Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review of the NKJV Study Bible from Thomas Nelson Publishers

I was excited to get the opportunity to review the NKJV (New King James Version) Study Bible from Thomas Nelson Publishers. This second edition is in full color with cross-references, translator notes, study notes, in-text maps and charts, articles and much, much more. This Bible is amazing! When I opened the box and saw this HUGE Bible (it's 2000+ pages), I didn't know what to think! I opened it up and explored it. There is so much to read and to learn! Each book of the Bible has a description of the book, information about the author (or presumed author), when it was presumed to have been written, the purpose, and for the Old Testament books there is also a section on Christ in the scriptures that talks about how this particular book relates to prophecies about Christ and how they are fulfilled. Knowing about the culture, meanings of words that are unclear, etc. helps to expand my understanding of the words in the Bible so much. When looking at this Bible, I started thinking about my undergraduate courses in Christianity and in particular my Old Testament studies course. A Bible like this would be excellent for a course in Bible studies, to read on your own, or for a pastor to read when preparing sermons. I look forward to reading the whole Bible in this new way. I know that I will be seeing God's Word in a whole new light! I was so blessed to have this opportunity to obtain this wonderful Bible and I suggest that you pick one up as a gift for yourself or someone else this holiday season.

I receive these books free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookLook Bloggers book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Smart Money, Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze - A Book Review

Smart Money, Smart Kids is a book by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze. You may have heard of Dave Ramsey and his book Total Money Makeover. This book comes from the same premise of teaching your children the principles from the total money makeover so they won't make the same mistakes that you may have when they grow up.

Ramsey and Cruze present a method for teaching your children about money called the envelope method. Your child will have an envelope for save, one for give, and one for spend. Your child will divide the money they earn among these envelopes and you will teach them that once their spend money is gone for the month, that's it. They learn by doing. I tried this for a while with my daughter and she was learning a lot about money. It also was a good way to get her to help out a little more around the house (though she had chores that were required without getting money for them). Ramsey and Cruze also discuss important issues for the teenage years like how to pay for college(scholarships, scholarships, scholarships) and saving for a car. If you want to teach your child to manage money, but you don't know where to start, this is a great book for you!

I receive these books free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookLook Bloggers book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Redefining Friendship

Recently, I have asked myself the question - "What is a friend?"
When I was a child, I always thought a friend was someone who spent time with you, who enjoyed being with you, playing with you, coming to your birthday parties. I always thought a friend was someone who would drop everything to help you and be with you. I expected it to stay that way when I grew up. I was wrong. defines friend in several ways. I list the most relevant here:
a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter
a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile

Not one of these definitions says the friend always has to be there or want to spend time with you, though you would think that if someone has feelings of affection, supports someone, and is on good terms with someone they would want to spend time with them.

I feel like I don't really have any friends except for my husband because when I invite people to come to my house, to my birthday party or a cook out, they always seem to have excuses. I have felt like I'm being rejected. I've felt like these people who say they are my friends really are not my friends.

What I've come to learn is that there are different levels of friendship. I have a few best friends. My best friends are all related to me; my kids, my husband, my mom and dad, my mother-in-law, and my brothers (especially the brother who is closest in age to me). These are friends who will drop anything to help me out, who will spend time with me, who will show up at my cook outs and birthday parties unless something out of the ordinary prevents them from doing so. These are my best friends.

But just because someone is not my best friend, doesn't mean they aren't my friend. It doesn't mean that they don't have "feelings of affection" for me. It doesn't mean that they aren't my supporter. It doesn't mean they aren't on good terms with me. If I go by this definition, I really have a lot of friends.
I desire that close, personal connection with people. I may find it with very few people, but I should feel blessed to have so many supporters, so many people who care about me. I've found a lot of these people over the past year and a half at my church. These are people who are on my side, who want me to succeed, who are there to support me and help me. I really learned the definition of this friendship when Little K was born. I have never seen such an outpouring of support from a group of people before. It was a hard time for me. I was recovering from a c-section while trying to take care of a 14 month old. My husband was out of a job and we were struggling. These friends were like family, and I now consider them my family. I am lucky and blessed and I now understand that these types of friends are just as good as the ones who come to every event you have. They will be there for you if you really need them!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Little K's Incredible Journey: Nine Months Old!

You are nine months old and I can't believe how fast the time has gone by! You have four teeth. You sleep all night almost every night which helps you to grow faster. You are already 21 pounds and 28 inches tall. We've had to move you out of your infant seat into your convertible car seat. You are cruising around the furniture like you've been doing it forever. You seem like you really want to get going on this walking thing soon. I think that by the time I write the ten month post, you will probably be taking your first steps. You have also started to babble more, making noises like mama and dada. You like to squeal, blow raspberries, and laugh.

You still love playing with your brother. Now, you chase him around the room! You roll around on the floor together and wrestle. You really enjoy this because you are laughing the whole time. You just started to enjoy playing outside. When we first put you in the grass, you didn't like the feel of it. Now, you crawl around everywhere outside. You like to roll a ball around and chase it. You like to explore! One day, you were crawling around and found a crab apple. Before I could catch you, you took a bit out of that apple!

Speaking of tasting things, you can feed yourself finger foods now! You fed yourself some peas last night. You had a few cheerios at church yesterday. Those four teeth are coming in quite handy, but you still prefer mama's milk! That's probably why you are such a big boy who is growing so fast!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lessons I've Learned From My Father

Yesterday was my father's 64th birthday. In honor of this occasion, I would like to present the latest installment of my lessons I've learned series: Lessons I've Learned From My Father.

