With the Presidential Elections just around the corner and early voting in effect, I wanted to write this for those who are still undecided and haven’t voted. In this day and age, there is a huge amount of media bias in practically every news source out there. For years, I grew up watching the news and because I was young and not very into politics, I was not aware that I was being swayed to think one way without even noticing.
When I became an adult and obtained my own set of values and morals, was when I realized how biased some of the channels I watched were. I have since become pretty skeptical of many sites and TV channels. I do have my political leanings but I think it is important to get up to date news from websites that are mostly unbiased.
I think it is important, as an individual, to think for yourself and make up your own mind, regardless of what your family and friends may think. I typically don’t discuss politics outside of certain family members and close friends because of how polarized politics have made everyone. I am open to trying to understand why someone thinks differently than me but there have been times where I alluded to my own leanings and was immediately mocked. Hence why I don’t discuss politics with just anyone.
Anyway, I wanted to provide this list of websites where you can get your news and be able to formulate your own views and opinions without being swayed by media bias.
All Sides gives your varying news articles on a subject from different websites and shows you which way they lean.
I’ve known that we must be good stewards of our money but I didn’t always apply it to time. The way we spend our time is something we ought to think about more often. Do I do this always? Absolutely not. If you ever see the amount of playtime time I’ve put into Animal Crossing, you’d see I wasn’t kidding.
I don’t always look at how I spend my time on a grander scale but this book goes through practical ways in which we can do this. This is a book that would indeed help you “do more better”, and with that I end my review…Just kidding.
In this book Challies explains why we must seek to be productive. Everything we do should be done for the glory of God and we must organize ourselves to do this as best we can.
Godly productivity is a mindset. Challies makes sure to emphasize this. He actually tells the reader that if they are solely looking for ways to be productive to skip to the last chapters. What he does in this book, is break down what we need to be productive with and how it’s involved with our spiritual lives by breaking down tasks into categories and subcategories. I actually found this to be very helpful. It helped me organize myself better.
For example, I am in a ladies discipleship group, this would be a subcategory under “Church” for me. Also in my church category is “Translation” a ministry I am a part of in my church. Here I would designate tasks revolving around the Spanish translation of the sermon. Usually, I need to gather all the Bible verses and have them ready in Spanish for when the preacher reads it, that way I don’t have to paraphrase. I’m not a fan of paraphrasing God’s word during sermons. So I set the task that needs to be done on my app, set a due date and a reminder because let’s face it, we don’t all remember everything always.
Challies breaks down why it is important to be mindful of our time and how we manage it. He gives his own examples of how he does things and give life examples that are informative.
This book will help guide you on how to practically set up a task management app, calendar and an information management tool such as Evernote so that you can do more better. It’s not a long book, you can definitely read it in a week or less and even setting up all the tools isn’t too complicated. I got a lot from this book. It’s worth the read. If you are looking to get your spiritual life together and want to be more productive definitely check it out.
Here are a few quotes from the book I thought were notable:
“You need to structure and organize your life so that you can do the maximum good for others and thus bring the maximum glory to God.”
“Your good works are like a light, and when that light shines, it illuminates God. When people see that light, they aren’t meant to look at you and say, “He’s incredible” or “She’s amazing.” They are meant to look at God and say, “He is awesome.”
“You haven’t begun to live a focused and productive life until you have said no to great opportunities that just do not fit your mission. There are many good things in this world that will go undone or that will have to be done by someone else.”
“If you are a student and apply yourself to your studies, you are doing a good work that brings glory to God, because what you learn can and will be used someday to benefit other people. If you work in an office environment and do your job with consideration to your clients and coworkers, you are doing good works that bring glory to God, because you are living outside yourself, doing what benefits the people in your life.”
“Busyness may make you feel good about yourself and give the illusion of getting things done, but it probably just means that you are directing too little attention in too many directions, that you are prioritizing all the wrong things, and that your productivity is suffering.”
Today is my second Blogiversary! Yay! I’ve been reflecting on the past two years of doing this and I am glad I started this. Initially, I wanted to monetize my blog, and possibly use it as a side hustle type thing because after all, every “Start a Blog” related post on Pinterest only talks about how to monetize your blog. But over time, I’ve discovered that I genuinely enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts in my very own space. Thank you all for sticking around.
Here are a few things you can expect from me this year are:
More book reviews! I enjoy reading, and I especially enjoy sharing my thoughts on books. I intend to be a bit more structured when it comes to these reviews. I’ve made a list of questions to ask myself as I read so that way, I can provide better insight into the book.
