Echoes of Mercy

By: Kim Vogel Sawywer

Caroline (Carrie) Lang is sent to a Chocolate factory in Sinclair, Kansas to investigate after an accident that kills her co-worker. Carrie ends up befriending the owner’s son unknowingly, Oliver Dinsmore. Ollie is working undercover in the factory to get to know the factory inside and out. With an immediate attraction, they begin wondering how they can do the job they came there for and not become distracted. Distraction soon comes for them though when the child Miss Lang befriended needs help. The child continues to draw them closer together, yet make them realize how different they truly are. Realizing the two are getting close Gordon Hightower suspect something is going on. He can’t risk them digging too much and ruining his future. After the child and her brothers go missing, Carrie and Ollie team up to not only find the children but to find the truth about the happenings of the factory. Will they find the children? Will Gordon Hightower take care of things before his plot is ruined, or will devastation change Carrie forever? Pick up Echoes of Mercy for a read that will have you hooked immediately.

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Elsa struck again

Now that things have settled down a little since the ice storm that caused all kinds of problems, I feel like I’m somewhat falling back into my routine. Thanks to no power, trees down on our house, and cleaning up the mess left behind, it’s safe to say I’m way behind on everything. My nose also felt like this would be prime time to not let me breathe. I could have let the events of this week put me in a foul mood, throw a fit and give up. While I haven’t had the best attitude, (fevers tend to bring out my ugly side), I would rather focus on the blessings through this. My family is safe, our vehicles and home weren’t damaged, the trees can be cut down safely. Our power came back on after 18 hours, and because we have food to eat and clothes to wear I had lovely piles to clean. It’s how you look at things in life determines how happy you will be. If you continually focus and look for the bad in the situations then your life, well, its going to be bad. However, look at the good that comes out of it. If God brings you to it, he will bring you through it. You just have to focus on the right things to see this. So this weekend I hope to finish up the book I’m reviewing, catch up on Bible study and Book Club.

Bible Study:
We will do session two recap on the 28th. I think is pushing things back but with the weather last week and the aftermath this week I am way behind. Feel free to go on ahead though if you’d like and you can check in on the recaps when they are posted.

Book Club:
Chapters 15-21 will be posted the 28th as well. I find it really hard to put this book down, but I do have other things I need to catch up on as well so I will.

To my followers,
I want to say thank you. When I started this I never thought I would have any followers let alone reaching as far as I have. My hope is to help others grow in Christ and know that no matter the circumstances you always have his love. Along the way if I can help in other areas of your life as well then I am thankful for that. Please know if you ever need someone to listen and talk to you can reach out to me, familynfaithblog@gmail.com

God Bless, and have a safe weekend.

Echoes of Mercy

Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
I missed last week so this contains both weeks.
Chapters 1-14

Caroline Lang is set to a Chocolate factory in Sinclair, Kansas after an accident that kills her co-worker. She is sent there to investigate his death and the factory. She ends up befriending the owner’s son unknowingly, Oliver Dinsmore. He is working undercover in the factory to get to know the factory inside and out. With an immediate attraction they begin wondering how they can do the job they came there for and not become distracted. Distraction soon comes for them though when the child Miss Lang befriended needs help. Miss Lang and Mr. Dinsmore step up and help Letta and her brothers while their father is deathly ill, raising suspicion for not only her boss Gordon Hightower, but also the owner of the factory and Oliver’s father, Mr. Dinsmore. After realizing a large difference in opinion will they be able to continue as friends? Will Letta’s father get better? Will Miss Lang uncover any clues about her co-worker’s death? Let’s hope we find out soon!

