The Power of Mom’s Voice

Today’s Coffee of Choice: Everyday Gourmet’s City Roast (in honor of a finished journey of reading, leading, and learning through a book called Unglued)

Today’s Scripture: “But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:16, NLT (My mom’s favorite verse.)

“Read to me, Mommy.”

Two of my kids uttered these words from two separate rooms last night WAY past their bedtime. I’m a sucker for a story, so I pulled Hans Christen Anderson’s Wonderful Stories for Children up on my Android. Yes, times have changed from when I was younger, but I love that good stories can access more places and people now. When that did the trick for my oldest son (whose snore, by the way, could wake Rip Van Winkle), I moved on to Beatrix Potter for my youngest. He loves the story of Peter Rabbit. I think it’s because he shares a mischievous streak with the young bunny. He didn’t fall asleep. He wanted it read again and again.

My memorization skills don’t work nearly as well these days as they did when I was required to memorize chunks of Chaucer, Yeats, and other influential writers during my college years, but I can still recite the first and last lines of Peter Rabbit quite well. Peter Rabbit was one of my mom’s favorite stories to read to me, and I can still hear the lilt of her voice in my mind as an adult.

Now that I have my own children and can revive the good stories I discovered as a girl, I find I’m able to seal many moments of joy I had when I was younger into my heart and memory. Unfortunately, as so many reading this can probably relate to, joy sometimes escapes us due to whatever hard, unexpected trial life brings. We often cannot control the things that come at us, but we can learn to focus on the joy of the beauty God can bring from the ashes. Each moment we experience shines with a glitter all its own, and finding joy is just a matter of directing our gaze toward the sparkle. I’ve learned I can’t go wrong when I’m reading amazing stories to my kids and focusing on serving up some of God’s love to them in the process.

As promised in my last post, I will be doing what I will call summer reading highlights over the next several months. I’ll be whimsical. I’ll highlight some of the books my kids love. I’ll highlight classics. I’ll highlight works by friends (some have who asked me and some who I just love to plug). I’ll highlight good beach reads. I’ll also stay open to suggestions from you, my readers, and, as usual, I’ll keep God at the forefront. I hope you’ll stay plugged in and provide feedback throughout this journey. There will be some giveaways along the way you won’t want to miss!

Thanks for reading!

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Leadership, Short and Sweet

Today’s Coffee of Choice: Homemade Coconut Mocha Latte with Hershey’s Kisses melted in

Today’s Scripture: Protect them by Your name that You have given Me, so that they may be one as We are one. Taken from Jesus’s prayer in John 17:11 and my current personal prayer of unity for the Christian leaders in my life

I hope you’ve enjoyed the Coffee Talks on Leadership I’ve been posting lately. Today, I’d like to highlight several quotes on leadership based on my Five Cs of Leadership post and the books I’ve been reading. I’ll attempt to be short and sweet. Speaking of sweetness, I’ll also be giving away some chocolate from a fabulous place called Mid’s in honor of the upcoming Valentine’s Day. Comment on this post before midnight on 2/10/13 for a chance to win! Now, get ready to chew on some quotes!

A leader strives to possess solid character.
“Instead of bossing others around, boss your heart around by reminding it to remember who God is– and how good He is at being God. Remember that more than simply serving Him, God wants you to seek Him.” – Renee Swope in A Confident Heart

A leader is committed to service.
“The true leader serves. Serves people. Serves their best interests, and in so doing will not always be popular, may not always impress. But because true leaders are motivated by loving concern rather than a desire for personal glory, they are willing to pay the price.” – Eugene B. Habecker; quoted from The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John Maxwell

A leader communicates well.
“The spoken word is one of the triumphs of man….” – Charles Wallace in A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

A leader demonstrates competence.
“Never, ever, ever, ever quit.” – Sigmund Brouwer; quoted from 112 Christian Authors and Publishing Professionals Share Their Best Advice for Novelists compiled by C.J. Darlington

A leader models courage.
“Courage isn’t the absence of fear; it’s the willingness to act in the face of fear.” – Nicole Braddock Bromley in Hush

Coffee and a Reading Wrap: What I’m Reading and Why

Today’s Coffee of Choice: Seattle’s Best Café Moulu, Level 2, Black

Today’s Scripture: And in view of this, we always pray for you that our God will consider you worthy of His calling, and will, by His power, fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified by you, and you by Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (I do pray for you!)

