Tag Archives: life

Time In The Sun

I’ll be honest. We don’t get nearly enough time in the sun. The girls’ extra-curricular activities are indoors. Their exercise is indoors. It is difficult for them to do schoolwork outdoors when they have to spread out quite a bit with books, notebooks, pens, pencils, and more. So, outdoors is just not as common a place for us to spend time.

We recently took advantage of the spring break for dance and headed to The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden for a field trip. (Yes, even high schoolers get field trips!) It is springtime so the tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths were in full bloom. The tulips were the big draw for me and they were beautiful! We also saw some cherry trees in bloom and several other flowers. There were some gorgeous topiaries in the shapes of peacocks with the tails done in blooms. We saw plenty of water features and enjoyed the sunshine. It was a lovely few hours of sunshine, walking, and family time.

It was a joy to spend this time with the whole family and the girls really enjoyed it, too. And that’s not just their mom speaking hopefully. They said it over and over. They were glad we spent the time and money to do this outing, even if we were all tired at the end of the day.

Time in the sun. Time together.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be Strong and Courageous

Today (March 12), I gained a new picture of courage. It is the man whose memorial we attended. It was such a joy to listen to the stories of this man and hear the beautiful story shared of his life. But what kept hitting me was his courage – he faced life with the courage of one who knows God. And he did. A quote that was shared about him today was “John did not just believe in God; he believed God.”

That kind of courage gives us the ability to face life with hope. And John did just that. I wish you could have seen him lovingly caring for his wife during her years of decline. I wish you could see the friends and family that packed the church building today to remember this gentle man. I wish you could see the light in my daughter’s face when she speaks of Mr. John and how she knew he would have loved the cookies she was planning to give him. I wish you could have seen the smiles and the joy and the handshakes he freely gave to those around him.

Courage. It runs deep. Just like the faith that was obvious in Mr. John’s life. We see courage in many places in the bible. Some of the obvious ones include Joshua. God speaks to Joshua over and over, reminding him to “Be strong and courageous.” Look just in the first chapter and you see it three times. It keeps coming up but those same words come up in other books throughout the Bible.

When I was writing Luke 6:48-49, I found myself contemplating courage. The man who built his house with a deep foundation had courage to dig deep, to set down a foundation that couldn’t be rocked, not knowing for certain he was going to need that foundation but not willing to forgo it. The man who built without the foundation, well, maybe he had a different kind of courage but not the kind that will get you safely through life. It wasn’t deep and strong so as the stream broke against the house, it also broke.

As I wrote those words, I pondered again the faith-filled life that Mr. John lived, showing that deep foundation that he had. Believing God. He set his roots, his foundation, deep and when he needed it, that foundation was the courage he needed to step each step of his journey.

What a legacy Mr. John left us as his brothers and sisters in Christ.

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

I Chronicles 22:13
Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.

Luke 6:46-49
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Linger – 2022

Word of the Year is such a fadish thing that I kind of wonder about participating. But this word has been sitting in my head for a while now and it was just reinforced yet again.

LINGER

What does it mean to linger? According to the Google search definition, it means “stay in a place longer than necessary because of a reluctance to leave.”

Looking it up in the Webster’s 1828 dictionary you get :

1. To delay; to loiter; to remain or wait long; to be slow.

2. To hesitate; to be slow in deciding; to be in suspense.

3. To remain long in any state.

Isn’t that a beautiful idea – to stay in something for a long time that is interesting, unique, beneficial, etc?

I am determining that I need to linger more this year. I need to linger in God’s word. I need to linger in relationships. I need to linger in learning. I need to linger in peace and patience. I need to just slow down and experience, to hesitate, to stay and observe.

This is somewhat along the lines of intentionality but speaks more to the actual moment of being involved. Being intentional is a bit more about planning and thinking ahead. Lingering is about being present in the actual moment and taking the time to really be a part of it all.

