. I dived into the book and it was so informative for myself as well. The book offers assessments that you take for both your child and yourself. It was amazing how closely these assessments figured us out. Then it gave tools. One of the tools we’re using is the checklist and it is working out great, but there are others I can’t wait to try. She earns tally marks and rewards for every time she completes a task without a reminder. I have seen an improvement in our morning and night routine almost immediately. She loves using her clipboard and checklist! Her teacher  said she has already seen improvement during her  school routine as well.

If you’re facing any issues with your children in task initiation, focus, organization or other skills, I highly recommend this book and if you’d like to improve your skills read it for yourself as well!

Download (PDF, 179KB)

Grace Based Parenting…Why Did I Never Read This Book Before??

This afternoon I had the pleasure of perusing a used bookstore with my lovely neighbor and I came across this book, “Grace Based Parenting,” by Dr. Tim Kimmel. It was written about 10 years ago, so it isn’t new, but I think it’s relevant and gives a unique perspective on parenting by grace a model based on how God parents and loves us. It was a definite find for $3.50 and looks like it will be on the top of my list as parenting books that I would recommend. I was especially captured by the way he defined love which is pretty much defines the love a parent has for a child. If you haven’t read this book, you may want to put it on your radar.

 

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What I’m Reading? How To Reach Your Full Potential for God by Charles Stanley

I’m always in search of a good book that inspires and motivates and today I was lucky to find, “How to Reach Your Full Potential For God, Never Settle Less than His Best,” by Charles Stanley. I’m a huge fan of Charles Stanley and I always find nuggets of wisdom in his sermons and books, so when I saw this on the shelf today it practically jumped in my hands! If you are doubting your spiritual gifts or your purpose I suggest picking this book up. I’m already on chapter 4 and I just bought it today!

I’m at that crossroad where I’m thirsting to reach my potential and do whatever it is that is in God’s will for me. I definitely feel over the past week God has been speaking to me about what I’m supposed to be doing and forcing me out of my comfort zone. Charles Stanley says in his book, “Do you want to live a satisfactory life or an outstanding life?” I think we’d all pick the later. He talks about 7 essential principals we need to pay attention to if we want to reach our potential for God. He makes the reader question if they want God’s best or do they want to settle for less. For myself, I know that I was settling recently in a situation that was going nowhere because it was comfy, but God snatched me out of it and is making me reevaluate what I’m going to do with my potential and spiritual gifts. Is it scary? Sure is, but it’s also exciting because I know that my heart and head are listening to God and he is paving the way for so much more!

If you’re looking for a last minute summer read to finish out the lazy days of summer I’d say pick this book up and start thinking about your potential for his Kingdom!

Check out his sermon on television this week, it is on how to respond to opportunity

“Audrey Bunny,” By Angie Smith, A Book You’ll Want to Pass Down!

Psalm 139:14, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are you works; my soul knows it very well.”

Audrey Bunny
By: Angie Smith

I was given the opportunity to read, “Audrey Bunny,” a sweet children’s book written by Angie Smith. “Audrey Bunny,” is a love story to Angie Smith’s daughter Audrey who passed away just a few hours after her birth. If you visit her blog and read her story from the beginning you will understand why this isn’t just a nice children’s story about a bunny, but I forewarn you to get a box of Kleenex. While shopping with a friend before her daughter was born, Angie came across a bunny that she had an immediate attachment to, however when she told her husband the price of the bunny he suggested they try another store. Something about that bunny stuck with her so strongly that her husband suggested they go back to find it, but before they could go back to the store they discovered their soon to be born baby girl was having some serious health problems. After leaving the hospital with somber news her husband was determined that they buy that bunny. They found the bunny, the last one with it’s little ears sticking out of the barrel, they quickly grabbed it and found a black permanent mark on it’s heart, they knew God had given them that bunny. Thus the book, “Audrey Bunny” was born.

