Thursday, January 28, 2016

My Favorites...Online and Off

Now that a new year has begun and we've settled into the winter slump, I thought I'd share some of my favorite on-line hangouts, as well as a book or two.

I love listening to podcasts when I'm walking, driving, or any number of daily activities. Podcasts can be educational, enlightening, and most of all entertaining. The hosts become your virtual friends in this crazy, noisy world we live in today. Most of the ones I listen to have been recommended from bloggers I trust. Clicking on the titles will take you directly to the shows.

~My Favorite Podcasts~

This show has three co-hosts who rotate with Megan. They cover every topic under the sun from books, parenting, cooking, self-care, pop culture, and my favorite topic, personality types. They are fun, positive women in this R-Rated world we find ourselves in. You would not have to worry about young ears if they happened to be in the car with you or come into the room while you're folding laundry.

The newest podcast on my playlist has jumped to the #2 spot. The author of the popular blog, Anne Bogel, who writes at Modern Mrs. Darcy, just launched her own podcast on January 10th. If you love books and reading you'll want to subscribe. Her voice alone is worth the listen. It has a soothing quality that has me checking my downloads for new episodes. Her blog, as well as the podcast have the ability to entice a non-reader to make a trip to their local library. 

If you're interested in learning about personality types via Myers-Briggs, you'll love this podcast. It has taught me invaluable lessons about the wiring of my brain. I've been able to use the information in everyday living.

The Simple Show is another voice that speaks on many topics such as parenting, books, writing, and traveling, while striving to live a simpler, uncluttered lifestyle. She has excellent guests that help make this one of the top podcasts on the web. This is another kid friendly podcast.

~My Favorite Books of 2015~

2015 was a great year for books...but is there ever a bad year? Not for me. I could bore you with my endless list, but these are the ones that stood out and beg to be read again and again.

My number one book would have to be Wild in the Hollow by Amber C. Haines. Her writing is like medicine for my soul. She has a way of communicating through the written word that helped the broken places in my life find healing. She writes with authenticity and from the raw pain of God's redemption and restoration of her broken life. Her life is a testimony of God's faithfulness and love when we least expect or deserve it.

Simply Tuesday was released in August of 2015. I began reading it right away, but it's a book that needs to be read slowly and thoughtfully because of the nuggets of truth in every single page. The author, Emily P. Freeman, is one of the deepest thinking people I've ever encountered. In this, her fourth book, she writes on finding space for your soul to breathe. She calls us to a life of deep devotion to Christ, of sitting in His Presence, of being present in the ordinary days of life. I can't recommend this book with enough stars. But don't hurry through it, you don't want to miss a single word.

Another book on my favorites list that had me gushing about its content is Emily Whaley and her Charleston Garden. Emily and co-writer William Baldwin penned a lovely book about gardening, life in the south, and all things Emily Whaley. I loved this little book so much I drove myself to Charleston for the day to see the 30 x 100 foot patch of ground they wrote about. The private garden was alive and well many years after her death in 1988. She described life in the low country of South Carolina before it became a vacation destination. Her depiction of those years left me wanting to read more of this fascinating woman and her life in Charleston. 

I'll stop for now. You're either on overload from too much information, or you can't wait to check out these great books and podcasts.  

Until next time...


Friday, January 15, 2016

Lessons from a Sheep...The Secret to Contentment

Do you know what it's like to live an "I want" lifestyle?

If you're not this kind of person, you know someone who is; the kind of person who is never satisfied with what they have or who they are.

We all have some degree of want in us. If we didn't, we'd lay around like fat cats all day waiting for our next meal to be presented on a silver platter.

God planted a seed of motivation in our DNA so we'd rise from our beds each morning and face the day, even when our want may have went somewhere else. There's another kind of want that leads to discontent, that usually leads to trouble, that leads to wandering...far.

I was reading in Jesus Calling, "Be content to be a simple sheep, listening to my voice and following me..."

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, 
He leads me beside quiet waters, 
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for His names' sake.
Psalm 23:1-3

I've been in want in my life. There were times I didn't know where food and shelter were coming from. But, He always provided.

There are few things the body and soul really need: clothing, shelter, love, and purpose.

Have you found yourself caught in the hustle of life, the hustle of more and better? Are you discontent in all you do, seeking the "I want" lifestyle and finding there is no peace, no satisfaction?

May I suggest the lifestyle of a simple sheep? There is quiet, there is calm, even when trouble is nearby. The Shepherd will care for your needs and you will never be in true want. He will make you lie down in green pastures and restore your soul.

I wouldn't mind a rest in a nice green spot, and a little soul restoration sounds mighty pleasant.

And then...He sets my wandering feet back on the right path. 

Life may not be easy, but there's peace, even in the midst of a storm. 

It begins with listening; taking the focus off yourself and your wants. The end result is your wants will be satisfied. He promised and He never breaks a promise. You'll wake up one day in the midst of that green pasture and realize your wants have changed, and it began with being a contented sheep.