Monday, June 30, 2014

"Set-Apart Motherhood" review

When I was asked to write a review for Leslie Ludy's new book, "Set-Apart Motherhood: Reflecting Joy and Beauty in Family Life" I jumped at the chance. Having been a long-time follower of the Ludy ministry, I had confidence that this book would be just as spiritually enriching as the others. I was right. :)

If you are a mommy, may I just flat-out tell you to go buy yourself this book? You will be encouraged, challenged, and find such a bigger vision for your calling as a mother than simply being a chauffeur, nurse, and chef. :) 

My review as posted on Amazon, CBD, and GoodReads:

As a mom of two little ones (and another on the way), I have been hungry for a book that would give me more than a “go-easy-on-yourself” attitude towards motherhood. There is a great need for books that offer more than a watered down, spiritually lazy approach to mothering. As one who has been greatly impacted by the ministry of Leslie and Eric Ludy, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. And it did not disappoint! Leslie challenged me with a higher call for Godly motherhood far beyond what I could ever envision for myself. Set-Apart Motherhood is filled with humorous experiences and stories that I can relate to, as well as a powerful call for all Moms to walk in the strength and joy of the Lord, even (and especially!) on the hard days when your flesh is screaming to call it quits.

I love how Leslie encourages the reader with practical ways to apply Biblical truths. Each chapter, from “Getting Beyond the Frazzle” (a chapter I desperately needed!) to “Tensile Strength Training” (very convicting for me) encouraged me and gave me some spiritual “oomph!” on those days when I felt completely drained from all the responsibilities that come with raising little people. But by far, her focus on reaching the heart and soul of our kids reminded me of WHY God made me a mother. In the chapter “Tending to Their Souls,” Leslie writes, “….it is your privilege to have every one of your children saved. But it costs something to have them saved. It costs your spending much time alone with God, to be much in prayer, and it costs also your making those sacrifices and straightening out those things in your life that are wrong….Let us not fail to make the eternal salvation of our children the highest priority of our parenting, and make whatever personal sacrifices necessary in order to lead them to Christ.”

That is what it is all about. I cannot praise this book enough and highly recommend it to any and all mothers who desire to raise their children for God’s glory.

To pre-order your copy, go to or

If you are interested in attending Leslie's Set-Apart Motherhood conference September 12-13 in Colorado, head on over to to register! :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Where Joy Is Wednesday #11 and a Link-Up

Welcome to
 Where Joy Is Wednesday!

My family and I are currently on vacation, enjoying the beautiful sandy beach and the warm summer sunshine. As I watch my children play in the sand, giggling and - yes, throwing sand at one another too - I find joy. Life is so beautiful when we stop and take a good hard look. It's messy and tiring and very frustrating, but all God's gifts - from the precious blessing of children to the pile of wet clothes on the bathroom floor - are good gifts. Stop today and enjoy them.

Friday, June 20, 2014

My Summer Reading List

Jumping on the bandwagon today with my summer reading list. Motherhood leaves little time for pleasure reading but I have been trying to make it a habit to turn in a little earlier every night so I can read a bit before bed. I find that if I take time to fill my heart and mind with encouragement and Biblically based books, I am less likely to be stressed out and un-joyful! Some of these books I have already started, some I have yet to begin. But my goal is to finish them all before September. So here is my reading list for the summer.

Kohila: The Shaping of an Indian Nurse by Amy Carmichael. This is the story of Kohila, a little girl who was raised and discipled by Amy Carmichael. It is so much more than just a biography and I haven't found a book written by Amy Carmichael that I haven't devoured yet. :)

The Secret of a Woman's Influence by Joyce Rogers. I believe this book is out of print now. In 2012, I heard Joyce Rogers speak for the first time and she instantly became one of my heroes. While there, I got this book which is full of wisdom and Godly mentoring from Mrs. Rogers.

The Mom Walk: Keeping in Step With God's Heart for Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. Sally has some excellent books on motherhood and this one is no different. I've been steadily going through this one for a few weeks now and it is so very encouraging!

