Breathing Room: Review

Breathing Room: Review

breathingroomLately I’ve been searching for books that speak of space, quiet, and peace…permission to relax and just be. Having recently joined the Revell Reads Blog Tour Program, I was thrilled when they provided a copy of Leeana Tankersley’s new book, Breathing Room: Letting Go So You Can Fully Live for review. This delightful, insightful read stands out as one of the best in my recent reading repertoire.

In the midst of the challenges of motherhood, miscarriage, and moving her family to follow her Navy Seal husband to the country of Bahrain, Leeana found herself in a very dark place. Sharing her story in a transparent, relatable way she creates for the reader a sense of being understood and uplifted, as if sharing one’s struggles with a caring and very wise friend.

No matter the unique nature of your individual circumstance everyone can benefit from the wisdom Leeana offers as she exposes the insidious nature of the myriad things that bind us…toxic voices, a desire for control, self-bullying, fear, grief, lack of accomplishment and direction, or just the fact that life, at times, is undeniably hard. Coming through loud and clear is the message almost every woman needs to hear…show yourself compassion.

More than a message on how to seek peace without, Leeana stresses the truth that “If your insides aren’t peaceful it matters not what’s outside.” Not just preachy but practical, Leeana offers substantial, sound advice that provides welcome relief from the diverse challenges of simply being human…of being alive. Her relaxed, relatable writing sytle make this book breathing room in itself, creating a sense of calm and comfort simply in the reading. You will come away refreshed…and relieved.

To read an excerpt from Breathing Room

⤹ click here⤵

 To learn more about Leeana visit www.leeanatankersley.com

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Searching for Meaning

Searching for Meaning

imageToday marks day one, year three of blogging here at My Word Study. It’s been two years of discovery. Sometimes we have to explore and experiment to not only discover our passions but also to eliminate things as possibilities. One thing I’ve realized in these past two years is that writing is hard work. Additionally, and this has been somewhat of a surprise to me, I’ve found I don’t enjoy it as much as I once believed. Or maybe I should say certain styles of it.

I’ve always considered myself a writer, partly because I can, but I haven’t actually done it much, not since college anyway. There I always got positive feedback from my professors, but looking back I realize that most of my writing was literary analysis…offering an interpretation of a piece of literature to uncover and expound upon the meaning the author sought to convey in the work. Creative writing? I can’t ever remember doing it. I’ve attempted it here with little success. No, I’m not one who is any good at creating an original piece. What I do is repeat, recount, restate, in a sense regurgitate words written by others.

I’m discovering, with the help of two years of blogging, that not much has changed since college. Most of my writing is still literary analysis, offering an interpretation of a piece to uncover and expound upon the meaning the author wanted to convey. I still use such things as context, theme, allegory, and symbolism to find that meaning. What has changed is the Author whose words I search out. By searching for meaning in His words I’m finding the meaning in mine.

Looking forward to year three of my Word study.

In Light of the Promise

In Light of the Promise

1rainbowJoining Five Minute Friday for this week’s prompt…  HOLD

Reading I Chronicles 17 this morning I was struck by a prayer of David that’s recorded there. Something in it seemed a bit gutsy to me, but upon further inspection I’m feeling a bit more daring myself now.

Speaking to Nathan the prophet, David reveals his desire to build a permanent house for God. Nathan encourages him to do what’s in his heart but later receives a word from the Lord concerning David’s intention. As instructed, Nathan promptly goes to David and tells him of God’s surprising and unexpected response to the plan. As it turns out, God has a building plan of His own for the word that comes to David is,

…the Lord will build a house for you.”

God proceeds to reveal His intention to establish David’s house, a permanent house, to make David’s name great, and to establish his kingdom to last forever through his son Solomon.  God graciously reveals His will to David concerning His plans, His provision, His promise to bless him and his descendants.

In response, David goes before the Lord and utters a humble, heartfelt prayer. But amongst his expressions of gratitude and wonder at the Lord’s generosity and honor towards him, David is so bold as to speak these words to God…

…do as Thou hast spoken.

These words sound somewhat brave (and maybe even a little bossy), and seemingly they are, for David goes on to say,

…therefore Thy servant hath found courage to pray before Thee.

Where did he get this courage and boldness? To find out I use this handy Bible study tip: when you see the word “therefore“, find out what it’s there for. David said he “therefore…found courage to pray”. The words prior to “therefore” reveal the reason for his boldness…

“For Thou, O God, hast revealed to thy servant that Thou will build for him a house, therefore

There it is…the foundation of his boldness. God had just revealed His will to David. David goes on to say,

Thou hast promised this good thing to Thy servant.”

