Review

The Best Yes Book – Practical takeways

bestyes

I just finished reading The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst in my women’s Sunday night bible study and this has definitely been one of the best reads for me. With my personality and my desire to meet everyone’s needs and do everything, I think I’ve confused the disease to please with God’s call to love. This study was so eye opening to me as a reminder that not every assignment that comes across my lap is necessarily my assignment.

For other women who are constantly treading water feeling like you can’t keep up and you keep adding to your plate because you feel like you have to do it all, I highly recommend the book. Some of the takeaways I’ve started incorporating into my life:

1 – Praying to God for more clarity when things come across my plate. Before I was a constant YES GIRL. You need my help, I’ll give it to you. I’d jam pack our schedule with so many projects and things people asked of us and then I’d run around like a madman trying to fit it all in. And I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to ask or receive help (unless it’s painting or making curtains, right mom?), but I love to be the one to step in and help whenever there is a need. Now, I’m bringing some of the requests to God and using that to help decide which things to say no to. It’s actually been freeing to keep our schedule less packed so when the last minute activity comes up, we do have freedom in our schedule for the unplanned park trip or picnic lunch. I’ve also cut back on the to-do lists and schedule for our weekends. That’s not to say there aren’t days that we have back to back errands or projects, but I’m trying to do a better job of making those days less frequent.  It’s giving us more white space in our family days to just enjoy down time and relax. To have time to just snuggle in bed – all four of us with a bible story or favorite movie or even just to talk about our days.

2 – Seeing God show me the small signs. I think so often I only come to God with the big things. The prayer requests for job change or house hunting. But Lysa’s book goes into a lot of the detail around seeing God nudge you in the little things. Supporting someone in a small way whether it be through a note of encouragement or a random act of kindness at the checkout for the person behind you. I want to have my eyes open to the little things God shows me so I can be aware of the little tasks he wants me to be involved in. When I do good things in the little tasks, I can be entrusted with some of the bigger plans God has for me.

3 – Finding wise counsel in my life. It’s easy to surround myself with YES people. People who won’t stand up to my idea or thoughts but will always give me the “go for it” advice that I want. I want to work harder to find others who are ahead of me in various aspects of life and be open to hearing advice that might not be want I want to hear, but what I need to hear. And I want to work on being open enough to take that advice. I’m always challenged in thinking “I know the best way” and I want to do better job of letting those around me – who have gone before me in a particular area – give me wisdom. Whether it be in the area of my job, parenting, marriage, God, etc. I think one thing God has put on my heart over the course of this study is to find a spiritual mentor. I’ve never had one and I’m not 100% sure what that relationship would be, but I think I need to find a woman who is ahead of me in life who can help guide me to grow as a Christian wife, mom and follower of Jesus. I want to find people who aren’t just family members to give me wisdom but outside voices that can help shape my path.

There are so many wise nuggets throughout the book and I’m so glad I dug into it. Just like her Unglued book, Lysa has a way of speaking that is so relatable and wants me to focus on doing a better job in my life.  Do you have a book that has changed the way you approach your life and really impacted you in so many practical ways?  Please share!

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Fitbit: Review

I’ve been surprised over the past year how much people comment on my FitBit.  It’s not uncommon for me to be checking out the store, meeting someone new at church, at a kids playdate and people ask, “Is that a FitBit? How do you like it?”

I figure I’d throw my two cents out there on what I like and don’t like about it.

fitbit

I have the FitBit Force – which is no longer in circulation. They had the big recall for skin irritation and just announced some new and improved watches coming out this year and next to replace that model.

Things I love:
1 – It’s very compact and easy to use.  Some monitors and trackers are big and bulky and this one is slim and modern. I love that on this model – as opposed to the Flex version, I can see my actual steps, mileage, calories burned, etc.  On the Flex, there are just little lights that shine when you hit a certain percentage, but I like to be able to see how close I am.

2 – I love that it tracks sleep.  While I don’t track it all the time now, for several months, I wore and tracked all the time so I could see how I slept and I was surprised at how often I would wake and have activity in my sleep.  And it was also interested to see how rested I was when I only had activity a handful of times.

3 – I love that I can check it on my phone and sync it with other apps. I have it sync to other fitness apps – like “My Fitness Pal” which makes it so easy to use multiple apps simultaneously.

