Sunday, September 23, 2012

Win Max Lucado's latest!

I am a huge fan of Max Lucado!  I love his children's books, especially You Are Special - I cry every time I read it.  I was so excited to have the opportunity for a very special review - his newest children's devotional, Grace for the Moment for Kids, AND his newest adult devotional!  Best of all, I'm giving away a set of the two to one lucky reader.

My boys cannot say enough good things about their devotional!  They are 10 and 7, and these devotions are perfect for them to read on their own.  My 10 year old said that he loves this book because, "It's short.  I don't have to look stuff up.  [The verses for the devotional are printed on the page.] And I like the part at the end. ["Growing in Grace," a practical, life application at the end of each day's reading.]"  Of course, since the adult and kids devotions cover the same topic each day, it's also perfect for mom to read hers in the morning, then to read the children's version during family devotions and discuss what everyone has learned.  (And if you have teens, you can get a copy of Wild Grace for them.)  As a mom, and as a children's pastor, I love books and activities that involved the whole family and get everyone talking about their faith!  This is the perfect series for it.

You can check out the Flipbook of Grace for the Moment for Kids here:

You can check out a FREE two week sample of the book here:

Or you can order a copy here:

Of course, you can also enter to WIN a copy of both the kids and adult devotionals!  To enter, just leave a comment on this post AND become a fan of Tommy Nelson on Facebook.  For an extra entry, share this giveaway and leave a separate comment letting me know you did.  For another entry, like my new Facebook page.

Good luck!  Entries will close on Saturday, September 29th at midnight, and the winner will be announced Sunday, September 30th.  Thanks to Tommy Mommy for letting me review these!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Developing a Habit of Grace

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We throw the concept of grace around a lot.  It’s an important idea – after all, where would we be if not for God’s grace?  We talk about it, sing about it, write about it – but I wonder how much we really understand grace?

I’m working through an awesome Bible study right now on 1 Peter.  The study is “Kept,” and I’m going through it with the Hello Mornings fall session.  Last week, as we studied 1:1-2 and 5:12-14, I decided to look up “grace.”  I pulled up eSword on my laptop and went to the original Greek word.  It wowed me.  Here’s what I learned:
Grace (charis): graciousness of manner or act, especially the divine influence upon the heart and it’s reflection in the life, including gratitude.
Our mannerisms show grace.  Our actions show grace.  That’s it – it’s all grace.  All of life, our very life itself, is God’s grace.  Everything we are and everything we do should be a reflection of God’s influence in our life, including gratitude.

His Word is filled with His graces.  We are His workmanship.  He knit us together and knew us before we were born.  He collects our tears in a bottle.  We are inscribed on the palms of His hands.  His grace is more than amazing. 
Grace – that simple word has been speaking to me all week long.  My prayer is that God will keep His grace at the forefront of my heart and mind, and that He will help me to reflect that grace in all I do.  I want grace to become more than a word - I want grace to be a habit in my life.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Huge Guest Post

I am so, so excited today!  Last month, one of my favorite blogs, The MOB Society, asked for guest posts for the month of September.  I wrote a post and sent it in, but honestly didn't expect it be chosen.  But guess what - it was!  I hope you'll check out!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

Losing My Grip

I'm not a huge fan of high places.  I can handle heights to a point...okay, to a very low point.  I hate it when I'm watching a movie or TV show and a main character ends up clinging desperately to a ledge by their fingertips, about to plummet to their death.  (Like Beckett hanging on for dear life in the season finale of Castle...anyone else LOVE that show?)  I guess it's a Hollywood rule that their grip has to slip and make things more dramatic, but it makes me squirm every time!

I can identify with the feeling of losing my grip, though.  How many times do I feel like I'm losing my grip on everything going on in my life?  The laundry mountain has started to resemble Mt. Everest, I'm behind on my Bible study, my college assignments are due, and my blog is covered in cobwebs.  I feel like I'm drowning, slipping further and further below the surface, not sure if I can ever reach the top again.

Sometimes God has to whisper my name...okay, so He may have to yell a little...and tell me, "Amanda, just breathe."  As my microbiology teacher used to tell our class before a test, "Breathe - its not overrated."  I need the reminder.  Breathe.  Focus.  Take one thing at a time.  Finish one job before starting another.  Take small steps.  Just get started. 

Ann Voskamp wrote a great post a few days ago about creating habits.  This week, I plan to use my day planner (a.k.a. "my brain" becasue I rely on it so much), the daily planner printable from A Holy Experience, a weekly homemaking schedule I typed up several months ago, and the Pomodoro technique to get things done at home and get my family on a routine.  Simple planning, and simple follow through, should help me get things into better balance and give me a better grip on things.