Friday, June 28, 2013

What I hope you learned...

This Sunday will be my last to teach the Ladies Sunday School class that I have been leading for the last 3 years as my family will be moving on soon. I have learned so much by teaching and I hope they have been blessed by my teaching as well. Here are a few thoughts I will share with my ladies as they look forward to the next journey of Bible learning they will embark on: 

If you learned nothing else from my teaching, I hope you learned this: 

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the foundation of our faith and must always be the focus and motivation of everything in our lives.

Some other important thoughts I hope you remember:

      1. The main jobs of the local church are: worship, discipleship, evangelism, fellowship, & prayer – we need to be involved together in these things.

      2.  God’s Word is our standard – we must test everything we read & hear to see if it agrees with Scripture. (Even our favorite speakers & authors)

     3.  God’s Word is our sword – whether we face temptation, conflict with others or the world, we must let God’s Word fight for us, not our own emotional reasoning. That means we have to read and know the Bible to apply it to our struggles.

     4.  True followers of Christ strive to obey the Ten Commandments – basically, love God and love others. This can only happen when we stop being selfish – stop worshipping ourselves, acting as though the world revolves around me, my wants and my plans.

 As you continue in Bible study, may the truth of God’s Word continue to mold and shape you to be more like Christ all the days of your life.
                                                                                                With all my love, Taryn

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Five Minute Friday: In Between

Five Minute Friday with Lisa-Jo Baker and hundreds of others. We write for five minutes. All on the same prompt. No extreme editing. No worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

In Between: The Summer House


We just sold our house. We bought a fixer-upper and put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into making it a beautiful home. My husband did almost all of the work himself and I did gallons of painting.

 But now it belongs to someone else and we are renting for the summer while we decide what is next for our family. It was hard to give up my house that we had worked so hard on. It's hard to move out of a comfortable situation into the unknown. It's hard to let go of the familiar for something strange and different. 
That's where my faith in the all-knowing, all-powerful, almighty God of the universe can make my hard human heart melt into hope and peace and joy at what He will bring into our lives next.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Isn't It Time for a Coffee Break

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After reading a book that defined and clarified my understanding of solidarity, it has been very helpful to follow up with a book that is extremely practical and shows me how to put Christian solidarity into practice by loving and encouraging those around me.

In her book, "Isn't it Time for a Coffee Break", Ameila Rhodes gives life lessons and personal examples to show how others often feel the same overwhelming burdens of life and that strong Christian relationships can support and encourage us. I love the subtitle of this book: "Doing Life Together in an All-about-me kind of World" because it really sums up the practical advice given in it's pages.

In chapter 2, Rhodes says we need people in our life that can provide us with H.E.L.P.: honesty, encouragement, love and prayer. Then, expounding on prayer, she gives examples of how to pray for your friends in different situations that I found extremely helpful.

In the next four chapters, Rhodes discusses four aspects of friendship that are vital to a healthy relationship: generosity, hospitality, forgiveness and unity. With each one, she clearly defines it in light of what the Bible says on the subject and gives personal examples of how it has benefitted her relationships. She also gives very creative and realistic suggestions on how to live out each aspect of Christian friendship.

Personally, Chapter 3 on generosity was one of my favorite parts of this book. Rhodes says, "Generosity pivots on the point where your ability meets somebody else's need." She then shares some creative ways her friends showed generosity, which inspired me to be more creative in that area as well.

This book would be great to use in a small group or Sunday School class that is looking to build unity and serve each other (there are even discussion questions at the end of each chapter). It is also great for personal study if you're looking for fresh ideas to grow in your friendships.

*Special thanks to Barbour Publishing, Inc. for sharing this book through for my honest review.

Moms, Daughters & Friendship

7th grade was my favorite year of school - all because I had the best group of friends that year. My family moved several times while I was growing up - so most of my friendships were short-term, but some of my best memories are of my friends from 7th grade.

The right friends can help a young girl excel and mature into the woman God wants her to be and the wrong friends can bring her down, ruin her family relationships and lead to a lifetime of hurt and bad choices.

As a mother of 3 girls - I want to encourage my daughters to not only choose good friends, but also know how to be a good friend.

The upcoming book, A Girl's Guide to Best Friends and Mean Girls by Dannah Gresh and Suzy Weibel and the companion guide Talking with your Daughter about Best Friends and Mean Girls are wonderful resources for moms and daughters to have open communication about friendship.

A Girl's Guide to Best Friends and Mean Girls is the next book in the Secret Keeper Girl Series and is an easy, fun read designed for girls ages 8-12. It's followed by a Bible study that is interactive, fun and perfect for personal or small group use. I especially liked how the book used examples from the life of Jesus when explaining how to deal with different friendship encounters, pointing to Jesus as the ultimate example for every area of life.
 However, I do wish the gospel was more clearly explained. Pointing girls to the facts that we are all sinners and are saved by the grace of God through Jesus Christ has to be the foundational relationship for understanding how to approach any other relationships.

Talking with Daughter about Best Friends and Mean Girls is a book designed for moms who want to be intentional in talking with their daughters about friendships.This mom companion guide, with 8 fun dates, is full of specifics for moms who are unsure of  how/need a creative way to start the conversation. Although I can have candid conversations about anything with my girls without creating a whole event around it, I know lots of moms who would appreciate these suggestions on creating opportunities to get the point across.
Whether you use the date suggestions or not, make sure to take advantage of any opportunity to build trust and have open communication with your daughters about being a friend like Jesus.