It was in light of God’s words of promise to him that David was able to say to God, “…do as Thou hast spoken“.

We, as he, have had God’s will for us revealed….His Word concerning His plans, His provision, His promises to us and to our descendants. So let’s be diligent to go to His Word, find those promises, and therefore find courage to, along with David, say to God…

“Do as Thou hast spoken.”

In light of the promises, in humble prayer, like David, we too can find courage in prayer, courage to be bold… so bold as to hold God to His Word.

You who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves. Isaiah 62:6b

 

September Photo A Day and a Giveaway

September Photo A Day and a Giveaway

giveawayCan you believe it’s September already? Fall is upon us…a brand new season of beauty. Today also begins a brand new month of the Mark 4:30 Photo A Day challenge.  After completing this month’s inspiration list weeks ago, I afterwards had a different thought begin to gently nudge, so at the last minute I made a change. Following this inspiration I created this new list prompted by something I’ve been focusing on a lot lately….rest.

One resource that’s proven helpful in this journey to realize sustaining soul rest is Bonnie Gray’s moving book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest . In honor of her heartfelt, inspirational words I’ve drawn September’s photo prompts from scriptures that speak of stillness, silence, quiet, and calm. They’ll be daily reminders to just breathe…inhaling peace, tranquility and rest so we can exhale stress, anxiety and restlessness…scriptures that teach and hopefully help us reach…rest.

To make things more fun and to help you stay focused on finding whitespace every single day, at the end of the month I’ll give away a copy of  Finding Spiritual Whitespace to one participant who posts their own unique photos (no images from the web please) during September. I’ve found taking a photo each day in itself slows me down, helping me notice and take in the beauty that surrounds me.

As always there are no rules when it comes to what we “picture“. Use the highlighted word(s) within the Word as inspiration or take a photo depicting the essence of the entire verse, which could make for some really beautiful photography this month! Grab a friend to play along too. It’s fun to see what others come up with. If you’re new to Mark 4:30 Photo A Day everything you need to know to participate can be found here.

Here’s the “new inspiration” list followed by Continue reading

Golden Silence

Golden Silence

DSC00144e21©I’m not sure if it’s the down side of a zeal for organization, but I tend to have a meltdown when I can’t find things. I know they’re not lost, they’re here somewhere…but where? I cannot give up the search, I seek until I find.

They’re some of my most favorite things, yet lately…I just can’t find them. They’ve been missing for a while now. Honestly, I’m wearying myself with the search. Frantic, determined, panicked, longing, I keep hunting, seeking, grasping, but still…I come up empty. How long will they elude me…

how long will words elude me?

I’m navigating a new season of life and many things are different. I don’t fully know how to live in this unfamiliar pace and space, and I’m finding more and more that…

there are no words

I’m reminded of a stagnant screen with no new content… nagging, condemning, harassing, making me wonder, in yet another way, about my state…about myself. But how can I tell a story when…

there are no words

I watch others live…energized, focused, full of vision and direction, and I puzzle at my lack thereof.  I search, and read, and ask, and worry…that time is slipping by and I don’t want to miss it…whatever “it” is….

but even in this…there are no words

I try to stay calm, try to pray in spite of restlessness, scattered thoughts, wondering, wandering…the sense of nothingness near, accomplishment absent, direction distant…

but yet again…there are no words

I read a book, a chapter in a book, an idea expressed on a page, and I feel something welling up from deep within…Providence, permission, peace…

and…there are no words

only a soft surge, a gentle wave of weeping, creeping up from a tired soul…tired of looking for words to say, words to pray.

My heart breathes an exhale, long overdue, as I consider…maybe words aren’t necessary. Maybe it’s okay when…

there are no words

…for the Spirit helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings

too deep for words…

So now I’ve begun a different search. It’s a search for something I wasn’t aware was lost, something I didn’t recognize the incredible value or benefit of, but am beginning to like the sound of….

the sound…of silence.

You see, I’m starting to realize, am being set free by the notion that maybe the best prayers, the deepest, most heart-felt, honest prayers are prayed when

there are no words…

in the unutterable longings and deep gratitude offered in the solemn sincerity of silence. Maybe heaven hears cries uttered in silence.

I’m also beginning to believe this sound of silence might relieve the frustration felt when, no matter how hard I strain to hear from heaven…

there are no words

That maybe, now, I’ll hear something in the silence, for

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the expanse sheweth the work of his hands. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech and

there are no words,

yet their voice is heard.

It may be that words, a wealth of words, can be found in the sound of silence.

