The Big and Little Coloring Devotional was a HUGE hit with my junior book reviewer, Brooklyn Heath. Lots and lots of thumbs up! Here's why:
Things to know:
Y'all, this is a good one. It's presents a fun, interactive way to unplug and have meaningful, quality time with your little.
5 stars, for sure!
Regardless of what you believe, a collective moment of silence can be a powerful space.
History echoes what happens when human beings stop talking—together.
"The silence is alive with the possibility of prophecy."~~17th Century Quakers
"Five little minutes only. Five silent minutes of national remembrance."~~Edward George Honey
"No matter what the actual origin may be, moments of silence have been used to unite people in communal reflection and mourning and in appreciation and gratitude for the service given by those who have fallen."~~A Brief History of the Moment of Silence
Dating back hundreds of years or more, being quiet together is moving and uniting and potentially healing.
The Quakers and Native Americans—people groups with
vastly different belief systems, traditions, governments—worshipped silently together, showing respect but not sacrificing their beliefs. This tradition eventually spread, unifying groups of diversity expected to participate together without necessarily agreeing.
Whether it be due to an unnecessary, vague social media post leaving the reader with more questions than answers, or a disgraceful public display of mud-slinging and name-calling that would put a kindergarten class to shame, or a healthcare worker who felt it beneficial to let me know she was ill as both hands are in my mouth—sometimes words, typed or spoken, are not your friends.
Think of what we teach our children.
Just because you can doesn't mean you should.
Just because it's permissible doesn't mean it's advisable.
Just because you have an opinion doesn't mean you should share it.
I don't wish for world peace.
Nope. Not today. Today I have more pressing concerns.
Today, I wish for dead air. I wish for global stillness, speechlessness—a moment of hush-hush for every man, woman, and child.
I can't tell you what to do, but I can share what I ask myself before tip-tapping away at my keyboard or opening my mouth.
Am I speaking life into someone or am I injecting noise that could potentially drowned out what that individual needs to hear?
Does what I say encourage or does it discourage?
Am I seeking truth or agenda?
Should a social media post be a conversation?
Should a conversation be a prayer?
Should a prayer be a confession?
An old, wise king once wrote, "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion."
In the silence, I pray for the desire to understand.
Moving with Scribbles,
I'm in the middle of a season of writing, editing, and speaking. Therefore, I am pressing pause on Wellness Wednesdays and on The 30 Ways to Be Series. I will resume both, tentatively, the first of the year. I will, of course, continue to publish book reviews and samples of other writings.
Thank you for following my scribbles,
To be ambitious is often thought of as negative with connotations of selfishness and greed. Not so. Ambition is a desire to achieve.
Consider the synonyms:
The latin origin, abmire, means to go around or canvassing for votes. Interesting...
In my experience, ambition begins with a very small flame. A flame that is either fanned, smoldered, or extinguished. If fanned, then it must be controlled and focused.
So, how do we do that?
Living Fit: Make Your LIfe Count by Pursuing a Healthy You by Ronnie W. Floyd is an easy read for a someone new to the faith and a simple, valuable tool to add to any believer's toolbox. It's not a diet book and it's not catapulting you onto a treadmill. What it does do is break down what living fit actually means: spiritually, physically, relationally, financially, and emotionally. Each section continues with sub-topic chapters.
208 pages and 20 chapters.
Pastor Floyd backs up his writing with strong Scriptural references, encouraging his readers to live life with a purpose, to not take life for granted.
He encourages the reader to NOT compartmentalize fitness but to look at yourself as a whole person with spirituality at the foundation.
Much of this book was a review for me, but I did find the reminder and the structure meaningful. It's one you can continue to reference throughout your walk as we all need moments to rewind and recall what it means to be fit.
My favorite one liner is a poignant reminder as to what really matters.
"Caution: Your identity and future cannot be determined by a job, title, or any human achievement." pg. 16
Having no uncertainty in what you can do.
To be Bold.
To be Assured.
To be Prepared.
To be Confident.
All qualities in somewhat you would want to follow.
How does one become truly confident?
Ahhh, and therein lies the question, right?
Because what plagues our society in 2018 is false confidence. Not the opposite of confidence, but it's puffed-up imposter. Whereas confidence has both feet planted on the ground, false confidence has oftentimes checked out of reality.
He that knows not, and knows not that he knows not is a fool. Shun him.
True confidence stems from being self-aware, fully embracing strengths and weaknesses. It is the ability to leverage yourself and others based on evidence. It's looking I don't know in the unblinking eyeball and acting on gaining knowledge.
It speaks volumes with quiet tones.
It's based on indisputable truth.
It's a firm hand on ego's power.
It's head knowledge plus in-the-trenches preparation.
It can be tested against the past.
(Thank you social media contributors.)
Do you want to be confident? Yes. We all do. Know your source. Then,
There's a 44-day span during the year when my family celebrates our wedding anniversary and all the birthdays. Monday ended our season of milestone hurrah with the annual finale—my YaY for 365 more days on the planet. This year—44! I love it when numbers coincide, so inspiration set in and got me to thinking.
I'm so very grateful, as is Jeromy for the opportunity to wake up next to one another, hug our kids, and reminisce about our lives.
And on that note, I've thought about my birthday wishes—past and present—especially how they've morphed over the last couple of decades.
