Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review & Giveaway: Finding God at the Kitchen Sink

I recently finished reading a book called "Finding God at the Kitchen Sink - Search for Glory in the Everyday Grime" by Maggie Paulus. It was a quick read for me, full of pictures and heartfelt stories from a fellow mom and wife. Here's a bit more about the book and it's author:
Reminiscent of Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, Finding God at the Kitchen Sink is a collection of reflections, written for those who long for solace in the middle of chaos and those looking for grace in a fallen, confusing and disorderly world. Maggie writes about seeking God and finding Him everywhere, in His creation, in His Word, in relationships and in the details of everyday life. Her gut-honest perspective helps us see that God shows up even where we least expect Him, in the pain and ache of life. Interspersed amongst the written reflections are Maggie’s own pictures, which serve as visual reflections.
Maggie Paulus is a beauty seeker. She looks for God each day in His Word, in creation, in the people He has given her, in the ache of life, in the humdrum—at the kitchen sink—everywhere! Maggie lives in Michigan with her bearded husband, three rambunctious kids, and one cat. When Maggie’s not capturing life in words and photos, you’ll find her digging in the dirt, eating chocolate, prank calling, and garage sale-ing with her family. Maggie loves God and people, and wants to love them more. Learn more at
While reading this I felt like I was reading a dear friend's blog. I read it a little bit each night. After I put the kids to bed, I spend time working on the house, lesson planning, and other tasks until finally collapsing into my bed. Upon collapsing - okay, I don't collapse every night...but quite a lot of them - I'd read a bit before turning out the light. What a great inspiration it was before falling asleep! Maggie writes about normal things - taking care of her kids, washing the sink, walking on the treadmill, her son bumping his head - but she reveals magnificent things about them. Sprinkled liberally throughout is scripture and prayer that gets to the heart of the lesson she's learned or something that God has revealed to her. The pictures that fill the pages look a lot like ones I would take of my children and home life. I'd recommend this book to all my mom friends and suggest to them to take an afternoon or evening when the kids are occupied, curl up with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee, and enjoy reading about making the everyday extraordinary.

If you're interested in reading an excerpt from Maggie's book, please visit her website. You can find links there to purchase the book through Amazon, CBD, Barnes & Noble, or Moody Publishers. You'll also find her blog posts about finding glory in the grime, social media links to follow her elsewhere, and a free download to decorate your home!

Moody Publishers is giving me the opportunity to give away a copy of Maggie's book to a reader! If you'd like to enter to win a copy, please check out the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck! (Giveaway opens at midnight)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Making Your Home A Haven - Weeks 2 & 3

I'm joining in again (late!) with the Women Living Well Making Your Home A Haven Challenge. These were the main goals/focus areas for last week:

"Play soft music everyday in your home. Choose worship, classical, jazz or another form of peaceful music that the family enjoys. Focus on using peaceful words and maintaining peaceful relationships. Work on gentleness and self-control this week."

I didn't play music each day - I started doing it about halfway through the week because I'm a forgetful pregnant lady. Selections were Chopin and Rachmaninoff. I tried (and am still trying) to use peaceful words more with my children. My daughter and I worked on her room together at the beginning of last week and it was actually not horrible. I chose not to scream or fight with her, but instead to just help and direct her. Was it time consuming? Yes. Did I feel like I was constantly repeating myself? Yes. But it's almost a week later and it's still (relatively) clean. I'm finding that she just needs the constant reminders right now - I don't know if it's the age/stage she is in or just her personality in general - but as long as I remind her (sometimes several times) she will do it. And I was especially reminded of that after reading Courtney's post last week where she mentioned that "yelling at a bud won't make it bloom." I was also reminded of the Frog & Toad children's story we read earlier in the year where Toad wanted to have a garden like Frog's but he didn't know how. One of the ways he tried getting his plants to grow was by yelling, "GROW PLANTS! GROW!" This obviously didn't work. I tried to keep that in mind and instead focus last week on directing, repeating, and speaking softly. I have failed some here and there but I do feel like it's helping somewhat. (Now to just tackle that same giant task in my eldest son's room.....)
Ellie's (mostly) clean room. Hey, there's a floor in there!!

And here are the goals/focus areas for this week:

"Keep the candle burning, the music playing and plan a Family Fun Night. Have a pillow party in the family room and get out every blanket and pillow in the house and be cozy with the kids or your hubby! Even if you live alone you can do this. Enjoy a cozy evening of hot cider and caramel corn. Bust out some old fashioned games and take the time to savor these moments with your loved ones. Work on kindness and joy this week."

Oooh, this will be fun! I'm thinking possibly Friday night. My stepdaughter will be here for the weekend so I'm thinking maybe Friday night we can get out the blankets & board games, make some popcorn & hot chocolate, and just have fun. (I may have to look up how to make caramel corn because that sounds DELICIOUS!)