Monday, January 7, 2019

The Better Mom Devotional by Ruth Schwenk {A Devotional Review}

This past year, I really started reading the Bible consistently while also incorporating devotionals into my daily time as well. This year, I started with The Better Mom Devotional by Ruth Schwenk. 

As always, I have not completed this whole devotional because I'm only reading one entry a day but I have a week plus under my belt and I feel confident in reviewing it. 

The Better Mom Devotional is biblically based providing a 1-2 page excerpt by the author each day along with a poignant prayer and scripture as well as two questions to reflect on. 

The days I have read so far have shared information about parenting as well as marriage and even household related topics. I am enjoying this very much and I think the questions are important for me to help me refer back to what I just read. 

I think this devotional would be great for a new mom or a mom in any season of life especially young motherhood. 

Also, if you aren't reading a devotional of some sort, I highly recommend it. It's a great way to get help with scripture application. 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Jax's Tail Twitches: When You Are Angry {A Children's Book Review}

Jax's Tail Twitches; When You Are Angry is another book in the Good News for Little Hearts series and it is incredible, too! The other two books I've read have read and reviewed addressed failure as well as anxiety and this one addresses anger.

I think this one was harder to read because it was intense and don't we all struggle with anger at times? It was difficult to see the Dad in the story become angry and see how his children reacted and to see how they all worked through it. 

I think this book is monumentally important for all of us to read and apply in our lives. If a child deals with anger issues, this is especially needed for them. 

Zoe's Hiding Place: When You are Anxious {A Children's Book Review}

Zoe's Hiding Place: When You are Anxious is a book in the Good News for Little Hearts Series and it is such a great book. While I'd much prefer for children to never be anxious, it is a reality and when it happens, they need a book to help this. This is one such book. 

Zoe becomes anxious and begins to worry about many things as she prepares for a class trip and when she interacts with her mom, her mom helps her to learn and remember that God is always with her. That Zoe can turn her worries into prayers to God and he will help her.

When the event comes, she remembers what to do when she begins to worry and get anxious. She is able to overcome and grows stronger in the process. 

The end of the book has a bullet-point section of tips for helping a child who is dealing with anxiety and there are some pocket bible verses as well. 

This book is real while also being on the child's level. I highly recommend this!! 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Books Matt Read {2018}

Matt set a goal at the beginning of the year to read at least one book a month. Here's what he read this year!

1.The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger by Stephen King
2. Bonhoeffer : Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas
3. Burning Chrome by William Gibson
4. Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View
5. The Black Company by Glenn Cook
6. Another Fine Myth by Robert Aspirin
7. Clockwork Angels by Kevin J. Anderson
8. Dark Territory: A Secret History of Cyber War by Fred Kaplan
9. Myth Conceptions by Robert Asprin
10. The Battle of Franklin by James Knight
11. White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism by Kevin M. Kruse
12. Highest Duty by Capt. Chelsea "Sully" Sullenberger with Jeffrey Zaslow
13. What If? by Randall Munroe
14. American Gods by Neal Gaiman

