Hope Unfolding: Grace-Filled Truth for the Momma’s Heart, by Becky Thompson

As a mother to eleven children I’m here to tell you that motherhood can be hard. More importantly, though, we moms tend to be too hard on ourselves. Whether it’s through comparing ourselves to others, feeling inadequate in our ability to raise our children well, or sometimes just feeling downright lonely, we often tend to put ourselves last in practically everything we do. And while we should certainly always be attentive to the needs of our children and husbands, forgetting ourselves completely in the midst of caring for everyone else can be downright detrimental to the relationships we work so hard towards.

Becky Thompson, author of Hope Unfolding: Grace-Filled Truth for the Momma’s Heart, eloquently reminds us over and over again in this heartfelt book of one thing- God loves us and is there for us through it all. Although many of us ‘know’ this already, sometimes it can be so hard to remember and truly believe that when we are going through our toughest times.

Becky Thompson doesn’t pull any punches in this book. Each chapter is filled with experiences that have happened to her throughout her life, told in such a genuine manner that it honestly feels as if she’s sitting right there in your living room, speaking to you over a cup of coffee. I so appreciate the openness she shares because, let’s face it, ladies, all too often we’re not too straightforward with each other when it comes to our personal lives. She brilliantly uses each of these narratives to illustrate how certain biblical truths can appear to us in day-to-day situations without us ever realizing it.

I, personally, have two favorite sections that I’ll tell you just a little about. Let me begin by saying that my house will never make it into “Better Homes and Gardens.” Despite my best intentions, my house just can’t stay clean longer than 30 minutes after chores are completed. Although we do chores 2-3 times a day, chances are, if you come to my house unexpectedly, you’re going to see a mess. In fact, just today our oldest son who no longer lives at home stopped by right after chore time and said, “Wow. The house is actually clean.”

This has always bothered me more than it probably should. You know that hospitality thing we’re supposed to exhibit? I’m not very good at it. When my kids’ friends come over, they usually have to stay outside because I don’t want them to see the chaos that is my house each and every day. I can be pretty hard on myself about this and often think that I must be the only woman who can’t keep a clean house, which is why I’ve marked this excerpt in the book to reread whenever I’m feeling this way:

“But truthfully, I am sitting on my couch next to a pile of laundry at nine o’clock at night, with a sink full of dishes and a kids’ bathroom that still has wet bath towels on the floor…

…the kitchen island is covered in syrup and pasta sauce. The bread bag needs to be closed and put away. The pots soaking in my sink from yesterday need to be washed. And something smells in my refrigerator.”

I was so delighted to read that that I read it aloud for my daughter to hear, and she just looked at me like, Yeah, okay, weirdo.

The point of this story? We are not our mess.

“The messy areas of your life do not tell a story of your failures. Those areas tell the story of your humanity, and they are a continual reminder of your need for a Savior.”

Amen.

The other section I want to share with you has to do with judging and being judged. Full disclosure- I’m an INFJ personality type, and if you’re unfamiliar with what that is, I’ll just say that that ‘J’ stands for “judging.” (Why do I get the feeling that my regular readers are not surprised? *sheepish grin*)

I can be pretty judgmental, and I always feel like I’m being judged, so this next excerpt really hit home with me. Let me set the stage for you: Becky and her husband are out to eat with their newborn son when he has an ‘explosion’ in his diaper and it gets everywhere. Since it’s cold outside, she decides to sit in the cargo area of their vehicle with the baby in order to get him cleaned up. The problem? The back hatch doesn’t open from the inside for them to get out…

“So, I laid Kolton down on the floor of the cargo space, climbed over the seats by myself, went out the door, around to the back, and picked up my newborn.

But as I picked up the baby and closed the back hatch, I realized that about a dozen people had come out of the restaurant just as I was retrieving Kolton.

Their faces said it all! They thought that I had driven to IHOP with my newborn just rolling around in the cargo space.”

Have you ever been in a predicament like this? A time when you may have been seen doing something unusual, but the person wasn’t in on why you were doing it? Did you feel judged? How many times do you think it may have happened that we were the ones doing the judging?

A few years ago, I had organized a Homeschool Presentation Day to be held at my church. It was about 11am a few days before, and the kids and I were busy doing trial runs on all of their experiments they would be performing there. I was still in my bathrobe because I had never taken the time to get dressed, and Caollin and I were busy working on her candy volcano, which was made of jello. We had to use a shot glass that I had borrowed from my in-laws to make the crater in the volcano, and we needed soda to pour over some Mentos in the crater to produce the eruption. At the time, the only soda we had was a six-pack of Stewarts Root Beer.

