Lauren Flake is a writer, artist, wife, girl mom, and Alzheimer’s daughter near Austin, Texas. She is the author of two award-winning children’s books for grieving preschoolers, Where Did My Sweet Grandma Go? and Where Did My Sweet Grandpa Go?; the co-founder of Daughters of Dementia; and the editor of Love of Dixie magazine for Texas women. Find Lauren at LaurenFlake.com and on Facebook and Instagram at @loveofdixie.
I LOVE championing other authors! It is a privilege for me to share some of my favorite authors and their new books with you! Writing is hard y’all and it takes lots of time, energy and resources to create something worth reading. I am especially thrilled to share this book with YOU!! So, in case you’ve been living under a rock and you don’t know who Emily P Freeman is or you haven’t heard about The Next Right Thing book consider this your public service announcement.
The Next Right Thing Podcast
I began listening to The Next Right Thing podcast when it came out, and it could not have come at a better time. My life is in the midst of a season of transition. My eldest son recently got married, my youngest son graduates from high school next year, and I am launching into a new career after homeschooling my boys for the past 20 years.
Any time anyone asks me what podcast I recommend The Next thing is always at the top of my list. I have a dear friend who always used to recommend books and she would say, ”You have to read this book. It will change your life! Well, this podcast was a life changer for me and now it’s become a book!
The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions
The Next Right Thing podcast has been the calm to my chaos for this crazy busy homeschool boy mama who also speaks, writes, teaches, podcasts and leads! Emily P Freeman has a calm soothing podcast voice that speaks the truth in love. The contemplative thoughts and words Emily shares with me every Tuesday morning as I shuttle my youngest son to math class fuels my week.
The book includes 24 chapters that will help guide you to make space to help with decisions. Some of my favorites include Be Where You Are, Stop Collecting Gurus and Wear Better Pants. But seriously y’all it is all SO GOOD each chapter oozes peace and wisdom. For example one of my favorite quotes from the book is “The decision is rarely the point. The point is you becoming more fully yourself in the presence of God”. Sometimes we worry that we will make the wrong decision and we will somehow miss out. This quote is super reassuring “God won’t let you miss your own future.”
The Next Right Thing book includes a practice and a prayer at the end of each chapter. This beautiful prayer is taken from the chapter Don’t Give Your Critic Words.
“As we consider the decisions that weigh heavy on our minds, we don’t want to give our critic words.
Keep us in our stillness.
Quiet us in our presence.
Remind us of your love.
Replace the words of the critic with your words of peace.
As we lean our ear toward your heartbeat, allow our voices to rise up in your presence.
Then be our courage as simply do our next right thing in love.”
One of the kindest things that you can do for an author is pre-order their book and share it with your friends!! This helps with the books ratings and helps other people to find out about it. The Next Right Thing is available for pre-order now and is available everywhere books are sold on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. You will definitely want to get a copy for yourself, and maybe even one for a friend.
I received an advanced copy of The Next Right Thing because I am on the launch team for the book. A launch team helps build support around an author, and their book in advance of it being available for purchase. Speaking of launch teams I just opened the launch team for The Struggle is Real: But So Is God Bible Study and would love to have you join us! Visit The Struggle is Real Launch Team for more information.
When I was a young mom I thought raising toddlers was a challenge. And I’ll always remember my mother-in-law saying to me, ” Oh sweetheart, when they’re little they have little problems, and when they’re big they have big problems”.
For many people, the thought of raising teenagers is intimidating and invokes feelings of fear and trepidation. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Although I’m still in the process of raising my youngest teenage son, I have two young adult children who I have a great relationship with and they are well adjusted. Although the teenage years were far from perfect we actually like our kids and have a fantastic relationship with each one of them.
One of the major parenting philosophies we incorporated in raising our kids was making sure we had their hearts. This means not only knowing what’s going on with them but being involved in their lives. This requires knowing who their friends are and what activities they are involved in, but it also goes much deeper than that. It requires getting to their heart and knowing what is going on in their thought life and in their hearts. This means communication is key and making time to listen is critical.
These are the same principles in the new book for parents Parenting Beyond The Rules by Connie Albers. Connie shares stories from her own parenting journey and offers practical wisdom and effective strategies that you can begin to incorporate immediately to affect change.
I believe it’s critical that we are in our kid’s world, not hovering like a helicopter mom, but being aware of what is going in their hearts and minds. When my oldest son was in high school and college we had heartfelt conversations and many that lasted late into the night. We always make ourselves available to our kids.
Two of the most important chapters in the book are Understanding their World that talks about teens and technology, phones, social media, bullying and cyberbullying, and Listen Up the art of listening to our teens, resolving conflict and other important topics.
I especially loved page 87, “it takes a great deal of time and effort to stay educated and help our teens be discerning. We are up against the forces of giant tech companies who spend billions of dollars to lure our kids into spending more time on their websites. But here’s the good news: Facebook or Amazon or Apple can not outwit God. Google doesn’t control the universe. God does. And he isn’t going to allow tech giant to dethrone him”!!!`
If you are interested in making an impact on the next generation then this book is for you!
If you have pre-teens and are unsure of the teenage years than this book is for you!
If you are in the war for your hearts and minds of your children this book is for you!
There is a war today for the hearts and minds of our young people and we must do battle on our knees for this generation and the ones to follow. Parenting Beyond the Rules will equip you to parent your teens with wisdom and grace.