Young and in love, married at 21 (Lord, that does seem young, right?), we didn't need much. Good thing because we were first-year teachers brimming with hope, affection, and fearlessness—yet at the very beginning of learning what it looked and felt like to live on a budget and save with a purpose. No matter. The unicorns and butterflies still flew around our heads when we gazed into one another's eyes. Bump the gifts. I had him. (Cue teenage gagging in the background.)
Fast forward ten years—I'm a mama with a baby on one hip and a toddler on the other. My husband and I still gazed at one another, but now it was more from shell-shock than passion. Exhaustion had seeped into our very bones. New business. New baby. New baby again. We were battle buddies bound together by Jesus and the hardcore will to survive. The unicorns and butterflies? See ya.
What did I want for my birthday during those harrowing days? Time. Alone. Walking around Target with a cup of coffee. Didn't matter that my wallet held nothing but hand wipes and animal crackers. Seriously. Just let me be a zombie and stare into space as I walk unencumbered through the aisles.
Now I see those mamas. I can spot them. I want to walk up to them and give them a hug, whisper happy birthday to you, and promise them it will get better. But that would be weird, so I don't.
Fast forward to now. What do I want for my birthday? Financially we are in a better position. Our kids are independent creatures, walking the halls of the high school as I walk the aisles of Target with my cup of coffee—alone.
My wish? Time. Time with my husband. Time with my friends. Time with my children. Just give me time. And I received it in abundance. A morning where we summon the unicorns and butterflies. An afternoon with friends, laughing about the antics of being in our forties. An evening listening to our freshman and sophomore chatter about their days. And with every blink, gratitude seeped into my bones.
Time is the one commodity we can't get back. Those tick-tocks are worth their weight in gold.
Let's not waste them, Y'all.
I'm taking a break from Wellness Wednesday and the 30 Ways to Be series to remember. Thank you for indulging this nostalgic mama.
Jeromy and I had been married seven years when his wise grandfather imparted truth. If you're going to have kids, get with it or you'll be too old to play with them.
So, we tried and we tried and we tried—for months;)
Not the most terrible time in the world. (Echoes of disgust from our teenagers ring in my ears.)
Finally, we were convinced help from the fertility specialist would be in order. Until I got the phone call. At school. In the hustle and bustle of a high school office. (Pre-cell phone era)
"You're not going to be needing that prescription."
Silence. I hung up the phone without bidding farewell to the nurse. She was probably used to shocked expectant mother syndrome. I walked to my classroom in a haze and waited for that last bell to ring. Then I drove to the high school where Jeromy taught/coached and got him out of wrestling practice under false pretenses to impart the news. We stared at one another for a few seconds and then hugged in the parking lot. Goal accomplished. We were pregnant.
Months of planning followed.
Zachary showed up 5 weeks earlier than he was supposed to and taught us that God's plans are not ours and we should probably get used to that.
Blessed with a healthy baby, we went home in two days.
TWO DAYS, y'all. I BEGGED the doctor to keep us one more day. After all, he was a preemie. A 6 pounds, 4 ounces preemie who displayed remarkable health, considering.
Postpartum depression set in. That's a whole other blog, book, series.
However. I got help and navigated through those early days. (Note: GET HELP.)
Back in the gym, determined to regain my figure, I was plugging right along. Then one day I went to get a glass of water and THAT FEELING came over me. You know the one. A little dizzy. A little nausea. A little pregnant.
Zachary was 4 months old.
We had a plan. Pie charts. Graphs. A budget. All the things.
Bada bing bada boom. Cue God's laughter.
13 months, almost to the day—our exclamation point in the form of a beautiful, healthy, hungry blue-eyed baby girl came on the scene.
Jeromy and Amanda plus Zach and Mack.
14 years ago.
And as we've navigated through everything from diapers to puberty, we have laughed, screamed, and cried. We are grateful. For every second, for every season, for every shift.
Happy Birthday, Mackenzie.
Thank you, Lord.
A leader who is inspirational draws people in through their words, and most importantly, their actions.
A vision is cast.
An element of the presentation resonates with the audience. A seed of belief is planted. That seed sprouts quickly and produces a burning in the belly that propels.
Outstanding. Now what?
There's a classic war movie based on the events of Pearl Harbor. As depicted, American pilots were challenged to fly bombers off the bow of aircraft carriers. Impossible. The guy in charge inspires them through his powerful words and work ethic. However. Inspiration did not catch fire after the speech. Inspiration did not catch fire after he rolled up his sleeves and worked alongside them. Inspiration caught fire when HE flew the plane off the ship. Proving it could be done. Showing them the impossible was indeed possible.
How does one influence others from a passive state to an active one for the vision to become a reality?
Here's what I have found through working with dozens of leaders:
People can practice what they preach,
Best foot forward,
Walk the Walk AND Talk the Talk,
Crafting every move.
And still, fall flat.
There's an element of inspiration that MUST transfer off the page and away from the megaphone into the day to day grind. To inspire in the real world is to flesh out expectations within walls. Not figurative walls. Literal places of business. An inspiring leader has to be willing to roll up crisp white sleeves and dirty them in pursuit of demonstrating pace and example—coming out on the other side whole, unimpaired, prosperous, and real.
Research successful leaders in the world of business, education, and politics. Were they inspiring to others? How did that inspiration come to life?
Verse: Proverbs 3:13-14
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.