Thankful Thursday... The Little Things



So glad you stopped by today! I'm the co-host for the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop with voiceBoks.

I'm learning to be thankful for the little things. For a cup of coffee beside me when I sit to write, for new opportunities for creativity, for a baby who is starting to feel better, for cooler weather, for the fair starting next weekend. :) What are you thankful for? Keep reading below, then link up with us...








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Grace for the Good Girl Winner Announced!



I am happy to announce that Melody from Life is a Bowl of Wedgies is our winner of a copy of Grace for the Good Girl. :) Melody, please make sure to email me at teamebert5@gmail.com with your mailing address. Congratulations!!! I know you will love this book!

Even if you didn't win, please make sure to get a copy of this great book. Life-changing. If you missed my review, here is a link to it: Grace for the Good Girl {Review & Giveaway}.
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Tune-In Tuesday: Always



Welcome to Tune-In Tuesday! If this is your first time visiting on a Tuesday, I hope you will find this as a place to worship together. Each week, I share about a song that God is using in my life. One that is speaking to me in whatever season I may be going through. The invitation is for you to jump in and do it, too! Here are the steps:

  1. Pick a song that is especially meaningful for you at this time in your life and write about it. Really think about the lyrics… and let them change you.
  2. Link up here using the linky tool at the bottom of this post. Use the name of your song as the title of your link. (If you haven’t done this before, feel free to email me with questions.) If you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment sharing your song. ***Please use the permalink to your post, not your blog's main site. Because of the specialized nature of this weekly series, any links that are not specifically for Tune-In Tuesday will be deleted.***
  3. Visit other people’s blogs and worship with them.
  4. Spread the word. Grab the button in the left column and add it to your post. That way, others can link up, as well. Tweet about it… Try to get others in on the conversation.
  5. And the main thing… worship! :) 
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My song today is Always by Kristian Stanfill. Notice a trend developing? :) He is quickly becoming one of my favorite Praise & Worship artists. Listen to the video and read below.


Short and sweet today. No matter what you're going through, no matter how you feel like the world is closing in on you... Lift your eyes up! Our help comes from the Lord! He will not delay! Our refuge and strength always! His promise is true! Our God will come through always!

Hope you have a great Tuesday. :)

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    Grace for the Good Girl {Review & Giveaway}



    Good girl? Really? I wouldn't have given myself that title... not since maybe when I was really young. I wanted to read Emily's book because she is my friend. I had no idea that I needed this book!

    As the pages started turning, I soon realized that these were MY feelings. MY thoughts. A core struggle that I have had since childhood. The difference is that my heart went way astray. A good girl who ended up going bad... sick and tired of always trying to live up to some standard. I have since given my heart and life back to Jesus, but I still have these people-pleasing tendencies.

     Grace for the Good Girl has 3 different sections:
    • The Hiding, where Emily basically tells us what struggles we face as a good girl;
    • The Finding, where she shows us how to breathe and overcome those struggles;
    • The Freedom of Being Found, which tells us the life we have to look forward to when we allow Jesus to take complete control.
    This book has brought me to laugh and to cry. I laughed a lot at myself, finally seeing in print the things that I have dealt with forever. I have cried over the pain caused to God, myself, and others because of my "good girl" ways that I never knew quite how to explain. Perfectionist, yes. But this surprised me.

    I believe that all women need to read this book. You may be like me... not realizing that you have good girl tendencies. There is something in this book for everyone. Emily has shared her heart in a most transparent manner, and she offers us very practical explanations and illustrations that help us in our walk as believers.

    The third section, The Freedom of Being Found, basically says we are safe when.... (you fill in the blank). Heartbreaking stories of hurt, failure, and fear, and the way women have responded, bring us to recognize where our true safety lies.

    I am so thankful to Emily for bearing her soul in this book. It has been (and will continue to be) a blessing to me... and I'm sure it will be a blessing to you. Here is a video of Emily talking about Grace for the Good Girl:


    Grace for the Good Girl is available NOW at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. I received a free copy in exchange for posting this review.
     
