Take Courage: On Leaving Anxiety and Depression Behind

A while back I quit seeking or accepting review copies of books if the deal required me to blog about the book because I don’t like being obligated to share a book with you unless it really ‘wows’ me. Now, I only accept books if they come to me free and clear, without obligation, and I only review books on this blog that I feel are not to be missed. The book I’m sharing today is in the “Don’t miss it” category! 

Many of you have read my story of how God set me free from a debilitating anxiety disorder 6 years ago this summer. I’m a totally different person than I was in my early 20′s–then I was shy and introverted, with fear (especially fear of man) as my primary motivation in every area of my life. Now? I’m an extroverted people-person, reveling in the gift of peace and joy from my Father daily, that toxic level of fear and anxiety a distant memory.

Although it’s been 6 years, I still feel the difference and deliverance daily, love to share my testimony, and rejoice when I hear of others who have been set free.

That’s why I loved Jennifer Ebenhack’s story. She’s been there, too–deep in the darkness of anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, days so dark it affected her physical health. And the Lord has led her out of that place, and to share her journey in a new book “Take Courage: Choosing Faith on My Journey of Fear”.

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From the Introduction:

“How often have we wondered if others struggle as we do? How validating and encouraging it is it to hear the stories of others–to discover we are not alone in our battle after all. When someone else comes alongside us, lets us glimpse their brokenness and tells us there is hope, our strength is renewed.” -Jennifer Ebenhack

Jennifer’s book is one of those rare little jewels that combines both a heart-touching personal story with practical applications–inspiring you on one hand, and equipping you on the other. It is a impactful read for anyone who has struggled with anxiety, PTS, depression, and even adrenal fatigue.

I found it interesting that her healing required addressing the same three areas I had to focus on in my journey–the mental, physical, and spiritual causes of anxiety. One of my favorite sections of the book is where Jennifer touches on the neuroscience behind the scriptural principle of ‘taking every thought captive’ (2 Corinthians 10:5). If you struggle with hearing the same internal lies and fighting the same fears over and over (as I have at times) you’ll love the info in the section on “Transformative Mental Choices”.

Wherever you are on the path to freedom, you will find courage and grace in this book. Buy it for Kindle or Nook and join the journey of leaving anxiety and depression behind you.

 

 

 

10 Things I Discovered in May

Life is like sifting for gold…you spend day after day doing a lot of monotonous stuff, when suddenly a little gem shows up, making the whole day (or even month!) bright and worth it all. When I took my blogging break, I realized the two things I missed most were telling stories and sharing with you the little discoveries that made my day. So, here’s a collection of my finds from May. I hope at least one of them makes your day brighter!

1. A unit study on volcanoes is a perfect excuse to make a Chocolate Peanut Butter Molten Lava Cake. I love homeschooling. When it involves chocolate, it’s even better.
2. I can make Chocolate Peanut Butter Molten Lava Cake in my crockpot. Now I don’t have to turn my oven on when it’s stinkin’ hot and I want cake! Stacey taught me this.
3. I can live without facebook. I know, incredible, right? Two whole weeks, and the internet didn’t break without me, and I did not break out in a rash. (There was that funny twitch in my left knee cap, but I’m choosing to believe that was unrelated.)
4. Books by the particular publishing company David C. Cook have this cool thing after the book called an “AfterWords” which is a little delectable interview with the author.  They say,

“When a delightful concert comes to an end, the orchestra might offer an encore.  When a fine meal comes to an end, it’s always nice to savor a bit of dessert. When a great story comes to an end, we think you may want to linger. And so, we offer…AterWords—just a little something more after you have finished a David C Cook novel.”