Ready For Battle

What is your battle plan? Do you just roll over and get stressed out hoping for the best? For many years, this was my go to. It wasn’t until I turned my life back to Christ that I started praying and having faith that he will see me through it. But even then I just kind of prayed the same ol’ God please help me. Through the power of Christ you can do great things, you just need to know him. Not just know of him, truly know him. How much time do you devote everyday to getting closer to Christ?
Since I have devoted the time everyday to reading his word, really praying, and building my relationship with Christ, things have shifted in not only me but my home was well. I began hanging scripture and prayer reminders up so I can see them frequently. I even have prayers for different areas of my life taped in my car, written in my planner, and taped to the bathroom mirror. I also purchased FerVent and The Battle Plan For Prayer, both of these I hope to be writting a review on soon. I have atleast a dozen new books I’ve recently ordered, most are christian lifestyle, and I am trying hard not to dive into all of them at once. So I do promise more reviews here soon, since I have taken on a few other things with the Blog I haven’t been reading as much. But since my wonderful husband upgraded my Laptop and I now have the programming needed to do everything for the page I can work faster and more effecient. (Thank you Baby) I quickly found that the more I worked on my relationship with Christ, the more the Holy Spirit became present in my life. We seek Christ as a family now, because it is our job as parents to be the main spiritual leaders for our children. I urge you to seek the Lord, and if you would like recommendations for wonderful Christian Living reads I am happy to help.

God Bless

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. -James 1:22

Uninvited

When I started this book I really wasn’t sure what to expect from it. I’ve read several Christian lifestyle books before but they have been about marriage, family or parenting. I honestly wasn’t sure I’d actually like it much. The first chapter focuses a lot of self rejection and how this behavior opens the door for others to hurt us to our core. This is the first book I’ve actually written in, but I found my self underlining phrases that really spoke to me. The very first being “Rejection steals the best of who I am by reinforcing the worst of what’s been said to me.” It’s so true, often we are so negative towards ourselves that if someone else says something small, not intending to hurt us, they actually hurt the deepest parts of our soul. Which also led to “Broken boards can’t provide stability you cannot expect stability from a broken identity.” This really shook me, I felt like I was reading about my own childhood. I come from a broken home filled with addictions, I somehow lost myself along the way. She states that even if a man is physically there but they are emotionally absent it can leave you feeling hollow, unwanted and helpless. These men are often the ones closest to you, for example your father, husband, close friends, it’s the men you have a relationship with and respect. Yet she reminds us that while others may disappoint and leave us, God never will. If we live from the abundant place that we are loved, you won’t find yourself begging others for scraps of love.
We often find ourselves in a crowded room feeling completely alone. This is a big fear for many people, and a feeling we have felt often. But we need to be full of God’s love, because God’s love will settle those fears, empower us and help bring out the best of who we are. As she says on page 51, The more fully we invite God in, the less we will feel uninvited by others. There are moments when reading this book that you will feel that the words smack you right between the eyes, this happened the moment I read, “Bitterness, resentment and anger have no place in a heart as beautiful as yours.” You truly need to bring the fullness of God into all situations, no matter how hard they are. He will guide you through them.
Lysa shows us that we can actually use our past rejections to help others, and that someone else’s success does not in fact threaten us. If we continue to look at everything negatively it not only affects us, but also affects those around us. As a woman of God you cannot walk in victory and continue live in defeat and rejection. We have a plan for our life, but what God has planned is so much more than we could ever imagine.
Chapter 12 is by far my favorite chapter. She begins telling us that the Devil is vicious but he is not victorious. Explaining the three ways that God says Satan will come after us. That he will strive to distract you from your relationship with God. All we have to do is trust God though, because Satan is no match for God’s promises. As Lysa said, “Promises don’t tame the lion; they shame the lion back to hell.” Through the entire book she is so relatable, you can apply every lesson to your own life. She truly helps you realize that rejection and defeat are not our final destination, because God will always love us. There is a very powerful message in this book, and for you to fully grasp it, you need to pick this book up and spend time really reading it.

Echoes of Mercy

For those following the Book Club, I wanted to give updated information since it starts in just a few days. 

  1. We begin January 1st
  2. We will read 7 chapters a week 
  3. On Sunday at 7pm we will get together in the FamilynFaith chatroom 
  4. At that time you may discuss opinions, and work on answering the questions in the back of the book. 

Thank you for joining us, I’m sure we may have to change a few things as we go but we will figure this out together. 

