Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Book Review Part 2: Unseen the Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to be Noticed by Sara Hagerty

I read a lot.  Reading is self care, and in my world, as a wife, Mom, servant of Christ, and educator, I need self care, more like a life line! It's a part of who I am, but as believers and followers of Christ, it's what we are called to do.  How can we know and love God intimately if we don't spend time with Him?  How can we hear Him in those nano second decisions if we aren't in communication with Him?  We can't.  Books come and go, and in this day and age, many books I let the library buy so I can read and share easily, and because I know I won't likely re-read it or consult the book again.  But this book, is so unique and motivating, I've purchased copies for friends who I think will value and find this message timely.  And my amazing library ordered me the audio-book, so that I can listen to it and have it come alive all over again.  

My life has changed drastically in the past year, I've gone from half time educator trainer to stay at home Mom, and that impacted my identity.  And I've learned that I'm okay, but not seeing people (especially more than family) on a day to day basis, has been a big change.  But as this book shares, the hidden, unseen aspects of our lives, are often where real life happens.  And I'm so blessed to have time to spend sitting at the feet of Jesus, talking with God the Father, getting more acquainted with Who He is, and learning to look to Him in all things both wonderful and broken, as I know the Lord will Provide.  

This book helped me find words for this journey and change, and inspired me with ways to include my children.  I love the perspective of thinking, What does God think about ____? What does God think about me with_____? and realizing the answers are clear- He loves me, He's here with me, He's providing for me, He's blessed by me, and I am His and for His glory.  And that's a better perspective than any other, and learning to live in light of this truth is a great focus.  

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Book Review: Unseen The Gift of Being Hidden in a World that Loves to Be Noticed

This book is a gift and treasure.

It inspired me to live a life that is deeper in relationship with God. It's practical, engaging, full of scripture, and yet a book that draws you to stop, think, digest, and process the ideas given. I will re-read this book to soak in the ideas and even to remember how Sara Hagerty shares her poetic words of how she adores God til she knows it's true in her life!  And Sara Hagerty is a Mom to six beautiful children, and she shares how she communicates these concepts with her children and prays that they will be rooted and grounded in the Word.  She's a natural whisperer of the Word to children and adults.

If you pre-order, there are beautiful freebies!

Sara Hagerty shares her personal stories and connects the story of Mary's extravagant love poured out vulnerably at Jesus feet, to a lifestyle of seeking Him in all seasons, but especially in the hidden aspects of life.

Authors often become kindred spirits or mentors to the reader, and Sara Hagerty, is that for me. I adored her first book, Every Bitter Thing is Sweet when I discovered it several years ago, I love how she ends each chapter with scriptures for further review. And I'm half way through writing out the scriptures from Unseen in my journal, and processing small steps to see God more intimately and to fall in love more deeply with Him.

I can't wait for the Bible Study to be released that goes along side this book, and it will be free on the website I'm going to need a whole series on my blog to share all the aspects of the book with the world, as it's a gem with so much richness, I'm inspired, encouraged, and learning how to have a fuller, hidden life with God, where I use the white space in my life to seek Him.

I'm blessed to be on the launch team for this book, inspired by the emphasis on praying for the book release, and the readers whose hands it will be placed in, that they would find God and fall more in love with Him this fall (or in the future). I certainly have, and I've pre-ordered several copies as gifts for several friends who will find inspiration.

I'll end with a list of a few things I believe are possible for the readers of this book:
*re-frame your life in God and before others by asking questions like: What does God think of this? and What does God think of me?
*see a fresh revelation of the story of Mary at Bethany sitting at Jesus feet.
*create a wonder hour to look at God more purposefully.
*find your own rhythm to adore and pray more intimately with God (and it's done without guilt!)
*love the Word of God more.
*look at Who God is.
*recognize how to practice God's love.
*lean in to Him.
*recognize you are seen by God alone (Psalm 139- woven together intimately).
*develop deeper intimacy with God.
*find that you can embrace living a life hidden before God, out of the limelight, but ever present to Him.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Kregel Book Review: A Pair of Miracles: A Story of Austim, Faith, Determined Parenting by Karla Akins

A Pair of Miracles

Thanks Kregel for the opportunity to review another book.  As a trained elementary teacher with a heart for special needs kids. This book interested me immensely.  I'm also a twin, so I love to learn about other twins.

This book is written by an adoptive mother and pastor's wife, and she is a follower of Christ who knows that God will bless her and her family and will faithfully provide the help needed.
This book covers a few different dimensions:
1) It defines autism, shares strategies for navigating school, medical, and other services.
2) It shares personal challenges, struggles, prayers, stories, and successes.
3) It's a spiritual tool kit (as the back cover states.) This, to me, was the most impressive aspect.  The first chapters are about self care- recognizing the grief and God's goodness in all things.  The author successfully shares how her faith impacted her parenting, how God provided for their needs, and she shares scriptures and thoughts that are encouraging and help ground other people (parents, teachers, helpers,...) who work with kids who are challenged.
4) It offers practical tips that would apply to any parent of a special needs child.  She uses section headers within chapters, bulleted lists, and italics very well to make it simple to read, easy to find what you need, in a short amount of time.  But her tips are quality, and very valid, and helpful.  Especially for an overwhelmed parent new to this frontier and feeling lost or hopeless.  Many tips might seem obvious to some, but when you are in the role of parent/guardian/protector for a child who cannot communicate easily or at all, it's easy to forget where to start.  (i.e. showering is part of her school routine, as it's not natural or easy for her boys.).
5) Appendixes- these are very helpful, all in one place, and essential for newbies to autism.  Occupational Therapy (including tantrum or meltdown chart), Reinforcers/Rewards for school/home, Fidget toys, Functional Skills Checklist, Further Resources (books and websites).  These are AWESOME and tried and true.

This book is easy to read and follow, but is a wealth of knowledge and encouragement. It's so easy to find technical books that can loose a parent, and it's getting easier to find spiritual support as a parent of special needs, but to find one that includes both is a rare jewel.

I knew about autism, I've sat at IEP meetings as a parent and as a teacher, I've taught new teachers how to manage behavior in a classroom.   This book does it's job well, and was a great review for me to skim parts, and really read parts.  But as a parent of a child with different special needs, I found the spiritual principles integrated in her advice-  were spot on... represent your child with humble boldness, know you aren't alone, Jesus is there providing an advocate.  I also liked her explanations of how to be an 'intense' parent who has high standards for those who interact with her children, but how to identify the right type of people to add to the support team.  

It's my joy to read. It's my pleasure to review books.  It's a blessing when I enjoy them and find them easy to recommend, but I'm allowed to share my thoughts honestly.  Thank you Kregel for an excellent resource I can eagerly recommend to those who need it.