Book of the Month - Book Review



I am planning on using the first Friday of each month to do a book review on my blog:  Book of the Month – Book Review.  I am really excited about being able to blog about some of the fantastic books that I come across and offer my reviews.  I plan on doing a lot of the book reviews on books that will help women with their day to day walk through life; or will enhance their walk with the Lord.  I plan also to do some reviews on fiction books that are a good read and inspirational.  I hope you will join me each month for the book review. (December’s post is late in getting posted; but I trust you will glean from the review and join me again in January for the next book review!)

For the very first review I have chosen the book by Teri Maxwell entitled Sweet Journey A Bible Study.  I read this book about a year ago and enjoyed it very much.  I also felt like it would be a good book to review and recommend as the New Year is coming.  Each December I take time to reflect on my quiet time with the Lord and to pray about what God would have me study during my Bible reading time for the following year. If you do the same, this would be a great book to help you in your Bible reading for this upcoming year.  It was a real blessing to me!  

Book Photo:  Titus 2.com


So many times as Mom’s and Wives we find it hard to find the time to spend in the Word.  This is so important; not because it is something we need to “DO” in order to be spiritual and good Moms; but because no other relationship is as important as the one between us and our Heavenly Father.  In her book Sweet Journey, Teri lays out the basics of Bible study and quiet time.  I loved how uncomplicated she makes it.  Sometimes I think it is easy for us to make it too complicated and then we don’t stick to making it a regular part of our lives. 

Teri spends the first several chapters of the book to lay the foundation of why time in the Word is so important for us as moms and wives.  I enjoy reading Teri’s writing because she comes through as someone who has struggled and not as someone who has not experienced hardships and is telling us to 'get a grip'.  Teri struggled with deep depression and is open about her struggles during those difficult times and how God’s Word brought Hope when she felt without hope.  It is very encouraging to see how God used His Word in her life and brought her through dark days.

The subject of prayer is also covered in this book.  She lays out ways she has found to make prayer time a priority and also to remember to pray for those whom she is concerned.  She covers the basics on how to lay out a prayer journal and how to use this tool during her quiet time with the Lord.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about this book is the chapter entitled “Verse Notebook”.  Teri includes a list of different areas of her life wherein she struggled ( and some areas that other ladies have expressed weakness and difficulties in) and shows how she used the verse notebook to compile on verses that speak to those specific issues.  One of the areas where I have struggled for years was in the area of fear.  It was a blessing to me to use the principles of this chapter to really focus on God’s Word and what He has to say about Fear and Faith in my Christian life.  I truly was meditating on God’s Word in a specific area where I was struggling and saw how the Holy Spirit used the Word to bring victory in this matter of fear!   

The book is laid out like a ladies Bible study workbook and would be something you could use in a group setting, (or as Teri recommends, use in discipleship with your daughters).  There are places to answer questions and Teri encourages you to take steps through each chapter to develop the habit of spending time one- on- one with the Lord.

You can purchase the book at Titus2.com.  I would highly recommend this book for purchase!  It will be a blessing to you and will be a great resource to have on your book shelf to come back to yourself or to use in discipleship with other ladies.  (Titus2.com also offers a free shipping discount on orders over $35.  It is my opinion that the Maxwell’s books on Scheduling are the BEST resources available for families! The two books combined would give you free shipping and a vast amount of knowledge that would help you and your family!

I hope this book review has been helpful.  May the Lord bless your walk with Him!
~Martie

Month in Review - November 2014


Spurgeon Kids - Thanksgiving Morning 2014

 I have decided to keep a journal (of sorts) our family happenings at the end of each month.  I am hoping this will make the annual Christmas letter that we try to get sent out during the Christmas season – just a little easier to write and remember.  Well, that is what I am hoping for, anyway. So here is our month in review for November.  If a journal of our everyday happenings is not of interest to you  – that’s OK – feel free to skip this post.  It won’t hurt my feelings at all; and we can still be friends.   

I don’t think that there is any such thing as a boring month at our house.  November has been quite busy for us and seems like it has gone by very quickly! 

Within the month we have had two kids have eye exams.  We found out that Zak does fine seeing without glasses; we were very thankful!  Abbey however, will be getting some new glasses here soon.  She failed her vision test when she went in for her driving permit.  Seems she can’t see much of anything at all out of one of her eyes.  I felt a bit guilty about that; but it happened at the beginning of the month and I am over it now.

