Monday, 27 January 2014

A give away - Darlene Schacht's new book!!!!

All this week I will be running a give away - I have 5 copies of Darlene Schacht's brand new book - 'The Virtuous Life of a Christ-centred Wife' - on PDF to give away to 5 wonderful readers! 




Darlene - who writes at timewarp wife.com - and is one of my favourite bloggers, describes her book as follows on her blog:

The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife is written in the format of an 18-part study for daily or weekly reflection. Not only is it a powerful tool for personal growth, it’s also an ideal study-guide for small groups!

Each lesson leads you through one virtue at a time, offering you applicable and inspiring ways for a wife to grow closer to God and her husband. The virtues discussed are these: 
• Purity

• Self-control

• Love
• Diligence
• Patience
• Kindness
• Humility
• Faith
• Forgiveness
• Joy
• Passion
• Radiance
• Encouragement
• Balance
• Goodness
• Trustworthy
• Courage
Virtue calls us to action. As we exercise each one, they bring our flesh in line with our Spirit.
It’s one thing to know what’s good, and it’s another to walk in obedience to the knowledge that we have received. Not always easy, but obedience to our faith is always worth the effort it takes!

I will be reviewing the book this week day by day, and can't wait to get into it - especially as it  fits so perfectly with our series on the Proverbs 31 woman. 

So how do you win one?? All you have to do is like this post on facebook and comment 'me please' to enter, or if you aren't on facebook you can feel free to comment here on the blog! This is a great book so it's definitely worth getting!!! 

Everyone who 'shares' this post can get an extra entry, and on Sunday I will randomly choose 5 winners!!! 

And if you are too impatient and can't wait - then you can buy Darlene's book at Amazon here

Keep shining xx 

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Healthy happy women :)

Thursdays are going to be the day when we look at what being a Proverbs 31 woman means in terms of our strength, health and physical fitness/energy. This is especially poignant for me because this is a big area I have struggled with for years. As I sit and write this I am overweight by about 5 stone (80 odd pounds) but this year I plan to get on top of that and hopefully these days will help!

When I think about my strength, which is what this section is about, I think about two different types of strength - physical energy and mental toughness. The latter we will be looking at as part of Friday's 'loving God with all your mind' topics. But physical energy is a very good measure of how we are doing health-wise. 



At the moment I feel useless when it comes to this. I have zero physical energy to do anything, never mind to do any type of exercise. I don't have the energy to play with the boys outside during the summer, or to run after them as we mothers do in the winter. I don't have the energy to be the sort of wife I want to be with my husband (ahem - you all know what I mean here!!) and I don't have the energy to be the woman God created me to be. 

That's what good health boils down to. God has given us a purpose and has a plan for our lives, but what happens when we are too tired, too fat, too thin or too sick to do what He wants us to do? We need to make sure that we take care of our bodies, not only so we have he energy to do God's Will, but because once we accept Him as Saviour, our bodies are the home of the Holy Spirit - and at the moment I imagine he's not that pleased with mine. 

In light of our verse for this week, we need physical health to be able to run our homes the way we should, to be a capable and priceless wife, serving our family as we serve The Lord.




One of my highlighted Elizabeth George quotes in the 'Proverbs 31' study is this -

"I began to apply my strength and energy to better things than lazing on the couch, than non-stop reading, than excessive television viewing. I wanted to be strong in character and in body. To be powerful in mind and in body. To be efficient, capable..."

This is my prayer for today - that God will help get me off the couch and moving - whether it's only to lift the load of laundry to put it in the machine, or to run a half-marathon - I pray He will help me train my body so that physically I can do everything He has for me. 

But for now - small steps!! Every day I am trying to walk / do 15 minutes exercise in an attempt to build my stamina and my energy levels. I'll be updating you as we travel through the chapter!!! 

How does your physical energy and stamina match up to the Proverbs 31 woman? Are you able to be the woman God created you to be or do you need a little help getting there? 

Keep shining xx 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Walking with the King

When I thought today whether Proverbs 31:10 had any effect on my walk with God, as I seek to love Him with all of my soul, I realised I had to take stock of my relationship with my creator before I could answer.

I have been a 'born-again' 'Bible-believing' 'saved' Christian for over 25 years. Wow - that's a long time when you think about it!!! I gave my life to Jesus when I was 10 years old at a little children's meeting at a church run by my mum's cousin. I may have said it before, but I'm not sure if I was more afraid that Rev. Alan had asked me if I wanted to become a Christian than of going to hell, but whatever the reason I asked Jesus into my life, to forgive my sins and to guide me and help me for the rest of my life. 