As promised a few weeks ago, I’m going to be focusing more on updating you on what I’m reading. There are so many amazing resources and stories out there, and it is my hope you will be encouraged to check out some that I share. If so, let me know! I also love to give books away, so keep an eye on my Monday posts for that to happen in the future. Here are some thoughts on what I’m reading for you to chew on:

2 Thessalonians
I’m studying through Paul’s letters in Scripture right now. The reason for this is twofold: 1. I love Paul’s example as a leader; 2. I love how he used the written word to encourage and equip those he visited. This week I’m working through 2 Thessalonians while digging into the history behind Paul’s visits to Thessalonica, the people he traveled with, and the reasons behind his visits. Scripture is the number one source of encouragement and instruction for me, and, if you can’t say the same, I encourage you to try it out and discover its appeal.

A Confident Heart by Renee Swope
I have been studying through A Confident Heart for awhile now and am also leading a small group through it. Look for it to be a part of what I’m reading for a couple months in the future because of this. Renee Swope offers relevant truths and engaging anecdotes for today’s woman within its pages, and the book is especially helpful for anyone who has struggled with self-confidence or is looking for more confidence as a leader.

112 Christian Authors and Publishing Professionals Share Their Best Advice for Novelists by C.J. Darlington
I will always be reading some kind of book on writing. This year I’m striving to become a better writer, and books on writing and the writing industry are an important part of my learning process. This particular book is a wonderful compilation of many recognizable names from the Christian industry. I am so encouraged by the advice it offers and will be quoting from it on my Facebook page this week!

Beyond the Reflection’s Edge by Bryan Davis
There will always be a fiction book in the mix of what I’m reading. This particular book jumped out at me in Ollie’s one day. (Ollie’s is a dangerous place for this book lover!) What grabbed me initially was the cover, which had music notes all over it. Any book with a music theme will draw me in. When I picked it up and read a random excerpt, I immediately saw it’s a novel like the kind I aspire to write: fiction with Christian and speculative elements. So far, I’m enjoying the creative ideas behind the plot. To read more about this book, click the title above to jump to Goodreads.

Heaven Is for Real by Todd Burpo
I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read this book until now. I’ve had it on my bookshelf for awhile, but I didn’t buy into the initial craze of it because I had so many other books to read and I wanted the opinions around me to die down before I dove in. Recently, my husband and I have been reading powerful testimonies (whether in book or blog/vlog form) of the reality of Heaven. We are doing so to help encourage our faith. I love when he initiates plans like this because we can come together and talk about what we’ve read or seen. This effort to strengthen our faith with these types of powerful testimonies led me to finally pick up this book. I’m looking forward to finishing it soon.

Blogroll Highlights

As always, I’m reading through the blogs I highlight on my blogroll. Here are some good ones from this past week to check out:
1. Following Jesus: Our Light Through the Storm, Laurie Coombs
2. How To Develop More Discipline, Michael Hyatt
3. Don’t Feed Your Discontent, Rachelle Gardner
4. Compel Women’s Conference, Renee Swope
5. Four Pink Shiny Boots for 20 Beautiful Little Girl Toes, Stephanie Clayton

Getting Focused in the New Year

Today’s Coffee of Choice: Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend, Medium Roast, Black… with no extra calories

Today’s Scripture: And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:6-7

Recently, I have been made aware of two books presenting the same intriguing theme. Instead of being overwhelmed by a huge list of goals and resolutions (as is prone to happen this time of year), the books suggest focusing on one word as you go through your everyday life over the course of the year. Both books are centered around the idea that it’s easier to implement one concept into everything you do instead of being tied to a list that probably won’t make it past the end of January. Now, because I currently work with the same organization as one of the authors of the first book and often racked my brains for solutions to issues at staff retreats long ago with one of the authors of the other book, I have to promote both of them. The main difference between the two is that one is more spiritually reflective in nature and the other offers a more business-minded, systematic approach. One also offers a DVD study appropriate for a small group while the other offers a personal action plan. Here they are to check out:

Mike Ashcroft and Proverbs 31 speaker Rachel Olsen offer a reflective, spiritual look at the power of one word in My One Word: Change Your Life with Just One Word. The book includes a DVD and discussion questions for small group studies.

Dan Britton, Jimmy Page, and Jon Gordon offer a systematic, focused approach to the one word challenge in their short book, One Word That Will Change Your Life.

Oh, and what’s my one word for this New Year? Because I can’t do everything and when I try to my life spirals out of control, it has to be…

Focus

Happy New Year everyone!

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