Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Books of 2012

Words for Wednesdays

Do you have a line item for books in your budget?

At the beginning of this year, I decided I was going to read more than just our school books, and I did! (Not a very hard resolution to keep.)

I was asked in another forum to give my favorite 3 books that I read in 2012, so here they are: 

How to Overcome Evil by Jay Adams
Adams explains from Romans 12 what weapons God has given us to win the battle with evil. He encourages, "The Great General never commands His troops to do anything that they cannot do." Practical and applicable to everyone, I say it should be on every Christian's Bookshelf.

Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar
This historical fiction novel positions the main character as the cousin of Nehemiah. Rarely have I ever wanted to read a novel with a highlighter in hand, but I did so with this book, not wanting to forget the lessons woven within the pages. An imperfect heroine makes the story that much more refreshing.

Putting Your Past in Its Place by Stephen Viars
A Biblical guide to dealing with our pasts. He helps us look at them through the lens of scripture. I appreciate his gentle yet firm approach, as well as the systematic way he moves through the book.

And I included this as a 4th...

And the Word Came with Power by Joanne Shetler.
The life of missionary Joanne Shetler as written in this book fills you with awe about our amazing God and His Word. While working with Wycliffe ministering to the Balangao people in the Philippines, she witnessed events that inspire us even now. Good for the whole family.

Here were more from the year, in no particular order:

Seeking Him Bible Study by Nancy Leigh DeMoss was life changing, literally.

A Gospel Primer for Christians by Milton Vincent helps me preach the gospel to myself daily.

Same Kind of Different as Me gave me eyes to see people, rather than look past them.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett caused me to wish I had a maid! LOL I'm looking forward to finally watching the movie. (Wanted to read the book first.)

Will Medicine Stop the Pain  by Dr. Laura Hendrickson and Elyse M. Fitzpatrick was extremely helpful.

Amy Inspired by Bethany Pierce was a sweet novel about a writer trying to make-it.

Thirteen Months by Don Brobst was a sad but tender book about a man's memories of the last months with his wife while she had cancer. I couldn't finish it. Too heart-wrenching.

Licensed to Kill by Brian Hedges gives practical Biblical hope in our battle with win.

Marta's Legacy by Francine Rivers reminded me that we all have stories, and we should overflow with grace.

So what was on your list this year?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Teaching Thankfulness

Teacher Tuesdays

Is it any wonder that we crowd stores to buy things we don’t really need the very day after we’re supposed to be thankful for what we already have?

Today, I wrote a post on College Park Church's Blog about how to teach thankfulness to your children at Thanksgiving. You can find it here:

But remember, in order to teach thankfulness, you need to be thankful yourself.

What are you thankful for today?

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thessalonians 5:18

Friday, November 16, 2012

When my little man says "stay"

Five Minute Friday

The Word: STAY

A weekly challenge by Lisa-Jo Baker. We all write about 1 word for five minutes.

Unedited. Just thoughts.



Hectic. Start the dishwasher. Put out a clean towel. Squeeze the toothpaste and brush all of his little teeth. He giggles. Swish and spit.

Shirt pulls over his head, gets stuck, and he has a silly shirt-hat. 

Zip up the jammies, all the way up to his chin. Give a kiss on the nose. He wipes it off.

Pull back the blankets. Hug reealllly tight.

His arms around my neck, begging me to stay.


I move to leave, and he holds tighter.

"I want to read you a story, mommy." His way of saying he wants to talk to me about cars and dinosaurs and super heroes.

I let him run his imagination for a bit. My mind wanders to the paperwork on the dining room table. The emails I've marked as important and haven't responded to. The blog I've been waiting to write. The chapter I was longing to finish.

He pauses.

I try to leave.

He holds tighter.


How can I stay when I have so much to do? Fold the laundry. Sweep the crumbs from the kitchen. Relax on the couch.

His eyes grin. Arms wrapped. Snuggled close.

I stay. Because one day, he'll go.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Love Someone

Thoughts for Thursdays

Who can you take the time to love today?

Dear friends, let us love one another, 
for love comes from God. 
Everyone who loves has been 
born of God and knows God.
I John 4:7

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Slowing Down for Christmas

Words for Wednesdays

Ever feel like the clock ticks faster between Halloween and New Years?