I truly believe I made a proper decision for God that night - scared or not!! But I haven't grown as much as I would have expected if you'd asked me that night what my faith would look like nearly 27 years down the line. Over the last few weeks I have thinking about my level of self-discipline - basically I have none - and the fact that I am a naturally lazy person. This has made me complacent, only doing the bare minimum to get by, even in my spiritual life. 

So to give my whole to God - my heart, my soul, my strength, my mind - and to be the priceless woman that He created me to be is a challenge that I need. And when I say 'need' what I really mean is that for me this is a life or death issue. I am sick of just getting by - I long to thrive and grow to be more Christ-like every day. I need to let God take it all and do what He wants with it. I need this.

The Rend Collective Experiment have a song called 'Broken Bread', which includes these lines :



This is my prayer for this journey - that God will move me beyond my comfort level and far into His plan for my life. 

What do you want to do this year in terms of your walk with God? 
Keep shining xx 

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Being priceless...

Yesterday we looked at Proverbs 31:10 and had a little think about in what it meant (and didn't mean!) to be a priceless woman of God. So today I am going to think what it means in relation to my relationships with my family. 



Like most mothers out there I have lots of photos of my children and very few of me and my hubby. This may be for any number of reasons, but it also has something to do with the pain in the neck getting a picture of the two of us turns out to be! It's a long process - that usually involves banning the children from the area, entrusting one of them with the camera and, in this case, smiling while trying to get them to stay in one place and not chase each other down the waterfront! My life is never boring! 

As I look at photos of my family I am struck by how much I love them and how different they all are. My husband was the only one I chose - we met at school, started dating in university and got married at the end of his first year teaching. I chose him to be the person I would share my life with, and grow old with, God-willing. And it's not been without it's ups and downs, it's good times and it's tough times. We have both needed to forgive and be forgiven. We have both needed to be humble and make a decision to love no matter what. But 13 years later we are still going strong. 

My problem is when I think about being a 'priceless' wife or a 'virtuous' wife, I feel that I fall well short of the mark. I love looking at the book of Ruth - not only because of her amazing relationship with her mother-in-law, but because she is a wonderful example of a virtuous woman. She was hard-working, loyal, loving, committed. She had a tremendous strength in the midst of all the sadness she had to endure, and was willing to go the extra mile for those she loved. 

When I look at my life I realise I have a lot to do before he could describe me like that. I have been created to be my husband's help-meet. I am here to help him with everything he does - in work (I do all his admin), in raising the boys, and to meet his needs - physically (food, clothing), mentally (giving him good conversation and not just waffling about a tv show or what all went wrong today), spiritually (lifting him to God when we talk about things that are worrying him etc) and sexually (ahem!! - in the way only a wife can). I want to meet all his needs so he feels truly loved and cared for - and to keep our house as somewhere he can rest and have a haven from any outside worries or pressures. 

That's what I want.... but at the moment that's not exactly what I have. I fall short because I'm human and because sometimes I allow my kids or my work or my hobbies - yes even church things - to creep up and come before him in the pecking order, giving them so much more time, effort and care. I need to refocus on him this year so that he can say without a doubt that I am his joy and a gift from God (Proverbs 19:14).

My aim this week is to truly put him first (after God of course!) and to show him how amazing I think he is. I want him to feel safe, secure, loved and blessed by having me in his life, rather than frazzled, annoyed, frustrated or cursed!! I have so much influence in how our home feels, the atmosphere I create, and the peace I spread, and I pray that this week (and from now on) he will walk in after a hard day's work and notice that God is at work in our home :)

What special things will you be doing to show your husband you are a priceless and virtuous wife? 
Keep shining xx 

Monday, 13 January 2014

A godly woman is priceless....




And so begins the study on the Proverbs 31 woman - that woman that we all love to hate but wish we could be more like. I love studying her and listening to sermons about her - she is such an inspiration and I know that she has a lot to teach me. But I needed a little help, so I have been going through it with the assistance of Courtney Joseph's (from Good Morning Girls and Women Living Well) wonderful ebook 'The Proverbs 31 Woman: One Virtue at a Time' and Elizabeth George's 'Discovering the Treasures of a Godly Woman'. So let's have a look at what this verse says...

"Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies."
Proverbs 31:10

The first thing I did when I read this verse was look up the definitions of the key words. Sometimes I think we read things and forget how powerful certain words can be. When I looked up 'virtuous' it says -


"1.  Having or showing virtue, especially moral excellence: led a virtuous life.
2.  Possessing or characterised by chastity; pure: a virtuous woman." 