More recommendations for biblical resources. You can never have too many.
I’ve been dabbling in Cricut crafts lately, so I might also write about the projects I’ve made. What software I use and how I make my crafts from start to finish.
My personal view and convictions on current and not so current events.
And as the subtitle of my blog indicates healthy habits. It’s been an interesting year and I’ve been making some changes, subtle, but good changes nonetheless, which I will share with you here.
Again, I want to thank you all for coming along with me on this little journey and hope you continue to enjoy future posts. And remember, do all things to the glory of God.
I’ve had many people recommend The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. After hearing about it for a while I have now finally read it. I saw that Allie B. Stuckey’s book club would be reading it and figured, now is the time. I had never read a book with an online book club before and thought it would be cool. Although I did not comment on any of the review questions, I thought it was nice to be reading the same book with many other women in the faith.
When I began reading the book, it took some time to get into the style it was written in. The book is a series of letters written by Wormwood’s uncle Screwtape.
In these letters Screwtape gives instructions on how to keep his patient from growing in Christ and being saved. He offers suggestions on how to keep him distracted so he doesnt grow, such as being dissatisfied with his church, looking at other believers as if they fall short (which we all do) and thus he should not be part of them or that because they fall short, then the whole faith must be false. He suggests having the patient become good friends with the elite because that will keep him grounded in worldly things. He discouraged godly relationships, basically anything to distract him from the faith.
I’m sure in our experience we have come across seasons where we are dissatisfied with our church or are holding onto relationships that are not good for us. I just find it fascinating how a book written some time ago still resonates with what is happening now, kind of mind boggling really!
*I am an Amazon affiliate so I may get a small fee for any purchase you may make but this will be of no effect to the price you pay.*
Here are a few quotes from the book so you can get a taste of what I mean:
“Surely you know that if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that “suits” him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches.”
“Provided that any of those neighbours sing out of tune or have boots that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite easily believe that their religion must therefore be somehow ridiculous.”
“but it is His long-term policy, I fear, to restore to them a new kind of self-love—a charity and gratitude for all selves, including their own; when they have really learned to love their neighbours as themselves, they will be allowed to love themselves as their neighbours. For we must never forget what is the most repellent and inexplicable trait in our Enemy; He really loves the hairless bipeds He has created and always gives back to them with His right hand what He has taken away with His left.”
You can find a link to buy the book in this post. I think this book is worth the read. You will definitely see how concerns of the past are still relevant today. It is an interesting perspective to see how the enemy (the real enemy not the enemy in the book who is our Lord) might be plotting to keep up away from Christ and seeking spiritual growth.
There is a lot going on right now, so this review will be brief. As we are all aware we are currently in the middle of a pandemic, or at least what I hope is the near end of the pandemic. So much has happened in the past two months, that it’s hard to put into words.
Because of the lockdown in New York, I have been working from home for a little over 2 months. I rarely leave my home and when I do it’s only to walk the dog. Going outside is a weird feeling, it’s as if we are living in Bizarro world, barely anyone is out and if they are, they are wearing masks.
Most people avoid walking on the same sidewalk as us, (possibly because our dog looks aggressive, but really she’s a sweetie who just loves smelling and jumping on people) but also because people are afraid to come into close contact with any other humans. I can only imagine how strange things will be when the city reopens.
I began to read Coronavirus and Christ by John Piper, at the height of the pandemic, when the death tolls were in the thousands on a daily basis. I watched Gov. Cuomo almost everyday religiously just to keep up with what was going on. This book’s release was very timely. As I read through it, I was both informed and reassured that there is nothing outside of God’s control. I am a strong believer in God’s sovereignty and this book went into various reasons for the virus, many of which revolved around the sovereignty of God.
Although I was receiving bad news on what seemed like a daily basis, this book brought peace to my mind, until I didn’t, but it wasn’t the book’s fault I lost my peace of mind. A little over half way through the book, I was informed that a family member of mine was admitted to the hospital and that the doctors didn’t believe they would come out alive. Although I know God is sovereign, I was wrestling with the thought of my ill family member.
About a week later, the doctor’s words became true, my aunt passed away due mainly to the virus. It’s a bit hard to write this because it is still recent, but I want to share my heart with you, because I think it might help give a different perspective. Now I have mentioned many times that I am a strong believer of God’s sovereignty, but at the time I found out, I was shaken.
