Tag Archives: guest post

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet | Faith and Composition

Today I’m excited to have my guest book reviewer, Katie Atkins, back with us. Katie has previously shared a review of “Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full”. And today she’s back with us to give her thoughts on the moving book, “Every Bitter Thing is Sweet” by Sara Hagerty. Welcome Katie! 

As I approached my sixteenth birthday, I was confident in my path. I had my plans laid out for the future, plans for success. I was dating a great guy, my family life was rocky but stable, and my dreams were right at my finger tips. Oh how time changes things; within a few months of my sixteenth birthday my parents were in litigation for a divorce, my great guy had broken my heart, and I was fighting to stay on top of my homework, not really giving my grades a second thought. When my world stopped working, it was so easy to be resentful and harbor anger towards my God. It was the simple path to dwell in my bitterness each and every day. As I read Sara’s story in her book, Every Bitter Thing is Sweet, I was taken back to that place and reminded of God’s imminence.

What does it look like to know God’s nearness when your world stops working?

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet | Faith and Composition

Sara Hagerty found Him when life stopped working for her. When her faith was challenged by life’s circumstances she looked toward God, called out to Him, and allowed Him to fill her. Through her infertility she sought her Abba Father. Through the adoption process she chose to adore her God. When her husband’s business went under she trusted in the ultimate provider.

Sara writes of the days that were easily sinking her deeper and deeper into the unknown; the days that the chaos of life was overwhelming. “But God is showing me that His aroma can rise up out of and even over the chaos. His word is seeping into my heart as I scrub dishes. Thoughts of His nature quicken my pulse when I am still in sweatpants, while the children chat over breakfast cleanup or lunch preparation. Adoration is working its way into my life, here.”

In this book, I was reminded that “A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” Proverbs 27:7.

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet | Faith and Composition

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to just be hungry for my God for a season. I want to live in hunger for Him daily, moment by moment. I want the kind of hunger that draws me to Him. That fills every bitter circumstance with the amazing opportunity to know Him more and more. This is what brings me straight to the sweetness of His presence daily.

As a mom, I struggle with allowing my circumstances to dictate my day, allowing my feelings of the unplanned to sink me into a bitterness that drags my mood and emotions down. But Sara reminds us that God sees us.

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet | Faith and Composition

“He saw me. He knew me. He knew my ‘now’ moments—unexpected meltdowns, my day gone awry, this life bursting, and my feeling I could barely manage. He didn’t stand distant, but He spoke in: I see you.”

Sara’s story was a reflection of mine in so many ways. Her desire to know God in an intimate way, to adore Him with all of herself is a mirrored reflection of my heart cry to the Lord. May I remember that Jesus is big in my small, unseen moments. Glorious monotony. He came for these very days.

Click here to buy “Every Bitter Thing is Sweet”

Katie Atkins is a Christ-follower, work-in-progress. She is a wife to an incredible husband and the mom of two amazing children. While not a professional writer, she enjoys putting pen to paper and sharing her story with others. Katie loves to read (anything and everything), she seeks out ways to be adventurous with her kids, and after 12 years of marriage, she is learning to cook. She works each day to live out the words of Philippians 3:12-14 with all that she is. She blogs at Treasuring Christ Daily.

/ / /

To receive more encouraging posts like this, follow F&C on BlogLovin’ or enter your e mail in the box to the sidebar at the right. Then just click “I want to Follow F&C!”

All content on F&C is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. 

Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full

Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full, a review | Faith and Composition

Today I’m excited to introduce Katie Atkins to you. Katie is a friend and avid reader; she’s frequently engrossed in several books at once, and she’s passed some remarkable recommendations my way. Thus, when I toyed with the thought of bringing a regular guest contributor to the blog to compose periodical book reviews, Katie was my natural go-to girl. I hope you are encouraged to pick up some of the titles she suggests. I think they will be like a soothing balm to your mama heart. Now take it away, Katie!

Are you loosing sight of Christ in the mundane everyday activities of life, maybe in piles of to-do lists or simply in the chaos of your home? As a mom to two young kiddos, I feel like I am in a constant battle of showing my kids unconditional love and discipline while still being a shining beacon of Christ in every situation. In this encouraging book, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, Gloria Furman reminds me that “When I view motherhood not as a gift from God to make me holy but rather as a role with tasks that get in my way, I am missing out on one of God’s ordained means of spiritual growth in my life. Not only that but I am missing out on enjoying God.”

