12May

More FREE Christian Books {From your favorite publishers!}

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Great free eBooks from great publishers and authors | Serving Joyfully

See my standing list of free Christian books from your favorite publishers. Most of these are still free.

Disclosure: I have not read all these books, but they come from reputable, Christian publishers. Also, many free promotions are limited time, so please double check prices before checking out. However, many of them have been free for months and I will try to keep this page updated as well as I can. This post does contain my affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase my family may receive a small portion at no additional cost to you.

Note: You do not have to own a kindle to get these free books! You can use the FREE kindle app from Amazon, or even read right in your browser. However, if you are in the market for a kindle, you can get one here.

Free Books!

Click each cover to go to that particular book and get it FREE for your kindle!

free book change of fortune free book no safe harbor free book the keeper free book to win her heart free book turn free book with every letter free book woman of fortune free out of the storm

free centurion's wife free dawn's prelude free land of my heart free summer of promise free welcome last chance free three little words amazon 99 made to last free parting

 

free castles in the air free stars in her eyes free romance rainbow's end free one more chance free messy church free submerged free one perfect spring

$.99 Christian Books

99 lock stock over a barrel 99 October Baby 99 Godly success 99 the Jesus habits 99 crazy stories sane God 99 letting go of perfect 99 heartstrings 99 Balancing it all 99 the silent gift 99 follow the heart 99 love finds you sunset beach 99 back home again

 

99c Always remembered 99c groom texas 99c lake geneva

 

Other Bargain Books ($1.99-$3.99)

These books vary in price, but most are $1.99.

bargain marriage of your dreams bargain colonial courtships bargain prarie promises series bargain bride's prerogative series bargain vote of confidence bargain betrayal bargain belonging bargain log cabin christmas bargain bride sews with love bargain bride's portrait bargain sagebrush knights bargain a lady like sarah bargain calico brides bargain bridal blessings bargain south carolina brides bargain Christmas mail order brides bargain willow creek brides bargain prairie Christmas

11May

A God Who Comforts {Lessons from our puppy emergency}

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Serving Joyfully.

puppy

If you follow me on facebook, you may have seen this, but last Sunday night as my boys and I were returning home from evening church services, I hit our puppy with my van. She is a lab mix, and was about 10 weeks old at the time. Very small. We’ve only had her for about a month and a half, but already our family loves her and my boys especially are very attached to her.

I didn’t actually run over the puppy, but must have hit her somehow with a part of the van and I didn’t realize right away what had happened. It was my boys who found her once they tried calling her and she didn’t come.

They thought she was dead. I thought we’d lose her. It was a very bad night. My 7 year old said the next day that it was the worst night of his life, and my husband and I agreed it was way up there for us as well.

Her breathing was labored and rattling. I thought there was no chance for that puppy, but we desperately prayed, called a vet who could see her right away and my hubby drove her there.

My boys were sobbing and devastated. My 5 year old just kept saying, “I want her back! I want her back!”

It was heart-wrenching to me as a mother to see my children in such pain. Because at that point things were very uncertain and I truly had no reassurances to give them regarding the puppy coming back home.

I can now say that our puppy has made a miraculous recovery and is almost back to normal!!! Praise the Lord!

We are all so grateful that the Lord saw fit to spare her life and bring her back to us.

The biggest miracle for me as a mother, though, happened that night when things were still very uncertain.

As I said above, my boys found her. She was bleeding from her nose, couldn’t get up, and her breathing was rattling. At some point, she opened her eyes and a blood vessel had burst so that both eyes looked red.

My 7 year old, who has high-functioning autism, was very shaken. As we went to bed that night–our whole family squished together on our full/queen sized bed-he lay there and he just couldn’t get those images out of his mind. He kept saying that he couldn’t get those bad things out of his head. That every time he closed his eyes to try and sleep, he saw Rosie with her red eyes and labored breathing and thought about her dying.

I knew how much the same sight was haunting me and it broke my heart that I couldn’t do anything for him.

As mothers, we want to be able to “fix” everything for our children, but this was something that I just couldn’t fix. 

So, I did the only thing I could. I prayed.

I grabbed my husband’s hand and we began to pray for the Lord to comfort him, give him peace, and quiet his mind.

Within 10 seconds of beginning that prayer, my son was sound asleep. 

I’m tearing up now just thinking about it a week later.

It was a reminder to me.

I can’t fix everything, but I can point them to the One who can.

There are things that I cannot do for my children. But I can always point them to Jesus and I can teach them that He can give them peace that passes understanding.

It was such a beautiful thing for me to see the Lord care for my child in such a tender way right before my eyes. There are so many things that we don’t get to see, but this I saw.

And I know, without a shadow of a doubt that the Lord comforted him and allowed him to fall asleep. Because I know my child and there is literally know other way that would have happened.

