This past winter, Bill and I had our front yard landscaped with new flowers and plants. Since Florida is mostly warm and sunny year round, it seems like there’s always something in bloom, including that 5 letter dirty word…weeds. Even if you don’t landscape or have landscaping, you know what a weed is. Dictionary.com describes it as a valueless plant growing wild, especially one that grows on cultivated ground to the exclusion or injury of the desired crop. Did you catch that last part? It’s not just that weeds make your garden look ugly, but if left to their own devices, they can actually cause harm to the good plant. The same can be said about the WEEDS in our own lives. If we are not constantly tending to our thoughts/actions, it’s easy to find ourselves smothered in sin. How do we get rid of our WEEDS? We have to daily die to self and trust the One who is weedless. We will always have WEEDS in our lives, but Christ came so that His perfection, goodness and glory cover our WEEDS so that God sees a beautiful and weedless garden.
Stumbling Into Grace by Lisa Harper June 19, 2012
Stumbling Into Grace by Lisa Harper is a collection of stories from Lisa’s life, which takes readers on a journey about faith and the misconceptions we often have about Christ. Lisa has a delightful way of meshing humor with her personal stories that relate to Biblical truths.
I love that Lisa’s stories were relevant and allows readers to connect on a deeper level. I think most of us have had similar fears, doubts, shame, misconceptions as Lisa. Her candidness allows others to see that they do not have to be overtaken by their guilt, shame, past mistakes, etc., but their lives can be transformed into a life full of joy that is ultimately centered around their relationship with Christ. This would be a great gift for someone who feels that they aren’t good enough for Christ’s love or struggling with the theological truths presented in the Bible.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Oh the Places You’ll “Never” Go February 9, 2012
A few weekends ago, Bill and I took a spontaneous trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. First priority, conquer Everest. 15 years ago, you could find me sitting on an amusement park bench waiting for all my friends to get off the scariest, but coolest rides in the park. I wanted so much to have fun like everyone else, but my fear of the unknown trumped the thought that I might have a good time. I not only lived in fear of amusement parks rides, but most of my childhood and teenage years were spent being afraid of everything…little things, big things, happy things, sad things. My life was the opposite of a Dr. Seuss book…Oh the Places You’ll “NEVER” Go. My fears were rooted in the fact that I was placing my confidence in myself, and I obviously wasn’t doing a very good job. I thought, “Okay, God. Just sit there in the backseat, and I’ll let you know when I need ya.” You can imagine that didn’t work out too well. Hear what God says about this…
5 This is what the LORD says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
6 That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.
7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
When I let God take control, a huge burden was lifted off my shoulders. I’m not saying that life won’t have hardships, sadness, pain, etc. I still have days of worry and anxiety, but by giving all of that over to God, I’ve gained freedom. Freedom in knowing that by trusting my Lord and Savior, He’s working all things out for His glory and our good.
Not Another Dating Book by Renee Fisher January 29, 2012
Relationships are complicated, especially when it comes to dating and marriage. Renee Fisher is the author of Faithbook of Jesus: Connecting with Jesus Daily and new release Not Another Dating Book: A Devotional Guide to All Your Relationships. Renee has a passion for 20 somethings and knows first hand about trying to pursue God and living a life that honors Him while waiting for His promises to be fulfilled in her life. Her new release Not Another Dating Book takes relationships to a whole other level… a Christ-centered level. Not Another Dating Book is packed with short devotions that are not only filled with scriptural knowledge about dating/relationships, but Renee’s honesty and truth about her own relationships allow readers to connect with this book on a personal level. I love that she is not afraid to discuss the difficult relationship questions that so many young adults deal with on a daily basis. One of my favorite parts of this book is that Renee includes a prayer at the end of each devotion and extra scripture reading with a place to journal your thoughts. God designed us to be in community with one another so whether you are dating, married or just friends, this book is sure to make an impact on how you view the relationships in your life.
Check out Renee’s website.
*I received a copy of this book for review, but the opinions stated above are my own.