This book has renewed my mind and soul so that I can better serve my family as God has uniquely created me to do. 

Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full, a review | Faith and Composition

Divided into two sections, Gloria discusses how the Gospel is essential to our daily lives as women (and as mothers). In the first section, God Made Motherhood for Himself, she reminds us of the fall of Adam and Eve and the blessing that was bestowed upon God’s children.

Have you ever thought about the words from the mouth of God to Serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Gen. 3:15) God cursed the Serpent but in his own words he promised LIFE! That means that the man and the woman will have offspring. Adam and Eve did not deserve a blessing, yet God in his matchless mercy bestowed upon them that there would be life.

I know that there are many days when I feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of raising the blessings God has bestowed on us. I become focused on simply surviving the day and loose the eternal perspective in the everyday tasks. There are many times when I think to myself, if I only had more time…

Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full, a review | Faith and Composition

In this book I was gently reminded that, “When we have lost sight of an eternal perspective in our daily lives, the atonement becomes neither vital nor precious to us. A greater gift than time is the gift of forgiveness for our sins through Christ Jesus so that we can behold our holy God.”

Living with eternity in mind is a work of God’s redeeming love in our lives. This is a reminder I need daily.

In the final section, Motherhood as Worship, Gloria reminds us to worship in all circumstances. “If Jesus has assured me that he is with me to the end of the age (Matt. 28:20), then surely he is with me in all of my baby carrying, housecleaning, car driving, nighttime parenting, and husband helping.” Do you respond with a heart of worship throughout your days and nights? Are you teaching your little ones how to worship our creator through your actions and words?

Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full, a review | Faith and Composition

I don’t know about you, but whether I’m aware of it or not I constantly find myself striving to win that ‘Fictitious Mother of the Year Award’. It’s within our sinful nature to compare and contrast. Gloria does a compelling job of reminding us that “the grace given to us through the cross liberates us from the heavy burden of pretense before other people and (most importantly) before God”.

Throughout this book I was prompted to evaluate my days through the eyes of the gospel. I was reminded that “God will not and does not change his mind. He knew the worst things about me and he knew my self-righteous tendencies when he declared me righteous for Jesus’s sake.” No matter how I screw up on a daily basis, he is always there. He offers His power to mothers who will live in their mundane by faith as Daughters of the King.

CLICK HERE TO BUY Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full.

Katie Atkins is a Christ-follower, work-in-progress. She is a wife to an incredible husband and the mom of two amazing children. While not a professional writer, she enjoys putting pen to paper and sharing her story with others. Katie loves to read (anything and everything), she seeks out ways to be adventurous with her kids, and after 12 years of marriage, she is learning to cook. She works each day to live out the words of Philippians 3:12-14 with all that she is. She blogs at Treasuring Christ Daily.

/ / /

Have you taken the 31 Days of Prayer for our Children Pledge? It’s a month of prayer for our schools, students and staff. I’d love to have you join us! Get the details here, then simply join us in prayer for one month!

/ / /

To receive more encouraging posts like this, follow F&C on BlogLovin’ or enter your e mail in the box to the sidebar at the right. Then just click “I want to Follow F&C!”

All content on F&C is ©Faith&Composition by Shalene Roberts, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. 

A Holiday Interview {with Mary Beth at Annapolis & Co.}

A Holiday Interview with Annapolis and Co. | Faith & CompositionToday I have a little treat for you! The lovely Mary Beth is popping in to answer some questions on how she keeps the focus on the things that matter most during this holiday season. Mary Beth blogs at Annapolis & Co., where she gives glimpses into her life with three littles and inspires readers to find creativity in the everyday. I can’t remember how I first discovered her charming blog, but it’s one of my daily reads. She has a special knack for elevating the common into something of beauty! Take a moment to hop over to her site; you’ll be delighted with her little space. She also has a lovely Instagram feed where she also hosts the ongoing Everyday Project, which I adore! So now, without further adieu, welcome Mary Beth! And thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share some thoughts with us!

