Summer Book Club for Moms Check-In #3: The Kissing Bridge

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It’s our last summer book club for moms check-in! Have you enjoyed these books? I have loved every one and can’t wait for the rest of the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors to be released! Hurry up, Tricia!

Summer Book Club for Moms

If you’re new to the book club, all of the details are right here and you can still join in! Just check-in on the appropriate post for each book and we’ll wrap it all up Friday, September 5th with a giveaway for one person who has read and checked in for all three books!

Whenever you are done reading The Kissing Bridge {before September 5th}, just leave a comment below with your thoughts on the book and answer one or both of these discussion questions if you’d like! I love honest discussion, but let’s remember to keep it positive and encouraging to one another!

Here are the questions you can consider when leaving your comment…

1. Millie offered this advice to Rebecca on the trail ride: “Sometimes the best thing we can do with our minds and hearts is to allow ourselves to rest. After all, a heavy heart takes a lot of work to carry around.” How did Caleb and Rebecca find “rest” in this book? How do YOU find “rest?”

2. How did Rebecca and Caleb’s trust in God grow in this story?

Happy discussing and happy reading! Remember – to be entered for the grand prize, you must read and check-in on all three books by Friday, September 5th! Here are the check-ins for the other two books:

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Summer Book Club for Moms Check-In #2: The Promise Box

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Well, this should have been posted at the end of July, but I was lost in conference session planning and magazine article writing and…forgive me?!

Summer Book Club for Moms

We’re continuing on with our Summer Book Club for Moms featuring a great series by my friend Tricia Goyer! All of the details are right here and you can still join in! Just check-in on the appropriate post for each book and we’ll wrap it all up at the beginning of September with a giveaway for one person who has read and checked in for all three books!

Promise Box

Whenever you are done reading The Promise Box {before August 31st}, just leave a comment below with your thoughts on the book and answer one or both of these discussion questions if you’d like! I love honest discussion, but let’s remember to keep it positive and encouraging to one another!

Here are the questions you can consider when leaving your comment…

1. The Promise Box is set in a small Amish community in Northwestern Montana. What do you like best about the setting?

2. How are Lydia’s eyes opened once she starts reading notes and Scripture verses from Mem’s Promise Box?

Happy discussing and happy reading! See you back here for check-in #3 on or soon after August 31st!

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Summer Book Club for Moms Check-In #1: The Memory Jar

It’s the end of June which means it’s time for the first check-in of our Summer Book Club for Moms! If you haven’t joined us yet, you can still climb on board! Find all the details here and just check in for each book on the appropriate post!

Summer Book Club for Moms

Today we’re talking about the first book in the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series by Tricia Goyer, The Memory Jar! I enjoyed this book SO much when I read it last year, so I loved revisiting it and can’t wait to hear your thoughts on a few of the discussion questions from the back of the book.

The Memory Jar

Let’s dig in! Whenever you are done reading The Memory Jar {before August 31st}, just leave a comment below with your thoughts on the book and answer one or both of these discussion questions if you’d like! I love honest discussion, but let’s remember to keep it positive and encouraging to one another!

Here are the questions you can consider when leaving your comment…

1. What do you think is the underlying theme of The Memory Jar? How does this theme play out in the lives of the main characters of the novel?

2. Are you like Sarah? Do you have a dream that others are trying to squash? How can you follow God’s dream for your life? What is God asking you to do?

Remember, I’ll be giving away a prize package to one woman who finishes all three books and comments on each check-in post by August 31st! I’ll be back at the end of July with a check-in post for the next book, The Promise Box! Happy discussing and reading!

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Summer Book Club for Moms!

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

I love, love, love reading. I enjoy books of all kinds, but I find that fiction inspires me to read more in general, so I make sure I’m always reading one fiction book. My two favorite fiction authors are also friends of mine – Lisa T. Bergren and Tricia Goyer. When I need a new fiction book, I look to these ladies first!