    So... on to the giveaway! :) I pre-ordered a copy before I found out that I would be included in the tour, so that means I have one ready to give away to one of you! Here's how you enter: Just tell me in a comment or an email why you want to read this book. Your good girl story. :)

    Entries will close Monday night (September 19th) at midnight. I will announce the winner here on Tuesday, September 20th. Good luck!

    ****And the winner is.... MELODY from Life is a Bowl of Wedgies. :) Congratulations!!
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    What Is Authenticity?



    Today, my friend Marni gave me the opportunity to guest post on her blog... about a subject that I am very passionate about. Read the intro here and then jump over to her blog for the rest. :)

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    Authenticity. A word that stirs in me a passion for this generation.
    As I'm writing this, our country is remembering that painful day 10 years ago in New York: September 11, 2011. The day the towers came down. On that day and in the days that followed, people of this country showed authenticity. They showed their true selves. They genuinely loved. They didn't care what others thought. No bravado. Just love.

    Continue reading here: Relevant Brokenness. Then leave a comment... on either blog. I'd love to hear your thoughts!


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    Welcome to Thankful Thursday!



    Glad you're here! I'm the co-host for the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop with voiceBoks.

    Today I am thankful for so many things. For Jesus, for my family, for good friends, for music, for church, for the giggles from the kids tonight, for blessings undeserved. What are you thankful for? Keep reading below, then link up with us...







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    Tune-In Tuesday: Jesus Paid It All



    Welcome to Tune-In Tuesday! If this is your first time visiting on a Tuesday, I hope you will find this as a place to worship together. Each week, I share about a song that God is using in my life. One that is speaking to me in whatever season I may be going through. The invitation is for you to jump in and do it, too! Here are the steps:

    1. Pick a song that is especially meaningful for you at this time in your life and write about it. Really think about the lyrics… and let them change you.
    2. Link up here using the linky tool at the bottom of this post. Use the name of your song as the title of your link. (If you haven’t done this before, feel free to email me with questions.) If you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment sharing your song. ***Please use the permalink to your post, not your blog's main site. Because of the specialized nature of this weekly series, any links that are not specifically for Tune-In Tuesday will be deleted.***
    3. Visit other people’s blogs and worship with them.
    4. Spread the word. Grab the button in the left column and add it to your post. That way, others can link up, as well. Tweet about it… Try to get others in on the conversation.
    5. And the main thing… worship! :) 

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    My song this week is Jesus Paid It All... the Kristian Stanfill version. Listen and read below. :)

    This is my favorite version of Jesus Paid It All, hands down. Of course, I'm a guitar girl... so I love the style. But the second half of the song is what really makes it stand out from the rest.

    At first, we sing 3 familiar verses and choruses of the much loved hymn... the words about Jesus taking care of our sin... about how we owe it all to Him... about how He alone can wash us and change us...

    Then, about 3 minutes in, it just breaks out into praise! We spend the rest of the song just singing "o praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the grave." Then it finishes with different names of Jesus.

    This song just leads me to get excited about what Jesus has done for us! I hope it blesses you today... As has happened a few times since I started hosting Tune-In Tuesdays, another song was planned, but this one caught me instead.

    This song would fit into my "Music That Moves Me" category. :) Missed that series? You can read the posts here: Music That Moves Me.

    What song is God using in your life right now?




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    Thankful Thursday Blog Hop





    Tune-In Tuesday: Fall Apart




    Welcome to Tune-In Tuesday! If this is your first time visiting on a Tuesday, I hope you will find this as a place to worship together. Each week, I share about a song that God is using in my life. One that is speaking to me in whatever season I may be going through. The invitation is for you to jump in and do it, too! Here are the steps:

    1. Pick a song that is especially meaningful for you at this time in your life and write about it. Really think about the lyrics… and let them change you.
    2. Link up here using the linky tool at the bottom of this post. Use the name of your song as the title of your link. (If you haven’t done this before, feel free to email me with questions.) If you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment sharing your song. ***Please use the permalink to your post, not your blog's main site. Because of the specialized nature of this weekly series, any links that are not specifically for Tune-In Tuesday will be deleted.***
    3. Visit other people’s blogs and worship with them.
    4. Spread the word. Grab the button in the left column and add it to your post. That way, others can link up, as well. Tweet about it… Try to get others in on the conversation.
    5. And the main thing… worship! :) 

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    My song for today is Fall Apart by Josh Wilson. LOVE this song. Press play below to listen and then read on for lyrics and some thoughts.

