Monday, January 31, 2011

Nice Article about Harry and the Patterson Clippers

Click here to read an article written about my favorite coach and his basketball team!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Yo Gabba Gabba!

I'm very excited: my favorite episode of Yo Gabba Gabba is on!! "New Friends," guest starring Jack Black, cracks me up every time I see it. Whoever said that laughter is the best medicine definitely knew what they were talking about!! I feel so great this morning!!

: )

Snow Day

Wednesday night into Thursday morning, we had another snow storm. Though I am not a huge fan of the white stuff (or more accurately - the cold), I couldn't contain my excitement when I found out our school was closed. It was another day where I could leave the worries of work behind and enjoy the company of not only my daughter, but also my husband, whose school was also closed for the day.

We spent a leisurely morning together, and then I went outside to shovel. Harry hurt his back last week, so the duty fell on me. Though I wasn't expecting it, shoveling the snow turned out to be really good for my soul. I thoroughly enjoyed the crisp, fresh air and the hour of solitude I was able to spend with God. I also felt a sense of accomplishment at getting the job done. And as a bonus, it turned out to be a bit of a workout, too, as my sore shoulders proved!

We also took Bianca outside to play. Though she seemed to like the snow, she was ready to go back inside after 10 minutes. Here is one of the few pictures we managed to get:
It's hard to believe that the weekend is here already, but I'm not complaining!! A girl could definitely get used to these short work weeks!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Book Review: Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes


Click here to read an excerpt from this book.

I loved this book! Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes was my first experience with the Sisterchicks series, and while reading it, I became an instant fan of Robin Jones Gunn. The book chronicles the week-long adventure of Summer, who after receiving a disturbing medical prognosis, spontaneously books a flight to the Netherlands to meet her penpal of 40 years, Noelle. Gunn does such a great job describing the sites and sounds of the Netherlands, I felt like I was right there with the two friends. The book was a light, quick, enjoyable read that had me laughing, crying, and imagining my own adventures with my best friends. Though the bond of friendship is highlighted, God’s presence could be felt on nearly every page. Summer’s story was a clear reminder that even though we may walk through the darkest valley, we have no reason to fear, because God is always with us, offering His constant protection and comfort. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian chick-lit, and I can’t wait to savor the rest of the volumes in this heartwarming series of forever friends.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Unexpected Respite

Yesterday was an absolutely crazy day at work. For whatever reason, our investigators have adopted a culture of doing tasks at the last minute. I found out on Friday afternoon that I had to get a grant application together for a Monday due date. Needless to say, I was scrambling to get everything completed on time. I worked from 8:00 AM yesterday to 1:30 AM this morning. I'm proud to say that I got everything finished - and, surprisingly, I wasn't even that stressed. That is a blessing in itself!

The best part of all of yesterday's work is being able to stay home today. I'm not checking my emails. I'm not answering my phone. I'm leaving the worries of the office behind. And I'm enjoying a wonderful day of quality time with my daughter. (Right now, she's napping, so I am drinking a mug of hot tea and catching up on my favorite blogs.) It's a great day!

I can't help but hear the words of Jesus whispering in my ear, "Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) Our God is so incredibly good and faithful! Tomorrow I will go back to my hectic routine, but today, I am laying everything down and truly savoring this unexpected respite with Him. I don't know about you, but I could stay hunkered down in His arms for days!! There's nowhere else I'd rather be.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Review: Desiring God


Click here to read an excerpt from the book.

In very simple terms, a hedonist strives to maximize his net pleasure. John Piper, as a Christian Hedonist, argues that finding joy in knowing God is the ultimate pleasure that is not only an option, but a biblically-based commandment. We are to “Delight [ourselves] in the Lord” and find joy in all aspects of the Christian life – worship, love, service, scripture, prayer, money, marriage, missions, and even suffering. There is nothing wrong with finding pleasure in these things; in fact, joy is what God requires from us. He doesn’t want us to do those things out of duty only. We are to be filled with excitement and delight when we do them. One example that Piper uses that I really liked was the analogy of a wedding anniversary. Suppose on this special day, a husband brings home his wife a dozen long-stemmed roses. The wife says, “O Johnny, they’re beautiful. Thank you!” and gives her husband a hug. If the and then holds up his hand and says matter of factly, “It’s my duty,” something is lost. If there’s no heart in it, we fail to honor those we dutifully serve. Piper does a wonderful job of showing that his ideas are biblically based. Almost every single page quotes a Scripture, which I really love.

