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Cultivating Joy

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Does your joy come from within or from the outside. My introvert self NEEDS downtime, time to recharge, so it’s hard for me to remember that other women can help me the joyful creature I need to be. Our relationships with other women can be incredibly helpful, but sometimes they’re just not. It seems so easy for us women to cluster together and just complain, and then try to “out complain” each other. Sometimes we just need a new perspective to find the joy we need and want.  You have to check out this new book: Inspiration for a Woman’s Soul: Cultivating Joy discusses joy and several ways to attain it.

Cultivating Joy

It’s so easy to take a new situation and look at it as a cause for grief. In the words of our menfolk, change means work. Whenever we want a change in the furniture being rearranged, that means work for him to move it around. In the same way, we can look our jobs, home, and abroad and just get discouraged. In my life, I get discouraged by the the mundane, clutter, apathetic people, and on and on.  Sometimes I look at the frustrations of my life and just let out one giant sigh.

Why in tarnation am I not thankful for the life I have? I am blessed with a good life, not perfect but very very good, and why can I not take a new look and be excited and relieved that my life will continue to be as good as it is now.

When I do my chores, why do I look at all the has to be done and become sour faced and grumpy? I lack perspective. Joy comes when I take control of my emotions. I can choose what will be appreciated and cherished.

I encourage you to read along with other positive women their stories of having joy. Along with Inspiration for a Woman’s Soul: Cultivating Joy you’d receive thousands in bonus gifts from over 50 visionary women (for a limited time only).  To received your free gifts you have to buy the book from Amazon and then go here to request your freebies! Enjoy!

Make Money Selling at Bookstores

Make Money Selling at Bookstores

Bookstores Aren’t Just for Books

When you are ready to leave college or move, you may end up with that giant pile of books that you are not going to move with you. While these books mean nothing to you anymore (in fact, some of your college books you may want to burn), that doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth anything at all. Selling items back to book stores is a great way to recoup a bit of your initial cost and cut down on your moving load. However,bookstores do not just take books anymore. These days almost all media is up for grabs at your local book store.

DVDs

You know those Dragon Ball Z DVDs that you hid in the closet lest someone notice them? They may actually be worth some money on resale for either brick and mortar or online book stores. Some sites have an app that will allow you to scan your DVDs and then give you an offer to purchase them. In much the same way, you can load up your car with some used DVDs and head over to have someone look them over. Typically these sorts of sales do not make you more than a few pennies on the dollar, however, twenty dollars that you can use for lunch isn’t that bad. And it’s twenty dollars that you didn’t have before you sold your DVDs. Be careful, however, with online offers. Some sites only pay you in points that you have to then use at that particular retailer.

Cassette Tapes

Yes, Ace of Base could be worth something. If you’re moving for the first time or cleaning out your basement, you may locate old cassette tapes. These are not used often anymore, though some music fanatics, artists, and collectors will pay good money for them. Looking for collectors can be very tedious and time consuming. Also, if you have used the tapes then their actual trade value will be vastly diminished. You cannot sell many cassettes without original cases, art, and sometimes still wrapped. This means that the cassette case in your basement isn’t exactly a gold mine. However, many different stores will accept them on trade. It’s important to remember that when you are trading things at stores like this that you realize you won’t be getting top dollar for these items. Instead you will be getting an undercut of what they would be able to sell the items for. However, there’s not much else that most people would do with them, so it is worth the shot.

Computers

Check with your local book seller when you’re upgrading to a new computer. Many times these stores will have resale programs or work with charities that give people computers for work or school. While this option is not going to net you any major profits, it’s a good gesture and will help someone out. It’s very difficult to apply for jobs, net interviews, and even go to college these days without a computer. By giving yours away to someone less fortunate you’re allowing them access to new possibilities that they didn’t have before.

Free Christian Audio Book “Choose Joy” by Kay Warren

Free Choose Joy Audio BookRight now, Christian Audio is offering the book “Choose Joy” by Kay Warren as their free christian audio download.  This freebie will be available through 3/31/13.  Go to Christian Audio to get your free copy.

 

What’s this book about?

Ever wonder why some people seem to experience joy in their daily lives–even in the tough times–and others can’t seem to find it no matter how hard they search? Is a joy-filled life really possible? The answer is yes! And it’s possible for every woman, no matter what her circumstances may be.

In this inspiring book, Kay Warren teaches women what joy really is, where to find it, and how to choose it in the good times and the bad. With compassion and wisdom, she shows listeners–even those who live with the constant companions of discouragement and depression–that true joy is deeper, richer, and more accessible than they might think. Perfect for small groups or individual reading, Choose Joy will empower women who feel like their emotions and well-being are at the mercy of others by helping them understand the life-giving truth that joy is within their grasp–every day.

 

Thanks, Christian Clippers!