When You Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling by R.C. Sproul Jr. If you are interested in homeschooling (or if you are a homeschool veteran!) I recommend this book. I've been very encouraged and reminded of WHY I want to homeschool my children.

Raising Godly Tomatoes by Elizabeth Krueger. I have been reading this book at a snail's pace because I don't want it to end. If I could recommend a parenting book, this would likely be the one. I love how it is full of Scripture and how it gives practical advice for raising children and enjoying it with, as the author puts it, only occasional trips to the woodshed!

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I am very anxious to begin this book. He has been called one of the most important theologians of the twentieth century and this book came highly recommended by my uncle who holds a doctorate degree in Theology, so I am looking forward to reading it.

Red-Hot Monogamy: Making Your Marriage Sizzle by Bill & Pam Farrel. This is another book I haven't started yet, but I have heard some great things about it. Anxious to see what all the fuss is about.

Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic. I have laughed reading this book. Rachel is the mother of five children, ages five and under, including a set of twins! So she knows what she's talking about when she addresses the chaos and mayhem of raising little people.

Redeeming Childbirth: Experiencing His Presence in Pregnancy, Labor, Childbirth, and Beyond by Angie Tolpin. I told myself after I gave birth to Selah that if/when I became pregnant again, I would purchase this book. Upon my next positive pregnancy test, I went and bought it. There are just no words to describe how great this book is. This pregnancy has been different for me, emotionally, but Angie does an amazing job of taking every discomfort and fear found in pregnancy and child-rearing and bringing it all back to Jesus and His glory.

And so there is my lofty list. What are you reading this summer? Have a recommendation? I'd love to hear it!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Where Joy Is Wednesday #10 and a Link-Up

Welcome to
 Where Joy Is Wednesday!

We have been busy with Camps these past two weeks. My children are loving all the kiddos running around the campground, singing fun Camp songs, playing Camp games, and enjoying the summer sun. 

What are you doing this summer?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Is Kissing Something You Should Save?

BELIEVING THAT True Love Waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate and my future children to be sexually abstinent from this day until the day I enter a biblical marriage relationship.”

When I signed my name to the True Love Waits pledge at the age of 13, I joined millions in publicly committing myself to purity. After being introduced to a new attitude towards dating and relationships, I made the decision not to engage in typical dating by giving my heart or my body to one guy after another. Instead, I was going save myself—all of myself— for my future husband. But actually, it didn't start out the way some think it did. 

In the beginning, I simply thought the notion of saving everything, including my first kiss, for my wedding day was the most romantic thing I had ever heard. Later, as opportunities to be like everyone else were presented, I had to reevaluate my reasons. 

Why did I want to save everything for marriage? 

Was my virginity not enough? 

I spent much time in prayer and a lot of time watching my peers. Some had no problem signing abstinence cards, then becoming intimate with their current boyfriend or girlfriend; giving themselves to one person after another. Others held on to their virginity by a mere shred, but offered up their bodies to be looked at and played with like some trinket from a toy store. The more I watched, the more I realized that I didn't want to save just my virginity, because it didn't mean much in light of all the hypocrisy in the lives of those around me. I wanted to give my husband more. I wanted to honor the Lord, not by only saving sex for marriage, but saving intimacy for marriage. No longer was it merely a romantic ideal, it became a deep yearning to surrender everything and give my all to the One who loved me most and gave all for me.

It’s no secret that humans like being in control. We want to have a say so when it comes to our life because we enjoy comfort and the security of being at the wheel. Sometimes we would rather follow a list of guidelines that sound moral and ethical and ask for God’s blessings, than to fully surrender our entire lives to His leading.

Let me make something clear. I do not think it is wrong to kiss before marriage. Nor do I believe that those who do not kiss before marriage are somehow superior and more holy. However, I do believe it is wise and honorable to save every intimate touch for marriage and, yes, that includes a kiss. 

Science has proven that kissing both begins and increases arousal in the body. In the Bible, Peter exhorted the Christians to abstain from (meaning: to run from) fleshly lusts. Paul commanded us to abstain, not just from the lust of the flesh, but from all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22), also stating that it is better to hurry and marry than to burn with lust (1 Corinthians 7:9). So if a kiss can easily bring on a sensual awakening, would it not be wise to avoid such tempting situations altogether?

