5/18/2014

Book Review: Walking On Broken Glass


Walking on Broken GlassWalking on Broken Glass by Christa Allan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn't think I would like this book because of the content; it's about an alcoholic who's Christian friend lovingly tells her she needs to go to rehab.

The other component in the story (without giving too much away) has to do with her and her husband's intimate life. ahem.

Things I liked about this book:
- it's well written and easily read. I LOVED the way the author describes scenes in the story. She has the metaphor/simile thing DOWN. :)
- even though the story is about alcoholism, I found I could still relate to the character in some ways.
- I appreciated the Christian slant HOWEVER..

..that brings me to things I didn't like:
- even though this is a "Christian" book, I felt like God was just thrown in here and there. I would've really liked to see some deeper spiritual insights. Her friend was obviously a Christian, but I'm *still* not sure if the main character, Leah, was.
- there wasn't enough closure for me in several areas - (view spoiler)

I'm not sure if I would recommend this or not. Half of me really liked it and the other half, well... meh.

All of that said, I liked it enough to read some more of this author's novels. :)

View all my reviews
 

5/16/2014

7 Quick Takes: May 16th Edition



Does anyone else NOT correct their child when they say something incorrectly because it's so stinkin' cute? Middlest has started saying some of her "i's" with an accent. " ...six, seven, eight, noine, ten.." and "can I go outsoide?" It's so adorable.

We were invited to a Tea Party a few weeks ago, complete with crumpets, 
cakes and sweet little dressed-up girls. 

Littlest is EIGHT months! Craziness. Every day that goes by he continues to be such a blessing to our family. Every. single. time. I bring him down from his naps or bedtime the girls act like it's the first time they've seen him. He's like a celebrity around here.

Mr. N and feel like we are in limbo right now with several things. He's been searching for a new job for quite some time now (years!) and our living situation may or may not change soon. We are just waiting and praying that we're able to make wise decisions and follow the Lord's leading. But it is so hard! 

With the weather getting a bit nicer (not great yet though!) we've been able to take advantage of a great little park a few blocks away from our house. I just love our little town. :)


I've been doing pretty well, with the Lord's help, with the whole anger thing. I've made a few mistakes, but am not letting it keep me from moving forward. Yippee!

I gave Oldest a haircut a few weeks ago because her little head is so sensitive. Brushing and washing her hair were such a struggle. I really love it but it makes her look older. *sniff, sniff*



I'm working on an embroidery project for a wedding present for someone (the wedding's TOMORROW!) and Oldest asked if she could embroider too. She wanted to do Princess Peach. She is her Father's Daughter. ;)



She is doing such a great job! I help her to start and finish each color, but she does the rest. It's so fun! Not quite done yet, as you can see, but she's just itching to finish it!


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

5/12/2014

Children Are Gifts

A few short words at the bank drive-thru window have had me thinking.

The teller knows our family and when I go to the bank, I usually have my kids with me. She asked if I needed suckers and I said "No, thanks." She replied, "No kids today? That's nice!"

Now, I don't want to seem nit-picky and I know what she meant, but I immediately thought, why didn't she say, "No kids today? That's too bad!"


I wonder if it's because in our society children are considered a burden. Not always, but often I would say? She isn't the first person to see me without my kids and say something along the lines of "No kids? That's great! You need a break, too!" 

Oldest a few years ago; she is her mother's daughter.

I'm sure sometimes it's just that the person has small children themselves or remembers what it's like to have a few littles, and so they know how nice it is to get a break now and then. But I just wonder why people's first reaction isn't something positive when it comes to children? I'm at fault too. I probably voice the negatives more than the positives.

I don't want to be seen as the mom who can't WAIT to get a free moment from her children. I love them! I love spending time with them. Ok. Not every single second of every single day--but most of the time I really do!

WARNING: First few pictures taken by a certain sweet 5 year old.




The truth is, yes, I like having Mommy Time. I mean, who doesn't?

