On My Nightstand

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When I finish an amazing book I just feel compelled to share it with you. Right now I’m in the middle of SEVERAl really wonderful books…so here we are!

All The Pretty Things – The memoir that will break your heart and heal it all at once. So, I’ve mentioned this book a few times. Gave away a few copies. Am still reeling from this story. I wish I could buy each of you a copy. I really, really do. I wrote more about this book here.

Uninvited – The subtitle of this book will surely grab nearly every one of the females in this world! “Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out and Lonely. Whew. I’m underinglining so.many.things.

Falling Free¬†– oh this book! Shannan’s writing is beautiful. Yet, this is a hard one. I would suggest not picking this book up if you don’t want to be convicted. ūüėȬ†Falling Free¬†charts one family’s pilgrimage from the self-focused wisdom of the world to the topsy-turvy life of God‚Äôs¬†more¬†being found in¬†less. Martin‚Äôs practical, sweetly subversive book invites us to rethink assumptions about faith and the good life, push past insecurity and fear, and look beyond comfortable, middle-class Christianity toward a deeper, richer, and ultimately more fulfilling life.

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World – this book is also a tough read. We don’t even realize how much our culture is engrained in us. We don’t even think about how normal it seems for our kids to have all the material things they have. Yet, even just a few short years ago, none of what we have now was normal.¬†How do we live in this materialistic world and raise grateful kids? This book isn’t a formula, I don’t like those. ūüôā However, this book is very eye opening and will help you to think about parenting and things we do that aren’t necessarily helping our kids to live grateful lives. This book is written by a mom in the trenches with all the rest of us.

Do You Know That You’re Already Amazing? – I love books that help us to do battle with the lies we believe about ourselves. There are 30 devotions in this book and each one discusses a different lie we believe and the truth we need to remember instead. I’m reading through some of these with my teen girls right now.

 

So, what are you reading right now that you love? 

The Talk: Relationships (Introductory Sale Price)

I am always looking for Biblical resources to teach my kids about life, relationships, and everything in between — like sex. I also love sharing resources with you when I find an excellent one! This new title called The Talk: Relationships is 11 lessons to give kids a greater understanding of Biblical sexuality. It is written for ages 11-14. I admit that this is a hard topic for me to discuss with my kids. So, if you’re like me, this might be a helpful resource for you, too!

This product is launching TODAY and is on sale for $9 in digital format. (Regular price for the digital book will be $11.95.) You can also purchase the hardback copy on Amazon here!

Luke and Trisha Gilkerson are the authors of this new resource and they also have other materials that I have used in the past, too.

More Biblical Resources for Parents

This book is for kids ages 6-10 and introduces basic concepts, such as the differences between male and female anatomy, how babies are conceived and grow in the womb, and the importance of saving sex until marriage.
This book is geared towards kids ages 8-12 and introduces children to the physical and emotional changes that puberty brings.
This book is designed for parents to use with their children ages 11+, Relationships gives parents talking points about how to steward one’s own sexual desires. Topics include information about guarding one’s heart, lust, masturbation, pornography, modesty, homosexuality, and pursuing godly friendships.

What Information is in the Study?

Relationships is a book geared towards kids 11 years old and up. It will delve into a number of topics:

  • Lesson 1 looks at the¬†original goodness of sexuality and marriagerelationships as God created them.
  • Lesson 2 addresses how sin has brought about¬†sexual brokennessinto the world, including our propensity to lust.
  • Lesson 3 exposes the varieties of¬†sexual and relational temptationsin the world: from masturbation to pornography use to homosexual activities.
  • Lesson 4 covers three biblical¬†strategies for avoiding and overcoming lust.
  • Lesson 5 discusses how we should¬†guard our hearts from sexual and relational idolatry.
  • Lesson 6 talks about how we need to¬†make a covenant with our eyes¬†to avoid temptation.
  • Lesson 7 talks about the importance of¬†fleeing sexually tempting situations.
  • Lesson 8 addresses the biblical strategy of pursuing¬†intimacy with God and cultivating gratitude¬†for wholesome pleasures.
  • Lesson 9 discusses the importance of¬†being wise in our opposite-sex friendships.
  • Lesson 10 addresses the value of¬†accountability relationships.
  • Lesson 11 gives students and their parents a picture of the life-transforming¬†grace of God for sexual sinners.

Read more about the entire series from Luke & Trisha Gilkerson!

 

All The Pretty Things

All the pretty things

This memoir will break your heart and heal it all at once.

If addiction, brokenness, divorce, parenting regrets or poverty is part of your story…or maybe you’ve simply lost your faith…you need this story of redemption and hope.

Edie’s story is heartbreaking yet beautiful. In All The Pretty Things, she reminds us that in the parts of our story that seem hopeless, God truly is at work with His redeeming love.