In the midst of getting everything ready, there was a knock at the door. It was my pastor and a deacon. They had been trying to call me to find out which room in the church I would be using, but I had forgotten to update the church directory with our new phone number, so they just drove on over. So…there I was, answering the door at 11am in my bathrobe holding a shot glass in my hand, a house full of kids, jello all over the table, and what looked suspiciously like a bottle of beer (ever notice how much Stewarts Root Beer bottles look like actual beer?) sitting in the jello mess.

I was so flustered by the day’s events that it didn’t even dawn on me until after they left what that all must have looked like. And, boy, did I feel embarrassed, and, yes, judged, because I could just imagine what they were thinking.

Yikes.

Until reading this book, I never thought to apply that experience to times when I may have seen someone else in a seemingly precarious predicament.

Hope Unfolding is the perfect book for any mother or mother-to-be. It is an encouragement and a beautiful reminder that we may think we’re a mess, but God loves us in the midst of the mess.

(Disclosure- I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.)

 

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With My Eyes Wide Open, by Brian “Head” Welch

“Just like a surgeon has to cut a patient open in order to correct what’s wrong, God has to cut into our souls in order to correct what’s wrong with us. He cuts and he cuts until all we bleed is the character and nature of his beloved Son, Jesus. And man, does the cutting hurt.”- Brian “Head” Welch

Brian “Head” Welch is not your stereotypical Christian. He has facial tattoos, dreadlocks, and plays guitar in the heavy metal band KoRn. Yet, this passionate follower of Jesus Christ has been to hell and back and has leaned on his beloved Savior throughout financial catastrophes, betrayal, and a daughter committing self-harm, only to come full circle and re-join the band that he once quit in order to save himself and his daughter.

In this poignant and refreshingly honest memoir, Welch isn’t about to pull any punches. He tells a story that is difficult, sometimes comical, and, most importantly, real, and comes through at the end as a beacon of hope for those who feel there is no saving them and that they aren’t worth being saved in the first place.

I received this book on a Wednesday and had already finished it by Thursday, despite the fact that I have ten children running around the house, because I couldn’t put it down. Welch’s neverending and sometimes raw faith in Jesus Christ is something to behold. Having been through things which don’t even compare to the intensity of what this gentleman suffered, I find myself ashamed that I didn’t always have the total faith in God’s control like I should have- like he did have. 

After I finished the book, I set it down on the table and, with tears in my eyes, took my devotional off the bookshelf, dusted it off, and got down on my knees, praying for forgiveness for neglecting my own relationship with Jesus. The faith of this rock star made this stereotypical Christian take a second look at my dedication to my Lord and Savior.

I fervently recommend this book to anyone- believer or unbeliever. This book has the potential to be life-changing. I am a testament to that fact.

 

(Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.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.”)

 

 

Light of the Last, by Chuck Black

Imagine being blinded in a terrible accident,only to eventually recover and get your sight back…and then some. Drew Carter, in the third book of the Wars of the Realm Seriesregains not only his vision, but the ability to see otherworldly beings that no one else can see.

Are they aliens? Angels? Hallucinations? No matter what they are, they play an instrumental role in Carter’s eventual attempt to save the United States from a disaster so terrible, it will haunt your dreams.

Author Chuck Black, a former F-16 fighter pilot and tactical combat communications engineer, uses his military and technical expertise to paint an intricate, realistic picture of what the secret world of the CIA and other offices of intelligence are capable of.

As a lover of science fiction novels, I was immediately drawn to the storyline. What can be a better read than a book about someone who can see into the supernatural realm and still hold true to the salvation message? The action in this novel has a lot of potential to be a page-turner. There is A LOT of military and technical jargon that sometimes had me merely skimming almost whole pages until I got to a “good part.” But that’s just me. There are a great many people who would appreciate the research behind explaining the weaponry and high-tech gadgets abundantly placed throughout the entire story.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the angelic realm, end-times scenarios, and militaristic novels. This novel is the perfect concoction of the three and will entertain anyone with an eye for detail.

 

(I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are truthful and completely my own.)

 

Heroes of the Bible Treasury, Illustrated by David Miles

Looking for a great Bible storybook for your children? Look no further!

If your children are anything like mine, they can be a bit restless when it comes to reading Bible stories. Enter Zondervan’s Heroes of the Bible Treasury. This compilation of six “I Can Read” books in one is a must-have for any family with younger children. Written at a Level 2, this book is geared for children who are beginning to read more difficult sentences with help, but it is also a great choice for a family read-aloud.

Every day our family begins our homeschool routine by spending some time in God’s Word. I’m going to admit that it’s been a bit of a struggle to find something that would keep the attention of my wiggly-worms.  Every time I would think I found something that might work, I would quickly discover I was mistaken because my kids just couldn’t pay enough attention to even participate in a short discussion after we were through.

