Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Book Review: Glimpses of Grace

The Book: Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman

Crossway, $14.99(June 2013)

Finding God in the mundane everyday of homemaking fascinates me. Some days it seems ridiculously easy to see Him working in my day and to feel His calm extend over me like a blanket when I'm hurrying through a round of cleaning house, getting my grandma to the doctor and back again before my student arrives for tutoring.

And then there are the other days. I think every homemaker knows these.  Days where it seems like the laundry will never end or everything you put on the stove for dinner manages to burn or devolve into an unappetizing mass.  Days where we get so hung up on feeling neglected that we forget we have an important Kingdom mission.  This book is sweet but firm encouragement for those days.

There were two things that I really loved about this book.  First of all, the author starts off by reminding all of us of the truth of the gospel.  She tells readers that, "Theology is for homemakers who need to know who God is, who they are, and what this mundane life is all about." As a longtime believer, it can be easy to lose sight of the wonder and weight of the gospel message because it's been woven into life for us so long that we let it become commonplace. Furman does a wonderful job of reminding us of the earthshaking wonder of what what God has done.

Furman also has poured so much of herself into this book - and in relatable ways. She speaks very candidly about the struggles her family has faced due to the chronic health struggles of a family member. She also shares the ups and downs of days where the frustrations of daily home life can bring discontentment. After all, we may know the truth of God's Word, but when your home is overrun with contractors, you haven't had plumbing in 2 days and someone's getting sick on the carpet, it can be really hard to feel like a child of God with a purpose.

In the end, while I did find the book to be a bit repetitive in places, I very much enjoyed what I read. Furman does a wonderful job of reminding homemakers of those things we have been taught but can easily lose sight of behind one load of laundry too many. I love being a homemaker but even when you know you're living out your calling, there are times when it helps to have some godly encouragement. Glimpses of Grace is exactly that.

Note: I was provided a free copy of this book by Crossway Books in return for an honest review. Thank you!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Trying Something New - Midweek Links

I was taught to cook by my mother and grandmothers, so much of my repertoire involves traditional mountain Virginia cooking, enlivened with yummy finds from my cookbook collection.  It's wonderful stuff, but maybe not 100% healthful.

For a variety of reasons, my husband and I are trying to eat healthier these days.  I had heard about Trim Healthy Mama in the Above Rubies magazine, which I've subscribed to for years and after the book came out I started seeing it on several websites I frequent.  I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to jump on a trendy diet bandwagon, so I hung back for a bit, researching and praying.  However, this plan seems to allow for good health and good eating and it doesn't seem too extreme.  We decided to give it a try.

I like that THM encourages alternation between low-carb(S) and low-fat(E) meals.  The secret seems to be not mixing the carbs and fats.  There are a few other pointers, too (getting rid of refined grains like white bread, white rice, etc...) but that's the main concept.

I have researched some of the information sites online, but to get the full flavor of the plan, so to speak, one really does need to get the book.  Mine came yesterday and I've read most of it already.  You'll probably be hearing more about my adventures in THM eating over the next few weeks as I chronicle some of my experiments in trying to make favorite foods THM-friendly. You may also notice that, for health reasons, I may use a few more S-helpers rather than staying purely S and E.  Since I also have a peanut allergy, I will also be sharing my adventures in food substitution as I adapt the plan to make it work for us.  Stay tuned!

If you're interested in the book, here is where you can both order and find more information.

If you want some background information and help getting started, there are fabulous resources to be found in the Trim Healthy Mama Facebook Group.  I joined before I even got my book, and it's been very helpful!

As it is with so many things, Pinterest is a wealth of information and ideas on THM.

Sifting through all the information in this huge (600+ pages!) book is a challenge, so I'm being inspired by the 30-day THM Challenge going on over at Little Natural Cottage.   I like hanging around her corner of the internet and learning new, crunchy things anyway so this gives me another excuse.

So, what about you?  Have you tried THM?  Can you tell me what you think?  Or if you haven't, have you been curious about it?

Friday, July 5, 2013

O Beautiful....

Given that yesterday was the 4th of July, it's probably no accident that upon seeing the word "beautiful" as my writing prompt, music filled my mind.  Whenever I hear "America the Beautiful", I immediately think - "Shenandoah Valley."  I grew up in that part of the world and so when I see a hymn praising spacious skies, grain fields and "purple mountain majesties," I do not have to strain to come up with mental images.

I took all this for granted for so many years and it was only after I was grown that I realized what an incredible gift it was to grow up surrounded by such beauty. I've travelled quite a bit since then and I live in a more densely populated city now, and all of those places have their beauty, too. God has made a varied and beautiful world, and it seems as if every day yields a new discovery if I only keep my eyes open.  But my first impression of beauty will still always be that Blue Ridge.

Today is Friday, so I'm joining in my favorite writing exercise over at Five Minute Fridays.  If you like to write, come and join in !

<a href="http://lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday/" title="Five Minute Friday"><img src="http://lisajobaker.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/5minutefriday.jpg" alt="Five Minute Friday" title="Five Minute Friday" style="border:none;" /></a>

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Praying for Our Nation

The news these past few weeks (or even these past few years) has been discouraging. The United States Supreme Court upholds gay marriage, an idea contrary not only to God's teachings but also to over 2000 years of law and tradition. Abortion activists actually chant, "Hail Satan!" in the midst of a legislative debate. Our government has found itself mired in so many scandals that we scarcely know which of our leaders to trust anymore. The current immigration debate shows that the idea of simply enforcing the laws of the nation is not taken as a given any long.  And in the recent Romeike family case, a homeschooling family facing persecution in their home country wins their asylum petition only to have a government hostile to religion challenge it at every turn - and that government happens to be our own.

I love my country. I love its history, its traditions and its people. However, we are now reduced to a land where the government cannot balance a budget, the liberty of our people is being compromised, and those charged with leading the country are mired in so many scandals that it is difficult to know who to trust. It breaks my heart.

From listening to people around me and reading in the internet, I know that there are those who are growing bitter and disillusioned. However, as a believer, I do not think that this is how we are called to act. I feel very strongly that we must take the United States and its leaders to God in prayer. We need to pray for healing and revival, for our leaders to have faith, wisdom and humility, for the culture of this country to turn back toward Christian roots, and for so much more.  Will you join me this 4th of July in praying for the country?

"[I]f my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
 - 2 Chronicles 7:14

Linking up at The Focused Homemaker