Friday, June 30, 2017

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World ~ Book Review

Good morning!
I'm here to share a wonderful book with ya'll. Enjoy!
Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World
By: Joanna Weaver

About the book:
The life of a woman today isn't really all that different from that of Mary and Martha in the New Testament. Like Mary, you long to sit at the Lord's feet...but the daily demands of a busy world just won't leave you alone. Like Martha, you love Jesus and really want to serve him...yet you struggle with weariness, resentment, and the feelings of inadequacy. 
Then comes Jesus, into the midst of your busy life, to extend the same invitation he issued long ago to the two sisters from Bethany. Tenderly, he invites you to choose "the better part" - a joyful life of intimacy with him that flows naturally into loving service. 
With her fresh approach to the familiar Bible story, Joanna Weaver shows how all of us — Marys and Marthas alike — can draw closer to our Lord: deepening our devotion, strengthening our service, and doing both with less stress and greater joy.  

 My thoughts:
I have heard and read many wonderful things about this book, so I was certainly excited when Mrs. Weaver agreed to send me the book. She was so sweet to also send me the study guide and 10-session DVD series to go along with it! (Each session is about 20 minutes long.) The book was just wonderful and so encouraging/inspiring to read - I thoroughly enjoyed it. Mrs. Weaver dug deeper into the story of Mary and Martha and kindly explained what lessons we can learn from these two friends of Jesus, as well as how we can apply those lessons in our own lives. There were many applicable and encouraging chapters in the book, such as "The Better Part", "Martha's Teachable Heart", "Mary's Extravagant Love", "Balancing Work and Worship", and many others.  The DVD series and study book were both helpful as I read the book. In the video sessions, Mrs. Weaver explores how each of us has some Mary and some Martha within, and explains how we can balance the living room intimacy Jesus wants to have with us and the kitchen service we do. She also emphasized that Jesus didn't come to weigh us down...He came to set us free! The study guide has chapters that correspond with each video session, and asks a few questions that pertain to the subject of the sessions. The study guide can be used individually or as a group study and is not overwhelming at all. My sister Deborah watched most of the videos with me. I've also asked her to share her thoughts about it: 

Hey ya'll,
Ashley asked me to write a review about "Having A Merry Heart in a Martha World."
There are 10 sessions on the DVD and 2 books you can get with it to help you understand a little more. I would definitely recommend this book for all girls/women of all ages. It will encourage them when they are young, and it's so uplifting. I think Joanna Weaver did an awesome job teaching about Mary and Martha, how we can be so much like Martha, but we should take time to be like Mary, spend time with Jesus, and not always be so busy with life that you forget the important things. I also loved how before she talked about each lesson, she had a little story about what that lesson would be of. I also liked the scenes she chose for the stories at the beginning of the sessions. I would highly recommend these books and the DVD also. I rate this 10 star rating. I would like to thank Joanna Weaver for sending this to us and I would also like to thank Ashley for letting me write a post about this book. Have a Mary rest of the day in this very Martha world. :) 

There were many different Bible versions used for the Scripture quotations throughout the book.  I give it 9.5/10 stars. If you are looking for a book that will encourage you in your walk with Jesus, I would highly recommend this book, study guide, and video series.  I want to thank Mrs. Weaver for allowing me to review her book. To purchase the book, click here. To see/purchase other books Mrs. Weaver has written and/or to view her blog, click here.

I received a free copy of the materials from the author in exchange for a review. 

 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. ~ Matthew 11:28-30~

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Trip To Virginia ~ Part 3

A cheery hello to you all. 
This is the concluding post in the Virginia trip series. 
On the downcast, cold and rainy morning of Tuesday, May 23rd, we met the group outside a church which was located right next to the small battlefield of Port Republic. The old battlefield was up on a hill that had a beautiful overlook.

Here's a plaque commemorating the battle that was fought here. It reads: 
Port Republic Battlefield
Here, June 9, 1862, Gen. T.J. "Stonewall" Jackson defeated Gen. J. Shield's vanguard advancing from Elkton under Gen. R.O. Tyler.  Federals engaged: 4,500
Killed, wounded, and missing: 551. Captured: 450
Confederates engaged: 6,000. Killed and wounded: 804. 

After spending a little time listening to the history of this battle, some families chose to visit the Shenandoah Heritage Market for lunch. It's made up of lots of little stores such as the Antique Barn, Country Canner, Crossroads Country Store, Grandma's Pantry, Hungry Farmer Country Cafe, Sew Classic Fabrics, Kitchen Kupboard, a little Amish furniture store, and more. 
The next stop was the New Market Battlefield and Museum. We were able to explore the museum a little more before heading outside to gather with the group. In order to make all the information about the battle in the Field of Lost Shoes come alive, the group had a reenactment. Everyone who wanted to participated received a wooden gun. We girls were on the Union side and were largely outnumbered by the Confederate troops. Needless to say, they won, but we all still had fun. :)  After the reenactment, the group followed Mr. Potter over to a small trail that led to an overlook of a spectacular view.
To end the day, part of the group met at a Presbyterian church and listened to David Cox give a fascinating, verbal biography about Robert E. Lee.

