Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Top Book Recommendations from 2019/2020

I've always loved to read, but into adulthood I fell into the trap of thinking "I didn't have time." Turns out, I just wasn't making it a priority. About 6-7 years ago, I became an avid reader again &LOVE sharing (& receiving) some good book recommendations. I have read more books than just those on this list, but some of them I didn't like/don't recommend so they didn't make the cut. ;) I have other blog posts with book recommendations too, but here is my list from the past two years. (Some of these I re-read. We also haven't read all the Max & Liz series yet, but have read the first in the series and it was amazing! We can't wait to read the rest! Jenny Cote is an incredible author.)

Honestly, I spent more time reading aloud to my kids than personally reading this year. Just being totally transparent, getting my kids to do school most days is a struggggle. BUT, they all LOVE to be read to, & I've read the academic outcomes of children who are read aloud to are much better. So, I roll with it. And I keep reading when they beg (which they do), even when it's way past everyone's bedtime. ;) It has created some awesome opportunity for conversations, and some of these recommendations have some deep content & I've been amazed at how they "get it."

For me, I typically listen to books on Audible while I'm doing things around the house so I can continue to fill my mind with good stuff. Makes laundry and dishes and cleaning and cooking go by faster. Multitasking for the win!

Here are some of my top recs. Hope you ENJOY!! (P.S. Would love to hear some feedback if you read any of them!)


**Pilgrim's Progress (So good! Age appropriate story of John Bunyon. We followed up by watching the DVD.)

**Warrior Kid Series:(cannot recommend these enough! My boys were obsessed & they even motivated me. So many important character lessons throughout.)

Way of the Warrior Kid: From Wimpy to Warrior the Navy SEAL Way

-Way of the Warrior Kid 2: Marc's Mission

- Way of the Warrior Kid 3: Where There's a Will

- Way of the Warrior Kid 4: Field Manual

**The Amazing Tales of Max & Liz Series: (These are SO much fun! They provide Biblical accounts through the perspective of the animals. I always read them with the fun accents. They are big books and it takes a while to get through them, but they are so captivating and thought provoking.)

The Ark The Reed and the Fire Cloud (Was SO good! Took us a couple months to read it, but we loved it! It made us all think & I considered some things logistically about the ark I had never preciously considered.)

The Dreamer, The Schemer, & The Robe

The Wind, The Robe, & The Way

The Fire, The Revelation, & The Fall

The Voice, The Revolution, & The Key

The Declaration, The Voice, & The Spy

The Prophet, the Shepard & The Star

**Secret of the Hidden Scrolls Series 

**Chop Wood Carry Water (my boys listened to this on Audible. 7 year old especially loved it was about a samurai, but had great character lessons too.)

AWESOME Advent Series: (I enjoyed these so much & could barely put them down myself! You HAVE to order these and read them with your kids. We are still reading them now even though Christmas is over.)

Jotham's Journey

Tabitha's Travels

Isthar's Odyssey

Bartholomew's Passage


Amon's Adventure (I legit cried reading this. SO good!)

**The Prince Warriors Series (full disclosure- my kids listened to these on Audible so I didn't read them)

The Prince Warriors

- The Prince Warriors:  Unseen Invasion

- The Prince Warriors: Swords of Rhema

- The Prince Warriors: The Winter War

**Hinds Feet on High Places (Probably my top recommendation of all, for both kids and adults. Thank you to my friend Tiffany for recommending! I actually cried multiple times reading this one too & I;'m not even super emotional. Don't let the pictures or first chapter throw you off- read to the end. Everyone I've shared it with fully agrees.)


**Strong Fathers Strong Daughters (I know it's for men, but I read it too after having our first little girl and it was SO good. Definitely buy a copy for your husband if you have a daughter)

**Raising Men Not Boys (I taught this in a group study & all of the videos are recorded if you'd like to be added. If you're a boy mom, would love to have you in our FB group (Raising Boys Not Men). 

**Mother & Son: The Respect Effect (This will be our next study in the boy mom group. Two of my mentors recommended it a while back and I just got around to reading it. This book convicted my heart and made me feel a little bit like a loser, but also inspired me with some practical tools in my toolbelt so I can be a better mother to my sons.

**The 5 Love Languages of Children (One of my all-time fave parenting books. Helped me better understand my children and how I need to show them love.)

**Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles (I've listened to this twice. Convicting & challenging, but great reminders of how to keep the main thing the main thing in parenting!) 

**60 Promises to Pray Over Your Children (Short & sweet, but specific prayers to pray over your children. I love specific Scriptures and ideas of things to pray.)

