Wednesday, November 08, 2017

The Magnolia Story

 
 
I finished The Magnolia Story this week. 
 
It was a great fast read that was a bit of a refreshing change and perspective on things.  I really liked seeing how God worked in their story.  

Monday, November 06, 2017

The Heart of Marriage

I finished this book over the weekend.
 
It was an excellent quick read.  I marked several of the essays that were convicting, thought provoking or particularly insightful that I might want to share or refer back to. 
 


I want to be a good wife for my husband.  I want to be a better wife than I am now, and I want to be a Godly wife with a sound marriage rooted in faith.  
 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

"The Glory of the Lord'

Forgiveness comes from who God is, not who we are or what we do.

God goes with us just as he went with the Israelites.  We have the Holy Spirit as our guide.

Jesus is our sun; he is our light we should reflect in the world.

Sermon notes.  Based on scripture from Exodus 33:12-23.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Pray Like Jesus

I finished reading Pray Like Jesus; Rediscovering the Lord's Prayer by Don Underwood last night.  It was an excellent read, and has introduced a few things to me that I am trying to implement in my daily life.  It takes something that is so commonly recited and makes you think about the words that come from memory and apply them to my life and thoughts.  It made it so much more than just something we say during church every Sunday into something I'm trying to say daily now. 

I'm praying it with my girls so they will learn it too. 

Do I get tired of waiting on God to answer?  Our culture, myself included, has instant expectations. 

We must keep God in the center of our lives and trust him.

God changed his mind in the story of Moses and the Israelites.  He didn't kill them all, he just didn't allow them to the promised land.

Our choices matter.  We can change God's mind.  Everything is not pre-determined by God; we have free will.

We must share our stories with each other and give God the credit.

My notes above are scattered from this past week's sermon.  The scripture was from Exodus 32: 1-14. 

There are no coincidences.

Our Pastor said this to me Sunday during our church service, and I have to agree.  There are far too many things that are aligned so perfectly in teaching and lessons that only God's perfect timing could create. 

I was the liturgist Sunday and after I finished reading the scripture, I sat down to say; part of this scripture is the same that I taught the past week in ROCK group.  And she said "there are no coincidences."

The first several Sundays she preached at our church, our Sunday School lessons and our sermon lessons matched so very well.  She was taking scripture from the Old Testament, our lessons in Sunday School were from the New Testament. 

God you know when we need to hear the same message over and over to learn; thank you for continuing to provide us the opportunities. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fear

Just a snippet from the (in)courage blog I read today by Tiffany Parry.

"There is only one fear that can erase all the rest: the fear of God."
Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. (Philippians 2:12)

http://www.incourage.me/2017/10/one-fear-erases-rest.html

Monday, October 02, 2017

"Words to Live By"

This week's sermon text was from Exodus 21:1-4, 7-9, 12-20.

My notes are a bit more scattered.  It was communion Sunday so my focus was dividing between listening to the service and keeping the kiddos in line!

The notes I did take centered around putting God first, loving others and forgiveness. 

Put God first.  We try to earn out way to God, but we are incapable.  We need GRACE.  We don't deserve GRACE; grace isn't fair.

The church is about relationships.  The 10 commandments are a tool to help. 

It is about what we think, not just what we do.  We can't follow the rules alone and be successful.  We need a SAVIOR.  We must never stop forgiving.  As we never stop receiving forgiveness. 

Forgiveness makes us like Jesus.

Love God.  Love Others.

Love Your Neighbor.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

"Grumbling is NOT a spritual gift."

The sermon this past week was about spiritual gifts, grace, and happiness.  The scripture reading was from Exodus 17:1-7. 

In the sermon she expanded the title to not just include grumbling, but judging, whining, etc.  Spiritual gifts do include teaching, preaching, prophecy and administration. 

Our memories fail us.  They were wondering and complaining through the desert and reminiscing about how good they had things in Egypt.  We tend to remember the good and forget the bad.  We are just as whiney today.  Life still isn't perfect.  Our forgetfulness leads to anxiety and leads us away from faithfulness.

We focus on what we don't have, instead of what we do have. 

Faith is trusting without proof.

Even our complaining is listened to by God, and He always returns it with GRACE.  Grace is getting what we don't deserve.  We can't earn it.  We get it anyway.  Let us remember how great is our God's GRACE.

Happiness is wanting what you have and being content. 

Count your blessings; it is a cure for

Monday, September 25, 2017

Our Daily Bread

This is sermon notes from September 17.

One of our scripture readings for the day was from Philippians 2:12-13. 

"Therefore, my dear friends,  as you have always obeyed-not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence-continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose."

The sermon scripture was from Exodus 16:2-15. 

Her main questions for the day were:

"How much is enough?  Do we trust God to give us enough?"

We feel we never have enough = lack of trust.  When we hoard and gather, we lack trust in God's provision.  We must also recognize his provisions.  Do we trust god to provide all out daily needs?  Including food, shelter, love relationships, service?  We all hold onto things in place of trusting God.  We need to focus on what we NEED, not what we WANT and we must SHARE from our abundance.

F.R.O.G. - Fully Rely On God

Personally, I think she made excellent points, but I struggled with the concept when it comes to a big picture in our world.  As I tried to digest this, I though big pictures in our world today.  I believe we have good people with great faith that are living in dire circumstances and struggling every day.  Sharing for our abundance is the start, but people die of starvation daily.  Maybe I am ignorant to my knowledge of the details here, but I would imagine some of these deaths are Christians with great faith.  All their needs are met in salvation with death, but it just didn't quite sit right with my as I thought through this sermon.

I defiantly need to trust God more, rely on his for more, and I could share more too.  But does this sermon carry over to all our Christian brothers and sisters?  Maybe it doesn't and maybe that is okay.  Maybe this was intended for just our congregation and is entirely accurate for such. 

I just needed to think through it to wrap my mind around the concepts!

Barn Kitties

We have welcomed two kittens into the Haynes place. They are barn cats and will stay outside, but the kids love them!

Their names are Diamond and Butterscotch.

The Impossible Dream

These are sermon notes from September 10th.

September is historically a hectic month because of the fair, but add in a work event, a live-in grandma on vacation a week, and house guests for grandma during the fair and this September stepped up the chaos!

