Thursday, February 26, 2015

Attitude Is Everything When Living With Chronic Illness

Sometimes I wake up and I feel like I've been kicked by a horse and more than one time. Maybe even trampled would be a better word. Chronic illness stinks. I think the worst part of my journey is that most people have no idea. I look fine therefore there's nothing wrong with me. If she looks that good she can't feel too bad. Really? Yes, those are the words I have grown to dislike very much. We never know the journey of another unless we are able to walk inch by inch with them and let's face it, that isn't happening. No journey is the same. 

I feel like these illnesses are now challenges for me. Challenges to overcome. Challenges to learn vast life lessons. I didn't always think that. Over the years I've had a pity party or two. More like a hundred or so. I've asked, "Why me, Lord? Why do I have to face this?" Now I go with the attitude of, why not me? Really, why not? Would it be better if someone else carried such pain? Not at all. Paul carried a thorn in his side for much of his life. We aren't privy to what that thorn is, but we just imagine because we can relate. 

Migraines can torment a person straight into the dark places no one wants to venture to. The longest cluster I've had lasted about eight weeks. I've had my share of visits to the ER with migraines and panic attacks. They came at the same time about twelve years ago now. I literally thought I was going crazy. Had no idea what was happening to me. I even had a doctor tell me there was nothing wrong with me and I needed to see a psychiatrist. That was heartbreaking. I knew what I was facing was real. It was dark and scary. Finally a specialist who totally understood and helped me. I have migraines today and usually a day doesn't go by without one and panic attacks still hit me, but I am much better. 

Fibromyalgia hit too. I had to have my thyroid removed ten years ago after an infection attacked my thyroid and well, let's just say it wasn't good. I was a mess. I'm still a mess, but a mess with grace and a new strength combined with a attitude that no longer keeps me in the dark. 

I changed my diet and everything changed for me. No more dairy or sugar. No bread. I should say for the most part I have cut out all of those. Every once in a while I can't pass up bread and a fountain soda just calls my name and I answer with a nice slurp of the straw. But when you learn your body you learn so much about what works and what doesn't. Yoga was a big part of my healing journey. 

I've had surgeries and illnesses that have challenged me greatly. I could say that each day is a journey. I wake up not knowing what to expect. I make plans with my hubs, children, or grands and have to cancel because my body is just saying, "There is no way that's happening today". Sometimes I can push myself and I overcome. Others, I spend days in bed with crocheting, books, paper and pens, and my Bible. This is where my journey has taken a whole new vision. I've learned to see the sunshine beyond the cloud cover. Sometimes you just have to look past your pain, past your circumstances and see blessings in disguise. God brings us treasures in the most unexpected places and many of those blessings I'd have missed if I'd not changed my focus off my self pity and unto the Lord. 

We are never going to blossom if we can't see past our circumstances. Part of our growing into who God has called us to be is seeing that it isn't always about us. It's looking past ourselves and realizing that with God there's always a way. He always has something for us to see, to learn, to carry for the journey ahead. And you know what? Don't let anyone tell you that your crazy! You keep visiting doctors until you find the one who is willing to go the extra mile and figure you out. I have been so blessed with wonderful doctors who truly cared. It just took me a while to find them. 

I am blessed to have a husband who understands. He has been with me. He knows. He's seen me at my worst and best. Not everyone understands. But I've learned I can't tear myself up about that. If people love me they understand and they will be there for me. I can't beat myself up because I can't go somewhere or do something I've had planned for weeks. I'm broken when I wake up and realize it just isn't going to happen. But I've come to learn that God has other plans for me and if I open my eyes, ears, and most of all my heart, I'm going to be blessed beyond measure. 

Sometimes realizing that we all have limits gives us great clarity. What I can't do, the Lord will work out. And I have to learn to depend upon Him and Him alone to carry me and set me above the pain and illness. 

A few weeks ago I had the worst asthma attack I've ever had. It lasted about an hour and half. My inhaler just wasn't doing it's job. This just happens to be a winter where I have battled sickness for most of it. My hubs sat next to me, never leaving my side. Hubs was ready to get me to the ER, but it passed. Praise Jesus! I've learned not to rush and give myself time to overcome. That has been a huge lesson for me. We often want quick results and it just doesn't always happen that way. 

Attitude is everything. I could list all of my ailments and share that each day something new comes, but what is better is that I share with you that life is more than the chronic illness. I am not defined by my illnesses. If my attitude is God centered no matter what I'm doing the best I can and I know and trust He is going to get me through. If I'm self centered all I can see is the pain and nothing but ugly comes from that. I remind myself that even on my worst of days it is another's best of days. Another huge lesson. 

We are all broken in some way. Some ways we can see and others we can't. But something we can do is share. We can be honest in our struggles and allow other people to know they aren't the only one facing issues that no one wants to admit. We all like to share we are strong and we overcome, but let's just be honest. Some days just suck. They just do and if we don't have people surrounding us who encourage and inspire us we can end up in places that are dark and alone. If anything has come of my chronic illnesses it's that I've grown more compassionate and grace-filled toward others. I'm a huge mercy, but struggling with illness has brought me even closer to a place of love and sharing. 

Friends, don't beat yourself up. Life does that enough. Make sure you surround yourself with positive and loving people who will support you. And be there for others when you can. When we can't venture out and actually do things, we can do something even more powerful. We can broaden our prayer life and pray for those who we know are struggling. We can send cards and texts. Call people and just give an encouraging word. 

