The Forecast: Rain{bows}

Last night, my ten-year-old son was looking at the weather forecast. When he noticed they were predicting rain for the next day, he said, "It looks like there's a good chance we'll see a rainbow tomorrow."

His words immediately went straight to my heart - straight to the things I've been wrestling with lately. He didn't say it looks like we'll probably have rain. His focus was on the rainbow.

All evening, I contemplated the spiritual applications to what he said. Too often I consider what may lie ahead and anticipate the rain - the trials in life - without considering what rain brings - a rainbow.

Promises kept.

Today didn't bring physical rain, but it did bring spiritual rain for my family - especially for my mom and her siblings. My grandma suffered a serious stroke and is in the hospital.


I spent hours at the hospital, in awe of Grandma's strength shining through her weakness and emotions. I looked around the room at all seven of her children with their spouses, and was blown away by the amazing support system Grandma has. I watched her lift her left arm repeatedly despite the damage done by the stroke. I heard truth spoken and prayers prayed.


This afternoon on the way home, I noticed the dark sky and remembered that it was supposed to rain today. Then I remembered what my son had said, and I wept at God's goodness.

God sends rain. He does. It's hard and painful, and He uses it to wash us, to grow us, to nourish us.

But He also sends rainbows. Gorgeous glimpses of His promise-keeping.

When we look towards the heavens, we will see them. And we will remember that He never leaves us nor forsakes us. We will remember that He causes all things to work together for our good and His glory. Even when the clouds are darkest and we just don't understand, He's using it all for His purpose.

Let that sink in.

The Creator of the universe is using it all for His Holy Purpose!

I see it. Do you see it?

A rainbow.

Book Review: Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Andrews

I'm hoping to be diligent about writing up a quick blog post as I finish books this year. This is mostly for my own sake, but I hope that this can be a source of help, encouragement, and/or comfort for those who read it.

by Amy Lynn Andrews

::Number of Pages  46
::Genre  Business & Investing/Time Management
::Publisher's Description

An excellent read as you begin 2013, Tell Your Time is a short, practical ebook outlining a straightforward yet effective approach to time management. A book about time management shouldn't take long to read and implement. There shouldn't be a lot of fluff and filler. This one is specifically designed to help you identify what's most important in your life, set meaningful goals and develop a workable schedule so nothing of value falls through the cracks...all within a few hours.

::Favorite Quotes

"The stress associated with a too-full schedule has little to do with time at all; it has everything to do with our choices.   Blaming time for our stress is really just a handy way of avoiding discipline. It’s also self-sabotaging and will always lead to more busyness and more stress."

While there are definitely exceptions to this (life with a newborn, dealing with sickness in the family, etc.), I thought this was very convicting. When we over-commit ourselves and our children, we welcome chaos and stress. That's not the way I want to live my life, largely because I struggle to honor God when I add too much to our schedules.

"But it’s not enough to simply ask yourself what things you’d like to accomplish next week, next year, or in ten years (although those are certainly important). Instead, ask yourself what kind of person you want to be. Where do you want to make a difference? How do you want to be known and remembered? What kind of legacy do you want to leave? The answers to these questions reveal your true priorities."

This is so, so good. It's painfully simple, isn't it?

What kind of person do I want to be? At the end of my life, I want people to remember me as someone who loved Jesus more than life. I want people to SEE Jesus at work through me. So today, tomorrow, and the next day, if I allow my schedule to be so busy that I'm not spending time in His Word, sitting at His feet, getting to know Him, how can I expect to leave that legacy? Because I want HIM to be most important in my life, I need to schedule my life around HIM. He comes first. I also need to make sure that I'm not so over-committed that I don't have time to serve those whom God has put in my life.

"Roles are the areas you want to reflect on at the end of your life and say, 'I’m so glad I gave as much time and attention to that as I did. I truly gave it my best shot.' Your roles should not be confused with your activities or to-dos. Roles are who you are; activities are what you do in your roles."

Amy gives great examples of common roles, as well typical activities and tasks within those roles. For example, she encourages you to look at your role as a spouse and come up with activities that will help you be the kind of spouse you want to be. Those activities go in your schedule as a priority, and while some may balk at the idea of scheduling date nights, I'm learning that if it isn't scheduled, lots of times it just doesn't happen.

"Being a stellar home manager is not something I’m dying to be remembered for. I am only interested in a tidy and smooth-running house as much as it contributes to a happy and pleasant home life for my family."