God Bless

Raising Royalty

A while back I began realizing that in order to be a good parent that I needed guidance. Now, I’m not as familiar with the bible as I would like to be, and that is still currently a work in progress for me. Since I completely adore Priscilla Shirer I thought she would be a good place to start looking, which led me to her Father, Tony Evans. He has a series that is based around becoming a Kingdom family. My husband and I got the Kingdom Man and Kingdom Women books for eachother for Christmas (along with the Resolutions for Men and Resolutions for Women, also written by Tony Evans and Priscilla Shirer), and we have the Kingdom Marriage Devotional. I soon hope to order the Kingdom Marriage book but all this led to my ordering Raising Kingdom Kids. I’m only through 4 chapters of this book and there is already so many things that I’ve jotted down and we have started implementing in our home. It is far easier to shape a child than to repair an adult. The best way to teach our children is to lead by example, lets face it, children often don’t listen to what they are being told. Instead they repeat what they see. Raising a Prince or Princess of God’s Kingdom has to start with you and the example you set. You also cannot rely on others to be the sole guidance spiritually for your children. Read Deuteronomy 6 if you need to know who is supposed to do the guiding. You home should be the main place of spiritual development, for both your children and your self. You should teach them daily about God’s word. As Tony Evans says, Kingdom Parenting isn’t perfect parenting, Kingdom parenting is purposeful parenting. If you start your children off on a good foundation of faith, then as they grow older they will continue this path (Proverbs 22:6). You also need to make sure that you have a strong marriage so you can guide your children. When your marriage is weak you often start to look to others to help you teach your children. Working on your marriage, even if you already feel it is strong, can only help improve your life as a family. As parents we have to make sure to make a priority of 2 relationships. The first one is the most important one, our relationship with God, remember he’s your One. The second is the two that you seek your One with, your spouse. These relationships need to be strong so that you can guide your children. Teach your children to be kingdom children and how to have healthy relationships. As a wife, submit and let your husband lead your home. (Now I know many people get instantly in a huff when they hear the wife submitting to the husband, make sure you fully understand what that means biblically before you turn your nose toward it. This does not give your husband permission to control you in any way, and does not mean you cannot have a voice in your home.) As a husband stand up and lead your family, just as Christ leads the church. For any family, even if you do not have children yet, I highly recommend you invest in the Kingdom Series by Tony Evans. These are great resources from a Kingdom father, husband and preacher.
Before I end this I also want to recommend one more thing, actually writing down ground rules for your family. Make sure everything is in black and white so their is never a question. Also begin setting aside time every single day for time as a family and always eat as a family.
I recently came across a woman that could not afford a book that she felt would save her marriage, I tried reaching out to her offering her help but never could get a reply. This led to many prayers on the matter, I have some books that I believe are very beneficial in building your marriage back. If there is anyone who is in need of help in their marriage and feels like there is simply no hope please send me an email at familynfaithblog@gmail.com I have a few books I would recommend and may still possibly have some that I could mail to you.

God Bless

New Year, Better you

This time of year I often hear people setting their New Years resolutions, and it has really made me think this year.
Some of the more common I have heard:
*I’m going to lose x amount of weight
* I’m going to eat better
*I’ll go to the gym
*I won’t drink so much
*I’m giving up pop
The list just continues to go on, but one thing I’ve realized is I never hear, I will grow closer to God. I will read my bible everyday, I will pray every day. Most people I’m sure would say they could improve their relationship with the Lord somehow. I’m not saying you should make these your New Years resolutions, lets face it most of those are forgotten about in a week. Instead make a promise. Sit down and pray for guidance, let God lead you to what you need to do to grow closer to him. I personally do have my favorites, and maybe they can help inspire you too.

1. Bible Reading:
I find it relaxing to sit down with a cup of coffee and my Bible. What better way to become closer to the Lord than by reading the book that is here to Guide you through everything in Life! I also prefer to have more than one version with me when reading. I like to read the NIV Bible, but when something sticks out to me I also go and re-read it in my KJV. I mark scripture in both bibles and write little notes. Even if it’s just a few minutes a day, pick up your bible, I bet it makes your day better too.