In the scripture writing group I am involved with, a member recently posted about an interview she did with a brain expert. This expert noted that there is about a 20 second lag between your eyes seeing and your brain processing it or taking “significant notice” of it. That means, if I take time to linger over the message from God that I am writing down, my brain will notice more of it. I can see the same of any experience. Slow down and linger in the moment. Let your brain catch up. Find that joy that you might have otherwise blown past.

Linger.

Blessings in 2022,
Lori, At Home.

Spouse In The House ~ a book review & giveaway

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the I Read with Audra program (Audra Jennings PR) and the publisher Kregel Publications.

“Two is company but three’s a crowd.” We all know this adage but what happens when two are home together all.the.time? What happens when two is a crowd? That is the concern being addressed in Spouse In The House by Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby. They know all too well how crowded a space can become when your own daily routine is crowded by someone else’s routine coming home to rest. The global pandemic has caused a stress of this sort for many. But often, retirement, health, or work (from home or together in business) can crowd a space. So what then?

Ruchti and Melby tackle the issues and attitudes that show up when home space is shared continuously. The practical and humorous approach these ladies take for tackling the issue of shared space is joyful, even when dealing with not so joyful things. Their own experiences play well into their knowledge and ideas. They also ask others who are experienced in being home all the time to share their insights, funnies, and tips.

Humor is key to the issue of being home all the time, as many know from the past 18 months. The titles of the chapters highlight the necessary humor – “The Line Down the Middle”, “Love Keeps No Record of Who Cleaned the Toilet Last”, “The Sins Febreze Can’t Quite Cover,” and “It’s Still M Rib, Adam. It’s Still My Rib Cage, Eve.” There are 20 humor filled chapters in the book, along with some helpful resources that may or may not apply to you (including resources for when your marriage is not a safe place to be). Ruchti and Melby take turns writing in each chapter, both addressing the topic at hand from their own experience, marriage, and viewpoint. These ladies play off each other and boost each other’s knowledge, providing a great frame work for growth in marriage.

I found the book to be quite helpful, even though our family doesn’t fit the HHATT (He’s Home All The Time) model. Marriage tips for every marriage come through loud and strong, because good, solid, biblical attitudes are necessary for every stage of marriage. My husband does have an unusual schedule and we home educate our three children. In addition to that, the girls are quite active in dance and that means we have unusual schedules all around. The tips from Spouse In The House really are helpful for creating a home environment where everyone wants to be, where everyone feels respected and included, and where we can work, play, and just chill. Most off all, though, it makes home a place where we all want to come back to at the end of each day. And isn’t that what family is about?

While Ruchti and Melby did write a book that is biblical in character, it isn’t a “pound you over the head with Godly attitude” book. It incorporates love and Godly attitudes into the simple, loving, and daily interactions between a husband and a wife. I found it a helpful marriage book in this regard.

About the Book, from the cover:

A frank and funny look at what to do when together is too close.

Cynthia Ruchti and Becky Melby know all too well how adjusting to a new, all-the-time closeness can cause the bliss of marriage to form blisters. Drawing from their experiences, and from men and women across the country in the same situation, the authors take a deep breath and dive into the root causes. They dig into what God’s Word has to say, and they offer practical tips for learning the spiritual, emotional, relational, and even physical steps that can help readers replace irritation with peace.

For any couple who wants their home to be a refuge of peace and serenity for all—not just themselves—and who wants to know they aren’t alone in the mental and physical claustrophobia of too much togetherness, Spouse in the House is a vulnerable, charming, and pragmatic breath of hope.

About the authors:

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Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope through her novels, novellas, devotions, and nonfiction, and through speaking for women’s events, retreats, writers’ conferences, and workshops. She draws from 33 years of experience writing and producing the 15-minute daily radio broadcast, “The Heartbeat of the Home.” 

Ruchti’s more than thirty books have garnered reader, retailer, reviewer, and other industry awards. She serves as Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, is a founding board member of the Deliver Hope ministry and is part of the worship team at her church. She’s also a literary agent with Books & Such Literary Management. 

Ruchti and her husband, Bill, live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and six grandchildren.