I finished the book and the next day I was still choked up at the memories this book evoked in me.¬†At times I couldn’t stop reading. At times I couldn’t stop crying. And many, many times I couldn’t stop telling God “thank You” that He gave Edie the courage to put her story to paper. God knew I needed her story…and you probably do, too.

All the pretty things

We all need the reminder that God isn’t finished with us or our story just yet. There were so many parts of this story where I cried out in gratitude for what God did in Edie’s life despite the baggage and heartache of her upbringing. This gives me such hope for my children. My children may not be living in the home of an alcoholic, but we all bring baggage to our families. We all bring heartache and disappointment and a life of expectations to our families. Sometimes we need the reminder that God is still redeeming, still loving, still moving…

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His redemptive love doesn’t stop when we make the biggest mistake of our lives. His redemptive love doesn’t stop because we don’t have parents telling us about Him. His redemptive love doesn’t stop when our faith is weak.

He is still redeeming my story…and yours, too.

Head to AllThePrettyThingsBook.com to get more information about this book. 

Watch the Book Trailer here:

All the Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth from Genesis One Productions on Vimeo.

 

Give Away Details

 

Give away is now closed: EMILY is the winner! Congrats!

Finding Gratitude

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One practical idea in #TheHappinessDare is to linger over goodness. Stay a little longer at the dinner table. Look at pictures you took last week or month and be grateful for happy memories. Name your blessings.

So that is how I’m starting my day! This morning I am grateful for God’s Word and especially the Psalms…comfort and peace and encouragement found in that book. I’m thankful for coffee and Jesus in the early quiet morning. I’m thankful for my small group and how God uses them to challenge me and teach me about love. I’m thankful for my family.

What about you? What are you thankful for this morning?

Your Happiness Style

Another practical idea from The Happiness Dare is to take her quiz and find out your happiness style!

I actually TIED for 2 styles: I’m a DOER and a THINKER. No surprise really. ūüėČ

Go here to take the quiz for yourself! Or if you have the book already, it’s in the back of the book.¬†There is a chapter for each style in the book. So fascinating.

And I love that when you find your style you can see how, practically speaking, you can FIND HAPPINESS in your day by looking at HOW God made you, your unique self, and look around at all the gifts God has placed in your world!

The Happiness Dare Book Club

We start our Happiness Dare Book Club THIS WEEK! Join us!

Grab the book! 

More details here!

Join the closed group here. 

Fresh Out of Amazing

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Fresh out of amazing. I feel that way pretty much on a regular basis. What about you?

When I saw the title of this latest book, I knew I had to read it.

Fresh Out of Amazing is written by an online friend of mine, Stacey Thacker. You will love Stacey. She writes about living a life of fresh out of amazing and how Jesus met her there.

And He will meet you, too, friend!

“Often our breaking point births a bigger story…” from chapter 4 of Fresh Out of Amazing.

Raise your hand if you’ve seen evidence of that in your own life? I have to take a moment and share from my own personal history how God has shown Himself faithful in this way.

When I started this blog is was a homeschool journal of sorts. (Please don’t go back and try to read the very first posts on this blog. Kind of funny now, I guess.)

However, one day, God nudged me to share a piece of my story that I was pretty nervous about. He asked me to share about my struggles with depression. Even still in the midst of my struggles I began telling you what it was like, I posted on my bad days, I shared about my mommy failures.

And guess what? 

From my vulnerability God birthed a ministry. I can’t even begin to count the number of you that sent me private messages and emails. You thanked me for sharing my story because it gave you the courage to share yours. You thanked me for sharing my bad days because it helped you to know that you aren’t alone. You thanked me for being courageous and sharing the bad as well as the good.

And sweet friends, I’m blown away. I had no idea. I never saw it coming.

From that point, several years ago, God has shown Himself faithful time and time again. And He will show His faithfulness to you, too, dear ones.

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Aren’t you thankful that God lingers with the broken?

Friends, if reading the title alone of this book: Fresh Out of Amazing, makes your heart pound, this book is for you. If you can’t remember the last time you didn’t feel like fresh out of amazing, this book is for you.

Inside the pages of this book you will find hope. And we all need hope. 

He can take YOUR fresh out of amazing and turn ashes to beauty. He will use your pain for His glory. “God does not waste our fresh-out-of-amazing years. If we allow him, he uses that season of our life to refine us and prepare us for the greater works he will call us to down the road.”¬†

Wherever you are, Jesus sees you. He knows your heart. He knows your pain. He understands our fresh-out-of-amazing. The awesome thing is that He will even meet us in the middle of it.

“Growth doesn’t just happen at Disney World; it happens in the hard places of our lives.”¬†

Yes. Yes. Yes.

