I feel like my late 30’s has been this HUGE re-identification time. I went back and obtained an advanced degree and am now doing something I NEVER would’ve consider in my 20’s. I have switched the church we attended through most of my adult life. I’m looking for meaning and meaningful relationships which included evaluated my current relationships. This season of life has created a lot of change. I’m embracing it completely.
One change started the beginning of October, so about 2 months ago. It started with some friends inviting us over for an evening of socializing and playing games. One game was a what if game that focused on preparedness. The questions asked were similar to this, what would you do if your traveling and a major event occurred. You had to get home and travel by vehicle isn’t an option?
That got me to thinking. What would I do? How would I handle it? Then I started thinking about the hurricanes that had occurred this year in Texas and Puerto Rico. It occurred to me, there are some BIG changes I could easily make that would help my family if something happened. Specifically thinking about natural disasters because realistically, they are most common.
I made 3 changes in the last month. I started buying extra food to begin a modest food storage. I put together two backpacks with basic survival items (one for my car and one for the house), and finally, I obtained my permit to carry. That was a BIG step for me. I’ve never not liked firearms. I was in the military after all. However, I’d never really felt like I needed to own one.
I’ll be honest, I’ve always had some idea of what I’d do if something really bad happened. But, its much better to have some items here at the house in case there is a bad winter storm. It’s certainly better to have it here then having to run out with all the crowds to stock-up.
I thought I’d write a little about my experiences of what we’re doing to help our family be a bit more secure with food and financial resources but also with safety. At this point, I’m planning this to be an ongoing blog series.
My next entry will be about the my decision to obtain a conceal carry and to purchase my first firearm.
It only took one game……
As I shared before, I feel as if I’m going through a mid-life crises. Not the buy a new fancy car but the a need meaning in my life. Part of this had me questioning if we were attending the right church. Our church was a small church made-up of mostly post-retirement people. The activities and choices for family activities were minimal and children’s programs were being cut. The church was going on 3 years with no pastor. My last point of frustration was when they cut contemporary service and went down to 1 service at 9 am.
So this left us looking for another church. Since then we found another church. It got me thinking about how you know its time to move on. So I’ve compiled a list of when you know its time to break-up with your church.
- Attending feels likes an obligation. Attending church should not feel like an obligation. If you do not desire to go to church, you should take some time to consider what is causing these feelings. Are you not being spiritually? Are you not connected to the church? Do you have unmet needs? Or, maybe you need to work on your connection to God? Its best to recognize why you are feeling this way so that you can address it. For example, if its your connection with God, consider what would strengthen that connection? Do you need more quiet or Bible time? No matter the reason, maybe talking with your pastor is what you need. For us, this was a sign we needed to break-up with our church.
- The little things are abnormally frustrating. A good sign that you are ready to move on, is the little things are more frustrating then they should. For example, little changes in music should not be overly frustrating. The change in sermon times may be inconvenient, but should they really be extremely upsetting? For us, I had seen so many things that frustrated me that when they surveyed (keep in mind, they didn’t even change the time yet), I was angry. We were barely making it to the 10 AM service and now I would have to try to make it to a 9 AM service. The somewhat Ironic thing is, we’ve been frequently going to a 9:30 service now. So a 9 AM service would’ve been doable. If those little things are more frustrating, you may be time to break-up.
- You’re not feeling spiritually fed. I feel like this is a no-brainer. Who would want to attend a service where you’re not being spiritually fed? As I say this, I think its very easy to not even realize this is happening! You go to church out of obligation can be the result of this. Its easy to sit there for months and not realize this is happening. But here’s a hint that you’re not being spiritually fed, our you daydreaming or making a grocery list or checking of your weekly/daily to do list during the sermon? If so, this may apply to you or you just may have attention issues. Regardless, it would be good to stop and think about what is causing you to do this? I’m not saying church should be solely entertaining. But it should be engaging. You should be walking away from the majority of sermons with the sense of gaining. If you are mentally dosing off once the pastor starts preaching, you may need to break-up.