I've kept my notes; I've wanted to capture the thoughts.  I wish I had better prioritized this time in place of other things, but grace. :)

My notes this week actually started with the children's sermons when she talked about miracles.  She has carried this talk of miracles through the next couple weeks too.  But she defined a miracle as a thing we can't explain.  Then she challenged the kids to look for the miracles.  I accepted the challenge too.  I had just recently read a book or article about wanting to see God's work and miracles and we will begin to see his work everywhere.  I think I even wrote about this in my journal. 

The sermon text was then from Exodus 14:19-31 and the sermon was titled "The Impossible Dream."

We started by talking again about miracles.  It was the parting of the Red Sea.  Regardless of how you explain the parting of the Red Sea, by Moses hand, by wind and low depths of water, etc.  It is STILL miraculous.  It still happened in God's wonderful timing to save just the right people and not their enemies!  God brought that wind; God knew the timing.

God created science!

God's miracles are all about timing.  Humans want to explain it all, but we must have FAITH.  The more we learn about science, the more we know there had to be a God because it is AMAZING. 

It took great faith for the Israelites not to turn back when they got their freedom.  Here in the US, slaves commonly stayed and were then 'paid' for their work.  They didn't leave immediately. 

And to include some current events in the world, September is certainly a part of hurricane season.  Pastor touched on Hurricanes as well.  She mentioned that we have probably all heard things at one point of another that Hurricane's are part of God's judgment.  No.  Hurricane's aren't God's judgment.  They are not only killing bad people; they are destructing good and bad. 

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Workout

Cutest workout buddy!

Do you need help?

When we moved to this house earlier this year, our new refrigerator had an icemaker and water dispenser in the door.

Ruthie loves to come "help" when I'm filling a glass. She puts her hands on the glass and stands there and holds it with me until we're done. Then she picks up any ice cubes that a following runs and puts them in the doggy dish for us.

Quote

I read this quote on a blog from Kristen Welch the other day.  I wrote it down, and now I'm writing it here to remember.

"The body of Christ is the world's disaster relief plan. "

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

"Lamb of God"

Sunday's sermon was titled "Lamb of God."  The scripture was from Exodus 12:1-14. 

She started with a tough question. "What determines life?"  Breath?  Brain function? Heartbeat?  (She didn't answer the question, but reminded us that in the scripture, breath is linked to life.  The breath of life.  But that when someone passes, the cessation of the heartbeat is the time of death.  In the time of Moses, blood was essential to live. 

She posed other tough questions in the sermon this week too.  "Do we give God our first and best? Or leftovers?"  I know I probably rarely give my first and best unfortunately.  I'd like to be better, but I can't quite get there. 

Then we talked about the Passover, that very first Passover.  God knew who his people were.  He knows who his people are now.  Why do you think he wanted the blood on the doorframe, and the eating while standing with bags packed, and so on?  He wants our obedience.  He knew the Israelites from the Egyptians, but he wanted their obedience.  And he wants out obedience now. 

What are we willing to leave or give for God?  What do we have to sacrifice?  Our lives.  Our hearts.  We had talked about this in Sunday School more extensively before the sermon and we've talked about it before too.  Would we be willing to drop everything and go if called?  My point has been that rarely would we wake up one morning and be called to leave that day.  I think God more commonly gently guides us on a path that leads up there if we bravely follow him.  We just need to take the next step.  Yet, I imagine God has his own ways and sometimes it is immediate.  We must give our lives.  Our hearts.  I must give my life, and my heart to God. 

We must love one another, and live like we do love one another.  Then we are sharing God's love.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Becoming More

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst

This was an excellent book. In the beginning I thought, well this isn't anything new or earth shattering I didn't know.  It did offer practical ways for application and scriptural connections. 

By the end of the book I was discovering new insights.

The entire book had me reflecting, thinking and writing away in my journal with notes, thoughts and quotes.

I want more of Jesus, more in my relationship with Him.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Markers

So today, I went to a big business meeting for work when the gal sitting next to me says wow that must hurt as she pointed to my foot. I was like what are you talking about!? I look down, my foot is all purple.

Ruth got into the markers last night and colored a lot, apparently including inside my shoe that transferred to my feet.

Elinore had blue hair last night. The blanket was purple striped. There's some on the carpet, my bed. Her legs were rainbows. And apparently my shoes!

Monday, August 28, 2017

"The Great I AM"

Apparently sermons notes is becoming a regular thing for me.  I think it's a good thing.  I will continue as long as I'm getting value from it. 

This weeks' scripture was from Exodus 3:1-15.

God appears to us everyday if we recognize what we see.  He is in our everyday lives.  We just need to recognize it.

The ground is Hole when we recognize God is present.

He doesn't call the qualified.  He qualifies the called.  God will be with you.  God was with Moses in his work; He will be with us too.

_________

This was so wonderful for me Sunday after I'd written about this in my paper journal earlier in the week.  It had a slightly different turn to it, but along the same lines.  I'd read a portion about it in Becoming More by Lysa TerKeurst.  The summary a section of the book I read this week was that if you want to see God in your life, you will.  And you will learn and grow to see him in your life more and more if you seek him. 



Thursday, August 24, 2017

Kitchen Towels

I have two towels in my kitchen that I just adore. 

The germs one is a gift from a dear friend of mine.

The second, I bought from Mercy House Global.  Check them out!

https://mercy-house.myshopify.com/

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Flowers

Elinore picked little clover flowers out in the yard the other night.

She brought them in to me as a gift and told me: "Since I wasn't at your wedding, I wanted to bring you these mom."

First Day of School 2017

Caden, grade 5
Caleb, grade 5
Elinore, preschool

One more hug!

When we go to leave the house without Ruth, she comes running after us saying in her sweetest little 2 year old voice.  "I need to give you a hug!"  "One more hug!"

And I melt and hug and hug and hug some more.  :)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

"A Child is Born"

Sunday's sermon was titled "A Child is Born." 

I only took notes on a single bit toward the end of the sermon that resonated with me.

What can ordinary people do to live out their faith?  Use our gifts, serve God.

Ordinary people make a difference in our lives.  We can do that for others too.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Job - Thoughts

As I've been reading through the Bible I take two different kinds of notes.  The main page, or the page on the right side of the composition book I'm using is my notes on what's happening; the story, what I'm reading.  On the back of the other page, or the left side I write things I'm thinking or that drive points in the Bible home, or things I ponder on more.  These are the left page notes from Job.