Business/Mindset: (These are all excellent if you're looking to grow you mindset or step up your game professionally.)

**The 10X Rule

**H3 Leadership

**Secrets of the Millionaire Mind

**The Compound Effect

**The Magic of Thinking Big

**Necessary Endings

**Make Your Bed


**Fasting (This is a MUST read! It taught me so much about fasting and gets me excited to fast each year...until I actually start the fast anyway. Then reality hits. Lol! But fasting is such an important aspect of spiritual health! This breaks down the what, the how, the why, and backs it all with Scripture.)

**Uninvited (Listen, even if you don't think you've ever been "left out," read this anyway.)

**Rhythms of Renewal (Thank you so much to my friend Megan for gifting this to me! I'm 1/3 of the way in and enjoying it!)

**The Delusion Series (I hardly ever read fiction, but I couldn't put these down. They gave me a very different perspective on spiritual warfare.)

- The Delusion

- The Deception

**Dirty Genes (This is FASCINATING! So eye opening about the role of genetics, environment, etc .)

**The Little Things (Short, easy read with impactful reminders.)

**True Woman 201 (I taught this study in my FB group formerly called Godly Wife and now renamed to "Woman After God." The videos are still live in there if you'd like to go back and watch as you follow along in the book. The study is so relevant, practical, and impactful in pointing women back to God's calling for our lives.)

Disclaimer: These are Amazon affiliate links, meaning if you order, our family may be compensated a very small amount. If you have the ability to check them out from your library or shop at a small, locally bookstore, I always recommend that.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Femininity > Feminism

Femininity > Feminism (2 totally different things)

Ladies, I just want to encourage you today. 
Your home IS your ministry! What a powerful opportunity we have every single day to serve the Lord...even in what may feel like mundane tasks. Isn't that exciting? It's such an awesome contribution to the Kingdom that we should be proud of and work heartily in! There are a few passages in the Bible that are just for us women, like Titus 2:3-5 that says "the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed." We should study those & become passionate about them as we pursue our mission to become more like Christ.
Being a homemaker- to me, that means your best efforts should be inside your own 4 walls. If your ministry ever becomes so demanding of you that your own home- your family...husband/marriage, children, health, personal walk...begins to suffer, it's time to step back. We can't let our light shine for others if our lights are burned out, and they can even be burned out by doing "good" things like serving/working outside the home. Do I believe both can be done? Yes. But we have to be super cautious to GUARD our hearts, minds, & homes. You have to take care of your own light first, and the bigger the flame, the more it draws others & more you can share. We are not called to be busy, stretched too thin, or too exhausted for our own family.
I have no doubt Satan is using this as a tool of destruction & a sneaky method of getting into families...making us busy, making us feel inadequate & like we aren't doing enough in what should be our greatest calling, by keeping us from finding fulfillment in being homemakers, & in having us pursue things that mean some of our own families' needs go unmet. Let's pursue godliness together by becoming warriors for our own 4 walls! 
P.S. Currently teaching a Bible study on 10 Elements of Biblical Femininity in the Godly Wife FB group. Would love for you to join us! All videos have been recorded.
 "I want to be respected most by those who know me best."
Image may contain: Lori Alexander, text that says 'The Transformed Wife @laalex2 No matter how dark and evil this culture becomes, women, your home should be a place of order, beauty, peace, and rest for your family. It should be a haven amongst the stormy sea. This is a gift you give to your family, and it's the ministry the Lord has ordained for you. 11:00 AM 6/22/20 Twitter Web App'