- Your needs are not being met. This was HUGE for us. I watched over the last several years programs for children and families slowly be cut. I watched as the emphasis seemed to be placed on pleasing those long-term members over change and forward movement. I heard more times than I could count, that’s not how we do it here or we’ve always done it this way. Don’t get me wrong, a church isn’t solely to meet my needs. I also need to involved and help with the running of the church. But you see, I went from being willing to volunteer and help the church to feeling out of place and not wanting to volunteer. All of this was because, the needs of my family could not be met within this church. If you are feeling like you are not getting what you need, you may need to find a church that is better aligned with you.
- Your values don’t align with the church’s. Ok. So you may have this far and thought, this one is a bit silly. Of course my church’s Christian values align with my values. I would certainly hope and expect that to be the case. However, consider other values. For example, financial values. Is the church handling its finances in ways you would? Is the church’s mission and how they handle that mission in agreement (generally, it may never be 100% the same) with what you value as important? If the values you hold to be important is not in agreement with the way the church’s actions, you may need to break-up.
I’m not saying even if the above applies you should quickly run away from your church into another. But, I do suggest that if one more more of those things apply, it would be good to re-evaluate your reasons for staying. I also encourage people to attempt in a productive manner to change the church if they are off-course. Specifically thinking in regards to finances or not being spiritually fed or find ways to increase programs that meet your family (and most likely others) needs.
However, there may come a time you find yourself breaking-up with your church. It took several years, probably close to 3, before I could acknowledge that we needed to break-up. It was the church my husband and I grew-up as adults. We bought our house, had children, and children were baptized in that church. It wasn’t an easy choice. I still care for the church and many of its members.
I want to leave you with one thought. It is better to leave a church than stay and cause trouble/problems within the church. People who are unhappy have a tendency to let that seep into those around them. And that could, kill a church completely.
Boy, has the last 3 weeks been a whirlwind. I started working as a nurse practitioner and well, that’s kept me pretty busy. That and the kids activities. My son’s soccer season just finished up and my daughter’s dance is picking-up as the Nutcracker approaches. I am deep in the trenches of mommiehood.
Despite everything I was able to read a fantastic read. Below is my review.
The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall
Hadley is trying to get free of her past and at 27 is trying to finish her degree in speech therapy. Monroe owns a therapy company that helps children with speech needs. Hadley and Monroe dated while Hadley was in foster care. Unfortunately, Monroe being from a wealthy family is made to choose between Hadley’s future and the two having a future together.
Woodsmall and Woodsmall has written book that will touch your heart. This story is a story of overcoming life obstacles. The characters all must find ways to get beyond life circumstances. Even Monroe mush overcome his parents gifts in order to self actuate. I fell in love with the characters. I found myself cheering them on for success in both their relationships and their professional success.
This book is a good, fun read for the holidays. It has a heartwarming ending leaving which is perfect for the Christmas season.
I recommend this book for any young adult or adult who enjoys a romance with a hint of medical information. The content is wholesome and older teens could read and enjoy it.
I give this book a 5 out 5 bookends.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the author for an honest review.
If you’re a following of my blog, you may remember prior to graduate school I was part of a book club at my church. We read quite a variety of books. Some were light “free-reading” books and others were more serious books. I decided to return to the book club this year. Last month’s book was a nice light book. This month, we tackled a more serious book. Here is my review of this month’s selection.
The IMAM’s Daughter: My Desperate Flight to Freedom by Hannah Shah
Shah tells her story of growing-up the daughter of a Muslim’s religious leader’s daughter. She tells her story of enduring her father’s physical, sexual, and mental abuse. She addresses the issues associated with the closeness of Muslim community. She decides to run-away at age 16 once she realizes she is being sent away to marry one of her cousins in Pakistan. After running away, Hannah converts to Christianity which forces her to live a life running away from her family who wishes to execute an “honor” killing.