  • Job didn't blame God when bad things happened. - How quick am I to blame God?
  • Satan appeared with the angels, twice.
  • I want to be a friend like Job's friends that come and sit with him for days just to be with him.  (Not the part where they go on to give him bad advice!)
  • Job suffered because he'd been strong in his faith; lean in to Jesus when it gets hard.
  • Job 8:7 "where you began will seem unimportant because you future will be so successful." (Bildad speaking)
  • The book of Job is a long conversation between friends about God.
  • Job & those speaking to him are seemingly getting tired of these long speeches and debates, but they continue.
  • Job sees God as the cause of his pain; his friends see sin as the cause of his pain.
  • Wisdom/understanding comes from the spirit, not age.
  • Job's friends give bad advise & blame his sin for his suffering, but God is growing and testing Job.

Job

I finished reading the book of Job today. 

  • Job was a good man who obeyed God
  • His 10 children are close and feast together regularly
  • Each time Job offers a burnt offering for each child for they may have sinned
  • Satan appears to God and says he's been wandering
  • God points out Job to Satan
  • Satan says he is only good because God has protected him and given him much - God gave everything Job had to Satan's control, but he couldn't touch Job
  • 4 messengers brought news of destruction to Job - 1: oxen and donkeys; 2: sheep and servants; 3: camels and servants; 4: children
  • Job worshiped and priased God and didn't blame him
  • Satan again appeared with the angels before God
  • This time God gave him Job, but not the ability to take his life
  • Job suffered sores all over his body, but didn't curse the Lord, even at his wife's encouragement
  • Job said she was foolish and he must take the good and the bad from God
  • Job had 3 friends who heard of his suffering and came to him; they say with him on the ground 7 days and nights not talking because of his suffering
  •  After 7 days Job cursed the day he was born and wished he were dead - he described what death may be like:
    • no trouble
    • rest
    • freedom
  • Eliphaz responds to Job with many examples of people bringing evil and trust God
  • Job complained and sought death for comfort; he dais wasted and nights long
  • Bildad speaks to Job and reminds him to pray and ask for mercy; God will do right by you for your innocence
  • Job's response is that God is too mighty and wise for him to change anything in asking; he feared God
  • He blamed God for his condition for he knew of nothing else that could inflict him with such pain
  • Zophar reminds Job of God's greatness and some sin has already been forgotten
  • Job says they are foolish to argue for God, God holds the breath of all of us in His hands
  • Eliphaz talks with Job reminding him they speak with wisdom to him and warm him against sin
  • Eliphaz says "is God not enough for you?" - don't give up for there lies evil
  • Job response wondering when these long speeches he is hearing will end and tells them the words do not change his pain, spoken or unspoken
  • Job seaks help from God to keep his understanding and not be swayed from waht He knows to be true
  • Bildad speaks to Job of what will happen to the wicked
  • Job responds God has done this to him
  • Zophar tells Job evils is punished, Job responds with the easy, peaceful, fruitful lives, evil ones have lived on Earth
  • Eliphaz speaks of remembering God and helping others, Job answers he wants to see God, prove his case, face judgement for he fears God
  • Bildad reminds him we can't be pure, but Job insists he is innocent
  • Job explains wisdom
  • Job remembers how his life used to be - he helped others, was honored and respected
  • Job talks about his life now where everything has been stripped away from him and people stay away or spit at him - his is sad and maning
  • Job explains all the good he has done and seeks God to respond to him, not mroe people
  • Elihu waited to speak to Job because he was younger than Job's 3 friends, but he spoke up when they had nothing more to say
  • Elihy was angry because Job claimed he was right, not God
  • God speaks to the people in different ways
  • Elihy describes a mighty and powerful God of discipline
  • your sin or your good do not chagne God
  • God speaks to Job questions him in the knowledge of God
  • God asks how he could know since he wasn't born when God created and he cant' see all of what God has or has done
  • God's wisdom is incomprehensible to us
  • God reminds Job he is human, humbling
  • Job responds that he is not worth and cannot answer God's questions
  • Everything under the sky belongs to God
  • God desciribes a Leviathan
  • Job admits he spoke of things he didnt' understand, too wonderful for him to know
  • God was angry with Job for their false words - Job prayed for them
  • Job was rewarded two fold compared to the good he had before his troubles came

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"Family Reunion"

The sermon Sunday at church was titled "Family Reunion."  The scripture came from Genesis 45:1-15. 

Pastor started the sermon by talking about human trafficking and slavery.  It happens here; slavery is not a thing of the past.  Toledo is a hot spot, #4 in the nation for human trafficking.  I like that she is talking about current events, what we're facing today and how it all relates. 

Then she turns back to the scripture of how Joseph is a story of human trafficking.  Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery, but he went on to have dreams that led to the storage of food to survive a 7 year famine.  His brothers than came to where he was, but Joseph had his revenge as he hid from them, set them up, and had them arrested.  However, it was a reunion, and he could help feed his family.

A reunion is to bring something back together.

Pastor then brought this home with a family reunion in healing of relationships, reconciliation.  Where do we have relationships we need to heal?

Atonement = at one with God.  We must first be right in our relationship with God; then heal our relationships with others. 

God can turn evil things into his good too. 

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Campfires

This picture makes me super happy.
 
It reminds me that the uncomfortable night of sleep in the tent with her after this was worth it.
 
I'm glad my friend Kathy captured this moment for us.
 

Keeping up with the Jonses - Sermon Notes

I took a couple notes again during this Sunday's sermon.  I didn't take enough notes to put the whole thing together, but enough I wrote a few key tidbits down!

The sermon was called "Keeping Up with the Joneses."  The scripture was from Genesis 37:1-4 & 12-28 (CEV).  She started with the top 10 dysfunctional Biblical families, while I'd love to have the whole list I only have that number 1 was the family of Hosea.  She didn't describe this story in details as we had several kiddos in church, but I agree with dysfunctional.  Sin, with an S means we are separated from god and sin with an s is the actions that separate us from God. 

Throughout the Bible, this is so much favoritism, and I know I came to that realization last week, but she brought it up this week, which has just continued to keep it in my mind.  I have seen it in my world today, and I don't want to repeat it, but can I be any different in my sin? 

