Friday, July 3, 2015

What I've Been Reading

It's a well known fact that I am a Bible Study junkie in the summer. I have had several friends ask me what I have been reading lately, so I thought I would post it here!
I have actually been reading even more than usual, because I have not been working my usual summer job.  Of course I was disappointed to miss out on the extra cash, but my spirit really needed this extra rest time more than I imagined!

Here is a quick run down of my summer book stack...

I have loved getting to know Lysa TerKeurst this summer!  Our small group just read Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl.  We all absolutely loved it!  I have taken so many notes and plan to re-read and continue to study what I have learned from her insights. I also read Made to Crave, and am continuing through the accompanying daily devotional - such an awesome read on allowing God to help us in getting fit!  I am currently in the last chapter of Unglued, which is so timely for me, and sure to help in my relationships when I return to work in the fall.  I highly recommend all of these books!

Of course I have continued on with reading selections from my BFF, Beth Moore!  I'm finishing up Whispers of Hope, which I had started long ago, but never completed.  I am also wrapping up a study on John, the Beloved Disciple.  I have really enjoyed the videos and the in-depth homework - I know I am a nerd!

I also pulled my previously-bought-on-sale-but-unopened copy of Kelly Minter's No Other Gods off of the shelf, and have really gained some fresh perspective in working through it. This study is so relevant to the times we live in, and so purposeful for the struggles we face!
Today, I am actually starting Lifeway's Online Summer Study - a little late, but that's okay! It is a great format that allows you to jump in at any time.  It is also by Kelly Minter, What Love Is.  
Since I have just finished the other study on John, this is sure to be an excellent follow up!

So, that's it!  Wonder what else I might be able to squeeze in this month??  Haha!  I truly wish I had time to be this diligent during the school year in my reading and studies.  Those are the times that I need them the most.  

What are you reading this summer??

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What I'm Lovin' Wednesday {New Wedding Rings} {The Best Latte Ever} {Bobbie Cat} {Advent} {Elf on the Shelf}


{New Wedding Rings}
The Canadian and I haven't worn our wedding rings in a long, long, long, time.  It isn't because we hate each other or anything, it is because due to his construction work, and due to the obsessiveness I have with handwashing and hand lotion, our "real" wedding rings are annoying.
I saw these rings mentioned on a local Crossfit page, and although we aren't crazy fitness nuts, these Qalo rings seemed perfect, and they are!!  Comfortable, modestly priced, and perfect for our simple life.

{The Best Latte Ever}
I recently had one of the *best* handcrafted lattes I have had in my life.  For real.  It was at a local joint, Midtown Coffee House.  It was seriously fabulous and the atmosphere in this charming cafe is relaxingly perfect.  Look at this adorable barrel seat/stool at our table...

{Bobbie Cat}
I love this picture I took of Bobbie Cat today.  Isn't it hysterical??  
She was in her Christmas collar, and acting all sultry and posing.  HA!  I swear I am *still* not a cat person.  Case in point was when recently, she made the neighborhood facebook lost and found...
LOST & FOUND CAT
LAWD.  She is a wanderer, you know, having been feral for her first year.  She was 3 doors up hanging with an elderly woman.  I went in to get her and she was stretched all out like a queen on some fancy padded dining room chairs.  She couldn't be bothered with me and acted like she had no idea who I was.  This went over especially well, because I am not sure the woman truly believed the cat was mine in the first place.  I looked real legit dragging her out from under that table to take her home.

{Advent}
So since I was behind on getting setup for Advent, THIS my friends, was our Advent "wreath" on Sunday...
Can I get an "A" for effort???  Thankfully, our Jesus Storybook Bible was still "tagged" from last year, so I didn't have to search out readings.
This is still my very favorite storybook Bible (and we have owned MANY).  Trust me, this one is the BEST.  I copied the Advent plan here.  We are really enjoying it, and I shared one of B's "high drama" reactions last night on facebook,
"While reading our Jesus Storybook Advent plan tonight Brodie asked, "Wait, are you telling me there was NO death until Adam and Eve ate that fruit??! I HATE YOU ADAM AND EVE!!!"
He  was so upset.  He even went downstairs and told his Dad what Adam and Eve had done.  Of course we have read that story many times, but I suppose this time, something just "clicked" in regard to the death issue, which has always bothered him so.