To all my fresh-out-of-amazing friends, know that you aren’t alone. I am right there with you. Together we can fight back the enemy and allow God to use our brokenness for His glory and not let it turn to bitterness. For His glory we can proclaim to the world that good news that Jesus saves. For His glory we can let others into our broken places for their healing…and for ours.

Happiness and Holiness

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For many years I’ve believed that holiness and happiness were in competition and that God desired my holiness *more* than my happiness. What if true happiness comes as a result of a close relationship with God…as He trains us in holiness? What if it doesn’t have to be either or? What if happiness isn’t apart from God but a part OF HIM?

Take #TheHappinessDare with me and a few hundred other women in community. This book by Jennifer Dukes Lee will change your perspective and show you so many Scriptures full of the JOY of Christ as well as His suffering.

Maybe in our difficult days there are still ways to find joy…because of Jesus, in Jesus and for His glory.

Finding joy in it ALL…does it even seem possible to you? For the joy set before Him Jesus endured the cross. How can we go and do the same?

The Happiness Dare Book Club

We start on Monday with introductions in the group. Join us!

Grab the book! 

More details here!

Join the closed group here. 

The Happiness Dare

The Happiness Dare

I’m SO excited to announce our next BOOK CLUB DISCUSSION!

Drum roll please…

The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee!

This book has surprised me and actually changed my thinking on some huge topics of my faith. I actually picked this book up EXPECTING to disagree with the premise. Oh how God has such a delightful sense of humor. ūüôā

If you’ve always heard the quote “God desires our holiness more than our happiness…” and if you tend to agree with that, you and I are in the same boat. And, surprisingly, this book has changed my opinion on it! I don’t believe that it has to be holy OR happy any longer! There are so many scripture references to the JOY that Jesus had…yet He was perfectly HOLY as well!! Join me as we dare to live the abundant life that God has for us.

Additionally, if, like me, you are prone to seeing the negative in this world…maybe prone to anxiety and depression…I really feel like you will be blessed by this book. Like Ann Voskamp taught me in One Thousand Gifts, the Happiness Dare challenges me to CHOOSE JOY, to appreciate the simple things, to fix my eyes on Jesus. While One Thousand gifts is one of my all time favorite reads, this book is very different. Very different writing styles. Yet, the Happiness Dare is quickly becoming one of my favorite books as well because it is a topic that I need!

Where Book Discussion Takes Place

The weekly book club discussion will take place in our closed facebook community group! Click here and request to join!

Each week on Monday mornings I will post some discussion questions for our reading that week. For the last book we read, I did weekly facebook live chat videos as well, and I hope to incorporate that again for this book!

**I will be giving away a copy of this book inside this group to one person who plans to join us! Join the group if you want to join us and the give away will be up soon! 

Reading Schedule

August 8 — Have your book and we will begin introductions and discussing some overall themes of the book this week. Begin reading whenever you receive the book!

August 15 — Discuss chapters 1 & 2

August 22 — Discuss chapters 3 & 4

August 29 — Discuss all HAPPINESS STYLE chapters 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

September 5 — Discuss chapters 10 & 11

September 12 — Discuss chapters 12 & 13

September 19 — Discuss chapters 14 & 15

Take the Happiness Style Assessment NOW

You can go ahead and start your happiness dare journey! There is a happiness style assessment in the book but the author also has it on her website!

Go and find out your happiness style here!

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Grab the book & Join Us!

Why I Love This Book

What I’m Reading (and a Few Kindle Deals!)

This summer has been crazy for me. Too crazy. My June calendar didn’t look any different than any other month of the school year and that made me SAD. I wrote about verses to encourage you to SLOW DOWN and RELAX this summer…and finally, at the END of this summer, with just 2 weeks left, I am doing JUST THAT.

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I’ve still gotten in some good reading! Here are some books I’ve been reading this summer…

Fresh Out of Amazing is the book for all women everywhere. You. Me. All of us. I know, if you’re anything like me, the phrase “fresh out of amazing” resonates with you. Oh my. Stacey Thacker really will encourage your fresh out of amazing heart with this book. I’m about halfway through this one and am loving it. It comes out soon! You can pre-order and get some gifts! Read about the pre-order gifts here, scroll down.

Too Busy Not To Pray – I finished this book for our online book club and LOVED it. If you somehow missed out on the online book club, you can go here to read about it. We are finishing the book this week, but you can still join the facebook group and go back to watch all the videos that I created to go along with each week’s reading!

Savoring Slow – this is another fabulous book. I’m only about halfway through it but I’m gleaning a lot and just being encouraged that it’s OK to say no and it’s OK to not have a full schedule. I feel like this is a vicious cycle for me. Once again I’m praying about what things I should take OFF my plate to enable my family to not be so busy. Note: this book does not appear to have much Christian content. I wish it did, however, I am still loving the book.