Image may contain: sky, outdoor and nature, text that says 'don't take the bait'
Every day, we are presented with multiple opportunities to get offended. It can be as minor as someone cutting us off in traffic or stealing our parking spot. Other times we can feel deeply hurt by a friend's rude or harsh comment.
What many people don't know is that offense is one of Satan's greatest tools to steal our peace and rob us of God's blessings.
The word "offense" comes from the Greek word scandalon. It is an interesting word that literally describes a trap used to hold bait in order to lure animals. Similarly, offense is the bait the enemy uses to trap us. He will use people's words and actions to get our minds churning and stir up our emotions. He uses this bait to lure us into a lifetime of bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, strife, hatred and revenge.
I often say that Satan sets us up to get us upset. He knows our weaknesses and what buttons to push to send us over the edge.
The good news is we are smarter than our enemy because we have the mind of Christ! (See 1 Corinthians 2:16.) We can know the truth of God's Word and don't have to take his bait.
In other words, when somebody tries to give you offense, you decide whether you take it or not.
You may be thinking “it's so hard not to take offense sometimes!” I understand how you feel, but we can refuse to be offended because God gives us self-control, which is a fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23). This means we can control ourselves with God's help and take responsibility for how we respond to life's situations.
It's easy to deflect our problems and place the responsibility on someone else, thinking, If you didn't upset me, then I wouldn't feel this way or If you would just do this, then I would be happy.
But the truth is we will never be free from any problem as long as we're blaming somebody else. I'm not saying other people don't do anything wrong; however, we can't control what everyone else does; we can only choose how we are going to react!
1 Corinthians 13:5 says love "is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs" (NIV). Love is a choice! I can choose to forgive and let it go, or I can hold on to the offense and let the hurt turn into something even worse.
For example, sometimes an offense starts out like a paper cut. It's seemingly small, but if you don't take care of it properly, it can begin to fester. In time, it can become infected and cause you a lot of pain.
I can tell you from experience that it's so much better to take care of a problem when it's little. It's good to address it as quickly as possible before it has an opportunity to take root and turn into something more serious.
I've learned that the quicker I can forgive somebody, the easier it's going to be. Sometimes this means being the first one to apologize and make peace — even if it's not my fault!
However, the more we do the right thing, the easier it gets. The quicker I forgive others and get rid of any offense, the more peace I have in my life. After a while, you realize that staying offended doesn't change other people or solve your problems — it only makes you bitter and angry.
I often say that staying mad at someone who has hurt you is like taking poison and hoping your enemy will die. You don't hurt them at all — you only hurt yourself!
Psalm 34:14 tells us to "seek peace and pursue it" (NIV). I've learned over the years (many times the hard way) just how valuable God's supernatural peace really is. Now, I absolutely refuse to live without it!
It is so much greater than living with the toxic results of holding unforgiveness in my heart.
Opportunities to be offended will never go away, but we can grow wise to the enemy's tactics and learn how to respond in a godly way.
So, the next time you are tempted to be offended, don't take the bait!
Always remember that you have a choice. You can choose to be angry and bitter ... or you can decide to forgive, believe the best of others, and enjoy God's supernatural peace.

Christians: What is Your Focus Right Now?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.
I’d highly recommend taking a few days off of social media & ALL news platforms if you haven’t done that lately. 💜 It did my heart so much good, & it’s more important now than ever to make sure the Word of God is the loudest voice in our head. I hear lots of folks saying lots of things that sound “good” & “right,” but in reality they aren’t Biblical.
There are many important things going on around us right now, no doubt...but I fully believe the enemy is using distraction as his main tool to create chaos & division. If we are all so distracted with worldly issues, we lose our focus on things of eternal importance.
It is possible to keep the main thing the main thing & still stand up for what you believe in. But if you’re a follower of Christ & things of the world are getting more of your time, energy, & attention...it’s time to reshift those priorities and put Jesus back on the throne.
Here’s a great way to check your heart & just a little food for thought...
1. When is the last time you argued with someone on the internet over differing beliefs?
2. When is the last time you shared the Gospel with someone?
If that’s as convicting to you as it was to me, it may be time to re-evaluate some things. 💜 Lots of love to all of you! Stay vigilant & prayerful! Let’s worship our way through this.
Image may contain: ‎2 people, ‎text that says '‎Garrett Kell ن @pastorjgkell One of the most dangerous things a Christian can do right now is neglect Bible reading. Thousands of voices are attempting to convince you how to think. Be certain, you are being shaped. More Scripture, less social media. More Bible, less books. More prayer, less blog posts.‎'‎‎Image may contain: 1 person, text that says 'is the kingdom of darkness. The question is not, Is there social injustice? Of course there is. It's everywhere. The question is, What's the answer to it? And the answer is political; the answer economic; and the educational. The answer is spiritual. John MacArthur The church is in the world to preach the gospel. When the church begins to be preoccupied issues, is the primary indicator have abandoned mission." "The answer to injustice is the righteousness need to fix ourself on the Word ofGod, fulfilling biblical mry preaching true Gospel."'