I'd like to live differently this year. I just ordered the e-book, "Celebrating and Savoring a Simple Christmas" that I plan on reading this weekend. The author, Crystal Paine, is the creator of Money Saving Moms, a website that I visit at least weekly. I'm looking forward to hearing her words of wisdom.

What about you? What are you doing to enjoy the season, rather than just "get through it?"

Friday, November 9, 2012

Listening for the Quiet

Five Minute Friday

The Word: QUIET

A weekly challenge by Lisa-Jo Baker. We all write about 1 word for five minutes.

Unedited. Just thoughts.



In order to write about the word "quiet," I had to first go into my room and lock my bedroom door, warning the kids that I needed five minutes alone.

Even with the solitude, I can hear the clicking of my keys. The hum of the construction workers across the street. My son is right now asking, "Mommy?" Apparently a locked, shut door doesn't keep out questions and requests and urgent needs that only mommy can meet.

There isn't a lot of quiet at our house. Home Schooling involves spinning a lot of plates in the air at the same time, hoping they don't crash to the ground.

My best times of "quiet" are when I wake up before the kids and spend time with God. I'd love to say that I eagerly jump out of bed, slip on my robe, and glide to the couch with a smile across my face.


Most mornings I hit the snooze a few times and then roll out of bed with a thud.

I love the quiet times. It's just the first 2 minutes of getting out of a warm bed that are killer.

"Mommy?" There he is again.

Focus, Becky. Focus.

I try and remember that in a few short years, my house will be very quiet. The kids will be grown. There will be no "mommy" through the door. No giggles down the hallway. No squeals of laughter from the trampoline outside. No questions. No read aloud books. No clamber of this or that.

The quiet times will come.

For now, I'll unlock my door and listen. To their questions. To their tears. Even to their fights and screams and complaints.

And I'm learning that even in the midst of the noise, my spirit can be quiet within me, at rest, as I listen moment by moment for that still small voice.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

I'll probably get cancer

Thoughtful Thursdays

I’ve decided I’m probably going to get cancer.

I'm not wanting to sound insensitive to those fighting the battle, but as I think about everything in life, it just seems like it's inevitable.

My non-stick pots are starting to chip, and looking into their replacements has sent me on this path of cancer causing items.

For example, they say that fast foods and chemically processed foods cause cancer.

Ok, I could stop eating those for the most part.

But what about,

·         The vegetables I eat. They may provide needed nutrients, but they cause cancer.
·         The meats I eat may give me protein, but they cause cancer.
·         The products I use on my lawn keep the weeds out, but they cause cancer.
·         The sprays I use in my garden keep away the mold and bugs, but they cause cancer.

So I suppose I could go all organic and free range with my food and lawn. Eat “clean” and pray harder against bugs.

But what about…

·         The sugar I consume. It creates a breeding ground for cancer.
·         My improperly made coffee causes cancer.
·         The wheat and grains I eat may provide fiber, but they cause cancer.
·         The dairy products I eat may give me calcium, but they cause cancer.

The “best” choice would be to go sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, and buy expensive coffee – and drink it black.

But even then…

·         The pots and pans I use cause cancer.
·         The plastic I drink my water out of – though helping me hydrate - causes cancer.
·         The plates we eat off of cause cancer.
·         Grilled food causes cancer.

Ok, I could spend some money and replace those with safer alternatives, based on what is deemed safe today.

But what about…

·         My deodorant and makeup and shampoo and toothpaste and household cleaning products – they cause cancer.

I could go all-natural, using oils and minerals and baking soda and the like. And do I need to wear makeup? Really?

But sun exposure itself causes cancer, and so does sunscreen that was created to protect me. I guess that means I need to stay inside all the time. Oh wait, what about needing vitamin D or else I might -- get cancer?

In the end, though, when I get down to it,

·         My cell phone causes cancer. I’m not getting rid of my cell phone.
·         My microwave causes cancer. I’m not getting rid of my microwave.
·         Second hand smoke causes cancer. I can’t get away from all second hand smoke.
·         Pollution causes cancer. I can’t stop breathing, can I?
·         And medical treatment to fight or identify cancer… can cause cancer.


What to do?