There is no better time than summer to dive into some new fiction, so I’m putting together a little summer book club for moms! I would love to have you join me!

Summer Book Club for Moms

Here are the details:

WHAT: Summer Book Club for Moms featuring Tricia Goyer’s Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series

WHEN: now through August 31, 2014

WHERE: Monthly check-in posts here on the blog

DETAILS: We will be reading the first three books in this great series of Amish fiction!

Just read the book some time during it’s assigned month, check in with your thoughts at the end of that month, and one book club member who completes all three books + check-ins will win our summer book club grand prize!

To kick off this book club right, I’m giving away all three books to one lucky winner! Just leave a comment below by Wednesday, June 4th at 9:00 pm CST to be entered!

I’m looking forward to discussing these great books with you!

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Not of This World {+ Love Dare for Parents Check-In}

He came to save the world so let us be in it, not of it. ~Avalon

This has always been one of my favorite Avalon songs. I was reminded of it again as I watched Lisa Chan’s latest True Beauty film, Not of This World.

TNoTW_Banners_125x125he True Beauty films have been so inspirational to me. Great messages, beautifully put together, real stories of real women growing through life’s challenges. Not of This World is the last installment in the True Beauty series and it follows well in the footsteps of its predecessors.

Lisa leads us through a reflection on our place in this world using Scripture, her own personal experiences, and the story of a woman discovering the unimportance of stuff and the heart of choosing Jesus over the world.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~Matthew 6:19-21

Early on in the film, Lisa talks about the things of this world easily capturing our hearts and distracting us from our relationship with God. This really hit home for me. I have always considered God to be my treasure, but I AM so easily distracted from my time with Him and really following Him – social media, TV, and so on.

“Lift your eyes to Jesus. Everything in this world pales in comparison to Him and eternal life with Him.” ~Lisa Chan

Between this inspiring film and The Love Dare for Parents this week, I think God was sending me a message for myself AND to share with the boys. Lisa shared, “We will feel in opposition to the world and that is OK!’ Just earlier that same day I had read the following statement in The Love Dare:

“We must never forget that by encouraging our children to walk with God, we are asking them to intentionally travel against the cultural tide.”

When I choose to treasure things of this world over Jesus, I’m not the only one affected. My children are watching everything I do, and they must know where my heart finds joy.

The Love Dare for that day talked about rejoicing in the truth when our children make choices that are in line with Scripture. I love this reminder about how powerful our witness and our words are to our kiddos…

20130819-225113.jpg

Rejoicing with them in the things of God is far more important and life-changing than rejoicing over worldly accomplishments. I am so thankful for the perspective shift that came from this and the Not of This World film this week!

If you’re looking for an inspirational DVD to share with a women’s group, Bible study, or group of friends, I highly recommend the True Beauty films. Each one has spoken powerfully to me and I know you will find great encouragement in them as well!

What things of this world distract you from your relationship with Jesus? How do you show your kids to be “not of this world?”

 

I received this DVD in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own.

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Be a Praying Parent {Love Dare Check-In}

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You’ll never be a perfect parent, but you can be a praying parent. Prayer is your highest privilege as a parent. ~Mark Batterson, Praying Circles Around Your Children

I’m learning some very important lessons about my finiteness as a parent in patience, love, wisdom, and much more. Parenting is hard. Really hard. I love these three amazing boys more than I ever imagined, but there is no way I will make it to 18 with each of these three on my own.

God is teaching me the importance and power of prayer as a parent while they are still young and for that I am grateful. He is weaving together some challenges along with some amazing books and I’m taking lots of notes.

The Love Dare for Parents had a fabulous chapter on prayer this week.