That's a question for you to take to the throne yourself. But keep in mind that a decision or conviction that is made for any reason other than to glorify Jesus Christ won’t hold up when you are in a situation that offers up every possible cause to change your mind. We can have good motives for pursuing an above-the-average life of purity, but we must always, always, always make certain that our reasons are rooted in righteousness and in a desire to be more like Christ, not for the sake of our own arrogance or pride. We can sacrifice all we want, but it is obedience that God commands and desires of us. It is His holy name that He wants to be magnified. 

Is kissing before marriage is a sin? No. But I greatly encourage those who are unmarried to be careful and wise when it comes to intimacy, sexuality, and pleasure because the flames burn hot and what we sow, we will reap. In the words of Elisabeth Elliot, "A good and perfect gift, these natural desires. But so much the more necessary that they be controlled... that they might be reborn in power and purity for God."

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Where Joy Is Wednesday #9 and a Link-Up

Welcome to
 Where Joy Is Wednesday!

Thank you for stopping by today! I pray you will look around and be encouraged by previous posts. If you have a blog yourself, I invite you to share it by linking up below! It is great to be encouraged!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Guest Post: Beach Modesty

Today I am sharing a guest post written by my friend, Sarah. This morning, she is sharing some great wisdom on beach modesty and raising a pure son. Enjoy!

We recently spent a vacation with family on a very warm, gorgeous beach.  It was a great trip.  I love time with family, fun in the sun, and laughing over old memories and new memories that are being created.  But there was one issue that was constantly bothering me… How do I start NOW to keep my little boy’s mind pure?  He’s only two.  So at what point do things matter…like bikinis.  In our household, my husband and little boy both wear board shorts AND a rash guard while swimming in a pool or playing at the ocean.  The rash guard is great for protecting against sun burn, but it is also important to us as we think that boys should practice modesty, as well. As for me…well, most people think I’m extreme.  I wear long board shorts (almost to my knee) and a rash guard. A family member complimented me on my cute outfit and asked where we were going out to eat for lunch.  It was a bit awkward to explain that this was actually my swim outfit…the only swim outfit I own.  

Now I’m not saying everyone needs to go to our level of what we feel is modest. I know there are different levels and I’m not claiming mine is perfect.  But I do know that I can’t handle bikinis.  I mean, really….most of the bikinis on the beach cover less than most ladies’ underwear! It bares ALL to people who are not the ladies’ husbands…and the husbands are really the only ones who should see that!

So how do I protect my little boy from being comfortable with something that I know is immodest and wrong?  In the end, my husband and I decided we cannot protect him from it.  We’d love to… I wish I could take him to a beach where everyone was dressed to some level of modesty.  But those don’t really exist.  Instead, we decided to set a rule.  There were severalphotoshoots done for girls in our party in bikinis.  And we decided he was not allowed to be in those poses.  Yes, I know he is in some pictures of just some normal activities…like wading in the beach, or digging holes in the sand.  But the posed pictures were a definite no.  Even at age 2, we don’t want him to think it is okay for him to be in pictures with mostly-revealed ladies/girls who stand with their hands on their hips and their legs tilted in a rather sexually-provocative manner. It might sound extreme.  But in the end…I think it will be worth it to start young. I want my boys’ minds to be pure. And sometimes that does mean other people don’t like what we decide.  We try not to make it a huge issue and conflict.  As I said, we don’t dictate what is worn around us. But we do ask that our children not be involved in any two-piece revealing pictures that are posed.  Because what could possibly be more important than protecting our children’s minds? Modesty is a heart issue…and we want our children to value that starting at a very early age.

Sarah is a wife to a Coast Guard officer, and a mother to an energetic 2-year-old little boy. She strives to serve her Lord and King and be a good wife and mother.  She loves photography, reading, cooking, exploring, and hiking and has a passion for purity as well as learning about healthy living and eating. Most often you will find her thoroughly enjoying time with her husband and son or making messes in the kitchen.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Where Joy Is Wednesday #8 and a Link-Up

Welcome to
 Where Joy Is Wednesday!