Susan Marie Spurgeon joined our family this month.  She is a blue beta fish that is extremely loved and celebrated her adoption into our family with a trip to Chick-fil-a.  She was quite popular – and I have never eaten lunch in the South with that many people coming up to my table to talk to me.  (That is something that happens here in the South much more than up North – and it is one thing I LOVE about living here in the South!)  Saturday’s has an added chore for Anna – as she cleans Susan’s bowl out each week and sings and talks to her fish all through the process.  I almost think the fish knows who Anna is  - as she seems to get very excited when Anna is in the room and talking.  Rob says that is not possible.  Who knows?

Abbey ran in the Color Run this past month.  She took it all in – and came back looking quite full of color. She also beat her time from the last 5K she ran.  The color did not completely come out of her hair – despite all of her showers – and she did go to church the next day with some color remaining.  No one seemed to care.

Rob was given a free lesson from his oldest on how to take selfies.  He is always telling the kids that he thinks they take too many pictures of themselves.  His oldest decided to give him a lesson on how it is done.  He had quite a lot of fun during his lesson; teasing her with his poses and asking her if he was doing them right.  Rachel is not sure if he will ever get the “art of selfies” class down enough for her to give him a passing grade. I don't think Rachel and I have laughed that hard for a long time!  What fun we had. 




Our family enjoyed a family day picnic with the Chick-fil-A coworkers.  We had a great time!  Rob was able to do 18 holes of disc golf and I was quite impressed with how he was able to keep going.  God has really done a healing work in his body and we are so thankful.  We are still waiting for his body to be ready for the radiation treatment; his iodine levels are still too high from the CT scans that were done when they found the tumor.  We will retest after the first of the year to see if his levels are low enough. 





Anna started Physical Therapy this month and is working on getting stronger.  She has a fantastic therapist and we are thankful for her work with Anna.  We have moved from having headaches daily to none at all.  Again, we are so thankful for God’s healing and protection. 

 



The weather here continues to be beautiful!  The colors are still vibrant outside and I enjoy fall lasting longer.  The nights have gotten much colder and I have dug my electric blanket out of storage and have been enjoying using it at night.  



We enjoyed Thanksgiving together as a family.  We defiantly did not do our holiday traditionally – we decided to break the mold and try some things that we have never done before.  First, Abbey, James and I participated in the annual 5k Thanksgiving race.  Abbey ran the whole thing and beat her time from her other races – she was quite happy about that!  This was James’ first 5k.  He walked / ran the race; and did well in his time.  I walked the entire thing (OK, I jogged a couple of time for just a few seconds).  I enjoyed it very much and was glad to check “Participate in a 5K” off my list.  I am thinking though, that I could beat my time if I tried again; so, who knows, I might just have to enter another one.  (I can see where this could get addicting). 

After the race we went out for Thanksgiving dinner.  This was hard for me to break tradition; but Rob thought if I was going to participate in the race I should not have to come home and cook a big meal too.  So, we went out.  It was nice not to have the cleanup.  We spent the afternoon playing games at a friend’s house and had a wonderful time!  


I hope you and your family enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We truly have so much to be thankful for!  We are excited about December and all that we have planned for the next month.  We are so thankful for all the God has blessed us with.  God has been so good to us; and we have so much to be thankful for.

Thanks so much for stopping by - I am so glad you did.

Blessings,
~Martie

Happy - Here




Anna enjoying the snow last winter - a rare treat in NC


 Our entire married life has been lived up North.  Way up North. 

In the north the snow falls in the winter and your time is spent shoveling, playing and driving through the white stuff.  Until three years ago, my mudroom walls were lined with coats, gloves and hats from October till April.  The mudroom floor was decorated with boots.    

That’s life up north in the winter.

I have always loved a good snow storm.  I don’t like the cold that brings the snow; but I love the feeling of being snuggled safely in my house while the storm blows wild outside.  I love the sound of wind whistling through the trees and vibrating the windows as I sit on the couch reading a book – tucked beneath a heavy quilt – with wool socks wrapping my feet in warmth.  I love making soup when the snowstorm is starting and letting it simmer on the stove top.  I love when the days get shorter and darkness settles in early and needing to turn on the lamps and light a candle to make the house feel cozy and a haven from the elements outside.  I love the feeling that comes over me when I see my husband’s headlights reflect on the window as he pulls into the driveway and runs through the snow pounding his shoes against the side of the house before he comes in the door.  I love the sound of the door closing and watching as he hangs up his coat up on the hook that has his name above it; and knowing the whole family all safe and warm inside our little house and were all together to weather out the storm. 

That is how I spent every winter for over twenty years. 

