Kick Off Fall with September Self-Improvement Month
by Gail Goolsby
Goodbye to lazy days of summer and vacation leisure. Hello to set schedules for kids and adults. Time for school and daily routines. Fall is here.
Freshly sharpened pencils. New clothes and unscuffed shoes. Sports teams with unblemished records. Blank report cards ready to register best grades ever.
Fall presents new opportunities. Make the most of Self-Improvement September by focusing on areas of your life left unattended over the summer or needing a reboot. Here is a brief checklist to get you started.
- Take inventory. Identify dissatisfaction with your current life patterns and habits. Ask God what could be working better in your relationships. Physical and emotional health? Career activity? Home tasks? Spiritual growth?
- Recognize feelings but focus on actions. Feelings are important and you need to read the signals they send. But, in truth your actions impact your feelings and so behaviors should be assessed with sound reasoning. Feelings change easily and can form a trap and hindrance to life satisfaction. What actions need to be ramped up or altered to feel better about your life?
- Check self-talk. Do you constantly criticize or speak negatively to yourself? Do you cheer yourself through hard tasks or easily give up and then berate your poor performance? Taking on new challenges requires a positive attitude and ongoing encouragement. Remember past accomplishments more than recent failures.
- Set steps for reaching goals. Once a plan of action is formulated toward self-improvement, smaller, measurable steps are needed at regular intervals. This requires commitment and work, but gives motivation as advancement is documented and you inch closer to your goals.
- Utilize resources. Prayer and God’s Word offer powerful inspiration and reminders of Who is always working for your good (and His glory!). Friends, co-workers, life coaches, and family members can be earthly gifts of accountability and encouragement. Let them celebrate with you as they support your efforts (and maybe join you in their own self-improvement goals).
- Embrace hope. As you develop new activities, relationships, and daily disciplines, keep your head up and recognize each day signals possibility and hope for better. Look for God helping you in small and big ways. Tell yourself this truth, you can improve.
Kick yourself into gear and make September a trophy month of self-improvement!
About the Author:
Gail Goolsby, MA, MEd is a lifelong educator, including past leadership at an international school in Afghanistan. Gail and her pastor husband of 39 years live where the wind blows over the prairie in south Kansas. She counsels and coaches using God’s Word to help others learn to live well. Read more at www.gailgoolsby.com.
How would you describe the love of God?
Throughout the Gospel accounts, Jesus engaged women differently than He did men. Sometimes the difference is subtle. Sometimes it is stark. Always it is profound.
Sometimes the love He offers them is gentle. Sometimes it is fierce. Always it is powerful.
Sometimes that love feels like a warm embrace. Sometimes it’s more like a piercing jab. Always, it changes everything.
Women today long to experience the same sort of life-changing love that Jesus lavished on His followers 2000 years ago. We still want to be completely seen and known and valued and set free—as painful as that process might sometimes be.
Pierced and Embraced digs deeply into seven encounters that Jesus had with a wide variety of women in the Gospels to show how His love can be equally transformative in our lives today. It mixes attentive Scriptural engagement with personal narrative and relevant application, making the content fresh, accessible, engaging, and practical.
- Understand the unique and powerful and complex ways in which Jesus loves the women of the gospels.
- Recognize your own longings for love and the (often inadequate) ways we seek to satisfy them.
- Discover how to live in the fullness of Jesus’ love for you.
Includes study/reflection questions at the end of each chapter, inviting women to dig into the passages for themselves.
I wasn’t sure what to think as I confess, the cover really didn’t inspire me. However, once I started reading, I was hooked. Pierced and Embraced reminded me of God’s love for me, showed me things in the Bible I’d read before but didn’t really apply to my life, and encouraged me as I read Kelli’s story.
The bull on the cover made sense as I read. God pursues us, but often it comes with pain. Each woman Kelli profiles has a story, and one I could relate to and be challenged by.
This was an excellent book that kept me captivated.
