Women of the Word Month: Sign up and Grow!

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Having trouble getting in the Word?

Having difficulty staying in the Word?

This month only, Crossway Publishers is sponsoring a Women of the Word Month.  By signing up, you will receive the following free items sent to your Inbox each day from July 1-31.

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  • Daily Devotional – designed to guide you through a survey of the Old Testament
  • Practical Articles – written to encourage and equip you for consistent Bible study from favorite authors
  • Inspiring Personal Stories – from Christian leaders, related to the life-changing power of God’s Word

Feeling a little dry devotionally?

Sign up here to receive a month of solid, daily truth.

For other ideas on Summer devotions, here is a post on 5 Excellent Summer Bible studies for you and a friend.

And here is a 1 simple way to accomplish Summer devotions.

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What is your plan for Summer Bible-reading?

If you are struggling to find one, consider Women of the Word by signing up here.


Recap of Gospel Coalition Women ’14

{Photo courtesy of Reformed Theological Seminary}

{Photo courtesy of Reformed Theological Seminary}

After some 8 hours in airports and delayed airplanes, I am finally home from Orlando.  I greeted our children and spent 20 minutes with them before our babysitter arrived – for coming-home day was also our 13th wedding anniversary.  For a Mom who shuttles between Target, school and grocery stores, the past weekend was notedly different.

Here are a handful of highlights from the weekend:

 Room-mate Fellowship

Spending time with my sister-in-law was both fun and helpful.  Fun, because 2 women on the loose is bound to be an adventure.  Whether at the pool, in our room or on the elevator, we managed to experience absurd moments made more hilarious by the sharing.

And helpful, because within the realm of mothering, the need to process is often greater than our time allows for.  But this weekend, we had time to spill our words.  And we did.

photo booth

Challenging Speakers

 Did you manage to listen to any part of the Gospel Coalition livestream?

If so, whose seminar did you most enjoy?

Though I enjoyed the varying angles of each of the plenary speakers, the joy pouring from both the words and the countenance of John Piper, was what challenged me most.  Piper loves, enjoys and celebrates the Gospel.  As he stated poignantly from the stage: “What I want almost more than anything else is to never sin again”.

To hear Piper speak is to be renewed by the beauty of God’s Word.  And to think all the while, I want to be more like that!

 

The Empty Bookshelves Project

Aileen and I were able to donate a stack of books to a project which Gospel Coalition is under-taking: The Empty Bookshelves Project.  2,000 stacks of books were brought to the conference, to be distributed to pastors overseas.  The purpose of the project is to training pastors theologically, so that they are shepherding their churches in sound doctrine and truth.

book shelves

Most pastors in poor nations lack access to formal seminary training, and often do not have extra funds to purchase books which would assist them in learning.  By the time we left Orlando, all 2,000 book stacks were sponsored and bundled, ready to be distributed.  Praise God!

 Friendship

There is a small group of women who write in varying places.  This weekend we met up for coffee and in-person fellowship.

 

women who write

 From left to right:

These women are shaping hearts and minds through their giftedness, and it was a privilege to meet {and hug} them, finally.

Writer’s Seminar

On Saturday evening, Aileen and I were invited to attend a workshop for 100 women who write.

Though I knew a handful of book give-away’s might be on the menu, I was not prepared for this:

stack of books

Books were squished into ever crevice of luggage coming home, but books are books – you make room for them!  In the coming weeks, I hope to review many of these for you.

Book Tables

Many publishers were available at the conference with books at 40% off retail. For the nth time, I kicked myself for bringing a tiny suit-case.

book tables

Because of limited space, I made my focus kids books, and I managed to snag a few to read with them this Summer.  Again, as we progress with our reading, I will review and recommend here.

Coming Home

There is nothing like returning to the place where you are loved best and love the most.

my kids

Greeted by hugs and “I missed you” and little cards – this is where the world turns best.

The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference did not disappoint.  It was more than I hoped for.

But it is also good to be home.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Gospel Coalition Women ’14

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At the time you read this post, Lord willing I will be packing up my suitcase and hopping a train to the Atlanta airport, en route to Orlando for The 2014 Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference.

According to its mission statement, The Gospel Coalition is a Reformed network of churches, which encourages and educates current and next-generation Christian leaders by advocating gospel-centered principles and practices that glorify the Savior and do good to those for whom He shed his life’s blood. 

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Here is what The Gospel Coalition Women says about the 2014 conference:

A conference for women, all about the Word! Plenary speakers will unfold the book of Nehemiah—the story of God’s people returned to a broken-down city and called to trust God’s Word at a point of great need. It’s about God redeeming a people for himself through his Son. This is our story. We’ll focus on listening to this Word…living in light of it…helping others hear it…worshiping according to it…waiting on the Spirit who inspired it…exalting Jesus at the center of it.