When we open ourselves up to others and we walk honestly we become light-bearers to the world. When we are weak we can find our strength in Jesus. He is the Healer, the great Physician. 

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. and not only that. bit we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:1-5

"And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Celebrating our Silver Anniversary

Wow! The silver anniversary! 25 years of marriage for hubs and I. We celebrated our anniversary on February 14th. Yes, the romantic Valentines Day. 

My hand fits perfectly inside my husband's hand. I love how God does that. Don't you? We are so opposite, but yet we are the perfect fit. 

I always said I would never marry a farm boy. Haha! That's exactly what this girl did at the age of 23. 

I was living in the country with my two girls. I had just recently given birth to my baby girl when hubs and I had met. She was four months old. I sure wasn't looking for a man to fill my life. In fact I wanted to be as far away from men as I could possibly be. My heart had been crushed and trusting men was far from anything I could perceive. 

My now husband was recently divorced and had two children also. He wasn't looking either. I love how God brings the unexpected and somehow everything fits together in His perfect timing. He knew exactly where each of us were and just where we needed to be. 

I was visiting my mom and my now hubs was visiting his uncle. He had been deer hunting all weekend. I can still see his black hair, curled underneath his camouflage hat. He was decked out in camouflage and had his brown hunting boots on. Yes, 25 years later I can still picture it perfectly. 

His uncle was friends with my mom and her boyfriend. His uncle says to him, "Are you seeing anyone?" Hubs replies a quick, "Nope. There doesn't seem to be many good women out there." His uncle replies, "Well, I know where a pretty one is and she's perfect for you. Would you like to go meet her?" Of course, hubs with nothing to lose says, "Well, I suppose we could go visit". 

Now, I know nothing of this visit. They didn't call first. So here I am with my cut off sweat pants and a sweat shirt that has spit up on the front. My hair is pulled up on my head like some sort of a bird's nest. I had been at my mother's house all day and was just about ready to travel back home. 

There's a knock at the door and here they are entering the living room. He was so handsome in his camouflage. There was something about his green eyes. My girls took to him like they had known him forever. He picks up my littlest, Whitney, and is bouncing her around. To my horror she spits up all over him and down his back! Most men would have thrown a fit. Not him. He laughed and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He wasn't in a hurry to give her back. We got him cleaned up and our visit continued for a while. 

He and his uncle left and I stood there with my mom with Whitney on my hip and Ashley at my side and said, "I'm gonna marry that guy". My mom looks at me as if I've lost my gourd and says, "What? I doubt you ever see him again". It was just three days later I received a call from him. We would be going on our first date.

Get ready. We were married four months later. LOL I know, right? Pretty quick for two people who didn't see a relationship in their future. But God did and He placed us right in the perfect spots at the perfect time. I look back in awe of all God did to bring us together. 

My hubs had journeyed with the Lord since he was thirteen years old and here I was not knowing Him at all. But He sure knew me. He knew this man would love me for all the years to come and I would come to know Jesus through my hubs tender heart. 

Two years later we had our son. Our family was to be complete. It's amazing to look back and see all that we accomplished. We raised five beautiful children together and now we have three glorious grandchildren who light up our lives and somehow get us to do things we would have never done with our own children. LOL

Life wasn't always easy. In fact there were some ugly years. Years that I didn't know if we would make it or not. My hubs had a temper. He carried such anger. I can tell you I've never known a father to fight for his children as my husband fought for his. But this anger carried over and there were quite a few years where I just wasn't sure. In my unsure heart I began praying. I knew I couldn't change my husband. Only Jesus could. And He did. Today my husband is the most gentle man I know. He has grown to be such a godly man. A man that still stirs my heart when I see him. 

Neither of us were perfect. Goodness, we still are not perfect in any way, only through Jesus. He changed us. He molded us. He kept us together and He answered prayer after prayer. He took two messed up people and created something beautiful and lasting. Only God can change us. We often think we can 'fix' one another and change each other into what we want. Nope. It doesn't work that way. God takes His time and molds us, using every possible life lesson to bring us to where He wants us to be. 

With each passing year we grew not only as believers, but we grew closer together. We are still growing. This man that has blessed my life kisses me daily and forever tells me I'm the most beautiful woman in the world. He takes my hand and walks side by side me. 

So many years of chronic illness has blasted me, but I have never once been alone. My husband has always been there to take care of me. He has carried me in the door many times. He has held my hair back when I've been sick. He would drive miles just to get me what I needed. I guess you could say I too have taken care of my hubs. I believe he would tell you so. There is something magical when you put your spouse first. When you just go out of your way to make their day and to make them realize how loved they truly are. 

There have been times where we have butted heads, but for the most part we have simply knocked ourselves out letting the other know just how special they are. So each year at Valentines Day we don't really go overboard and do something outlandish. Why? Because we don't wait for one day a year to come along and tell each other how much we love one another. We do so every day. Every opportunity given we show one another how great our love is. So, yes, we celebrate our love daily in the actions of simply loving each other beyond our expectations.

What I have loved about our family is that we never allowed people to refer to our kids as half or step brothers and sisters. We were family and that was that. We were complete in every way. 