This book was a breath of fresh air for us. It is written in a child-friendly format and the illustrations are colorful and engaging. The children who could never sit still for Bible time began to ask questions, make connections with lessons they learned in Sunday School, and they would ask me to read more.

Now that’s the sign of a keeper.

I received a complimentary book from BookLook Bloggers for an honest review. All opinions are completely my own.

Lazy Day Links- 5/14/16

lazy day links
Image courtesy of porbital at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The time has come for another installment of “Lazy Day Links.” This was my younger children’s last week of homeschool activities, and I.am.exhausted. So, yeah. I’m guessing this weekend will be very lazy for me. 😛

Favorite Blog Posts:

Body Positivity Week??– Beauty Beyond Bones

Why Your Children Annoy You and Homemaking Is Boring– Generation Cedar

10 Homeschooling Non-Essentials– iHomeschool Network

Suddenly, Unexpectedly Homeschooling (You’re Gonna What?!)– My Little Poppies

Am I Doing Too Much? (Ask These 3 Questions to Find Out for Sure.)– More Than a Homeschool Mom

 

My Older Posts:

Why Should We Homeschool?

Why Should We Homeschool?- Part 1- Safety

Why Should We Homeschool?- Part 2- Personalized Learning

Why Should We Homeschool?- Part 3- Values

Why Should We Homeschool?- Part 4- Freedom of Choice

 

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Books Worth Reading:

Angels– Billy Graham

A Clear Guide to Revelation– Ross Lyon

This Is My Home, This Is My School– Jonathan Bean (Note: This is a children’s book but definitely worth a mention because it is the only picture book I’ve ever seen written in a realistic way about the life of a homeschooler. I highly recommend this book.)

A Place for Truth– Dallas Willard

Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning– Nancy Pearcey

 

Well, that’s about it. Enjoy your weekend!

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The Deleted E-Mails of Hillary Clinton- A Parody, by John Moe

Ready to get the inside scoop on those emails?

Browse through any recent news headlines, and you’re bound to see a story or two on the infamous emails of Hillary Clinton. Ever wonder what was actually in those emails? Well, you’re about to find out! (Not really. But really. Just kidding.)

I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into when I started to read The Deleted E-Mails of Hillary Clinton. Was it going to be poking fun at conservatives? Liberals? The answer to that is- yes!

I am not exaggerating when I say that this was the funniest book I’ve ever read. Ever. Despite living in a house with ten children running around, I was able to get through this title in one day because I couldn’t put it down. In fact, my older children had to put up with me calling them every five minutes to read them another section that I found to be particularly hilarious.

Besides the tear-inducing humor, I was also really impressed with the fact that the author, John Moe, was able to take such a politically sensitive issue as this and make it so unpolitical, if that’s even possible. Hillary Clinton herself could probably get a good laugh out of this book were she ever to read it. (During her breaks from Call of Duty: Black Ops, of course.) Don’t know what I’m referring to? Read the book! I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are completely my own.*

 

Linking up with:

Book Nook

Small Victories Sunday

Literacy Musing Mondays

Tuesday Talk

 

 

Man, Myth, Messiah by Rice Broocks- A Booklook Blogger Review

A book of Christian apologetics and evangelism to equip believers to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ

man, myth, messiah

(Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.)

In a world seemingly out to obliterate any belief in Jesus Christ, if there was ever any time to examine the historical accuracy of the New Testament, it is now. Enter Rice Broocks’ Man, Myth Messiah- Answering History’s Greatest Question, a book providing the evidence for the historicity of Jesus and the inspiration for the new movie, God’s Not Dead 2. Included are rebuttals for the arguments used by many skeptics against Christianity today and solid arguments called “minimal facts” that the vast majority of historians accept as evidence for not only the existence of Christ, but also for his resurrection.

This book was personally a godsend for a woman like I am- someone who has a passion for God and Christian apologetics but who also feels a bit timid about presenting these truths to people who have not yet believed. Besides examining the reliability of the New Testament and looking into the “truths” set forth by the skeptics, Broocks also provides a clear plan for how to approach people with the gospel, armed with the advantage of knowing how to address the common fallacies perpetuated by well-known skeptics that are spread like talking points throughout the world of atheism.

Man, Myth, Messiah is a timely gift to those of us who wish to spread the good news of Jesus Christ equipped to interact with a world gone mad. Reiterating what I expressed before, if there was ever a time for this book, it is now.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are completely my own.

Linking up with:

Inspire Me Monday

Literacy Musing Mondays

Monday of Many Blessings

Modest Monday

A Little R&R

Book Nook