HOWEVER, every single time I come home, even if I've only been gone for an hour, my girls come running up to me saying, "Mommy, mommy! We missed you!" I live for those moments. I love being a Mama and I love spending time with my littles.

Breaks are nice. But time with my children is nicer.

I love how Michelle Duggar always refers to her children as "Gifts." It's so true, isn't it? They really are gifts from God. Sanctifying Gifts. AHEM. But gifts, nonetheless. ;o)

Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. - Psalm 127:3


Middlest ADORES her Daddy. AH. DORES. Wants to marry him, she does. I kind of like him, too.


Seriously? I mean, can they get any sweeter? By the way, my dear friend, Linda made that cute little sweater! Adorable! Here's a close up:




I am so blessed.

The Anger Monster Part 3 or Breaking Free is SO COOL

Ok. Everyone's napping or in Quiet Time (yes, I used capitals--it's THAT important!). Let's see if I can finish a post..

After this post, I'm going to stop talking about The Anger Monster for a while. Maybe. Unless I need more accountability. Which I probably will. I digress.

I simply cannot tell you how INDISPENSABLE the Breaking Free study has been on my dealing with my anger. Man! It's pretty awesome! Well, the process isn't *that* awesome; but the end result is! (will be?)

A few gems I just have to share with you--

"God has reserved momentous victories and great rewards for us. But we'll never make it to our milestones if can't make it through our moments."  Beth Moore (emphasis mine)

AMEN, Sister!

This one really spoke to me. I have this goal--one of not (ever) getting angry and lashing out at my children. (Notice I didn't just say "not getting angry." Anger itself isn't a sin (Eph 4:26), it's what you do with it. But you all probably knew that already.)

So. My goal: To not lash out in anger at my loved ones. 

Up until recently this has been very difficult. Can I just stop here and say that different seasons of life make it more difficult? Being pregnant, having a newborn, switching jobs, moving, etc, are all seasons of life when it's harder to be cool, calm and collected, amIright?

In order to reach my goal of remaining cool, calm and collected (milestone) I have to, have to, have to get through my MOMENTS. It reminds me of Baby Steps. Anyone else a What About Bob? fan? Me too.

Thinking of not getting angry ever again seems daunting. Of course, with Christ all things are possible (Mark 10:27), but I'm human! He knows I'm human! And He promises us grace for today (2 Cor 12:9). So if I can get through the next moment, and the next and the next, I'll make it to my milestone. Yippee!

The next gem I have to share with you is: There will be an end to the temptation! Beth explains that at first resisting temptation will be hard. Then it will be the hardest. And then? Wait for it... it will get easier. And then it will be UNDER MY FEET.

UNDER. MY. FEET. 

I've always thought of the sins I struggle with often will always be there. I'll always have to deal with them and work very hard at not giving in. That's a little depressing and frankly, makes the task of getting through the "moments" a little more difficult.

HOWEVER, God promises victory! I may always be tempted, but with the Lord's help, giving in to the temptation, should, over time, get easier.

Of course, there will always be something that God is working on in my life (thank goodness!) but with any hope, it won't always be anger! Someday I may not have to fight tooth and nail to have a little self-control in those heated moments.

How do you get through the moment, you ask? Why, pray, of course! Easy, peasy!

Except it isn't so easy, because we (I) never do it! Well, never did it. I'm doing it now. Or trying to, at least. I'm so sick and tired of fighting this battle. I'm giving it all I have!

We're only on Week 4 in the Breaking Free study and I'm so looking forward to finishing it.

Have you read any of Beth Moore's books or done any study's? Your favorite?

P.S. I almost made it to the end of Quiet Time! 

5/07/2014

The Anger Monster Part 2

Sorry for all this navel-gazing but writing about it really helps me to sort out all my thoughts and hopefully it helps you in some way. 

In my last post about anger I said I would talk about one of the reasons why I believe I'm so angry. There are several, actually, (HA!) but I'm just going to talk about one for now.