2. Bible Study:
You can participate in a Bible Study in many ways. There are often groups available at your church, you can order individual studies, or you can participate in online studies. The current Bible Study I’m doing is the book of Ephesians, however next week we will start the Present over Perfect study, this is a dvd/study guide package. If you would like to join us you can go to my home page for the link to purchase this. I try to keep the studies affordable, and will bounce between ordering materials or picking a book in the bible and studying it daily.

3. Reading:
I love to read, which is also why I offer reviews on here. I read a lot of Christian books that are Fiction, Lifestyle books, Parenting, Marriage, and family books. Tony Evans, Pricilla Shirer, and Stormie Omartian  are a few of my favorites when it comes to Christian marriage, parenting and family books. My husband and I have recently started the Kingdom series by Tony Evans. We have the couples devotional, Kingdom Man and Woman, Raising Kingdom Kids and The Resolutions for both Men and Women. I will admit this is also why I haven’t been putting out reviews almost daily, I am currently reading at least 2 books at a time. For those of you that travel for work, I would suggest getting audio books to listen to in the car.

4. Devotionals
A daily devotional is a great way to get the good word and doesn’t take much time. If you are married I would suggest a couples devotional. We really like the Kingdom Marriage, it has a  very short daily passage and then follows up with 3 questions for you and your spouse to answer. Quiet times for couples is another favorite of ours, and we recently received the Love Dare devotional so we are excited to begin that one too. My husband enjoys the Duck Commander devotional and my daughter likes her 3 Minute Devotional for little girls. I personally use the Daily Wisdom for Women everyday in addition to my couples devotionals.

My point is that there isn’t one set way to do a little more. Without my faith I’m not sure how I would have gotten through the holidays. I used to shut down when grieving. I’m not saying that the depression didn’t creep in and make me want to crawl in a hole, it did. But I prayed, over and over, for strength and peace. I knew I needed to be there for others as well and we needed to lean on each other. My husband played a big roll in helping me through it. He dropped everything and stayed with me, he prayed with me, and was there when I needed to just cry.  1 Corinthians 13:2 really stood out to me ( If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. ) Without love you truly have nothing, and one thing that I realized I am truly blessed with is the ability to love so many people and have so many people who love me. Love and the Lord  is what got me through the holidays this year. If that’s not blessed then I don’t know what is.

God Bless and travel safely home!

Social Media

Social media has been something that has led to many prayers here lately. I haven’t really been sure if it’s beneficial for my life. The last few weeks I’ve frequently had conversations with my husband, my parents, close friends, and of course God, trying to make some big decisions. For so long I did what I thought I should do, what was going to make me happy? I think many of us do this at some point. We realized that as a family we lost sight of what is really important. We ultimately are to blame, but social media plays its part in this. It is very easy to become addicted to social media. So a few weeks ago when I began praying and asking for guidance I started to wonder if I needed to walk away from Social Media for good. We became more mindful of the time spent on social media and spent more time as a family. In return, we have become closer.
I started this blog in the beginning as a journal of sorts, I figured it would be based more on being a mom and the challenges presented with having children. But as I began my heart was telling me that I needed to do something else. My first thought was sharing my faith through one of my favorite things to do, reading. I love to read. So if I could reach even 1 person and help their faith through a book I recommend and reviewed than I am filled with Joy. But why stop there? Why not discuss raising a christian family, having a christian marriage, or finding your way back to God? Why not offer a Bible Study? There may be someone out there looking to join one online because they are homebound. Why not offer a Book Club? There is likely many more women at home like me that love to read and share their faith through what they read. Maybe, just maybe I can bring  someone else back to their faith after they lost their way. But to do this, I need to reach a larger audience and spread the word. Which led me back to that addictive Social Media. I’ve decided to go ahead and start a Facebook page for FamilynFaith, https://www.facebook.com/familynfaith/ which I urge you to join and share with your friends. Join in and share your journey and faith with everyone.

Before I end this I do want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, I pray you all have safe journeys if you are traveling and that you all get to spend the holidays with your loved ones. For those who cannot be with their loved ones, I pray that God can bring you comfort and peace and that you can see your loved ones soon. Merry Christmas and God Bless