My favorite book on my Kindle (app) this month was Composing Amelia and it was so good, I was sad when it ended. The AfterWords made the hurt all better. I’m such a fan. (and you remember I get nearly all my Kindle books for free thanks to this site, right?)
5. We’re supposed to reject idols in our life. I had been trying to ‘manage’ some idols in my life. Nope. Wrong approach. Gotta get rid of them people. Two of mine are ‘sleep past a certain time of morning’, and ‘social media outside of set times’.
6. Chocolate Avocado Pudding should not be considered a health food. This undersells this amazingly delectable treat. I know it’s great for those who are sensitive to dairy or trying to avoid sugar, but seriously. This stuff is purely craveable. I promise you do NOT taste the avocado. And there’s not lingering aftertaste of guilt, either. Whoever was brave enough to invent this stuff has my highest respect. (Here’s a recipe I’m going to try) My friend Sarah first made this for me–you can find all kinds of goodness on her amazing Pinterest Recipe boards  of GAPS-friendly food. (She and her whole family have been doing GAPS for 4 months now and they are seeing amazing results!)
7. Whole chicken really is the cheapest way to buy your chicken. I already knew this, but I confirmed it to myself on a recent visit to the grocery store. Instead of buying parts for all the grilling we like to do when warm weather arrives, I’m sticking with my whole roaster bird, and cutting it up when I get it home. 
8. Pineapple contains a protein-digesting enzyme called bromelain, meaning eating it with protein helps you digest said protein better. So it’s one of the fruits you should eat with other foods. Unlike watermelon. Oh, please. Melons: Eat them Alone or Leave them Alone. (you know what happens, right? Are you really gonna make me say it out loud on the blog? It can make you throw up. It almost always has this effect on my kids if they eat it with anything else. There. Only for you.)
9. Peanut Butter and Jelly stirred into plain yogurt makes a great, high protein snack. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. 

10. My mother-in-law made a natural mosquito repellent the other day and it actually works! We tested it on Jeremy, who the bugs love more than anyone else in this family. He swears by it. Well, Jeremy doesn’t swear, but you get what I mean. Here’s what we used…

  • 15 drops lavender essential oil
  • 3-4 T. vanilla extract (make your own!)
  • 1/4 C. lemon juice

Combine in a 16 oz. spray bottle and fill the rest of the way with water. Shake and spray on to enjoy the outdoors without the bugs enjoying you.

Hmmm. Looking over this list I realized 6 out of 10 of the month’s bright spots had to do with food, and 4 involved chocolate. (Do I need to add another item to my idols list?) You can definitely tell I’m preggo!

Tell me what’s brightened your life since the last time we met here!

3 Great Ebooks for Writers and Bloggers

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I love writing because it led me to blogging. I love blogging because it’s helped me grow as a writer (and because I met all of you, of course!) Whether you are a blogger who now calls yourself a writer, or a writer who’s taken up blogging, it’s important that you continue to hone your craft and tone your purpose. Here’s three books that will help you do just that!
{Just so you know ~ Many of the product links on this page are affiliate links meaning a make a percentage of profit if you buy the item via my link we and will be blessed through your purchase, thank you!}

Ebooks for Writers and Bloggers

1. 31 Days to Become a Better Writer by K.J.Tanner

Ya’ll, I just have to brag that this author is actually one of my IRL besties. She’s one of my favorite writing voices, and I love that she’s finally released her first book! Yes! It came out yesterday! The amazing thing about this book is how many writers it guided to a stronger voice and confidence in the value of  their story when it was a series on Allume. A whole community has grown up around Kristina’s authentic example and creative writing prompts. Here’s my review on Amazon:

“K.J. Tanner is a master at turning every day, ordinary life happenings into exquisite, readable prose. I follow her blog (kjtanner.com) religiously and devour any and all of her writings because I love watching her work magic with whatever the day has given her.

And I value this book because in it she teaches us to do the same. Not only does she cover the basics of tense and voice, but she thrusts us out of our comfort zones with enticing prompts and challenges, helping us turn our material into something memorable.

Kristina is very affirming of individual voice and the worth of each writer’s story, reminding us that our best writing will happen when we are staying true to our own voice, and not trying to imitate someone else. Her exercises for developing and maintaining consistent voice would be particularly helpful for bloggers working to solidify their personal brand.

I love that the content is linked to a thriving community on facebook where I can get feedback and encouragement as I seek to improve my writing.

This book is not another ‘how to write’ book, the reading of which will consume all the time that you were supposed to spend writing. It’s concise, powerful content delivers a swift, well directed kick in the pants to all of us who are tempted to simply dream of becoming better writers, and launches us well on our way.

No one will have you salivating for a smooth pen and empty notebook faster K.J.Tanner.”

Get Your Copy Here and start writing better today!

2. On Becoming a Writer: What Every Blogger Needs to Know by Densise J. Hughes

As bloggers, it’s so easy to fall into blogging habits that may or may not be good writing habits. If you find a post style that works for you, you can just keep producing content in that format, writing thousands of words a month, and still not grow as a writer. But isn’t that sad? To invest all this time into an activity, but never progress in the art?