Perhaps the thing I loved most about winter (and it *is* hard to pick just one – because there are so many things to love about winter up North) is looking out the window of our mudroom door at the light of a full moon shining brightly on the snow that blankets the ground.  I have stood many a night and looked at that view.  Complete Beauty!

Last week I was missing all of that.  My Facebook wall was covered with pictures from my friends still living up North as they welcomed their first snow storm of the season.  I would scroll through and see the snow – picture after picture; and I missed it.  It moved quickly from missing the snow – to longing for the snow and wishing I was there in the North and not here in the South! 

How easy that journey is to make in your mind – you know the one, the journey from here to there. 

I forget sometimes the lesson I’m supposed to know by heart:    When I spend my time looking back on what I had in the past I will miss the present.”

Last week it was weather and geography related – and we smile and chuckle.  Funny really, when you think that most of the people in the snow storm were wishing that they were in the sun and warmth with me.   Sometimes, though, it has nothing to do with the elements outside and has everything to do with life itself. 
I wonder if this looking back and longing for something different is an acquired habit. 
Do we train ourselves from a young age to want something different than what we have?

Longing…
…to be taller
…to be thinner
…to be richer
… more popular
…prettier

When do we start making these journeys in our minds?  (I know it happens long before we are old enough to drive or get a passport on our own.)


How much of the present have we missed wishing for the past – or what we don’t have?

It’s a human thing – this wishing for more – for different. 

We shake our heads and click our tongues in condemnation at the behavior of the Children of Israel.  God had redeemed them out of slavery.  A task they could have never done in their own power.  They watched as their slave masters drown in the waters they had just walked through– their freedom completely granted by God Almighty!  Then we read the account that just days later they were wishing they could be slaves again. 

Seriously?!
They were wishing for slavery?
For bondage?! 

They wanted oppression rather than to be in a place of sovereign redemption.

I left my computer screen last week – longing for snow and wishing for the north.  I walked out on my porch.  The mountain view in front of me was breathtaking.  Fall leaves changing colors made my front yard look like a picture on a post card.  The sun warmed my arms as it shone down on me and I breathed in deeply the fresh warm mountain air.  The thermometer read 75 degrees. 
I was behaving more like the criticized Israelites than I care to admit!

When I am focused on the past – I will fail to see God’s provision in the present.

Rob and I enjoying the ocean last Nov in FL


I had missed the view God had for me, the beauty of here - looking at the place where I used to be! 
I started laughing as I remembered how giddy I had been when we found out that God was moving us to the South.  It had been in February.  The mudroom was still full of coats and hats and gloves; and I was sick and tired of my feet being cold!  Wrapped up in a blanket on the couch with wool socks on my feet (that never seemed to get that quite warm enough),  I had decided to Google the weather map just to see just how much warmer the South was at the moment  I was freezing in the North.  I had let out a “yippee” when I saw the temperature reading on the computer screen.  I had informed my husband of my findings and stated quite emphatically:    “It’s 75 degrees in North Carolina!  I could live with that!”   

Suddenly I felt ungrateful and selfish.

I had believed in my heart after looking at picture after picture that way up there in the snow storm was the place of real happiness.  I had myself believing that right here in the South could not be nearly as nice – and as wonderful as it was where snow had fallen, schools had been canceled and fireplaces were aglow with the warmth of a fire. 

Last week it was a snowstorm that lured me back to the past – and caused my heart to feel discontent.  Other times it has been bigger things; deeper longings that have made me think that I could not be happy where I was right then – that the source of my true happiness was in the way life had been in the past – the way life used to be.    

If only the bank account balance was bigger…
I would be happier if I was healthier…
Life would be easier if the vehicle was newer…

When I am thinking to myself that I need something more – something different than what I have right now;  am I really telling myself that God has made a mistake at that moment in my life? 
The children of Israel were eating bread from Heaven – and their hearts believed the lie that onions were better than the provision God had supplied to meet their needs. 

They looked back on what they had known as familiar; and they missed the miracle that was happening right before their very eyes!   

I purposed right there on the porch, with the sun warming my arms and the thermometer reading 75, that I would be content where God had placed me.  For twenty plus years that had been enjoying snow storms, warm houses and moonlit snowscapes;  now it is here in the South were the fall leaves stay on the trees longer and offer breathtaking views for weeks that last months rather than weeks.  

Wherever God has me – I can be content.  He has placed me right where He will have me to be – and no matter where that is I will still find that every single day He gives me more blessings than I can count.  But I can try to count them – and last week I started counting again – starting with the sunshine and the warm temperature – and in November no less!  I can live with that!