 The Pre-Conference focuses on God’s good purposes in his creation of human beings as male and female. We’ll highlight Scripture’s teachings concerning men and women in the church and in marriage, and we’ll talk about these teachings both theologically and personally.

 Workshops on Saturday afternoon are offered in themed tracks, with topics from theology to sexuality…from evangelism to writing…from the persecuted church to the ministry of hospitality.

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The workshops I will attend are:

  • You are What you Read {Rosaria Butterfield}
  • Homosexuality and Christian Faith {Rosaria Butterfield}
  • The Impact of Sexual Abuse and How God’s Grace Heals and Transforms Lives {Ellen Dykas}

What I am excited about:

  • meeting up with writing friends in “real” time
  • attending an evening social for women who are members of the PCA {our denomination}
  • attending a writer’s workshop
  • spending time with my sister-in-law, who is my brother’s right arm and a tireless worker
  • worshiping with Keith and Kristyn Getty
  • floating down the Lazy River at the hotel {no need to explain this one}

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 My friend Tara, will be live-blogging the conference.  And the site will be updated frequently with photos and music and speakers.  So, please check out the link here.

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The writing event I am attending will involve publishers distributing books to attendees.  So I hope to have new books to recommend and perhaps even give away in the coming weeks.  You can follow the conference here, or follow my blog page on FB.  I hope to update the page throughout the weekend.

Happy Thursday, all. And thank you, as always, for being here.

 


Guest Post by Jo: Jealousy and Pink Cupcakes

Many of you met my cousin, Jo when she wrote about her family’s experience in providing foster care.  In fact, those posts were some of the most widely read on this page.  {You can find them here and here}.

Jo is a beautiful and colorful writer.  I asked her if she would be willing to submit another post for the site, but she is currently fostering again – an infant this time – so her hands are rightfully full.

Jo wrote a while back on jealousy, and her relationship with the “J” word.  Because jealousy is a struggle that rears its head within all of us at times, I thought you might enjoy the honesty and encouragement of Jo’s thoughts, as she remarks on jealousy and pink cupcakes.

{https://www.etsy.com/listing/61462608/food-photographycupcake-sweets-pink-cake?ref=related-0}

{https://www.etsy.com/shop/urbandreamphotos}

 

Today is International Women’s Day. As far as I know it is a day set aside to fight about Cupcakes. Fight is, in fact, built into the day’s mandate: . . . “an opportunity to fight for political freedom, equal pay and working rights.”

Fight.

Sigh. I don’t wanna fight about cupcakes. I don’t wanna fight red-faced and sign-toting. I don’t know if more fight is what I need. God knows it’s already there, threatening to escape at every opportunity.

On this day of all days, I wanted to honor a friend who embodied all that will not make the headlines on International Women’s Day: humility and quiet kindness.

First, though, some thoughts on jealousy. Is it just me, or does the big ‘J’ seem to be a lurking presence our lives? I think it is. We really don’t admit to it readily because that would be a painfully vulnerable thing to do. Admitting to jealousy is admitting to pride and insecurity, neither of which, any of us would like to associate with ourselves.

http://www.pinterest.com/29secrets/

{http://www.pinterest.com/29secrets/}

 

I am a jealous woman. I admit it.

What’s worse, it seems like I haven’t made any headway with it. I never expected to beat it entirely, but I had hoped it would crop up less frequently. Instead, it has simply taken on new forms. Where I was once quick to desire someone else’s body, now I quite happily steal their character. I look at a woman of serenity and wisdom and I want to swindle her of those qualities.

Jealousy is easily detectable by the small part of yourself which, rather than rejoicing over what another woman has, resents her for it instead.

Two days ago, I was reminded that the Christian fight is more often about wrestling your self to the ground and learning to unclench fists, open them and turn them palm-upwards.

Jealousy? Defy it and act out against it with extended hands.

I saw this when a dear lady I know made an early morning phone call just to tell her friend all about the lovely thing she’d heard said about her the evening before. She explained that she’d felt compelled to do it for several reasons. One of which was that she rightly assumed that these were not the kinds of calls most women receive. Her next reason for calling was because her first instinct upon hearing her friend praised was to feel jealous.

envy

What an example she is to me! She took a sober look at herself and then defied the inner-responses she sensed were there by acting in complete opposition to them. That there’s the way to fight. I love you sister. I do not want to grab all of your outstanding moral fiber and run for the hills.