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Books I Read {2018}

1. Three Women at the Water's Edge by Nancy Thayer
2. An Act Of Love by Nancy Thayer
3. Between Husbands and Friends by Nancy Thayer
4. Custody by Nancy Thayer
5. The Hot Flash Club by Nancy Thayer
6. The Hot Flash Club Strikes Again by Nancy Thayer
7. Hot Flash Holidays by Nancy Thayer
8. The Hot Flash Club Chills Out by Nancy Thayer
9. Lullaby Road by James Anderson
10. Moon Shell Beach by Nancy Thayer
11. A Simplified Life by Emily Ley
12. Sex, Jesus and the Conversations the Church Forgot by Mo Isom
13. Steal Away Home by Billy Coffey
14. Why I Hate Green Beans by Lincee Ray
15. Real-Life Romance by Rhonda Stoppe
16. Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren
17. His Risk by Shelley Shepard Gray
18. Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer
19. Beachcombers by Nancy Thayer
20. Return to Sullivan's Island by Dorothea Benton Frank
21. Growing Kids with Character by Hettie Brittz
22. High Cotton by Debby Mayne
23. Summer Breeze by Nancy Thayer
24. Island Girls by Nancy Thayer
25. A Nantucket Christmas by Nancy Thayer
26. Nantucket Sisters by Nancy Thayer
27. An Island Christmas by Nancy Thayer
28. The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer
29. Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer
30. The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
31. 29 Gifts: How a month of giving can change your life by Cami Walker
32. Listen Up by Marty Machowski
33. A Nantucket Wedding by Nancy Thayer
34. Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton
35. Coach Wooden's Forgotten Teams by Pat Williams
36. Miracle in Shreveport by David and Jason Benham
37. The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck
38. Sullivan's Island by Dorothea Benton Frank
39. Raising World Changers in a Changing World by Kristen Welch
40. No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert
41. The Christmas Pearl by Dorothea Benton Frank
42. This is Me by Chrissy Metz
43. How to Be A Perfect Christian by The Babylon Bee
44. By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank
45. Everyday Holy by Melanie Shankle
46. The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers
47. To the Moon and Back by Karen Kingsbury
48. The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
49. The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck
50. Everybody Always by Bob Goff
51. And Still She Laughs by Kate Merrick
52. Bringing Up BeBe by Pamela Druckerman
53. Mother & Son by Emerson Eggerichs
54. All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin
55. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
56. Her Fear by Shelley Shepard Gray
57. Overseas by Beatriz Williams
58. Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz WIlliams
59. A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams
60. The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams
61. Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams
62. Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams
63. The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams
64. A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
65. The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig
66. The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams
67. Devotions for Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas
68. Educated by Tara Westover
69. Too Blessed to Be Stressed by Debora Coty
70. Stretched Too Thin by Jessica N. Turner
71. Where the Crawdads Sing By Delia Owens
72. It's OK to Go Up The Slide by Heather Shumaker
73. Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
74. The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White
75. Fit to Be Tied by Debby Mayne
76. His Promise by Shelley Shepard Gray
77. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
78. All the Colors We Will See by Patrice Gopo
79. Mom-Up by Kara-Kae James
80. Once We Were Strangers by Shawn Smucker
81. How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
82. When We Were Young by Karen Kingsbury
83. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
84. Box of Butterflies by Roman Downey
85. None Like Him by Jen Wilkin
86. In His Image by Jen Wilkin
87. Becoming by Michelle Obama
88. The Wondering Years by Knox McCoy
89. The Christmas Code
90. Pure by Linda Kay Klein

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Year in Review {2018}

January 2018

-GiGi was here for the first few days and we enjoyed the last of her visit.
-The weather was incredibly cold and kept us inside more than we would have liked!
-We enjoyed a great family fun morning at Kidsenses in Rutherfordton, NC. 
-Matt worked three-day work weeks using up the last of his vacation days and we had some great family time. 
-Maddox had a fluke fever that passed quickly and Matt had a brief cold but thankfully, it was too bad. I think the vitamin C we have been taking helped. 
-We continued working hard to simplify our house/life even more. 
-Matt made a goal for the year to read 12 books, 1 per month, and we instituted reading 30 minutes together every night. We also started a new Q&A a day journal for couples and that's been fun!
-We continued with our typical routine of weekly things: MOPS, speech, storytime and time with friends.
--Matt took the boys to see Scooby Doo monster truck displayed at a local gas station and then took Mason to Monster Jam at Bon Secour.
-We had a family day to Rock Hill to go to the Fire Museum.

February 2018

-We continued on with our nightly reading and that was fun!
-On the first of February, I was struck with a horrible headache.
-We celebrated Valentine's Day as a family with family dinner and dessert. So much fun!
-Mason participated in basketball camp at the CC Woodson Center.
-Mason and I went to watch the girl's basketball team at USC Upstate play.
-With me dealing with so many headaches, February was a bit of a weird month for us overall.

March 2018

-We started the month attending a marriage conference at our church and the boys had a babysitter for the whole day. They loved it!
-Mason finished his AWANA workbook and was so proud! He's really taken those verses to heart and it's been so neat to see.
-Mason had a morning off from speech so we went to breakfast as a family. that was fun!
-Maddox started the month getting two incisors in.
-The boys had dental appointments which went well overall, after Mason threw up. 😳
-We celebrated St. Patrick's Day with friends and had Bangers and Mash.
-Mason got signed up for soccer.
-We took a weekend trip to Montgomery to see Matt's parents.
-We went to easter service on Good Friday. We attended an egg hunt for Mason's buddy Thomas and then we started soccer!!
-Headaches continued.

April 2018

-We started the month with a week in Louisiana visiting lots of family and friends.
-GiGi came to our house to spend two weeks with us!
-I was able to see a neurologist and have an MRI done. Nothing was revealed with the MRI or with labs the neurologist did. He recommended physical therapy as well as ENT referral secondary to a fully occluded maxillary sinus.
-GiGi was here for a great visit! We did plenty of fun things with lots of outside time which was incredible! We celebrated Maddox's birthday early while she was here. We ate plenty of yummy food, too. Matt and I got several dates in, too!
-The transmission went out in our car 2 days before the 1st anniversary of owning it. Thankfully, it was covered by warranty!
-We planned the details for our family vacation to take place in May.
-Matt took Mason to Spring Fling and Maddox and I had a date at home.
-Mason finished AWANA! Well, Maddox did as well but he doesn't have a book to learn just yet. :)

May 2018

-We celebrated Mason's half birthday with a fun day doing things he wanted to do: McDonalds, park, Hatcher Garden an dice cream!
-We had our sweet friends over to play and have some pizza for dinner!
-I took Mason to Mother-Son Date night at Chick-Fil-A.
-We had some baby mockingbirds in our front shrub. So fun!
-We enjoyed a 9 day family road trip including time visiting Mom-Mom, too!
-We had three days at home for Memorial Day weekend. It was nice to be together!
-We had a Despicable Me movie marathon on Memorial Day complete with popcorn and a delicious lunch!