The fact that this book has been published four different times and is celebrating its 25th anniversary is a testament to its credibility and widespread impact. That being said, while I really like the idea behind the book and feel that applying its truth could be life-changing, I really didn’t enjoy reading it. I typically get through a book of this size in two nights, but this one took me three weeks to finish – and only because I forced myself. I didn’t once find myself “desiring” to read the book. Perhaps because Piper covered the topics so indepth, or because he repeated himself a lot, or because the many footnotes made it confusing to read, I did not find this book enjoyable.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange of an honest review.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Need Help

It's no secret that I'm not happy at my job. I know that I need to make a change. But I find myself facing a bit of a dilemma. I have been job searching; however, most of the jobs I am qualified for are administrative in nature. These are the jobs I know I would be able to get. BUT I don't want to take on another administrative job just to escape my current one. Otherwise, I will find myself in the same exact position another year or two down the road. I know this is true because I have been in administrative jobs since I graduated from college, and I am nowhere near being satisfied.

I want a TRUE BREAKTHROUGH in my career. I want to find a job that helps feed my soul. I want to make a difference in people's lives. I want to gain a sense of peace and satisfaction from my work. I want to feel more joyful and less anxiety when I go to work. I want to work hard, make good money, occasionally get overwhelmed, but in general, truly love what I do. It would also be ideal if I can put to use the two Master's degrees I already have, as opposed to attending school yet again. I know that such a job exists. I just don't know how to find it.

I'm starting to realize that I can't get through this process alone. I need help. I have been praying for so long, and I am still no closer to any answers. I think I need to see a life coach or a career coach - preferably a Christian one. Someone who can help me find concrete answers and help me formulate an action plan for transitioning my career. But how do I go about finding such a person?

I spend so much time worrying about my job. If that area of my life could be worked out, I know I would be much more pleasant to be around, more confident, more peaceful, and more powerful. (And my blog posts wouldn't constantly revolve around this topic!) I definitely wouldn't be the only person who would benefit from a true change.

Book Review: The Power Based Life

In The Power-Based Life, Mike Flynt aims to help his readers achieve their dreams by introducing the concept of power bases - the centers of personal strength used to meet challenges - that once discovered and maximized lead to a more significant, satisfying, and successful life. The author offers twelve strategies for achieving success in life that center around the strengthening of a person’s body, mind, and spirit.

To emphasize his points Flynt uses a lot of sports analogies, which I personally couldn’t relate to, but I’m sure sports fans will find appealing. He also uses examples from his own life and weaves Scripture throughout the book. On one hand, I would have liked to have seen more Scriptures, demonstrating that the concepts are, in fact, biblically-based. On the other hand, the book reads in a non-preachy way that wouldn’t be intimidating for non-Christians.

My favorite chapter was Chapter 1: Playing to Your Strengths, perhaps because of where I am on my life’s journey. Flynt asks big questions to get you thinking about your life’s goals and dreams. He also reminds us that God created us for specific purposes and to live joyfully and passionately. I love that!

While there were some good points in the book, I think my younger brother (a college student) would have enjoyed the book a bit more than I did as a 30-something year old woman.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through the publisher’s BookSneeze program in exchange for an unbiased review.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Phew!

This past week has been very intense for me, and I am breathing a deep sigh of relief that it is over. These crazy weeks at work remind me how very out of balance my life is. I was working 10 - 12 hours every day in the office, and then working some more at home once Bianca went to bed. I missed my MOPS meeting on Monday night. Tuesday night I only got two hours of sleep and Wednesday I got four. Friday morning I woke up sick, but I had to ignore my sore throat, stuffy nose, and achy muscles and tough it out at work because we had another grant application due. (I had ample time to work on the one that was due Wednesday, but this one I found out about last minute.) Everything was completed and out the door on time, but obviously at a big cost. I didn't think I would ever say this, but I can't wait for my supervisor's maternity leave to be over. I have been doing both her job and mine since August, and I am simply tired.