4 – It’s motivating.  When I check out my tracker and see where I am in the day, it pushes me to take a walk around the block during my work day, or go ahead and get out on a quick run even when I’d rather snuggle my couch.  I generally can guess, with relative accuracy, where I am in my step count for the day based on what I’ve been doing so it’s a good reminder to get out there and hit the street for a little bit.

Things I don’t like:
1 – I had an issue with the skin irritation. It got really bad on my left wrist – the natural wrist for a right hander – but I had to switch it to my other hand and then be more cautious about it when I wore it.  For example, I would take it off for five minutes after my runs when I was super sweaty to let my skin air dry before I put it back on.

2 – It definitely comes off easily.  I’ve “lost” it more than once when picking up a kid or taking off my jacket because the clasp is backwards and easily opens.

3 – It’s not 100% accurate, especially when running. I’m sure it’s because the stride is longer on my runs, but I’ll just my Nike app during runs to track my distance and pace and the FitBit is always short when I run, usually by at least 10-15%.  Because I’m mostly using it to see how many steps I take in a day, I don’t mind that much. I just rely on my Nike app for training distances.

All in all, I love having it. It’s definitely motivated me more to get out and exercise. There have been more than one occasion where I’ve just walked around my bedroom late at night because I only need 500 more steps to hit my goal for the day and I want to get there!  And I really love being able to see how many steps I’m taking on the weekends when we have TONS of errands and projects on the radar, they add up quickly!

Anyone else use a fitness tracker? Love it, hate it? What’s the best feature?

 

Book Review: The Hunger Games

For Christmas I received the book, The Hunger Games, and was looking forward to reading it.  I had heard about it because they filmed some in my hometown of Charlotte (I actually had relatives who were in town for a few months working on-set.), and planned to read the book before seeing the movie.  However, in my emotional pregnant state, I was nervous I would feel so overwhelmed from what I had heard of the book – that it’s set in future North America which is now divided into 12 districts and a Capitol.  Each of the 12 districts is required to produce a teen boy and a teen girl to fight against the other districts child representatives to win benefits for their region – food, honor, etc.  Knowing how hard I cried (seriously, I was bawling for hours afterwards) seeing The Help and how the children were treated, I didn’t know if I could handle something like this. 

After some prodding from my sister, who NEVER reads anything but was promoting these books, I decided that I would try to read it before the baby came. 

SO. GOOD.

While the premise of teens fighting for their state in a Survivor-type setting is there, the focus isn’t on gruesome battles, but more on outwitting others, building relationships (including a love interest or two) and understanding the main character’s – Katniss Everdeen- life and past.  Her role as provider for her family when her father is killed and her mother goes into a deep depression leaving her to care for her little sister.  The book gives so much great detail that it is hard to put down (I read it in 5 hours one afternoon) and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for several days afterwards.  I loved some of the futuristic concepts of the book, while still having an almost-Depression-era setting.

I can’t wait to get into the next books in the series and read them before the movie comes out.  I know I won’t be able to put them down!  If you have read this book, tell me if you loved it as much as I did!!

Book Review: Lord, Teach Me To Pray

My Lifegroup just finished reading the book “Lord, Teach Me to Pray in 28 Days” by Kay Arthur. The premise is using the Lord’s Prayer as an outline for your own prayers. I had never heard this style of praying before and it was such an enlightening exercise to learn how to pray this way. Praying with worship, praying with examples from the bible where God has handled similar situations, praying using Bible scriptures. I have never heard this techinque for prayer and while I haven’t instilled all of her practices, I want to continue to expand the way I pray.  Some of her ideas I have incorporated into my prayers and I feel more attuned when I am praying because of this. 

I would say it was very hard to try to keep up with doing this daily.  I often get in grooves where I do a study regularly for a few weeks then begin to slip.  I definitely had a hard time with this one and it was only one month of study.  I think sometimes her writing style wasn’t as engaging, so I didn’t get as excited to pick up the book in later chapters.  This meant that I would have to do multiple chapters in one day to catch up and I felt more rushed.

All in all, definitely learned several things about prayer and considering prayer is our #1 form of communicating with God, I think this will help grow my conversations with Him.