And 'capable' says -

"Having ability, efficient and able to do a task"

And 'noble' -

"Having or showing qualities of high moral character, 
such as courage, generosity, or honour" 


Reading these definitions I can start to understand why this woman is so rare and precious! There is so much in this first verse, never mind the rest of the chapter! For this verse Courtney has a list of things a Proverbs 31 wife DOES NOT do - and when I read through Courtney's list I physically cringed. There are more things on that list that I do than I would feel comfortable admitting. There is so much about me that I need to work changing with God's help. I can do nothing without Him, and I think that's obvious from reading the list!! But for the sake of openness and accountability, my top 3 that I need to work on are (in order of the list!) :

She does not mope around and complain about her housework... Oops :( I don't know about you but I still hate housework, even if it is blessing my family!!

She does not overspend and put her family into debt.. While I don't really put us into debt I do have an awful habit of spending money that we don't have and wanting to spend when we can't. :(

She does not spend her days doing...texting, web surfing, playing Candy Crush and watching tv.... And the list goes on - I am a great procrastinator :(

This is going to be a challenging study!! We've only introduced the woman and already I am feeling like a failure, but then I realised that this isn't a bad thing - after all, I can only be the woman God created me to be when I am walking with Him and doing it in His strength. I am praying that this series will encourage us all to walk closer to our Father and shine for the King. 

A little point - both the study books I am using are books I enjoyed reading and have gotten a lot from. I wasn't asked to share these books, I'm just telling you about them in case you want to follow along! Elizabeth George's book can be bought online or at any Christian bookshop and Courtney Joseph's ebook can be downloaded as a free gift when you subscribe to her amazing blog - womenlivingwell.org

Keep shining.... 

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Focus....

"I will not fight You - take me past the line that my heart draws 
I will not fight You - take me beyond the laziness of my thoughts
I will not fight - lead me further than I've gone before
I will not fight You - I'm abandoned to Your call
Your will done Your way..."

'Broken Bread' by Rend Collective 

I have listened to this song so much today. I love it when God talks to me - and even better when He uses several sources to make His point. Everything so far this year has been leading me to this -

• to focus my life on God 
• to give my priorities and plans over to God
• to put Him first and to actually keep Him there
• to make sure that every part of my life has been given to Him - not just the easy bits
• to make sure that God is in charge of my marriage, my parenting, my housekeeping and all the messy bits of my life that I prefer to hide from Him 
• to go beyond doing the bare minimum in my life with His help and live beyond my expectations

From the new GMG study, which is even called 'Intentionally Focused', to the music I'm listening to, to the books I'm reading (like Courtney's book 'Women Living Well'),  to the sermons in church, to the conversations with friends... Everything is reminding me that this has to be my focus this year. 






I have always tried to 'shine' but what use is shining to the world when the people close to me - especially my husband and children - are getting the rough and the chaos, the clutter and the moods? True my blog is called 'Shine for the King' but I need to remember that that needs to start at home, where my husband is my first priority, as I seek to love him and submit to him biblically, and my children are my first disciples, soaking up whatever I show them. I need to make sure I'm getting it right and they are seeing humble, loving mother who loves God and exhibits patience, kindness and the rest of the fruits of the Spirit rather than an old bag who shouts, screams and generally is unpleasant to be around. 

So as we start looking at Proverbs 31 this week, I'll be spending particular time on the sections relating to how the verses should impact my family life and my walk with God. I'm doubly excited to be starting on Monday now - and I am praying expecting God to do almighty things in all of our lives this year!

Keep shining xx 

Monday, 6 January 2014

This year I plan to love God....


"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul 
and with all your strength and with all your mind."
Luke 10:27a




There is a reason that is the first key verse of 2014 for me. 
This year I plan to be different. 
This year I plan to practice what I preach and actually focus on putting God first. 
This year I want to be 'Intentionally Focused' in every part of my life. 
This year I plan to give God my all.

Now I am under no illusions that it will be easy, or that I won't have periods where I fail miserably, but I know that as long as I keep the verse above at the forefront of my mind, that I will always get right back up and start all over again. 

To help me to do this, and to help me to focus, I am going to be working my way through Proverbs 31:10-31 a verse at a time and really unpacking how I can be a Proverbs 31 woman in my everyday life. I know she is precious, but what does that mean for me? I know she gets up while it is still dark - do I really have to do that? 

I am so excited to be looking at this but sometimes it can be very overwhelming. So I thought about all the different areas of my life and each week we'll look at the verse in the context of:

Monday - generally 
Tuesday - my heart - looking at the family relationships around me - my marriage & my parenting
Wednesday - my soul - looking at how it impacts my walk with God
Thursday - my strength - I battle with my weight so I'll be looking at this
Friday - my mind - how the verse helps to transform my mind and attitudes

And then at the end of each week I want to look at the second part of the verse - 

"And love your neighbour as yourself"
Luke 10:27b

Saturday - how the verse in question inspires me to help my neighbour

I hope you will get as much out of this wee series as I am hoping to. I can't wait to get started! This week will be an introduction, and every so often we'll be leaving this format for some fun and mayhem! 