We forgive and we talk things out. We rarely disagree now. We have just grown so close. I tell you this man can tell you my thoughts before I ever speak them. He can look at me when no one else can tell and know that it's a day I'm not feeling good. 

There's something about a farm boy and a city girl at heart. Coming together we share our loves and we enjoy life together. He comes to the museum with me and walks through the zoo and I spend hours with him in the woods deer and turkey hunting. He has become a lover of reading and me, I've become a lover of everything he enjoys. Somehow God has brought us to truly becoming one and friends, that's a love that is forever lasting. 

To Live Is Christ by Beth Moore

Beth Moore writes timeless. Her books can touch our hearts and give us room to explore our journey with Christ. She shares transparent and gives the reader more than one could expect. Every time I close a Beth Moore book I know I have journeyed, I have learned, and I have grown more like Christ. 

She opens my eyes to new visions and new ways of understanding the Word of God. Here in this excellent book she takes us on a journey with Paul. I can tell you I have learned more about Paul from Beth Moore than any Sunday School class or any sermon. 

This selection is close to the copy of "Paul" by Beth Moore. This is part of a signature series including, Jesus, David, and John. Beautifully written 90 day journey. Take a peek at my review of, "Paul". You too can find , "Paul", at the B&H Publishing Group site. 

These two books are not word for word. But they are very similar. This is more of a study format and the signature series is more of a devotional/study. They are both amazing!! 

This book was printed back in 2008. Don't ever think because a book is printed years before it cannot hold value today. Beth's words are timeless and are so profound they will touch every heart. I know I have been changed by her books and this is a favorite of mine. 

Beth always takes us right to scripture. This is truly a journey with Paul. As I learned about Paul, I learned more about Christ, and therefore I learned more about myself. Oh, how I could relate to Paul in such a new way. Beth brings us to really know him and to see him as if we walked his journey. 

If you would like to journey with Paul this would be a wonderful selection. My book is covered with many notes and pink highlighted words penned by Beth. 

As we learn about Paul we truly see how Jesus moves in the heart of man and how only He can change us to look more like Him. All He needs is a willing heart and the journey of new begins. 

This book was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you. 

Holman HCSB Study Bible Large Print Mahogany LeatherTouch Indexed by B&H Publishing Group

Are you ready for another amazingly beautiful Study Bible?  Here you go! I know, I keep sharing faves, but this one tops the charts for me. It is exquisite! Gotta begin with the Leathertouch. This one is mahogany and it two toned. In the middle of the mahogany is a gorgeous pattern that exemplifies magnificence. I know what you're thinking. But I'm not exaggerating at all. Gorgeous in every way. 

There are two ribbons and this Study Bible is indexed which I LOVE! It is a large Bible, but with the large print and all that this Study Bible holds I wouldn't expect any less from Holman. 

Now for the inside. It just doesn't get any better than this. A Holman Study Bible contains everything you can think of for further learning and embracing a study of the Word. 

We have Greek and Hebrew word studies which are amazing tools in understanding scripture. Once you learn the origin of the word and grasp the original meaning you are on your way to understanding the Word like never before. 

The concordance is outstanding along with the color maps. The comprehensive study notes are outstanding. One could seriously spend hours just reading the study notes and they are of such huge value to understanding scripture. Something I really love about this Study Bible is the charts and reconstructions. I too am excited about the color photos that take us back in time and open our eyes to objects and places that tell so much about the time. 

The timelines are great tools, the essays are all throughout the Bible and touch on every subject. I shouldn't say, touch on. They go deep below the surface and I love that!! The introductions to each Book of the Bible are not only beautiful, but hold a LOT of information. Once we can understand the author and the time and who the Book is written to it gives us a greater understanding, which is why we should be reading the Bible in the first place. Love going deep and a Holman Study Bible will take you there!! 

I encourage you to visit the site of B&H Publishing Group. This is one beautiful Bible, but if this isn't what you're searching for you are sure to find the perfect Bible for you!!

If there was one disadvantage, and it's a small one, it would be that the pages stick together a bit. But this is easy to solve. It only happens once you open your Study Bible for the first time. With patience it's easy to run your fingers across the pages and separate them. Once you take the time to do this it never happens again. I might add that this Study Bible comes beautifully boxed and wrapped. Which makes for a wonderful gift! 


This Study Bible was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Choose To Live Before It's Too Late

Elizabeth's feet touched the chilling wood floor. She ran her fingers through her network of jumbled hair. Sleep was still in her eyes. Another morning waking in the same pajamas. Silence surrounded her. The sun wasn't casting a glow upon the kitchen just yet. Maybe it was. But now everything seemed dark. Would today be any different than yesterday? 

How did she get to this place of nothingness? No longer did coffee perk her senses. She was consumed. She was living and breathing, but there was was just a shell of the woman she was before. She never knew such anger, such devastation, such agony. 

All those cliches she's ever said to anyone comes pounding through her heart each morning. She now understanding how unnerving it was for others to hear such words. She now knows. She will never again use cliches, but she will wrap her arms around the one in need and hold on tightly. With tears streaming down her face she will always say, "I love you. I'm here for you." Those words mean more to her now than any others. 

She's alone. There isn't anymore mud caked at the front door from dirty boots. No loud music to shout down the hall, "Hey, turn that crazy stuff down!" She now wishes she would have left the mud. No, she now wishes she would have put her muck boots on too and danced in the mud. She wishes she would have turned the music up a little louder and enjoyed the sound of life around her. 