{Elf on the Shelf}
Elfie is back, along with his sidekick Freddie, and as much work as it entails (they won't be young forever-repeat-they won't be young forever), the boys are having a great time with it.
They flew in on December 1st with cookies from Starbucks.
 They've since been up to their old tricks, like donut diving...
 and this year instead of drawing moustaches on our faces, they brought some "stick ons".

What a week it has been already!  I really am glad the holidays are here, along with the magic of the season, and especially the countdown to Christmas Break.


What are you lovin' this week?
Link up below!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

3 Things {Robes without Pockets} {Tim Horton's Coffee} {Waiting on the LORD}

You know, if we stop in the stillness of the morning, even when we have a million other obligations and duties and chores ahead for the day, the LORD will reveal himself, and give us direction.

Here are 3 important things I gleaned during Bible Study this morning...

1 - Never buy a robe without pockets.
No matter how comfy and snuggly a robe appears to be, and no matter how good the deal is when you buy it on clearance at the end of the season, when the cold comes, you must have a place to put your hands.

2 - Never notice your Tim Horton's is getting low without placing an order.
I noticed last week the coffee was getting low, and I knew I should probably place an Amazon order so one of their drones could zip in from Canada with that awesome brew, but I didn't.  Now I have to face a day of grading 70+ final projects without it.  A COLD day.

3 - Never wait on the "thing, person, or event", always wait on the LORD.
I am specifically waiting on a answer from the LORD right now.  I need a direction.  I need a door.  I need discernment.  I need to know what to do, what steps to take - if any.  In the waiting, I have thought about the scripture from Isaiah 40:31, and I know that:
Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
But what I didn't know, or realize, or think about, until this morning in Bible study, is that we need to be careful of our focus during the waiting (thank you Beth Moore for that insight).

In thinking about our focus while waiting, we need to ask, ourselves, are we waiting on the LORD, or are we actually waiting on "the thing" to come, or "the person" to change, or "the event" to happen?

Are we waiting on Him?  Are we waiting with Him?
If we are feeling weak, and tired, and weary, and faint, we might not be - and we may need to check our focus.  Focus has been such a recurring theme for me recently, I know it is time for me to "check myself" in this area of my own personal wait.

Strength, endurance, and power come to us when we wait on Him.  We are strengthened in the assurance that while waiting, He is at work using all things for our good (Romans 8:28).  We are refreshed and comforted in knowing that He is close to us during the time of our call to Him (Psalm 145:18).  We are confident that bravery and courage will come to us while we wait with Him (Psalm 27:14).

He is at work.  He is with us.  He sustains us.

And suddenly, there is a new focus for my waiting, and some direction for how to get through it.

What are you waiting for today?  
Are you waiting for the thing, person, or event, or are you waiting on Him?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday {Wedding Weekend} {Pumpkin Patch} {What to Write?} {Fall Mojo}

{Wedding Weekend}
One of the Canadian's "brothers" was married this weekend.  The Canadian and B were in the wedding.  
B was super cute!!  
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It was funny to see random photos of him at the wedding, pop-up on facebook.
Little b was upset that he was not in the wedding and so he went to the movie with Nana. This photo is from rehearsal...
B had a great time, though, and it was nice to see our Canadian friends who had come down for the event.

{Pumpkin Patch}
We took the boys to the pumpkin patch this weekend to find the "Great Pumpkin". 
It was strange, as this was the first time I didn't have them in special halloween attire or matching shirts. 
They are growing up.  Le sigh.


{What to Write?}

I want to write a book.  What should it be about?  I have several ideas in the works and several genres in mind.  I even attended a webinar on writing a textbook - something I had not even considered. There are so many instructors who write their own texts.  Of course I don't have time to write a book, but I can still think about it...