Why I’m not reading Fifty Shades of Grey

Why I’m not reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

Fifty Shades of Grey

I wasn’t planning on writing about this, to be transparent I’m very uncomfortable approaching the subject but I feel it’s something that needs to be addressed.  When I was in the doctor’s office for my pre-op appointment my husband looked up from his magazine shocked by what he read.  He was thumbing through a local magazine, Forsyth Family Magazine, and found an article that recommended the book Fifty Shades of Grey to teenagers!  The exact quote is, “50 Shades of Grey is also a very popular series; they are somewhat explicit, and some teens may find these books to have too much adult content.”  My husband’s comment was that, “most adults would find that it had too much adult content.”  That was the first that I had heard of the book but I’ve heard nothing but buzz about it ever since.

 

The blogosphere is filled with chatter about the Fifty Shades of Grey.  I’ve seen Facebook friends post that they can’t wait to get a copy.  My girlfriend’s grandmother is eager to read it.  One friend heard that it is good Christian book and asked me if I knew anything about it.  Another friend devoured the book in one day and hates that she can’t get the images out of her head.  In attempt to keep the images out of your mind, I’d like to share with you the five reasons why I’m not reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

 

#1:  Fifty Shades of Grey is categorized as fiction, erotic fiction.  One online dictionary defines erotic as writing, pictures, or film which has “no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate sexual desire.”  That falls in line with the many reviews that say, “poorly written” and “unimaginative.”  Part of Amazon’s description of the book says, “Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.”  Erotic…stay with you forever.  Hmm.

 

According to God, the inventor of sexuality, there is only one person who should stimulate a sexual desire in me and that is my husband.  If God desires me to only be aroused by my husband then any other stimulation would be wrong.  Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt. 5: 27-28 NIV)  This is also true for a woman who looks at {or reads about} a man.  I believe reading erotica is sinful, plain and simple.  This should be reason enough to convince you not to read Fifty Shades of Grey but I’ll continue in case you’re not convinced.

 

#2: We’re women {well, most of my readers are} and even though it is sad, devastatingly sad, we have to admit that a few of our men have looked at porn.  How does that make you feel?  It hurts my heart just to think about the possibility.  Women have enough self-esteem issues without trying to compare themselves to the “perfection” created by professional make up artists, camera tricks, and Photoshop!  You know what though?  Your husband doesn’t deserve to be compared to a false, polished, idea of manhood either.

 

#3: The Bible clearly says that lust is harmful and warns us to flee from it.  (Ephesians 5:3Galatians 5:16Psalms 101:3) Not surprisingly, neuroscientists and biopsychologists warn about the detrimental effects that lust, erotica, and pornography have on the human brain and body. Over time the human body  becomes conditioned to self-gratification.  Are you getting this?  These effects are physiological.  In the beginning a little erotica may give you a desire for your spouse but over time it will turn sex into a self-satisfying endevour.  If you associate arousal with your spouse, their kiss, their scent, that is what, over time, will turn you on.  However, if you open your focus to an endless chasm of sexual images, that is what it will take to turn you on.  You’ll become less interested in real sex with your husband. While I’m not quoting sources for these studies, the post, 7 Negative Effects of Porn, shares easy to understand side-effects of pornography along with references.  The fact of the matter is this, erotica robs you of the pleasure real sex can bring.

 

#4:  The Bible exhorts us to be intentional about controlling our thought life, because we are what we think!  Too often we fail to remember that our minds and hearts are programmed by what we listen to, watch and read.  Romans 12:2 cautions us “…be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  II Cor. 10:5 says, “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”  One of my favorite songs and Bible verses is Phil. 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

 

Strive to hate sin the way that God hates sin.  He hates sin because it is contrary to His perfect and holy nature.  Sin causes separation between ourselves and God (Isaiah 59:2 NASB).  Such separation has a horrible consequence: damnation in Hell, eternally separated from God.  Jesus suffered, died on the cross, and rose again so that you can be forgiven of your sins! Don’t run back to that sin, hate it.  I’ve heard Rand Hummel say, “God wants what’s best for your life.”  I believe that with all my heart.  God is not trying to keep any good thing from you but He wants what’s best for your life.  Is this book, that has been called “soft-porn” and is filled with erotica, best?  I don’t think so.

 

#5: This book contains BDSM.  Do you know what that stands for?  Bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism. Don’t feel embarrassed if you don’t know what those words mean, be glad in fact!  If you do know, please see that the most damaging part of Fifty Shades of Grey is the dismal picture of sex it portrays.  Sex was created by God to be enjoyed between a man and a woman.  That passion should be fueled by self-sacrifice and love for the other person.  Never humiliation or pain.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about a spicy and exciting sex-life within my marriage!  Woot!  Woot!  I think the real issue is that women are dealing with a void in their lives.  The problem with this is that no man on this earth can satisfy and fill the void that we all have.  We have a God-size void in our soul that only God Himself can fill.

 

For those wondering if I’ve read the book, I haven’t.  I don’t need to in order to discern that it is harmful to me.  I value myself, my marriage, and my God too much to open this book’s pages.  I know that not everyone will agree with my but if you feel the same as I do please take a moment to share this post with friends.  I’m afraid that too many Christian women will pick up this best seller, will struggle to put it down, and won’t be able to get those images out of their heads.