I asked my pastor a year or so ago if he had any literature on how to deal with anger. He gave me a short packet and it said something like (I'm paraphrasing), "if you are dealing with anger it usually means there is something else in your heart that needs to be addressed." Basically, anger can be a symptom of another problem. That really made sense to me.

I knew it then, but have really been thinking about it a lot recently (thank you, Beth Moore) and I believe some of my anger comes from unforgiveness--for myself mostly.

That same friend that gave me the advice in my previous post also gave me this verse:

The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing. -Zeph 3:17 (Amp)

She knew that it's easy to let the devil take your past and run with it. Which is something I allow too often. For some reason I feel the need to punish myself by not letting things to--by not forgetting. This is true especially when it comes to how I've screwed up as a mom. Even though God Himself forgets my sins and separates them from me as far as the east is from the west. How incredible!!

 [A]s far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. -Psalm 103:12

When a thought comes to my mind of any past sin, I do not have to dwell there. I can choose to change my thoughts and stand on the forgiveness I've already received. I'm trying to get into the habit of saying out loud, "Thank you, Lord, for forgiving me!" when I'm reminded of a mistake. 

I do think this problem of dwelling on my mistakes directly affects how angry I am. It's like I have all this pent-up emotion and spiritual weight that I'm not meant to carry so instead of my choosing to give it to the Lord, it manifests itself as anger.

Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. -Psalm 55:22a

God is so unbelievably faithful. It blows my mind how much He loves me. He see me through the blood of Jesus. We are (I am) as righteousness!!

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. -Romans 3:22 (NLT)

Making an effort to really meditate on these Truths has given me so much peace and allows more room in my heart to be filled with good things:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. -Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB)

In no way am I saying that I don't, or won't, still struggle. I'm just determining to make a conscious choice to obey and stand on God's Word. I do NOT have to let my anger define me! The buck stops HERE. I am MORE than a conqueror in Jesus! (Rom 8:37)

Read Part 3

5/06/2014

The Anger Monster

I've written this post a hundred times in my head but wasn't sure if I wanted to publish it. It's not easy to put myself out there like this, but I really feel like it could be therapeutic for me to write about my struggle with anger. I also know there are other moms who struggle with the same thing so hopefully this encourages some of you.  

I'd like to turn this into a series because I think the accountability will be good for me--sometimes I feel like such a hypocrite. I also think there's a lot to be said on the subject that just won't fit in one post.

Anger is probably my biggest struggle (for now, anyway). Looking back, I'm pretty sure it's always been there--I grew up in a very angry home--but The Anger Monster has been rearing it's ugly, horrible head a lot more in me since having children. Mr. N says I used to be a lot more angry with him, but I guess it's shifted to my poor children.

I think rage better describes the way I feel and react:
rage (noun)
1 a :  violent and uncontrolled anger
   b :  a fit of violent wrath
   c archaic :  insanity
2 :  violent action (as of wind or sea)
3 :  an intense feeling :  passion
4 :  a fad pursued with intense enthusiasm <was all the rage>
Ok, well. Except #4. 

Aren't those definitions interesting? Violent and uncontrolled anger. A fit of violent wrath. Ugh. It sounds so horrible but that is exactly how I act sometimes. *cringe*   

The Lord has been teaching me so, so much about anger in the last month. Well, really the last few years actually; I just haven't been listening until the last month or so. I've had some real breakthroughs because God is so faithful to complete the good work in me! (Phil 1:6)

I was sharing with a friend a few weeks ago about how I just can't seem to get a handle on my anger rage. It was something I've been praying about and really hated about myself but it didn't seem to be getting any better. She gave me some advice that really spoke to me and quite frankly, shook me up a bit. Which is kind of what I needed.