Learn more about Cynthia Ruchti and her writing at cynthiaruchti.com or by following her on Facebook (@CynthiaRuchtiReaderPage), Instagram (@cynthiaruchtiauthor), and Twitter (@cynthiaruchti).

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Becky Melby has authored more than twenty novels and novellas. Spouse in the House is her first non-fiction book release.

The Melbys have four sons and fifteen grandchildren and make their home in southeastern Wisconsin. When not writing or spoiling grandchildren, she may be found touring the country with Bill in their camper or on their Honda Gold Wing motorcycle.

Find out more about Becky Melby’s books at beckymelby.com or follow her on Facebook (becky.melby.9) and Instagram (@beckymelbybooks). She also shares short blog posts each Friday on the Fill My Cup, Lord page on Facebook. 

Giveaway!!

Visit I Read With Audra (Audra Jennings PR) to enter the giveaway.
https://www.audrajennings.com/2021/09/win-copy-of-spouse-in-house.html
Will end 10/21.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Why A Piano Is Important

It might not be what you think. . .

I was debating about what to write, or if to write, the post for this week’s challenge – Furniture Favorites. Miss E told me I needed to. She decided to tell me what her favorite pieces of furniture were and ended with our piano. I was puzzled so asked her to explain the piano – she doesn’t play, I don’t often play, it doesn’t get used as much as we’d like and it is more of a storage place than anything most of the time. Her answer made me smile.

This is what she said: When someone does play the piano, it generally ends up with all of the family being involved. Sometimes you play or sometimes dad plays and someone else comes along and sings. Or you play and dad pulls out his guitar and the family gathers around to sing. Sometimes, dad will talk about my music class and use the piano to explain a point. It never stays at that point and we spent a lot of time at the piano talking, playing, and, not surprisingly, singing and laughing.

The piano brings our family together. Whether it is for holiday singing, like Christmas carols, or just plain ol kids songs, like Sesame Street, we gather around and have a good time. So, the piano wins, hands down, for favorite piece of furniture, bringing the family around for some music, singing, and joy.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew for this week’s link up on Furniture Favorites and read what other bloggers have as their favorites.

Dream Big – recital 2020

Dream Big recital 2020

I find it so fascinating when things just “work.” Like the recital theme for this dance year that was completed last night – Dream Big.

Who would have imagined when the theme was chosen, probably last fall, that Dream Big would come to mean so many different things, very few of which deal with getting through recital.

Dream Big – the girls did, JSOD did, and most of all, the teachers did. Without all of that, recital would never have happened and the joy of dance would have been stiffled for a bit. But our dance teachers and studio did something amazing, as many across the US and around the world probably did during the last few months. They figured out how to do what they needed to in order to provide the teaching and encouragement the students were craving. I know my girls were. Without JSOD, things would have been so much different.

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We are blessed to dance at a studio with God-loving, God-fearing teachers and staff who seek God through prayer and want to serve Him. In honor of my dancers and their teachers, here are a few pictures from Dream Big 2020 with JSOD.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home

 

Grace and Compassion

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I was scrolling through Facebook land and stumbled across this meme that said “If I needed you and you weren’t there, I’ll never need you again.”

How sad! On so many fronts.

The sadness of this really got me thinking.

First off, it made me thankful that God is always there. Always. Even when I turn away from him. Even when I struggle. Even when I sin. When I turn back to God and drag myself home to him like the lost son of Luke 15, He is there. He is waiting and watching and sees me a long way off. He runs to me and is THERE. I am so thankful for that comfort.

Immediately after it made me feel achy for the person that posted it. Humans are fickle. They have many issues, often much bigger and more intense than those around them know about. Not everyone shares their entire life on social media and thus, there is likely stuff going on in other people’s lives that we know nothing about. We stick to our social media for updates – and yes, I am just as guilty as anyone else – without going to the person that failed us for some reason and finding out if there was something in their life. Maybe it wasn’t about you at all.

Next, it made me sad that this young person felt the need to share with the world this attitude. There is no grace in it. I don’t know about you, but I need others to have grace in dealing with me. Please! If I take the attitude that you better be all in, have no issues yourself, and never dare to be forgetful with me, I am not gracious or compassionate. I will have no friends. And, I am not being like Christ. At all.

