I’ve had the pleasure of being chosen to review the February 18th screening of Women of Faith: An Amazing Joyful Journey, and I can’t wait. I went to a conference with friends from Mothers of Preschoolers, MOPS, and I invited some MOPS moms who could use some laughs to come with me. I can’t wait to go, and of course, to share my thoughts here with you.
Before I do, I thought I’d talk about that experience. It was probably eight years ago, but I can recall it like it was yesterday morning. Beth Moore was announced as the pre conference speaker and I was determined to go. Her study, BELIEVING GOD, had transformed my life. The conference was in Cleveland, about an hour away, and MOPS moms thought the entire event would be a great experience as a local chapter.
Seeing Beth Moore in person was breathtaking. I do not worship her, don’t get me wrong, but I watched her worship. I was in the fifth row and I could see clearly.
Should I have been paying attention to my own worship?
But I learned something by watching Beth Moore.
She was in a cute little business outfit and we were inside the Q, where the Cavs play. The floor was cement. And that little lady went face down in front of 5,000 women and gave her complete focus to Jesus as her worship leader, Travis, played. I was in awe and it struck me how hungry she was. And that I want to be all in for Him.
I have far to go, but I keep in mind I’m not Beth Moore and because the Lord looks at the heart, He sees beyond my worries that my pants would split or my knee would dislocate. We’ve had great conversations where I ask about why certain things happen with others and not with me and I loved his intimate answer. But I’ll always remember that worship. It was amazing.
The main conference made me laugh and I felt especially blessed as I realized it was the best of both worlds. The original group was starting to retire, but I believe it was Marilyn Meberg and Lucy Swindoll had me in stiches. I remember being mesmerized that when I closed my eyes, Lucy sounds exactly like her brother, Chuck. From the younger crowd I could relate to Sheila Walsh. She was so transparent and uplifting. Her accent was beautiful.
I went home feeling energized, uplifted and refreshed. It was during a season where I was still trying to process the upheaveal my life took a couple years before through grief and change. The Beth Moore pre conference and the Women of Faith event were a prescription for mental and emotional healing. I am grateful for events like these that can touch and change women like me.
Have you ever been to a Women of Faith conference? I’d love for you to tell me about it.
I watch their little pudgy hands smack in excitement against the glass door. The two of them can hardly stand still, shifting their weight from foot to foot, as they wait for the big, yellow school bus that will be pulling up to our driveway. As the bus finally rumbles up the road, squeals of happiness start, as the twins catch a glimpse of big sister crossing the street and making her way up the drive. With a smile, she waves back to them and my heart swells with thankfulness.
This little scene is a small part of my everyday world, a clip that repeats everyday. It’s easily one of my favorite parts of being a mom. One could read it, and think, “Aww, how sweet.”, others might think, “So what? What’s the big deal about siblings being excited to see each other?”
For me, it’s a daily reminder to give thanks to God for fulfilling a dream that I thought would never happen.
After getting married, spending a year as newlyweds, my husband and I were elated to find ourselves pregnant. As first parents go, we took all the classes, prepared ourselves as much as we could and welcomed a healthy baby girl into the world in 2004.
We had always wanted more than one child, so when Miss O. was about 18 months old we started trying for a sibling for her. To our surprise, it wasn’t as easy this time around, but we did get pregnant in December of 2005. I purchased a “Big Sister” shirt for her to wear at her second birthday party in March to share the good news with family. We were ecstatic to share our news.
Two weeks before the party, at a routine doctor visit, we found out that our baby’s heart was no longer beating.
Shocked and saddened, we learned that possibly 1 in every 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage.
This loss would not be our last.
During the next four years, I was thankful for the women in my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. They listened to me, cried right along side of me, and prayed for me and my family. Some had experienced loss, others had not, but they all supported me the best way they could. One of them shared a Bible verse with me, Jeremiah 29:11, which reads, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I clung to that verse, a little tighter each time, with every loss.
In November of 2009, my husband and I were guarded, but excited to find ourselves pregnant for the seventh time. I spent the weeks leading up to the first ultrasound praying to God, asking Him to allow this little life to grow within in. Every time I felt afraid, I would repeat the verse from Jeremiah, and a feeling of peace would come over me. Even if the peace only lasted 5 minutes, I was thankful for those few minutes. At the first appointment, we were overjoyed to find that we were expecting two babies!
Over the next 8 months, I continued to pray, and my fellow MOPS moms were praying right along side of me. In July of 2010, the twins were welcomed to this world, full term and healthy. It seemed surreal after so many bad endings, to finally be experiencing such joy!
