What Women Want (a memoir giveaway)

By Emily T. Wierenga

 

Courtney Joseph

I was drinking twelve cups of coffee a day, addicted to sleeping pills, and only eating supper.

We were newlyweds; we’d been married under the trellis in my parents’ yard, my Dad, a reverend, officiating the ceremony and the flowers in my bouquet as fake as the smile on my face. I was terrified.

I didn’t want kids, I didn’t know how to make a home—my mother made homes, I lived in them. So my farm boy and I went on a three-week honeymoon to the Maritimes, to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia and PEI, and flew home to basement suite where I put holes in the walls.

I put holes in the walls because I was so hungry. I didn’t do love well. I didn’t let anyone close, because my childhood was spent moving, from one place to the next, and we always had to look the part—the perfect preacher’s family part—and I turned anorexic at nine years old. Because starving myself was easier than feeling lonely.

And here was this man, sleeping in my bed, and I didn’t know how to let him in.

And one day he came home from work to find me crying because I hadn’t eaten all day and couldn’t get the living room to look just right. We had purple couches from the thrift store and a borrowed coffee table and we lived in a basement suite. Trent took my face in his and said, “I’ll make supper. You rest.”

I nodded. “Thank you,” grabbed a bag of marshmallows, and disappeared into the office to do some painting.

After a while Trent called, “Suppertime!”

He’d made hamburgers and what he calls “fancy salad,” the kind where he grates carrots and chops onions even though they make him cry.

And I came out of that room with an empty marshmallow bag and white lips. I sat down at the dinner he’d made and said, “I’m sorry babes—I’m not really hungry.”

It was a silent meal with the sound of Trent’s fork and knife on his plate and this anorexic woman with the white lips.

I’d only meant to have one or two marshmallows but they’d filled a hole in me. And then they were gone.

And I wondered why he wasn’t, too.

How many of us settle for marshmallows when we’re actually craving food that will last?

How many of us, sisters, sit down with a pint of ice cream after a stressful day, or binge on Oreos after the kids go to bed? How many of us try diet after diet but end up filling on junk because we’re just so hungry?

I think of Jesus at the well, with the Samaritan woman. How he asked her for water—but then offered her Living Water in return. He offers us Living Bread—his body.

Because this is what we’re hungry for, isn’t it friends? A love so deep and long and wide and high it fills every crevice of our souls; a kind of love that would die for us, a kind that sings over us, a kind that walks through fire with us?

We are born longing for the kind of affection only a divine being can offer. We are born aching for the kind of fullness which comes from an everlasting love.

But it’s not a bag of marshmallows. It’s not fast fame or fleeting praise or accolades.

No, it’s a slow cooked meal and we need to wait, to be patient, as this is the kind of love prepared by a gentle pair of hands which feeds your soul.

Trent still makes me fancy salads. He still makes burgers and corn on the cob and I no longer eat marshmallows. Because I’ve tasted real food and there’s no turning back.

There’s no turning back from love.

268386_Wierenga_WB

My memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look
, is releasing this month, and I am excited to give away THREE copies today!

From the back cover:

“Disillusioned and yearning for freedom, Emily Wierenga left home at age eighteen with no intention of ever returning. Broken down by organized religion, a childhood battle with anorexia, and her parents’ rigidity, she set out to find God somewhere else–anywhere else. Her travels took her across Canada, Central America, the United States, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. She had no idea that her faith was waiting for her the whole time–in the place she least expected it.

“Poignant and passionate, Atlas Girl is a very personal story of a universal yearning for home and the assurance that we are known, forgiven, and beloved. Readers will find in this memoir a true description of living faith as a two-way pursuit in a world fraught with distraction. Anyone who wrestles with the brokenness we find in the world will love this emotional journey into the arms of the God who heals all wounds.”

271654_Wierenga_emailsig

Click HERE for a free excerpt.

271486_Wierenga_WB

I’m also giving away a FREE e-book to anyone who orders Atlas Girl. Just orderAtlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look
HERE, and send a receipt to: atlasgirlbookreceipt@gmail.com, and you’ll receive A House That God Built: 7 Essentials to Writing Inspirational Memoir an absolutely FREE e-book co-authored by myself and editor/memoir teacher Mick Silva.