Update: WOF Imagine November 9, 2011
A couple of weekends ago, I had an opportunity to attend Women of Faith: Imagine in Fort Lauderdale. I left my nice camera at home because I didn’t want to have to lug it around so instead I brought a smaller camera that didn’t do as well as I had hoped. I’ll chalk it up to User Error. The main focus of the Imagine conference had to do a lot with overcoming fears and hurts that may be keeping us from living life to its fullest. One speaker in particular, Dr. Henry Cloud, talked a lot about recovery and co-dependency. He told us a story about a dad who came to him and was concerned about his son’s drug and lifestyle “problems”. The dad had been feeding into his son’s behaviors by helping him and saving him at every turn. Henry asked the dad where his son was, and he said, “He’s in Colorado skiing.” Henry told him that his son doesn’t have a problem. The dad had the problem because he was the one taking on the worries of this other person’s bad behaviors. We should be givers, but there comes a point when we have to tell some people NO because we end up becoming co-dependent.
One really exciting thing for me was that I was able to bring a lady from my church with me to the conference. I had never met her (Sandy) until a few weeks before the trip. She saw my post on Facebook about attending the conference, and she asked if I was going with anyone, and things seemed to fit into place so that she was able to go with me. God works in such cool ways! I was a little nervous about going on a trip with someone that I didn’t know that well, especially because I was afraid that we’d have nothing to talk about. Turns out, I worried for nothing. Sandy introduced me to several ladies she knew from our hometown that were at the event. They welcomed me into their circle with open arms.
I have read a couple of books by the speakers at the event, but I had never heard them in person before. They shared their personal stories with us that make you ache inside, but also make you see that God gives hope and peace amidst the storms. Every story was unique, but one thing remained constant…God’s grace. I admire Angie Smith, Sheila Walsh, Lisa Harper and Nicole Johnson who boldly shared their stories and allowed God to use them to speak to other women that may be going through a similar situation. I can’t say that I’ve ever faced anything like these ladies have faced, but I know that there are women out there who have. If you’re in a place of fear, worry, anxiety, helplessness, etc. then I think you’ll benefit highly from this conference.
And lastly, I can’t forget the worship leaders and MaryMary who did an excellent job leading us in worship to our great God. Music for me is therapy for the soul, and being in an arena full of thousands of women singing praises to God is breathtaking.
Women of Faith is wrapping up it’s 2011 tour this weekend with WOF Imagine in Hartford, Connecticut. If you didn’t get a chance to attend a Women of Faith event this year, no worries. 2012 promises to be another exciting year for WOF with Celebrate, Women of Faith ONE DAY and the revolve TOUR: Dream On.
Butterfly in Hiding October 17, 2011
A few weeks ago, I went on a photo walk in Tradition, FL with other photographers in the Port Saint Lucie area. I captured this little beauty by happenstance. I thought the yellow flowers popped next to the greenery so I started snapping away, and when I looked at the digital display on my camera, I happened to see not only beautiful yellow flowers, but also a gorgeous butterfly in hiding. It was camouflaged so well by it’s surroundings that I almost missed it. It wasn’t until my camera zoomed in with it’s telephoto lens that I was able to see a clearer picture. It’s a lot like life. Our vision or thoughts can often become clouded by the hustle and bustle going on around us that we often miss what’s right in front of us. We need to change our perspective. Take a timeout and reflect on God’s goodness. You might just find a butterfly in hiding in the process.
Women of Faith: Imagine October 5, 2011
At the end of this month, I will be attending my first ever women’s conference… Women of Faith: Imagine in Fort Lauderdale. I’ve been to many conferences before, but never one for JUST women. I’m really excited and a bit nervous. Large crowds scare me, and large crowds of women are even more intimidating. I consider myself to be a friendly person, but when it comes to making deep heartfelt connections with other women, they’re few and far between.
So a few things that I’m looking forward to at the Women of Faith conference Oct. 28th – 29th…
1. Connecting with other ladies on a more personal level…possibly producing a lasting friendship.
2. Natalie Grant and Mary Mary…Being led in worship by some very powerful voices from some killer artists!! YES, please!
3. Diving deeper into my faith so that I can more effectively share it with others.
4. Laughing so hard that my face hurts.
5. Speakers…like Angie Smith (writer of the new release What Women Fear), Sheila Walsh, Lucie Swindoll and Lisa Harper, (who’s book, Stumbling Into Grace, I happen to be reading right now).
If you’re going to the WOF conference in Fort Lauderdale, I’d love to meet up with you and connect.