    Why in the world did I think I could
    Only get to know you when my life was good
    When everything just falls in place
    The easiest thing is to give You praise

    Now it all seems upside down

    ‘Cause my whole world is caving in
    But I feel You now more than I did then
    How can I come to the end of me
    And somehow still have all I need
    God, I want to know You more
    Maybe this is how it starts
    I find You when I fall apart

    Blessed are the ones who understand
    We’ve got nothing to bring but empty hands
    Nothing to hide and nothing to prove
    Our heartbreak brings us back to You

    And it all seems upside down

    ‘Cause my whole world is caving in
    But I feel You now more than I did then  
     

    How can I come to the end of me
    And somehow still have all I need
    God, I want to know You more
    Maybe this is how it starts
    I find You when I fall apart

    I don’t know how long this will last
    I’m praying for the pain to pass
    But maybe this is the best thing that
    Has ever happened to me

    My whole world is caving in
    But I feel You now more than I did then
    How can I come to the end of me
    And somehow still have all I need
    God, I want to know You more
    Maybe this is how it starts
    I find You when
    You will find me when I fall apart

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    Over the last several months, I have gone through a pretty significant spiritual battle. Significant life changes. Depression. Anger. Bitterness. Frustration. Hurt. Feelings of rejection in every area of my life. Heartbreaking feelings of being nudged out of some areas very dear to my heart that I was once involved in heavily. Selfishness.

    It could have been a simple fix, if I had just let go and trusted. But my heartbreak didn’t bring me back to Him. Instead of drawing closer to Jesus and to those who love me, I withdrew. Went into hiding for a while. So He held me down a little longer.

    Most of you probably had no idea. Most of you saw my Sunday face.

    Thankfully, I can tell you that I’m starting to come out of it. I’m actually seeing the reasoning behind it all. Sometimes God has to strip us of all of the things that cause pride and ego in our lives. Often, that is the only way to get our complete attention.

    And sometimes it takes breaking our hearts. But after the breaking, He is also there… just waiting for us to hand over the pieces to Him.

    This song speaks to me so much. We can’t just praise Him in the good times. We have to praise Him and cling to Him in the hard times, too. And maybe, just maybe, we will find the breaking to be the "best thing that's ever happened to us."

    I’m so grateful that He will find me when I fall apart.

    If you haven't read about my beach worship moment with my son, I hope you will read it here: A Beach Baby's Worship. Moments like this have helped my healing.


    A Beach Baby's Worship




    He is definitely a beach baby. Can’t help it. He gets it honest.

    Tonight we went out onto the beach, he and I, just as the thick pink line around the horizon was beginning to shrink. It was the perfect time of day.

    Fascinated by the ocean, much like I am, he didn’t blink as I held him on my hip and walked the short trip down the sand. He was mesmerized by the sight and sound of the waves. With excited squeals escaping his lips and legs kicking full force, he itched for that feeling on his toes from a few days ago. Finally those toes touched the water and he was able to just enjoy it for a while.

    After a good showering of splashed water on both of us, we walked up to a dry spot of sand and I set him down in front of me, my legs encircling his. At first, he just looked at the sand in front of him. Then his feet started kicking. And they didn’t stop.

    His rhythmic kicking started forming a cute little heart shape right there in front of us.

    As he continued to kick his energy out, I sang I Love You Lord. Reminisced about a campfire 20 years ago when I first learned that song. It is now a theme song of my life… one that I sing in my head when bad thoughts come in.

    I love you, Lord, and I lift my voice. To worship you. Oh my soul. Rejoice. Take joy my King in what you hear. May it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear…

    May it be a sweet, sweet sight to your eyes…

    May it be a sweet, sweet smell to your nose…

    May my life be such that everything I think, say, and do looks like worship to you.