Denise Hughes thinks that would be a shame, too, so she’s written a book on writing just for us who have found this passion through the medium of blogging. Her book will gently and clearly guide you through the writing process, helping you straighten up the areas that need work (how are your outlining skills? what’s your most productive writing routine? how do you court inspiration?) and pin point where and how you can grow.

I absolutely love this book because Denise is actually an English professor, but not the type you may remember from college. She’s actually very encouraging, affirming, and gives me permission to write where I’m at, even as she calls me onward.

“Never let the fear of incorrect grammar hinder you from expressing your ideas. A good idea trumps a grammatically-correct-but-technically-dull idea any day.”

See? Super encouraging. She covers grammar, presentation, finding your voice, writing with clarity, how to write a hook and lots more. Yet the book is concise and could be read in an afternoon. I highly recommend this to any of my friends and readers who want to hone their writing skills.

Get your copy here.

3. More Than Numbers by Trina Holden

OK, this would be overt self-promotion if this book was for sale, but it’s not. It’s FREE, and a quick read for anyone who needs a reminder of why they’re writing/blogging in the first place. The feedback we’ve gotten on this little book has been such a blessing–many bloggers have been encouraged to write words, to tell their story, and to seek to impact God’s kingdom no matter how small their blog.

I just read your ebook, and I thought it was great. I love your writing style, and the message is spot on. It really spoke to me. I’m one of the smaller than the small bloggers, and I’ve recently been thinking about putting more energy into my blog. Your ebook has reminded me to keep my priorities straight at a time when I was tempted just to concentrate on growing my blog rather than focusing on the readers I already have. Catherine

This is a gorgeous book, Trina! Thank you so much for sharing your story and your insight. I have struggled with this, too. I never want it to be about the numbers, but it’s hard to always remember! I’m keeping my blogging mission statement in view to remind me each and every day. – Stacie

You can get your copy just by signing up for my (monthly-ish, different content than the blog) newsletter here. ;) Because, I love you ;) and I believe the Lord can use your writing.

Is there a book that’s inspired you as a writer or a blogger? I totally want to hear about it, mkay? ‘Cause I just love writing. And Blogging. And books and blogs on writing and blogging.

OK, I’m done now.

 

Embracing Beauty Book Tour, Weekend Roundup

We had another wonderful week hearing how the book was impacting women of all ages and seasons of life, bringing renewed vision and inspiration for embracing beauty! It’s truly been a privileged to be a part of whispering God’s message to women: “You are beautiful because I made you, and I want you to experience joy and freedom in this and every area of your life!”

“Why Beauty Should Stay on Your To-Do List”
a guest post on ThePurposefulWife.com

 ”My life is an every-day whirlwind between 3 children, a diligent husband that works an ever-changing schedule, and not a small amount of traveling for the family business. Sometime in the chaos last year, I gave up on beauty. I thought I could live without it, so I let it slip off the to-do list.”… read the rest of my post here.

 

Rachel also reviewed the book and is giving away a copy so hop over there if you don’t have yours yet!

Lisa on pray4lilly.blogspot.com

Lisa is a reader I’ve really connected with, despite living in different states. She grabbed a paperback copy of my book the day it released and read it last week. I was delighted to hear what the book meant to her…

“I believe that God cares about all the little details in our lives but honestly I had just never thought about it in relation to my clothing very much…I’ve read a number of fashion type books before, but this is the only one has ever seemed realistic to my life.”… read the rest here.

“No Longer Hiding” a guest post on ElizabethEsther.com

My friend Elizabeth and I each have very conservative roots, and have both had to come to a more balanced perspective on the role of adornment in our lives. I talked a bit about my journey from frump to joy in the area of personal style…

I used to wear a lot of neutrals and “quiet” colors. My outfits rarely made a statement, but rather did a good job of helping me fade into the background. Looking back I realize that this was because I was living in fear. Since the Lord has delivered me from the bondage of people-pleasing, and a warped understanding of the role of fashion, I’ve trended toward brighter colors and not-so-quiet style statements. This boldness stems from the joy I feel in the freedom Christ has given me. I’ve even been known to wear period costumes to events that are most certainly not costume parties (just ask Elizabeth!) …read more of the post here.

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Review and Giveaway at GretchenLouise.com

Embracing Beauty does more than just provide fashion and accessory tips that fit every body and budget. Trina Holden ignites a passion for becoming ambassadors of beauty in every area of our hearts and lives.”