Atlas Girl_700x175_2

ALL proceeds from Atlas Girl will go towards my non-profit, The Lulu Tree. The Lulu Tree is dedicated to preventing tomorrow’s orphans by equipping today’s mothers. It is a grassroots organization bringing healing and hope to women and children in the slums of Uganda through the arts, community, and the gospel.
64519_10153705975080099_2037134714_n
Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, blogger, commissioned artist and columnist, as well as the author of five books including the memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look (Baker Books). She lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two sons. For more info, please visit www.emilywierenga.com. Find her on Twitter or Facebook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

**I attempt to read cover to cover all books that are mentioned at WLW. I apologize that I was not able to finish reading this book before it was time to post this post therefore, this guest post is not an endorsement of the book – but I do love Emily’s writing and heart.

Books I’m Reading & A Giveaway: 5 Copies of You Are Loved!

Publishers send me a lot of books to review and I simply can’t read them all and review them –  BUT there are three honorable mentions, I must share with you! I really respect Crossway Publishing for putting out doctrinally sound books. These three books are solid, Biblically edifying books for women (and easy to slip into your purse to read on the go).

3 books

1.  Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full by Gloria Furman

2. True Beauty by Carolyn Mahaney & Nicole Whitacre

3.  Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals For the Family by Jessica Thompson

I also have a dear friend, Tricia Goyer, who has published over 35 books – {gasp – unbelievable right?)!  And so I must mention a few of her brand new books released this year as well:

Tricia Goyer's books

2 of these are fiction books and to be honest, I rarely read fiction unless I am reading out loud to the kids – but I love Tricia Goyer – so here are her recent releases: An Amish Garden, The Kissing Bridge and Plain Faith.

And finally, my real life friends – Angela Perritt and Sally Clarkson have teamed up to write a beautiful Bible Study!

Courtney Sally Ang

you-are-loved-spine

Angela writes:

You are loved…

Because some days I need to be reminded of that truth and I have a feeling you do too. I believe we all have a longing deep inside our hearts to be loved and cherished completely for who we are…unconditionally.

Sally and I wrote You Are Loved with you, dear friend, in mind because we firmly believe that once you embrace God’s unchanging love for you and let that truth soak deep down into the core of your soul, you will never be the same. God’s love for you will change you from the inside out. Once you embrace His unconditional love, you will be able to live more freely, more securely and more passionately in life.

Angela has offered to giveaway 5 copies of her new book!  Hooray – thank you Angela!

Enter to win below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Walk with the King,

Courtney

Valentine’s Video & Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl Giveaway!

Valentine's Day Special 5 Marriage Bloggers

I’m interrupting our regular schedule for the Book Club – for this Special Valentine’s Day Video and Giveaway!

This video was done by 5 of the ‘Top Christian Marriage Bloggers’ including:
Sheila from ToLoveHonorandVacuum.com,
Fawn from HappyWivesClub.com,
Ruth from TheBetterMom.com, and
Jennifer from UnveiledWife.com

So sit back and relax and enjoy this 10 minute video:

(if you cannot see the video - click here)

We all pin to a Pinterest Board together at “Inspiring Christian Wives” if you’d like to follow us there!

Next up – Singles (or mother’s and friends of singles) this giveaway is for you!!!!

cover_Confessions_of_a_Boy_Crazy_Girl

Paul Hendricks writes:

Remember what it was like?

As Valentine’s Day approached you wondered if a secret admirer would finally emerge from hiding. But other than a lonely carnation and chocolates from your mom (no offense mom!), you came up empty . . . again.

This Valentine’s Day, do you know a girl who aches to be in a relationship?

If so, I have just the gift for her. Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl shares my personal journey from neediness to freedom.

Thanks for sharing this gift with the girls in your life,

paula

Paula

Paula blogs for teen girls and women by day (onLiesYoungWomenBelieve.com and TrueWoman.com) and journals her adventures by night. Her first book, Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, released September 2013.

She has worked at Revive Our Hearts for nearly nine years, where she currently serve as Writing and Editorial Manager. Here are a few more God-stories of how I got where I am today.
I finished reading Paula’s book tonight and it was such a sweet, transparent, Christ-centered book.  Paula writes openly about her 28 years of ups and downs with guys and relationships.  Her heartaches pulled at my heart-strings and reminded me of those hard days of dating, waiting, and dreaming.  Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl is not a band-aid for your soul but a true healing balm as she points to true satisfaction found only in walking with the King.

 Paula is giving away FIVE Signed Copies to WLW readers {hooray!}!  Enter to win a copy for yourself, your daughter or a friend!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Chime In:

Are you single?  I rarely hear from my single readers – but I just heard from one today via email and was so blessed to hear her heart!  I’m glad you are here. And just a side note, I read marriage and parenting books  back when I was a teen – long before I was a wife or mother. ;)

Are you married – these questions go with the video above:
What is one thing you love about marriage?
What has been your favorite date experience with your husband?
What is one piece of advice you would share with other wives?

