“Gospel-Centered Mom” ~ A Review

Hello friends!

Do you ever have moments of #momfail?  We try to laugh about that here in our house (oh, there are so many!).  But below the silly mistakes or funny mis-speaks (you know, when you put in a syllable that doesn’t belong there or put in the wrong word here and there), I do have questions about my mom ability.

I try not to compare myself with my mom friends.  I have got friends who are AMAZING.  Who have gifts and abilities that, to be honest, I will never have.  And really, God does instruct us in Scripture not to compare ourselves with others.   We have the gifts, the abilities, the moments in time that we have and that He has given to US, not to others.

But how can I make sure that my core identity–the person I am under those gifts/abilities/personality–is healthy, and bringing health to my family?  And I’m not talking about healthy meals here (though I do think those are important).  I’m talking about being a woman who lives in the truth.  And that is a hard thing to do sometimes.  The media tells us their “truths” about a woman’s appearance, beauty, worth, importance.  We can accept as “truth” the actions that others have toward us, whether positive or negative.  We can even use our mirrors as truth-tellers.  But in every interaction we have with the people or things on that list, our minds and hearts are going to make interpretations.  And those are shaped by our own experiences, relationships, successes, and sadly, our hurts.

I have been on a journey recently where I have seen more and more the importance of living in and dwelling on the truth as God defines it.  I am trying to take my experiences and emotions and line them up with what the Bible says before I just take them on.  (It’s definitely a skill I am learning, and not always automatic.)  But, I’m also looking for other resources that will aid me in that journey.  And when I saw the title of Brooke McGlothlin’s new book, Gospel-Centered Mom, I was immediately interested.

 

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Gospel-Centered Mom

Author Brooke McGlothlin heads and cofounded Raising Boys Ministries.  She writes for an online boy mom community, on LifeWay’s ParentLife blog and on the Proverbs 31 Devotional website.  Perhaps most importantly in terms of this book, she is a  mother who wanted to be a great mom for her kids.  But how do we do that, when culture and media tell us how to be the “perfect” family, or our own hearts compare our families with others and we feel we come up short?

Instead of pursuing those unhealthy ideals, Brooke went back to God. She learned that just trying harder was not enough.  But turning to God first and foremost was.  I love the subtitle of this book, which reads:  “The freeing truth about what your kids really need.”  Because that’s really the bottom line, isn’t it?  Not what I am feeling forced by my culture to make, but what my child needs from me to become the amazing young man that God wants him to be.  That changes my focus pretty dramatically.

In Gospel-Centered Mom, Brooke discusses:

  • The difference between the ME Gospel and the True Gospel
  • Living my life as part of God’s enormous, amazing Story instead of my own, self-focused story
  • Living in the truth (I’ve mentioned already how important that is for me at this moment in time)
  • Practical things I can do every day to live in that truth
  • How God meets us in the wilderness, shows us Himself, and loves us…even while He’s showing us the truth about ourselves
  • And one topic that is so useful but is even hard for me to write down here:  Why is God letting me suffer?

My thoughts

Brooke McGlothlin is a woman who writes the truth.  When we live in a culture that is so focused on the newest amazing beauty product that will change your life; or shows you pictures of the “perfect” family life that you should be living; or tells you unrealistic ways that you can “be your best self”—we need people who will boil down truth to its essence and share that truth with us.

In Gospel-Centered Mom, Brooke shares honestly from her own struggles as a mom and a woman who believes in God…and shares hope with those of us who are in similar struggles.  Sometimes the answer really is as simple as coming to God.  But Brooke’s words also tell us how to come to God; how to work out our lives and relationships, and even our own weaknesses as mothers–by living in love with God and in His truth.

This book is worth reading.  Check it out.

 

Enjoy!  –Wren

 

Disclosure:  From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

 

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Glow in the New Year Giveaway from FINCHNWREN (ends 1/15/18)

Happy New Year, darling ones!

We hope that your new year started out with a smile.  It’s time for our last holiday FINCHNWREN giveaway of the season….some goodies to help you start out 2018 with a glow!

