My Weird, Wonderful Makeover

My Weird, Wonderful Makeover

She seems pretty convinced. I look at my new friend as we sit together, sharing dinner, and talking about our lives. “So, my book is about how your annoying little quirks are really your greatest assests,” she says, confidently.

But, I’m not convinced. “Like how?” I ask, skeptically. She comes back with: “What’s one of your quirks?” We banter back and forth, and she readily turns my weirdness into a gift, a solid asset.

Next thing I know she’s showing me a photo of the cover proof, and it’s amazing — this cool vintage-y blue-green with a bunch of white eggs and then the funky little speckled egg. (Yep, it’s the same cover you see here.)

Laurie and I continue chatting over dinner, dishing on our dreams, our challenges, our families, and more at the Christian women’s conference we’re both attending. She has this 110-watt smile and just exudes positivity, even when talking about the tough stuff in her life, and how she fits writing into the margins of her somewhat complicated family life and her growing life-coaching practice.

It’s been over seven months since Laurie and I exchanged hugs, and now I’m holding her first book in my hands, and wondering how it’s going to change me — or perhaps, more importantly, how it’s going to change how I view me. Laurie agreed to give me a mini-coaching session and turn some more of my weird into wonderful. I really enjoyed seeing how she encouraged me to dig deeper into my quirks and find out how they could be positives, once I learned to reign in their “dark side.”

Elizabeth: One of my quirks is that I’m indecisive — I can see the merits in many different points of view/choices, but often can’t make and stick to a decision. It can be very frustrating.

I’m also a bit “ADD” — I have too many interests/hobbies/activities. For example, here are a few hobbies/activities of mine: writing, reading, running (I’m currently training for a half-marathon), cooking (I host a local foods delivery service on my front porch). I also love to do things like culture homemade buttermilk, make homemade pasta, or other such craziness. And, I scrapbook, sew, do photography, make jewelry, and make all my own homemade cleaners with essential oils. (Of course, not all at the same time!)

Laurie: When has that indecisiveness been a good trait? What benefits does it bring to being on a team, in ministry. . . or in family?

Elizabeth: When this quirk works best, it means I’m open-minded. I’m eager to try new things and love fresh perspectives. I’m not locked into one way of thinking or one way of doing things.

Laurie: That sounds like a pretty great trait! Steve Jobs did well with thinking outside-the-box like that.

What about the ADD — the dabbling in so many of your great ideas at once? What’s behind that? You like variety? You have a lot of energy? You like to make things from scratch (create/recreate things)? You need this to balance the tedium of mothering? (Not that it’s tedious to everyone, or even you, but I know I’ve felt that way at times).

Elizabeth: Yes, yes, yes, and yes! At its root, my urge to do a little bit of everything stems from the fact that I really do love so many things. (That probably goes back to my quirk of indecisiveness and the resulting open-mindedness.) I will see a recipe, craft, or project, and think—hey, I can do that! I also have a love of learning and a particular fondness for making things from scratch. The problem is I can be a little over-ambitious and expect too much of myself (by way of how many activities/hobbies I try to fit in) in this life stage with three young kids who all need lots of love, support, teaching, and attention.

Another quirk is the fact that I have boundary issues — as in, I often take on way too much, and can’t even seem to realize I’ve done it until it’s too late. Or, conversely, I don’t set boundaries in relationships because I’m so empathetic (I can always understand where they’re coming from) that I have a hard time standing up for myself and my needs.

Laurie: That sounds a lot like the Dark Side of your open-minded, creative, curious, variety-loving strengths! We all have Dark Sides to our weirdness. . . ways that our strengths and quirks come out backwards when we’re using them from anxiety, trying to escape pain, fear of failure, loneliness, sadness. What are some ways you’ve found to rein in this negative version of your strengths? Anything work? Or is it a constant struggle because part of you wants to be involved in all of it?