June 2018

-We spent a week at our friends' farm house and farm sitting. Lots of animal care!
-Matt took Mason to Take Your Child Fishing Day and they had a great time, again!
-We enjoyed a great Father's Day for Matt.
-We enjoyed lots of early morning time at the local parks before the heat set in!
-We attended Chick-Fil-A's story time and Mason won the book!
-Pool morning with friends which both boys especially loved.
-Lots of great movie time to avoid the heat!
-We attend Chick-Fil-A story time again and Mason won the book, again!
-Matt instituted "guy time" and about one afternoon week, they are playing legos, having snacks etc. Mason is a BIG fan!
-We went to the Farmer's Market for the first time this year!

July 2018

-It was hot. ;-)
-On July 5th, 2018, we found out that the baby I was carrying at 9 weeks, 5 days, had no heartbeat.
-I had a D&C a couple of days later and we spent a week at home all together while I recovered.
-Lots of emotions covered this month and the months to come. It was hard. It is hard.
-In the midst, we did some fun things. We spent a fun family weekend going to two children's museums with our new membership.
-Matt and I also had a huddle/budget meeting in an effort to set some goals and gain some direction in this tough season.
-We spent a long weekend working on cleaning up the outside of the house. Lots of work but lots of reward!
-We started school slowly. Going well so far!

August 2018

-I had an online class and Matt had a day with the boys. They wore him slap out!
-We had a family dinner at Cook-Out and we all ended up winning free stuff!
-We attended a Back to School Bash at a friend's church.
-We had GiGi here for a visit for two weeks!
-I celebrated my 34th Birthday!
-We had a great start to school for homeschool and just some great time with friends.
-Matt and I had several dates including a brunch date.
-We had some cool weather and it was wonderful!

September 2018

-We spent a few days in Louisiana visiting family and had to leave early to avoid the coming Gordon.
-We spent almost a week in Montgomery visiting, swimming, playing, etc. Good visit!
-We awaited Tropical Storm Florence and thankfully didn't experience much of an issue from her aside from a short power outage.
-The boys had colds, I had a neck muscle spasm and then Matt got the cold. SOOO fun! NOT!
-Grammy was here for a visit and we got to spend a couple of fun days with her.

October 2018

-The weather started to cool off and we enjoyed time outside.
-We took a fun trip to Nashville to visit all of our family there.
-We got to go to SkyTop and pick apples.
-We attended Hatcher Garden Pumpkin Path and Neewallah at Croft State Park.
-Matt started some photo shoots for the fall season.
-We began celebrating Mason turning five during his birthday week including a trip to Anchor Park with friends, Pump-It-Up with friends.
-We also thought Maddox may have hurt his leg because it was limping but seemed it was just a muscle sprain/soreness and he just needed to work it out.

November 2018

-We celebrated Mason's fifth birthday!
-Mason finished speech for good with both places he was receiving services.
-I got some good news from the doctor and we continued on a path toward wellness.
-I started with physical therapy for pain in my back and by end of month, I was feeling much better.
-We celebrated Thanksgiving with a special breakfast with Grandmom and Granddad and watching the Macy's Parade.
-That evening, the boys picked a special meal and Matt and I had steaks!
-Matt and Mason went to Dickens of a Christmas
-We made cinnamon/applesauce ornaments with friends.
-We ended the month going to The Christmas House to see lights and had dinner at Rapid Fired Pizza.

December 2018

-We had a fun day on December 1st with Kid's Workshop, Santa at Hatcher Garden and a trip to Trader Joes.
-December 2nd was fun as well because our friends' had a skating birthday party.
-I shared my testimony at our small group.
-I had a CEU course and Matt took the boys to Big Air. They had a blast!
-The boys went to a Christmas event at a local church and Matt and I had a date!
-We celebrated a snow day until we lost power then we didn't want to celebrate! But Grandmom and Granddad took us in and kept us warm.
-We finished up BSF for the year and enjoyed every minute.
-Mason, Maddox and myself travelled to Montgomery and to Louisiana for a pre-Christmas visit.
-We had GiGi here with us for Christmas and New Year's Eve.
-We saw plenty of Christmas lights as often as we could.

This year had much hard in it but the beauty that was woven within made the suffering worthwhile.