Here it is, June! This month will be crazy with two summer camps and our family vacation, so I'm trying to be intentional about stopping and basking in the joy of Jesus. As you step out into the summer sun and begin all your summer plans, make sure you do the same. :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My Secret Weapon for All Things "GIRL"

A little over two years ago, I stumbled upon an herb that has done some amazing things for me and I now consider it my female secret weapon. Today I am sharing it with you.

Introducing Red Raspberry Leaves. -- NOT to be confused with Raspberry Ketones!

I first heard about Red Raspberry Leaves from Caroline over at The Modest Mom Blog. After reading the birth story of her fifth child, I told myself that when I became pregnant again, I would try this all-natural herb. And I did. But as I have studied more about this herb, I've learned that it does far more than just helping to ease labor pains. In fact, if you are a girl, this will help you, no matter how old or how young you are. (By the way, men can consume this too! This is safe and beneficial for the entire family, but exceptionally beneficial for female health.)

Here are just a few of the ways that RRL helps us. :)

Menstrual Cycle:
Red Raspberry Leaves are excellent for every season of a woman's life, from puberty to menopause. It eases PMS symptoms, helps regulate your cycle, and greatly reduces cramps and headaches common with that time of the month. I've always suffered from intense cramps and headaches and since I have begun taking RRL on a regular basis, they have been drastically reduced. Because of the Calcium and hormone support, it is great for young girls as their bodies begin to change.

RRL has been labeled a "uterine tonic" and is extremely beneficial for the female reproductive system. It is an all-natural herb that tones the uterus and lengthens the luteal phase (the period between ovulation and Day 1 of your menstruation). It works to regulate your cycle and has properties that help to strengthen the lining of the uterus which will improve the chances of implantation.

I first started taking Red Raspberry Leaves when I was full term (37 weeks) with my second child. Since then, studies have shown that RRL are safe to take in early pregnancy in small quantities. Red Raspberry Leaves can actually help to prevent a miscarriage caused by a weak uterus because its main benefit is the toning and strengthening of the uterine wall. Red Raspberry Leaves are high in magnesium (which your body blows through during pregnancy), iron, potassium, and vitamins A, B, and C. It improves sleep during pregnancy (glory be!) and because it is naturally high in B-vitamins, it fights against leg cramps and morning sickness. Red Raspberry Leaves strengthen the muscles of the uterus which works amazingly in labor because it assists in contractions, making each one accomplish more, thus making labor shorter and less painful. It also lessons the likelihood of post-partum hemorrhaging and aids in boosting milk supply.

In this post, I listed the vitamins and supplements I took while pregnant with Selah and I give the amount of milligrams I took. Be advised that I am not your OB/GYN or midwife, so always clear it with your healthcare provider before you take anything in pregnancy.

The hormone support in Red Raspberry Leaves makes it great for women going through menopause, as well as women who suffer from hormone imbalances. When a woman goes through menopause, estrogen levels drop and bring with it mood swings, hot flashes, and a whole slew of unpleasant side effects. Because of the Calcium in RRL, and all the other vitamins that aid in the health of the female system, hormones are replenished and the symptoms of menopause are reduced.

See why I call it my secret weapon? :) There are two ways to take Red Raspberry Leaves. You can take it in capsule form and in a tea. I typically take it in capsule form because I have never been a big tea drinker. However, RRL tea is very delicious and it's caffeine-free! So if you are a tea drinker, you can buy the tea bags from your local health food store or online. I like this brand the best, personally. You can also buy the leaves and make your tea that way. The Bulk Herb Store has a great price and they even have various mixes you can choose from (pregnancy blend, PMS blend, etc.). Or if you prefer the capsules, you can find them at any health food store or online at places like Amazon. Nature's Way brand is my personal favorite and one of the best-priced brands I have found.

So there you go! Aren't you thankful that God has given us things in nature that aid in our health? :)


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