It was a long wait for them to join our family, filled with much heartache and sadness, but when I look at them, all I can do is praise God and give Him thanks.
Amy Garland is a stay at home mom of three, who’s adjusting to not working after being blessed with twins after years of secondary infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss. Her days are filled with many blessings AND cups of coffee. She muses about life over at her blog, Not The Path I Chose, when she has a few minutes to type.
Amy Garland blogs at notthepathIchose.blogspot.com.
| Beth K. Vogt
Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong. The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom. Still, kissing the groom’s brother in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she have made such a mistake? It seems Allison’s life is nothing but mistakes at this point. And pulling a “Runaway Bride” complete with stealing, er, borrowing her best friend’s car doesn’t seem to solve her problems. Can Allison find her way out of this mess? Maybe she just needs to stop orchestrating everything. Allison prefers being the one in control, and giving it up is not going to be easy. But to find her way again, she will have to believe that God has a plan for her and find the strength to let Him lead.
I’ve followed Beth’s writing for quite awhile. I’m a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) mom and now mentor mom, and Beth has been encouraging moms in this organization with her work with MOPS. I remember when her non-fiction book about having a baby after 35 came out.
Then I visited Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck’s My Book Therapy, a cyber team full of helps for fiction writing, and Beth was there. Beth? A fiction writer? I kept an eye on her, wondering how that would work out. I confess, it was part for my own curiosity as most of my writing credits are non-fiction, but my heart has been fiction. If Beth made the jump, could I?
I can tell you this, Beth has made the jump, and it’s a successful leap into fiction with her debut novel, Wish You Were Here. Beth doesn’t dip her toes in the fiction waters, she jumps right in by delivering an unconventional romance. When Allison’s story starts, she’s five days away from her wedding and ends up kissing her soon to be brother-in-law. She runs from her own wedding. How can a story move forward when it looks like Allison is boxed into a corner?
Beth Vogt delivers. She not only writes Allison out of the runaway bride corner that kissed the fiance’s brother, she creates profound characters and deep backstory. I finished Wish You Were Here in one sitting because it was unique and full of heart. Each chapter features a postcard message, and there is bonus material at the end that I really enjoyed. The story if full of memorable characters, my favorites being Meghan and Aunt Nita. Contemporary themes that could give hope to readers are woven into Allison, Seth, Daniel, and Hadleigh’s stories. What I love is if anyone else in their debut novel tried to incorporate so much, it would be convoluted.
I’m curious about Beth’s motivation with Scoti. She gives a quick glimpse into his character, and it threw me, especially as this is a Christian novel. It’s not bad what she hints, but I admit, I’m curious as to why she went there. But it doesn’t take away from the story. Another memorable moment–I LOVED the shout out to Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck.
For all the readers who struggle with surrendering control and offering forgiveness, Wish You Here isn’t just a good summer read, it’s a must read.
Beth K. Vogt provides her readers with a happily ever after woven through with humor, reality, and God’s lavish grace. She’s a non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor-or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Beth has discovered that God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” She writes contemporary romance because she believes there’s more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us. Beth earned a journalism degree from San Jose State University and met her husband Rob when he knocked her down at a karate studio. They’ve been married for 31 years. They have four children, ranging in ages from 28, 25, 23 and – thanks to a funny thing happening on their way to the empty nest-a 10-year-old. The Vogt Team, which now includes a “daughter-in-love” and “son-in-love,” enjoys hiking and camping in Colorado. Read more about Beth at her website:http://bethvogt.com
Link to buy the book: http://ow.ly/aQTEk
Here are the other bloggers participating in the Wish You Were Here Tour:
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
One of my favorite things to do is to serve as a mentor mom with my local MOPS-Mothers of Preschoolers chapter. Earlier in the year a MOPS mom shared her story with the group and I was really impacted by it. I have a feeling many moms suffered and didn’t receive encouragement like Shawna has to give. If you know a pregnant mom with HG, please pass this information on. Thanks, Shawna, for sharing!
Growing up I had always heard how sick with morning sickness my mother was while she was pregnant with me. I never truly understood how sick she was until I became pregnant with my first child. I was so ecstatic that God had blessed me with this miracle. My husband and I were overjoyed; all of our prayers had been answered. Until one day, I woke up one morning with a wave of nausea flooding over me and the extreme urge to vomit. I then made the now all too familiar run to the toilet and this became the beginning of nine full months of misery.