Gretchen is hosting a giveaway of my book–hurry over there and enter because the giveaway closes this weekend!

Have yourself a wonderful and beauty-filled weekend, and don’t forget to take a picture of what you wear to church this Sunday, or what you find at the thrift store next week, so you’ll be ready to take part in our first fashion-related link up on the blog next Thursday!

The Rest of a Good Story

May I remind you that we need rest?

Our bodies need it–that’s why we sleep every night (hopefully). Our minds need rest, as well. If you’re like me, your mind needs help going into ‘rest mode’. I use fiction to encourage my mind to rest.

We have to remember that most of the internet is non-fiction. No matter how lovely the blogs you read, there are still calls to action, conversations enticing you to join in, and just one more link to follow. The internet is not a very quiet, restful place. We musn’t forget to embrace the ‘rest’ of a good story. {<–tweet that!}

My preferred genre is Christian detective and legal thrillers. Did that surprise you? Yeah, it did me, too. Here’s a few I’ve enjoyed lately…

The Last Plea Bargain by Randy Singer

This was my latest read. Very intricate plot–really enjoyed this well-crafted mystery/legal thriller. I will look for more from this author.

Dead Reckoning by Ronie Kendig

An underwater archaeologist gets caught up in a nuclear terrorist plot. I enjoyed the unique setting and it definitely kept me turning pages when I should have been sleeping.

Invisible by Lorena McCourtney

I really liked the premise of this detective story–that a little old lady is practically invisible to most people, thus allowing her to snoop and pry and solve a crime that stumps the police.

Too Close to Home by Lynette Eason

This author tried to weave in a bit too much shallow romance into the fast paced action of the story. But I found the story worth it–it got pretty edge-of-your-seat-exciting, so I will look for the next in the series.

Hazardous Duty by Christy Barrit

A crime scene cleaner gets caught up in a murder plot. The heroine seems to lack some common sense, but her ditzy moments do create some exciting drama. I enjoyed the humor in this one.

{I have to mention this next one because it was a review copy I received from Multnomah press a while back.  I’ll have you know, I’ve quit signing up for free review copies and I turn down a lot of review opportunities because I’m only willing to bring you the books that are really worth your time. I don’t want to waste your time telling you about a sub-par book which I’m obligated to review because I received it for free. So, this one gets a brief mention because I have to, and then that’s the last obligatory review I’ll ever do, mkay?}

The Corruptible by Mark Mynheir

What I liked about Mark Mynheir was his ability to bring humor into a crime/detective novel. That being said, I think he needs more practice–it could have been better written.

And here’s a few more outside of that genre that were totally worth the mention.

Chop, Chop by L.N. Cronk  –  This one is Free Today!

I don’t know how to summarize this book for you. All I know is that even though it was not the best written book I’ve read in the last year, the story has stuck with me for months.

Unconventional by J.J. Hebert

I saved the best for last. This was my favorite fiction book I’ve read in the last 12 months. Grabbed me on so many levels. It’s the story of a struggling young writer trying to get his first work published. If you are a writer, you will love this story, relating to all the stages of discouragement, writer’s block, and satisfaction the character experiences. Even if you’re not a writer, the story has several sub-plots and a lot to draw you in emotionally.

I loved the book so much, I tracked down the author and thanked him personally. I only do that about once every 3 years. So, 5 stars, and I can’t wait for his next book.

Wanna know how I keep my kindle app bursting with great titles–for free? My secret is EReadergirl.com. I LOVE this site! It was spearheaded by Crystal Paine of MoneySavingMom and provides a great service: they scan the free and cheap ebooks on Amazon every day and bring you the best of clean and usually Christian books each day. I signed up to receive their daily posts in my inbox and download a few good titles every week, so I always have fresh content for when I need Rest.

What fiction have you enjoyed lately? I love suggestions!

 

We Are: A Caregiver’s Manifesto

Today’s featured ebook is very special to me. Here’s why…

Last summer I wrote a series on this here blog about self-publishing your own ebook. In my post “Do you have an eBook in you? {Psst! I think so!}” I encouraged you all that your book idea was worth pursuing. I challenged you to share your dream in the comments, and a reader named Dana did just that…

“My idea for an ebook comes from the blog I write. It’s mostly about the unique life I live being married to a man who is paralyzed. My husband is a quadriplegic, because of a gymnastics accident he had on a ministry missions trip in high school. We were email pen pals for 8 years before finally meeting in person. Two years after that, we were married. I had a hard time adjusting to life and marriage while juggling disability. We are Christians, and rely on God to get us through. The blog has already touched so many other wives of men with disabilities, and created community on our blog’s Facebook page. That makes me SO happy! What connects more than anything is my blatant honesty. I think I’d like to try to turn some of the best “real” posts into an ebook.”