I suppose I’ll just live how I want and resign myself to the fact that I’m probably going to die of cancer. Besides, if I worry about it too much… well, I hear that anxiety and stress can… you guessed it… cause cancer.

As to what pots and pans I'm going to buy? I still have no idea.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Marta's Legacy: A Must Read!

Words for Wednesdays

I wish I could have meaningful talks with my relatives long gone. My appreciation for history and the people who lived before me is growing greater by the year. I'm not talking about family trees. Those are just names. Shallow and vague. I want stories. Important life moments. Journals. Treasures.

While reading Francine Rivers's series Marta's Legacy, I felt like I had that opportunity.

Though the story wasn't my own, it helped me imagine what the life of my great-grandmother might have been like as she made the journey from Norway to America in the early 1900's. What was the boat like? How did it feel to leave her family? Was it hard to manage the new language?

In the book, when Marta's daughter Hildie is about the age of six, it switches to her perspective, and I imagined I was listening to my own GG telling me about her past. Traveling cross country as her parents tried their hand at farming, unsuccessfully. The trials of World War I. Poverty and doubt.

Then, during the wild days of the 60's, the book switches to the life of Carolynn, and I can hear stories my mom told me of free spirit living and of her years experimenting with... well, a lot, prior to finding Christ. Vietnam. The rise of television and new music. Struggling with faith.

To my delight, the story then went to Carolynn's daughter, May Flower Dawn, my own counterpart in the book. Dawn grows up in a wealthy society without the harsh realities of the women before her. I grew up in a great Christian home surrounded by every advantage known to our generation.

Reading about the stark contrast between my life and the life of my great-grandmother was shocking. It made me want to get off the couch and start cleaning something. Work hard with my hands. Bake some bread or do something industrious. (Of course, my new-found ambition had to wait until after I finished the book... and I don't bake...)

Even my daughter's counterpart in the novel was "brought in" at the end, and I wonder what the future holds for my children. A world with technology at their fingertips, and I pray faith in their hearts. Will years keep advancing as quickly as they are? Or will something happen to change life as we know it? I pray that their trust in God can grow enough in their comfortable lives to prepare them for unknown days ahead.

One final thought:

This book reminded me to give GRACE, and give it abundantly. We don't know people's pasts. Their hurts. Their misunderstandings. Only God can know the heart of man.

Instead, we are called to love lavishly. Unashamedly forgive. Overcome evil with good.

What hurts am I holding onto? What pain in our family surrounds us? What misunderstandings threaten to cause bitterness? What do I need to release to God, and as I look at the brokenness around me, what can I do to make amends?

If there is a woman in your life, this would make an excellent Christmas present. And along with the book, include a certificate that allows her time to read and savor this gift guilt-free as the dishes sit in the sink and the children fend for themselves. It will be worth it.

This 2-book series was truly a treasure I can't wait to share.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thanksgiving Journal

I created a Thankfulness Journal for my kids. I plan on having them write out one item per day. For the younger ones, I'll write it for them.

You can download a copy here:

Enjoy! And Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thinking of My Roots

Five Minute Friday

A weekly challenge by Lisa-Jo Baker. We all write about 1 word for five minutes.

Unedited. Just thoughts.




I'm reading a great book by Francine Rivers called Marta's Legacy, about a woman in the early 1900s who comes over from Switzerland, and then it follows the life of her daughter, and then granddaughter.

This has led me to think about my own great-grandma. Signa came over from Norway a year after her husband Thorburgh Christiansen. Famers, they settled in Brooklyn, where my grandma, Doris, would tell stories of the various cultures who swapped recipes and songs.

They ended up trying out life in Washington as farms - can you imagine the train ride across the country? - and then went back to New York, leaving my grandma, Doris, in Chicago with family to finish up high school and get a job in the city.

If I were writing a book about this, I'd love to know the history of Signa. What was life in Norway like? Why did she choose to come to America? How hard was it to know that her husband was an ocean away?

I never had the chance to ask. Both she and her husband died a year apart from each other when my grandma was only 20 years old.

So as I'm reading this book, it helps me think of my roots - what life would have been like for my own great grandparents. And it makes me want to write down the stories that are accessible today - the stories of my parents and my grandparents who are around.