I threw up multiple times a day from the first couple of weeks and it lasted until I was at the hospital ready to push. The first two months were the worst. I could barely get out of bed let alone eat or drink. I began to waste away. I had trips to the ER for IV fluids and medication. I was in such misery that one day I found myself laying on the bathroom floor in agony, crying and pleading to God to stop this. My lowest point was me telling God that I would not be upset if I had a miscarriage. I was begging for an end and I knew God was the only one who could help me.
I was diagnosised with a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum or extreme morning sickness. 90% of pregnant women suffer some sort of morning sickness and of those only 8% of women have HG. I was one of the lucky 8%.
I was given medication that enabled me to function but did not take away the nausea or vomiting. I felt that I was on a constant roller coaster 24 hours a day.
I was thankful that my family understood what I was going through but they were all in California and others were not so understanding. Everyone wanted to know what was wrong with me. I was asked by a friend if I had cancer because of the grey color of my skin and the medications that I was taking. My mother in law was certain that I was harming the baby and even my best friend told me that I looked like crap. No pregnancy glow for me. If you have never had HG you cannot understand what it is like. Many other mothers would tell me, “Oh, I was sick every morning for the first 3 weeks. All you have to do is eat some crackers and club soda; you’ll be good as new.” If one more person told me to eat a cracker I was going to scream! No one understood what I was going through and I felt very alone and spent many hours praying for help.
I was told about this awesome group called the HERS Foundation and its website. It is a great forum for research and treatment of HG. The message boards are filled with horrible stories of women suffering. HG is little known by the public and even by some doctors.
There are stories of women who were told by their OB’s that this was all in their head, it can’t be THAT bad, or that they just did not want this baby bad enough or even being referred to see a psychiatrist. Some women even went to the extreme of ending their pregnancy to stop the suffering.
There is no know cause or cure but many think that it is genetically passed from mother to daughter. HERS is doing genetic research to find a cure. You can have HG and a healthy pregnancy. I luckily had a great and helpful doctor. I went on to lose 40lbs and looked terrible but other than that I had a normal pregnancy and thankfully an easy delivery. I even went on to have another child and this time I only lost 35lbs.
Looking back on this I wonder why millions of women become pregnant each year but the things that we go through during our pregnancy are still a secret. God has given us an amazing gift so why don’t women share what really happens. I think that it is our duty as women to share with others, teach them and speak freely. How many of you while you were pregnant sat there and said, “Why did no one tell me about this?” I ask you here today to help spread the word about HG and help women who are suffering needlessly.
All in all I ended up with two beautiful and healthy kids and I learned many things by going through this. I learned that I am a lot stronger both physically and emotionally than I had thought. I learned that God does answer all of your prayers but does not always give you the answer you were wanting. And my last lesson is that I now know why I am an only child!
Character Confession day…I could pin up every feeling graphic available and it would describe my week. How about you?
Since I can’t name them all, let’s balance two confessions, used in the glass scenario.
I remember attending a Mothers of Preschoolers, MOPS, meetings when my now teen was a toddler. The mentor mom shared the object lesson of a juice box—squashed, stomped on, and sucked dry—being a lot like moms.
Boy am I that juice box.
This is our busiest week of the season. Christmas concerts, basketball games, basketball practices, and hours and hours of studying with a child who is learning the hard way how important paying attention and following directions are. There are also gaps in her comprehension so my fears have jumped faster than a cat trying to get at the Christmas tree.
This weekend is our church concert. Hubby is directing the choir, daughter is in the kids’ portion. I’ll help the children’s leader if she needs it. Son learned he’s part of an academic teen that requires additional meetings and study.
Sucked dry juice box?
At the same time, I feel full too.
I had the itch to change up the website, so ta-dah, I did. My hope was to find something with a bit more color, yet a look that complemented the chocolate I’m so fond of around here. I think this works.
I made the site fuller, too. There are new pages.
About me is updated.
The Free Gift page is now Free Gifts. I share two short stories with a surrender theme you can use, as long as you keep me as the author. I also updated the ultimate free gift, sharing more of my own story. I also tweaked an article I also want you to not just read, but implement into your life. Check it out!
So like the glass—I’m empty, and full this week. I always said I had an all or nothing personality. 🙂
How was your week?
This is a first, but I hope not a last. I have the opportunity to tell you about a book where the subject matter is real to me, and so is the author. Carla Anne Coroy is a woman I met years ago when we both lived in Upstate New York. She was the coordinator of our local Mothers of Preschoolers chapter, in fact it was the very first year of our group, if I remember correctly. Right when the group was set to start, Carla learned that through her husband’s work, they were moving. I probably saw Carla for a total of 90 minutes and then she was gone. However, we share so many friends that I often hear updates.