Exactly. I love that this book gets to the "why" of the things we do. Why might it be important to tidy, organize, clean? For me, the purpose is to have a smooth-running and peaceful home for my children and husband, and it's also to create a space that is welcoming to others. This means making time to take care of certain household tasks, but more importantly, it means having grace and setting aside the need for perfection.

::Would I recommend this book to you?
Yes yes YES. This books isn't just filled with great ideas; it's very practical and even walks you through how to create your own "time budget". A time budget is such a brilliant way to get to the source of your busyness. The time budget might show you your time-wasters or that you've been attempting to cram too much into your week, and it encourages you to make some tough choices to cut the less important things out.

Also, it's worth mentioning that about a page into the book, I realized that I had read this book before. Haha! I enjoyed it the second time just as much as the first time though. And it was time for me to sit down again and redo my time budget. In fact, Amy recommends doing just that on a semi-regular basis (annually or more).

What's your secret for managing your time well? Have you read this book?

Book Report: Have a New Kid by Friday by Dr. Kevin Leman

I'm hoping to be diligent about writing up a quick blog post as I finish books this year. This is mostly for my own sake, but I hope that this can be a source of help, encouragement, and/or comfort for those who read it.

by Dr. Kevin Leman

::Number of Pages  304
::Genre  Nonfiction - Parenting
::Publisher's Description

"Want a kid without the attitude? Without the behavior that makes you slink away in the grocery store and pretend you're not the parent? A kid with character who isn't a character? If you're tired of defiant attitudes and power struggles with your little ankle-biters or the disrespectful hormone group, read this book and follow the simple principles, and you'll have a new kid by Friday. Guaranteed!

"Have a New Kid by Friday is your 5-day action plan that really works! With his signature wit and commonsense psychology, internationally recognized family expert Dr. Kevin Leman reveals why your kids do what they do and what you can do about it--starting right now.

"Anyone can do it. All it takes is you deciding to stand up and take charge. Want a great kid? Want to be a great parent? Then take the 5-day challenge. Someday your kid will thank you for it"

::Would I recommend this book to you?
No. While there were plenty of helpful pieces of advice, I personally prefer parenting books that cover the most important aspect of parenting, which is (in my opinion) discipleship. There were also several things that Dr. Leman wrote that left a bad taste in my mouth. For example, he frequently calls children "little suckers". He also suggests telling a child who disobeyed earlier in the day, "You did such and such, so now I don't feel like doing this or that." I'm all for consequences and taking away priveleges because of disobedience or disrespect, but I don't think wording it that way is Biblical. One other thing he kept mentioning was that children disobey or act out because they're vying for attention. While that can be true some of the time, I think that many times children make their mistakes because they're sinners, they have built a bad habit, or they are exhibiting the overflow of whatever negativity they are experiencing in their thought life. And finally, he made references to "going to war" with your children. I don't think this is a helpful (or Biblical) way to view parenting. We are not enemies with our children. We are on the same team, battling against the same Enemy. 

Now that I've got the criticisms out of the way, I would like to share three quotes that I thought were positive and encouraging.

"If you want your child to take you seriously, say your words once. Only once."

This is something with which I have struggled. Years ago, I went down the "one...two...three" path, which is essentially training my children to delay obedience. And isn't delayed obedience equal to disobedience?

"My personal view is that you should never promise your children anything. Promising them is saying that (1) your car will never break down, (2) every day will go exactly as you’ve planned it, (3) you are perfect, and (4) it won’t rain."

I agree with this wholeheartedly. I see no problem with telling children that we will TRY to make such-and-such happen at a certain time, because even if it can't happen, that is a good life lesson for children to learn that life doesn't go the way you plan. But when we make promises that we have no guarantee of being able to keep, we risk becoming untrustworthy, and we also set a poor example for our children.

"Every child will fail, make mistakes, and embarrass you. But you don’t need to hold those failures over your child’s head for a lifetime. Correct the behavior and move on."

I'm afraid I've held a grudge towards each of my children at times. They are so quick to forgive me, yet sometimes I have to give them attitude when they mess up. This is not what grace is supposed to look like.

One of the best books I've read on Biblical parenting is Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp. I haven't read it for years, so I will be re-reading it this year if I can.

Have you read this book or any others by Dr. Leman? If so, are there any you would recommend to me?

::some of my 'pinteresting' stuff::