I just want to be more like you.


18 Summers

{Photo courtesy: www.thenester.com}

{Photo courtesy: www.thenester.com}

Upon missing a day of blogging this week, the inner-perfectionist within deflated a little.   In the span of 5 months, I had yet to miss M/W/F post.

Until this week.

My oldest daughter’s birthday happened to land on Wednesday.  Which happened to be a day that I was spending the night at my Mom’s house, so that we could celebrate “the big 12″ together.  We found ourselves busy catching up, visiting a toy-store, eating ice cream and talking some more.  Writing just never factored in to the busy fun of that day.

I am sure by now, you have seen the “18 Summers” tag floating around Facebook and Pinterest.  The State of Idaho has launched a campaign to encourage parents to embrace the Summer as a time to invest in and enjoy their children.

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After all, there are only 18 Summers in any child’s life.

With simple calculation, this movement reminds me that there are merely 6 Summers left with my oldest.

Six! 

This little-turned bigger girl is at camp this week, on her own.  And for the next few Summers, the theme of “on her own” will likely become more resounding.

Because we are raising them to be confident leaving us, right?

goes by fast

Six Summers left mean that 12 are in the past.  I don’t love a fraction of 2/3’s behind, to remind me that there are things I would do differently.

But there are many memories left to make.

And so if the laptop stays dusty this Summer, so be it.

If the house remains suspended in constant upheaval {which it is}, oh well.

If our routine hangs crooked for a handful of weeks while we live together without boundaries, who really cares?

Time is running out with each handful of hot, sunny days.

And I don’t want to waste them.

Here is a sweet reminder from the Idaho 18 Summers campaign to embrace the coming, un-structured days.

To a busy Mom, the lazy days of Summer really are not.

The bulk of family memories boil down to hard work and scrupulous organizing.  Which at the most exhausting moments can raise the question: Where is my vacation?

I hope you find encouragement in considering the short amount of time we are actually entrusted with our children.  The days will fly by until one Summer there is an extra seat at the dinner table, and extra room in the car.  And at that time, I imagine there will be a few pangs of sadness.  They are gone, making their own memories.

These Summer days with little ones might be long, but the years are truly so, so short.

 

 

 

 


Launch Day

 

It has been a stretch of years since I blogged.  I know that some of you followed along with our family at Happy Helms several years back.  Happy Helms was a delightful space, chronicling our young family- the up’s and down’s of adjusting to multiple children, and the inevitable fall-out of loads of responsibility and too few hands.  It was an anecdotal adventure in the craziness of young motherhood.  And then, with the arrival of our 4th baby, life felt full to over-flowing and there was simply no room and no time for anything but family maintenance.   I know that some of you are there right now. Feeling utterly full with the needs of lots of little ones.

Four years later, life has settled into a routine for us.  A lively one mind you, but some semblance of a routine.  This in turn has allowed for a span of a few hours each week that are available to be used.  And my heart has come back to writing.  For the past non-blogging years, I have written nearly daily – but in the old-fashioned way.  Mind to pen, and pen to paper.   I have filled page upon page with truths from Scripture, wisdom from good books, thoughts from conversations with friends and family.

And having spent the years also riding the peaks and valleys of young motherhood,  I have come away with a desire to not only record my experiences in my walk as a young Mom, but a hope that I can communicate any little perspective here, that might prove valuable.

My desire here, is to create a space for women in which we can share together the particular issues arising this generation.  While Solomon is correct in his assessment that “there is nothing new under the sun”, there are nonetheless new variations of historical problems, and those slight changes can cause confusion in our thought-patterns and discouragement in our attitudes.  My hope is that this small space can bring readers back to the Bible’s elevation of womanhood as a cause for joy.

The title for this blog is “For Your Tomorrow”.  And I chose the tag-line carefully, based on a beautiful account John Piper alludes to in his excellent book, Don’t Waste Your Life.  The story goes that during the Second World War, a group of Allied airborne soldiers were shot down over the Pacific Ocean, and inscribed on their graves is the poignant statement:

For your tomorrow,

We gave our today.

And so it is for women who claim the Gospel on their lives.  God calls us to give.  To give in our marriages, our homes, our communities, our schools, our churches.  To invest intentionally today- not only for the sake of His glory, but because our present actions are meaningfully connected to our tomorrow’s.  Marriage.  Motherhood.  Home-making.  All of those aspects become sacred when we hold firmly to our Biblical bearings that life is a span held together by a sovereign God’s hand.

 My prayer is that this place will refresh, above all.  And that it might motivate and encourage us to give the “daily grind” our all.