    In the midst of my own worship moment, I looked down at Little Man and realized that he was worshiping too. Kicking those little feet against the sand was his way of saying thank you to God. I love your sand, God. I love your ocean, God. I love sitting here with my mommy, God. Thank you.

    Worship is such a simple act. It’s not about what manner we choose to do it. It’s not about the songs we sing. Worship is our way of telling God thank you. Of showing him that we love him with all that is within us.

    I’m pretty sure Little Man’s kicking was a sweet, sweet sight to His eyes.

    So when the pink horizon shrank enough that it was just a spot disappearing behind the buildings, we got up and walked back to the condo. Leaving behind a cute little heart made by Little Man’s feet. Beach Baby’s worship offering to his King.

    Thank you God for letting me see worship tonight through the eyes {and feet} of my baby boy.


    Tune-In Tuesday: A Mighty Fortress



    Welcome to Tune-In Tuesday! If this is your first time visiting on a Tuesday, I hope you will find this as a place to worship together. Each week, I share about a song that God is using in my life. One that is speaking to me in whatever season I may be going through. The invitation is for you to jump in and do it, too! Here are the steps:
    1. Pick a song that is especially meaningful for you at this time in your life and write about it. Really think about the lyrics… and let them change you.
    2. Link up here using the linky tool at the bottom of this post. Use the name of your song as the title of your link. (If you haven’t done this before, feel free to email me with questions.) If you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment sharing your song. ***Please use the permalink to your post, not your blog's main site. Because of the specialized nature of this weekly series, any links that are not specifically for Tune-In Tuesday will be deleted.***
    3. Visit other people’s blogs and worship with them.
    4. Spread the word. Grab the button in the left column and add it to your post. That way, others can link up, as well. Tweet about it… Try to get others in on the conversation.
    5. And the main thing… worship! :)
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    My song this week is A Mighty Fortress by Christy Nockels. Listen below as you read.
     
     
    Today I am thankful that He is...
    • a consuming fire, a burning holy flame with glory and freedom
    • the only righteous judge, ruling over us with kindness and wisdom
    • jealous for His own
    • exalted on His throne high above the heavens
    • forever worthy
    I'm also thankful that...
    • a mighty fortress is our God
    • a sacred refuge is His name
    • His kingdom is unshakable
    • with Him forever we will reign
    And I will keep my eyes on Him... so I can set my heart on Him.






    Taking In All The Moments




    Wow, there are some good waves today.

    At first, I was frustrated about staying in the condo because little man needed a nap. But as I sit here on the balcony watching my family play in the ocean, I have nothing to complain about. Typing away and relaxing with my coffee beside me. Finally some me time.

    We have such a special family. See all those people in the picture? That’s them. Right now, the adults are standing around talking at the water’s edge while the kiddos are playing in the shallow surf. Jeffrey is testing a boogie board made for little people, while Katherine is carrying a bucket that is almost as big as she is. Yesterday, we watched baby Josh feel the waves hit his toes for the first time.

    I. Am. Blessed.

    I’m trying to take in every breath. To enjoy every moment I’m given while we are here this week. Vacation goes so fast. Just like life.

    What moments have you been missing out on lately? Stop today and just try to take in every moment. They go away too quickly.


    A Simple Twinge {Thankful Thursday}



    It was strange. A feeling I didn’t expect. I had just dropped off both kids at school for the first time this year and I felt sad.

    This summer was tough. There were times that I wasn’t sure I would make it through. Times when I questioned my ability to be a mother to 3 young children. August couldn’t come soon enough.

    I was sure that relief would come over me after I dropped two of the kids off. After all, it was a particularly difficult morning. But inside of me, something else took over. A simple twinge of sadness that said a piece of me was missing. Two of my babies were now inside that big building for the day… for the week… for the school year… for a long time.

    I’m glad this emotion took over. Thank You, God, for showing me that I do love my job as Mommy. Thank You for reminding me that my family is my greatest ministry. Thank You for not allowing me to feel relief as silence took over my car.