Elizabeth: It is a constant struggle, but I’m working on it. I started saying no quite a lot about a year and a half ago, when my daughter got sick, but now that she is doing better, I can see myself starting to overextend again. I think the problem is my habit of comparing myself to other people and how much they do. I end up making myself feel bad that I should be doing more. I need to own my choices and the way I chose to live and raise my family, even if it looks entirely different than someone else’s lifestyle (and even if they have kids at similar ages, etc.). As for boundaries, I’m praying that God helps me let go of guilt and accept grace more freely. I am trying to eliminate my “should’s” and extend some of my empathy to myself and calmly, but firmly, stand up for my needs.

Laurie: That sounds like a great start. I’m all for eliminating shoulds! God asks us to love Him and others as the Greatest Commandments. There’s no should’ve-would’ve-could’ve about it. It’s a simple (not easy, but simple!) choice — will we or won’t we? Maybe that helps with the comparisons in a way? To stay focused on what God’s uniquely asked YOU to do with those creative, open-minded, curious, variety-embracing strengths? I could see that being a really grace-filled place to live!

laurie head shotLaurie Wallin is a Christian speaker and certified Life Coach who loves helping people find joy and confidence by letting go of energy drainers and using their God-inspired strengths. Laurie, her husband and their four daughters make their home in San Diego. Connect with Laurie on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog. You can also order your own copy of Why Your Weirdness Is Wonderful here




{Book Review} The Compass Bible

{Book Review} The Compass Bible

The introduction to Compass: The Study Bible for Navigating Your Life makes a good point: The English language has altered dramatically in the last four centuries, but have our Bible translations kept pace?

The Voice translation {used in this Bible} — a collaboration among pastors, scholars, writers, musicians, poets, and other artists —  focuses on meaning and experience. It’s meant to engage the modern reader and move them through the narrative of the Bible more seamlessly.

The heart of the project is retelling the story of the Bible in a form as fluid as modern literary works, while remaining painstakingly true to the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts,” says the preface.

Here are a few features of this unconventional study bible:

  • Italic type in this Bible indicates words not directly tied to the translation of the original language, but words that highlight the nuances of the original, help complete ideas, and provide readerswith information that would have been obvious to the original audience. {These additional words are meant to help modern readers better understand the text without having to stop and read footnotes. I like this! Certainly helps with continuity.}
  • Delineated material expands on themes in the text. It’s set apart stylistically in a different or larger font, and, while not taken directly from the original language, it includes cultural, historical, theological, or devotional observations.
  • Screenplay format identifies dialogue and avoids the repetition of conjunctions, articles, and certain verbs. It helps greatly in immediate comprehension and intensifies dramatic presence during public reading of Scripture.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of The Voice, the NIV, and KJV, using Matthew 5:14-16:

The Voice (VOICE)

14 And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. 15 Similarly it would be silly to light a lamp and then hide it under a bowl. When someone lights a lamp, she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair, and the light illumines the entire house. 16 You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.

New International Version (NIV)

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others,that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

King James Version (KJV)

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

While Compass calls itself a study bible, it doesn’t  have the heft, weight, background, or resources that I think of in a study bible. {I use the NIV Life Application Study Bible.} It does include some simple resources that I really like, though.

They include:

  • A 365-day reading plan through the whole Bible
  • A 40-day retreat with Jesus (provides daily New Testament passages and a simple 7-step format for your devotional time)
  • The Road Map to God’s Promises {I love this! Twelve pages of scripture references for topics ranging from “What The Bible Has To Say About God’s Faithfulness” to “What To Do When You Feel Discouraged.”}
  • A user-friendly topical guide

Perhaps this piques your interest, and you’re looking for a fresh approach to get into God’s word? This Bible may be an excellent fit for you. {I’m thinking my husband will enjoy reading this translation and the clean, masculine look of the gray, embossed, faux-leather cover makes this Bible something he’d be happy to carry with him.}

Maybe, you have a solid study or devotional Bible in a traditional translation, and you’d like a more modern approach to supplement your reading? Again, I think this Bible would be a nice addition to your collection, though you may not be comfortable with this as your only Bible, or main Bible. {This is where I fall on the spectrum.}

Or, perhaps, you’re a traditionalist and you struggle with any translation other than King James Version. Then, this probably will feel very foreign to you. {Ahem, mom, this is for you!}

So, what’s the bottom line?