My best friend told me that Carla was writing and doing similar things that I was. She encouraged me to look up Carla and I did. She took what was her life—a busy, sometimes frustrating, and always challenging way of living and made it a ministry. Now she’s releasing a book that is the first of its kind, at least the first I’ve ever seen. Her ministry and book encourage the person Carla is—and I am, even as I write this.
Married mom, single parent.
Say that again? Yes. Carla explains in her book Married Mom, Solo Parent that this is a real demographic that needs its own encouragement and resources. Whether your husband is serving in the military, travels a lot for work, has a crazy work schedule that keeps him preoccupied, or even home but obsessed with things like computer games, you remain at home, still married, but stepping up to take care of all parenting and household matters. The books out there for single parents are usually about divorce and that’s not Carla’s situation or mine. Her book is a breath of fresh air for moms in this special niche that so many didn’t see coming when they first married.
I confess, I didn’t finish the book yet because I am chin deep in a single parent season. My husband is a programmer and although he doesn’t travel a lot with this job, there are times that a demo is due and he has deadlines. Right now we are blessed to not only have work, but he is in a season where for the next few months he’ll be easily putting 70 hours in, if not more, for work. Do the math and you see someone has to be doing all the mom stuff plus handling all kid schedules. Lawn work. Trying really hard to master math homework when it is not my thing. Just those things that you typically tag team parent on.
It’s hard, it’s exhausting, and it’s lonely. When the husband returns to “normal” you have to hand back his role and that isn’t easy because you’ve done it so long. There are often hurt feelings and resentment, as hard as you try not to be. I remember as an early married/new mom wife when my husband told me he’d be out of state for our anniversary. I couldn’t hold back. I was furious. My friends didn’t have this going on, and I wanted that two parent home where mom and dad are home every night eating dinner. I still don’t have that.
Thanks to Carla and the resources I’ve tapped into through her blog and writing, I’ve learned how to make the most of my situation. Her book was full of her own stories that mirrored mine in so many ways I realized tears were trickling down my cheek. Her “season” of married mom, solo parent is much longer than mine. She has a lot on her plate, more than I do. But she’s not just survived this kind of life, she’s thrived.
Thanks to her writing Married Mom, Solo Parent, you can thrive in your situation, too. I can’t say enough about how helpful, encouraging, and comforting her book is for me. I can’t wait to grab a few precious moments once my schedule eases up a bit to not just finish reading it, but read it again.
I hope you do the same. Your sanity, marriage, and children are worth it.
About the book:
For married women who feel like single parents.
Bookstore shelves are full of parenting resources for moms who are newly divorced or widowed. But where do moms turn if they feel like a single parent–but they’re not? Whether he is away on business, deployed in the military, or obsessing over a computer game, dad may not be available for a variety of reasons. Moms who parent in this situation still need help and don’t necessarily relate to the advice given in divorce recovery or single parenting resources.
Married Mom, Solo Parent is a common-sense, down-to-earth look at the struggles wives and mothers face when their husband is not actively involved in family life. Writing from her own experience as a married single mom, Carla Anne Coroy will help wives and mothers sort through their questions, such as: Can I do this alone? How do I raise kids to honor their father? How do I give my children a healthy perspective of marriage if they never see one in action? With practical suggestions, anecdotes, and biblical teaching, this book will encourage moms to see their position as a high calling, to find healing for their worries and frustrations, and to tap into God’s strength for help in facing the daily challenge of being a married mom, solo parent.
Carla Anne Coroy runs the Married Single Mom blog at www.carlaannecoroy.blogspot.com. She speaks regularly and serves as a staff writer for an online Christian women’s magazine Mentoring Moments for Christian Women. Carla Anne lives in Canada with her husband and four homeschooled children. For more information, visit www.carlaanne.com.
Come to an encouraging MomChat party on Facebook…you could win a KindleTouch!
To celebrate the release of her new book Carla has partnered with her publisher, Kregel, to host a live MomChat party on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=177346262342482
The party will wrap up the blog tour (http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13420715) and Carla will be hosting an encouraging MomChat about all things mom and wife related. There will also be a fun contest and she’s giving away a KindleTouch and a ton of other fun stuff (books, gift certificates and more!).
So RSVP today and then come back on 10/25 at 5pm Pacific, 8pm Eastern for the party.
Don’t miss the fun … and tell your friends.
</b><a href=”http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=177346262342482“> <img alt=”Coroy FB Party” src=”http://g.virbcdn.com/_f/files/resize_1024x1365/29/FileItem-134813-FBCoroybutton.gif” width=”170″ height=”150″ /> </a></div>
Blog tour schedule: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13420715)
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.