Mamas, I know it’s hard to imagine, but God loves our babies even more than we do. And He will care for them. 

The Lord Comforts

I’m so glad that our puppy is recovering (nearly completely recovered!) But still the best thing for me was the reminder of God’s presence and His comfort.

We don’t always get the happy ending that we want. Some situations won’t have that. Some situations won’t go the way we want, and some will end in tragedy.

But the Lord is always there. He will strengthen us. He will comfort us. He will give us peace.

His grace is sufficient.

How has the Lord comforted you in a tough situation?

30Apr

Why We Homeschool Year-Round

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Serving Joyfully.

Homeschool Year Round

When I was in the 7th grade, I was on the academic team (yes, I was one of those). During one particular tournament I was on the long response team writing a persuasive essay. We didn’t get the question until test time, but I remember being thrilled with the topic–year round schooling. We had to argue for or against it. Easy peasy, I thought. I had heard about this year-round schooling thing and I was completely against it. Who were these crazy people trying to take away the summer break of kids everywhere?

But then I started writing. And as much as I wanted to be against this idea of year-round schooling overall, every single specific argument that popped into my head was betraying me.

In the end, I placed with my essay… in favor of year-round schooling.

Outdated traditions

When “summer break” first began in schools, it was not for Florida vacations and little league. There were many reasons for the break, from health concerns because of the run-down buildings, to the agrarian society that needed children home in the summer.

Those reasons no longer apply.

I recently read a post from a fellow homeschool mom and she talked about the reason she does not homeschool year round. Her biggest reason was this, “Our children deserve a break.”

I had to chuckle a bit, because that’s one of the main reasons I do homeschool year round!

Our kids need a break

Our kids need a break from school. I agree with that! Granted, we do school a bit differently, but I still agree with this. Which is why I think 9 months is too long to go without a break!

Year-round homeschooling allows us to get the most out of our breaks.

  • Our breaks are intentional. They aren’t tied to a school calendar that says we should go to school for 9 months at a time and then get a 3 month break. We can take our breaks as we need them and when we need them, and because of this our breaks can also be more flexible.
  • We enjoy school. Because we have breaks throughout the year, we don’t get tired of school. The days don’t become a drudgery for me or my boys. I am not fighting with them come May because they are so tired of school. Breaks throughout the year allow us all to stay excited and ready for school.
  • We enjoy our breaks. As I kid, I remember getting bored by the end of the summer. When everyday is a break, it’s less fun. We look forward to the weekend each week because of the work on the 5 days in between. If everyday was a weekend, it would lose it’s luster a bit. Frequent breaks throughout the year allow us to enjoy those breaks more.

You can see how I go about planning our year here.

Regression

Kids need to be thinking and learning often. Three months without instruction leads to regression. Studies show that standardized tests in September are always lower than when kids end the year in May.

With a special needs child, this is even more important. Three months with no instruction, structure, or routine would not be good for him.

Homeschooling

The key word here is, “homeschooling.” If my boys were in public school, I may feel differently. But since we are homeschooling, we have the privilege of tailoring our homeschool and calendar to what works best for our family. And for us, year round schooling works the best.

Well Planned Day Planner

This is one of the many reasons that I LOVE the well-planned day planner! It provides planning for a full year and not just a typical school year. Get your planner here.

28Apr

A Peaceful Home Conclusion: Live on Purpose

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a peaceful home intentional living

This might sound a bit trite or simplistic, but in working on this series, one concept kept coming back to me. There is one thing that ties it all together. One secret that can make your home a more peaceful place…be intentional. 

That’s the one thing all of my other posts have in common, and it’s the most important thing for us to master in our lives and homes.

A friend recently lamented that “intentional” has become a buzzword that has lost all meaning. But I want you to forget about the buzz. This is not some trendy catch phrase, it’s powerful.

We live in a fallen, sinful world and a peaceful home doesn’t happen by accident. We don’t just drift toward a loving peaceful home, or toward God’s ways. We need to be intentional about it.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Mark 14:38)

Jesus told his disciples to watch and pray so that they would not fall into temptation. I believe the same concept applies to our lives today. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. We may long for a peaceful home, but unless we watch and pray (and put it into practice!), it won’t happen.

Be Intentional

Intentional: done with intention or on purpose; intended:

We need to live on purpose. You might have noticed this theme running through all the other posts this week. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

The enemy wants to steal so much from us–including our peace, joy, families, and homes. The really sad thing is that in our over-busy lives, we make it easy for him. We get distracted and we stop living on purpose and start drifting along instead.

How do we live intentional lives?

We live on purpose. We make conscious decisions about our actions, our spending, and our time. So much of the tension and guilt in our lives comes from floating along and not being intentional about living our values.

