Tag Archives: motherhood

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood by Sarah Humphrey (Abingdon Press, 2016)

A Coloring Devotional (Book Review – 40 Days to Joyful Motherhood)

It seems much of what I’m reading and reviewing lately has to do with living the creative life and self-care to take care of what God’s given us to subsequently be able to pour out to others.

This book continues the trend.

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood by Sarah Humphrey (Abingdon Press, 2016)

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood: Devotions and Coloring Book to Nourish Mom by Sarah Humphrey (Abingdon Press, 2016)

From the publisher:

Nourishment for a mother’s soul through 40 days of devotion and . . . doodling!

Wouldn’t it be marvelous if mothering came with a concrete set of instructions—an easy recipe we could follow? Instead, motherhood challenges women to find their faith, their true selves, and their family through daily doses of trial and error. It is a brilliant and healing time of life that is full of joy, pain, and beauty with a small side of crisis (and humor). What mothers do not know, they learn. And through this lifelong process of learning, they nurture and care for the most precious gifts on earth: children. In a modern society where moms often have a full and busy plate, these 10 minute daily devotions focus on six key topics of motherhood:

-Self-acceptance
-Self-care
-Reconciling with grief, hope and expectations
-Generosity
-Presence
-Forgiveness

In addition to the devotions, these beautiful pages are adorned with handmade illustrations to help you refresh from long days or even occasional sleepless nights. So, grab your colors and a little quiet time for yourself while doodling at the kitchen table. You will be grateful you did!

My Thoughts:

I love the concept of a doodling/coloring book combined with a devotional for moms. This book meets my expectations in some ways. Each devotion begins with a Scripture, followed by a 2-5 paragraph anecdote or reflection, and then wrapped up with a short prayer. The devotions sit on one side of the page, and the doodle to color waits on the opposite side. A two-page reflection offers breaks between every five devotions plus doodles that continue a topic (like identity in motherhood, self-care, peace, etc.) throughout the week.

The devotions are short enough for a 5-10 minute study period, which is very approachable for busy moms. The doodles are varied and fun to color alone or with your children. Some doodles incorporate Scripture related to that day’s devotion, some a repeating design, and some leave room for your own doodling or hand-lettering.

The devotions encourage reflection, yet never go deep, which left me sometimes wanting more depth. Self-care is a repetitive topic, which is important and needs repeated renewal, but also limited the scope of the devotions. I found many of the devotions to be much better suited for brand-new moms or moms of very young kids, so much so that I feel this particular book might better serve its readers by being marketed as towards new moms. That said, I particularly enjoyed the devotions in the seventh week that also featured memorizing Psalm 23 over the course of the week.

For more about this book, its author, and to read more reviews, please visit the Litfuse page for this book.

sample page of doodle coloring devotional

What are your favorite ways to relax in the Word?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book via Litfuse. This is an honest review, and all opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Life Creative by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart

Living a Creative Life {Book Review – Life Creative by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart)

Life Creative by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart

About the book (from the publisher):

Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart (Kregel Publications, 2016)

What was God thinking when He created you creative and then gave you children?

Creative moms often feel as though they must lay their passions down. But God had something special in mind for the creative woman during this intense season of mothering.
In this Pinterest age of handcrafted children’s parties, Instagram photos of beautifully decorated homes, and blogs filled with poetry and prose, it is clear that we are in the midst of a brand new artistic renaissance. Not one born in Italian cathedrals or Harlem jazz clubs, but rather in kitchens, nurseries, and living rooms around the world. Mothers, working in the cracks and crevices of each hectic day, are adorning the world with their gifts, and they’re showing all of us the beauty of this Life Creative.

In this book, you’ll learn:
—Why the world needs your art
—How this Life Creative begins at home
—When art can turn a profit
—Your part in this modern day Renaissance

Life Creative paints the stories of moms, just like you, who are fitting their inspired lives into the everyday, ordinary places of motherhood. Women like home decorator Melissa Michaels and jewelry designer Lisa Leonard, author Angie Smith, recording artist Ellie Holcomb, and many more.

My thoughts:

This book begins with a solid case supporting how God is the first Creator, and He created each of us to create in unique ways, too. The authors continually reiterate that every mother is a creative in her own God-given way, be it writing, crafting, baking, leading, etc. Each chapter contains personal anecdotes as well as stories of other mom creatives, and the chapters progress from acknowledging our creative nature to balancing momhood and creative work and even to what happens if that gift eventually supports your family financially. The authors are very conversational in tone and ready to affirm and encourage every reader.

I enjoyed most of what I read, though I actually found myself not fully agreeing with some of the statements and sentiments the authors share. For example, many of the ideas and suggestions seem to suggest that the mother reading will have a disposable income (to be able to drop kids off at daycare, for example) or time when kids are in public school. This, of course, isn’t the case for all families, so this may feel alienating for some readers. (But the authors do share many examples and often say it’ll look different for different moms.)