Wednesday, May 24th. 
This particular morning, the Frontier Culture Museum was the first thing on the agenda to visit. Since we had a little extra time to spare, we stopped at the Cyrus McCormick farm on the way. It is called Walnut Grove and is where Cyrus Hall McCormick invented and demonstrated the first successful reaper in 1831. His invention introduced the era of farm mechanization. 
I realized after looking through the pictures that we didn't even have a picture of the farm! So here's one I found online that accurately describes what we saw. 
 There were two friendly geese and one duck that came right up to Deborah when she offered them some food. While my parents, Sarah, Lauren and I were looking around inside the mill and shop, Deborah was outside picking up the goose and duck!
The Frontier Culture Museum is an outside museum with four different settlements that show how the people who migrated to America in the 1600s and 1700s lived. The immigrants came from England, Germany, Ireland, and West Africa. If you click on their link, you'll be able to read more about each of the settlements.


 This wood lathe was in the German house.
 Also at the German farm, there was a pig named Sunshine (above picture) who weighed 450 pounds. Now that was some pig!
 Here's another one of the settlements. 

After leaving the museum, we headed to Polyface Farms where the group enjoyed a nice lunch of homemade hotdogs. The owner, Joel Salatin, then gave us all a hayride around the farm and talked about each part of the production.They raise their own rabbits, turkeys, hens, cows, pigs, chickens, and lumber. You can read more about their production here
. They also have a little store where visitors can purchase books by Joel Salatin, (such as this one:
The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs)
 shirts, fresh eggs and dairy products, books, homemade apple cider, and more.

Mr. Potter invited the group to his house for a BBQ dinner after we finished up at Polyface Farms. We had an enjoyable time fellowshipping with the other families, holding the babies, and playing games. It was a good ending to our family trip, and I'm so thankful we were able to visit the Shenandoah Valley.
Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. ~ Psalm 25:4-5 ~ 

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Trip To Virginia - Part 2

Aloha friends!
How have you been? Here's the second part about our trip to Virginia. Enjoy!
The morning of May 22nd (Monday) found us meeting the group at Hopkins Green in Lexington, Virginia. Everyone received earphones so we could all listen to Mr. Potter speak as he led the tour around the city. The first place he led us to was the Lexington Presbyterian Church where he talked about Thomas Jackson's affiliation with that church. In fact, it was at that church that he started a Sunday school for black slaves.
 The next stop was Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's house where a tour was given. I wasn't able to get very many pictures of the inside of the house, but here's one of the outside that I found online.
This typical Federal-style town house, with a later stone addition, was the home of Thomas Jonathan Jackson and his wife, Mary Anna. They lived here with five of their six slaves before the Civil War. After her husband's death in 1863, Mrs. Jackson kept the house as a rental property until 1906. She sold it to the United Daughters of the Confederation to use as a community hospital. The house served as Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital for nearly fifty years and underwent many changes before becoming a museum. 
The Jackson house was restored in 1979 to look as it did when the Jacksons lived here, and underwent additional renovations in 2004. 
 There was a sizeable garden in the back of the house with strawberries plants that were ripe with berries, as well as many beautiful flowering plants.

  After finishing the tour at the Jackson house, the group walked a few blocks away to the cemetery where Thomas Jackson is buried. Notice the lemons in front of the monument-Jackson really liked them.
 Here's a little history: Thomas Jackson is best known for his leadership of Confederate troops during the American Civil War, and especially for his celebrated Valley Campaign of 1862. Thomas Jackson was a country boy from (West) Virginia who became a graduate of the United States Military Academy and a hero of the Mexican War. In 1851 Major Jackson came to Lexington to teach Natural Philosophy at the Virginia Military Institute. Jackson left Lexington in April 1861, at the outbreak of war, and never returned alive. General Jackson's leadership earned him the admiration of his troops and lasting fame. He was fatally wounded on May 2, 1863, after he collaborated with General Robert E. Lee to achieve victory at the battle of Chancellorsville. Jackson's body was brought back to Lexington for burial. 
Moving on..... 
 A couple miles away was Washington and Lee University.
 We sat inside Lee chapel, which was constructed at the request of Lee while he was president of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) after the Civil War, and listened as the curator talked a little about the building and its history. The following pictures are of Robert Lee and George Washington, and the marble sculpture of Robert Lee.  