I was sad and overwhelmed. You see, I knew my aunt was unsaved and I was struggling with the thought that she did not go to heaven. I do hope that in her last days she may have contemplated the gospel that was shared with her through the years by my mother and grandmother, and that she repented and was saved, but that is a mystery I will not know the answer to for some time.
Of course I still feel sad, but trusting in God and his sovereignty has helped me.
In this book John Piper gives many reasons for the virus, one being that God is showing what sin looks like, just in a form we are not used to. We know that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but we aren’t always able to see the weight of sin as we can now, with the virus. We know that there will be a second coming and that the earth groans waiting eagerly for Christ’s return, this is just one example of this.
Things may look grim but we know who we have believed and we know He is faithful to keep us. I finished the book about a week after the bad news, the book helped me see again where my faith is rooted, and who my foundation is. God is in control of everything, even this virus, even all the bad things going on, everything is in His hands. I know that this virus has brought many to Christ, and the gospel was shared continually throughout this difficult time. God works in all situations, let us remember where our faith is.
Check out the book for yourself, I tried to be vague because I do want you to check it out. I got a free copy from Crossway.org, they also have the audiobook available for free, you can find that here. A physical copy of the book was released and you can purchase it here. I would recommend this book to anyone, or any age, believer or non-believer, it helped put our current situation into perspective and I think you would enjoy it and learn from it.
As you may know by now I love listening to podcasts. I have shared two of them in the past, Sheologians and Relatable but this time I decided to focus on five short podcasts. If you are looking for a quick lesson on theology, I hope you’ll find this post to be super helpful. Most of the podcasts I will mention here are typically shorter than ten minutes, so you can catch them on your way to the store, taking out the trash or any activity that doesn’t take much time. They are quick and informative. Check out the list below:
5 Minutes in Church History
5 Minutes in Church History is exactly that, 5 minutes. In these 5 minutes, you can hear short clips informing you of various topics and characters involved in church history, from Martin Luther to C.S. Lewis. I really enjoy this one because I learn something new every time. (As I write this, I am reminded of a book I’d like to find thanks to their podcast titled The Tyger and the Lamb)
Ask Pastor John
Ask Pastor John features John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church for 33 years and author of many books including “Don’t Waste Your Life” (I did a review of this book a few months ago), answering questions submitted to him in this podcast. There have been many interesting questions that I myself have had and I’m glad John Piper is willing to answer them. Not only was he a pastor for many years and an author but he is also the founder and senior teacher of DesiringGod.org, which makes him all the more credible. So, if you have theological questions, maybe you should submit them -maybe he’ll even answer them on the podcast.
Open Book with Stephen Nichols
Open Book with Stephen Nichols is a Ligonier Ministries podcast. Stephen Nichols quickly discusses books read and studied by R.C. Sproul, founder of Ligonier, and John MacArthur, author and general editor of the MacArthur Study Bible and founder of Grace to You. In this podcast he discusses books that have shaped the way R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur think. Most segments are shorter than 10 minutes and if you are like me and love reading, it’s worth listening to, with a notebook at hand, to jot down books to buy, because we all know, you can never have enough books, much less theological books for our spiritual growth.
**As a disclaimer, any Amazon links are affiliate links, which means that if you order from the link, I get a small advertisement fee at no additional cost to you.**
Renewing Your Mind Minute with R.C. Sproul
Renewing Your Mind Minute is exactly one minute long, I kid you not. Every segment is one minute. The podcast involves Mr. Sproul, briefly introduced in my last podcast, who answers questions and provides quick insights into reformed theology. It goes through topics such as Legalism, Escaping the Wrath of God and so many others. One minute lessons from R.C. Sproul are great for obtaining quick and useful information about the Christian faith.
Simply Put is another Ligonier Ministries podcast, but rather than going through books or topics it provides definitions for theological terms we all may have heard and are learning about. It can help you increase and build your christian vocabulary. This podcast’s episodes are typically less than 5 minutes and provide insightful and simple explanations to words and terms we may have heard thrown around during sermons or at conferences -words such as theophany and imputation. Save this to your list of podcasts and check it out whenever you come across any theological term you may not understand. This podcasts’ episode list is pretty expansive and continues to grow.
I hope you enjoyed this list and have saved each and everyone of these to check out later. It is always a pleasure for me to share any tidbit of information I come across with other believers. I am by no means an expert, I am just a girl seeking to know Christ more and live like Him. If there are any other short podcasts out there, please feel free to let me know about them in the comments section below. I’d love to check them out.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Now that we are all hunkered down, for the most part due to COVID-19, we have more time to study, and for that same reason Ligonier has made their entire library of hundreds of teaching series free to stream!!