 

 

This time, Finch and I have assembled some things to help you glow on the inside AND the outside.  Since starting out a new year can be a time of setting up some new habits for yourself, we’re giving away two books:

  • Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, & Endorphin Levels by Loretta Graziano Bruening, PhD.  I’m not a mental health professional so I can’t speak to whether this actually works.  But I do know that the Bible says, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is…” (Proverbs 23:7, NASB)  Our thoughts can be so powerful in shaping our lives and our experiences.
  • Let’s All Be Brave: Living Life With Everything You Have by Annie F. Downs.  Downs has written a creative, lovely book about how we can win over the fears that plague us and live courageously.

Then, a couple of goodies for your face and body!

  • Sephora Collection Mini Lip Gloss in clear for a gorgeous shine on your lips
  • Dermasuri Deep Exfoliating Mitt to use in the shower for exfoliating your winter skin!

How to enter:

Simply click on the pink “Enter Here!” link below, to enter via Giveaway Tools.  One winner will be selected and will win all four items after the giveaway closes on 1/15/18.  Best wishes!

Enter here!

 

Enjoy!  –Wren and Finch

And…the chemo has come to an end!

Hello dear ones!

I have some happy news to share with you!

The chemotherapy sessions have come to an end.  In fact, my last chemo session was on September 22.  That’s generally followed by about 3 weeks of not feeling that well.  But the chemo AND those 3 weeks are over and done with!

For the next two years, I’ll have a blood test done every 3 months accompanied by a doctor’s visit.  When I get through the two years without a negative test result (or positive, depending on how you’d phrase it) the doctor (who was my oncology surgeon and has overseen all of my treatment) will release me.

Woo hoo!

I’ll also have the port (that they administered the chemo thru) flushed every 5-6 weeks.  I’m not sure yet if they’ll take that out at the end of the two years or before that.

I have had some FANTASTIC days.  And others where I didn’t feel that great.  But I can tell that things are moving in a great direction.  I have even been able to cook dinner several times a week, which has made me (and no doubt my family) extremely happy!

We can tell that my hair is starting to grow back in.  (Although the PA said it’ll likely be March before I need an actual haircut.)  Still!  It’s still awesome!

All my thanks to each and every one of you for your support, prayers, and kind notes and comments.  I have appreciated it more than you’ll ever know.

I just wanted to let you know that things are looking good!  And to thank you!

Blessings– :)Wren

The Other Half of the Story from Wren…

Hi dear ones!

I have been meaning to write this post to you for a long time.  Finally, today!

The rest of the story…

So, y’all may remember my long story about the surgery that I had and the many unexpected events along with it.  Infection, the wound vac, going back into the hospital.

But, there is one little piece of information I hadn’t included…really because I was still processing it myself.  The purpose of the surgery was to remove a large cyst, and the surgeon successfully did so.

To my shock, the cyst was cancerous.  We are so thankful that it was completely enclosed within the ovary (which was also removed).  They felt good about getting everything out.  But, we agreed with the doctor that chemotherapy was the way to go for a good prognosis.

So…I’ve started down the chemo journey.  I have actually completed two rounds already.  They give the chemo on day 1, then 21 days later they give the next round, and so on.  This coming Friday, I’ll have round #2 with the goal of completing 6 total.  That will give us October as the final round.

So, what has it been like?

The chemo infusion (or whatever you call it…probably there’s a technical term I’m missing there) wasn’t bad at all.  It contains steroids to help the body assimilate the chemo so you actually think you feel better than you do.  Two days later, the steroids have worn off and the uck part begins.  I had only a little nausea (no vomiting, woo hoo!).  The worst part for me was bone and joint pain from the waist down.  That was not probably excruciating but pretty darn painful.

So that was week 1 of the round.  They say that during week 2 and 3, the person feels better and better and that was true for  me.  In fact, last Thursday I woke up for the first time since before the surgery IN NO PAIN!  Ask me  how happy I was.  🙂

 

Something else happens between week 2 and 3…

Yep.  You probably guessed it.  The hair makes its exit.