{Fall Mojo}
I may, just may, be turning the corner.  I think I am finally over mourning the loss of summer and am starting to embrace the coming holidays.

I'm trying!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Focus

My mind has reached the threshold of what it can process.

I wake up to racing around and getting all of us ready to go out the door.  No matter what I do the night before to prepare, no matter how early I get up, it is always hectic.  Always.
Please don't send me your list of tips on how to reorganize my day.  Just hear me.

I go through the day inundated with messages, emails, texts, alerts, and information and information and more information I have to synthesize and process for work and for home.
Decisions, schedules, to-do lists, demands.
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I come home to a stream of questions, questions, questions and more demands.
 "Mom guess what" and "Mom look" and "Mom I want" and "Mom when are we gonna".

And there is dinner, and laundry, and homework, homework, homework.
And practices, events, and obligations, and more work.

And all the while the emails and messages and more information to process loom in the background.
Along with the mental roller coaster of am I making the right decisions, am I ruining the children, did I forget something, am I doing what I should be doing.
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I try to multi-task to the nth degree.

In the past, I was a PRO.  I was SHARP.  I was QUICK.

Now, I struggle to simply function.

I find myself not being able to answer simple questions.

I stare blankly and have to mentally repeat and reprocess what is being said to me.

I have reached a limit.  The limit.
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Kudos to all of you who are managing so well.  
Rock on brothers and sisters.

I am not as strong as you.  Not as smart.  As organized.  As adept. Whatever.

This is raw survival mode.

Which makes me frightened and suddenly alerts me that my focus is misdirected.

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.  Jeremiah 21:35

Oh that's right.

The LORD will give strength to his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.  Psalm 29:11

In my frenzy, I once again forgot that keeping my focus on Him is the fast track to peace.

The devil is truly in the details, you know.
The details, details, details, overwhelming details, and information and overload.
It keeps us nicely scattered, distracted, and unfocused.

Focus.

Time to regroup, and take it back.

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Is It Really the Last Day of August? {Nothin' but the Tooth} {Strep} {Working Mom Waaa Waaa} {My BFF Beth}

Is it really the last day of August?  I simply cannot believe it.  I still need to blog about everything we did this summer.  I am considering a weekly post featuring a recap of a summer event/trip.  Might even be a way to continue the magic of summer through the Fall!  Until then...

{Nothin' but the Tooth}
Okay so I am still in the process of dealing with the broken tooth.  Apparently, I am a naive fool who thought you could just roll in to the dentist, grab a shot of novocaine and be done with it.  Not so much.  
I finally got in to see the oral surgeon who upon reviewing my xrays has discovered that the tooth is adjacent to my sinus cavity, and could actually be inside it a bit, which will require an extra step for closing up a hole left when my tooth is removed. 
As a result, I am required to take antibiotics for 4 days before they can do the surgery.  SURGERY.  Seriously??? I hate taking medicine.  Medicine is usually not good to me.  I was completely horrified when I picked up the prescription for the antibiotics and saw this:
Yep.  1 pill every 6 hours for 4 days.  REALLY??!!  Is this necessary???  I was expecting ONE pill per day for a total of 4 pills!!   I am really hating on myself for not going to the dentist when this tooth first cracked and getting a crown.  Total NIGHTMARE here.
p.s.  look how scaly my hand looks, ick!

{Strep}
For the first time ever, we had strep in the house last week.  Poor B missed 2 days of school - and he likes to go to school!  b would have probably delighted in throat pain if it meant he didn't have to go.  He trotted along to the doctor with us, and while B was off agonizing over possibly having to get a shot or being told that he has cancer, b kept laying out everywhere trying to get examined.

{Working Mom Waaa Waaa}
It is so hard to get out and walk now that summer break is over.  By the time I get home from work, I have 9 million other things to do.  This week I have really been making the effort, despite the heat, although I am sure I won't be walking daily, and for sure not twice daily like I did in the summer.  I do enjoy it - and need it - but I need to do the 9 million things as well - and spend time with the boys.