No matter how smart or savvy you may be, your children are still subject to circumstances and surprises beyond your reach. You cannot always protect them or control the flow around their lives. But love has a stellar battle strategy and backup plan. It’s called PRAYER. ~Day 23, The Love Dare for Parents

I have felt very out of control as a parent, especially as the kids grow up and start making more decisions for themselves. Even though it’s something I do every day, it’s very scary to think about THEM exercising free will. That lack of control, and knowing who really is in control, has driven me to my knees and motivated me to be a praying parent instead of a perfect parent {love that line from Mark Batterson}.

The dare from this week had me thinking more about proactive praying – being on the offensive instead of trying to play clean-up.

Pray Love Dare Parents

Along with The Love Dare for Parents and Praying Circles around Your Children, I’ve also been reading Prayer Warrior Mom: Covering Your Kids with God’s Blessings and Protection by Marla Alupoaicei. This is like a triple whammy for a mom’s prayer life – in a great way.

Prayer Warrior Mom

Marla’s words are so encouraging and practical and spot on with where I want to be as a praying parent. While reading it, I have processed so much about why, how, and what I want to pray for the boys.

I also spent some time this week drawing some prayer circles with the boys’ names in the middle {idea from Praying Circles around Your Children} and started filling them with prayers and Scriptures specific to each boy. It feels so good to put all these things down on paper!

Prayer was the main theme of my week with the Love Dare, but there was one more quote that I feel EVERY. SINGLE. PARENT. needs to read.

Love Dare Parents Amen
Let me just say this: If you’re waiting to get your life perfect with God before you share Him with your kids, stop that now. You don’t need to have all the answers to let them in on God’s love. And you’re giving them the wrong idea about a relationship with God! Wherever you are with God, pray for His wisdom and words to fill you and start talking about Him to your kids! He will help you! He will guide you!

And now I’m stepping off my soapbox…

Just 12 days left in The Love Dare for Parents! Let’s finish strong!

What does being a praying parent look like for you? What are your favorite verses to pray for your children?

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A Morning Song for Moms {+ Love Dare Check-In!}

Morning Song for Moms

I’ve listened to the song many, many times. It is on my running playlist. The music has pushed to me to keep going on a run more than once, but it’s the lyrics that are pushing me forward this morning.

If I’m being completely honest, a new week almost always starts with a list of things I need and want to get done. Planning for the week often trumps praying for the week. And I can feel our week reflecting this in its focus on tasks and schedules over experiences and moments.

This song came on during a run and, after a stressful and self-centered week, I heard the words in a different way. I heard them as a mom who needed a different perspective going into a new week. I heard a prayer for a heart more like Christ’s – full of love and surrender to the will of God. I heard just the thing I knew I needed to start each week.

For King and Country’s The Middle of Your Heart was once a super motivating running song to me, but it is now my morning prayer and motivation as a mom. Take a moment to listen today and I think you’ll know why…

Each Monday {and every other day, too!}, I find myself needing to confess and surrender…

This is where I say I don’t need to have control…
I don’t know how to handle it…
You’re my only hope…
All that I have to offer is the white flag of surrender…

And I pray this to start anew again and again…

Take me to the middle of Your heart
Lead me to wherever Your love starts
To a new day dawning
To the place You are
And if You want to take me over the edge
I’ll let you cause Your love is where I’ll land
Wanna be right where You are,
In the middle of Your heart

My morning couldn’t begin a better way than with these words. It’s a recommitment to love the way He does, start fresh, and take those leaps of faith knowing He will always catch me, full of His never-ending grace.

Specifically, I pray these things over my relationship with my children. I know that my love has its limits, but His does not, and I want to love those boys with His love.

P.S. This song is a really great one to crank up in the car as well. Just so you know.

Boys Walking Thankful

Which leads me to our Love Dare for Parents check-in for the week…

Love Dare Day 8

I feel like this week gave me a LOT to think about, even more than things on which to act. A few questions I am still pondering from this week include:

  • What life skills and life lessons do I want the boys to learn from us?
  • What positive attributes do I see in my kids that I could affirm to them?
  • What changes do I need to make to discipline them with both nurture AND admonition?

