Monday, September 22, 2014

The Stress Cure

Once again it seems that books keep coming my way that are just right for what I'm going through. I jumped at the chance to read The Stress Cure by Linda Evans Shepherd because it seems so many things in my life are stressful right now.

Shepherd introduces the problem of stress as partly a lack of trust in God and a mix of our reaction to life's circumstances. How we react to life and what we do when we encounter stressful situations is the key to understanding how to live in peace in the midst of life's difficult times. Do we turn to pray or do we act out in frustration?

The chapters are broken into topics of what do do when you are feeling stressed because of feeling: overwhelmed, stuck, frustrated, burdened, hopeless, offended, anxious, negative, distracted or depressed. Each chapter is steeped in  in scripture and practical prayers. There are also some biblical re-tellings of familiar stories. Generally I am not fond of those kinds of things but her way of telling the story was not cheesy and I enjoyed thinking through how biblical characters dealt with stressful situations, positively and negatively. Some of her prayers were repetitive and every chapter ended with prayers on yielding to God, Forgiving, Giving it all to God, Praying for Healing, Exchanging the Enemy's work for God's Peace and Praising God for Freedom from stress. It is a pattern that would be helpful for remembering after you've read the book to learn to deal with stressful situations. Kind of a longer version of stop, drop and pray.

I enjoyed the reminders to trust God through whatever I'm going through and that he is big enough to deal with all of my crazy days.

I received a copy of this book through the Revell Blogger Review Program, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

This. Boy.

There is no hiding it. We are pretty much in love with L. Even the big kids are enchanted with his personality. So he fits all the youngest child stereotypes, comedian of the family, etc. We are constantly saying, 'adorable', 'so cute', 'darling'.
His first joke was before he turned a year old. He put a bowl on his head and said, 'Hat!' and laughed. This day he found my sunglasses and came and told me he was a rockstar. I really wish I had a constant webcam of him so that there would be peace on earth. Really, people could just watch and say, 'Ah, why am I mad, this kid is so cute.'
We are amazed by his curly hair and have no idea where it came from, had to be Hubby's side of the family. With my super straight hair I never thought I'd have a curly haired kid. The curls have a life of their own. Sometimes when he gets up in the morning his hair is a little unruly. We say he looks like a lion with a messy mane. This day his hair was sticking to the climber with static electricity.
Out of control cuteness.

I think it's most adorable when he has a hat on and the curls just kind of pop out to the sides. 
Oh! The ringlets!

 We joke that we are going to eat his curls. The other night we were sitting at dinner admiring a particular curl that had formed right above his nose. He noticed we were all watching him and he started bouncing his head around so his curls would bounce. Stop! Cuteness overload! Cannot handle the cuteness!!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Resurrection Sunday!

We were really looking forward to Easter Sunday this year because we had planned a luncheon after church for international students. A few days before we made 'Resurrection Rolls'. They were supposed to help tell the story of Jesus's death and resurrection. We took a marshmallow that represented Jesus (white to represent his sinless nature) and dipped it in melted butter and cinnamon and sugar (to represent the oil and spices used for his burial). Then we wrapped it in a crescent roll to make little tombs like he was buried in. We made sure to seal all the edges and then we cooked them. A was in high anticipation as to what would happen.

 They were both surprised when we cut them open and the marshmallow was gone! It represented how Jesus arose and the tomb was empty.
 So yeah, Jesus kind of melted into the tomb but he was very yummy. Just a fun thing to do with the kids. We also like to dye eggs. Even L got to help....wait buddy, don't try to balance it on the dipper thing...
 "Mommy, it has a dent in it."
 Finally the day arrived and we got all dressed and headed to church. I wore my new $4 dress I got at the thrift store. Score! The kids looked sweet in their dressy clothes. I thought back on all those times my mom had to deal with me complaining about 'it's too tight!' or 'I don't like it, it's itching me!' I got paybacks because A complained all the day before about her dress itching her and she didn't want to wear it. So I stayed up late the night before sewing a piece of fleece around the itchy part and she was a happy girl.

After a lovely worship service we headed home and I got a few pictures snapped before the group got back home.

 As they were posing for this picture G looked at A and said, 'You look really pretty A." Ah, sweet boy. I just love him.
 And my beautiful girl, such a sweet, kind, lovely...
 oh, wait, that's more like normal. What was I saying? Oh yes, feisty, active, amazing girl...

Mommy-son moment
 Okay L, your turn for some pictures. I know you've been running around this whole time but we gotta go stand by the tree cause momma needs pictures for the album.
 Nooooo Mommy! I'm riding on my car.
 L, get out of the bush. I want you to stand by this tree.
 Ahh, reinforcements are here.
 And now lunch can begin! These two ladies helped me set up my appetizers. Since I was cooking a lot of roast lunch wasn't ready until a little bit later so we had to have a few things to snack on.
 The whole group, minus G who took the picture for us.
 After everyone left we realized we should probably do an egg hunt for the kids. So I went out and hid three sets of eggs, pink/purple for A, blue/green for G, and orange/yellow for L. They each had to find their own colors and I made the big kids' pretty tough to find. A walked by this one several times before she saw it.
 L's eggs were pretty much just laying on the ground in plain sight, with maybe a few tricky ones hidden under his toys on the porch.
  Daddy hid one in his pocket as a tricky one. We told them it was outside but they couldn't see it and we'd tell them 'colder, colder' or 'hotter, hotter' as they got closer to him, but then he'd walk away and then they'd try to look around and then we'd switch it up. So they were getting very frustrated because at first we'd say hot and then later on in the same spot we'd be saying cold. They finally figured it out and thought it was a good trick.

After they found all the eggs they had a little egg party in the backyard.

Monday, September 1, 2014

What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days

Got this cute little devotional in the mail one day I was having a rough day. I showed it to Hubby and said, 'Hey, this is exactly what I need today isn't it?' I read the back, 'We all have days that make us want to pull the covers over our heads and eat a dozen cupcakes.'  Yup.

It has 52 devotionals based on the Psalms and each are about 2 or 3 pages long, just enough to get some encouragement for the day and start things off on a positive note. It also has about 3 suggested Psalms to read to go along with the devotional so if you read each three by the end of the book you would have read all 150 Psalms. It's perfect for keeping by your bed and with its small size I've kept it in my purse and read it while waiting for appointments.

Each chapter is a quick reminder of a truth from the Psalms like, 'God calls you his own', 'God's ways are best for you' and 'God is preparing you.' We can get in such a tizzy when things are going wrong. We can get so upset by our circumstances and our mind can have our feelings going crazy. We can change our feelings by remembering the truth about the things going on in our life-that God is with us and will give us courage and protects us and is our defender. When we focus on the truth of God's word then things around us don't seem as stressful and unmanageable.

I need these reminders. Things have been stressful and crazy in my life this year. But I can can see how God has been so good to me through it all. Having these reminders help me get through when the days are tough and circumstances are stressful.

I read Holley's "You Are Going to be Okay" and really appreciated her style of writing. I feel like she's a good friend and we are talking over a cup of chai. This devotional is the companion book and it's been a great way to remember each day that God is with me and I can make it through whatever comes my way.

I received a copy of this book through the Revell Blogger Review Program, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.