Friday, April 17, 2015

Book Review: Together With You by Victoria Bylin

Together With You by Victoria Bylin was an awesome book on love, faith and forgiveness. 

From the back cover:

When a Lost Child warning blares over the mall's PA system, Carly Mason finds the little girl playing with a stuffed rabbit. Something about Penny Tremaine is different. An ex-social worker, Carly recognizes that the child suffers fetal alcohol effects, and a piece of Carly's past suddenly confronts her. Never again will she become personally involved with a client. The risks are far too great. But something about Penny--and Penny's handsome father--tugs at Carly's heart.

Dr. Ryan Tremaine is trying to put his life back together. With his ex-wife remarried and on a trip far away, his two teenage sons and Penny are living under his roof full time. Ryan has put his faith in his Sink-or-Swim list, a plan to reconnect with his children. The first step: recruit Carly Mason to be Penny's nanny.

Ryan never anticipated being so drawn to Carly, an attraction Carly seems to fight as much as he does. Could Carly be the missing piece that helps his family stay afloat, or will their blossoming romance only complicate things further?

Known for her realistic and engaging characters, Victoria Bylin delivers an emotion-packed story reminiscent of The Sound of Music, one that reminds us all to believe in the power of faith and love.

There were so many thing I loved about this book but the focus on putting family first and finding healing from past mistakes were my favorite.  Isn't that what is important in life ~ family and freedom?  And who doesn't love a good love story?  I highly recommend Together With You by Victoria Bylin.    

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Willing Heart Can Change Lives

M with the 110 bags she stuffed for the homeless

For the past several years, each night, my daughter has prayed for the homeless people - that they would stay warm and have a safe place to sleep.  In the past few months, she has been asking if she can do something to help them.  I had seen the "blessing bag" idea all over Pinterest so I mentioned this to her and she excitedly said that was EXACTLY what she wanted to do.  Together, we made a list of items to include in the bags and I put notice on Facebook of her desire to bless those less fortunate.  She set a goal of 15 bags.

Her 1st donations

The outpouring of blessings she received was overwhelming.  We had so many people donate so many different things that it blew us away.   She reacted as though it was Christmas morning each time she received a package of donations.  She was SO excited to sort through all of the items and pack the bags.

Sorting through the donations
She worked really hard and with the help of some neighborhood friends was able to F-A-R exceed her original goal of 15 bags.  She was able to fill 110 bags!!!

Hard at Work Stuffing Bags
My mama heart was SO proud of her!  She put a lot of hard work into this and never once complained.  She made sure each person got nearly the same items and put much thought and care into stuffing each bag.  She was able to personally give out the bags - which she STILL talks about.  To be able to see people come literally from off the street and give them a bag and then turn around seeing them back on the street digging through to see what goodies they had - made her smile. 

I learned so much through this project ~ the main thing is that when God lays something on your heart ~ Do IT!!  M is 10 - she could have looked at the issue of homelessness and thought it was too big for her to make a difference but God used the willing heart of a 10 year old girl to touch the lives of 1-1-0 people!  What can he do in your life and those around you, if you are willing?

"Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?"
James 2:15-16

Monday, April 13, 2015

God Made You Unique ~ Be the Best You!

Purpose God Jesus
Photo Credit

We each have a unique fingerprint pattern and it can be used in the world to tell us apart from another person.  Our fingerprints are made up specific information that is unique to each one of us.  No 2 fingerprints are the same.

Like fingerprints, we are made up of our own unique qualities.  Each person was created with abilities and giftings that are their own and make them who they are.  Every one of us has a purpose –  a job, persay to do for the Lord.  God needs you to be who he created you to be in your home, your work, your church, in whatever it is that he has called you to do.  Again, like a fingerprint, there is no other YOU. 

Even with our own individuality, God uses us together to paint a bigger, beautiful picture.

Let’s read in 1 Corinthians 12 how each part of the body is needed….

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

So, just as these scriptures remind us, we are all different yet we all make up one body.  Each person is needed for the body of Christ to be complete. 

This is why it is so important not to compare yourself or be jealous of other people.  God created each one of us with certain ‘ingredients’ that make us who we are…..some of us are great cooks , while others are excellent bakers, some have a gifting to work with children while others work better with the elderly.   ALL of those people are important but none more important than the other.  Our different gifts and abilities should make us love and depend on one another and therefore make us more united as one body in Christ. 

Comparison games are dangerous and bring division. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side so be careful how you compare yourself to others – we should strive to be like Jesus and that is the only comparison we should make. 

There is only one Y-O-U ~ so go out and be the best YOU that you can be!! 

For we are God’s own handiwork, His workmanship, recreated in Christ Jesus, born anew, that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us, taking paths which He prepared ahead of time.  That we should walk in them, living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live.
Ephesians 2:10 AMP