That coffee cup that sat next to hers for years is now missing. Oh, the days she wished she could just have time alone. Would he ever learn to pick up his socks and just clean up his sink after shaving. She guessed not. Not now anyway. Now she knows those things didn't matter at all. She misses filling his cup and him asking for more. She'd give anything to buy another pack of socks and underwear for Christmas. 

What's the point of life if we aren't going to allow ourselves to live it? She would never want anyone to feel her pain, but everyone ought to know that living isn't to be taken for granted. To go back and relive the moments she let slip. It seems she was even too busy for herself. How does life get away from us? We never think the impossible will happen to us. 

Her hand fit perfectly in his. Her children fit perfectly in her lap. God gives us those precious gifts and too often we just excuse them and run off to live a busy life not taking time to feel, smell, hear, and taste it all. Why do we wait until there isn't time left? 

Her bruises are almost healed. But it's her heart that needs healing the most. She would rather live with the bruises and have her family back. All it took was a moment. A red light and a car that was in a hurry to keep going. They never even seen him coming. He wasn't paying attention because he was on his phone. He was checking his email to see when his package would be on it's way. Senseless. Life changed in that moment. There was no turning back. 

She could hear sirens. She could see the lights of red and blue spinning along with her head. A man was at her side now. "It's all going to be okay, ma'am. We're going to get you out of here. Just hold on." Those were the last words she remembered. 

Her husband and two children wouldn't be coming home with her. They were now gone from this earth. In the blink of one choice she wouldn't see them again this side of heaven. How will she live? Does she even wish to live? 

Nothing will ever be the same. Every single aspect of her life has changed. Her family was everything to her. Now silence seems like it is drowning her. Choking the breath from her lungs. It burns like fire. "Lord, please quench this pain. Release me from this agony." This is her prayer, but that hole inside of her doesn't want to forget. If she loves how can she choose to forget? If she doesn't forget how will she ever live again? 

Friends, there are people all across our world today facing loss, agony, and facing changing circumstances they never knew possible. Pass a hospital and see the parking lot filled with cars. Each room there is a person who wants to be home. Has loved ones who want them home. 

Each day there are funerals. People wishing they would have had more time. Loved more. Said more. Did more. Wondering just how they will live again. Life is precious. We know this, but why do we wait to give a rose until after the one we love can no longer accept it and admire it with love? Give roses to the living and embrace life with a passion. 

We need to live with intention. Say what needs to be said. Forgive what once hurt, but no longer matters. Now it's just bitterness in a bottle. Take the cap off and release it. Pour out the deep. 

We let division take so much from us. Our hearts fill with such angst and we live hurried lives. We make excuses and pretend we have next week for plans. But too often next week never comes. We wait for the other person to pick up the phone. We wait for a better time. More convenient for us. But somehow time always gets put off and other things get in our way. Stuff. We fill our lives with stuff that will one day only take up space. Space that we will wish could refill with time spent wisely. 

One day Elizabeth will learn to live again and embrace new love into her life. For now she lives moment by moment. Never knowing when the tears will spill over as she falls to her knees. She's no longer outside looking in. She's the one living the nightmare. She's a woman of faith. She knows her Jesus. She calls upon Him now as she never knew she would. No one ever realizes how much we need Jesus until He is all we have. 

Kiss your babies more. Love on your husband more. Do a lot less complaining about what doesn't matter and experience life to the fullest by learning that today, right now, this very moment, is truly all we have. Don't wait to live. 

Connect with those around you. Make an impact. Don't allow work to just be a job. Find the purpose. Live the passion. Open your heart and don't be afraid to live, to forgive, to embrace life. Be silly. Laugh more. Dream big. Live! We are on borrowed time. Our lives are not our own. They belong to the One who paid for us in full. 

You may be Elizabeth today and barely have the strength the pray. The pain is deep and you are surrounded by darkness. Maybe you lived the life of Elizabeth and you know of God's power and gentleness. Share with another how He healed you and brought you through the torment of your pain and loss. If you don't know Elizabeth than live!! Live like you have never lived before. Look around and see your blessings for what they truly are. Give more hugs. Give more time. Give more of yourself. Embrace every moment as if it is your first time experiencing it so that every breath leaves an imprint of lasting love. Don't fill the emptiness with busyness. Fill it with life well lived.

Life Essentials Study Bible Gene A. Getz by B&H Publishing Group

Are you ready to hear about an extraordinary study Bible? If you are a lover of the Word and are searching for additional tools for your study this would be a fantastic addition to your studies! 

This study Bible is unlike any other. In today's technological world this Bible is super cool!! Let me just say this would make for an amazing study Bible for young adults and college age kids who love using their phones. 

If you have wifi or maybe visit your local coffee shop for your morning studies this Bible will be an extra treat for you. 

Okay, I've already said it's unlike any other study Bible. This study Bible is jam-packed with life lessons. Each book contains tons of them. If the Book is bigger there are more life lessons. In the front of the Bible you can find a list of all the topics for the Life Essentials by Dr. Gene A. Getz.  I call them life lessons, but here Dr. Getz calls them Life Essentials and they truly are essential for Christian living. 