Would I buy a copy of this book? Maybe. I like that I have it, and will refer to it, but it would be a supplemental Bible for me, not my “main” Bible.

Would I borrow it? Definitely!

Would I recommend it to a friend? Depends on the friend. For someone struggling to get into the Bible or feeling like the Bible is relevant to them, yes. For a friend who’s a more mature Christian and who has a “pet” translation, no.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from Thomas Nelson. This post also contains affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage, which helps keep this site up and running… so, thank you!

Mom Resources: Undivided Mom Devo & Kids Bible Study Bundle

Mom Resources: Undivided Mom Devo & Kids Bible Study Bundle

I want to be an Undivided Mom. I want my kids to know that I want to be their mom. I want them to know they are loved and valued. I want to teach them who Jesus is, not just in my words, but through my actions. I want my kids to know that there is nothing on this earth that I would choose over them. I want to live with a purpose, a passion. Focused and effective, not distracted and scattered. On my own, I know it’s impossible. But with Him? All is possible.

I love how my friend Kayse Pratt summarizes her heart for God and her family here. And, her words, her fervent desire to live focused and passionate? Well, it’s mine too.

That’s why I’m so glad to take part in the launch of Kayse’s new ebook, a mama devo called Undivided Mom: Finding Christ in the Chaos of Motherhood. This 14-day book alternates between odd days, which feature a devotional based on a passage in Luke, and even days, which offer a devotion based on a life experience. {I think Kayse’s story about her toddler discovering the joy of toilet paper, and Kayse’s decision to sit down in the middle of the mess and thoroughly enjoy it was my favorite!}

Want your own copy? You can click the banner below and be sure to enter the 20% off discount code UMLaunch20 {which applies to all of Kayse’s ebooks}. It’s good through October 13th. Be sure to visit Kayse’s blog as well, and take part in her book launch giveaway.

Undivided Mom

The second mom resource I wanted to talk about today is Bundle of the Week. Bundle offers five ebooks for $7.40 every week. {This is a great deal, opposed to buying e-books separately, which usually retail for $4.99 each.} Each week, a new themed bundle is offered, with topics ranging from the Paleo diet to blogging to organization.

While I signed up as affiliate to promote bundles, I’m a happy customer as well. I don’t typically do much to promote the books, besides having the button on my blog sidebar, but I’m particularly excited about this week’s bundle, so I thought I’d share the details with you. I’m purchasing this one for my kids! {FYI, bundle has a great new discounted credit pack program so you can save even more on your ebook purchases. When you buy a credit pack, you get 6 credits for the price of 5 bundles — that’s like getting one bundle free.}

Bundle #41: Bible Studies for KidsThis week’s bundle includes a ton of Bible study resources for kids! — Scripture memorization, Bible study and character development, as well as handwriting practice, letter recognition and more, at more than 80% off. Here are the details:

God’s Word in My Heart by Jennifer Thorson
Help your children hide God’s Word in their young hearts and learn Scripture alongside them with Jennifer’s God’s Word in My Heart: A Scripture Learning Guide with Memory Verses! This program includes ideas for helping even the littlest of your children memorize Scripture, lists of songs to help with specific verses, printable Scripture memory verses and more. This set includes all 4 versions: ESV, KJV, NASB and variety (ESV, NIV 1984, NASB, NKJV).

Write Through the Bible: Exodus 20:1-21 by Luke and Trisha Gilkerson
Exodus 20 includes the Ten Commandments, which stand at the center of the Law of Moses and offer a foundational understanding of morality and the character of God. Luke & Trisha’s Write Through the Bible program provides 131 days of handwriting, copywork and dictation practice along with Scripture memorization, and this set includes both the cursive and manuscript versions of the workbook.

