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Autumn Change and A Giveaway!


Autumn Change and A Giveaway!

Autumn is quickly approaching and the hot summer days have already cooled a bit here.  Out of doors time is so much more appealing when the temperatures aren't licking the 100 mark on the thermometer! Join me at Beyond The Nook where I am sharing what God whispered to my heart as I basked in the pre-autumn breeze and the Shadows Beckoned.


This past week I have had the privilege of previewing The After's new CD entitled Live On Forever! Live on Forever releases TODAY and to celebrate I'm giving away a copy to one of my readers! This album is full of God's faithfulness and love. True to their contemporary sound, The Afters, share with us their heart in the midst of tragedy below. I thought it was too beautiful not to share with you.

The heart of Live on Forever:

It’s easy to assume stories of trial and triumph are just for the Bible or the history books. But miracles still happen, even when adversity hits hardest. Just ask Josh Havens, guitarist and lead vocalist of The Afters. He relates how the band’s latest effort, Live on Forever, began during a season of tragedy. 

Just as the band regrouped to record, Havens witnessed the wife of a close friend contract cancer. Drummer Jordan Mohilowski (who produced the new album) had a brief health scare, and a close companion in his church—part of the worship team—was hit and killed by an impaired driver. She was a young woman, Havens says, who had unlimited potential.

But Live on Forever–the band’s fifth with the Fair Trade label-still took shape as a celebration of faithfulness, protection and promise—one that shimmers with strong rhythms, undeniable energy and compelling pop hooks. The album finds Havens in strong, soaring voice as he invites listeners to find shelter and strength in God. “If any theme has emerged, it would be ‘inspiration and motivation,’” Havens says. 

Havens himself felt a deep need to hold on after another loss struck: The band’s longtime soundman, Anthony Martinez, saw his newborn daughter die in infancy. 

Ask Havens to pick out a song that sums up the spirit of the album, and he chooses “Battles.” “It was the last song we wrote and the fastest we wrote,” he says. “We don’t typically write songs fast; we’ll change lyrics and melodies and craft our songs carefully. But ‘Battles’ poured out, the music and lyrics, in one day. It’s about standing up against fear and knowing God is always with us,” Havens explains. “It’s one of the takeaways we hope people get: ‘Don’t give up to fear.

Havens shares how, half a world away from his home in Phoenix, he caught a small glimpse of heaven’s reassurance. The place: downtown Amsterdam. The occasion: a dinner between shows with band members and spouses—including soundman Martinez and his wife. For their baby daughter, the Martinez couple had chosen an unusual moniker with an unusual spelling: Pieper. Against all odds, it also happened to be exactly how the intimate restaurant they dined at spelled its name. Still, no one was prepared for what happened at the end of the meal. “We were talking about baby Pieper, and as we got up to leave, we noticed that the only thing on the walls—the only thing—was a framed document, an award for hospitality. And the date on the award—the only date in the place—was Pieper’s birthday. Her mother just started bawling.” Havens sums up the reassurance all took home that night: “We thought, ‘This is where God’s angels fly: right in the middle of the loss.’ God gives us little glimpses to show us he’s here.”

“We worked on this record for almost two years and over those two years, it was a real season of loss,” Havens recalls. “But in the end, Live on Forever is about moving us to trust God, to stand up against fear. It’s an ‘ante up’ record, an anthem for people’s lives: ‘God you are with me in all this. I’m not alone.’”

Congratulations to J. Kindle!
You're the winner of the new CD, Live On Forever by The Afters!


Marriage & A Giveaway!


Marriage & A Giveaway!

My husband always says, “Next to your decision to follow Christ as your savior, who you marry is the most important decision you will make in your lifetime.” I have to say I agree with him on that point! Marriage is wonderful and hard. It’s giving up yourself but finding newness in the two that have become one. Marriage, a healthy marriage, is the most beautiful example of Christ’s love. A selfless, yet completely fulfilling relationship. So why is it SO HARD? Why do so many people walk away instead of fight? Why is there so much pain in so many marriages?    



Q&A and a Giveaway!

Let's start the week off with a GIVEAWAY and a Q&A from two of the Authors of Lead Your Family Like Jesus! As you have been reading here lately I have had the privileged of telling you about Lead Your Family Like Jesus. It is a fantastic book on parenting...more specifically, it's about leading your family like Jesus. It's looking at our example of Jesus and applying it to parenting. sure to enter the giveaway below to win your FREE copy of this great book!  I will announce the winner Friday so don't delay your entry!

LYFLJ Book Cover

I would like to share with you some Q&A with Trisha Goyer and Phil Hodges, two of the Authors of LYFLJ.  I think it's a great way to "get to know" them, really see their hearts and hear their perspective on some GREAT questions.

What have you learned about parenting now that some of your kids are older?

Tricia: Having older kids has given me a such greater perspective as I have three little ones in the home again. I realize greater what things I need to focus on, and what things are really not that important in the long wrong. I'm also more confident that Jesus is my partner in this journey. I've seen Him show up again and again through every age and stage … and I have faith He'll continue to do that. I also realize that “today isn't the end of the world.” It's funny to laugh about now, but I've had those days when I've felt that I've done everything wrong and I'm never going to succeed, and the kids are going to be ruined for life. Well … there will always be those days, but there will also be some great ones too and it all evens out.

