See No Evil, Hear No Evil…KNOW

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A.M. Thoughts: Can any of us un-see or un-hear what we have been exposed to in life? Sadly, the answer is no. Trust me, I know. Let me tell you about something that recently happened.

The other night, I invited my child to watch a cheesy 80s movie with me. It was a movie that I had loved and remembered so well…or so I thought. Everything was going just great until (insert horror music here) a profane word was uttered. (Yes!) I was so stunned that I sat speechless for a couple of seconds, hoping that my child didn’t hear what was said. Before I could turn the movie off, three more words dropped and a lewd innuendo was made. (Ugh!!!) I was beside myself. The damage was now done, and my child had been exposed to evil on my watch. (Of course, I did damage control promptly, and as a result, we had a well-needed and very thorough conversation on the tricks of Satan.)

There were numerous takeaways for me with this experience, but one of the biggest lessons I learned was SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL…KNOW. In this phrase, I have found a guide on how to parent and how to live a godly life in a morally compromised world. It all boils down to this – we must be vigilant, alert, aware, and mindful of what is around us and what we choose to expose ourselves to, at all times. From music to movies to books to conversations to places we frequent to activities we elect to engage in, we must see it and hear it through the filter of the LORD. We must be willing to ask the simple yet hard questions…

Is it wholesome?

Is it pure?

Is it good?

Is it beneficial?

Is it helpful for knowledge and growth?

Is it something that will add to my spiritual development or take away from it?

When all is said and done, know this – Satan will come at you, he will come at me, and he will come at everyone we care about with anything that can be imagined…even a cheesy 80s movie. Don’t close your eyes, stuff your ears, or stick your head in the sand, and don’t allow that to be the case with your kids either. Know that God will help you.

Challenge: Complete a study on the word evil. Write down what you learn. (Feel free to come back and share it here on this post.)

Scripture Reflection: Philippians 4:8

#3/52STUDY17

A Faith and Family Book Review|Thankful by Eileen Spinelli

Title: Thankful 

Author: Eileen Spinelli

About the Book: “Thankful, by bestselling and award-winning children’s author Eileen Spinelli, combines charming rhymes and whimsical illustrations to convey the importance of being thankful for everyday blessings. Like the gardener thankful for every green sprout, and the fireman, for putting the fire out, readers are encouraged to be thankful for the many blessings they find in their lives. Spinelli exhibits her endearing storytelling with this engaging poem, reminding children how blessed and special they are. Meant to be read aloud, this heartwarming picture book will be a treasured keepsake for parents and children alike.”

Phone Tree Book Review: Thankful is a brilliantly done work that does an amazing job of showing what being thankful is all about. With simple words and playful illustrations, it invites readers to appreciate and reflect on the many countless ways that blessings can be seen. Families will love this book.

Rating: 4/5 ****

Recommend: Yes

A complimentary copy of this title was made available for review by the publisher via the Book Look Bloggers program in exchange for an honest critique. I was neither expected to submit a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review. The words I have expressed are my own. 

Make #timetoread

JOIN THE PHONE TREE BIBLE STUDY GROUP IN SUPPORTING NATIONAL READATHON DAY!

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If you would like to learn more, visit National READATHON Day.

Beautiful Mess (PTBS – 5)

A Phone Tree Bible Study based on Beautiful Mess: Motherhood for Every Moment by Sherry Surratt and Tracey Eyster

As much as women desire to be mothers, sometimes the challenges and circumstances are not what they ever expected.

Phone Tree Bible Study Focus Topic: Week 5: Day 4 – > Am I Paying Attention to Me

The Beautiful (Resonating Quotes from the Book): “As moms, we have a very real enemy…Satan. He wants you to be exhausted and overwhelmed. He wants to discourage you with circumstances. He wants to find you tired and weak so he can attack. The way to combat this is to pay attention to your mom heart and invest in the areas that feed you.”

The Mess (The Takeaway from the Lesson): If you and I as moms are not at our best, the world would suffer. Well…maybe the world at large would not suffer, but most certainly, the world immediately around each one of us would suffer. We must both appreciate and understand that moms need to be at their “healthy best” if they are to give their best. 

Top 3 Needs of Moms:

1) Rest/Respite

2) Support

3) Personal Spiritual Retreat

The Beautiful Mess Assignment for the Week: Spend some time in deep thought and prayer regarding the five critical attributes that a mom can invest in to help her be her healthy best (page 121).

The Scripture Reflection for the Week: Proverbs 31:10-31

The Question: Are you truly taking the time that you need  to take care of your own special needs as a woman? (If so, BRAVO! If not, why not?)

If you have secured your copy of this title, go ahead and read Week 5 in its entirety. Read all of the referenced Scripture material and answer the questions.

Beautiful Mess (PTBS – 4)

A Phone Tree Bible Study based on Beautiful Mess: Motherhood for Every Moment by Sherry Surratt and Tracey Eyster

As much as women desire to be mothers, sometimes the challenges and circumstances are not what they ever expected.

Phone Tree Bible Study Focus Topic: Week 4: Day 5 – > How Do I Do It All

The Beautiful (Resonating Quotes from the Book)“It may be necessary for you to say no to some opportunities based on what the needs of your family happen to be, but know that those opportunities will not cease, you’ll just accept those opportunities when the time is wisest. God often calls us to something far before He wants us to jump in and start doing it. God often plants an idea or passion within us and then uses life to train us for a while before He wants us to take action. We need to patiently and expectantly wait – and, while waiting, be ‘all in’ where He currently has us.”