The ABCs for Godly Children by Lindsey Stomberg
The ABCs for Godly Children is a comprehensive, Bible curriculum centered around teaching children ages 4-10 about the God they serve and how to have a heart like His. Using each letter of the alphabet, a Bible lesson is presented in an understandable and interactive format to teach core truths concerning the Gospel, godly character, and biblical manhood and womanhood through Scripture memorization, detailed lessons, simple crafts, and interactive song.

The Dig: Luke (Volume 1) by Patrick Schwenk
The Dig for Kids: Luke (Volume 1) is a simple and easy way for parents to study the Book of Luke with their children. The Dig takes the guesswork out of teaching with one-page lessons that consist of: The Map, an overview of each lesson; The Dig, the main passage of the Bible you will be reading and three or four questions that will help with discussion and review; The Treasure, the big idea of the passage being studied; and The Display, to help your child live out what he or she has just learned.

Princess Training Plus Armor of God by Richele McFarlin
Princess Training: For the King’s Glory is a unit study designed to encourage young girls {7-13} to glorify God through their lives and understand their role as a daughter of the King. This study can be modified for younger or older girls and works great for a group study, and each lesson contains a short devotional, discussion, and activity. In addition, the Armor of God mini unit study includes copywork, Scripture study, discussion questions,vocabulary, and activities to help children {5-9} study the armor of God.

The Bible Studies for Kids bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 10/14.

 This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage, which helps keep this site up and running… so, thank you!

{Book Review:} The Five Love Languages of Children

{Book Review:} The Five Love Languages of Children

Many of you may be familiar with New York Times bestselling author Gary Chapman’s popular marriage book The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts. Having read and enjoyed that book, I was curious to see how the love languages concept applied to children. I’d put The Five Love Languages of Children on my Amazon wish list a while ago, and when I saw it offered to bloggers for review, I ordered my print copy {I’m old-fashioned like that} right away.

“You know you love your child. But how can you show it so they really feel loved?” asks the book cover.

5 love languages pull

We’re a busy household with three kids — ages 3, 8, and 10 — as well as stay-at-home-mom me, and dad, who travels all too frequently {he’s been gone two ENTIRE WEEKS out of the past five, though that’s extreme}. I write/blog, run a small Etsy shop, sell essential oils, and, of course, cook, clean, run errands, and wrangle kids. I like to decorate and bake and dive into everything seasonal. I cook from scratch often. I host a local foods dropoff-pickup on my front porch. I recently began leading a weekly women’s Bible study in my home.

Long story short, I like to keep active and get my hands into lots of different things — but this translates into far too many “not nows” and “Mommy’s busy.” I’ve been suspecting for a long time that I care for my kids’ physical needs, but don’t always do as good at filling their emotional “love tanks,” as Drs. Chapman and Campbell would say.

Enter “The Five Love Languages of Children.” I found the book imminently readable and packed with real-life examples and stories. I enjoyed reading chapters on each of the five love languages and found each of these chapters’ ending sections with specific ideas on how to “speak” that love language to your child very helpful.

5 love lang questions

I have to admit I jumped pretty early to the “Love Language Mystery Game” in the back of the book and had my daughters select their answers from a list of questions designed to uncover their love languages. {My son, obviously, is still too young, so I have to observe over time to discover his love language.} But, as I read the chapter “How to Discover Your Child’s Love Language,” I realized I need to practice careful observation, as well as referring to their “test” scores, to really discover how to speak my children’s individual love languages fluently.

The book also delves into issues such as:

  • Discipline and the Love Languages
  • Learning and the Love Languages
  • Anger and Love
  • Love Languages in Single-Parent Families
  • Love Languages in Marriage

I enjoyed this book, and found it a welcome reminder of Paul’s wise words in Corinthians that “the greatest of these is love.”

So, what’s the bottom line?

Would I buy a copy of this book? Yes.
Would I check it out from the library? Yes. 
Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from Moody Publishers. This post also contains affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage, which helps keep this site up and running… so, thank you!

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