Walk with the King,

Courtney

The Women Living Well Book Club begins January 13th!

WLW Book Club 2

 

Happy New Year!!!!

The Women Living Well Book Club is about to begin.  But before we start you may have a few questions – here’s my answers:

When does this begin?

We begin on Monday, January 13th.

What’s the schedule?

WLW Book Club Reading Schedule 4

What do I need to participate?

To be honest, you don’t need a thing – not even the book. lol!  If you do not have the means to purchase the book – you can still follow along and be encouraged in your walk with God, marriage, parenting and homemaking. So please don’t let that stop you from joining us!

Do I need to sign-up?

No, but I’d love it if you’d leave a comment on this post if you are joining us.

Will there be a blogger link-up?

If you are a blogger and you are joining the book club and would like to blog about it weekly, there will be a link-up available on Wednesdays starting next Wednesday, January 8th.

Do I need the Companion Study Guide?

I will not be going line by line through the Companion Study Guide but if you would like some extra reflection on your own, then click here to download the guide.

How do I subscribe to your blog so I don’t miss any of your posts?

 

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 


Not sure what the book Women Living Well is all about?  Here’s the book trailer:

(if you can’t see the video – click here to view it)

Where do I buy the book?

Women Living Well is available in most major book stores including Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and Lifeway.  If you don’t have a bookstore nearby you can order a paperback copy or download the Kindle version at Amazon.com.  It is also available on Nook at Barnes & Noble.com

Any other questions?  Ask them in the comment section.

Are you in?

Let’s have a GREAT 2014 together as we seek to honor God and find joy in our walk with Him, our marriages, our parenting and our homemaking.

And…

Check out the new Forum section of Women Living Well where we will have discussions based on the week’s readings!

WLW Forum a place to connect

Walk with the King,

Courtney

 

 

Balancing It All by Candace Cameron Bure

Balancing It All Package

This package came in the mail last week – a copy of Candace Cameron Bure’s (formerly known as DJ on Full House) newest book about to be released on January 1,2014!

I opened the package, devoured the book and am ready to tell you all about it.

First – this is what Amazon.com says about the book:

How do you do it all?”

That’s the question that wife, mom, actress, and best-selling author Candace Cameron Bure is often asked. And it’s a question that women everywhere are asking themselves as we seek to balance all of our roles, responsibilities, and opportunities.

So, how do we do it? Working since the age of 5, Candace has been in a balancing act for nearly her entire life. She is the first to tell you that there is no miracle formula for perfect execution in every area of your life, but there definitely are some lessons to be learned, lessons that come to life in Candace’s story.

Come along and dig into Candace’s story from her start in commercials, the balance-necessitating years on Full House, to adding on the roles of wife and mom while also returning to Hollywood. Insightful, funny, and poignant, Candace’s story will help you balance it all.

And here are my thoughts.

As I began the book – Candace’s credibility factor soared.  This girl began juggling a full-time job at the age of 11 while also doing school.  Her television career not only taught her how to balance it all – but she also tells the story of her parents as they tried to balance it all.  This was no small task for a family with two children on hit television shows (her brother is Kirk Cameron) and two other children at home.

Balancing It All is really a biography of Candace’s life as seasons change from her childhood, to marriage, to becoming a stay-at-home mom for 10 years and then returning to work  and juggling her career, ministry, family life and walk with God.

Candace tells the story of growing up in a non-Christian home, how she became saved, how she strayed from God and made some choices that did not line up with her faith, how she was brought back to the Lord, how she struggled in marriage and setting aside her dream to continue acting to be a stay-at-home mom, and her re-entry to the acting the world as a working mom.

Candace is frank about the importance of Biblical principles in her life.  Every chapter begins with a verse and her faith is woven through out her story.  She shares her convictions through her life story and makes it clear that this is just one woman’s journey and not a formula for everyone’s lives.  Candace talks about learning to submit to her husband’s leadership, the importance of prayer in her marriage and the importance of frequent sex.  She is also very open about her schooling choices, discipline techniques and boundaries with her children and social media.

You may not agree with every thought that Candace pens in her book but no doubt you will see her humility and how she loves God deeply, and desires to encourage other women with her faith story, as she seeks to honor God in all she does from family to career.

If you are looking for an inspiring read to start out 2014 – then here it is!  And seriously – is the cover not so cute?

BalancingItAll_Cover

You can purchase her book in paperback on Amazon here or on kindle here.