Children’s Classic Hardcover Books for Only $1.70 Each!

childrens books

ShopTasteofHome.com has a collection of 10 Classic Children’s Hardcover Books for only $14.99, plus $1.99 shipping!  That means that each book is only $1.70!   A few of the book titles include Good Night Moon, Curious George Gets a Medal, Mike Mulligan & the Steam Shovel and 7 more!  To get this amazing deal for your kids or as a gift simply add the collection to your cart and you may or may not need to use the coupon code LS105.  When I purchased my set I didn’t need to use the coupon.

 

Plus,  if you shop through Ebates you’ll get 5% cash back!

Thanks, The Krazy Coupon Lady!

Colors Can Be Spiritual Too: Finding Books with Eternal Value

Today’s guest post is from a “virtual friend” of mine, Rivka.  Don’t  you just love that name? : )  Rivka Kawano is a mom of three blessings, all age three and under, who is always striving to find the best books for them to grow on.  Her book review website, www.beautifulbooksforchildren.com, is a way for her to keep track of all those books and ideas and share them with other parents too.  I think you’ll find her post to be a blessing!

Kids books are nothing special. A way to keep the little ones entertained, teach them their colors and numbers, and give mom and dad five minutes of quiet.

Right?Books

What if we started thinking of the books our children read as so much more than that. What if we realized that every image, every word, every concept, is developing their mind and helping to create the person they will become. What if we acknowledged that we are sending them messages, some overt and some very subtle, about how we feel about the world and each person’s place in it. I think we could start a revolution.

Think I am being overly dramatic? What kind of message do your children get if every book they own show only children of their own skin color – especially if those books are talking about things like God’s love? When you tell children that neatness counts, and we should always do our best, do you think they don’t notice that when a book is just a cut and paste commercialization throwing colors and numbers on a page? If listening is important, why is it so funny in a book when a child does not listen?

Our heavenly Father has given us parents such a gift and such a responsibility. The books that we chose for our children are a part of that too. We need to invest the time and effort that it takes to find good ones that are falling in line with the lessons we are trying to teach them. Even if it is just a book about colors or shapes.

Deciding to find great books is one thing. Finding them is quite another. It can be done! How do we decide which books are good and which aren’t? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is this book beautiful? Does it display the fundamental principles of quality workmanship in the way it is crafted?
  2. How will it make your child feel? What emotions does it display? Are these emotions that you want to encourage?
  3. What are the overt values of the book? According to the Bible, witchcraft is not good, does this book support that idea or contradict it? Do the themes of the book themselves undermine good spiritual principles?
  4. What are the underlying values of the book? Do the characters in the book show respect and love for each other? If not what are the consequences? What is “good” and what is “bad” in this book? Do the definitions of the book agree with the Word of God?
  5. What will your child learn from reading this book with you? Animals, numbers, letters, shapes, how to feel about a new sibling? Does this book present these things in the most engaging way possible? Does it make learning fun?
  6. How are other people presented in this book? Are any groups excluded, demeaned, or degraded either in the words, or in the way they are presented in the pictures?
  7. Does this book tell the truth? Not to mean that we should never enjoy fiction, but does it share the bigger capital ‘T’ Truth that God made the world, that He loves us, and does it fairly represent other ideas and people?

Always preview books before showing them to your children. Children are easily enticed by bright colors and fun-looking characters. It is so much harder to have to take a book away from a child, once they are excited about it, than it is to take the time to see what its contents are before theMom and Daughter Readingy even get the chance.

Always pay attention to what your child is telling you. My three year old has amazing discernment. Perhaps it is because he is less jaded, but often early on in a video program or book he will say “this is too scary for me,” or “this is for grown-ups.” When I have laughed it off as childhood silliness, I have regretted it. If your child is sending you the message that they don’t feel comfortable with a book, perhaps they are seeing something you are not – and you should listen.

It is important that we agree with God and His word in all things. If children are a blessing, then you should not be choosing books that display a new baby as a bad thing. If God made all the people of the world, then one group or another should not be regularly marginalized or made fun of. If hurting each other or being hurt is not part of God’s plan, then it should not be funny to read books, tell jokes, or see shows that laugh at other’s pain.

Finding great books can seem overwhelming at times. Schedule outings without kids to browse books at the bookstore or library. Ask trusted friends and family for recommendations. Or follow a book review website that shares your values.

When you take the time you will be rewarded in so many ways. Not only will you be filling your home with positive messages, but your children will learn to love and value literature, and how to view it critically. The books you do have will get plenty of use as they are enjoyed again and again.

Story books are important, most of the Bible is stories. Make sure the books building your children’s character are good ones.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philipians 4:8 (NIV)

Multnomah Publishers: Free Books for Bloggers

Blogging for Books

Multnomah Publishers is looking for bloggers who would like to receive free books in exchange for reviews.  By writing excellent reviews you can also win cash prizes and more.

Thanks goes to Heather for the heads up!