To purchase PIERCED AND EMBRACED, click HERE.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
A new kind of Bible study…
After the success of her first two books, Heather Holleman received many requests to write a Bible study. And as a college English instructor, she wanted to make sure it really taught and didn’t simply inform. So she surveyed several women about what their dream study would look like, then got to work.
The result is Included with Christ, a narrative-driven study where you can bring your life before Scripture in the context of community. Together women will discern their personal shadow narratives—ways they are living outside of their identity in Christ—and then rewrite those narratives according to biblical truth.
This in-depth, 8-week study in Ephesians will equip women with six “signature stories” of God’s work in their lives—helping them combat exclusion, loneliness, weakness, decay, emptiness, and silence.
Designed to facilitate honest sharing and help you internalize biblical truth, Included in Christ will provide community and connectedness as well as spiritual nourishment. It will also guide you in how to share your story and the hope of Christ with someone who doesn’t yet know Him.
Heather Holleman is a new author to me, and I didn’t know she wrote books before being asked to create a Bible study. Included in Christ is an 8 week Bible study that explores the truths from Ephesians without being overwhelming. It is written as if the author were sitting down with us. She includes her own story that makes her very relatable. Yet, Scripture is explained and explored as she takes us through Ephesians. Ephesians isn’t new to me, yet Heather pointed out things I never thought about or saw the way she explained. I truly have learned a lot, and for review purposes, I am not all the way done, but I wanted to be timely in getting this out. I am really impressed in what I’ve read so far.
The topic is one all women can relate to. We all want to belong and be included. There are lies we have believed, and this study takes those lies and exposes them, giving us the truth in Scripture that has been there for us all along.
I highly recommend this study to any woman who struggles to belong, no matter what their level with the Bible is. It’s a down-to-Earth study that includes places to journal thoughts and answer questions.
Honestly, it’s everything I’m looking for in a Bible study. I really think you will learn and be inspired just as I am.
I received INCLUDED IN CHRIST from the publisher for review purposes, and all thoughts expressed here are my own.
Purchase Included in Christ HERE
From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose by Debra Gray Elliott
Forty years ago, at the age of sixteen my life changed and I found myself in the ashes of pity. My life took a dark turn when my father passed away several months before I turned sixteen. My mother decided she did not want to live in our home state any longer and moved me across the country. This is where my life took a wrong turn.
Except from the book:
The year was 1977, the month and date: November 4th, I was sixteen; technically a teenager, but still a child. I was taken for my abortion. I have tried to block out the memories, but I cannot forget the cold metal table where I had lain or the baby being sucked from my womb through a vacuum tube. My eyes fixated on the fluid and blood sucked into the glass canister. All I could see were the demons that had taken over my life instead of the love I deserved. The painful, horrific memories are forever seared in my mind, thoughts, and soul.
It was in my pain and grief through post-abortion recovery, I started writing about my journeys and how God led me through the ashes into beauty. The end result of my grief was hope and healing. It is hope and healing that I want to give to other women who are experiencing pain and grief.
From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose brings emotionally charred women out of the pits of fire, through the ashes into the beauty of purpose. With the direction of God, hurting women weather through the painful journeys, become women of spiritual beauty, find God’s purpose, and learn to live again.
You are altogether beautiful, my darling there is no flaw in you. Song of Solomon 4:7 NIV
Christian author and speaker Debra Gray Elliott began writing at the age of fifteen after the death of her father. She began writing poetry as a way to cope with her grief. At the age of sixteen, Debra once again experienced grief when she was forced to have an abortion. It was in this grief that she found herself in the ashes of pity. Forty years later, Debra found her beauty of purpose.
From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose is Debra’s first non-fiction Christian self-help, inspirational book to help women through the ashes of pity into the beauty of purpose after having an abortion.
Debra is currently working on a devotional for grieving parents. The loss of her daughter four years ago, has led Debra to want to help other grieving parents through their grief into hope.
She resides in Alabama with her husband and family.
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