I went to Dana’s blog and was fascinated by her story. I replied back to her…

“Wow, Dana–I definitely want to hear more of your story! And I think an ebook would be a great idea. Just think what a gift it would be (to people like me!) who have only just come upon your blog or heard of your story: a collection of the best of your blog so far so I could jump right in and get to know you and hear your journey. I really hope you will do this!”

Dana and I kept in touch, and in October at Allume, I got to meet her. (Here’s a blurry picture of us taken just after my session at Allume–I was still learning how to use the camera on my smart phone ;) Isn’t she adorable?)

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It was then that she told me that she was doing it–really doing it: she was going to publish her first eBook! It was like hearing my blog post was having a baby. OK, that was really weird, but that is what it felt like. I don’t claim any of the credit for Dana’s beautiful work, but she did tell me that my words had helped her birth this dream.

And today her book debuts, with an exquisite cover she designed herself. And I’m just so excited to share it with you!

In Dana’s 40 page book she expounds on one of her most popular posts from her blog Love Like This, sharing “the true life stuff of a good looking quadriplegic and his young wife.”

The first thing I love about the book is Dana’s writing voice. It’s both poetic and real. Secondly, I find her story fascinating–I love the behind-the-scenes peek at a life so different than my own, and yet, maybe not. I could certainly relate to this story about being on auto pilot…

“One time I was on a work trip in Iowa. I was with some coworkers at a sub place for dinner. I was on the phone as we were sitting down to eat, so I was on auto pilot. Without realizing what I was doing, I put my coworker’s straw in his drink, salted his fries and put ketchup on the side, and put his napkin on his lap. I hung up my phone and my coworker just looked at me like I was crazy.

Are you going to feed me? he asked.
I was so embarrassed.” –from We Are: A Caregiving Manifesto

Finally, I really loved Dana’s unique format and the way in which she arranged the content. If you have dreamed of creating an ebook, I think you will be really inspired by this one. Dana proves that everyone has a story to tell, and so many can be blessed in the telling. Her book is beautiful, and I believe yours will be, too!

We Are: A Caregiver’s Manifesto made me tear up, laugh out loud, and count my blessings. Dana’s indomitable effort to find the joy and beauty in the life she lives really inspired me to see my own life from a fresh perspective. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for.

I think it would be fun and romantic to share this short and inspiring book with your spouse this week in which we celebrate love. I’m totally reading it to my guy.  I think he will like it because, as an adaptive ski instructor, he has a passion for helping people with disabilities to embrace life fully.

If you know someone who is a caregiver, be sure to share this book to encourage them!

 

 

Are You a Blog at Home Mom?

Blog-at-Home-3D-500“The Blog at Home Mom” could not have come into my life at a better time. The fight for balance between my real life and online responsibilities ebbs and flows. Sometimes I feel like I’ve finally found my sweet spot, only to struggle yet again with wondering if I’m even doing the right thing. I was in yet another one of those re-evaluating seasons when I first read Christin’s book.

“The passions we have aren’t accidents. God placed them there for a purpose—for His purpose.”

Her honest and practical words  helped me to see again how it is not only possible but a privilege to continue to embrace both my mothering and my writing gracefully.

“Living out our passion while raising our children is not wrong or sinful as long as you don’t make it an idol—which is true with anything in life: food, television, technology, money, shopping, and the list goes on.”

I have found that what I focus on expands, which means when I focus too much on ‘how to blog’ type information, I very easily get out of balance in that area. What I love about Christin’s book is she has just as much encouragement and advice pertaining to the motherhood area of my life as the blogging. Her book itself exemplifies the balance she’s calling us to! She moves gracefully back and forth between blogging and mothering advice, meaning I get to the end of the chapter with fresh inspiration for both areas of my life.