The Mess (The Takeaway from the Lesson): In the matter of priorities, time management, and family life choices, there is often an imbalance between our “want to” and our “need to.” We tend to feel bad when we cannot engage in the things that people, perhaps, expect of us. We tend to feel stressed when we cannot “get it done” (whatever it is). We tend to feel guilty when we overcommit ourselves and produce subpar results and in essence teach our kids a lesson that is somewhat lacking at best. But what if we, as mothers, make a decision to say no to the extra stuff of life and instead say yes to the just right things of God? What if we each elect to purposely choose to enjoy His wisdom path versus forging our own path?

The Beautiful Mess Assignment for the Week: Read the Scripture reflection for the week in a number of Bible translations and then summarize it in your own words. Share the message with at least one other mother.

The Scripture Reflection for the Week: Proverbs 3:5-6

The Question: How does it make you feel when you overcommit yourself and/or your family, and is it ever okay (as a Christian) to say no to others?

If you have secured your copy of this title, go ahead and read Week 4 in its entirety. Read all of the referenced Scripture material and answer the questions.

Beautiful Mess (PTBS – 3)

A Phone Tree Bible Study based on Beautiful Mess: Motherhood for Every Moment by Sherry Surratt and Tracey Eyster

As much as women desire to be mothers, sometimes the challenges and circumstances are not what they ever expected.

Phone Tree Bible Study Focus Topic: Week 3: Day 3 – > How Do We Get Off Track

The Beautiful (Resonating Quotes from the Book): “…isn’t that what Satan does? He confuses the situation with smoke and mirrors and gets our conscience all tied up in knots. He starts with getting our eyes on others and making the good about their lives appear even better. He then makes the good God has given us seem small and insignificant, and he sprinkles in some insecurity and an attitude of entitlement just for good measure.”

The Mess (The Takeaway from the Lesson): How do moms get off track in the beautiful mess of motherhood? There are many ways, certainly. Comparing ourselves with others is one of the notable ones though. The “She’s-a-Better-Mom-Than-Me” syndrome strikes at the most unexpected times and in the most unexpected ways. Add Satan to that little diddy and there you go. When he gets involved in the process, you better believe that jealously, envy, insecurity, and doubt are headed your way.

The Beautiful Mess Assignment for the Week: Take a moment this week to  write down all of the things that you do with and for your kids. Place your list in your Bible, upon completion. Later in the week, go back and revisit it. Let your list serve as a reminder that you and God are in this role together. Remind yourself that your assignment is not about anyone else, rather it is about you and the LORD.

The Scripture Reflection for the Week: Philippians 4:11

The Question: What do you think is the most distinctive gift and/or quality that you have as a mother?

If you have secured your copy of this title, go ahead and read Week 3 in its entirety. Read all of the referenced Scripture material and answer the questions.

Books Galore! – A Week of Reviews, Day 3 (Evergreen: A Christiansen Winter Novella)

If you have never heard about or read a Christiansen family novel from Susan May Warren, then you are missing out. The entire series is outstanding! Today’s featured review is all about a special season in John and Ingrid’s lives. Unwrap their gift of love in Evergreen.

Day 3: Evergreen: A Christiansen Winter Novella by Susan May Warren Evergreen: A Christiansen Winter Novella (Christiansen Family)

About the Book:

“An empty nest has Ingrid Christiansen dreading the upcoming holidays, but her husband, John, couldn’t be more excited about this new season of life. He even has a surprise trip abroad planned. He’s sure she’ll love it. What’s more romantic than Christmas in Paris?

Before he can stop her, however, Ingrid agrees to spearhead a major church project. Then their faithful dog, Butterscotch, needs emergency surgery, draining their savings. And then—because disasters strike in threes—an unexpected guest arrives, dredging up old hurts.

As a beautiful blanket of snow transforms the north woods into a winter wonderland, a deep chill settles over John and Ingrid’s marriage. With the holidays fast approaching, their only hope of keeping their love evergreen depends on turning the page on the past and embracing a new chapter of their future.”

Phone Tree Review: Evergreen was so overwhelmingly good that I was beside myself with emotion at key points in the story. This book had substance and grit. It dealt with difficult issues, such as empty nest syndrome, resentment towards a loved one, anger regarding parentage, unforgiveness related to past decisions and fear of the unknown, with such honesty that it left me raw many times over. The characters were real in that they had depth. The circumstance that each primary character had to face was sobering in its own way.

I loved how Warren weaved together faith, family, and forever in this book. It was beautifully done. This Christiansen story, like all the others in the series, left me with many takeaways. It also left me wanting more.

Some of my thoughts as I read this book…

– We must strive to maintain a godly level of intimacy and communication with those whom we love.

– We must learn to identify our true purpose inside the realm of God’s provision.

– We must be mindful that unsaid secrets slowly poison us from the inside out.

– We must understand that change will come, whether it be in circumstances or people. How we weather that change, however, is up to us.

– We must appreciate that each one of us will likely be challenged to find our new even in the old.

– We must never underestimate the power of prayer.

– We must be aware of where ministry opportunities lay.

– We must accept that there are generally three perspectives in marriage – his, hers, and God’s. Of course, God’s perspective is always right on.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Recommend: Yes

Bookshelf Worthy: Yes

Disclosure: I received this book free from the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The words I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”