Speaking from experience, she told me that if I don't obey His Word (be slow to anger), God will allow something HORRIBLE to happen in my life so I will obey. For the record, here are a few things the Bible says about anger:

  • Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger. -Ephesians 4:26
  • Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. -Psalm 37:8
  • Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. -Proverbs 14:29
  • A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. -Proverbs 15:8
  • A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression. -Proverbs 29:22
  • Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools. -Ecclesiastes 7:9
It's pretty clear that the Lord doesn't want us to lash out in anger. Dare I say it's a command? I think she hit the nail on the head--"if you don't OBEY."

On the other hand, I don't think God is waiting for me to screw up so He can "teach me a lesson or two." I believe that God is sovereign and He can turn ANY bad situation or life experience or a Mama's mistakes into a good one because all things work together for good to those that love Him.

But I also believe that our actions have consequences. If I treat my children badly they will not want to stick around when they are adults. It's not rocket science. And it certainly wouldn't be the Lord's fault or His doing.

I also believe that God knows my heart and even though I screw up time and time again, He will honor and bless my life if deep in my heart, I really want to obey and love Him. Which I totally do.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. -Matthew 6:33
The second thing my friend told me, and this part makes me cringe, is that she has seen the way Oldest reacts to me.

GULP.

I knew exactly what she meant.

My daughter's afraid of me.

Violent and uncontrolled anger. A fit of violent wrath.

That really hit home. I was a little stunned and quite frankly, wasn't sure if I should be offended or not! But I knew my friend's heart behind her advice. And I knew that she was just concerned I would make the same mistake she did.

Now, my heart had been broken many, many times before concerning my anger towards my children, but for some reason, this time was different. It was.. unsettling. I couldn't shake it. For the next few days I chewed on it. I prayed for wisdom and understanding. I prayed for help! And I knew that if I didn't really, really give it everything I had and allow the Lord to really work in this area I might lose my children's hearts. I already knew that Oldest wasn't as close to me as she used to be but my friend just confirmed it.

Up until that conversation, I looked at it this way: I would pray, "Lord! Take away my anger!" or "Please, Lord, help me to not get angry at my children today." I prayed those prayers hundreds (thousands?) of times. But it never seemed to work. I would fail over and over again.

I was praying and thinking that *POOF!* my anger would simply disappear. Gone. Into thin air. I've removed your anger from you, Catie! Proceed with the rest of your life. You're good to go!

Wouldn't that be nice? Ok, Lord! I no longer want to struggle with (_____), You can take it away now! Thanks! Talk to you later!

Ahem.

When my friend turned it into an issue of obedience, a light-bulb went on in my sleep-deprived, scatterbrained head.

It was a choice I was making. I am choosing to get angry. Even though, most of the time, it felt like I had no control at all.

Uncontrolled anger.

The problem is that, yes, at a certain point, I do lose control. There is a Point of No Return. It does take over and I turn into The Anger Monster. Mommy Hyde. The person my children run and cower from.

Ouch. 

But what I've been trying to do (and it's helping!) is catch myself waaay before The Point of No Return. If I feel myself getting even slightly agitated by something my kids are doing, I'll pray and then focus on something else or I'll just leave the room. And I'll tell them, Mommy needs to leave the room before I get angry. And they are learning to let. me. go.

I also give them permission to tell me when I'm starting to get too angry. They're not as good at this as I would like. ;o) Of course, ultimately it's not their responsibility; but when they do remind me, it helps so much. I want to be accountable to them and I also want them to see that I'm not perfect and God is working in my life, too. By seeing this, hopefully, they'll allow the Lord to work in their lives as well.

Incidentally, I'm in the Breaking Free study by Beth Moore at church and it is helping SO MUCH. I'm learning a ton about the things that keep us in bondage and captivity and don't allow us to have the relationship with God that we're made to have. For me, one of those things is anger. This study came at the perfect time. Coincidence? I think not.

Next time I'll talk about one of the reasons I believe I have such a problem with anger.
If you'd like to add to this conversation, please leave a comment or a link to your post in the comment section. Or you can just contact me at (sillyrednewby AT gmail DOT com) and I'll pray for you! 

Read Part 2