Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The month of celebration ends (and a GIVEAWAY!)

Me, being the coffee bar afficianado, at our youth Christmas party
Christmas Day has come and gone.
Cookies were swapped.
We have a 5 year old now.
I'm 17ish weeks along in this pregnancy.
Friends got married this weekend and we got to play a part.
Tonight is New Years Eve.
It has been a crazy, wonderful, busy, intense, blessed, season of Holidays for us. 

To be honest with you - our reality is that all this crazy, blessed, fullness just continues on. We have a youth retreat this weekend, I'm starting up our Mom's playgroup at church again, Hubs will be traveling for conferences and appointments, and life goes on. I guess I could look at life as ONE BIG FAT CELEBRATION all the time :) Yea, I'll do that. 

Even during the busy, God has been good in allowing me some time in His word {even when I'm lazy and not making it a priority...to my shame} and a few extra minutes to read through some encouraging and helpful books. I always want to be a woman that is learning and growing - it's important to not get stagnant. 

To kick off a NEW year and another 12 months to learn and grow - I'm doing a different type of giveaway today and I hope you'll join in the fun. I have chosen three books that I think are read worthy and if you are chosen the winner you choose the one you want! All you need to do is leave a comment stating which book you'd like to WIN and why. Simple, eh? I'll choose the winner this weekend - so you have 3 days to enter. If you aren't familiar with how to comment, or, aren't a blogger yourself - just be sure to at least leave your name and email on your comment so I can connect with you. 

Here are the options....{drumroll}....

"Letters to Pastors Wives" Edited by Catherine J. Stewart
This is a book of compiled letters from women who have "gone before" if you will. Here is what Amazon says about it: 

"There is no right 'type' of pastors' wife, only the one whose heart is wholly set on serving Christ."
Pastors' wives encounter special challenges as well as special joys. These letters from the seasoned wives of seasoned pastors provide empathy, wise counsel, and encouragement on a wide range of topics, including:
Campus Ministry, Church Conflict, Friendship, Hospitality, Ministry Abroad, Pastors' Kids, Priorities, Support for Your Husband, and more."

Some of the contributors were: Margy Tripp, Noelle Wilkerson, Pam Schweitzer and Sarah Ascol.
I am LOVING this encouraging and challenging book in my own quiet moments while my kids are asleep. I just finished a chapter about humility and it was convicting to the CORE - compiled with scripture and life stories, it's just exactly my type of reading. If you are a current pastors wife, hope to be one, or even just a ministry leaders helper - you would enjoy this book. 

"Glimpses of Grace" by Gloria Furman
"Sometimes life feels a lot like a burden—day-in and day-out its the same chores and tasks, challenges and discouragements, anxieties and responsibilities. Dust bunnies show up on the stairwell, social commitments clutter the calendar, and our families demand daily attention and care. At times, just catching our breath seems like an impossible feat.

So where is God in all of this? Does he care about the way we unload the dishwasher or balance the budget? Do the little things like changing diapers or cooking meals make a difference? And how can we use our spheres of influence for God’s glory and our joy?
Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a working woman splitting time between the office and home, Gloria Furman—writer, pastor’s wife, cross-cultural worker, and mom—encourages us to see the reality of God’s grace in all of life, especially those areas that often appear to be boring and unimportant. Using personal examples and insightful stories, her richly theological reflections help us experience the gospel’s extraordinary power to transform our ordinary lives."

This book was given to me last year and it's on my top 10 list now! Gloria writes from experience and with a true grasp on the Gospel. I loved her transparency and the ideas she gave on really making the Gospel a priority in her day. 

And, just for fun - because I think we need that - especially as we raise chidren, live hard lives, and just face this broken world. :) 

"Princess Petunia's Sweet Apple Pie" by Big Idea and Karen Poth
I have TWO big "girl" Veggie tale fans in our home! They especially love Petunia - and I was glad to find these early reader type books. This cute book is about being helpful, something our children can benefit from for sure! 
Use this to spend some quality time with your kiddos - or gift to the Veggie lover in your life. 

So there you have it! I'm excited to hear your thoughts and pick the winner this weekend! (Drawing will be done with Random.com) Don't forget to leave your comment! 


erikabruckner@comcast.net said...

Glimpses of Grace. Because I've definitely got dust bunnies on the stairwell and clutter on the calendar! I'd love to see her perspective on catching your breath!

becky said...

Letters to Pastors Wives. Because, well...I'm a pastors wife and can use all the help, guidance and wisdom I can get. Aside from that, this other very godly mother/pastors wife whom I admire recommended it to me. It woould be fun to win...thanks Mandi, and Happy New Year! Looks like God has some exciting things in store for you and your family this year! Thanks for being a blessing to me...even over all the miles! <3

Alicia Lenoir said...


I enjoyed your post as always. I am really interested in Letters to Pastors wives because I would love to have insight from Pastor wives who are already in ministry. Lord willing we hope to Pastor a church one day. Thank you for doing the give away.

Toni Grice said...

Mandi, I love you.:)

Elizabeth Kotulski said...

Mandi, I enjoy reading your blog when I get a chance. You are always so positive, but also still very real. Anyway, I think the book Letter to Pastors Wives would be interesting too.

Anonymous said...

(Amanda Lang) I am not a blogger and honestly am mot sure how o leave a comment on the blog. So if it's ok I will leave the comment here because I would love to win a contest. I would pick Glimpses of Grace because I always need encouragement. The line you shared (from the book) that talks about life basically being the same routine everyday (my words) really hits home for me.

Amy Brandt said...

I would read them all- but I know Pheebs would love the Veggie tales one and the Glimpses of Grace sounds like a very encouraging one to read as well. Thanks again for your down-to-earth blog =)