This book is 2.99 for Kindle at the time of this posting! 

The Awakening of Miss Prim is a fiction book that I devoured while on the plane to Belize for our mission trip. I was so sad when it was over! I first saw this book recommended on one of my favorite blogs — Elizabeth Foss wrote about it here.

This Kindle book is 3.99 at the time of this post. 

The Happiness Dare is a BRAND NEW book that just released and I’m LOVING it. I have to admit that I’m SURPRISED by how much I love it. If you’ve ever believed that “God calls us to be holy, not happy” then you will likely be as inspired by this book as I have been. This book challenges us with the question, “why does it have to be holy OR happy? Why can’t we be both?” Ahem. She gives Scripture reference after Scripture reference of how Jesus had JOY even in the midst of his suffering.

**I will have a GIVE AWAY for this book coming up SOON. Stay tuned…

Ok. Your turn! What are you reading at the end of this summer? I want to hear about the books you’re loving and even the books you’re not loving. ūüôā¬†

ACTS method of prayer {free printables}

ACTS method of prayer

My precious friends and I in my facebook community are continuing to read Too Busy Not To Pray. We have been having discussion questions each week and I’ve also done a live video inside the group to go with each week’s chapters.

In the latest chapters we’ve discussed, the author of this book discussed the ACTS method of prayer and how this can help to keep us focused during prayer as well as focusing our hearts where they need to be focused — on God first!

The ACTS method of prayer consists of the following categories:

A РADORATION РFirst, before anything else, adore God, worship Him, tell Him how good He is, name His attributes. Get your eyes and focus off of yourself and place them on God. {My favorite resource for learning how to adore God is the book Every Bitter Thing is Sweet.} 

C – CONFESSION – Spend some time truly confessing and naming your sins to God. I can tell you that the Lord really convicted of me as I was reading this portion of the book. When we ask God to forgive us for “all our sins” or how we’ve displeased Him today…we are missing out on how God can work and truly changes our hearts when we don’t name our sins to Him. The author tells about his own experience with going to God and telling Him he had been a liar, he had been proud, etc. When we name those things day after day, we begin to hate it! We get tired of saying those same sins day after day! God can cleanse our hearts and we can move forward from those sins that we’ve struggled with for years.

T – THANKSGIVING – We can all name and count our blessings. Tell God the many ways He has blessed you. Thank Him even in the hard things. Spend some time telling God all the things you are thankful for. {My favorite resource for learning to be thankful in all things is the book One Thousand Gifts.}

S – SUPPLICATION – This is where you pray for anyone and everyone that God places on your heart! Pray for your husband, your children, your country, your church, your family, your workplace, your neighbors. Become a warrior of intercessions! We need the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ!

ACTS method printables

Click here to download and print this PDF to use in your prayer time. Print as many copies as you like and place them in a binder.

I have 2 options for you, just choose the one you think might work better for you!

ACTS of Prayer PDF

ACTS of Prayer

 

ACTS of Prayer Squares PDF

ACTS of Prayer Squares

 

What methods of prayer do you enjoy in your prayer life? What helps keep you focused during prayer time? Do you consistently adore God when you spend time with Him? I would love to hear about your prayer life and what helps you!


A Diary of Private Prayer

A Diary of Private Prayer

Sometimes you pick up a book and it’s just a match made in heaven.

“O Divine Love, as you stand outside the closed doors of human hearts and knock, grant me the grace to throw open all the doors of my heart. Tonight let me draw back every bolt and bar that until now has robbed my life of air and light and love.¬†

Open my ears, O God, so that I can hear your voice calling me to attempt great things. Too often when you have spoken to me I have been deaf to your appeals; but now give me the courage to answer, Here I am; send me. Help me to hear when any of my human brothers and sisters, your children, call out in need. Help me to hear your voice in their cry.” from Fourteenth Day evening of A Diary of Private Prayer

“Help me to take a stand today – for whatever is pure, true, just and good…for the redemption of daily business from the blight of self-seeking; for the rights of the weak and the oppressed;¬†

Today, dear Lord – help me put what is right before my own interest; help me put others above myself; help me not to forget matters of the spirit, by being too consumed with matters of the body…help me put you above all else.” from Fourteenth Day morning

Isn’t that beautiful? Those quotes above are just a short portion of each day’s prayer. There is a prayer for each morning and each evening for 31 days. So you could really start this book any time.

I pray in my own words daily, but as an introvert who often feels like I don’t have the words to say, I love reading prayers that truly resonate with my heart and what I want to pray but often don’t think of. These prayers are so heartfelt and I love the way they are worded.

If you need a boost in your prayer life, I encourage you to take a look at this devotional classic!

**At the time of this posting, the kindle version is 2.99.