Hannah’s story of her life is heartbreaking. Because of the closeness of the Muslim community, her tragic abuse which started at age 5, was never addressed by anyone. Its hard to believe that this occurs in today’s society. Its hard to believe its widespread. The abuse made parts of this book very difficult to read. However, Shah explains that many Muslim woman experience the arranged marriages and physical abuse. It breaks my heart knowing there are woman and children enduring this.
This book provides a firsthand telling of growing up Muslim in England. It sheds some light in how the family interacts with the non-Muslim world. I know its only 1 family and 1 person’s view, but it does provide some insight. It was eye-opening to realize that her family (especially her father) was polite to non-Muslims to their face but behind closed doors the hate was over-powering. The book provided insight on how Muslims learn about their religion. The memorizing of verses without any instruction on their meaning was the mainstay of her teaching. The dependence on those telling you what those passages mean is the mainstay of their teaching.
It also was surprising to read that abuse didn’t just happen at home. Shah’s Muslim instructors would beat her if she got an answer wrong. Her brother went to Pakistan to become a religious leader and was abused. Abuse was common place in Shah’s life.
The book does tell the story of her finding love, peace and Christianity. She was able to leave her family and abusive past. She found Christianity and converted. She found Hope and found a way to help other Muslims. This is a story of escaping a tragic past and finding hope. Despite the dark parts of the book, it ends uplifting and positive.
It is an easy read. I was able to finish it in just a few hours of dedicated reading time. At times, I felt the book bounced around a bit. It is written conversationally. This is a style I like, but it also tends to allow for some bouncing around in the story.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Muslim to Christian conversion. I would caution that child abuse is discussed openly in this book. I would not recommend this for children or anyone under the age of 18 due to the topics discussed.
I would give this book a 4 out 5 bookends.
School started about 2 weeks ago. It has been a crazy last few days. My daughter is now in 4th and the homework workload has increased quite a bit from 3rd grade. My son is in 2nd so he’s also no beginning to see twice weekly homework. Luckily his homework is still really pretty easy and not too time consuming. At least not yet.
With all of that taken into consideration, I had planned on finishing this book sooner. I want to finish a book lent to me and then I need to read my book club book too. With all of that, I’ll be pretty busy the next few weeks trying to get everything done.
None the less, here is my book review on The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett
Barnett tells the story of Margaret Lane and Chief Ranger Ford Brayden. It is set in 1927 with the National Parks Service. Margaret is from a wealthy political family whose dream come true is to spend some time in the National Parks. She is amazed by God’s artistry as she works as a naturalist. Ranger Brayden grew-up on the mountain. He is haunted by his father’s death and does not see the park in the poetic way Margaret does. The two work together to preserve the natural beauty of the park.
This book spoke to soul and I quickly connected to both Margaret and Ranger Brayden. Margaret’s appreciation of the beauty of nature paired with Ranger Brayden’s common sense and knowledge of the danger was a great combination. The author did a fabulous job of weaving the two points a view together to create a truly perfect picture of nature.
This book is a Christian novel. Margaret often refers to God’s handiwork and is confused by Brayden’s inability to see and/or acceptance of God’s work. She does pray to God and several of her conversations regarding nature does revolve around God.
The only negative to this book was there were some slower parts.
Overall, this is an excellent read. It connected with my soul and my desire to to be out in nature. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an historical novel of a slightly different sort. I would recommend it to young adults and adults.
I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends.
Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
What are reading now? Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it? I’d love to hear form you.
I am very excited to have finished the last book in the Amish of Summer Grove series. It is a well-written fantastic story. To be honest, I want to get to my review quickly, so I won’t delay!
Gathering the threads by Cindy Woodsmall
This is the third and final book of the series. Ariana has returned to the Old Order Amish that she grew-up and loving. She finds herself feeling confused and uncertain of where she belongs. Skylar is also found struggling a bit figuring out how she fits in with the Brenneman family.
