Book Review: Hallelujah Anyway

I’ve found that audiobooks are my new favorite way to keep up with all the books on my ever-growing “must read” list. The best difference between an audio and written book is that when an author reads their own words you know without a doubt the tone they meant.

In her most recent book Hallelujah Anyway, Anne Lamott  discusses her life intertwined with Scripture in such a beautiful way she gave me a new perspective of Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Lamott reveals the importance of approaching Scripture with humility and curiosity. Still, she is never afraid to remind the reader she is not perfect. We, humans, are all deeply flawed and it is these flaws which draw us to our Savior and he to us. Reconciliation, self-reflection and self-growth are all covered in this 3-hour audiobook.

That being said, Anne Lamott isn’t for everyone. Her style of writing is journalistic. Her life timeline is highlighted as thoughts arise without much calendar order to them. While one may find this interesting, for others it’s too much to track.

Book Review: Lose the Cape

Lose the Cape Book Review

Today is Launch Day for the third book in the Lose the Cape series. I was lucky to stumble across an opportunity to preview this book and as the mother of two middle school boys I was THRILLED to get reading!

More than that I discovered a whole community including a Podcast.

Lose the Cape – Ain’t Nothing But a Teen Thang! Is a hilarious and realistic compilation of essays the provide perspective on all areas of raising teens. Every chapter I read caused me to chuckle while also taking note of a wise suggestion to tuck away for the future. No stone is left unturned while also presenting scenarios that left me relieved to know “ok good, this is normal”.

Subjects covered include:

  • Sex
  • Body changes (and smells)
  • Social media
  • Communication
  • Helicopter Parenting

 

There are very few spaces these days that balance providing a healthy perspective on daily life and do so with humor. Somehow, the Lose the Cape community has found the balance and they have created a beautiful space for us Mama’s to ask the hard questions and receive the reminders we aren’t alone as we are fumbling through parenting.

We all have fears we’re going to say the wrong thing and send our kid into therapy. Lose the Cape offers helpful tips for experiences every parent encounters without requiring sarcasm. A bonus for me was that reading the essays created an opening for a conversation with my husband. We’re entering this new parenting phase together. It’s hard to know what to talk about and prepare for when it’s new to everyone involved. A few of the chapters in this book brought up situations we hadn’t even considered.

I heard recently that from ages 0-10 we function as Cop for kids. Ages 10-16 we become a Coach and 16+ we transition to Consultant. Entering the Coaching phase has had its starts and stops and yet I’m finding LTC’s community, book, and podcast to be great resources to squash fears and step confidently into a new role.

If you are a parent of a tween or teen I encourage you to check out the Lose the Cape Community and grab a copy of their newest book which is only 99 cents on Kindle today!

 

**No affiliate links, just a fan.

Coaching Family’s Preseason Getaway

While our summers are never exactly the same I’ve tried to prioritize a few things. One of the benefits of building summer memories is that they have helped to ease the boys into the football season.

A college summer for our family has provided a more flexible schedule than our current summers.  High school football includes weeks of practice. Our season essentially began this week and with the exception of a few days off here or there we will wrap up football in November.

Tommy Bartlett Show

This extended focus on the season has increased the importance of a family getaway and this year we headed to Wisconsin Dells for a great time of waterpark fun. We were able to enjoy time with cousins, time as a family of four, and time as a couple.

We laughed, we stayed up late, we tried new things and most importantly we created new memories. Mostly, we didn’t talk about football except when we ran into an incoming Freshman who’s dad had to say hello while we were eating at a restaurant…but that’s actually normal for us too.

I have come to believe that one of the best things we can do to help our boys foster a love for the football life is to create amazing memories that have nothing to do with football. There is no doubt football is a calendar priority and a family affair, but it doesn’t have to be the ONLY important memory our family holds.

Adjusting Back to Life

Interestingly, the day after we arrived back from vacation was busier than normal with a full work day, dentist appointment, kick-off of Bible study and of course the need to grocery shop. While we were away I finished Chrysal Stine’s book Holy Hustle. Her encouragement to reflect on my calendar and to reflect on a life where we embrace the work we’ve been given while finding our worth in God alone had an interesting effect on me.

Pre-season is usually the time of year where I become super organized and try to think several steps ahead in every calendar area I can find. Instead, I found myself unwilling to step back into the hustle. Even with a pressured expectation from a family member outside our house expressed an urgency about a matter that wasn’t really urgent I sidestepped the usual instinct to jump on the bandwagon of doing things according to other’s timelines.

I’m thankful for a vacation to realign my perspective and reaffirm desire to find work/life balance this year.