A Holiday Interview with Annapolis and Co. | Faith & Composition

A: We keep it all about Jesus’ birthday. And that’s what we hype up…not presents. We plan a cake every year for baby Jesus and read passages from our Jesus Storybook Bible. We rarely ever talk about presents.  Q: What tangible things or activities have you implemented into your holiday celebrations that return the focus to Christ?    A: We hang an advent calendar and the girls get so excited about the countdown and the little crafts we do along with it. I downloaded this ebook and while we aren’t super faithful about doing it every day, it has really helped in training them and preparing them for Christmas day.     Q: When your children are grown, what do you want them to recall when they reflect upon their childhood Christmases?  A: I hope they remember simple love.  It’s so easy to get caught up in traditions, acts of service, shopping and baking, that we so often forget to sit and savor the ultimate Love that was manifested at Christmas. There’s a verse I find myself coming back to time, and time again….   “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.”  I hope my kids feel love in our home…not just at Christmastime, but all year long.   Thank you so much for having me! I feel so honored to share bits and pieces of my heart with you and your readers. Merry Christmas to you all!!!!
Q: Christmas means many things to different people. There are different emotional attachments, varied memories. What does Christmas mean to you?  

A: Christmas means quiet and still. Birth and death. Redemption and mercy. Twinkling lights and popcorn bowls. Movies and play. Cinnamon rolls and cranberry bread. Giving and receiving.

Q: You come from a large family (one of 14, right?). How did your family celebrate the holidays with that many children, and how did they manage to keep the focus on Christ?

A: Yes! I’m the second oldest of fourteen children and our Christmases were very simple. When I was really young and times were hard, I remember getting those dollar store puzzles and play dough on Christmas morning and that was pretty much it. As the years went on, we would get a few nicer things, but it was still never extravagant, even though we had the money. Looking back at photos, you would see the biggest grins and faces full of joy as we held our little gifts. I really don’t think it takes much to please children.

My parents never, ever put the focus on things at Christmas. Or Santa. Or the elf on the shelf. (I don’t think he was around then!) We never did elaborate Advent calendars or even read the Christmas story faithfully every year, the focus was more in our daily conversations. My mom would weave in the birth and death of Jesus in our everyday and I grew up knowing that we were celebrating Jesus, not presents.

I’m really, really grateful for that.

A Holiday Interview with Annapolis and Co. | Faith & Composition

Q: How has your upbringing influenced the way you celebrate Christmas with your family?

A: A lot! Our first Christmas together as new parents, Steven and I decided that we wanted to start out simple. We bought a few little things and spent maybe $75 total on gifts that year. When the season was all over, we looked back and really felt grateful that we hadn’t gotten caught up in a whirlwind of shopping or “keeping up”. We weren’t broke and our families and friends felt liberated.

Q: I’m trying to be more intentional about slowing down during this holiday season; taking time to savor the things that matter most. You are a champion of that lifestyle on Annapolis & Co. In what ways are you intentional about slowing down and not letting the holiday rush overtake you and your family?

A: I wish I had that figured out! Every single day is a work in progress. The biggest thing I’ve learned in the last few years is to not say “yes” right away to anything. I gradually began weeding out commitments the more kids I had, simply because I saw that it was wearing me down, not filling me up. I don’t go to every thing I’m invited to, or sign the kids up for every holiday event. We stay home a lot and keep ourselves busy with projects, cooking, reading, and playing. The pace is much more controllable when you are at home, versus out in public at the mercy of other people’s timetables. As the kids grow older, I’m sure this will change some, but I would like to keep our activities centered around the home as long as I can.

A Holiday Interview with Annapolis and Co. | Faith & CompositionA Holiday Interview with Annapolis and Co. | Faith & Composition

Q: It’s easy to get caught-up in the non-essentials during this time … the perfectly appointed mantle, the Pinterest-worthy Christmas cookies, the impeccable gift presentation, the play-list, the tree, the parties. How do strike a balance? And how do you resist the pressure to create a “perfect” holiday?