So, what's so cool? This Bible is filled with QR codes. Yes, with every topic possible, all you must do is use your camera phone to copy the code and there right on your phone you will find a video of Dr. Getz sharing extra information on the subject. There are over 250 hours of access to Dr. Getz teaching more on these subjects. I find this extraordinary!! What a great new way to study!! Everything is literally at your fingertips. 

There are 1,500 Life Essentials. That's HUGE!!! I encourage you to go to B&H Publishing Group to check out more about this study Bible and go to Amazon and take a peek at all the 5 star reviews on this AMAZING study Bible. 

At the beginning of each book is a list of all the Life Essentials that are included in that Book. But you can also find these topics in the front of the Bible. 

With each Life Essential there is a section of Reflection & Response. Dr. Getz gives a question on the topic being studied for the reader to dig deeper and ponder. 

This is a Holman and is in the HCSB translation. Both are my absolute favorites! When a Life Essential is being shared all the scripture that coordinates with the lesson is highlighted in blue. This gives the reader easy learning. 

The concordance is outstanding as always with a Holman Bible. The maps are bright and in full color. And a tool that I really love is the Bullet Note section which gives us great understanding and definition to words we often look at and pass over without thought. 

Even if you didn't use the QR codes this Bible is outstanding. It's great to have a teacher such as Dr. Getz share so much on subjects that are sometimes confusing. It's easy to study and gives the reader room for the Holy Spirit to move as you open your heart and dig deep. 

You could use this study Bible as a devotional too. It would be easy to pick a subject each day and spend time uncovering the Word as you sip your morning coffee. It too would be great for any teacher or parent looking for additional teachings on topics of every kind. These Life Essentials are those things we face daily. If we aren't facing them at the moment we know someone who is. What an amazing way to show a friend the Word of God. 

This copy is bonded leather and indexed. The indexed gives an added easiness to finding the Books of the Bible and the bonded leather is rich. 

If you are leading a class at church this would be a fantastic Bible to gain a vast amount of Biblical teaching that will only lead to deeper studies in the Word. 

This study Bible is truly a new experience to diving into the Word!!

This Study Bible was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you.

Dr. Gene Getz is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and earned advanced degrees from Wheaton Graduate School and New York University. He served as a professor at Moody and Dallas Theological Seminary and then became a church planting pastor, launching the Fellowship Bible Church Movement. He is heard daily on Renewal Radio and has authored over 60 books. 

Journey Day by Day: Living Life Well (A Walk Through The Bible Devotional) by B&H Publishing Group

Now here is a different type of devotional. This is absolutely lovely. Not only is this a jump start to your day with a fresh cup of coffee, but this could be a great tool for a Sunday school teacher, a leader, or any type of class where ladies meet. Maybe you meet each week for quilting or crocheting with friends. Sharing coffee with girlfriends once a month would be a treat with this little gem. 

One page, one for each day of the year, every topic possible that touches our lives today, is perfect for women of all ages. 

Each devotional begins with a scripture and then the devotional is a personal story. I LOVE this in every way! We all have a story and I promise you will find your story within this devotional. It's personal and intimate. Stories friends would share over coffee. Stories that allows us to know we aren't the only one. That's a lonely place to be. But here in this sweet devotional we see there are women just like us who are simply striving to be Jesus girls in a world that isn't easy and isn't always nice. 

This too would make a great gift. These are sweet stories that touch the heart and make one ponder. You don't have to stop at just one. You would spend a few hours, an afternoon, or just a quick story to begin your morning or end your evening. They are encouraging and refreshing. Uplifting and inspiring. You are not the only one facing circumstances that seem impossible to touch the lives of others. There are women who relate and understand and in this devotional you will find many!! 

This devotional was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Jesus 90 Days With The One And Only by Beth Moore

WOW! I know, that's a mighty big wow, but Beth Moore blesses me in every single book and study. This woman of God is on fire. When you pick up a book penned by Beth, well, you simply just want some of what she's got! And she's got Jesus, girls!

I  have been blessed to review this entire signature series and what a series it is. This latest review is, Jesus 90 Days With the One and Only. Yes, this comes from Beth's previous book Jesus The One and Only, which I too have read and loved! They are not exact word for word. This is more a devotional/study. A 90 day journey with Jesus. It's like grabbing coffee with Beth and talking about Jesus. It's intimate and inviting.

The books in this series are beautiful in every way. This one has a red ribbon and the words are in red on top of a cream print. It has my favorite pages. You know them. The frilly edges that make it feel old and warm to the soul.

Beth begins each study with scripture. She asks two pondering questions and then shares a devotional/study. She always ends each day with a prayer that impacts the heart. She simply prays the Word and makes it personal. I LOVE that about Beth's studies.

You can find this series in Paul, David, John, and Jesus. Each are powerful studies that brought me closer to understanding not only the person, but the Word and most of all, our Savior. I love how Beth brings scripture to the forefront of each lesson. Beth writes pure and with passion. She shares her love of Jesus by sharing with us His life and the lives of those that knew Him, loved Him, and gave their lives for Him.

In this journey Beth takes us through the Book of Luke. We travel a few other places like Matthew and Mark. This study isn't time consuming. But you know what? Once you begin reading you are going to want to continue the journey and Beth encourages the reader to dive deeper. The more you read the more you learn. The more we learn, well, the more we grow. The more time I spend in these studies the more I long for the Word of God. These have truly impacted my life. My love of the Word has grown to new heights. 