 This marble sculpture of Robert E. Lee taking a nap on the battlefield was created by Edward Valentine.

There were many plaques on the wall like the one above and I asked about them. The historian of the museum told me the history of this particular plaque. Kiffin Yates Rockwell was the first American pilot to shoot down a German plane in World War I.

This room located in the church was Lee's study.

The Virginia Military Institute was just down the street from Washington and Lee University.

The four cannons in front of the Institute were named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John by Col. William Nelson Pendleton and the seminary students. They were donated to VMI by President Zachary Taylor in 1850. 
After leaving VMI, we attended a small ice cream social hosted by one of the families who had been on the previous tour.

Hopefully I'll be able to share part 3 very soon. I had originally planned to add the historical information we learned on the trip in these posts, but sadly, the notebook I took notes in was lost. 

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Praying With Eyes Wide Open ~ Book Review

Hello Friends!
I apologize I have been rather absent on the blog lately. June has been such a busy month and our Wi-Fi hasn't been working properly right now, so the posts may be a bit sporadic. I have a book review to share today, which I hope you enjoy.
"Praying With Eyes Wide Open" 
By: Sherry Harney
 About the book: 
Often we view prayer as an activity reserved for a certain time, in a certain place, offered in a specific way. But Scripture encourages us to pray continually. This exhortation is an opportunity for prayer to permeate every aspect of our lives--when we're alone or in a crowd, when it's quiet and when it's chaotic, when we feel like it and when we don't.
Praying with Eyes Wide Open shows us how to make continuous prayer a natural part of our lives rather than something on our daily spiritual checklist. It helps us encounter God in new ways as we learn to 
- open our eyes to see his presence and the world around us
- open our ears to hear his voice
- open our hearts to experience freedom and power as we pray
- and open our lives as we pray for and with others

Do you want a richer, more transformative prayer life? This fresh take on conversing with your Creator is just what you need.

"Praying With Eyes Wide Open" was a really good book. The author divided this book into four sections: Praying With Eyes Wide Open, Praying With Ears Wide Open, Praying With Hearts Wide Open, and Praying With Lives Wide Open. Each chapter includes four small topics. My favorite sections in Praying With Hearts Wide Open were "The Father is Fond of You", "Warfare Prayer", and "Replace Worry With Prayer." Sometimes we Christians just come to God with our requests and have just a monologue with Him. But we need to have a dialogue with God because He is our Father. And because He is our Father, He likes spending time and talking with us. One of the quotes I really liked in the section on "Replace Worry With Prayer" was this. "Thankfulness is one of the keys to overcome the power of worry." Everything is in God's hands, and we can be thankful He has everything under control, even things we don't understand.
Sometimes it's necessary to pray with our eyes closed, but when we pray with our eyes wide open, we can pray anytime during the day, even in the midst of our busy schedules. I also liked how it suggested using landmarks to remind yourself to pray. For example, if you drive past an unsaved relative's house every day, you can pray for their salvation as you pass it.
This was such an encouraging book that challenged me to pray more, and not just pray with my eyes closed. But pray with my eyes, ears, heart, and life wide open.
The author used plenty of Scripture references, which I appreciate, but they were quoted from the NIV, which I didn't care for. I give this book 4 stars. 

*I was given a free copy of this book from Baker Books.*

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Summer Devotions Pursuit Challenge

Loving the Lord Ministries is once again hosting their yearly summer devotions pursuit challenge-a special time of seeking Jesus from June 1st-August 31st.
Even though it started on June 1st, it's not too late to join! You can easily make up the time for the past 3 days. Here are the rules:

Who: You and Jesus
Where: Wherever you are
When: June 1st-August 31st

What is involved?
-Spend at least 15 minutes a day in devotions with the Lord. Your devotions can include: prayer, Bible reading, and study. (Do at least 5 minutes of Bible reading during this time.)
-Memorizing 1 verse a week and recite it to your accountability partner
-Choose and contact an accountability partner at least once every 2 weeks to check up on daily devotions and memorizing. If you don't get all 15 minutes in on one day, you can make them up the following day, or by the end of the week. At the end of the week, you should have a total of at least 105 minutes. You must be caught up with all your memorizing by the end of each month.
...and an amazing summer with Jesus! You can print off this chart to keep track of your time and memorized Bible verses. Click here to print the chart.

Reward: (optional) When you complete the Summer Pursuit Challenge, you send in your chart by September 7th, and you receive a special surprise package in the mail, in addition to the best reward of knowing Jesus better!

I hope you will join me for an amazing summer of pursuing Christ, growing deeper in your relationship with Jesus, and experiencing His sweet goodness every day. He will meet with you-and you'll never be the same.

For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
~Psalm 107:9~