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*Special thanks to Harvest House Publishers for allowing me to review these books through

Monday, June 24, 2013

Big love, small packages

Her children rise up and call her blessed... Proverbs 31:28 (ESV)

After reading Gloria Furman's book Glimpses of Grace (see my review here), I'm trying to be more intentional about seeing God's grace in my daily life and making the most of every opportunity to exalt the gospel in my home.

One area I'm working on is paying attention to the details of my kids' lives. When you're home all day every day with your kids, sometimes it's easy to assume, ignore, or even miss those incredible moments of love and appreciation they show and then feel unloved and under-appreciated when you have a bad day. Sometimes, big love comes in small packages. So this all happened in one day:

My pre-teen daughter tells me about the boy she likes.
My creative 7 year old sent me on a treasure hunt to find secret messages- a tiny slip of paper that said "I love you"
My 6 year old grabbed my face with his chubby little hands just to look into my eyes.
My 3 year old picked the fuzzies off her wool blanket and brought them to me, "I have fuzzy for you, Mommy!"

Thank you Lord for my children that love, trust, and honor me - what a blessing they are and worth investing my time in. Help me remember that, especially when we're having a rough day.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Rhythm

Five Minute Friday with Lisa-Jo Baker and hundreds of others. We write for five minutes. All on the same prompt. No extreme editing. No worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.Unscripted. Unedited. Real.


The rhythm of our life right now is hurry up and wait...

My kids despise this idea, but as I recall, so did I as a child -
The kids are all ready for church, but mom is still doing her make-up.
They want a snack, but we just had lunch 20 minutes ago.
Little one has to go potty, but there are 10 ladies already in line at the ballgame.

Those moments seem like an eternity for the kids. For me, sometimes waiting on God feels like forever. Waiting for a new job for my husband. Waiting for a the right place to live. Waiting for...

Praise God, He provides a new rhythm when I get ants in my pants...Find peace in Me, my child, wait for Me, it will be worth it!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Glimpses of Grace

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I'm a homemaker who wants to honor God by loving my husband and children and managing my home well. There is a wealth of information and products out there that promise to help me do just that. If you are anything like me, you probably have several Pinterest boards full of ideas or have read a dozen books and magazines to get a plan together.

My problem is I never stick with my plan for very long! Why? Because, as Gloria Furman shows in her book, Glimpses of Grace, my real problem is not my plan, but how I view my life in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In Part 1, Gloria explains our foundation in the mundane. The gospel is clearly spelled out, not in, as she says, "smurf" or "Christianese", but the basic truths are laid out: the fall of man, the substitutionary death of Christ, and our need to respond in repentance and faith.

Gloria also helps us understand some key ideas to really grasp the grace that is offered to us:
The Gift of God is God himself not our stuff.
God's grace in the mundane is experienced in living daily life to reflect His glory.
Our relationship with God is not just during a quiet time, it includes all of our life.
Salvation is marvelous and exciting, not boring!

Part 2 is all about experiencing the miraculous in the mundane:
This is not the "believe and achieve" or "reach for the stars " kind of fluff that I think most moms are tired of hearing. Gloria challenges us to take a look at life through the lens of the gospel - every attitude, responsibility, and motive. Our friendships, contentment, organization - all have to be rooted in the gospel of Jesus to be honoring to God. Gloria really addresses our heart/sin issues, not just the surface issues. She does so by explaining deep theological truths - but don't worry, she's a good mom and has cut those meaty truths into bite-size, easy-to-digest pieces seasoned with personal examples.

Warning: this book is for serious homemakers only! Don't pick up this book unless you're ready to have your worldview challenged. The point is not to get you to change your actions, but to change your way of thinking. Glimpses of Grace will stretch you in how you view your everyday in light of the gospel of Christ. Thank you, Gloria, for reminding me of God's grace in my daily life as a homemaker!

*Special thanks to Crossway for providing this book for review through 

For more of Gloria, check her out at Domestic Kingdom 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

52 Things Husbands Need From Their Wives

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With 14 years of hard work invested, praise the Lord, my husband and I have a great marriage. However, I can always use some encouragement of specific ways I can love my man better. In his book, 52 Things Husbands Need From Their Wives, Jay Payleitner, gives women some candid and straightforward ways to be the wife their husband needs.

In the introduction, Jay introduces himself as a new friend and he seems to know how to talk to women by building a relationship with the reader right off the bat. He continues to build trust as he starts with easy topics and saves the harder ones for last. But by the end, he's gained the full trust of the reader, so he can address those difficult topics with honesty without losing the reader.

Each chapter is very short, to the point and very practical. Although some chapters seem repetitive or should be combined, I see the point of keeping them short and maybe we needed to hear that twice. Some of the chapters that were helpful and encouraging to me were:
"To Be Careful about Scheduling Expectations"
"To Give Him Time to Decompress after Work"
"To Be Flattered When You're on His Mind"
"To Appoint Him as Project Co-Manager"
"To Realize that His Anger is Not Really Directed at You"
"To Applaud His Tenacious Focus on the Task at Hand"

I also like the takeaway and quote/scripture at the end of each chapter. Without "preaching" at you, Jay uses Scripture and biblical thinking to back up his points. This book has a very friendly and encouraging tone. I would recommend this book to newly wed wives and wives that are struggling in their marriages because understanding these things about your husband may prevent and/or explain much of the conflict that occurs in marriage.

*Special thanks to Harvest House Publishers for providing this book for review through