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Favorites

One other concept that came up Sunday during church that I see happen is favorites in children.  Parents have a favorite child.  I've seen it in life today, and seen the effectives of it.  I have only recently realized this is a concept and problem that has been happening for ever as the Bible has many examples of parents selecting favorite children.

Wrestling with God

The sermon this past Sunday at church was on a topic I'd thought about off and on over time, but especially lately.  The scripture was from Genesis 32: 22-31 and the sermon was titled "Wrestling with God."  I even wrote a key take away down from this sermon.  From our wrestling with God, we are transformed.  Transformation means we come away different; we are changed. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Decorated Bandaids

Elinore had a spill in the parking lot on the way into the dentist office today.  Poor girl, skinned knees again.

She's afraid of bandaids.  So we got into the office after a few hugs and me carrying her the rest of the way.  Ruth was suddenly handed over to big brother Caden since I had been carrying a shoeless Ruth.

We got some wet paper towels and cleaner her up. Ruth panicked with brothers while we were in the bathroom.  We made it through the teeth cleaning with only a little crying through it after the ordeal.

When we got home I finally talked her into a bandaid, but then she was upset because we only had plain ones.  So I colored her hearts and butterflies! But I could only use one bandaid no more for the others.

I get it kid. I don't like bandaids either, and I probably wouldn't have used one on myself.

Cavity Free

There may be a lot of things that slip through the cracks in my busy crazy house of 7, but today the teeth weren't one of them.  I took all four kiddos to the dentist at 9 am this morning and they were ALL CAVITY FREE!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

One of those doors is you

My kids have introduced me to some families through school that I wouldn't normally have gotten to know, and for that I am thankful. 

However, there are some situations where I feel inadequate to help fill the gap.  I'd been struggling with that for awhile, but last night on the drive home, after one of these evenings, I had a realization.

I will never be adequate.  I am not meant to be adequate to fill the gap.  That is Jesus work.  And suddenly, I feel a little lighter. 

This morning on the drive to work I heard the song "With Every Act of Love" by Jason Gray again.  I've heard it several times, and have always enjoyed it, but this morning it connected directly to this thing happening right now in my life.

"God put a million, million doors in the world
For His love to walk through
One of those doors is you
I said, God put a million, million doors in the world
For His love to walk through
One of those doors is you

Oh, we bring the kingdom come
Oh, with every act of love
Jesus, help us carry You
Alive in us, Your light shines through
With every act of love
We bring the kingdom"


Thursday, July 06, 2017

Vashti


As I started reading the book of Esther, I wasn't drawn to the story of Esther, but the story of Vashti.  There was a big part of me that wanted to shout go VASHTI for not being displayed for her looks and standing up for herself! 

As I thought more about this, is that what God choose for her?  Clearly there was his hand in this for Esther to come in to the King's presence to save her people, but maybe that isn't the only reason, maybe it was for Vashti too, so take a stand and value her self (and model for other women) how to be cared for as a person created by God. 

Esther

I finished up Esther last week.  I really struggled to keep up with regular Bible study with the move, so this book took awhile, even though it's a small book.

  • King Xerxes held a banquets, then he requested Queen Vashti to show her beauty to the people and important men, who happened to be drunk - She refused!
  • She is then removed as Queen & no longer welcome in the King's presence as the King and his wise advisors decided
  • They were afraid women everywhere would see this & disrespect their husbands, so a decree went out to everyone for her punishment
  • King decides to bring in beautiful women to replace Vashti and put them through 12 months of beauty treatments before they go before the King for him to select a Queen
  • Hadassah or Esther is gone to the King - she is a Jew, cousin of Mordecai who raised her
  • Everyone liked Esther and she became Queen, but she never told them where she came from or who her people were
  • Mordecai walks by the women's quarters daily to check on Esther
  • Mordecai discovers 2 officers planned to kill the kind & Mordecai tells Esther, who tells the King - Investigated and found true, so officers were hanged
  • Haman rises to power under the King and is angry Mordecai won't bow down to him because he is Jewish
  • Haman lays out a plan, approved and sent out to destroy all Jews on 1 set day
  • Mordecai hears of order and is in deep grief and rough cloth
  • Esther hears of this and sends a eunich of the King as a messenger, Hathach, to find out why, them she learns of the whole plan
  • Mordecai, through the eunich, told Esther to go to the King and please for her people, Esther reminded Mordecai that it could mean death for her if the King doesn't invite her in, but she chooses to go
  • They fast in preparation for going to the King
  • Esther goes to the King and is welcomed, she invites him and Haman to a banquet; they go
  • At the banquet, Esther invites the King and Hama to a banquet the next night
  • Haman feels pleased he's so special and arrogant, but is angered by Mordecai still
  • Advised by friends and his wife, Haman orders a platform built to hang Haman and will ask King for such orders
  • During the night the king couldn't sleep and read records that reminded him Mordecai warned of the plot against him
  • King wanted to honor him, so he found Haman and asked how reward should happen for someone
  • Haman said a robe and horse of the king and parade them through town
  • King sends Haman to do that for Mordecai
  • Haman goes home embarrassed and tells wife and friends, but he is pulled away to Esther's banquet
  • At the banquet, Esther answers the King when he asks what she wants - her life spared and the lives of her people
  • King Xerxes demands to know who has made such a order, she said Haman
  • The King walked to the garden in anger and returned to find Haman falling on the couch where Queen Esther was lying, and further angered the King
  • Servants came, covered Haman, and took him away while a eunich said to hang him on the platform near his Haman's house that he had built for Mordecai
  • Queen Esther was giving everything Haman had left and Mordecai came to see the king once he learned his relation to Esther
  • The King gave Mordecai the signet ring and they wrote a new notice to all the lands of Jewish people that they could gather and fight back against their enemies on that day
  • The Jews defeated their enemies, everyone was afraid of them and Mordecai and killed many including Hama's 10 sons - the King allowed them to continue to defeat their enemies
  • Hama's 10 sons were hanged on a platform
  • The Feast of Purim is established - it was to be celebrated annually because it was a time of joy from when their sadness turned to great joy - food to each other and presents to the poor

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Slices

Tonight in the car, Elinore asked me if bugs poop.  I said yes.  Then she asked me if bugs have slices on their butts like we do to go poop.