If you're searching for a great study I encourage you to take a peek at B&H Publishing Group. You are sure to find something that will impact your walk with Jesus. 

This study by Beth Moore was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you. 

Beth Moore is a writer and teacher of best-selling books and Bible studies whose public speaking engagements carry her all over the United States. A dedicated wife and mother of two adult daughters, Moore lives in Houston, Texas, where she is president and founder of Living Proof Ministries.

Rise by Trip Lee

Not just for twenty-somethings!! If I could rate this book as a ten I would do so. Outstanding!! My son got me to listening to Trip Lee and Lecrae. I know what you're thinking, but wow, I LOVE their music!! 

So when I seen this book for review I thought about my son. I asked him if he had heard of it and of course he had. I just had to review it. I can tell you that I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed this amazing book! I sat down and began reading and didn't get up until I was turning the last page. 

My son say, "Yeah, mom, I'd love to go to his church and sit under his teaching." That's pretty awesome for another twenty-something to connect with another in such a great way. 

I can tell you that the title, "Rise", is perfect for the wisdom that you'll find inside these pages. By the time you're finished reading this book you will want to get up and "Rise" for you're Jesus!! 

This is empowering in such a way because Trip is nothing but real. He shares not just from his heart and experience, but from his love for the Lord and all that He has taught him in his journey with Christ. 

The forward is written by John Piper so that should give you an idea of just how impactful this book is! He is engaging and so inviting. He isn't preachy over young people. He is relating to them because he is one and he too knows the struggles of being a young person today. 

This is a book that every young person needs to read. It would be awesome for a youth group or a Sunday School class for young men and women. But...this is a book that EVERY Bible believer should read. Seriously. It's that good! I was so challenged and inspired by this young man. Truly. He's one of those guys I'm sure you would just love to simply talk about Jesus while you shared coffee. 

If you could see my book you would just see a book almost entirely highlighted. Some of the chapters that encouraged me are, Are you one of those Christians?  Be a Real Member, The Grey Rule, and There are no super-Christians. 

"Showing compassion is one of the clearest ways we can visibly show people what the gospel looks like."

"Often we miss the beautiful image bearers who are all around us. Our hearts are so filled with self that there's no room left for compassion. The eyes of our hearts never get a chance to look out upon the world because they're too captivated by what they see in the mirror. It's like when a man sees a beautiful woman and she captures his attention in such a way that he doesn't see anybody or anything else. Many of us seem to have that same attraction, only it's to our own lives and ourselves."

"The world despises hypocrisy, and so does Jesus. Let's rise above that. Let's be sin-admitting, Christ-trusting, people-loving believers. Let's show the world another picture of what it means to follow Christ. Let's love people even when they don't love us." 

"A Christian's job is to live in such a way that shows off the real Jesus, the all-powerful, almighty, sinner-loving King of the universe."

"Our world is messed up. And even though death is wrong, it's real. It's now how it's supposed to be, but it's how it is for now. One day Jesus will kill death for good, but until then death is a reality for every single one of us. And before death even gets to us, a million smaller wrongs will have already encountered us."

"There are times when godly people you respect will give you counsel you disagree with. We should always seek to be faithful to God and ask that He would give us wisdom. But we should tread carefully and not take going against counsel lightly."

"Age does not equal wisdom."

"One of our problems is that we think we belong to ourselves. Our assumption is that we are the masters of our lives and we get to make all the big decisions. That's a myth. I belong to God. First, because He created me (Ps. 139:13), and second, because He purchased me (1 Cor. 6:19-20). And that has serious implications for how I invest each hour of my day. I don't have the right to rob God of time."

"When you pretend to be super-holy, all it does is increase that insecurity in others. It fuels the lie they tell themselves, that they're the only ones who are this messed up. Instead of fueling that myth, you should be honest about your sin." 

I could go on and on sharing, but better yet, you should just grab up this book and read it for yourselves. I'm gonna hand this book over to my son now and pray for him as he reads this powerful words that they will impact his life in a powerful way. 

This book was a gift from Thomas Nelson for sharing my review with you. 

Trip Lee is an author, hip-hop artist, pastor, and thought leader. He regularly preaches and teaches at Christian conferences and events and has performed his music for thousand of listeners around the world. As a critically acclaimed hip-hop artist, Trip has won a Steller Award and been nominated for several Dove Awards. His latest album is entitled Rise. He and Jessica, his wife of five years, have two young children. BUILTTOBRAG.COM @TRIPLEE

The Holman HCSB Study Bible for Women, Teal/Sage LeatherTouch by B&H Publishing Group

Okay ladies, if you are searching for a new study Bible this is my pick for my favorite Bible for women. Holman study Bibles are the best of the best. There is nothing that compares. I have study Bibles in HCSB and NKJV translation, but this Bible is special. It's created for women. 

It isn't exactly like a Holman HCSB Study Bible. This Study Bible gives us a guide to the women of the Bible. This is the first Bible I turn to when I'm studying and for my daily reading. 

First let me say the inside of this Bible is gorgeous!! Take a peek at the B&H Publishing Group for a look at the inside pages. It is a creamy/teal color all throughout the Bible. One of my favorite aspects is the word study. This is huge in studying the Word of God. The word studies give information on the Hebrew/Greek/Aramaic translations so that it's easy for us to comprehend. 