Amidst a barrel full of bunnies and toys lied a little adorable bunny who tried to look perfect so that a child would bring her home to love. The bunny however, was not perfect it had a smudge right over by her heart. This made the bunny sad because what child would want a messed up bunny? But, Caroline a little girl with a big heart did! She named the bunny Audrey Bunny after her grandma.  Audrey Bunny loved Caroline, but was worried that if she saw that she wasn’t perfect she wouldn’t want her. So Audrey Bunny did everything to hide her imperfections. One day, Caroline tells Audrey that she is going to take her to school for Show and Tell.  On the morning of Show and Tell, Audrey begin to panic when she realized she had nothing to cover her mark! Once at school, Audrey was in a panic, this was surely was the end, then Caroline pulled her out of her bookbag  and held her bunny high in  the air. Soon the children we’re pointing and Audrey was face to face with her worse fear, which was Caroline would discover she wasn’t perfect. What Audrey didn’t know was Caroline had always known about the mark, and whispered to Audrey how the spot over her heart made her beautiful to her. Caroline chose Audrey. Audrey realized she didn’t need to hide her mark, it wasn’t a secret it was why she was chosen to begin with. 

“Audrey Bunny,” was a breath of fresh air. I loved that it’s message to children is that with all of our imperfections we are still beautiful. They don’t have to hide them in order to be loved. In the story the bunny goes to great lengths to hide the mark above our heart, just as we often do with our own smudges in our life. Loving one another with all our imperfections is exactly how Jesus loves us and the author portrays this throughout the story. Angie Smith catches the tender moments between a young girl and her stuffed bunny that reminds us of how unconditionally children love and also how we should love one another. This is a beautiful book to read to your children that expresses to them that they are created by God’s design with imperfections and all and that God loves them and created them  with his loving hands.

The end of the book has a Parent Connection that gives a scripture to read and also questions to discuss with your children. But my favorite part is the, “Do,” section that suggest you give your children some nice stationary and have them write a letter to themselves from God after reading Psalm 119:73 and Genesis 1. After reading it and thinking about how God has made them they should write what they think God thinks of them. After writing their letter have them put it away in a special place and take it out when they don’t feel so special. I think the parents may want to write that letter to themselves as well!

In a world that beckons for us to judge  from what is on the outside and places an absorbent amount of value on appearances and what is considered to be , “normal,” Audrey Bunny encourages our children to accept themselves the way God created them. It assures them that in their imperfection they are perfectly created and loved. This is a book you’ll want to read, keep and pass down.

Follow Angie Smith on Twitter and Facebook

Book Inspiration Day 5: Dare To Dream by Paula White -Sounds Good to Me!

Dare to Dream by Paula White is an inspiring book that encourages the reader to move beyond fear, failure and pain and move into embracing all that God has to offer you. The reason I found this book useful is that it makes you do some serious self examination and I think that is important as we try to grow into the person God wants us to be. So many of us have dreams and goals but have no idea how to manifest them. One of the first things we need to do is to work through the stuff and the emotional baggage that starts to hang on us weighing us down and making us too exhausted to pursue anything. In Dare to Dream, Paula talks about these vital topics:

  • See Yourself Through New Eyes (drilling to the core of your identity, seeing yourself as God sees and evaluating your life and future on God’s terms)
  • Become an Expert on the Subject of You (ask yourself tough questions, she address 4 critical insights, and conducting your own needs analysis)
  • Move Beyond Loss (lose without losing your identity, make the decision to get up and go forward, regain your significance, 8 vital steps to recovery)
  • Shake off Painful Memories, Worries, Fears and Failures (health your emotional pain, take the risk and try again, accept change as good)
  • Take Control Over What You Think Say and Believe (take control of what you think, reinforce your thoughts by what you say, change faulty habits)
  • Establish New Boundaries (set healthy boundaries, the art of saying no, clear up boundary confusion)
  • Embrace a Lifetime of Discovery and Transformation(dare to dream new dreams, take on the challenge of continual growth, and enjoy your journey and yourself)

This is a meaty book that requires you to be honest and do some serious reflection on your life. I think it is perfect for the new year!