Walk with the King,

Courtney

 

Dreaming of a Sweet and Simple Christmas

10 tips for a stress-less holiday

Tracie Miles-6548-EditI am SO excited to introduce you to our guest writer today –  Tracie Miles from Proverbs 31 Ministries!
She is the author of Stressed-Less Living: Finding God’s Peace in a Chaotic World .

SLL Book Cover

 

Tracie writes:

Do the holidays stress you out? Join the club!

As moms and wives, it seems we take the brunt of the holiday pressure. Trying to make sure that everyone is happy, fed, and festive, in addition to the house being a holiday haven and making sure all the gifts perfectly selected, purchased and wrapped, can make even the most organized, calm and collected woman turn as nutty as a fruitcake.

Every year we all jump onto the holiday highway and speed up to ninety miles an hour until we turn the calendar over to a new year, while inadvertently letting our overall health slide along the way. Unfortunately, living in the fast lane of stress even for just a couple months, not only affects our emotional health, but it can affect our spiritual and physical health as well.  If we want to avoid letting the chaos of the season zap our energy and our holiday joy, we can intentionally choose Christmas peace over Christmas chaos.

Despite living in a culture focused more on the retail aspect of the holidays than the spiritual aspect of the birth of Jesus, we can choose to keep things sweet and simple by remembering to set our hearts right with Christ and intentionally planning to minimize our stress. Out of all the decisions we will face this season, this is one of the most important, and is a gift we can not only give to ourselves, but to our families and loved ones as well.

If your heart is dreaming of a sweet and simple Christmas this year, below are 10 tips to help you plan for a stressed-less and joy-full holiday.

Stand up for Christ.  Say Merry Christmas without worrying about offending someone. Standing up for our faith creates pride in our Savior, while being hesitant to acknowledge Him in an attempt to be ‘politically correct’ can sometimes cause pangs of guilt.

Touch your loved ones…. with a hug, a phone call, a personalized Christmas card, or a plate of cookies. Christmas is about the giving of ourselves more than the giving of gifts. And the gift of touch is priceless.

Release yourself from feeling obligated to be a holiday super woman. Over committing not only leads to burnout, but keeps us too distracted on the things, and people, that really matter.

Evaluate traditions. All too often we continue with traditions year after year, which may add additional stress to our holidays while not adding value to the season.  Consider changing or ceasing certain traditions that don’t seem to hold great value anymore to you or loved ones.

Settle grudges. Unforgiveness and bitterness can cause a great deal of inner turmoil and stress, especially among families. Pray about anyone you may have been holding a grudge against and ask God for the ability to forgive them. What better time of year for restoration of relationships than Christmas?

Simmer a delicious, aromatic hot beverage on the stove, such as hot apple cider, Russian tea, or hot chocolate. Seasonal fragrances can be like a soothing balm for a stressed out soul.

Laugh. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the chaos of Christmas, and forget the pleasure and enjoyment of a hearty laughter. Make time to watch some funny holiday movies, like Elf, Christmas With The Kranks, The Grinch, or one of your favorite oldies that simply make you smile.

Establish lists. A major stressor of the holidays is a lack of organization. Make a list of gifts to buy, social plans, baking to be done,  ingredients needed, etc., and then put them in order of priority. This allows you to tackle your to-do’s one at a time, without feeling overwhelmed.

Save money when possible and avoid shopping malls.  Rather than purchasing gifts based on convenience or feeling obligated to buy expensive trendy items, conduct on-line searches for the best prices, and look for one of a kind specialties instead of trendy items. Try to  focus more on the thoughts behind gifts, rather than the money in the gifts.  This not only prevents anxiety from holiday crowds, but also prevents the stress that comes with over spending.

Settle down for a long winter’s nap. Even Santa needs a break every now and then. Make time to relax this holiday season doing activities that relax your heart, soul, body and mind. Remember that even when holiday craziness is in full swing, Jesus offers calm in the midst of the chaos.  And when our hearts are at peace, our holidays can be too.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Tracie has two special holiday offers going on right now that I want to tell you about.

Tracie will be hosting two live conference calls in a Managing Holiday Stress Conference Call Series through Proverbs 31 Ministries (Nov 25 and Dec 10).   Click here to get all the information about how you can chat with Tracie and be proactive in avoiding the annual holiday stress trap this year!  She is also hosting several live Facebook parties with lots of fun giveaways, including sets of her conference calls, so click here to join the fun!

