Friday, September 30, 2011

Book Review: Extraordinary

Click here to read an excerpt from this book by John Bevere.

I requested to review this book because it sounded intriguing. "Isn't it true that we long to see the extraordinary, experience the extraordinary, do the extraordinary? Yet we so often settle for mediocrity when greatness is within our grasp. Why are we drawn to stories of heroic triumph over seemingly impossible circumstances? In our fascination with adventure movies, superheroes, and tales of incredible human feats, do we reveal an inherent desire for something larger and greater in life? Maybe what we think is a need to escape or be entertained is actually a God-inspired longing...for the extraordinary."

Reading the book, however, I was less enthused. I was a bit confused about the message that Bever was trying to get across. It finally came together towards the end of the book, though: We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God’s power. Grace has been freely given to us, but it can only be accessed by faith. God responds to faith and nothing else. Bever challenges the Church to arise and walk extraordinarily in the power of grace through relentless faith. Quit looking at your ability, but focus in on His authority, His ability, His power that is residing in you. He has given us so much. There is no limit to what we can do to help people come into fullness of life.

It's a great message, but it took a while for the author to get there. Bever repeated himself a lot and never showed the big picture until the conclusion of the book. I found myself a bit bored and lacking the initial enthusiasm I had hoped I'd find while reading.

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

Oh Wow!!

Remember the 1,000 Member Blog Party I mentioned a few posts ago? Well I just found out that I was one of the giveaway winners!! And not just any prize.... Nope; I won the grand prize!!! A Solo Masterminds membership!!! Could this be an answer to my persistent prayers concerning my job?? I truly believe it is. Yet another example of how awesome and incredible our God is!!! All Glory to Him!!

Thank you, Courtney, for hosting an awesome blog party and for all your hard work and dedication to Faithful Bloggers!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Being Intentional

I just read this post by Seth Godin. While many of his posts captivate my attention, I must admit that few prompt me into action. But perhaps this one will. Writing is a huge part of my life, so why don't I make it more of a priority? Honestly, I can ask that question about several areas of my life. Why aren't I living more purposefully? Why am I allowing myself to become a prisoner of my own hectic schedule, feeling like I am being dragged along instead of walking on my own two feet?

Ever since our Monday night small group, I have been evaluating my life and realizing that I am not living intentionally. Amy made the point that we need to be purposeful in our parenting. If it is our calling to raise the next generation of believers, we need to be intentional about exposing our children to the Word, being a good example for them, and loving and disciplining them in a way that is godly and Bibically-based. It should be our goal to have our husbands and children call us blessed, just like the Proverbs 31 Woman.

I am not silly enough to say that I want complete control over my life, because I know that the One who created me is in the pilot's seat. However, I do want to feel like I am taking some thought-out action as opposed to always reacting to what's placed in front of me.

I read about a blogging challenge on Chatting at the Sky that may help me to concentrate on my writing, as well as focus on living more intentionally. Perhaps I should give "31 Days of Intention" a try....

Faithful Bloggers Blog Party

In order to celebrate having 1,000 members in the Christian blog directory, Courtney at Faithful Bloggers is hosting a Blog Party! She is giving away lots of awesome prizes: some blog related, some work-at-home related, some home related, and one awesome grand prize of a Solo Masterminds membership!

The blog party and giveaways end tomorrow, 9/24/11 at midnight CST, so why not hop on over there now and join the celebration?!?

Congratulations, Faithful Bloggers!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bianca's First Concert

Bianca was all smiles before the Laurie Berkner Band concert at the Pier Six Pavillion on Saturday.

We had great seats!
Bianca's ears perked up when she recognized the first song.

But then she quickly became a bit bored and grumpy. It was evident that Mommy was having more fun than the Little One was. Lesson learned: guess it was a bit too early to take her to her first show.

Friday, September 9, 2011


As a preface, I feel a little silly composing this post after reading this compelling one by my friend Chelle, but I like to write these update posts when I've gone missing from my blog for a while, so I'll do it anyway.

Ever since Hurricane Irene blew in, I feel I've been spinning non-stop like a Whirling Dervish. The Women of Faith conference was great (separate post to follow), but it was like the calm before the literal storm.

This is one of the busiest times of the year for me at work. NIH grant deadlines are fast approaching, and I am currently in the process of assembling 7 applications simultaneously. Lots of busy, long days are in store over the next few weeks.

On the personal front, I am giving Anatomy & Physiology another try. I won't get into the details about why I dropped the class last year, but you can read about it here if you're interested. (yep...another update post...) This year, I am in a completely different place in my mind and in my spirit. Though I didn't realize it at the time, I was suffering from a mild case of post-partum depression. I was also dealing with way more stress than I could handle at work. The weight of my world felt like it was crushing me. But thanks to our Almighty and Loving God, I made it through that dark valley and am now basking in His light. Class has been going on for two weeks, and already I am feeling confident. I understand concepts now that seemed like a foreign language last year. Even though we have a long way to go, between my quizzes and homework, I have a 100% in the class. If I keep it up, I know I will not only pass, but do so with an A. Of course, all of this comes with a price. I pretty much study from the time I get home from work until I go to bed at least four days a week, which I know isn't helping out my quality time with Harry and Bianca.

For about a month I have been working out with a trainer and eating better. So far I've only lost a little over 3 pounds, but I feel so much better overall. I have more energy (no more 3 PM slump) and my pants are fitting better. I'm told that in a couple more weeks I should be seeing more weight come off, so I'm trying not to get too discouraged over the small change in the scale.

MOPS starts up at my church on Monday, and I'm really looking forward to it. The second and fourth weeks of the month we will be following the MOPS curriculum, and on the first and third weeks, we will be having a small group Bible study. The latter part of the ministry is new for us this year, and it gets my heart racing just thinking about it! The Word has simply been making me giddy lately!

Speaking of which, I just bought a tiny Bible that fits in my purse. It is the New Living Translation. At home I have the New King James Version, the New International Version, The Message, and the New American Version. The NLT is a new experience for me, and I am loving every page of it! Oh yes - and I must mention that it is purple!! Isn't it lovely??

In case you're interested, it is on sale this week at LifeWay for only $5.00!! I don't get any commission for promoting it, but it's too great of a deal not to mention!

Anyway, it has truly been a wonderful companion. I read it before I drive, on my lunch breaks, and any time I just need a pick-me-up. It's amazing how much better I feel after soaking up God's wisdom. I highly recommend it to everyone!

So that's what's been going on with me. What's been happening with all of you while I've been gone??

Too Much Dora?

I'm beginning to think that Bianca is watching too much t.v. - Dora the Explorer in particular. The other day, she took a dollar bill out of my purse and started to run. I chased quickly behind her. Just as I was about to reach her and my hijacked dollar, she turned around to face me, stretched her palm towards me and exclaimed loudly, "Mommy, no swiping!"

My response? Say "oh man!" and let her have the dollar, of course!