 

Martin_Luther_Fewer_Words_Better_Prayer

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I captured the ‘bench’ photo in Jocotepec, Mexico.

Posting as part of Five Minute FridayFaith Barista and No Words are Needed

August Photo A Day

August Photo A Day

rose thornHello August! Hello to a new month of photo challenges. This month I’ve decided to do something a little different for the Mark 4:30 Photo a Day challenge, and it will be a challenge in the truest sense of the word. We’re going to be concentrating our focus by using one theme for the entire month of photo prompts. It’s a theme that will serve as a daily reminder, ensuring we don’t forget something that’s often entirely overlooked but of utmost importance…Continue reading

Meeting in the Middle

Meeting in the Middle

centerSDid you know that today, July 2nd, marks the exact middle of the year?  Yes, as of last night we’ve lived 182 days of 2014 and beginning tomorrow, God willing, we’ll live the remaining 182. But today? Well, today we’re right in the middle.

For a girl like me, today seems kind of special. Why? Because I have this weird thing about symmetry. I don’t know why, but I love it. Things symmetrical are made of exactly similar parts facing each other around an axis. So today, the day smack dab in the middle of two 182 day parts, this day feels kind of like a free day…the axis around which these two parts of the year face. And to me, the axis doesn’t really count. So I’m taking this day, this axis day, and using it to make sense of what surrounds it.  Yes, I’ve decided to have a meeting with myself this mid-day to look back and to look forward, to deliberate and to determine (to the extent that any of us can) where I’ve been and where it is I want to go for this second half of the year.

I have no particular wisdom to share with you today, nothing profound to pass along, just a desire to make you aware of the point we’ve reached. Might I encourage you, right here in the middle of this thing we call time, measured by mortals in days and years, to pause and to ponder, to reflect and review, and possibly recalculate?  I, for one, don’t want to one day look back on this middle day only to find I was actually in the middle…of nowhere.

 

Here’s a couple of super great resources from Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, that might prove useful as you ponder and plan.

His book, Storyline, leads you step by step to understanding and living your part in God’s story

On his blog: A Free Week of Life Coaching

 

 

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Photo by dynamosquito available through a Creative Commons License 

July Photo a Day

July Photo a Day

handoftimeJuly has arrived and here we are, halfway through 2014!  Hard to believe, isn’t it? Are you out there enjoying these wonderful days of summer, doing things that matter most to you? We have to be intentional about these things of life, you know…or time just gets by us. Life gets by us.

This month we’ll be celebrating Independence Day here in the USA. I can’t think of too many things more worth celebrating than freedom! The dictionary defines freedom asContinue reading

Translation for Transformation

Translation for Transformation

rescuedHappy Friday!  I’m taking some time today to participate in another link up with the writing flash mob over at Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday for this week’s writing prompt…

LOST

 

translation (noun): the process of moving something from one place to another

A painless translation. No boxes to pack, no movers to call, spared everything that makes moving a task. No effort on our part, entirely His doing. Like Philip the evangelist who suddenly found himself in an entirely different place after baptizing the Ethiopian eunuch, we too have been miraculously translated.

(He) has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his beloved Son ~ Colossians 1:13

Yes, a miraculous translation has occured. We’ve been delivered from the domain of darkness

by the will of the Father,

through the cross of the Son,

and the power of the Spirit…

the ultimate S.W.A.T. team rescuing humanity held hostage and translating us back to safety, the safety of the kingdom of His Beloved.

And what’s more….everything is different in this kingdom. Most importantly, I am different. I am new. Old things have passed away.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new ~ II Corinthians 5:17

How wonderful to discover the new things…

but what really transformed my life, delivering me from the power of sin, was finally realizing not just the new things found as a result of this miraculous translation,

but in knowing the things that had been lost…

lost in translation.

 

…knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin ~ Romans 6:6

 

If you’d like to read more on this topic go here and keep following the links to freedom! 

Also, July’s Mark 4:30 Photo a Day challenge begins in 3 days! Have Instagram? Come play along! Go here to check out this unique photo-a-day challenge like no other…one that puts the focus on God’s Word.

 

What I Learned in May

What I Learned in May

three_red_applesFIt’s that time again. I’m joining the fun over at Chatting at the Sky where once a month a great group of bloggers share some things they’ve learned during the calendar month. From the paltry to the profound, this month, as in every month, there’s an abundance of terrific tidbits to be enjoyed as each one of us share…

 

What I Learned in May

 

proust….of Alain de Botton, a simply superb writer ~ I really love this guy’s writing. I began the month of May reading The Art of Travel, a treatise on travel which explores the reasons we do it and why at times it delights yet other times disappoints. Each keen observation also showcases a notable historic figure who exemplifies the subject de Botton expounds. History, humor and helpful insight all in one terrific read.