I have to admit that it has its funny moments.  I knew it was going to happen, and I did have one emotional evening.  I have gone from a big-haired Texan to…well…NOT a big-haired Texan!  As a matter of fact, I have always thought I had a big head.  Turns out it was the hair.  Which may not sound that funny but around here, it is!  (For any of you with kids who watch the Disney show “Mighty Med,” I am particularly partial to supporting cast character Philip’s line.  He has a HUGE head…but compared to others on his planet, his head is small.  He loves to mention his “embarrassingly tiny head!”)

I have a few beanies now and a wig.  I haven’t worn the wig yet just b/c the hats are so easy.  But I expect I will.  The hair will come back, 6 months after the chemotherapy ends…which should be around March.

So, what’s next for me?

Two chemo sessions down, with four to go, with the last one estimated to be in early October.  We’re just trying to live as normally as we can, given the circumstances.  We’ve being blessed by support from so many friends and family.  We appreciate those so much!

My goal is to just walk this out as positively (and healthfully) as possible.  By God’s grace, right?

So now you know.  🙂

Lots of love!  –Wren

Tips for Moving ~ Guest Post from Cassandra at A Glimpse of Normal

 

My dear friend Cassandra from A Glimpse of Normal is guest posting today for finchnwren!  She and her family just moved into their dream home (WHAT a story!) and she’s written about how she and her family made the big move simpler and less stressful.  Enjoy–and then hop over to Cassandra’s blog and see their neat new home!

We recently made a big move and bought a new house.  It has been a lot of fun and it is my dream house.  It is a renovated barn and the kids have a lot of fun telling people they live in a barn.  Now that we have been here for a few months I have been thinking about the things we did that made our move easier.  That is what I want to share with you today.  This list is by no means all-inclusive and I am sure there are plenty of things I am forgetting to include, but these are the main things that helped us make moving easier.

1.  Declutter, Declutter, Declutter – If you are thinking about moving start decluttering. This will help you weed out the items you want to keep and move from those you don’t need anymore. Sometimes it isn’t easy, but just remember the more you keep, the more you have to move.
Start Packing Early – I know it sounds a little crazy to start packing before you move, but if you are even thinking of moving, start packing boxes. There are almost always things in our house that we can do without for a little while, so start packing those items. Packing takes forever in general, but the less you have to pack in the last couple of weeks before you move, the better off you will be.

2.  Don’t Pack the Crock Pot – When we moved our crock pot was our best friend.  We had the luxury of a couple of weeks to work in our new house before we closed on our old house.  So during the day I would throw our food into the crock pot and as soon as hubby got home from work, we grabbed what we needed to work that night, a load of boxes, and our crock pot.  Dinner was ready when we got to the new house.  We would eat and then work.

3.  Pack a Tote of Cleaning Supplies – Once we knew the closing date of our new house, I packed a tote of cleaning supplies to take with us on the day we closed.  This included bathroom cleaner, paper towels, toilet paper, kitchen cleaner, wash cloths, rubber gloves, window cleaner, and scrubbers.  This way I could begin cleaning while my hubby and the guys were ripping out carpet.  It also helped because I knew I had these supplies at the new house so I could work on cleaning it when I had a few minutes of downtime when we were remodeling.

4.  Check Out the Cost of Living Where You Are Moving To – Many people move and it just across town, but some are like us and you cross state lines.  This means that the cost of living for us is different.  One thing we did when we first started seriously considering our new house was to find out how expensive it was to live there.  We asked about the utilities, internet, insurance, car insurance, taxes, trash service, how far it was to the store, how much is gasoline there, and more like this.  We also made a list of things we could research when we moved like who plowed snow around us, heating and cooling companies near the new house, and figuring out where we need to go for things like licenses, county taxes, and so on.

5.  Plan for the Unexpected – Every new house you buy comes with unexpected costs.  There are things at our house that we thought were in good order when we purchased the house and they passed inspection, but once we started looking into it more, we had to make some repairs or replace a few things before we could use them.  Try to set aside some money for these unexpected costs.