Tracie’s book Stressed-Less Living: Finding God’s Peace In Your Chaotic World would make a great Christmas gift for a loved one who may be looking for an answer to their chronic stress.   Each copy purchased through Proverbs 31 by December 20th will be personally autographed by Tracie. Click here to order.

Visit Tracie on her blog here>> http://www.traciemiles.com or on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest.

*FREE* Companion Study Guide to Women Living Well

Women Living Well, the book, is now available in most bookstores
and on-line at Amazon.com
3D wlwbook cover

 

 

 

Companion Study Guide

If you are subscribed to Women Living Well via email

then you should find at the bottom of every email a link to my FREE Proverbs 31 ebook.

***

I have recently added a second link for subscribers,

to my Companion Study Guide for the book titled

Women Living Well: Finding Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids and Your Home.

***

You can either get the Guide via subsription

OR  just click >> here now <<

and it will open and you can print or save it to your device.

***

This guide goes chapter by chapter through the entire book

and includes Bible verses and application questions.

***

You can use this for individual study, a group study or book club.

I hope you will enjoy this free resource!

Walk with the King,

Courtney

 

 

The Day I Met My Hero

 

The day I met my hero

In 1994, Elisabeth Elliot came to my college, the Moody Bible Institute, to speak at a conference AND to our dorm floor for a visit!  Elisabeth is someone I highly admire.  This is a blurry picture from the day I met her.  I’m on the left and on the right is my roommate – Jen – who is a contributor over at GoodMorningGirls.org :)!  And sweet Elisabeth Elliot is in the center!

elizabeth elliot 1

 

Before meeting her, I had read her book Passion and Purity and I had read her book Through Gates of Splendor, which was her biography of taking the gospel to the Auca Indians in Ecuador. Her husband was murdered by the indians but later she would return to her husband’s murderers to live amongst them and disciple them.  She was a missionary hero to me and one of the main reasons that I went to Bible School with a dream to be a missionary.

And there before me stood this aged woman whose words in her books had pierced my soul and shaped my life.  The girls in my dorm all sat and listened as she spoke for about 20 minutes.  I don’t remember every word from that night – but I do have some of it journaled. Specifically she talked about living the crucified life and how hard the life of a woman in ministry really is.

She quoted John 12:24-26 and since that day I have memorized and carried these verses tucked deep inside of me:

“Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

That my friends, is how Jesus defines the life we ought to lead.

We live well by dying well.

And I wanted to understand this dying to self that she so passionately spoke of, so I kept reading her books.  Some of her books I have read more than once.  All have been favorites during different seasons of life.

eliz elliot 2

My book that releases this October has the thoughts of Elisabeth Elliot woven through my thoughts from beginning to end.  How do we find joy in our walk with God, marriage, parenting and homemaking?  The answer is the exact opposite of what the world would say – it comes through learning denial of self.

In her book titled “The Shaping of a Christian Family” – which is a biography of her  childhood,  Elisabeth writes:

“There is no nobler career than that of motherhood at its best.  There are no possibilities greater, and in no other sphere does failure bring more serious penalties.  With what diligence then should she prepare herself for such a task?  If the mechanic who is to work with “things” must study at technical school, if the doctor into whose skilled hands will be entrusted human lives, must go through medical school…how much more should the mother who is fashioning the souls of the men and women of tomorrow, learn at the the highest of all schools and from the Master-Sculptor Himself, God.  To attempt this task, unprepared and untrained is tragic and its results affect generations to come.  On the other hand there is no higher height to which humanity can attain than that occupied by a converted, heaven-inspired, praying mother.”

“The process of shaping the child, shapes also the mother herself.  Reverence for her sacred burden calls her to all that is pure and good, that she may teach primarily by her own humble, daily example.”

“All mothers are a quiet servant of necessity, doing the work no one would notice or thank her for – no one, that is, except Him to whom it could be offered as a daily sacrifice of love. “

Sweet mamas – the work you do is SO valuable in God’s eyes.  Continue in your unseen duties and know that God sees you and is pleased with your daily sacrifice of love.  Keep.on.going!

Walk with the King!

Courtney

Chime In: Do you have a hero? Who is it?  Have you read anything by Elisabeth Elliot? What is your favorite book by her?

**This post is a part of the Top 10 Quotes on Marriage and Motherhood Series.  Each Monday I am featuring books that were used as a resources for my book that is about to be released October 1st!  I want to invite all my blogging friends to join this series by sharing your favorite books and quotes on marriage and motherhood in your blogs and then link it up here so we can read your favorites too!  Just put this little graphic in your post and then link up below!

Top 10 Marriage and Motherhood Quotes