If there is something I consider to be a complete waste of time, energy and breath, it’s complaining, huffing and puffing at a fast-food chain because they are understaffed and not getting your order out as fast as you expected. I see this all the time. Obviously, these workers are running around trying to do at least two jobs at once and your huffing and puffing is of no use, it will not make then work faster than they are at the moment.
Don’t grow up to be that cranky old person, set in their ways who only care about themselves and what they want. Maybe it’s because I live in New York, and New Yorkers seem to be the rudest, most self-centered people on the planet (I exaggerate here) but you get the point. New Yorkers are known to be rude, they always want things their way and when they don’t get it, they huff and puff like the big bad wolf. Don’t be like typical New Yorkers, be considerate.
I was recently at a KFC waiting in line for my food, I brought up the understaffed scenario because that is exactly what was going on here. I was stuck in line in front of a man, who from the very beginning came in with a bossy and demanding attitude. He wanted to know if they had chicken tenders and he wanted his answer fast. To his surprise, he came into an understaffed KFC that had employees running everywhere and no one was getting to him as fast as he wanted, which led him to mutter under his breath complaints about how he just wanted a yes or no answer to a simple question. After getting his answer (yes, they have chicken tenders FYI) he stood in line behind me. All the while I waited patiently for my food, this man shifted back and forth and often complained that they only had 3 workers and the line was getting longer, obviously anyone with eyes can see that. He proceeded to complain about the service and even tried to engage in conversation with me as if I was going to agree with him.
There are a few things I have learned during my few adult years, here are a few of them.
Complaining Usually Does Not Result In Much
I mean seriously, has constantly complaining helped any? I know there is a saying, the squeaky wheel gets the oil, however, I don’t think that applies to complaints, they fall into a constantly inquiring category. You constantly ask for the status of something and eventually, the person being questioned resolves what you want, but complaining… That’s different. As much as I dislike my job at times (I have noticed I complain every chance I get and I shouldn’t) it doesn’t make the problem go away. Complaining about the pains of my job and difficulties I face on a daily basis, is not going to get my work magically done. It just doesn’t help resolve anything so why spend our precious time in it (I am really speaking to myself here, its something I struggle with, to be honest)
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing…”
Philippians 2:14 (ESV)
Be Nice To People, It Usually Has Good Results
Have you ever heard the saying “ you catch more bees with honey” well you do! Being nice to people has never resulted in a negative way for me. Sure, not everyone is nice, some people are just plain rude and nasty but that doesn’t mean you have to be also. I had a client who disliked me from the moment he met me, I have no idea why he was just always rude to me and constantly compared me to his prior paralegal. He always found a flaw in everything I did, to be honest, I hated when he called because I knew he was going to complain about something but I picked up the phone and kindly answered every question he had, I figured I’d kill him with kindness. Well, after a year of being kind to this man who was always rude, he started calling me nicknames, like “love” and “sweetheart” (in Spanish), I was taken aback the first time, but soon after getting used to it.
It was not something I would have expected from him, by the time his case settled and everything was done, he actually thanked me for all the help I provided him, this after he had a small fit, left my office only to come back half an hour later and apologize to me because “I have always been kind to him and I did not deserve for him to have acted that way”, he asked me for a hug before he left and walked out of my life forever. I think I will remember forever, my toughest client turns nice and acknowledges my kindness, see, being kind pays off. You also get people to help you out more if you are kind to them. I can’t tell you how many times I have been kind to someone who I haven’t even met in person, and they are also kind back. A little bit of kindness goes a long way.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV)
Admit When You Are Wrong
This is something I need to do more often than I would like to admit, especially at work. How many times have I made mistakes at my job? I have no idea. I know I wrote a blog post on this topic before, you can find the link here. I have grown so much from admitting I made a mistake, preferably, I would rather not make them in the first place but at least there is always a lesson. From every mistake I have made, I have learned what not to do and how to correctly handle a situation.
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
1 John 1:8 (ESV)
Own Up To Your Mistakes
Also aligned with the point above, owning up to my mistakes has grown me so much. I have learned many lessons and God has humbled me every time I had to admit I messed up.
“Repent, therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out”
Learn From Your Mistakes and Keep It Moving
I have met many people who are stuck in a rut, why? Because they do not want to admit they made a mistake, it takes humility to do that and humility is not a trait that comes easy. It is the complete opposite of pride, the sin that is the root of many other sins.
