Friday, April 25, 2014

Post-nesting place bliss

I recently wrote a review on a wonderful book that I have reviewed, and I'm excited to say that the effects of that book are still with me. In it, she talks about finding beauty in where you are NOW, and that decorating your home, or making a house a home for that matter, don't have to be expensive. 

I recently perused the shelves of the local craft store looking for SOMETHING to do...and I settled on some paper mache letters that I have painted and glittered for the girlies. I'll have to share a picture at some point...

It's amazing to see the transformation of a room with just a few details. But what's even more amazing is the transformation of a room when we *feel* different about it. Sure, the details can be lovely, but if you take time to love the space you're in, nothing can trump that! 
Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: The Nesting Place: It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful

The Nesting Place: It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful
Myquillyn Smith
Rating: Five stars
Where to begin? This was one of the easiest and most enjoyable reads I've had the pleasure of reviewing thus far. It gets a five/five star rating and I highly recommend it. The end. 
...Just kidding. Y'all know I'm long-winded ;)
While perusing the BookLook available books I came across this one. Since I literally breathe anything decorating-related, I was thrilled to find this book. I was in for a great surprise, as this is so much more than a "how to make your house pretty" book. It really took me by surprise.
Since I apparently live in a cave with no TV and a limited understanding of the potential of the interwebs (did I say that right?), I was unaware that the author of this book also runs a popular blog with lots of followers and amazing decorating/home ideas and advice. This book chronicles her journey from house to home, literally, 13 different places of residence. It also includes tips for renters, tips on choosing which type of home you'd like to create, and of course, beautiful pictures of her amazingly beautiful lived-in home. *swoon*
In addition to all the money-saving tips, the author suggests finding beauty in where you are and not living for "the next house". It's okay to make mistakes, it's okay to have mismatched pillows, and it's okay to not live in perfection. What matters is making a home where you and the people you love feel comfortable. She speaks about embracing things in all their majesty, from ugly carpet to cookie cutter plastic. There really is beauty in everything, you just have to try and see it. 
Hi, my name is Christina, and I live in a crappy rental.
That's why this book really struck a chord with me. Coming from a fellow renter really meant something to me, she understood the plight of the everyday renter...not being able to do whatever you want with a space, maybe not having the resources or not wanting to spend the money on someone else's house, I found this particularly useful for me. Her suggestions on decorating for your family and using the space that you have were brilliant-especially when it comes to having a husband who is hesitant to spend any money because we won't see the return. The pictures were a real inspiration-she uses things like logs and plates to decorate her home-something I can definitely do. The best part about the book was that this all seemed so doable!
But like I said, this is so much more than a "how to" book...
For me, it spoke about contentment. I have been convicted of having a jealous or greedy heart before (paper my post on paper blinds), but lately with all of my friends buying gorgeous homes or moving to places where they have, you know, trees...I've been really discontent with my situation. I longed for a place to call my own, to make my own garden and pick out my own flooring and paint. The author speaks of her epiphany-when a famous stranger died-but this book led to my own personal epiphany that home is what we make it...I need to examine myself and discover what type of environment I'd like to create for my family. I've envisioned myself in a comfortable, functional, yet well-decorated home, and I certainly can't do that if I'm living in "nexthouseland". 
All in all, a great book, a fantastic and easy read, and very easy to relate to. I give it five stars and I highly recommend you go over and pre-order the book here!
Disclosure: I was provided this book in exchange for my opinion. All opinions expressed here are my own, awesome opinion!  
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Random musing: God-led decisions

I recently read something on Facebook that said "The devil doesn't doesn't show up painted red and with pointy horns, he shows up as everything we've ever dreamed of". 

That, folks, is some SERIOUS food for thought...

Several years ago we made a decision to move from our cute little town to the place where my husband grew up. It was *not* a God-led decision, it was a decision we made based on money and promises from people who realistically, should have never had the power to make our decision for us. Oh, but our fear of disappointing those people ran so deep, even when we had second thoughts we went anyway. Soon, it seemed like all of our dreams were coming true. And then slowly, one after another, our dreams turned to dust...slowly dismantled, piece by piece, at the hands of S*tan. I'm sure of that, yes I am. 