Some thoughts about new opportunities...
💛Be ready for opportunities by staying close to God. Then, when he calls you to a task, you'll be ready!
💛Don't let the fear of what might happen cause you to miss an opportunity. Be alert for the opportunities God gives you, and take full advantage of them.
💛Look for the areas where God has gifted you and then seek opportunities to allow God to use your gifts.
💛When you are making decisions or assuming new responsibilities, remember these two important steps. Ask yourself what you need to know about the opportunity, and then obtain that knowledge. Common sense is a valuable aid in accomplishing God's purpose.
💛Increased opportunity bring increased responsibility. "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded." Luke 12:48
💛Not every opportunity is sent from God. We may want something so much that we assume any opportunity to obtain it is if divine origin. An opportunity to do something against God's will can never be from God because God does not tempt us. When opportunities come your way, double check your motives. Make sure you are following God's desires, and not just your own.
💛Take advantage of the opportunities given us, doing what we can do and not worrying about what we cannot do.
💛Rather than complain about your present situation, look for ways to use every opportunity to serve God and share him with others. Your problems may be opportunities in disguise.
💛See your troubles as opportunities. 2 Corinthians 4:17

A Few Quick Health Tips

A couple of quick health tips!
1. Your body actually NEEDS salt. It just needs to be QUALITY salt. (Avoid table salt at all costs, pre packaged foods, fast foods etc. They have astronomical amounts of poor quality salt.) I personally alternate between pink Himalayan, Celtic sea salt, herbed sea salt, & this.
Image may contain: food
2. Corn, canola, & soybean oil are highly inflammatory & terrible for you. Stick to coconut, avocado, & a quality olive oil (which is only to be used on low heat, or preferable not heated at all). You need good fats like these for heart + brain health. This ad? LIES.
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3. Prep your veggies all at once so they’re ready for snacks & dinners for the next few days. Try to consume some at every meal! More green light foods = better health, better skin, better energy, improved weight management.
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4. Supplements are necessary with our current food industry, depletion of soil, etc. QUALITY supplementation is incredibly important. (Avoid synthetic forms of vitamins & a one sized fits all supplement regimen.) Co-factors are also important for proper absorption! You can take this free HIPPA compliant assessment to find out what you should be taking/avoiding & WHY based on your unique makeup.
👉🏻👉🏻Livecleanlivewell.idlife.com > take assessment (in the dropdown menu)
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🍏Take care of your body...it’s the only place you have to live.
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Friday, May 1, 2020

Tips for Healthy Digestion

💩check in!
So first, disclaimer...Please don’t think I’m being gross or unladylike...

This is an important part of health and can signal things going on in our body and emotions.
You don’t have to comment, but I at least want you to think about it.
With everything that is currently going on...Have you been regular? Constipated? Loose bowels?

Digestion is so crucial to our health, & that includes regular bowel movements. Daily, 1-2 times is preferable.
Being constipated unfortunately means you are also not excreting toxins your body should be expelling. Loose stools may be signaling some emotional distress/anxiety/worry.
A few decades ago, they began treating our brains and bodies as two totally separate beings and practicing medicine as if the two operate independently of one another. That could not be further from the truth. Our mental health and emotional health absolutely impact our physical health and manifest through symptoms. Improper digestion is often a signal of some thing going on mentally/emotionally...
Going to share a few tips to help digestion during this time:
  • be aware of it; pay attention to your digestive system right now
  • HYDRATE! Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of filtered water each day, and if you consume caffeine you want to add that back in (dehydration can seriously slow things down!)
  • make sure you are consuming plenty of fiber in your diet through Whole Foods, fruits & veggies, chia seeds, etc (smoothies are great)
  • try to eat in a calm state. Take your time, slow down, really chew your food. I have been trying to be more mindful of this. Half the time I don’t even sit down to eat, & I’m so busy taking care of the kiddos or nursing the baby I scarf down my food. I’ve been more intentional lately about sitting down, slowing down, taking some deep breath‘s, and calming myself before I eat.
  • give thanks for your food before you eat it… Studies have shown your body actually absorbs more nutrients from your food when you do that.
  • limit drinking anything while eating. Have some water 30 min before, & a warm liquid like herbal tea after.
  • try to limit refined sugar & processed foods.
  • pray! This May sound silly, but sometimes we forget to pray for some of the most simple and practical things. However, God cares about even our digestion. Sometimes I just don’t even think about praying, but I know God answers prayer so just wanted to remind you of that. You can ask him to help regulate and improve your digestive tract.
  • i’m sure there are supplements that can help support great digestion also, so feel free to share that or any other suggestions in the comments! This is all i could think of off the top of my head. 

Just wanted to bring this to your attention. I’m sure there are some of us I feel like we are handling this well on the outside, but our bodies may be signaling something different to us if we take the time to look for it. 
Any other tips, thoughts, or comments?!?👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