- Spend time with your children. My dad worked a lot when I was a child. I remember days when he would leave for work before I got up for school and get home around dinner time. But he still had time to spend with his four children. We played together. We went to the park. We went to the zoo, the Children's Museum, church functions, school functions, and spent time together at home. When I was getting older and we had "Family Life" classes at school, my dad would take me to Village Inn to get a piece of pie and talk about what we were learning. Those could have been really awkward talks. But they weren't. My dad was spending time with me. That wasn't all we talked about. We talked about what was worrying me, how school was going, etc. I will always remember those times and that is why I try to have "Mommy and K days" with my daughter as often as I can with two little boys around. When the boys get older, I will try to have "Mommy and Little K days" and "Mommy and T-Rex days" too!

- Don't let your children be concerned about your problems. As adults, we go through a lot of stuff. It's important that our children know that they do not need to be concerned with our problems. Kids have enough to worry about without taking on our issues as well!

When I would get worried about something when I was a kid, my dad would always say to me, "What kind of problem is that?"
I would respond with, "An adult problem."
"So," he would say, "What should you do?"
"Don't worry about it."

If you are going through something, sometimes it is important for your kids to know what you are going through. For example, if you have a chronic illness. Your kids will want to know what's wrong with mom (or dad). But even if it is something that you tell your kids about, let them know that it is not something they need to worry about. Let them know that mom and dad are taking care of it. If they have questions, they can ask. But they shouldn't worry about it, whatever it may be.

- Be silly with your kids! My dad loves to sing. To this day, he still sings silly songs to his dog and to his grand kids. Sometimes when he's in a really silly mood, he might even sing them to his grown kids. I caught this habit from him and I sing silly songs to my kids. My daughter says I'm crazy. My husband says I'm weird, but they still laugh when I sing my silly songs. My dad's silly songs are one my favorite things about him!

- Show your spouse affection. Don't let your kids saying "Eww" when you give your spouse a quick peck on the lips deter you from showing affection. I always knew my parents loved each other because of how they treated each other and those little kisses and pet names were one way they showed it.

There's a lot of other things I learned from my dad, but I could write a book if I kept going.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

I love you!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Turning Point - How September 11, 2001 Changed My Life

I was already feeling depressed. I'd been going downhill for a little while now, but I wasn't really aware of what was going on with me. Then, it happened.

September 11, 2001 is a day that will go down in history for all Americans. Mostly, we remember how we united as Americans and the signs of love and compassion in New York City where the twin towers fell. For me, it was a personal turning point.

I had a little bit of difficulty getting moving on the morning of September 11, 2001. It was after 8:30 am. My class was at 10 am and I wasn't even out of bed yet. The phone rang. It was my roommate's sister. She told me to turn on the TV. She was a jokester, so I wondered what silliness she was up to today. When I turned on the television, my annoyance at being roused from my sleep was quickly replaced by shock.
"What happened," I asked her.
"Someone crashed planes into the World Trade Center. They crashed one into the Pentagon too."
I watched the news for a few minutes and then I got ready for my class which was, interestingly enough, Introduction to Islam.
We spent the class speaking about what led up to these events. We talked about the Taliban's rise to power. The professor stressed that these actions were not indicative of Islam itself. Some of the Muslims in the class spoke about how they were feeling. It was an enlightening experience.

The next week was difficult for me. There was an overarching sense of insecurity, sadness, and depression throughout the university campus. For reasons I didn't really understand, I seemed to experience these feelings even more deeply than the others around me. Within a couple of weeks, others had moved on with their daily lives. I had moved on as well, but this sense of sadness wasn't leaving. I didn't know why. For a while, I thought I was getting sick. I went to the doctor. They said nothing was wrong with me. Then, one day in March, my professor for one of my classes said the words that broke open that shell.
"You just seem really depressed."
I cried.
Then I sought counseling.

It was a turning point for me. I still don't know if I would have started to feel depressed if the events of September 11, 2001 hadn't occurred. I still don't know if I was already depressed before these events took place. I was depressed, yes. I needed help, counseling, and medication to get over that. But when I was off the medication, when I was no longer depressed, when I opened myself up and really explored those emotions, I discovered something about myself. That something is what has led me on my current career path. That turning point 13 years ago has led me to pursue my Master's Degree in Clinical Counseling. September 11, 2001 changed the lives of so many people in so many ways. This is how it changed mine.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Little K's Incredible Journey - 8 Months Old

You are now crawling like a pro! You are also pulling up to stand while holding on to furniture and starting to cruise around. I wouldn't be surprised if you are walking within the next month or two! You are certainly a busy boy! You even get distracted when you are eating and have been squirted in the eye a couple of times as a consequence of pulling away too quickly! You have two teeth on the bottom and a third tooth coming in on the top. You weigh 19 and a half pounds and have grown to 28 inches tall. Soon, we will have to move you out of your infant carrier car seat and into the convertible one.

You are finding your voice, squealing and starting to babble a bit. You love to play with your brother, your sister, and the cat. You wrestle with your brother, even when he's trying to get his diaper changed sometimes! You can crawl over to the toy shelf now, so you pick out the toys you like to play with. Just like your brother, your favorite toys are various types of balls. You like to roll them around the floor and chase them. You also like to dance. You will bounce up and down to music and smile.

We can't believe how quickly you are growing! We won't be able to call you "little" for much longer!