Everything about this move, about what we were getting ready to do, what we had done, how blessed we seemed to be, seemed too good to be true. We were telling someone in our homegroup about how blessed we felt when they chimed in and said "Remember, S*atan can call you to things, too. He can tempt you. Always pray before a decision is to be made." At the time I was actually really put off by their comment, but that stuck at the back of my mind each time something happened. 

That stuck at the back of my mind when I realized that I had participated in more than likely irreparable damage to relationships with people I desperately wanted to be close to, all because of things I expected (and at times, was under the impression the way they were to be) when we moved. That stuck at the back of my mind when the rug was pulled from under us and my husband was laid off not one, not two, but three times in just four years. That stuck at the back of my mind when we were going through financial hard times and I was told that we were tens of thousands of dollars upside down in our house. And that stuck in my mind when we finally said "enough was enough" and we made the awful decision to file for bankruptcy. Six years...six years of damage because I believe we were fooled...we were deceived. 

That six years represented more valleys in my life than I can even count. We hit some of our lowest of lows because of that decision. And I'm not saying all was lost because we made this decision, but I can say that we are now wiser and have grown from the experiences. After all, maybe God's hand *was* in it and we had to experience all of that in order to be where we are now. 

But, how do you discern between God's plan and God's promises versus the temptations of s*atan? What to do when there lies an opportunity in front of you, something that again represents something amazing and means so much to you, but you're just not sure about it? I have some knee-mail to get to, it seems. 

Review: 4 Abundant Life

4 Abundant Life: 4 Biblical Truths to Experience a Life of Abundance
Drs. Eric and Joanna Oestmann
Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Everyone would love to live a life of abundance, am I right? At least, an abundance of the good stuff in life, like love, prosperity, happiness, etc. I know I would! That sort of attitude is what really intrigued me about this book, the title itself implies that the Lord would like us to have a life of abundance and provides Biblical truths to back up that assumption. I was really excited to read this book, but ultimately it only got three and a half stars. Why?Well, I'll get to that ;)

The book is broken down in to four sections which serve as the four Biblical truths to living an abundant life:
1) We are annointed to prosper
2) at an appointed time
3)when we use our talents and gifts
4) for the glory of Him

Each section goes in to further explain the meaning of the title of the section and uses scripture to back up what is being said. The chapters are rather comprehensive and give the reader the opportunity to probe for deeper meaning/thinking, as well as ask the reader questions that allow the person to apply it to their life. Sure, it's nice to have things spelled out for me, but I'm so much more a hands-on person...I want to know how what I just read will affect me and help me in my life, so the recap section at the end of the chapters was just wonderful. There are other sections and probing questions that are conducive to a greater understanding of the book and help really make the reader think. 

However, I did give the book only 3.5 stars for a reason. The first reason is because the authors refer to another work/religious figure that I simply cannot endorse and will not mention here. It's enough for me to take a tick out of the score, but is likely not a big issue for other people. My personal preference and in my own opinion, this person's "works" could've been left out of the book and nothing would have been missed from it. 

The second reason is because the book felt slow to start and really had a hard time keeping my interest at times. I don't like a boring doesn't have to be "exciting" by any means, but it does need to be engaging. I did not feel that this was as engaging as it had potential to be. 

Nonetheless, I would definitely recommend this book to a friend, simply because it *does* explain, in a rather effective way, some great Biblical ideas about living an abundant life that is outside of maybe what "mainstream" abundance looks like...we're talking Biblical abundance, and I think there's always something to be said for books that do explore ideas from a more Biblical perspective. 

If you're interested in this book, you can purchase it on Amazon!

Notice: This book was provided to me for free in exchange for my honest opinion. The thoughts expressed here are my honest thoughts on the book...