But God . . .

You know, that idea – “But God” – occurs often in the Bible and I am so grateful for it. It means that God is forgiving. He is compassionate. He is gracious. He is love. He is greater than I am and allows me to be human and make mistakes. He allows me to have moments where I stumble and fall yet He is right there to be the parent – to kiss the proverbial scrape, pat me on the head, and then wrap me in a warm, tender hug with the words “it will be alright.” What a great God we have.

Grace and compassion.

We all need these. And I know that I need to use them in greater and greater abundance as I grow, mature, and understand more about how human we all are.

I pray that the young person who posted that meme is able to find peace about whatever hit her in the gut. I pray that she will be able to step out in grace towards the person that hurt her and perhaps, be the friend that she had been desiring herself. When we are able to do that, we can change the world by showing the love of Christ to others. One person at a time, we can change the world with God’s love.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Work Before Play. Or??

Work Before Play OR Play Before Work

Work Before Play.

OR

Play Before Work.

Now, does it really matter?

Many will say “Yes, it absolutely matters. You have to do your work before you do the things you want to do. You have to earn it.”

I am going to challenge that notion. I have had to challenge it in my own life. I grew up where you did the work and then you go the play time or the time to relax or do whatever it is that pleased you. And I am NOT saying, at all, that the work does not have to be done.

But, like everything else in life, times are a changing in this realm. When I was growing up, it seemed like everyone who worked was gone from 7:30 to 5:30 or thereabouts. There was not a lot of shift work going on. This was what happened in my family and it worked well. That was my dad’s work schedule. We went to school during the day and then got to play after chores when we got home. Nothing wrong with that.

My life as an adult has been quite surprising and this is one of those places where things are not quite what I expected. My husband works from 3 PM to 1 AM. If he has to work and then have time to play, he is doing so at the wee hours of the morning and that does not allow time with his family. That old notion doesn’t work for our situation. With his schedule, the girls see the down time first and then the work time. They see the work commitment being honored, the hard work, the time frame consistently held. But they see that after some down time and time around the house.

So why should I push them to complete all of their work before they have any down time? It doesn’t jive with what they see. And you know what? They work a ton better when they are stepping into their own work after just a bit of down time first. So that is what we allow.

One of the girls prefers to get up, get breakfast, and dig straight into her schoolwork. We don’t stop that because it is what she prefers. It works for her. Another of the girls does much better when she has had some time to read her own choice of material first so she reads in bed for a while before getting up, showering, and moving on with her schoolwork. The third, well, it depends on the day for her. Sometimes she wants to dive right in and other times she wants to read or color first. So, I am flexible with that.

When we add to the equation that their dance rehearsals are later afternoon and evening, and they are working hard at those times, it makes sense to allow some down time and free time before that during the day.

So, I am going to ask you if you have truly evaluated what your family does and sees in this arena. Does it really work for you? If not, feel free to challenge the standard notion and the old sayings. It just might create a beautiful, peaceful situation in your family.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

20 Things I Want To Work On In 2020

20 things

A year ago I wrote a post titled “Cultivating An Attitude.” I wish I could say I did well with it. In some ways, I did. In others, not so much. I am holding onto that idea this year but editing the process a bit. So, here you go – 20 things I am going to work on in 2020 – in no particular order.

1 – I have started by downloading a daily devotional program from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. (affiliate link – If you click on it and purchase, I will receive a small commission.) This devotional is titled “Encouragement for Homeschool Moms” and is written by Bonnie Lisech. It is not a long set of devotions, only 31 but it is getting me started this year. There are more devotions on SchoolhouseTeachers, so I may try another one when I finish this. I may move on to something else. Either way, I will continue to set my mind on God first thing each morning, as it sets the tone for my day.