Always a hoot!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Trees

Elinore just asked me if our living room ceiling fan worked the trees.  She asked because she said when she turned it off, the trees stopped blowing.

:)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Goose Watching

The kids, especially Ruth, are enjoying checking on the goose and her babies every morning!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Best Yes

A dear friend of mine had been recommending I read The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst for some time before I actually picked it up.  I was hesitant to read it for reasons I'm not sure I'm entirely sure of.  Perhaps because I thought it would tell me something I needed to hear?  I know I was cautious that I didn't want it to give me excuses for saying no to everything, which it didn't! 

Ultimately, I read the book quickly and took notes the whole way through the book in my journal.  I often read books, I occasionally write in my journal about this, but this book was different, I took notes like a school girls as I read it, I thought about it, expanded on it more in my notes, and wrote direct quotes from the book into my journal.  It was a book like I've not read before.  In some chapters it was great lessons I needed to hear; in other chapters is was confirmation that I'm already doing some things that are great.  I feel reminded that I have purpose in what I do without overworking myself. 

It was a great read, one I'm so glad I picked up.

Nehemiah 9

As I read the prayer they prayed in Nehemiah 9, I started to notice the name adjectives they used to describe our God and took not of them; many of them were repeated throughout the prayer as well.  I want to know my God well, and by paying attention to how he's described in his text is one way I learn about him. 

My God is:
  • forgiving
  • kind
  • merciful
  • a listener
  • care taker
  • warning giver
  • creator
  • patient
  • great
  • mighty
  • wonderful
  • fair
  • loyal

Nehemiah

I wrapped up my reading of Nehemiah last night. 

  • Nehemiah learns of the trouble in Jerusalem and lack of walled protection and cries and prays for his repentance to be heard
  • Nehemiah severs the king's wine
  • Nehemiah is sad in front of the king, Artaxerxes, who notices his sad heart and asks - He tells him his sadness over his city, Jerusalem and asks to go and rebuild
  • King grants permission and letters to pass through safely to Jerusalem
  • Some officers were upset by Nehemiah's arrival
  • Nehemiah inspected the walls at night and plans the rebuilding
  • Many people repaired sections of the wall
  • There were enemies of the wall building forcing builders to split their time between building and protecting, everyone carried weapons always and stay in the city to guard
  • People complained of lack of food and heavy taxes and interest hurting them
  • Nehemiah called important people and leaders to give the people back their extra charges and land
  • He also didn't take the allocation (what people had to give) for governor's food and shared what he had with other daily
  • Nehemiah's enemies tried to stop him and harm him; he refused to meet with them and asked for strength
  • Wall rebuilt in 52 days - new Levites, gatekeepers, singers, etc. are appointed
  • Ezra reads the book of teachings to the people and they understand and follow
  • Israel confesses their sin and their ancestors sin
  • They pray displaying their knowledge of the book of teachings and describe out God
  • They make an agreement to keep the book of teachings
  • People from the town of Judah threw lots for people to come live in Jerusalem
  • Priests and Levites are named
  • The wall is offered to God
  • They sent the foreigners way as God instructed in the book of teachings
  • Nehemiah had gone to see the king and was away; he returned and did not like what he found and purified again
  • He set reminders to keep the Sabbath holy and remember not to marry foreigners

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Ezra - More of my thoughts

I really struggled trying to understand Artaxerxes of Persia.  I was confused between chapter 6's mention of him and chapter 4's mention of him.  In one place he seems to be stopping the work of the building for fear of harm to the government, and in another section he's being credited with helping with the rebuilding.  I struggled with this for awhile and came back the next day with fresh eyes to see if I could understand better.  I now think that the chapter 6 reference refers to the Artaxerxes of the future chapters of Ezra where he continues with the rebuilding.  My Bible does note that is some extended period of time between chapters 6 and 7 and some Google searching led me to believe they might be two different Artaxerxes.  ( I dislike that I Googled, but it was an answer that could help me understand, maybe, and move on.)

I noticed a few times in readings lately that after big things change and occurrences happen, there is a celebration of the Passover.  It is a very meaningful celebration to partake in. 

Ezra 7:10 "Ezra worked hard to know and obey the Teachings of the Lord and to teach his rules and commands to the Israelites."  I found this verse to be wonderful.  It's a great reminder that we too need to be working hard to know the scriptures and know God.  It is not easy, and our relationship doesn't come with out work!

Ezra 9:6 "I prayed, "My God, I am too ashamed and embarrassed to life up my face to you, my God, because our sins are so many.  They are higher than our heads. Out guilt even reaches up to the sky."  I do sometimes feel the weight of my sin is heavy and I am terribly inadequate.  Initially I thought I get this, but then I continued reading to see that Ezra knew this, threw himself down at the temple in tears over the sin and felt it to an extreme level.  I am not like that.  Do I not fully know my sins still?  They are so many.

Ezra 9:15(b) "We admit that we are guilty and none of us should be allowed to stand before you."

I also thought it was worth of nothing that in the end of Ezra there is the discussion of the sin of marrying non-Jewish wives.  Their solution is for those men to divorce their wives.  It was a way of correcting sin.  I thought this was a very interesting point that I don't think I have read or thought about before.

Ezra

I finished reading Ezra in 4 days.  It was a really interesting book that I was drawn into.  It is one I took a lot of additional notes and thoughts and wrote them down for.  I will capture that separately.