Another example, on page 32, they say: “And I’m not saying I don’t want them. I simply want me, too.” And (I think) I see what they’re saying here. We are all our individual selves before we become moms. But, I think I view it a touch differently. The change also becomes part of me. I will never not be a mom now, no matter what the future holds. And “mom” (along with “wife”) are my most favorite titles. I can’t separate being a mom from any of the rest of me now. I am Mom. But I am also a creative. I am also a writer. I am also a wonderer. These things are all as much a part of me as before. So “me” is still here while I am “Mom” because they aren’t exclusive of each other. But, just as I can’t ignore the Mom part, I also can’t ignore the creative part. It’s all part of who I am. I don’t want to separate any of those parts (though that doesn’t mean I don’t need a break from one or another part at times!); I want to grow into these parts together more fully. This does mean life looks different than pre-kids and will continue to look different as we all grow. (And I totally agree with the messy part!)

This said, every time I found a statement I possibly disagreed with, I had these kinds of reflective questions and conversations in my head. And, to me, that’s a sign of time well spent. This book allowed me to reflect on me and what that means as I try to live my life as God created me.

This book weaves creative life with living for God, a creative Himself. The stories shared about other creative moms (many whom are well-known in the Christian blogging world) are certainly inspiring. The tone of this book is graceful and welcoming. I imagine it will encourage and inspire most of its readers, as the subtitle suggests.

What encourages you as a mom to embrace your creative traits?

For more about this book and its authors, please visit the Litfuse page on this book. And enter the giveaway via clicking here or the image below! (Giveaway open through October 27th.)

Speake1

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book via Litfuse. This is an honest review, and all opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

A review of Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Staffford

Creating and Opening Opportunities {Book Review – Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford}

Every time I’ve read a blog post from Hands Free Mama, tears have pooled in my eyes. Seriously. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t begun to cry.

As soon as I saw I had the chance to review Rachel Macy Stafford’s new book, Hands Free Mama (Zondervan, 2014), I knew I wouldn’t pass up that opportunity.A review of Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Staffford

Rachel is a storyteller. Her writing pulls you in to every story she tells and helps you look for the same situation in your life and look for the same lessons and opportunities she is.

That’s the other part of her writing: you don’t feel excluded at all. Rachel needs renewal in her hands-free journey just like the rest of us do.

Hands free sounds like what it is – a journey to keep our hands available to help, hold, love, and be present in the gift of now. And our eyes open to all these grace-given opportunities.

Rachel writes specifically to mothers, but I think any parent should read this. And even any spouse or anyone who has someone they love so drastically and don’t want to miss precious time together. Though Rachel’s stories center on parenting, anyone can learn from living with open eyes and intentional focus on creating love and channeling our energies to what’s really valuable (not “things”).

The back copy explains the essence of the book (as it should):

“[Hands free] doesn’t mean giving up all technology forever. It doesn’t mean forgoing our jobs and responsibilities. What it does mean is…living a present, authentic, and intentional life despite a world full of distractions.”

This book is not unrealistic, but instead focuses on putting distractions and the urgent (but not important) in their proper place rather than letting them control us. This book also expands on what’s on her blog. She talked more about personal forgiveness to be able to see now more than I thought she would – and I needed that.

“Letting go of past mistakes is an integral part of the Hands Free journey because it allows the gifts of the present day to become more apparent.” – p. 172

Some of what I learned in this book:

  • “Someday” is a dangerous word, especially when talking about what matters.
  • I’ve been very intentional about being present for my children, and that focus continues to increase. Partially because of my son’s many special needs, my children are a constant reminder that they are gifts and any time we have together is a blessing. But I can always grow, and I always need renewal. I’m thankful they serve as such strong, beautiful, amazing reminders.
  • It’s easy to not be as intentional about time with my husband, especially when we’re exhausted at the end of the day. But I loved him first, and I’ll love him after the kids are grown. Intentional time with him matters, too. (I knew this, but I needed the reminder.)
  • Sometimes I get stuck on my own lack of personal progress. But, as Rachel reminds, small everyday choices impact your path to a hands free life and increase progress.

Rachel shares her setbacks and her successes in beautiful, heart-connecting ways.

“The truth hurts, but the truth heals – and brings me closer to the person I aspire to be.” – p. 38

A main message: Rachel recommends accepting time as a gift and treating it as such with loving purpose rather than fighting it or lamenting it. I highly recommend this read.

“Time does not wait. Therefore, I chose to stop wasting time.” – p. 143

How do you keep your mind on time with your kids as a blessing?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any other way.