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2 – I am going to continue to work on is sending personal notes. I understand the beauty of receiving a hand-written note and I want to do more with this. Again, by sharing my thankfulness of other’s with them, I am more thankful myself and pass on a small bit of joy. I am also seeing this one reap benefits in that my daughters are working hard every couple of months to send cards to let people know they are thinking of them. It is a wonderful thing so I need to do more of this.

3 – I am going to read some hard books. Hard in this case is going to be ones that are challenging to me and make me think. I have some one my shelf – Walking The Bible is one. Farenheit 451 is another. I want to read some Dickens. And to go through some of the “classics” that I have never read.

4 – I am going to work on consistency in schedule. It is easy enough for me to keep the schedule for things outside of the house but I am going to work on keeping a home schedule for myself, also. Getting up and moving, cleaning schedule, laundry schedule, exercise schedule – those sorts of things.

5 – Exercise. I am on a good schedule with walking 2 -3 miles 5 or 6 days per week. I am going to continue that.

6 – Be brave and add a yoga class to my exercise. I don’t know when this will start but I know where I want to add it. I just need to contact the studio and ask about doing so.

# 7 - Declutter!!

7 – Declutter. This is always on the list, isn’t it? I want to get rid of things we no longer need or use. This is going to be the smaller things, such as kitchen utensils (did that today, actually, and got rid of about 10 spatulas and such that we don’t like). Books are next and I already have a pile. 🙂

8 – I am going to continue having the charity group come by each month to pick up a box. It is great incentive to continue with number 7 all month long.

9 – Get rid of desks. Yep – we have too many desks and they need to go. This is a “one-time” sort of thing but it needs to happen.

10 – Start a teen girls Bible study. This one needs to happen soon so I’ve got to get a move-on with it. I think it will be over Psalms, for now.

11 – Take a trip to the UK. This one is in the “plans” but I have to get it actually going.

12 – Get my passport. I have never left the country so this is a must if number 11 is going to happen.

13 – Do a fun school day with the girls one time per month. Drop the books and study something interesting or unique or do a game board school day. Something fun to keep us all in good spirits and working hard.

#14 - Add read-alouds back into our day.

14 – Add read-alouds back in. The past few months, we have not done a very good job of doing read-alouds with the girls. Since they are all working so independently, it is much harder to settle them all at the same time. This may need to work hand-in-hand with number 4.

15 – Handmade gifts are beautiful so I want to do more of that for others. Maybe a “just because” gift but maybe things like birthdays or holidays. I want to do more making of things. I miss doing things like cross-stitch or embroidery or sewing. So, more of that stuff.

16 – Less time on social media but when I am on, I want it to be more meaningful. This doesn’t mean I am getting rid of accounts but I am going to be more attentive about scrolling. I will continue to share and post but when I find that I am not thinking about what is going past on the newsfeeds, I will shut it down and go do something else.

17 – Call my family and friends more often. Putting this down in writing may mean I get called on it but accountability is good. I want to talk to my family, particularly my siblings, more often. And friends that I will not see as often. Or haven’t seen in a while. You know what I mean, right?

18 – Visit with friends more often. I don’t yet know what this will look like but, again, I want to be more intentional about seeing the people I don’t get to see as often. I want to make a trip specifically to see my grandmother and I want to try to get to see a friend who doesn’t live that far away more than once a year.

19 – I will be more intentional about my time use. I am blessed by a good bit of time waiting – you know, dance studio time. 🙂 I want to use that better to take care of some of the things I have already listed (like my reading) but also to be more efficient in doing some other online tasks I need to do daily. This will give me more time at home to spend with my family or to work around the house. #20 More intentional time spent with family.

20 – Last But Not Least – More intentional time doing fun things with my family. My husband and I have enjoyed having 2 hours one night a week when he is off while the girls are at dance. That is a precious time for us. But I want to find that kind of time for each of my girls. Maybe not 2 hours per child per week but some dedicated time to just hear them and allow them to be. Miss J really enjoyed having that time in December while her sisters were doing youth group and dance company Christmas parties. She and I spent some time doing things together and it was good. I need to set that up for each of the girls.