I had intended to write a post about living a life of service - a theme that has been appearing in my life in several places since the New Year - but as I am watching my daughter throw her lunch on the floor while I type this, I realize I have to get back to the areas of my life that have been neglected this week - namely my family. Alas, my blogging will have to wait for another day...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Proud of My Hubby!

Just have to brag on my husband... I always knew he was a good and passionate coach. Now the polls agree! The Baltimore Sun has Patterson High School ranked #1 in basketball this week! Very exciting!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Perfect Career

"To love what you do and feel that it matters - how could anything be more fun?"
~ Katharine Graham

Can I Be Used?

I have been reading Amy Bayliss’ posts on 31 days of online ministry. I am particularly interested in the topic because I really do want every part of my life to be surrendered over to God, including my blog…no matter how few readers I have! When I sit and reflect on what I would ultimately like my blog to contain, I am called to help people embrace a holistically healthy life. I would like to offer content that is uplifting, encouraging, and inspiring to those readers hoping to transform their mind, bodies and souls. For most people, “Holistic Health” doesn’t bring about images of living a Christian life, but I would love to help bridge the gap. I’ve been feeling a sense of urgency in my soul lately that we are in the last days, and I know that I am being called to spread the Good News. Perhaps someone searching for Holistic Health may stumble upon my blog and at least have a seed planted in them. We never know how God will use our words.

That being said, today’s post by Amy really hit me hard in the heart. Particularly the statement, “You can’t pour out what you don’t contain.” Ouch! What truth!

I look at my life, and I realize two important things: 1) I don’t know God as intimately as I should and 2) I’m a long way off from being holistically healthy. Which leads me to ponder – can I, as broken and insignificant as I am, be a vessel for promoting living a holistically healthy life rooted in Christ? Because we serve a big and mighty God, the answer, of course, is yes. He can use anyone He chooses in ways we can’t even imagine. We just have to stayed tuned into Him and follow His will for our lives. Chelle speaks beautifully about this very topic in her Word Filled Wednesday post.

No matter the size, appearance, or reach of my blogging, I just want to do it all for His Glory.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Confirmation

I read on a Pastor's blog this morning that she received a word that 2011 was going to bring many breakthroughs and much freedom in her church. I got goosebumps as I read her entry, because I firmly believe that 2011 will be my breakthrough year. Even though she was referring to her own church home, I can't help but wonder if 2011 will be an amazing year for the entire Church as a whole. God has promised good things for His people, and He always keeps His promises. I have a feeling that we all are going to see some mighty works this year!!!

Great Morning!

Because I had an eye appointment at 10:30 this morning, I was able to go into work late. It was simply wonderful! Bianca slept the ENTIRE night, and I was able to sleep in until 6:30! (Our typical weekday morning starts around 5:30) Usually, BiBi drinks her morning Pediasure in her high chair while Harry and I get ready for work. This morning because I didn’t have to rush out the door, I was able to hold her as she enjoyed her morning beverage. I felt so incredibly blessed to have those extra precious minutes with her!

Harry and Bianca left the house at 7:00, and I was able to get so much done! I straightened up the family room, did a load of laundry, washed a few dishes, caught up on a couple of my favorite blogs, spent 45 minutes on the treadmill, ate breakfast, flossed my teeth, watched an episode of Joel Osteen on DVR, and still made it to my appointment a few minutes early! Once my appointment was over, I drove into work…minus rush-hour traffic. It was so wonderful!

This great start to my day helped me realize that, among other qualities, my ideal job would:
~ Start later in the morning. This would give me more quality time with my daughter and allow me to take care of the house and myself before I head to work; and
~ Be closer to home. I really don’t like traffic!