For more specific suggestions, look back over the other posts in the Peaceful Home series. Each posts contains ways that you can move toward a more peaceful home by being intentional in your emotions, marriage, motherhood, finances, cleaning, time, meals, and tasks.

Additional Articles & Resources

  1. FREE Household Planner–This is one of the best household planners I have seen, and it is completely free. It includes a version with tasks and chores already listed out for you. There are some upgrades available for pay, but scroll down to the bottom and enter your email address to get the free version of the planner. It is very detailed.
  2. 31 Days of Intentional living (series landing page–lots of great stuff here!)
  3. Intentional Living Checklists (must subscribe to her blog to access)
  4. 10 Amish Values to Add to Your Life
  5. Filling the Time Jar

The Giveaway

jewelry giveaway

A few months ago, I discovered P3 Personalized Jewelry and I love it! Melissa has some beautiful jewelry, with a a great selection of sayings, quotes, and verses available. These are high-quality pieces, and I’m excited to be able to bless one of you with a $25 gift certificate. Visit her at etsy or facebook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a part of the “Peaceful Home” series. Visit the landing page to follow along with all the related posts. 

A Peaceful Home

 Photo Credit

27Apr

A Peaceful Home Part 8: Revolutionize Your To-Do List

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Serving Joyfully.

A Peaceful Home to-do list

Yesterday, we talked about the big things in our schedules, and today we’re going to talk about the nitty gritty of our daily tasks and to-do lists. No matter how much we simplify our schedules, there are some things that just need to be done. The way we approach these tasks can help or hinder us when it comes to the overall tone of our homes.

A few years ago, I began something that revolutionized my life. It’s very simple, but it was absolutely a game-changer for me…Pray over your to-do list. 

During my quiet time in the morning, I write out my to-do list for the day. It can be as general or detailed as you like. I am a list maker, so mine might be more detailed than yours. Then I pray over each and every item on the list. 

Prioritize

Nothing ruins your peace (and that of your home) like having a to-do list 20 items long, especially when you cannot reasonably get it all done. Don’t set yourself up for failure. 

If you have too many tasks and chores on your to-do list, you may feel stressed, overwhelmed, and overburdened. This does not make for a peaceful home! The solution? Prioritize your to-do list.

After praying over my to-do list, I make a “top 3″ list. Those are the things that must get done each day. This helps me not feel so overwhelmed, because that list of 3 items is doable. It also helps me to be intentional about which items are completed.

Work before play

This one is tricky because there are some people who should probably lighten up a bit and play more. However, for many of us this is a good way to be more productive, engaged with your day, and to waste less time. Don’t do the fun things, until you earn them. 

How many times have you wasted hours on facebook, pinterest, etc. while your housework wasn’t being done (or maybe it’s just me!) Don’t let that be an option–finish the work first, and you can better enjoy the fun.

Be aware of your personal time wasters and make it a point to avoid them, at least until your work is finished and you’ve earned it.

Action Steps

  • Start your day with something productive. Every morning, I start the day by making my bed. It makes such a difference in the overall “neat” feeling of the bedroom, and it starts my day out, first thing, on a productive note. It also prepares me for resting and relaxing at the end of the day. Maybe you don’t care about a made bed, but start your day with something productive. It sets the tone for the day.
  • Dress for success. Research has shown that people are more productive when they are dressed for it. That’s not to say you should be dressed to the nines everyday, but take a shower and change out of the jammies and yoga pants most days.
  • Finish a task before moving on. Multi-tasking is a myth. In most cases, it doesn’t work effectively. Yes, in some cases it works and is necessary, but there are days when I have “multi-tasked” all day long and ended up with most of my chores being partially finished, and nothing completely done.
  • Make it a family-affair. Just like with meal prep, daily chores are best shared. Everyone in the family can and should help out in some way. There are many age-appropriate chores for little ones.
  • Give yourself a break. We could never be completely caught up on everything involved with housekeeping and homemaking. It just isn’t possible. There is always something that needs to be done. But we have to also make time to enjoy the lives we’re building. For us, that’s usually in the evening beginning with supper time. We relax. We don’t stress about what needs done. Those things can wait until tomorrow.

Give your all to each day. So many nights, I have lain in bed, stressed and feeling guilty about the things I didn’t get done that day, or the time wasted. I have found that when I have truly given my all to the day and worked diligently, then it’s much easier to take that time to rest and relax without feeling guilty.

Additional Articles & Resources

  1. FREE Household Planner–This is one of the best household planners I have seen, and it is completely free. It includes a version with tasks and chores already listed out for you. There are some upgrades available for pay, but scroll down to the bottom and enter your email address to get the free version of the planner. It is very detailed.
  2. Tell Your Time (book)
  3. Filling the Time Jar

This is a part of the “Peaceful Home” series. Visit the landing page to follow along with all the related posts. 

A Peaceful Home

 Photo Credit

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