Every day is like a baby step toward better parenting for me, and sometimes I wish I even had more than one day to work on a certain dare. If you feel like that as well, feel free to hit pause and spend more time on a lesson you need or want more time to process and act on!

Love Dare Day 9

I am on Day 15 today, but it’s more about continuing the challenge than moving from day to day on schedule. Take it at a speed that feels good to you, but don’t stop! Don’t let life pull you away from this journey!

Love Dare Day 11

What dares are you still processing? Which day this week stuck out in your mind as the most important for your family?

 

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The Love Dare for Parents: Week One

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Love Dare Week One

If I haven’t said it yet, the release of The Love Dare for Parents couldn’t have come at a better time for me as a parent. I was feeling irritated and worn out and all of those other things love just shouldn’t be.

Love Dare for Parents

The challenges from this first week of the book seemed pretty simple on paper, but they really rocked my thinking and my actions as a mom this week. I am really thankful for the journaling space in the book because I have needed to process and reflect at the end of each day.

A few thoughts that stuck with me from week one of The Love Dare for Parents

*Saying “I love you” happens often in our house, but this week I purposed to say it to them while looking in their eyes. Early on in our marriage, we noticed how “I love you” could get thrown away at the end of a sentence or conversation and we kept each other in check on that. I want to make sure our boys don’t “throw away” those important words either. I want them to MEAN it when they say it.

*Over and over, The Love Dare for Parents has been reminding me my children are a gift, a blessing, a treasure, a reward. After wanting to have kids my whole life, I was kind of surprised at how often I have thought of them as a burden or interruption in my day. God has been chipping away at this negative attitude lately and this book is one more step in the right direction. By the end of the week, I was enjoying my time with them so much more.

Love Dare Adventure

*Big J and I had a rough week, but in the middle of it all, he told me he wishes he could marry me. If that doesn’t just melt a mama’s heart, nothing will. I’ve tucked that precious memory away for the next rough patch we go through.

*My favorite piece of truth spoken in the book this week:

Children are also given to us to help us personally mature as parents. They teach us how to stop being so selfish and to give sacrificially. They pull us out of our comfort zones and stretch our abilities. They repeat our words and test our integrity. They expose our pride and deepen our humility. They help us learn to love more willingly.

Stop being so selfish, give more sacrificially, and love more willingly – that sums up what God has stirred in my heart this week!

I would love to hear how your first week was, whether you’ve done one dare or all seven! Tell us how it’s going in the comments and don’t forget to use the #lovedareparents hashtag on Twitter and Instagram during the week! And it’s not too late to join us! Get your book and get started and take it one day at a time!

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The Love Dare for Parents: Let’s Get It Started!

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Today is the day! It’s time to tackle The Love Dare for Parents summer challenge head on!

Love Dare for Parents Summer Challenge

I took some time over the weekend to read the author’s preface and introduction, and I’m already feeling inspired! A few things I took away from those two sections:

*Children are both our inheritance AND our legacy. They are a gift from the Lord and they are what we send into the future.

*The time we have with our children is fleeting. As the authors, Alex and Stephen Kendrick, say about the time we have with our children before they turn 18:

Moms and dads too often squander this priceless ocean of opportunities while chasing momentary pleasures and pennies in the sand.

There is an awesome, and at the same time terrifying, app called Legacy Countdown. When you enter your child’s graduation date, it lets you know how much more time you have before they leave home. Go ahead. Do it. And have a paper bag nearby for when you realize how short the time is and, in turn, hyperventilate.

*Love is a choice, and it must be made even when we don’t think we can choose it one more time. I’m pretty sure you and I will be greatly challenged by at least one of the love dares over the forty days. We’ll be tired and stressed or at the end of the ropes with one of the kids. And we’ll still be challenged to choose love.

This is a journey of exploring and demonstrating genuine love, even when your desire is dry and your motives are low.

