Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book Review: Stones of Remembrance by Julie Presley

Stones of Remembrance

I just read the first novel I have picked up in a few years.
Cover to cover.
In one day.
Yeah, it was that good!

Julie Presley has done a brilliant job of depicting a heart-wrenching, core-touching story that has so much genuine, down-to-earth reality about the ups and downs of journeying with Jesus and the risky business of Kingdom living. With poise and grace, she takes you into the real sticky aspects of life, from tragic loss to passionate connection.

It seems like so many "Christian" books present this fluffy, happy, cliche idea of what it looks like to go through this life, with its many unexpected twists and turns, as a believer in Jesus. This book is bold and messy and so full of every legitimate emotion known to man. It paints a raw picture of the Father's pursuit of His beloved children and the response of two very real people with very real heartache, doubts, struggles, and grief.

I cried; I gasped; my jaw dropped; my heart raced; I laughed; and at the end I threw my arms in the air and cheered with tears streaming down my face.

I think every woman I know should read this book and pass it on to her girl friends. It isn't every day that such a treasure becomes available to us that is able to unlock longings of love lost and hope regained that we thought would never see daylight again. The practical truth of the dialog found within will make your heart sing a new song and throw you into a frantic run to your Daddy's arms, where He will hold you tight and make you whole.

This book is available as a paperback or as an e-Book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or directly from Julie's website. I urge you to get ahold of it and let it get ahold of you!

I'm even doing a giveaway of a copy of the e-Book, so you could get it for free! All you have to do is share this review on your Facebook page, Re-Tweet it, or RePin it before midnight Saturday, Sept. 22, to be entered to win.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

This is My Life

Exhausting day so far. I swear the most outlandish things happen on the days that I resolve to take a chill pill and choose peace.

On less than 4 hours of sleep, I had to drag the kids out of bed to pick up the hubby from his 16 hour shift at 7am, which makes for an off-kilter day right there. Unable to fully comprehend the world or function like a normal human being (at least, as "normal" as I can pull off...), I somehow managed to get everyone home and fed and back out the door with Kylee in uniform and with backpack in tow (including signed permission slip for next week's field trip; I'm such an overachiever!) to get her to school on time (for the first time all week).

I even got laundry put away and the kitchen floor swept before meeting a beautiful friend for coffee.

The coffee shop we met at is literally 4 doors down from our house, which I absolutely love. The kids call this one "our coffee shop;" I get the impression that they seriously believe it belongs to us... Anyway, I walk down there with my two smallest mini people, thinking I have everything under control and this will be a breeze. Within 15 minutes of being there, my sweet boy used one of the crayons I brought as an attempt at adequate distraction to express his creative soul on the solid yellow wall. It was a black crayon, of course.

I very much enjoyed the luxury of actual adult conversation and interaction, which has been quite lacking for me this week; of course it was intermingled with so many questions and trips to the bathroom and assisting with getting the toys off of the very top shelf and then putting them back, but it was still very cherished, especially with such a wonderful friend and person.

And then, of course, more drama ensued when Chloe and Josiah decided to fight over one particular piece from a toy and Josiah fell off of his chair backwards, head first into the wall/window frame. Everyone in the shop stopped moving and held their breath as my son released a completely legit cry of terror and pain. A few people asked if they could do anything and the poor barista-boy looked so desperate to be of assistance that I asked him for a bag of ice, which he kindly and promptly brought out. Thankfully my boy seems to be fine, just a little bumped and scraped, which is entirely normal for him anyway. It was nice that everyone seemed so concerned for my poor, sweet boy and I even forgot to be embarrassed to bring such (additional) attention to the state of utter chaos my life can tend to become. He was back to curiosity and discovery in a few short minutes, acting like nothing had happened; that's my boy!

We chatted some more and my sweet friend gave me a whole bag full of brand new school uniform clothes for my Kylee, which is a huge help and a totally unexpected blessing! Then we parted ways so I could feed my tiny monsters, whose dispositions were rapidly deteriorating, and she could go home and mow her lawn.

Chloe fell into total fall-apart mode when we got back to the apartment, which helped push Siah over the edge into limp-noodle rebellion. Oh the joys... I managed to feed one and put the emotionally frayed one in her bed to discover the art of calming down so she could get her lunch, then headed back to the coffee shop to scrub the crayon off of the wall and also grab a short stint of peace and calm to gather myself. (Don't worry, Tom is home so I didn't just abandon my kids.)

Thankfully I got all of the crayon off of the wall (hooray for Norwex cloths!), but now there are some very clean patches on an otherwise not-so-clean yellow surface. Oddly, I wasn't flustered or embarrassed by any of this situation either, which I am totally impressed with myself about (if you really know me, you'll understand this isn't pride, it's sober judgment of how much I've grown).

Now every ounce of energy I might have had from my minuscule amount of sleep is completely drained, Chloe has calmed down and eaten and is now in bed resting peacefully, and I am counting my blessings and catching up on some reading.

A nap would sure be nice, but I probably won't even attempt that for fear of starting the whole de-groggifying (I made that word up just now...) process again to go pick Kylee up in an hour and a half.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

One Year Ago Today...

Labor Day weekend last year held a monumental day for us.

That Sunday we were asking the Lord for a specific answer as to where He wanted us to go and do. And He answered.

We had been seeking His direction on what He was calling us to for almost a month. This is something that we have always done on at least a semi-annual basis, just to check in, make sure we're still in His will and fully submitted to Him and that our hearts are pure. Until that point these inventories were typically short and simple, consisting of asking the Lord, Him saying, "Stay where you are," us repenting of any pride, resentment, or whatever, then receiving refreshing and renewed vision, joy, and strength.

But this time we got a different answer.

So we were listening more intently and digging deeper.

And on that Sunday we got the answer: "Move to Louisville and join Chris and Hannah Davis at Destiny Church."

It's amazing how much can happen in just one year. How beautiful to be sitting in Louisville now, one year later, walking by faith on the path He called us to.

This is all just the goodness of the Lord!