Another favorite of mine are the character profiles. This too is another amazing tool in studying the Word. When we know the backgrounds and personalities of those we are reading about it gives us a greater insight in understanding and we are able to relate to them even more so. 

There are amazing outlines and the introductions to the Books of the Bible are outstanding. 

I LOVE the Doctrine studies. You can find these all throughout the Bible. They are helpful in allowing us to have a greater understanding of the foundational beliefs of Christianity. 

There are hard questions throughout the Bible along with answers. These are questions that often stump us in our walk. We need to know and understand why we believe what we believe and these hard questions guides us to scripture and a greater understanding of how to answer others when the world asks us questions that we ourselves often ponder. "Can we be certain that there is an afterlife? What about reincarnation or nirvana, for example? Are we responsible for confessing another's sin? How could a just God command His people to destroy a nation? Why are we not to consult fortune-tellers? How can I trust a God who has allowed such terrible things to happen to people? And many many more questions. 

There too are essays on Biblical Womanhood. These include topics on Spiritual Motherhood, The Ministry of Hospitality, Marriage, The Judgement on the Woman, and many more. This Bible is jam-packed with great tools!

The concordance is outstanding and there are Bullet Notes for understanding the definition for words that we often pass over. 

There are a ton of features to this Bible. The charts, maps, and reconstructions are outstanding!! 

If you are searching for a Women's Study Bible this is the best! There are many colors to choose from. I have the chocolate genuine leather indexed and that is my favorite Bible. It is truly spectacular. So now all you have to do is pick out the color perfect for you. Really, this is one of those Bibles that you just love spending time in and one you would love to share. 

This women's study Bible was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Still Life by Christa Parrish

This novel is complex. The title says much about the story line. A photo can sometimes say much more than words or actions. But even that still life photo says much about what's not there. Even as life as captured in still life, life never ceases to move forward. 

This novel captures the story of lives connected through the death of one man. We get to know quite a few characters and Christa goes above and beyond of allowing us to know them just as if they were friends or family in our own lives. She writes in such a way that the reader can relate to the characters in one way or another. 

First I would like to say what I loved about the novel was the realness. The characters were raw and nothing pretended. We see the depth of who they are. Their actions tell a great deal about them. Their past gives us a glimpse of just who they are today. Another aspect I like is that we see them grow. 

The main character, Ada, steps out of all she has ever known and captures what life truly is about. Living in the moment and being able to express one's heart and connect with others. This she learns from her husband Julian. 

Of all the characters it is Julian that I most admire. His character is unveiled to show nothing but his love for the Lord and how he lived says much about his relationship with his Savior. 

Sadly, he is basically the only character that I truly liked. The one that I would be honored to call friend. Ada too fits in that category. We see what happens when tragedy strikes and hits Ada hard. Only married for five months, but those five months were like a lifetime to her. She was very dependent upon her husband. She has lived a very sheltered and almost abandoned life behind the lies of her father who calls himself a prophet. 

When Julian dies in the crash his friends step forward and try to help Ada. Each seeming to have their own relationship with Julian. We meet a whole new family connected to Julian giving up his seat on the plane. Katherine and Will. Funny how God is always working to bring us to see the light of every issue in our lives and He often uses others to show us just where we need to be. There is never just happenstance. God is forever working in our lives. We just have to make the choice of whether we choose to see or not. 

I loved seeing Ada grow and take a chance. She comes to know her husband even more so and we see the impact he was able to make upon her life and from that she too is now living out a life that will lead her to new places. 

Christa's novel flows easily. Her writing is superb. As I shared this is a complex story, but for me it wasn't a favorite. 

This novel was a gift from Thomas Nelson for sharing my review with you. 

Christa Parrish is the author of five novels, including the 2009 ECPA Book of the Year Watch Over Me and the Christy Award-winning Stones for Bread. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, writer and pastor Chris Coppernoll. They have four children in their blended family. Facebook: Christa-Parrish Twitter: @breakingthesea

HCSB Study Bible, Black Genuine Leather Indexed by B&H Publishing Group

Wow!! Are you looking for an awesome study Bible? Look no further. This HCSB Study Bible is so amazing! I love sharing all the different Bibles from Holman. There is literally a Bible for everyone. Every type and every color! 

This HCSB Study Bible is black genuine leather with a light silver trim edging on the pages. This is truly a beautiful Bible. 

What I love about the HCSB Study Bible is that it contains everything one needs to dive deep and learn and grow from God's Word. This Study Bible contains comprehensive study notes, maps in full color, charts, reconstructions, and what I truly love the Hebrew/Greek word studies. It contains the best concordance I've ever seen. The introduction for each Book of the Bible gives the reader such a vast array of information you have a clear portrait of the time and meaning. This is huge in studying God's Word. Being able to go deep means growth and inspiration in the Christian walk. 

This would make for such a beautiful gift. I love the black leather. Soft to the touch but extremely sturdy. As with every Holman Bible there is a lifetime guarantee. That's pretty extraordinary! 

The timelines are superb as are the color maps! Truly the best of the best. The introduction pages are beautiful in every way. The titles throughout the Bible are in bold blue print and the study notes are extensive. 

Your Bible will come beautifully packaged. When it arrives I must tell you that the pages stick together just a bit. But it's okay. With a bit of patience you can easily get them unstuck and enjoy your new gem of God's Word. They will never stick again once you make your way through the Bible. 

