Peter 21 Months

Yea, I’m bad…totally late on this one. I’ve back-dated it, so at least when I go to find it, it’s not completely missing.

  • Fighting the naps
  • The bottom two canines are finally through…let me tell you…the teething has been hellacious with this boy…poor kid.
  • Lots more words…light, blankie, dog, boy, and trying to say the kids’ names
  • Hopping on two feet
  • Managing the stairs better, particularly going down
  • He’s becoming a little bit of a grump butt…not going to lie. I think it’s mostly because of his teeth, but MAN! He’s full of demands and temper tantrums
  • Loves ram-rodding around with the big kids (they love when he’s outside with them).
  • He is a DADDY’S BOY…no doubt about this. If Matthew’s home, he refuses to be with mommy.

31 Verses to Write on Your Heart {a Review}

31 Verse to Write on Your Heart

How often have you said that you really need to start memorizing scripture, because you know that your heart needs the truth burned into it? I have, a lot. I have a few verses that I have memorized, but I’m by no means vast in my knowledge. I can barely remember which books go where in the bible. It’s horrible.31 Verse to Write on Your Heart

The problem for me is that I have no idea where even to begin or with what, so I get easily overwhelmed and do nothing….always the worst choice possible. When I was perusing the books available for review from WaterBrook Multnomah I stumbled upon Liz Curtis Higgs new book “31 verses to Write on Your Heart” and figure, that might just be a great place to start!

There are 31 chapters in the book, each with a verse to memorize and a helpful tip on how to make memorization a bit easier. She goes on to dissect each verse, clarifying its meaning and giving you little tid-bits about it. The best part is that each of these chapters will literally take you just a few minutes to go through, but obviously memorizing it will take a bit longer.

This is such a great place to start at memorizing more scripture, and isn’t starting half the battle.

* I received this book for free through WaterBrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program. My opinions are my own. You can read my disclosure policy here.

A Lenten Dare: Finding God’s Gifts in the Everyday

A Lenten Dare Finding God's Gifts in the Everyday

We’re so often concerned with the self denial aspect of Lent, that we completely forget about what the purpose of that self denial is: To draw us closer to God. What if there was a way to draw us closer to God, without our feeling resentful that we’re missing out on caffeine and chocolate? There is.

Intentionally seeking and finding God’s gifts in the everyday.

A Lenten Dare Finding God's Gifts in the EverydaySix years ago, I read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousands Gifts. During the reading of it I had decided to take up Ann’s challenge of counting the gifts that I received from my heavenly father. The timing perfectly coinciding with the beginning of Lent. What if, rather than giving something up for Lent, I took something on. Did something that ACTUALLY drew me closer to God, rather than filled me with resentment.

Every day I challenged myself to find 25 things that were gifts from God. Sometimes they were big huge things. Sometimes they were just little mundane things (more me grasping for filling 25 spaces). All were gifts. At the end of Lent I had a list of 1000 gifts.

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves
and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Luke 9:23

We focus so hard on the denying ourselves part that we completely ignore the later: FOLLOW ME.

All the self denial in the world amounts to nothing, if we don’t follow Him.

That dare took me on a journey: A journey of seeking and seeing God and His gifts to me, in the everyday. I got more out of Lent that year than I ever did before. In the taking of time was the giving from God, showing me just how abundantly He has blessed me.

There were days when it was easy to think of 25 gifts (both good and bad days). There were days when I struggled to think of 5 gifts, praying for God to open my eyes to what I knew was staring me in the face. On those days He knew I was desperate for His presence. That I needed to see His gifts and feel His love; and He was faithful, always revealing His heart for me. I truly believe that if you open your eyes to His gifts you will see them. They are all there, just waiting: Seek and ye shall find!

Our brains have an incredible way of rewiring themselves. The more we seek, the more we will find. We can move from being people who “know” that we are blessed, to people who know just HOW we are blessed. How much greater can our faith be in a loving and caring God, when we are wholly aware of His presence in our lives?! When we’ve trained our minds to seek His gifts not just when everything is “coming up roses”, but also when things aren’t going according to our plan?

This dare is not meant to create a list of favorites or special moments. But to be a conscious recognition of all the ways in which God bestows His gifts during and through ALL circumstances: Reminding us of His constant goodness, grace, and generosity. It’s meant to really make us think, to make us aware of the world around us, to make us aware of God’s His presence and His love.

This Lent I dare you.

Can you find 25 gifts each day of Lent? Or even just 5? Ask the Lord to open your eyes and heart to His goodness. You can following along on Instagram with me as I share my discoveries this Lent (@JessicaM.White)

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh
down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
James 1:17

Hope for Each Day {a Review}

My kids are in the great in between now…they’re not preschoolers there not tweens. There kind of in the middle, which means that a lot of things are either too mature or too babyish for them. We’ve very much loved our beginner’s devotionals, but the story lines are for preschoolers.IMG_5870

When I was looking at the books I could review from BookLookBloggers.com I saw that there was a new one from Billy Graham, called Hope for Each Day: 365 Devotions for Kids. It piqued my interest. It came a few days later in the mail and we all ripped it open, ready to evaluate whether this was worth it’s weight.