This book ties the entire series together and pulls everything into a wonderful ending. Woodsmall’s characters continue to grow. I grew to love all of them. I loved where they ended and the path we took along the way. The book is a coming age of sorts as both Skylar and Ariana must find thier path and define who they are.
This book is a Christian novel. There are multiple references to God. The story is so much more than a Christian Amish novel. It evaluates what it means to be a family and how to be true to yourself and honor God at the same time. There are many underlying Christian themes such as honesty, forgiveness, and love.
I honestly did not find anything negatives about this book. It was an absolute delite to read and a fitting conclusion to the series.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish or Christian novels. I also would recommend this to anyone who enjoys stories about family relationships. This book is an innocent story with no sexual contexts. There is the mention of past drug use and smoking. I would recommend this book to young adults.
On a scale of 1-5 book ends, I give this book a 5 out of 5.
Disclaimer: I did receive this book free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
If you’d like to pre-order this book, click HERE. You can also pre-order it from Amazon.
What are you reading? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to share a link to one of your recent book review.
So, I’m two days late this week in my Monday edition of 21 day fix post. I ended up traveling last weekend and although I got home yesterday, I was beat. Traveling alone with the kids was exhausting! It reminded me how lucky and grateful I am to have such a helpful husband.
So week 2 wasn’t great. I did good with the exercising for about 1/2 the time. Then with traveling and such, I did none. I did walk quite a bit. But that was pretty much it. My eating wasn’t great either. I drank a lot of coffee on the go (Starbucks and gas station sweetened coffee drinks). Yeah. I’m feeling the lingering effects of traveling, tiredness and poor eating choices.
Week 2 Goals: No Candy- did pretty good until I started the road trip. Seriously, I ate almost an entire bag of chocolate covered raisins while driving. Oops… Exercise daily- that did not happen. Increase water intake- also failed. Eat all fruits and veggies 4 days was also a failure.
Week 2 Accomplishments: I don’t think there were many. I did mostly make better snacking choices. I ate fruits and veggies for snacks when I was home. And really only splurged at the end of the week when I was traveling. So, I’m going to count that as an accomplishment.
Week 2 Areas for Improvement: Wow. There were a lot. I think overall, the biggest theme for me was finding a way to be accountable even when life gets busy. I think last week really reinforced my need to get a bit more structure in my eating/planning. I could have/should have done better. I could have planned and packed healthy snacks for myself. I could have gone to the store while out of town and picked up some fruit.
Week 2 Over-all thoughts: I struggled last week and see myself having some struggles this week too. I almost feel like I should’ve waited at least three weeks before trying to start this. Life is busy and hard and I’ve not put for the effort I needed to in order to be successful. I also feel like I made a lot of excuses for why my meal planning didn’t get done or I ate poorly and didn’t exercise. Sadly this week is 1/2 over and I’m feeling the same excuses break into my thinking, again. I’m wondering if I need to get connected to a challenge group to help me stay motivated.
Week 3 Prep: Honestly, I started this week still out of town and my “bad habits” from last week are lingering into this week. So, I did not get any prepping done.
Week 3 Goals: My biggest goal is to get re-focused on what I’m doing. Its late in the week to do much prepping as a goal. I will tonight make some hard boiled eggs. I will begin tracking my containers again. I have family in town this weekend, so I will make sure there are plenty of fruits and veggies in our house. Its also the State Fair starting this week. One HUGE goal for me is to not over-indulge in fair treats this year.
There you have it. My not-so-successful week of 21 Day Fix. I will work on the last few days of this week in hopes of salvaging some of it. We are all human and we have goods and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks. I will not let that define me.
I’d love to hear how you manage eating healthy and/or follow the 21 Day Fix when you’ve got family visiting. I’ll have an extra 7 people (more than double my little family) staying with us for 3-4 days.