Here are my notes from Ezra:
  • In Cyrus's first year as king of Persia he declares they may go back to Jerusalem and build the temple if they choose to
  • Cyrus sends the items with them that Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple
  • 42,360 people returned to their own towns and settled with their servants and singers, horses, mules, camels and donkeys
  • Items were given for the temple rebuilding
  • The alter was rebuilt and used for daily sacrifices and festivals as written in the teachings
  • Temple rebuilding began; the foundation is laid
  • Some rejoices, some, who saw the first temple, cried
  • Enemies of rebuilding - offered help, Judah refused
  • Trouble continued until the King of Persia was Darius
  • Artaxerxes stopped the building for fear of no tax money and harm to the government as written in enemies letter - records were looked up and showed a disobedient Judah
  • Prophets Haggai and Zechariah prophesized and Zerubbabel started working on the temple again
  • A governor sent a letter to Darius, king of Persia, briefly explaining the scenario
  • Darius finds record of building orders and secures that work is to be done and paid for by the area's taxes and King's treasury
  • Darius orders that changes to that order be punished with death and household ruin
  • Passover is celebrated
  • Ezra, from the line of Aaron, was a teacher who well knew the Teachings of Moses
  • Ezra came from Babylon to Jerusalem
  • More people returned to Jerusalem with Ezra
  • Ezra is 'successful' because the Lord our God is helping him
  • Artaxerxes letter to Ezra provides what is needed to please the God of Israel with the temple
  • Persia wants God of Israel well pleased
  • Those who returned with Ezra delivered gold, silver and objects for the temple to the priests and Levites
  • The captives that returned had sinned as he was told by leaders
  • Ezra prays - he acknowledges the great sin and guilt; he acknowledges the kindness and hope they are currently experience; he acknowledges we are not worthy!
  • Israel was not to marry those of the land that were evil, but they did anyway
  • Ezra's prayer was emotional, confessional and in front of the temple - other people joined him
  • Ezra didn't eat or drink in his sadness as he led others to obey following his prayer
  • Returned captives were to meet together or forfeit their property and community
  • Once gathered in the rain, Ezra told them to confess and separate themselves from those around them that were non-Jews and their non-Jewish wives
  • They proposed to meet with their leaders for decision in each town at a planned time because of the time and weather needed to do this - so they did
  • Men who married non-Jews agreed to divorce them - some had children with those women

Friday, May 05, 2017

2 Chronicles

I finally finished 2 Chronicles!  I read a Lent devotional every day and got me back in the habit of reading daily, and since Lent, I've kept up with finishing 2 Chronicles.  I typically read before bed, and I'm so happy to be doing this.  I would like to get to a place where I'm reading earlier in the day, but for now, this works.

  • God appeared to Solomon and told him to ask for something
  • Solomon asked for wisdom
  • God gave wisdom and wealth because Solomon knew he needed God's help to rule
  • "Not even the highest of heaves can hold him (God)." (2:6)
  • Solomon builds a temple
  • Much was covered in gold and carved and much detailed description in the 3rd chapter of the book
  • Solomon has the temple built and the Ark brought in - God's Glory fills the place :)
  • Solomon speaks to the people about god's work
  • Then Solomon prays of discipline from God of prayer and repentance of how Israel will behave in the future
  • Solomon asked in prayer for forgiveness and to hear their prayers
  • Temple is given to God; sacrifices are made (large amounts of sacrifices) - joy & celebration
  • "He is good; his love continues forever."
  • The Lord says Solomon and Israel must follow his laws; repentance = forgiveness; disobedience = discipline
  • Solomon also rebuilt towns
  • Brought a wife from Egypt - with her own palace since David's was holy
  • Queen of Sheba came with many people to see Solomon's wealth, success & wisdom - She didn't believe what she'd heard
  • Sheeba  Queen gave many fancy gifts
  • Solomon gave more gifts back to Queen of Sheeba and she returned home
  • Solomon was brought many gifts; Solomon had a LOT of gold
  • Solomon ruled 40 years and records were kept
  • Solomon died and Rehoboan became king (Solomon's son)
  • People asked Rehoboam to work them less hard than Solomon - Solomon's advisers (older leaders) advised him to oblige so they would serve him, but Rehoboam asked his friends (young men) and they said work them harder
  • Israel turned against Rehoboam
  • Rehoboam wanted to fight/war then, but God stopped it
  • Rehoboam strengthens Judah
  • Rehoboam has 18 wives, 6 slave women, 28 sons and 60 daughters - he spread his sons around and gave them wives
  • Rehoboam built a strong city and stopped following God
  • Shishak came to attack Jerusalem
  • Rehoboam & Judah were srorry & God did not destroy them; he did make them servants - there was some good in Judah
  • Israel & Judah fight under Abijah (Judah) and Jeroboam (Israel)
  • Israel was against God; Judah remained with God and defeated Israel
  • Asa was king of Judah - he destroyed the idols and there was peace
  • Asa had a big army that won in way v. the Cushites
  • Asa received a message that: God is with you when you are with him. If you look for him you will find him.
  • People recommitted to God and Asa was faithful
  • Israel attached Judah after 35 years with Asa as King
  • Asa went to Aram for help instead of God and peace ended
  • Asa became ill (foot disease) and asked doctors for help, but not God - then he died after 41 years as king
  • Jehoshaphat, Asa's son become king
  • Jehoshaphat is good, obedient and destroys idols
  • Jehoshaphat builds a strong army
  • King Ahab asks King Jehoshaphat to go to war with him, but Jehoshaphat says they must ask the Lord first
  • The prophets come and tell them to attack, but Michaiah warns them they are tricking him into death
  • Ahab disguises himself in battle but is hit with an arrow, he stays up in his chariot until sundown when he dies
  • Jehoshaphat selects judges
  • Lands came to fight Judah so Jehoshaphat asked the Lord - people came together & asked
  • Spirit entered Jahaziel and said it was not their battle, but God's - Jehoshaphat just had to stand strong with his men
  • The thanks God and praised him
  • Jehoram, eldest son of Jehoshaphat, becomes king
  • Jehoram kills his brothers and some leaders of Judah and followed Israel's way
  • Jehoram married Ahab's daughter
  • Group broke away from Jehoram
  • Jehoram led them away from the Lord
  • Prophet Elijah delivers Jehoram message: He is terrible & will become very sick
  • Land attack Jehoram and took his sons and wives, except his youngest
  • Jehoram was ill and in pain for 2 years until his death
  • No one was sad when Jehoram died and he wasn't buried with kings
  • Ahaziah, youngest son - because all others were killed - became king
  • He ruled 1 year, was sinful and his mother encouraged bad - then he was killed
  • When Ahaziah died, his mother, Athaliah, killed all of Judah's royal family
  • Ahaziah's sister, Jehosheba, took his son Joash and hid him for 6 years
  • Athaliah (the mother) ruled Judah
  • Jehoiada, priest, husband of Jehosheba decided to take action in year 7
  • Jehoiada gathered all the Levites to protect the temple and the king
  • Joash becomes king at 7 years old
  • Joash's grandmother, Athaliah, heard the news and was very unhappy - they took her out of the temple and killer her with the sword
  • Joash had peace in Jerusalem and was good while Jehoiada (priest & his uncle) was alive
  • Joash collected money and repaired the temple
  • Johoiada died and was curried with kings for the good he did for Judah
  • Joash became evil & Jehoiada's son, Zechariah, tells them, but they stone him to death
  • Aramen army attacks and take Judah & injures Joash
  • Joash's men kill him in his bed because he had killed Zechariah
  • Joash wasn't buried with kings
  • Amaziah is king and does good, but doesn't want to
  • Amaziah pay Israel to join them in war, but a man of God tells him not to because they've turned against God and God can give more
  • Amaziah does win the war without Israelites, but brings home Edom's idols and begins worshipping them
  • Because he turned against God, Israel defeated Judah
  • Uzziah becomes king and is good; he follows Zechariah's teachings
  • Uzziah becomes power because God helps him with many victories
  • Uzziah became prideful and was ruined; priests stopped him from unlawful acts in the temple and he got a skin disease and was ushered out
  • Uzziah is buried with the kings
  • Jotham is now king and he is good and victorious in battle with God's help
  • Ahaz is king of Judah - he is bad and defeated many times
  • Ahaz worshipped many idols and other gods
  • Hezekiah is king; he was good and quickly purified the temple
  • They celebrated with JOY! Praise! Worship!
  • Hezekiah sent letters to the outer villages to bring folks back to celebrating passive, some laughed, some came
  • Hezekiah command people to share their harvest to take care of the priests - they do!
  • Assyria attacks, Hezekiah is smarter with God's direction
  • Hezekiah dies; his son Mansseh is king
  • Manasseh was 12 when he became King and did wrong - alters and idols everywhere
  • Lord had Assyria attack and take him - then he humbled himself before God who heard him
  • God allowed him to return to Jerusalem and they worshipped the Lord
  • Amon is king after Manasseh dies and does very wrong - his officers kill him - the people then kill those people that killed him
  • Josiah is king; he was good and removed other idols and alters
  • The book of teachings from Moses is found and Josiah realizes how angry God is
  • Josiah tears his clothes and humbles himself and God let his lifetime be peaceful
  • Josiah celebrated Passover with the people like it hadn't been done in years (since Samuel)
  • Josiah went to battle against Egypt and was shot by archers - he was taken back to Jerusalem and died
  • They were very sad over his death and sad songs were written by Jeremiah
  • Jehoahaz becomes king for 3 months, then Egypt takes him away and makes brother Eliakim king, but names him Jehoiakim
  • Egypt makes Judah pay $
  • Jehoiakim was bad and Babylon attacked and took him away
  • Jehoiachin is king and is bad
  • Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, made Jehoiachin's Uncle, Zedekiah, king
  • Zedekiah was bad and didn't listen to the prophet Jeremiah's message from the Lord
  • Lord sent prophets to warn them, but Judah didn't listen
  • Lord became angry and Babylon came and killed and destroyed Jerusalem
  • Babylon took those left alive as slaves
  • Judah was empty 70 years as that is the number of years since the Sabbath was kept
  • Persia then defeated Babylon
  • Cyrus, king of Persia, is appointed to build a temple in Jerusalem
A few others things I wrote about:
People in the Bible are always having to remember.  Reminder themselves and recommitting to God.  I too do this often.  I forget, I come back, sometimes daily or more.  There is reassurance that I am not new to this, but I MUST KEEP COMING BACK!