Be sure to grab your copy today!
Jolene Underwood is an emotional health warrior and soul care mentor. She draws upon her personal journey towards emotional health, her psychology background, and passion for counseling to help others cultivate a life well-lived no matter the circumstance. She also leads a community called Rise Up Writers which offers practical and spiritual care for the life of a Christian communicator.
This week I would like to welcome Ronne Rock to the blog. Ronne and I had an open honest conversation on By His Grace this week about church hurt, and loving the body of Christ. Ronne is a woman passionate about loving and serving her creator on the mission field of life. Today she shares why we need to go through the fire. Please welcome Ronne Rock to the blog.
Why We Need to Go Through Fire
by Ronne Rock
“I don’t get why there has to be pain. I don’t understand God’s purpose in it – it’s not fair.”
Looking back on all the prayer requests and emails and comments I’ve received when I’ve asked, “how may I pray for you right now – what’s going on in your life?” the subject that eclipses all others is pain and suffering. There are volumes of good theological discourse on why pain exists in the first place, and wonderful studies done on pain’s purpose in our bodies. What’s been churning around in my heart lately is neither.
It’s been 19 years since my mom took her last breath on this earth. And this year, there will be both the ache of her absence and the rise of fresh bravery to live my days fully in her honor.
I don’t have answers to every “why” of pain, but one of the most powerful things I’ve learned about its usefulness is the power of scorched earth.
Yes, scorched earth.
Each time I visit LaPaz, Honduras, to spend time with the children of Niños Comúnidad, I ask if we can stop by the foundry where aluminum pots and kitchen utensils are made. We first visited one several years ago, when a local friend asked if we’d like to see a small miracle in the making. Our van wound through narrow streets for a bit, and we then parked next to a rusted corrugated metal wall. The smell of petroleum and earth was thick in the air, and waves of heat flushed our faces as we entered the yard. On the other side of the wall, men were working – all in tattered clothes and flip flops. A fire blazed in one corner of the yard to transform recycled metal into brilliant red liquid, and under a thatched roof that offered a bit of shade, the molten metal was being poured through small holes in hand-crafted molds. Bowls, plates, and large cooking pots were being made that day.
The red-hot aluminum reaches 1000 degrees before it’s poured. The laborers’ feet and hands are marked with scars – something they say is a harsh reminder of the road marked with purpose.
That first foundry in the community was started by a man who learned the art of casting pots from his grandfather. While there are factories in other parts of the world that make the same type of thing, he wanted to retain the heritage and dignity of the craft. So, he set up shop in a struggling neighborhood and made jobs available for men who desperately needed a way to earn a living.
Each item produced means a bit of money in empty pockets, and even more money can be made if the men are willing to travel. It’s difficult work, but the sense of pride in craftsmanship is evident in everyone’s faces. The work of their hands feeds their families and pays for electricity and helps start new businesses so more people can work.
Last October, friends and I visited a new foundry, located behind a small home and storefront in the same neighborhood. A growing business meant new opportunity for more men who had been trained to cast, and this new location allowed each of us to get even closer to the detailed work being done.
Metal had just been poured and large aluminum pots were cooling to the side. Two of the men looked at each other, smiled, and began a friendly competition to prepare the next casts. There was a rhythm in their well-honed labor, as they shoveled dirt into the wooden frames, packed it with their feet, trimmed it with knives, and carefully examined their work. Over and over, the process continued.
Shovel, pack, trim, examine.
Two frames would be carefully packed, and then the bowl or plate or pot would be added and packed into place with hammers, then even more carefully removed to reveal the shape to come.
We were captivated by the process, mesmerized by the joy of the workers as they had the rare chance to show off their skills. There was no vocational school or university to teach them; no, everything they had learned had come from the classroom of experience and fire and earth.
Yes, scorched earth.
You see, the dirt used by the foundry laborers to create tools used to prepare meals that feed bellies and bring life has to undergo its own transformation before it can transform molten metal.
It has to go through fire.
The workers walk to a nearby dry riverbed and bring the soil of clay and sand. It is sifted first to remove rocks and debris, and then it is set ablaze. The fire changes the chemical composition of the soil, making it stronger, more resilient, and more malleable.
Only then can it hold its shape and cradle its creation.
The fire gives the soil greater purpose. It gives the soil life.
There’s something about fire.
In Guatemala, the volcano Fuego spews smoke and ash daily, and its lava streams threaten those who live below. It is hell-bent on destruction – and yet, life emerges. Its sister volcano, Acatenango, bears the brunt of Fuego’s fury and yet is home to some of the most robust coffee plantations in the country. Fuego’s fire is fuel for Acatenango’s strength.
Gold must melt to remove its impurities so that it becomes worthy to wear as a covenant symbol. Minerals moved through fire become glass and pottery that only then is used to pour out and serve. And you and I, moved through fire, become too. What we become depends on our response to that fire. Again, I don’t have answers to every “why” of pain, but I do pray we are unafraid to become scorched earth through its presence in our lives, and let pain become a road marked with purpose. I pray that with the ache comes the bravery.
Ronne Rock believes that you are hand-crafted by God for a life that is rich and vibrant and filled with stories. She travels the world to find hope and restoration in the midst of brokenness, and she invests in the lives of women to provide encouragement and wisdom for faith’s journeys. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or on her website at RonneRock.com.
Tell stories that change stories.
writer | speaker | advocate | adventurer
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