A: I realized that my impeccable tree was never going to happen with three little kiddos, and I gave up pretty easily after that. My schooners love to “dress” up our tree with their scarves and their paper creations, and I would rather my tree look like that than a spread in a Real Simple magazine any day of the week. If you allow yourself to see the bigger picture, you begin to realize that all the pomp and circumstance is overrated.

Q: In my previous post, I wrote that “the older I get, the more my heart is burdened by the over-commercialization of the holiday.” How are you teaching your littles that Christmas isn’t about material gifts, but about the incredible love story of God sending His son to be born in a manger so that He might be grace and redemption for us all?

A: We keep it all about Jesus’ birthday. And that’s what we hype up…not presents. We plan a cake every year for baby Jesus and read passages from our Jesus Storybook Bible. We rarely ever talk about presents.

Q: What tangible things or activities have you implemented into your holiday celebrations that return the focus to Christ? 

A: We hang an advent calendar and the girls get so excited about the countdown and the little crafts we do along with it. I downloaded this ebook and while we aren’t super faithful about doing it every day, it has really helped in training them and preparing them for Christmas day.

A: We keep it all about Jesus’ birthday. And that’s what we hype up…not presents. We plan a cake every year for baby Jesus and read passages from our Jesus Storybook Bible. We rarely ever talk about presents.  Q: What tangible things or activities have you implemented into your holiday celebrations that return the focus to Christ?    A: We hang an advent calendar and the girls get so excited about the countdown and the little crafts we do along with it. I downloaded this ebook and while we aren’t super faithful about doing it every day, it has really helped in training them and preparing them for Christmas day.     Q: When your children are grown, what do you want them to recall when they reflect upon their childhood Christmases?  A: I hope they remember simple love.  It’s so easy to get caught up in traditions, acts of service, shopping and baking, that we so often forget to sit and savor the ultimate Love that was manifested at Christmas. There’s a verse I find myself coming back to time, and time again….   “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.”  I hope my kids feel love in our home…not just at Christmastime, but all year long.   Thank you so much for having me! I feel so honored to share bits and pieces of my heart with you and your readers. Merry Christmas to you all!!!!A: We keep it all about Jesus’ birthday. And that’s what we hype up…not presents. We plan a cake every year for baby Jesus and read passages from our Jesus Storybook Bible. We rarely ever talk about presents.  Q: What tangible things or activities have you implemented into your holiday celebrations that return the focus to Christ?    A: We hang an advent calendar and the girls get so excited about the countdown and the little crafts we do along with it. I downloaded this ebook and while we aren’t super faithful about doing it every day, it has really helped in training them and preparing them for Christmas day.     Q: When your children are grown, what do you want them to recall when they reflect upon their childhood Christmases?  A: I hope they remember simple love.  It’s so easy to get caught up in traditions, acts of service, shopping and baking, that we so often forget to sit and savor the ultimate Love that was manifested at Christmas. There’s a verse I find myself coming back to time, and time again….   “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.”  I hope my kids feel love in our home…not just at Christmastime, but all year long.   Thank you so much for having me! I feel so honored to share bits and pieces of my heart with you and your readers. Merry Christmas to you all!!!!
Q: When your children are grown, what do you want them to recall when they reflect upon their childhood Christmases?

A: I hope they remember simple love.  It’s so easy to get caught up in traditions, acts of service, shopping and baking, that we so often forget to sit and savor the ultimate Love that was manifested at Christmas. There’s a verse I find myself coming back to time, and time again….

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.”

I hope my kids feel love in our home…not just at Christmastime, but all year long.

Thank you so much for having me! I feel so honored to share bits and pieces of my heart with you and your readers. Merry Christmas to you all!!!!

Thank you Mary Beth! I hope each and every one of you has a delightful Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus. Merry Christmas!  

My Water Birth Story {A Guest Post at FWMB}

My water birth experience | Faith and Composition
Greetings friends! Today I’m guest posting over at Fort Worth Moms Blog about the water birth experience I had with number 3. If you’re even remotely curious about a water birth or perhaps considering one yourself, hop on over there! They’d be thrilled to have you on their site, and I’d love to share my story with you. Also be sure to check back in later this week, since I have my first giveaway coming your way from the lovely ladies at Edit, a Kansas City-based lifestyle boutique! I think you’ll love it!

Have a blessed Monday!