How do you find the strength to lead like Jesus in the middle of the sleep-deprived younger years?

Tricia: This is a great question! We recently brought two new kids into our home and with all the nervous excitement no one was sleeping! I've learned to really work on decent nap times and bed times. Most nights are kids are in bed by 7:30 p.m. and asleep by 8:00 p.m. They also take a nap right after lunch. I find sleep works best when they have a very specific routine and know what's expected. I'm also known to nap when they nap … otherwise leading with a joyful heart is really hard.

But … I've also known to read my Bible when I blow dry my hair or journal as Go Diego Go is playing. It's not idea, but I NEED God to help me lead

What about older kids? Is it too late?

Phil: It is never too early or too late to be a better parent. Put your past victories and defeats in the Up to now” category. Apply grace and forgiveness to yourself and your kids as works-in-progress. Then ask God to guide you through His Holy Spirit to fashion a “From now on” perspective for the future. The older the child you are dealing with, including adult children, the more likely you will be successful if you adopt a “How can I help?” vs “How can I fix it?” frame of mind. As you seek to influence your child’s ability to make good choices, remember to catch yourself doing something right. Praising your progress will allow you to hang in over the long haul.

Tricia: As long as you are alive you will always be a parent. I've learned this for my 83-year-old Grandmother who is still doling out a lot of advice and prayers to her daughters who are in their 50s and 60s! With every stage—elementary, teen, and adult—there will be new challenges, but the number one thing a child wants to know is that he or she has a parent who loves, believes, and will be there for him or her. Isn't that what we all want? We may not always have the right answers, but we can lead our children to our God who has the right answers. We can lead them to hope. We can lead them to faith. And even if they refuse to follow our leadership, you can guarantee they will always be watching to see how we do it, even when they don't want to admit it.

What parenting tips would you give to a new step mom to a soon to be teen?

Phil: Consistency from the adults in the child’s life is a great gift. You can serve the best interests of the child by actively supporting your husband and the birth mother, if she is in the life of the child, in maintaining harmony in parental boundaries and standards across both households. Encouraging your husband in actively fulfilling his role as a father and the primary male role model in the life of the child will go a long way to fortifying the child’s sense of security and self worth. Helping your husband in giving the gift of his time and attention to the child you will be of great service to your new family

As a mom with children from a variety of backgrounds (some from adoption, one from your teens, and adopting children from foster care), how do you handle discipline without creating emotional barriers between you?

Tricia: In Lead Your Family Like Jesus we make these suggestions for discipline: • Keep the lines of communication open. • Never embarrass or frustrate your kids in public. • Remember the bigger purpose. It’s not to make sure the milk never spills. More important is to model servant leadership when the milk does spill.

You're right, I have so many kids at so many levels. The issue is not the issue. Their heart is the issue! Most mistakes aren't fatal—thank goodness, but how we respond will impact children for generations. Sometimes the parenting routine of getting children fed, dressed, and clean seems to be the only thing that matters. But if that’s all the matters in your home, it’ll be the only thing that matters when they leave.

How does it look for one parent to lead like Jesus when the other is not interested or not a believer? {I know I have many readers who are doing this faith thing with their kids without much help from their spouse.}

Phil: It may come down to answering the question: How can I best serve the spiritual well-being of my family in my daily choices and priorities? During the early years of our marriage I must admit that I abdicated much of my spiritual leadership in our family while I was preoccupied with work. Jane served as the primary spiritual guide for our children by maintaining daily routines connected to the spiritual growth of our kids. She was faithful in modeling bed time prayers, singing “Jesus loves me” lullabies, teaching manners, insisting on thank you notes, grace at sit down dinners and regular church attendance and Sunday As a note of hope, thanks to her perseverance and encouragement, I eventually joined her in the spiritual leadership of our family.

Tricia: I am thankful that I married a wonderful Christian man, but for many years he wasn't leading spiritually in the home as I thought he should. I came up with all types of devotional times, or worship times, and other rituals but nothing stuck … and I started becoming a real nag. One day I felt like God was tapping my shoulder. What did He tell me? I didn't make a very good personal Holy Spirit! After that I shut my mouth, stepped back, and started praying. And you know what, when I stepped back John stepped forward. I know that will not work as quickly for everyone but when we focus on ourselves first then it gives God time to work!

Sometimes it feels like everyone has it all together... except me. How do you encourage people to lead their families in these moments of doubt?

Tricia: When we compare our weaknesses to others' strengths we feel defeated and worthless. Yet when we compare our strengths to others' weaknesses then pride slips in. The best thing is don't compare! I've come to a place where I'm able to appreciate the ways other families excel without having to feel bad about myself or my family. As I talk about in Lead Your Family Like Jesus, when our family discovered what we were “about”--what our label was—then we focused on excelling in those things, and not trying to keep up with those around us. For example, one of the things we're about is family meals. I might serve canned vegetables and grilled cheese one night but it's the experience. No one's life is like a Pinterest board. We all have “sharable” moments, but we're all a work in progress


Thank you so much to Tricia and Phil for taking time to answer some questions for us all!  I hope you have enjoyed hearing from them as much as I have!

Love to you all...

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