It’s great! We read the entry for today (February 25) and it right away grabbed Avelyn. It talked about how glass is made, transforming something something gritty (sand) into something beautiful, and how God can transform us. We skimmed through a few more and we all agreed, this was going to be a good read. It was immediately placed in the seat of honor, the window by the kitchen table.

While there aren’t any pictures to engage the youngest readers, the text and verses are more than interesting to older kids who can handle 3 minutes of a devotional without a picture. All in all, it looks like it’s going to be a great little addition to our Bible time!

*I received this book for free through the BookLookBloggers program; the opinions expressed are entirely my own. You can read my disclosure policy here. This post does contain affiliate links, which means I get a small percentage of the sale, at no additional cost to you.

How I Afford My Very Expensive Habit

How I afford my very expensive book habit without spending a penny

I have to confess something: I have a potentially VERY expensive habit. I’ve tried to kick it, I’ve tried just being OK with it, but it’s not going anywhere. Now, I just need to deal with it, because nothing seems to be able to put this thing behind me. I love…LOVE….LOVE books. I can’t NOT read them or buy them. The newest Christian non-fiction? Gotta have it. That highly recommended children’s book? It’s in my amazon cart before we finish talking. That book from the library that I really liked? Bought it already. It’s bad.

How I afford my very expensive book habit without spending a penny

I’m scared to figure out just how much I actually spend a year on books (outside of school books) because, quite frankly, the number would probably kill my husband. Fortunately, I haven’t figured out how to itemize my Amazon order history to do this.

But there is HOPE!

This is how I afford my very expensive book habit.

I’ve come up with somewhat of a solution that seems to be helping, at least a bit. Here it is: DON’T PAY FOR THEM! That’s it, very simple. Now, before you freak out that I’m suggesting that you steal books (whether it’s socially acceptable or not, I can assure you it is still illegal). There are several ways to get your books for free; these are the two methods I use.

Method 1: Review Them

This method used to be available only to bloggers, but in recent years, since social media has overwhelmed the blog and e-readers have become so popular, many publishers and authors have opened their reviews to anyone. Some do require that you have a certain sized following or a website on which to post your reviews, some don’t. I’ve had a lot of luck with getting really fantastic books simply by reading and writing a review.

I’ve worked with the following:

 

Method 2: Buy Them

I know I said that I’ve managed to not have to pay for most of my books. This is true. But there are ways to buy books, without having to foot the bill yourself.

Introducing….cash back bonuses!

Chances are your credit card has a cash back bonus option. Find out and use what you earn for book purchases. I have an Amazon Prime visa, which means I get 5% cash back on every purchase I make on Amazon, and 1-3% on purchases made elsewhere. Being that I rely pretty heavily on Amazon and my Subscribe and Save (we do live almost an hour away from any chain stores), that’s a hefty chunk of change every month. Sometimes I do have to force my self to wait a month or two to make a purchase, but that’s really OK.

Look into Click-Thru Cash Back Websites.How I afford my very expensive book habit

I’ve had a ton of luck with click thru websites! There are several out there, but the ones I’ve had the most luck with are the following (these are my referral links):

  • Ebates.com – I’ve earned $344.77 since I’ve had an account with them a couple of years ago (I use this for almost ALL of my online purchases)
  • Ibotta (smartphone App) – $31.65 since November 2016 (I use this for any of my purchases on iTunes and more specifically for grocery shopping)
  • SwagBucks – Another really well known one…I haven’t focused too much energy on them though
  • TopCashback – Just found out about them, but all the reviews say they’re fantastic, better than Ebates

My recommendation on this method is pick one that works great for you and stick with it. Yes, you could go through all of them, but you’re more likely to forget to use your links and it will take you longer to save up your earnings. However, I do recommend that you cross reference who is giving the most cashback on certain websites, especially when you’re making a big purchase (when I wrote this up I checked Lands’ End…ebates was 2%, TopCashback was 4%; Lowes was 2.5% on Ebates, 5% on TopCashBack – so definitely do your research).

One of the best things about any of the click thru websites is that they very often they will give you cashback for any friends you refer that sign on….which can add up quickly. Another fantastic thing is that just because you’re going to a brick and mortar store don’t assume that you can’t get a cashback. Most major chains offer in-store pick up. Use a click thru website to place your order, get the cashback and very often the websites offer their own coupon or discount codes.

Where To Start

I know this is a lot of information and a lot of methods to sift through, but start somewhere. I recommend signing up for an account with Ebates.com or TopCashback for your online purchases, and start following your favorite authors on social media. Before too long you should start seeing the results of a little bit of effort.

Don’t limit yourself to books with this either! Think of all the things you could be putting extra money toward, without spending a penny more than you are already:

  • Vacations
  • Clothes
  • Christmas and Birthday Gifts
  • Groceries
  • Memberships (gym, book, website, etc)
  • Fabric
  • Coffee
  • Ministries, Charities, and Missions
  • THE SKY IS THE LIMIT! Use your imagination.