Keep shining xx 

Saturday, 4 January 2014

And even more books!!!!

This is the second half of my book list for this year. I'm so excited to get hold of some of these books - and every month I'll be posting one of them as a book review so I hope you'll join in and tell me your thoughts too.

Ok so back to the list...

8. Anything by Jennie Allen - I read this last summer as part of the GMG programme but I want to read it again as I got so much out of it the first time.


9. Undaunted by Christine Caine




10. Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson - another one I've read but need to re-read again and again.... I love these two women - they are great writers but are also so real. 





11. For Keeps / Here We Come by Chautona Havig - I read the first one in the 'Aggie's Inheritance' series and couldn't put it down!! It was an amazing story (fiction) that had me laughing and crying and shouting out in glee!! And even gave me some wonderful tips for handling my boys on a bad day!! It's taken me a while but I'm determined to finish the series this year! 





12. That's My Son / That's my Teenage Son by Rick Johnson - it's no surprise that these are on my list when you consider my family is made up of 4 boys - one of which is going to become a teenager at the end of 2014. Looking forward to these :)





13. What's so Amazing About Grace? By Philip Yancey - one I have always wanted to read but never got around to...





14. One of Beth Moore 's books - but I haven't decided which one yet!!! I have read snippets from several and I am excited to have several on my kindle, but if you have any suggestions as to which one I should read first, then let me know!!!

So that's my list - we'll see how I get on!!
Keep shining xx 

Friday, 3 January 2014

Books glorious books

One of the blogs I love to follow is written by Joy Forney - she's a missionary and has 5 kids. I think I identify with her because I have 4 kids and she is the same age as me, but I have to admit that sometimes it's hard to look at all of the wonderful things she is doing for God and the amazing things she does with her family without feeling a little jealous or as if I am not achieving my potential for Him. But that's not what this post is about!!! We'll maybe deal with that a little later in the year :)

She posted a list of the books (here) she hopes to read this year and it got me thinking. I read - a lot!! And I own A LOT of books!! Anyone who knows me knows that at some stage in every conversation come the words 'I once read...' or 'I have a book about that...' :) I am a bit of a book-aholic but some of my books aren't the most productive and I skim read quite a lot.

My list of 'good' books read last year is pitiful - and most of them were read either in the wonderful wee book club I'm a member of (love those girls!!!) or with GMG during the summer. The list was especially pitiful when compared to the list of romance novels I read - and not all of them of the good Christian variety, but that's something I aim to change this year. 

So here is the first half of my list of books I want to read this year - and I'm totally thrilled to share it with you. There are a couple that I have read before but NEED to read again - more slowly this time! (And of course there are 14 for 2014!!) 

1. Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph - this is one that I need to read again - much more slowly - it's that good! And Courtney is hosting a book reading plan on her blog 'Women Living Well' starting on 13th Jan. can't wait to join in!




















2. The 4 Seasons of Marriage by Gary Chapman




3. Being Ok With Where You Are by Stacey Thacker




















4. Sex Savvy by J. Parker (oh la la!!)




5. Impact My Life by Elisa Pullian




6. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (an oldie but a goodie!!) 




7. The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren  - this is the one I've started already because it's an issue I struggle with, so you may well hear a lot about it this year!! 



The next seven will be posted tomorrow! What are you reading this year? 
Keep shining xx 



Thursday, 2 January 2014

Goals, lists and even more lists...

Every year I make some marvellous 'New Year Resolutions' - and every year I have totally forgotten about them by the end of January! And my lists are always made up of things that aren't even quantifiable - you know like 'shout less at the boys' or 'eat cleaner food' or the good old 'get better organised'! I'm so bad at these that I even started a '101 things to do in 1001 days' list, thinking that if I had longer to complete my 'would like to do' list I might actually complete it! But alas, every time it hit 6 months in I forget to record things, forget to do things and end up writing a completely new list altogether!!

So this year I am going to do things a little differently! This year I am combining my two loves and writing one list of 14 things that I would like to see happen this year. They will all be things that are easily crossed off and will be things that I don't normally do - that have to be organised or I have to put special effort into. It's time to stop thinking and start doing... And hopefully my list will reflect that! 




I will still my hopes, plans and dreams for this year - given to God to sift through and see which ones are in His will for my life, and I am giving my whole year to Him - for His will to be done His way and in His time - but having a wee list is such fun!! (I do love crossing things off!!!) 





So whether you make proper lists and complete them all, or make undo-able lists and feel like a failure when you lose track of them, have a wonderful New Year and make sure you are doing it ALL for the King.

Keep shining xx 

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year!!!!

Happy New Year to every one of you!!!

A little New Year poem for you xx


Keep shining xx