{My BFF Beth}
This week I did finish my summer Bible Study, Beth Moore's Children of the Day.  In the final video session, Beth has you do a little activity that really is best done with your small group.  Of course I was flying solo with my Bible Study this summer, so I had to enlist the help of the Canadian.  I tweeted a picture of it, and Beth replied to me!!  If you are keeping count, this is the SECOND time I have tweeted with my BFF, Beth - haha! :-)  
In case you missed it, I blogged about the 1st time here.  Listen, I "know" Beth Moore well enough to know she doesn't want anyone to be her "fan", she wants us all to chase after Jesus, but if I am being honest, I was SO EXCITED to hear from her!!!  Sometimes social media can be so much fun!
And on that note, I'm off to read my Bible Study for today.  
Happy Sunday Y'all!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

{Over 40 Problems} {School Schmool} {Fish} {Midlife Crisis} {Books} {Blogs}

Over 40 Problems 
So I have a broken tooth.  It is so badly broken, they cannot crown it. I am really really really mad at myself about it.  I chipped a smaller part of it off, and I SHOULD HAVE GONE TO THE DENTIST RIGHT THEN.  But, I didn't and it broke worse, beyond repair.   I have 3 options:  pull it (about $200), bridge it ($3000) or dental implant ($5000).  Guess which one I am going for???  Listen, I don't think you can even see the tooth.  I can't really imagine myself smiling that hard.  After they extract it, I will post a picture and you can tell me if you think I need to refinance my house to buy a tooth or just move back to Alabama. 

School Schmool
Back to school bull hockey has been such a RUDE interruption to my summer.  I hate homework.  I hate rushing.  I miss my kids.  I don't have any time for anything.  Blah.  I am wondering if there is a small island we can move to.  The Canadian can take out fishing charters, and I will train dolphins and home school the boys.  We'll live in a grass hut and eat pineapples and grilled mahi mahi every day.


Speaking of Fish
Shark Week was fun.  The boys had a great time having snacks and talking about the shows.
While watching an episode of some crazy scientists attempting to attract sharks, B told me that he wants to go down in a cage with the sharks.  He wants to explore the world's oceans and discover new animals.  I was delirious as my heart swelled with pride, but my Mother, who was sitting near by, looked green and swore she'd wouldn't have the heart to survive him doing that. I guess it will be one of those, "I can't know that", things.

Midlife Crisis?
I have been contemplating major changes lately.  I feel trapped.  In the education field, you really shouldn't abandon your career and shift gears or you lose some wonderful retirement opportunities.  I keep wondering if it is just a midlife thing.  Life seems so short, but that is a double-edged sword.  On the one hand you think, it's short, so make changes now, don't live in misery.  On the other hand you think, it's short, retirement will be here before you know it, don't quit now.  Ugh.  Still waiting on that book with all of the answers to fall from the sky so I will know what to do.

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And Speaking of Books
I am almost finished with Beth Moore's Children of the Day.  It has been such an interesting study to work through this summer.  I didn't realize there would be so much eschatology in it, but there is and it is sooooo interesting!  I have pulled out my copy of her Daniel study, which goes right along with that topic as well, and I have studied up a storm.  If I didn't have to work, I would be such a nerd.  I would be knee deep in commentaries and historical records.  I would take a class and learn Hebrew and Greek so I could read original texts.  Seriously.