“for the righteous falls seven times and rises again,”
Proverbs 24:16 (ESV)
Adulting is by no means easy, I think most of us who have entered adulthood can admit, we can relate to a young bird who is pushed off the ledge by his mother so he can learn to fly except, we hit the side of the cliff 40 times before we achieve takeoff.
I hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to comment on any of your adulting lessons below.
If I had to write a letter to the teenage me, it would go a little something like this.
I know you are at a critical time in your life right now and think what is happening right now is the most important stuff that will ever happen, the most crucial, and important. But what if I told you that’s not true. What if I told you (yes, this is a pun, and at your age you probably wouldn’t get it because memes are not a thing yet but you will grow to love memes and also watch the Matrix…) that what happens in your teenage years is not so pivotal? One day you will look back and laugh, you will scold yourself for the time wasted and the emotions spent on nonsense. So here would be my advice to you.
Stop worrying about what other people think about you. In a few years you will no longer see these people and their opinion will be the last thing on your mind. Let go off all the things that make you anxious, trust me you will thank me (yourself later). With all the time you spend being angry, you can be doing other things. Your current friends will not really be your friends in a few years, in fact, you will all go your separate ways and you will really only message one of them sporadically via social media. Oh and on social media, at this point in your life it is not a big deal but boy will it take over, so be careful and mindful of the time you spend on social media (facebook and instagram) you won’t really see these until the late 2000’s and early 2010’s.
Try a few different genre books and listen to more 90’s R&B, that is some good stuff. Spend more time reading and less time arguing. Try and look at the world from another person’s perspective, do not be swayed by what the world tells you. I know at this point God is not very big in your life but I would ask that you think about eternal things more. Think about where you will go and how your actions will affect you and others. Now, I don’t want you to think that being “good” will get you into heaven but it’s just nice to be considerate and mindful of your actions and their consequences.
Talk to your parents more, do not hold grudges, understand that your parents came from a different place than you did, they had a different upbringing and that may explain why they do and act the way they do.
I know this sounds like a lot but if you slowly implement these suggestions soon they become second nature and can help you grow to be a smarter young woman and be more compassionate and kind.
When it comes time to register to vote, do not register democrat, turns out in college you will get an in depth lesson on political parties and their beliefs and yours will not lined up with democratic values, you’ll save me some paper and time filling out a form to change my political party.
You are going to turn out ok, even if you don’t follow these suggestions just remember, what others think now will not matter later so might as well stop caring about it now.
Today we are faced with mass reportings on whether or not the United States will go to war with Iran and we are so concerned with the current state of things. I see memes about drafts and memes about gender equality shifting back to women in the kitchen, not seeking equality anymore to prevent being drafted. We click, like, we laugh it off, but at the end of the day, we worry.
We worry because there are troops out there putting their lives on the line for America. There are terrorist making threats against the US. This is real and it is happening. We keep asking will there be a war? Will we be safe?
People even question why the US president would even consider killing a terrorist (this part makes no sense to me as the US has been at war with terrorism since the 9/11 attacks and even prior to that ) tensions may have risen in some aspects and now we are confused and worried, but if there is one thing that helps me put all of this madness into perspective is that at the end of the day God is in control.
It may seem very simplistic to think this way, but it is true. The earth may be dying (as many people are claiming) the US may be going to war with Iran (as many depict will happen in the near future) babies are being murdered by the millions (as we can statistically see, and yet many won’t admit this is murder) but through it all God is in control.
He is sovereign over all. He created this world and He can destroy it if He sees fit, however, He promised He would not destroy it in a flood, so He won’t, but He can destroy the earth in any other way He deems proper.
I know that sounds morbid but it should be reassuring for those called according to His purpose. Why? Because no matter what happens here on earth, God has called us and will keep us. He will bring us home. I don’t mean to belittle what is happening in the world right now, I just want to encourage you to take heart. Whatever happens will happen because God, in His sovereign will allowed it to happen.
Anything that will come to pass is not outside God’s power and since we belong to Him, the worst thing we can face is death and then what? We will be with Him in eternity. What greater prize is there?
So if you are worried about the state of things, remember God is in control. He rules over all kings, presidents, leaders, etc. He is King of all. He is the Lord of all creation, and we are His children, we need not worry for God is with us.
If you are unsure of being one of His children, check out this sermon “The Gift of God” by my pastor Peter Nicotra.