    For this simple twinge of sadness that You gave me, I am grateful.

    What are you thankful for today? Link up with us and share.

    Thankful Thursday Blog Hop



    Welcome to a new weekly event at Grow Where You're Planted! I am excited and honored to be co-hosting a blog hop with voiceBoks! The subject matter of this hop is especially close to my heart, as it is all about being thankful. To link up here, write about what you are thankful for in our lives. Grab the button, read the post below, then link up with us!








    Tune-In Tuesday: Captivate Us



    Welcome to Tune-In Tuesday! If this is your first time visiting on a Tuesday, I hope you will find this as a place to worship together. Here is what we do:

    Each week, I share about a song that God is using in my life. One that is speaking to me in whatever season I may be going through. The invitation is for you to jump in and do it, too! Here are the steps:

    1.      Pick a song that is especially meaningful for you at this time in your life and write about it. Really think about the lyrics… and let them change you.
    2.      Link up here using the linky tool at the bottom of this post. Use the name of your song as the title of your link. (If you haven’t done this before, feel free to email me with questions.) If you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment sharing your song. ***Please use the permalink to your post, not your blog's main site. Because of the specialized nature of this weekly series, any links that are not specifically for Tune-In Tuesday will be deleted.***
    3.      Visit other people’s blogs and worship with them.
    4.      Spread the word. Grab the button in the left column and add it to your post. That way, others can link up, as well. Tweet about it… Try to get others in on the conversation.
    5.      And the main thing… worship! :) 

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    My song this week is Captivate Us by Watermark. You can listen below and then read on...

    I’ve been way too distracted lately. Do you relate with Peter? I do. And every time I "look down at the waves" (or at least when I realize that's what I've been doing), I think of him. My heart’s desire is to be so captivated by Jesus that nothing can pull me away from the path God has for me. 

    This song is written straight to His heart. Here are some of the words in the chorus that speak to my heart the most:

    Devastate us with Your presence falling down
    And rushing river, draw us nearer
    Holy fountain consume us with You

    Captivate us Lord Jesus, with You

    But this is my favorite section of the song:

    Let everything be lost in the shadows
    Of the light of Your face
    Let every chain be broken from me
    As I'm bound in Your grace
    For Your yoke is easy, Your burden is light
    You're full of wisdom, power and might

    My prayer is that you and I will allow the chains to fall off. That we will be bound only in His grace. And that we will allow Him to consume us... captivate us... draw us.  Not as a temporary fix, but as a permanent life walk.



     

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    The Pride Fight {Potty Training 101}



    Her face said it all. The corners of her little mouth turned down… her lower lip poking out a little further than the upper. Red blotches covering her cheeks and forehead. Tears streaming, as her eyebrows angrily formed a V above her nose. Mommy was finally putting her foot down. No more pull-ups.

    For months, we have struggled with the potty. Good days and bad days. The bad days dominated by stubbornness and a need to be in control. Hmmm… Katherine is definitely my daughter. She has moments where she fights me with every bit of physical and emotional strength she’s got.

    But I love her. With every bit of strength I’ve got.

    I guess God often sees me as I described Katherine in the first paragraph. Still fighting  to get my way. Still holding onto my pride. My need for control. My need to have it “my way.” Becoming weaker by the minute.

    The pride fight is especially tough for me. Sometimes I think I struggle more than others. Remember The Truman Show? Somewhere in the deepest part of my soul, in the parts of me that I don’t like to examine or talk about, I feel like I am supposed to be Truman. The world is supposed to revolve around me. But that is not who I really want to be. It’s just my selfish human nature. 

    My pride gets in the way of so many blessings that God has prepared for me. Somehow I get mixed up, believing that the things I WANT are the blessings God SHOULD want for me. And holding on to those wants is exactly what prevents me from receiving God’s true blessings. I can only find out what He really wants for me when I give it all over.

    Sure I have (a lot of) moments where, like Katherine, I fight Him with every bit of physical and emotional strength I’ve got. And in the same way that I love Katherine with everything I’ve got, I’m thankful that…

    He loves me. With every bit of strength He’s got.


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