6.  Work With the Kids – I mean this in a couple of ways.  Our kids were excited about the possibility of moving but at the same time they had reservations and fears.  Work with them through this.  One way we did this was we had a family meeting and we created a list of things we could do if we had a fresh start.  Many of the things on this list were things we could have done at the old house, but just hadn’t taken the time to do.  We have been very diligent about this list and we are making a conscious effort to help our kids check off these tasks from the list we made.  The other way I mean work with your kids is let them work alongside you.  My kids loved getting to decide how their new bedrooms would look.  They also loved being able to give a vote for paint colors and they have come up with clever ideas for decorating at the new house.  They loved being a part of making over the rooms we have made over so far and it gives them a sense of accomplishment and it helps them make the new house theirs.

7.  Enjoy the Process – Once we made the decision to put our house up for sale and put an offer on a new house life got a little crazy.  There is the hurry up and take care of this while at the same time you are waiting on other things.  The whole process of moving is a hurry up and wait kind of thing.  The best thing that we did through it all was to try to enjoy every moment of it even though at times it was frustrating.  We did our best to stay positive and stay focused on what we could take care of and not focus on the things that were out of our hands.  So I encourage you to try to enjoy it all, even the crazy last minute details.  The moving process happens so fast, but so slow and it will help everyone if you just try to enjoy it all.

If you want to read more about my dream house you can hope over to my blog A Glimpse of Normal and looks for my posts about Our Barn Home.  It is a work in progress, but we are truly loving our new home.  Thanks for reading my post today and I think I can safely say that we would love to hear any tips you have for moving.

P.S.  – A special thanks to FinchnWren for letting me share on their blog today.

I just loved Cassandra’s tips.  So helpful and things I might not have thought of off the bat!  Many thanks, Cassandra!

Enjoy! –Wren

What Iron Man & I Have in Common

If y’all knew me personally, you would be laughing about now.

 

 

And maybe even from reading the finchnwren blog, you might be smiling at the title of today’s post.

In the Marvel movie, The Avengers, Captain America and Tony Stark have the following exchange:

Cap:  “Big man in a suit of armor.  Take that away, what are you?”

Tony:  “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.”

So you can see from that alone how different we are!  But I had to laugh last week, when my husband, son, and I rewatched Iron Man, which introduced us for the first time to the man who would be Iron Man and part of the Avengers.

You’re still not making the connection, are you?

Well, it’s this:

 

 

This handy little machine is my wound vac.  If you’ve read any of the recent finchnwren posts, you know I had abdominal surgery at the beginning of May.  The incision became infected, and part of the solution is the wound vac’s job.  It’s attached to me by tubes, surgical tape, and sponges, and it brings healing by drawing out the infected cells and stimulating them and others to grow healthy cells.  It is working, but we’ve also had to add antibiotics b/c of several repeated infections (trust me, you don’t want to know the details on those!).

 

 

Still not seeing it?

Well, here it is then!  In Iron Man (just in case you haven’t seen it, I won’t include too many spoilers), Tony ends up captured and taken hostage, held captive in a cave in the Middle East by a group of terrorists who want his weapons and technology.  They demand that he build missiles for them.  But he has a very different plan.

Tony’s life has been saved by another captive who performed a dramatic surgery on him; he’s placed an electromagnet in Tony’s chest to keep the shrapnel from taking his life.  But the electromagnet has to be powered by something, doesn’t it?  Yep.  A car battery, attached to the electromagnet by wires.  So Tony has to tote the car battery around everywhere he walks in the cave.

That’s it!

Yes, it is.  My situation is not so grim, clearly!  But when I saw Tony carrying around that battery that was connected to him and saving his life, I had to laugh.  (Trust me, I DO realize that my reaction is not what the directors intended!)  And I continue to smirk every now and then when I pick up my wound vac as I head to the kitchen, up the stairs, wherever.  Where I go (for now), the wound vac goes with me.

And there you have it!

Probably the only thing that Tony Stark and I will  ever have in common.  🙂

 

Hope you’re all doing well.  Enjoy!  –Wren