I especially loved the section on Schedule Rebellion. You know–that attitude you get shortly after you finally get a schedule that works for you? Christin encouraged us not to give up, but to embrace at least some level of time scheduling long enough to see the fruit. And she reminds us why:

A-Schedule-Pin

I also love that she’s included wise words other women throughout the book, including some of my favorite bloggers! Hearing real life stories of what works for other moms is always inspiring. The whole book was refreshing and energizing to me.

“Having the ability to live out what God has given me a deep desire for really empowers me to be a better mom, wife, and all around woman.”

Christin describes the life of a blogging mom as “A rhythmic sway of passion and purpose”. If your blogging journey has ever felt more like a tug-of-war than a dance, you will benefit from this book!

Available as a PDF download, or for your Kindle or Nook! (affiliate links)

I received a copy of Christin’s book to review. The opinionated opinions in this post are, as always, my own. P.S. Christin is part of my mastermind group, so I’ve had a backstage pass to the process and unfolding of this ebook, which allows me to testify that Christine lives what she preaches. Even while writing an ebook she kept her family first and priorities in place. In fact, the proceeds of this book will go toward their adoption of two little girls from Africa! She and her book get my full endorsement!

 

In Which I Learn the True Meaning of Lent

I’m about to tell you something that will no doubt confirm the sneaking suspicion in your mind that I am a complete ditz.

“He gives grace to the humble.” OK, here we go…

My Confession: I used to think that Ash Wednesday was the anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helen and when I saw people in the grocery store on that day with ash smudged on their foreheads, I thought they were remembering those who perished in that disaster.

How I came to this conclusion must have something to do with an early childhood impressions. The souvenir bottle of Mt. St. Helen’s ash my mother kept on a little shelf above Daddy’s recliner in the living room was my first definition of ‘ash’. Hearing of Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, is it not too unnatural to think I would associate it with the souvenir? I was raised about as far from the Catholic church as one could be—descended from French Huguenot ancestors and attending non-denominational churches for most of my life. Can I be blamed for my ignorance of liturgy and church history?

I’m so glad my gentle friend, Kris, finally set me straight. I who thought Lent had something to do with a topless mountain in Washington. With exquisite prose and dramatic authenticity, Kris’s book “Holey, Wholly, Holy” introduced me to the idea, purpose, and beauty of the Lenten season.

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“Though the season of Lent occurs once a calendar year, the reality is, as Christians, we live the Lenten experience again and again. Daily, we experience the grief that often comes with self-reflection and the recognition of our imperfections, the sorrow of confession, the joy of atonement and the blessings of grace through the resurrection.” –Kris Camealy

This book is not simply an expose on an old church tradition. It’s the story of Kris’ own deeply refining Lenten journey, and a reminder to us of the beauty found in surrender. It has been an inspiration to me to delve deeper into the refining fires that come, trusting that they’re designed by a loving God to bring healing and beauty to my very soul.

“This is a not a time to turn and run, thought that may be our instinct. This is the time to stand still, to listen to what He’s whispering, and to allow Him to strip you of the covers you’ve been hiding under. Trust me when I say you’ve not got anything He hasn’t seen before. Stand in this fire, let Him purify you—this is how He loves us. This is the process of sanctification.”

For me, this exquisitely written book was like a movie that ended too soon, until I remembered that the real story is what will happen when I embrace my own Lenten season. If you have always wondered what the big deal was with Lent, or maybe looking for fresh perspective on a familiar tradition in your life, I highly recommend “Holey, Wholly, Holy”, available in paperback or for your Kindle.

P.S. Lent begins Feb 13th this year. Do you observe Lent? This year will be a first for me!

Kris gave kindly gave me a copy of her book to review; these thoughts are my own, as always. Kris is a personal friend and a fellow member of my mastermind group, as well as a talented story-teller and word weaver. I am so excited to share her first book with you all!

Redeeming Childbirth

It seems as though Tuesdays have become ‘Book days’ my blog! Every week this month, one of my bloggy friends has come out with a new book, and each time it’s been one I’ve been delighted to share with you. Know this: I don’t just post any old book that comes along, but save my blog for sharing with you the ones I wish I could personally purchase and put into the hands of ever momma I know. Today’s is another good one!

Angie Tolpin 4

Today, my friend Angie’s book, “Redeeming Childbirth: Experiencing His Presence in Pregnancy, Labor, Childbirth, and Beyond” was born. (forgive my pun, couldn’t resist…)

I am seriously impressed with this book. Its message is so refreshing, and so needed.

