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BOOK REVIEW: Restless for More: Fulfillment in Unexpected Places

In her latest book, Restless for More: Fulfillment in Unexpected Places, author Heidi McLaughlin has struck a chord with the majority of women everywhere. At some point, and perhaps more than once, most women go through a period of restlessness. With openness and vulnerability, Ms. McLaughlin writes from her own experiences. She speaks of the reasons we are restless and how we attempt to fulfill that emptiness, answer that restless feeling by shopping, or eating, or having more, or doing more, or accomplishing more. The fulfillment we receive from these various activities, if we receive any, is short-lived and we find ourselves more restless than ever.

Ms. McLaughlin proceeds to give us thirteen unusual and unexpected places to find fulfillment, such as a place of grace, wherein she gives us practical advice: to get the proper amount of rest; eat nutritous meals; slow down. Equally important, she offers spiritual advice: spend time with God–in prayer, in His word, in quiet times. In this time, He will restore your soul and you will have true fulfillment.

Other areas that Ms. McLaughlin states we can find fulfillment are through solitude; through God’s extravagant love; through honoring one another; blessing one another and many more.

At the end of each chapter, Ms. McLaughlin includes a section titled “S.T.O.P. and Ask God to Fulfill Your Soul.” The letter ‘S’ is for Scripture; ‘T’ for Thanksgiving; ‘O’ is for Observation; and ‘P’ for Prayer. These sections are an excellent way to close each chapter.

I’ve always heard it said that “a book is judged by its cover.” That is the only criticism I have for Restless for More. Although the cover conveys the message of a woman being in a hurry, I don’t think it is a true representation of the title. The cover is not appealing and looks incomplete.

***

I was given a free copy of this book for my honest review. I was not influenced by anyone’s opinion nor does this review reflect the opinion of the publisher.

 

 

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BOOK REVIEW: “SHAKEN” BY TIM TEBOW

In Tim Tebow’s latest book, Shaken, he writes of his time in the NFL as a quarterback. He has dreamed of being a quarterback all of his life. Yet, his dream never came to full fruition. Yes, he played for the Patriots. And the Broncos. And the Jets. And for one game, the Eagles. With honesty and vulnerability, Tim talks about his disappointments after each trade, of the incredibly critical and very ugly comments made, and of the media who dogged his every step.

Shaken is not a rehash of Tebow’s experiences in the NFL. He uses those situations to talk about his reactions-what he did, how he felt, what he thought. And more importantly, what he learned about himself and about God.

With a deep and profound insight, Tim demonstrates to the reader how to discover, and hold onto, their true identity even in the midst of life’s cruelest times. He does this not only by sharing his experiences but also by using relevant Biblical scriptures and stories. He poignantly relates stories of people who have discovered their true identity while they are literally in a fight for their life. Their stories will make you smile, move you to tears and remind you how life is more precious than you think.

I believe Shaken is one of the best books in this decade on finding your true identity. I highly recommend you read this book. It has the power to change your life.

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God of the Paperclips by Susan K. Stewart

Susan K. Stewart is a member of WordGirls and has written a great article on the fact that God is always interested in the smallest details of our life.

In less than twelve hours, a couple thousand people would line up for the convention to open. The convention planning committee had a tradition to

God tells us to be still and know that He is God.

gather to pray prior to these events. Around the table we prayed, “Bless this convention” and “Thank you for letting us be involved.” One person surprised us with her petition, “God, please take care of the paper clips.” Her prayer acknowledged God’s interest in every detail of our lives, right down to the paperclips.

“Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10) is a familiar Bible verse. We often emphasize the “be still,” forgetting who is God. We were certainly being still during that time of prayer; but only one person was remembering God’s desire to be involved in the details.

God cares about the little things, including the paperclips

How interested is the Creator of the universe in the details of our lives? Well, how interested are you in your children’s lives? God has an even greater interest in you and every area of your life.