You cannot go wrong with a Holman Study Bible. I encourage you to visit B&H Publishing Group to find the perfect Bible for you! I promise you will love your new Bible! 

This Study Bible was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you. 

Holman Study Bible: NKJV Large Print Edition, Saddle Brown LeatherTouch Indexed by B&H Publishing Group

This Study Bible is released in February 2015. I am so excited to be able to share this beautiful study Bible with you. Holman is the best of the best. I have yet to find a Bible that I loved more. 

Let's talk about the outside first. This Bible is extraordinary! The colors are gorgeous. It is indexed which makes each Book of the Bible super easy to find. This is the saddle/brown LeatherTouch which is very sturdy and of course with a Holman Bible you have a lifetime guarantee. That's pretty amazing! The outer pages have a gold leaf trim which even adds to it's beauty. 

This study Bible is in the NKJV translation. Next to the HCSB this translation is my favorite. Love studying from both of these translations. 

The print is large and bold which I LOVE! Makes for easy reading. The pages are white. Each Book of the Bible has an awesome introduction. These introductions are so important to understanding the Word. They give us the information we need about the time period, who wrote the Book, the Message and purpose, and so much more. The maps and photos are in bright, full color. This is an aspect that I truly enjoy. The photos throughout the Bible give the reader an interesting glimpse into the time period and people we are studying about. The commentary and concordance are extraordinary. The concordance is probably the largest I've seen in a study Bible. There are many essays that are helpful tools to understanding the Word of God. Articles give an extra plus in diving into the Word even further. I really like the timelines. It's clear and precise. Giving the reader every possible tool they need for understanding God's Word. 

What I love about the Holman NKJV is that the Words of Jesus are highlighted in red. The only thing that I can see different from the NKJV Study Bible and the HCSB is that the NKJV doesn't have the Greek/Hebrew word study. With this Bible the pages, although they are sturdy, sometimes can stick together. But sitting down with a bit of patience it's easy to get them apart and once you do so you never have to worry about them sticking again. 

If you enjoy reading the NKJV and are looking for a Study Bible this is best! It's one you will truly love reading. If you happen to be searching for another type of study Bible or a different color take a peek at B&H Publishing Group and you are sure to find the perfect Bible for you. 

This Study Bible was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Love That Cannot Be Contained

Lord, Your love is so big it cannot be contained. That's a mighty love! A love that we cannot comprehend. 

"So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net." And when they had done this, caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!" For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men." So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him."" Luke 5:1-11

My dad taught me to fish. I didn't just learn to fish. I loved to fish. My dad made fishing special. He shared his passion with me and together it was something special. Something bigger than me, bigger than life itself. As a little girl that's exactly how I felt. Nothing was impossible for my dad. 

As I'm now grown I know that it is my heavenly Father who does the impossible. Go back in time with me. See the fishermen there. A long night of fishing came up empty. The nets were cast, patience awaited, but nothing came. They were tired and I'm sure ready to head home, but there before them is Jesus. He sees an empty boat and steps inside. Now everything is about to change. I find this extraordinary. He didn't have to step into their boat. He could have simply stood at the shoreline, but he knew. He knew what would get their attention. 

These buddies, these partners are washing their nets. They catch a glimpse of Him inside their boat. Can you hear Jesus calling them over? I can see them pondering just who in the world got into their boat! Ah, there's Simon and Jesus happens to be in his boat. 

From the boat Jesus preaches to the crowd and from there He finishes and tells Simon to head out and let down the nets. If that were me and my dad I would have been telling him, "Dad, I have been fishing all night and I'm tired and wet and I just wanna go home. Can't you see I didn't catch a single fish? I know how to fish. There just aren't any." That's the thing with being young. You kind of think you already know everything. I had so much more to learn and here we see Jesus is about to teach these fishermen a whole new way to fish. 

So many fish their nets were breaking. Can you imagine? We limit our God so much. Don't we? I know I do. James and John were astonished at what they were seeing. Okay, today we might say that they were blown away at all the fish in the nets. I think Jesus just taught them a thing or two about how to fish. Just when we think we've got the lesson, He's there to teach more in depth. With Jesus there's always more to learn. 

In just this moment faith was born for these fishermen. They seen something far beyond what they could have ever imagined. What does it take for us? We expect so much from Jesus, but our problem is that we are unwilling to follow. We're unwilling to put in the work and listen to Him. We don't much like following direction, but look what happens when we obey and move where He calls us. The impossible happens and there before us a love that is so big that it cannot be contained. 

It takes courage to follow. It takes humility to learn. We must make the choice to live the passion that Jesus has instilled in us. These fishermen were growing a legacy. Their Father was teaching them life lessons. Lessons bigger than they could comprehend, but Jesus loved them so much He wasn't willing to just leave them as they were. He was about to grow a faith bigger than any catch these men could possibly dream about. 

Friends, don't be afraid to cast your nets. Don't fear the long, hard work ahead of you. Life isn't easy. It takes patience and love to cast out and wait. We believe with a mighty hope. Jesus isn't finished with His catch just yet. There's so much more to learn and so many more to reach.

What could a Carpenter teach these fishermen? {Everything}

Step out in faith and be ready for God to show you a mighty catch that will blow you away. 


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