Bloggy Friends
I am enjoying catching up with my blog friends.  I miss the old days in Blogland!  Several of us stay in touch on Instagram now, more so than on blogs.  I guess you would officially call that "micro-blogging".  I miss the weekly blog hops and other memes we used to participate in.  Some of my favs in no particular order...unless you are listed first hahaha, Beth...
Beth http://theparkmanfamily.blogspot.com/
Traci http://thetracichronicles.blogspot.com/
Kerri http://thepleasuresofmylife.blogspot.com/
Ruth http://thisgritstale.blogspot.com/
Sarah http://throughthewindowblog.blogspot.com/
Daphne http://www.flipflopspearlsandwine.com/  
Trish http://hargrovetwins.blogspot.com/
My Aunt asked me one time, "Kerri Jean, are these people really your friends?"  Well, I feel like y'all are!  I know if we were ever in the same town together, I'd try to meet up with you for coffee (Beth/Trish), or wine (Daphne), or Caliente (Traci), or McDonald's (Kerri and we could work on our book), or to try a new recipe (Ruth), or to learn to cook vegan (Sarah).  Of course, truthfully, Beth and I practically live in the same town and we kinda know each other in real life so we don't meet up in person.  That is odd interesting, isn't it?  and Trish and I used to see each other more often, but now the kids are at different schools. But really, we have all been through some stuff here together, some real life things, weight gains, weight losses, workouts, pregnancies, losses, babies, toddlers, first days of school, recipes, crafts, home tours (remember those Daph?!), confessions, careers, vacations, birthdays...seriously, we have been through some real things and I think we are real friends.  What do y'all think?
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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Miscellany Mann: {Back to School} {Shark Week} {New Job} {Uncle Dick}

~~After a whirlwind summer, the boys are back to school and we are creating our new "normal" routine.  I do loathe the school year.  Rushing.  Homework.  Work. Obligations.  Blah.
B to 3rd grade and b to 1st grade
Luckily, they did not balk too much.  There were no tears or gnashing of teeth. except for me, I cried after I dropped them off. I am worried there might be some whining in the next couple of weeks as the reality of the school year sets in.   I try to act excited around them, even adopting a suggestion from a friend to give them a "dominate the day" pep talk of sorts on day 2.  This was their reaction:
we aren't feeling it, Mom
~^~If summer must end, at least we have Shark Week to look forward to.  We don't watch a whole lotta tv around here any more, but I imagine this week we'll be tuned in to the Discovery Channel.  Speaking of sharks, the brothers Mann had a fun time visiting a few sharks this summer in Florida.
only took iphone photos this summer...what??!
One in particular was named Vicky.  According to announcer, she likes to rest on her back due to a skin condition.
Nobody was really buying that story.  One man even said, "I watch the Discovery Channel, that shark is DEAD!"  But, the workers swore she was fine and that she was receiving medication in the water.
hope they were telling the truth, Vicky!
~~I started my new job last Monday.  We arrived home from a week in Pinehurst, NC on Sunday night at 9pm, and I was off to work the next morning.  Yay.  I could hardly believe it.  We were so busy all summer, and out of town so much, it was literally a blur.
Seriously, I am very thankful to have a job, especially with all of the cuts they have made in our district recently, but let's just say work is beyond crazy right now.  Beyond.  
the struggle is REAL
Anywho, I am working as a Technology Integration Specialist, which is very similar to what I was doing before (Instructional Technology Specialist), only with a different implementation model for training school personnel.  If you are keeping track, I am still an Adjunct Professor for a university as well.  I worked all summer, teaching online.  Work work work.
Summer, can we have a do over?!?
~~One last thing...my great uncle Dick died this past week.  He was ready.  When I visited with him last, he told me that he was.  I am glad I have that memory.  I was able to hold his hand, talk with him, pray with him, and tell him I loved him.
here, Uncle Dick is receiving an honorary seminary degree for his work in ministering to others.  he conducted a prison ministry among many other endeavors to bring others to Christ.
For as long as I can remember, Uncle Dick has always asked me, "Where is that red-headed boy I saw you with?"  He was just picking, you know, trying to get a rise outta me.  As I got a little older I dished it back one time and asked him, "Where's that red-headed lady I saw you with?!" Well he just thought that was hilarious and often told others about it with a big laugh.  At his visitation on Friday, I walked up to see him one last time.  Alone at the casket, and this time through tears, I asked him again.  
"Where's that red-headed lady I saw you with, Uncle Dick?"
I hope he was smiling from Heaven.
Happy Sunday.

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