There’s nothing like a great author to leave you yearning for more so I next chose How Proust Can Change Your Life, de Botton’s profound commentary on lessons to be learned from what may have contributed to Marcel Proust’s one-of-a-kind writing style. The chapter How To Take Your Time rivaled two of my favorite reads this year, Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts and Shauna Neiquist’s Cold Tangerinesby encouraging the practice of finding the extraordinary right in the middle of ordinary, albeit from a very different perspective. I don’t agree with his theology (he doesn’t believe in the God who has obviously gifted him), but his writing is rife with truth and, as I learned in March from Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art,”There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred.” Yes, this month of May, I learned de Botton is de-lightful!

pie….something I never knew about my husband ~ Over 35 years of marriage and I just learned that cream pie is my husband’s favorite dessert. Know this…I’ve made a lot of pies over the years. Within the first months of marriage, having moved from the city life of my home state of sunny Florida and finding myself isolated for eight hours a day five miles up a remote mountain in upstate New York during a winter that boasted record-breaking temperatures, with no car, no cable and no company, I found one way to occupy myself…by trying my hand at making homemade pies from recipes found in the one wedding present we hadn’t returned as a result of needing money more than Melmac…a Betty Crocker cookbook. (Whew…Proust is rubbing off on me)  Apple pies, blueberry pies, pumpkin and pecan pies. I made them all..all except cream pies. I got pretty good at it too, becoming the one assigned the task of making the pies for three decades worth of family Thanksgivings. Yep, I do pies. But never, ever, not even once did I make a single, solitary cream pie.

So how, after nearly 36 years with this man, did I come to realize it was his favorite dessert? Finally, I asked. But only because our wonderful neighbors wanted to surprise him on his birthday by making him his favorite dessert, asking me what it was. And then I realized…I had no idea. And since it was, after all, to be a surprise…I couldn’t ask him. So they made what they made without asking…like I had for all these years. Birthday night arrives and it was a surprise, but not as much of one as I got when a week or so later I finally asked my husband, “By the way… what’s your favorite dessert?

And so…I made him a belated birthday dessert. And now, back in sunny Florida after all these years and having procured my husband’s personal pie preference, I’ll be once again trying my hand at making homemade pies…cream pies, that is. Better late than never. And Honey…I’m sorry I never asked.

baking….that I will post content I never thought I would ~ You’ve never seen it before and might never, ever see it again, but I’ve finally found a reason to post a recipe here on my blog. (I know my sister-in-laws’ jaws just dropped). It was super simple and got great reviews, so I’m sharing the Coconut Cream Pie recipe I used when making that belated birthday dessert. I did make two changes to the recipe by using 1 can of coconut milk and then half and half to add up to three cups, and I used fresh whipped cream. Simply delicious! And by the way…this blog content will never happen here again. It’s more my style to hand out book recommendations so check out Teeny’s Tour of Pie: A Cookbook, a delightful, informative, inspirational kind of cookbook/find your passion/make you want to make pie must have for anyone even slightly interested in baking pies. And…for the month of June her ebook, Let Them Eat Pie is available for download free over at Noise Trade.

 

stain glass tsunami MGD©….that migraines are misunderstood ~ Who knew that migraines don’t always come with pain. New research has found that migraines present in a variety of ways. Having had an ENT doctor eliminate ear problems and an MRI eliminate any serious neurological problem as the cause of the dizziness I’ve been experiencing lately, my doctors are suggesting the cause might be migraines. There’s still testing being done, but based on the fact that things such as dizziness and vertigo, light, sound and motion sensitivity can be attributed to painless migraines, I suppose it’s a possibility. If not, at least I’ve learned something new.

 

Gao….of a simply a-mazing NYC-based photographer ~ I happened on Alice Gao via Instagram and I’ve been enjoying her feed immensely. Since I began my Bible-based photo a day challenge (you’ve never seen anything like this one so check it out here) I’ve taken notice of the talent required to produce a great photo and believe me when I tell  you…this gal’s got that talent. If you want inspiration for composing photographs or just want some beautiful images to peruse, Alice Gao is your girl. Find her here and here. Enjoy.

 

So long days of May and happy June to all! I’m planning on laying low for the coming month…traveling, spending time with family, and trying to relax. We’ll see how it goes.

“The way I relax is I think, ‘I haven’t got anything coming up.’ I like to know there are months ahead when I’ve got nothing.” ~ Julie Walters

 

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