Now that I have put down 20 things for 2020, I need to add them to my “pay attention to” list. I need to print this out or write it down somewhere so I can be reminded and not forget. Because that is what happens in my busy life. I forget. I get tired or lazy or forgetful. So, feel free to hold me to it and check in on me.

Did you do a “word of the year” or a list that you want to work on? Share it with me below. Let’s encourage each other.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

20 things to work on

 

Linking up with the Homeschool Review Crew and their Word of The Year link-up.

The Mission Centered Life ~ a book review

Disclaimer: New Growth Press (www.newgrowthpress.com) has sponsored this post by providing me a free copy of the book for review. I was not required to write a positive post. All opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC guidelines. Mission Centered (1)

Most Christians see a part of their life as living for Christ, reaching out to others. Some  people are called to go abroad for this purpose but all of us can look around our own neighborhood and see a need for this. Bethany Ferguson has been abroad to serve others but has also seen the need to share her gained wisdom with those at “home” to do the same in their own lives.

The Mission Centered Life: Following Jesus Into The Broken Places by Bethany Ferguson shares many of the hard things Bethany has experienced in her mission work abroad. This Bible study has a gospel focus which means the study keeps the focus on Jesus and the good news of his love and power to save. The study will prompt you to go out to serve others, whether near or far.

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This Bible study is set up with an introduction and then ten (10) lessons. The study can be done independently, though more will be gained from a small or large group study. Each participant will benefit from having their own book as some exercises have lists or charts and having the written discussion questions in front of you allows you to better consider answers and participate.

This is considered a topical study with each lesson approaching a different aspect of missions. Much of the scripture used comes from the book of John. I found that reading all the way through John before I began the study really helped me focus on the mission life being addressed. You can expect each lesson to take approximately an hour of group time, though I found I could easily spent close to an hour working through a single lesson on my own. I would expect, if I were working through this in a group, that it could be easy to spread each lesson out over two meetings or closer to an hour and a half.

Each lesson contains seven sections:

  1. Big Idea – summary of the main idea of the lesson
  2. Bible Conversation – reading and discussing a passage from the Bible, discussing what was read; this is intended to have several good answers for each question and to generate discussion
  3. Article – the main teaching section of the lesson, written by the author and including observations and stories from her life on the mission field abroad
  4. Discussion – questions following the article to apply the Big Idea to your own life
  5. Prayer – suggestions ideas and guidelines for a specific prayer time related to the mission aspect of the lesson
  6. Essay – a second article with additional scripture readings written by the author with additional teachings and reflections; can be used for personal study time
  7. Reflection – questions following the essay to consider more deeply the mission ideas addressed

The author’s purpose is to help the Bible student hear the call of Jesus for your own life. Hope is that you will see his love for you and the world, taking his salvation to others, joining his “life-giving mission.”

The mission aspects addressed include:

  • Going – article “Beauty and Brokenness”, essay “Beginning in Bundibugyo”
  • Identifiying – article “Who Are You Really?”, essay “Jesus Becomes Like Us”
  • Changing – article “A New Home”, essay “Believing in Jesus”
  • Praying – article “Daily Bread”, essay “The Bread of Life”
  • Seeing – article “Our Need to See”, essay “Seeing God’s Work In You”
  • Believing – article “Grief and Glory”, essay “Transformed Expectations”
  • Serving – article “Heroes or Servants?”, essay “A Life of Humility”
  • Suffering – article “A Mugging”, essay “Hope and Cynicism”
  • Repenting – article “Preparing the Way”, essay “Life in the Garden”
  • Celebrating – article “Grace and Celebration”, essay “Light and the Mission-Centered Life”

The ideas behind each of these articles honed in on challenging aspects of how a person who claims to be Christian lives their life. Reaching out to those around us is not necessarily second nature to us and this study will push us to push our own personal boundaries. It is a good study and the personal touch of the author’s experiences helps bring the ideas to life.

There is a good big of scripture in the study, though I do feel it would benefit from even more. That will be easy enough for the study leader to add while working through the ideas.

If you are looking for a challenging study about reaching those around you and around the world, consider taking a look at this study.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

mission centered life

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