Holy Hustle Book Review

What I loved most about Holy Hustle is how relatable Crystal Stine is. Her transparency and vulnerability allowed for me to see how my life journey has run parallel to hers and even times I’ve caught myself in the same cycles of running the race (or hustle) the world sees as necessary.

I’ve spent the majority of my life since college seeking to position myself to fully understand and live God’s calling for my life. Holy Hustle was perfectly timed as a reminder that our yeses and nos are important both in work and life.

Crystal does a beautiful job of tying in what scripture says about work and life balance. In this year of striving to simplify life Holy Hustle was the perfect mid-year affirmation I needed.

 

Adult Coloring Books…still don’t get it

 

whatever is lovely

Amongst my college purchases as a freshman were a coloring book and a brand new box of crayons.  I was certain I would find the down time relaxing, but the reality was that the coloring book stayed blank and the crayons were used to color in anatomy study sheets for quizzes.

When adult coloring books came on the scene I was intrigued.  The pictures are absolutely gorgeous!  There is a wide range of coloring book options, but the ones that caught my eye were created with an additional purpose.

“Quieting our minds, spending time meditating on the words of the Lord, and entering into a time of quiet reflection and worship is hard. We want to spend time with our Lord, we want to be quiet and hear what He has to say, but distractions are literally everywhere.”  “Within these pages, we hope that you can enter into an immersive time of meditation, reflection, and worship.”

I absolutely fall into the category of wanting to spend quiet reflection time with God and falling short.  I absolutely fall into the category of wanting to be less distracted and to learn immersive worship.  I absolutely do NOT fall into the category of those jumping on the coloring book bandwagon. 🙁

Whether it comes down to not being disciplined enough or being too “type A” I have no idea.  What I do know is that I would absolutely love if someone else colored these pages. They are so lovely!  The word centering each page are encouraging and comforting.  There is even a Spotify playlist designed to help the meditation along.

So here’s what it comes down to.  If you have found adult coloring books to be inspiring then Whatever is Lovely should be on your wish list.  Over 40 pages of heavyweight paper each with an individual design.  There is variety, inspiration, and creativity on each page.

If you are like me and find coloring books more overwhelming than relaxing then buy this for someone else who will gift you beautiful pages!

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

 

 

It’s Time to Break Busy

 

Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy

“Crazy busy is a life without peace.  It’s marked by decisions made for the approval of the world, not the approval of God.  It’s filled with what we think we “should” do, what we think will make others happy, and what we think being a good person looks like.  All this busyness, in the end, keeps us just out of reach of the life we were created to live.”

“Breaking busy is about more than identifying the things in our life that suck the life out of us.  We must also identify what gives us life, what recharges us and restores our capacity.”

“If we are going to start breaking busy, we start with focusing in on the relationships that fill our souls.”

“Our lives have gotten so cluttered up with things we think we “should” do, we can’t figure out what we were meant to do.  Let your life be about what you are meant to do, not full of what you think you should do.  This starts with your daily decisions about how you spend your time.”

These are three of the many many quotes I’ve underlined in Alli Worthington’s Breaking Busy.  This is a book that I have found college students, mom’s of littles, mom’s with teens and empty nesters all gravitate to.  It should come as no surprise that any stage of life has seasons of feeling overwhelmed and above capacity within it.

Breaking Busy addresses extensively the different areas of our lives we tend to fill up with busyness.  Relationships, Traditions, Calling, Thoughts and many other subjects are written about in matter of fact statements that had me nodding my head, tearing up with gratitude and feeling energized to edit, adjust and say no!

Alli uses her own life journey to show ways that God has directed her journey in pursuing her life calling.  She writes about the beginning and end of BlissDom.  Within the journey, Alli reveals that obedience doesn’t always look like we think it should.  “Here’s the thing about Breaking Busy, sometimes it calls for tough choices, for making drastic choices even in the place where you’ve been highly successful.”  Reading these words lifted a huge weight off my chest that I didn’t realize I was still carrying.  The weight from guilt of walking away from a season of life that was filled with success.  Learning to balance obedience and calling is challenging and as I read Breaking Busy is affirmed many areas in both my life and Ordell’s where things are on track.

I deeply appreciated the balance of tender and honesty that Alli writes with, her heart to help women love their lives more fully shines through.  I realized while reading this book that checked off “to do” lists and boundary establishing may patch up our stress for awhile, but piling band-aid upon band-aid won’t stop the wounds from coming.  We must figure out how to find balance and correctly prioritize by breaking busy in order to live the lives God calls us to.

When you pre-order Breaking Busy you will get a FREE Breaking Busy guide!