Toward the end of this chapter, it started to be other countries that were now determining kings for Judah and no longer themselves. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

You Belong

I just finished this book. It reminds me of Chicken Soup books that I read in high school and college.

It had passages that came in God's amazing timing just when I needed to hear that message.  It had passages that made me think and journal.  It had passages that stirred me to change and passages that felt like a hug.

<3

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church

I read this book in about 3 weeks.  It was the first booked I checked out electronically from our local library and I'm so glad I did.  It's been in my Amazon wish list for sometime now, and when I finally decided to learn how to use my iPad and the library, it was the first one I went for.  I was hesitant; I'm not nearly as progressive as this author is and wasn't sure how I would feel about it, but ultimately, reading this book, has made me love my church more. 

I've struggled with our church over the years, but I've always stayed.  I've wanted to be a part of the community and solution to issues, not the problem.  And this changed my view of the church.  I know the church is a broken system, but it broadened my definition of the church and reminded me to focus on Jesus, not the church. 

I am thankful for my community, which is mostly centered in my church.  I'm thankful for it's openness and acceptance and love as well.  And I now want to b e more brave myself in opening up, being honest and sharing truth, about Jesus and about myself in my community.  I think God can step in when we're vulnerable to make wonderful things happen.

Friday, February 17, 2017

1 Chronicles

This was a very hard book from the beginning for me to get into.  The last half the book or more went much better and was easier to follow.  The beginning is much about the lineage of the families and difficult to read and follow.  I did start out trying to write out who came from who, from who, from who and on down, but it was too hard and confusing.  So I stopped and started taking summarizing notes.  That is what follows.