Have you ever felt judged about your birthing choices? Or have you judged other women? (Yikes, that one hits a little too close to home for me!) In the beginning of her book, Angie openly addresses the rift we have allowed to develop between women and their widely differing birth choices, and calls us to not condemn anyone, but exhorts each of us to “seek God in all things, including pregnancy and childbirth”.

Angie continues, “If we claim home births are the most spiritual, wouldn’t that be putting God in a box? God is everywhere and He wants to be invited
everywhere, birth centers and hospitals included.”

“Redeeming childbirth is not something we can do; it is something the Lord wants to do. We just need to surrender to Him. It will look different for everyone as we are all unique women on our unique journeys with the Lord, but we can all purpose to glorify Him through giving birth.”

Wow. And that’s just the first chapter! This book has convicted and inspired me to let God redeem more of this area of my life, and to extend grace to the other mammas around me!

The book continues in a grace-filled manner to address:

• What redeeming childbirth means and what it looks like.
• Lies women believe and false teachings about birth.
• Fears that bind us.
• Preparing your heart, soul, and mind for birth and motherhood.
• Experiencing the presence of the Lord in birth through prayer
and worship.
• Being a missionary wherever you are, even in the midst of
childbirth.
• Engaging birth with your spouse in a way that strengthens your
marriage.
• Leaving a legacy for your children with regard to pregnancy and
birth.
• Surrendering idols concerning birth under the headship of
Christ.

Having met Angie personally several times, I am so excited that she has created a book so that many more woman can ‘meet’ her, and be encouraged by her passion and heart for woman. Screen shot 2013-01-12 at 11.23.38 AM

The book is available on Amazon in paperback as well as a Kindle edition. This week only, the study guide is free to download.  There’s gonna be a twitter party tonight from 9-10 EST if you like that sorta thing (they give me a complete rush, truth be told!) You can also visit RedeemingChildbirth.com to enter the launch day giveaways!

I received this book in exchange for my very own, honest, opinionated review. And, we’ve got affiliate links going on here, so there you go!

(O.K. now I’m off to go work on my own book-in-progress  so that some Tuesday soon I can share THAT with you! ;))

No More Desperate Moms

Do ya’ll ever have days when you feel absolutely desperate?

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Days when you are quite positive you are a complete failure as a mom? I have those days. (Had a doozy just last week, in fact!)

That’s why I’m so excited about this book. It was written just for me, and just for you, mamma, for those days when you’re heart’s bursting with love for your little ones, and days when you just don’t know HOW you’re gonna go on. This book meets you right there, puts an arm around you, and helps you breath.

It’s written by two women I love to think of as my virtual mentors: Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae…I have learned so much from their blogs and previous books I was ecstatic when I heard they were writing one together.  In Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breath they have created a book that is unique in that it combines the mature wisdom of a wise older woman (Sally), with the passion and heart of a younger mom who’s right in the trenches with me (Sarah Mae).

Sally and Sarah’s desire for the book is that it would launch a movement of encouragement and tangible support to real moms right where they are in one of the toughest seasons of motherhood. They’re calling it “No More Desperate Moms” and it’s a pretty big dream. Can one little book really make this vision a reality? I believe it can, and here’s why: I think the most desperate moms are those who feel alone, and this book shatters that isolation with the message “I’ve been there, too”. Realizing we are not alone is the first step in reaching out for the community that will get us through this season. Authenticity is what breaks down the walls and allows us to do life together. Throughout the book Sarah and Sally are both vividly honest about the hard realities of motherhood, but also the things that have brought them joy and strength along the way…

  • Sarah and Sally not only tell you it’s normal to be at the end of your rope, but they also tell you where to go for help.
  • They don’t just admit that you ‘might’ get a ‘little’ depressed–they wrote a whole chapter called, “When the Dark Invades”.
  • They don’t just tell you it’s ok to need others, they assure you reaching out is the best thing you can do for yourself and your kids, and they give you hints on how to embrace the support you need.

After reading this book, I was inspired to redouble my efforts to connect with older woman who can be mentors to me in different areas, as well as the moms around me who I might be able to encourage by doing a small group study together. Just in the last week I have felt a fresh breath of air enter my home and my heart, thanks to a phone call here, and email there, and the anticipation of getting together in person with a mom in my area this week. Community makes all the difference in motherhood, and this book will inspire and equip you to strengthen yours.

I received a free copy of this book for review, but the passionate opinions in this post are entirely my own! (can’t you tell?)