*Don’t just learn it, do it. This is my favorite quote from the beginning and is something I need to apply in every area of my life:

The key is not what you learn but what you actually implement into your relationship with your children on a consistent basis. Truth transforms when it is correctly applied. Anytime you think, “I already know that,” you should follow it up with, “But do I do that?”

Let’s DO this thing, friends! Start with Day 1 today. Do one love dare each day. Don’t get discouraged if you miss a day or take more than one day to do a dare. Just do it and keep going and check back in right here next week!

If you don’t have your book yet, you can order it here and just start whenever you get it OR get the ebook and get started now!

One last thing: Will you join me in praying over this whole group of parents taking the challenge? This is no small thing we’re doing and we need prayers of strength and protection and grace to get us through! I’ll be praying for you every day!

Roll call! Leave a comment if you’re participating in The Love Dare for Parents challenge, tell us about your children, and if you have a blog where you’ll be posting about this, link to your blog as well!

 

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The Love Dare for Parents!

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Let’s see, I think it was about four years ago when I read The Love Dare and took on the 40-day challenge in the book. I did it on the down-low so The Hubby had no idea I was following any kind of plan. I’m sneaky like that. And the secret element was definitely part of the fun and challenge.

I loved the Love Dare challenges and many of them have stuck with me to this day. I actually didn’t see Fireproof, the movie that features The Love Dare, until well after I had completed the challenge, but it was really moving to see it played out in someone else’s marriage, even if it was just in a movie.

Love Dare for Parents

Because I enjoyed The Love Dare so much, I was thrilled to hear about the publication of The Love Dare for Parents, which releases today!

The Love Dare for Parents comes at a GREAT time for me, as I’m trying to discover how to love my children more like Jesus loves them – and me! My heart was immediately touch by one of the verses this book is based around…

He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents… ~Malachi 4:6

Tears came to my eyes as I read that verse because THIS is what I long for. We aren’t struggling from any family dysfunction or major tragedy or strife, but I have been praying for more family unity and this verse spoke right to my deep desire for our family.

Like the original Love Dare, The Love Dare for Parents involves a 40-day challenge for parents {can be done by one parent or both}. Each day includes:

  • a promising key verse from Scripture
  • a biblical principle about love that applies to parenting
  • a specific challenge the parent does for the sake of their child
  • space to journal thoughts and reflect on what happened that day

I really can’t wait to get started on this and see how Jesus transforms my heart for our children through these 40 days! And because I crave and thrive on accountability, I’m inviting you to join me in taking The Love Dare for Parents summer challenge!

Love Dare for Parents Summer Challenge

Want to join me? Here’s the plan:

1. We will kick off the challenge Monday, July 15th. That should give you plenty of time to order the book for yourself in print or ebook format!

2. Take the Love Dare Parenting Assessment for free online! It’s a great starting place for The Love Dare, helping  identify your strengths and weaknesses as a parent and providing verses to encourage you in each area. “Showing & modeling” and “teaching & leading” were strengths for me and I want to try to play those up even more. I was not surprised to find that I am in need of some work in the “patience & gentleness” area, so I will be paying closer attention to the challenges that focus on those virtues! The assessment also tells you which days will focus on each category!

3. Read each day, take the challenge, and write down your thoughts regarding the verse, the application, the challenge, whatever you want to document! If you buy the ebook version, just use a journal to track your way through the 40 days. I REALLY want to encourage you to right something down each day. You will love to go back and see the ways God has spoken to you and changed you!

4. I will put up a recap post for the past week each Monday! I would love for you to share your thoughts on the week in the comments! If you decide to blog about it, I will provide a link-up as well so we can all read your posts!

5. If you want to join me in tweeting about each day’s challenge, just use the hashtag #lovedareparents! And I’m @homewiththeboys over there if you’re looking for me!

Go grab your copy now and I’ll see you back here on Monday, July 15th to get this dare started!

Who’s taking this dare with me?!

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