  • From Adam to Abraham
  • Abraham's family
  • Edomites from Seir
  • Kings of Edom (before kings of Israel)
  • Israel's family
  • Judah's family
  • Caleb's family
  • Jerahmeel's family
  • Caleb's family
  • David's family
  • Kings of Judah
  • David's descendants after Babylonian captivity
  • Other family groups
  • Simeon's children; they attacked people and took land
  • Reuben = Israel's first son, but it was taken from him for his sins
  • Gad's children
  • Reuben, Gad & Manasseh attacked Itagrites and God helped them because of their trust and prayer
  • Assyrian king took East Manasseh; they were sinful
  • Levi's children (Moses, Aaron, Miriam are descendants)
  • David hired musicians for the house of the Lord
  • Lots are thrown for land for Levites
  • Issachar's children - many fighting men
  • Benjamin's children
  • Naphtali's children
  • Manasseh's children
  • Ephraim's children
  • Asher's children
  • Saul's family history
  • people in Judah were captured and taken to Babylon
  • The first to return to their land were some Israelites, priests, Levites and temple servants
  • The people in Jerusalem are listed
  • There were gatekeepers for the temple on all sides - they were dependable
  • Family history of King Saul
  • King Saul was wounded in battle against the Philistines
  • Saul asked his officer to finish killing him, but he refused, so Saul threw himself on his own sword & died
  • Israelites ran away
  • Philistines came in to take over and took Saul's head & armor
  • People of Jabesh heard & bravely got Saul & his son's bodies to bury by a tree & they mourned
  • Saul wasn't faithful & didn't obey the Lord
  • David becomes King
  • David captured Jerusalem & calls it the city of David - he rebuilds it
  • David grown in strength & God was with him
  • David had mighty and powerful soldiers who were known for their strength & victory (3)
  • David was thirsty & his soldiers risked themselves for water, but he refused to drink it to honor them
  • David's 30 chief soldiers are listed
  • More and more warriors joined David in his strongholds against Saul - his army grew and grew
  • David goes after the Ark of God to bring it back to them where they are
  • The oxen carrying the Ark stumble & Uzzah touches the Ark to steady it & God was angry!
  • Uzzah died right there as punishment
  • David then fears the Ark and redirects it to Obed-Edom's house instead for 3 months
  • Obed-Edom & family are blessed
  • King of the city of Tyre sent supplies & people to build a palace
  • David, at God's guidance, continues to defeat the Philistines
  • David prepared a place for the Ark
  • David sent the Levites as God had directed, to carry the Ark (they didn't want to do it wrong again!)
  • The Ark was brought back with celebration and praise & many people
  • David's song of thanks
  • They left but held offerings, etc. as instructed in the teachings
  • David lives in a palace, the Ark is in a tent so David tells Nathan
  • Nathan hears from God that night, David will not build a house for Him - He reveals plans for his family's future to care for such things
  • David defeated many nations & gave back to the Lord - silver, gold, etc.
  • Ammonite king died & son took over - David sent officers to comfort them because the King had been loyal to David
  • The new Ammonite king felt threatened by it and captured them & cut their clothes 7 beards to shame them
  • David told them to stay in Jerico until their beards grew back
  • Ammonite knew they'd angered David and prepared for war
  • Joab went out with Israel's army to fight the Ammonites & their help the Arameans
  • The Ammonites & Arameans ran away defeated and gathered more people & were defeated again
  • The Arameans would no longer help the Ammonites
  • Spring = war time; David stays behind & Joab goes out and destroys the Ammonites
  • Philistine giants are killed
  • Satan makes David count the people of Israel, which God said was wrong
  • As punishment David must choose
    • 3 years of hunger
    • 3 months running from enemies
    • 3 days terrible disease - he choose this one
  • David chooses for it to not come from people
  • Angel comes to destroy Jerusalem
  • David goes to food to stop punishment for his people from sin - it is stopped with David paying for a threshing floor, building an alter and making sacrifices
  • David makes plans for the temple & collects people/craftsmen & supplies
  • God reminds him he is a man of war 7 can't build the temple, but Solomons will & he will have peace & rest
  • The Levites
  • The people of Gershon
  • The people of Kohath
  • The people of Merari
  • The Levites' work in the temple - described
  • There were groups of priests & they divided the work
  • Oldest & youngest child families were treated the same in Levite groups
  • Music groups
  • The gatekeepers
  • Summary of other leaders - they cared for the temple
  • Army divisions were each (each with their own leader) responsible for a month (12 months)
  • Each division had 24,000 men
  • Family leaders, then commanders of 100 men, then commanders of 1,000 men
  • Leaders of the tribes of Israel
  • Joab began counting people but God was angry because they were and they didn't finish counting
  • The King's directors
  • David gives his specific plans, guided by the Lord, to Solomon to build the temple - he provided resources too
  • The palace is not for people but for God
  • The people came forward and gave gifts to be used in temple construction
  • David's prayer about God (chapter 29:10-29)
  • Solomon becomes King
  • David dies - records of his works are kept

During the sections of family history, I took some general notes about observations I made during those sections.  Those follow below:
  • No daughters are mentioned
  • Only some mother's are listed
  • Noted when they died without children
  • Women identified with their father's (like surnames today?)
  • Occasionally families were named with their trade or location
  • It can be difficult for me to sit and read so much family history, but God loves & created each person named
  • Family histories were kept

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Forward Facing

Last night, as I reinstalled Ruth's car seat in our van, I decided to turn it forward facing.  She's heavy and old enough.  I had just been waiting for safety.  Keith had thought she was ready because her legr room was low, but she didn't mind.

This morning, she got into her car seat with a very hesitant look on her face.  I buckled her in and the "help me! help me!  help me" started.  That lasted nearly the whole way to the sitters.  Once she even said "pull over!" as she reached for me to pick her up.  She apparently isn't a fan.  She did okay while Caleb sat next to her to play, but when he got our for school it started all over again!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Be Nice

Elinore had a rough night. She continued to refuse to get into bed at bedtime and had a few time outs.  She was teary when I finally got her into bed.  We started to talk about what happened and what we could do different along with I'm sorry and I forgive yous.

That's when she told me she just wishes she could be me sometimes.  "Why?" I asked.  Because I want people to know I'm nice too.

And my mama heart melted in love for this child and hear heart. 

We talked about she is kind often, and we are all mean sometimes, myself included.  (Her brothers give me constant reminders of how mean I am there!  Us mean moms!  ;) )

I told her if she wants people to thinks she's nice to make choices that are nice and things will take care of themselves.

<3

Friday, January 13, 2017

This morning Elinore wanted to play witch.  She wasn't being very kind and she was furious she couldn't hold her broom and her stuff.  She is a witch and needed a broom to fly of course.

Then, she needed a pot to stir her potions and such.  We didn't have a big enough one so she told Grandma she needed to help make one.  Grandma wasn't so sure about that creation, but Elinore reassured her we had lots of wood in the basement to build it with.

No pot was built.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

You Are More Than You Know

I just finished this book. It was a good read, and I think for the right person incredibly helpful and insightful.

I personally don't feel like I live my life in fear or controlled by fear too often, occasionally yes, but not regularly.  (Maybe I'm in denial?!)  This books focused on overcoming fear with faith, which is an excellent message.

"At this juncture of my life I'm not convinced normal is an obtainable or even desirable goal, but embracing our God-given uniqueness is. In fact, it's an adventure that leads us to embracing that we are more than we know because the Lord is greater - far greater - than we can ever imagine." -Patsy Clairmont