Have you ever believed that God wants you to do something but you didn’t know how to do it? Or, maybe you feared failure? Often we end up “being still.” We fuss (pray?), worry (stress?), and sit still, doing nothing. To break free from this trap, we need to learn to turn over the paperclips to God.

A Need Is Not A Call

First, be sure that what you are doing is what God wants you to do. I get lots of great ideas. I can think of many good things I could be doing. When I see the commercials on TV about the hurting children in other countries; I want to do something. I hear about abused women; I want to act. The pastor calls for a Sunday School teacher; I want to raise my hand.

I finally learned that a need is not necessarily a call. Are you trying to do something that is someone else’s job, someone else’s call? Have you lost your focus on what God wants you to do? If you are lacking joy in what you are doing, maybe you’re doing someone else’s assignment and leaving God out of the details.

God is in all the details.  Even ones we are unaware of.

Ponder Your Motives

Second, ponder why you are doing what you are doing. Often we carry on a project out of tradition or habit or because we think that no one else will do it. This applies to every activity you are involved in. Are you motivated by a sense of obligation or guilt or because you believe God is directing you?

Let God Worry About The Details

Third, when God has shown you a task to do, let him worry about the details. Our God is mighty, powerful, and strong. These are big words. In our puny little minds, we think God is too big to bother himself with the tiny details.

In North America, we don’t have to depend on God to take care of much. Unlike people in a third-world nation, we usually know where our next meal is coming from, what we will clothe our children with, and where we will live. We have become so self-sufficient we don’t think we should bother God with little things like paperclips.

God has all the details worked out–in advance–from eternity (that’s huge). It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to get enough nursery workers or visiting a sick friend or preparing a dinner for in-laws.

God has all the details worked out in advance but only tells us what we need to know in the moment.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that God will give us all the details in advance. As Henry Blackaby says, “God will always give you enough specific directions to do now what He wants you to do. When you need more directions, He will give more in His timing.”

Talk With God

The final and most necessary step is to pray. Talk with God about the task ahead of you. You can’t know how to do something unless you chat with the planner. How often we stumble around, fret and worry, and lose our joy because we haven’t asked the architect of the universe for the blueprint for our little jobs.

When we submit to God’s plans, allowing him to work the details, we don’t sweat the small stuff. More importantly, God is honored. And that is our ultimate purpose.

Susan K. Stewart

When she’s not tending chickens and peacocks, Susan K. Stewart teaches, writes, and edits non-fiction. Susan’s passion is to inspire readers with practical, real-world solutions. Susan brings her trademark realistic and encouraging messages to conferences, retreats, and small groups. Her books include Science in the Kitchen, Preschool: At What Cost? and the award-winning Formatting e-Books for Writers.You can read more of Susan’s practical solutions at www.practicalinspirations.com

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15 Ideas for Family Togetherness by Robin Steinweg

 

I am so pleased to have Robin Steinweg as my guest today. I was privileged to meet Robin a little over two years ago at one of the first WordGirl Get-away Retreats. She is full of the love of the Lord and that shows in everything she says and does. 

Although September is just past, the ideas she presents in her article are timeless.

FIFTEEN IDEAS FOR FAMILY TOGETHERNESS

Time with our families. How hard can that be?

We probably don’t intend to dash in and out of their lives saying, “Gotta go! See you later!” We want to create memories with siblings, parents and grandparents. But life gets in the way.

September is Intergenerational Month. What a great time to start!

Here are 15 ideas for family togetherness. Some can take only minutes. Choose one this week. Be intentional—make it happen.

  • Q&A-with-a-Twist—Ask foolish questions like these:
    • o Do fish get thirsty?
    • o How does the snowplow driver get to work?
    • o What would chairs look like if our knees were in the back?
    • o Where does your lap go when you stand up?
    • o For more, try these sites: http://ow.ly/w5Pp302TiZ6 or http://ow.ly/ZVAs302Tj6K .
    • Games:
    • o Oodles—or other question-asking games.
    • o Board Games.
    • o Word Games—Scrabble, Bananagrams, Crosswords.
    • o Volley Balloon—for the youngest and the oldest in your family.
    • o Hangman (Wheel of Fortune)—can be played on a napkin at a restaurant while waiting. Someone chooses a word and draws the correct number of lines. Others guess letters. For each incorrect guess, draw another piece of the gallows or the unfortunate hangee.
    • o DIY games with family-made pieces: http://ow.ly/hzjJ302TkaH
    • Share Interests/Hobbies.
    • Walk: make a scavenger hunt of views to collect (sunset, catalpa tree, ant, pine needle…).
    • Music: share a recording, play a song, sing together, or find a youtube video of favorites.
    • Books: read aloud or everyone read the same book and discuss next time.
    • Movies: take turns choosing. Create a family review afterward.
    • Take a class together—learn something new!
    • Cooking/eating: choose an ingredient. Divide the family for a contest using the featured food. Choose a theme with decorations, place-cards, and divide duties according to age/ability.
    • Coded messages: a way to involve relatives at a distance. Write one coded message per week and send. Keep it going!
    • Pray together.
    • Worship together.
    • Gardening: big or small, indoor or outdoor, in-ground or in containers.
    • Teach each other a skill: teach a family member to knit (or whatever), and he/she teaches you to use an iPad (or whatever).
    • Family Giving Project: are there homeless in your community? You might collect food pantry items. Or personal care items. Join up with others—knit warm hats for shivering school children.

How about it? How will you bring the generations together this week?

~+~

robinsteinwegRobin Steinweg finds life sweet in the middle of writing, speaking, teaching, caring for aging parents and adjusting to having adult children. She, her husband and family live near Madison, Wisconsin. Her passion is to help others discover joy in every age of life. On fb—Robin June Steinweg.

 

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Dancing in the Hall by Linda Coburn

I am so pleased to introduce to you another WordGirl member, Dr. Linda Coburn. One of the sentences in this article resonated with me – “Adults need more time to play.” How true! Enjoy Linda’s article and be sure to check out her website – link is at the bottom of the page.

Dancing in the Hall

It was one of those rare moments, a spontaneous celebration erupting out of nowhere. The adult students in my Communications II class were learning the rhetorical strategies of pathos, ethos, and logos by presenting short skits. The last skit provoked a lot of noise, with one student bursting into the classroom waving a loaded eraser while the student portraying Pathos cowered under a desk crying. So loud had been her screams that several male students and the dean showed up at our doorway.

To “get back at me” for the disruption my class had caused, the professor of Music Empowerment chose to bring her students out to the hallway to sing “I’m Every Woman.” I led my class out to join in. There we were, forty students and two professors, dancing and singing during class hours.

I watched the faces of my students: they were joyous, elated to be engaging in a few moments of revelry, casting off their cares of being adult students with jobs, families, and financial woes.

Adults need the opportunity to play. In 2016, studies report that 30% of adults are working at multiple jobs. With the responsibility of children still living at home and elder parents needing care, the adult of 21st century America is stressed, tired, and on the verge of emotional collapse. Some adults have also returned to school for greater employment opportunities following job loss.

College programs designed for adult students are different than traditional programs.  Most adults who return to school are only on campus for class and library use. It is no wonder that adult students feel isolated. This sense of isolation is a reason only one out of four adult college students finish a degree. Reasons students drop out range from financial to family concerns, but high on the list is emotional overload.

Continuing education should bring with it joy in acquiring new knowledge and self-satisfaction in reaching a goal, but the opposite is often true. The overwhelming work required of higher education squeezes out the little leisure time left over from other responsibilities. Adults who do manage to finish their degrees report that they feel elated when the process is over.

But there’s nothing wrong with a little elation along the way. We should all occasionally dance in the hallway.

~+~

Dr. Linda Cobourn is a literacy specialist who works with at-risk learners and non-traditional college students. Her research interests include building college-ready skills in middle school students and providing academic support to adult learners. Dr. Cobourn also cares for her disabled husband and autistic son and writes about the experiences at http://writingonthebrokenroad.blogspot.com/