Small Things (I Can Do That)

michelehowe:

Small things? No problem. Let’s get going!!!

Originally posted on Burden Lifters: Every Woman's Daily Guide to a Healthy, Happy Life:

smallthings

I think we’d all agree that listening to the nightly news or reading the daily paper is a pretty dismal experience these days…one that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.

If you’re like me, you feel overwhelmed at times by the sheer evil that exists in our world.

Which is why I’ve been spending a bit of time each morning reading How to Overcome Evil by Jay Adams.

This diminutive little book packs a power punch of truth within its pages. So much so, that Adams’ message sticks with me all through the day.

How does one overcome evil?

With good.

And sometimes, that good is simply…

a hug
a smile
a kind word
a listening ear
an honest compliment

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Empty Nest, What’s Next? — An Excerpt

emptynestcoverphotoYou asked for it…and here it is…an excerpt from Empty Nest, What’s Next?

Riding the Emotional Roller Coaster From Full House to Empty Nest

“You have set my feet in a spacious place.” Psalm 31: 8

“We need to fight coolness with every fiber of our being. I want to stop admiring the cool, the detached people. I want to hug the messy, conflicted, honest, passionate people who are living their lives with enthusiasm.” Debbie Macomber

I’m convinced that one of the most telling ways to figure out what’s going on in your life is to take a good look at your meal planning routine. It took me quite a while to get it through my brain that I didn’t really need as much food on our dinner table each evening after our kids moved out. At first, it felt strange paring back or halving every recipe. Unnatural even.

Finally, I got used to the fact that our children weren’t dropping in to eat, staying for supper, or surprising us with a bunch of unexpected hungry friends. Even this small adjustment made my heart sting at times. Like lots of women, I love to cook and feed those I care about. The kitchen, be it large or small, is the natural gathering place in most homes. I sincerely believe it’s the fragrant smells, the sight of something delicious simmering on the stove, and the small talk that goes on while the meal is being prepared that just draws folks to this center place and keeps them there long after the meal has been consumed.

So when the happy and full kitchen becomes rather quiet and lonely…emotions can take similar directions. While I am not complaining about having to cook less (in amounts or frequency)…I now understand how these days being more subdued, slower-paced, and definitely quieter, can trigger some emotional sadness. During those hours of the day that used to be frantically filled with food preps, laundry, playing chauffeur, teacher, doctor, counselor and more…I find the quietness of moment somewhat unsettling. Or I did.

After listening to myself talk to myself about feeling low and out of sorts one silent afternoon…I started listening in earnest to a speaker sharing about living in the moment. We’ve all heard these pick-me-up talks where the person who’s speaking gets pretty convincing about the wisdom of living in the now for several important reasons. One; it’s all we’ve got. Two; we miss so much good when we’re pining away for our yesterdays (or tomorrows). Three; Jesus told us to live today and not worry about tomorrow because He has given us everything we need for just today. Bingo!

Oddly enough, it was the aloneness that finally got me to listen to what God had been telling me all along. Sure, I was at a crossroads…but even the most positive, promising changes bring a certain tension and some associated stress…because whether we admit it or not…we are creatures of habit. Habit comforts us. Habit makes it easier to plan our days without too much over-thinking. Habits, over time, mold us and make us who we are.So, I decided that while my habits had to change, my emotions would eventually catch up with my new choices. In all truth, I still experience the occasional surges of sadness that our house is empty now. But most of the time, I’m too busy living in the moment and appreciating it for all that it’s worth.

*     *     *

Living in the moment isn’t an optional choice we get to make in this life if we call ourselves Christians. It’s a truly biblical mandate that Jesus instructs His followers to obey and take seriously. When we allow our thoughts to linger in the happy past (remember that we often forget the trying challenges of that “happy” past) we forfeit all the joys surrounding us today. When we continue to dream about the future (a future that hasn’t been promised to any of us) we neglect the beauty of this day, this hour, this very minute. Growing up and maturing means stepping out of the chaos of life long enough each day to reflect upon what we’ve learned along the way. It also means staying silent long enough for God to talk to us afresh, to direct (and redirect) our steps, and to infuse us with the desires He wants to fulfill in and through us.

Quietness might not be what we’re used to after such long seasons of rearing children, but it might very well be the best thing for us. Sitting in His presence, waiting on God to nudge us, means we are confident that He has some wonderful plans for us that will get our passions ignited and stirred in all the right ways. Certainly, as He has done all through the years, God has and always will set our feet in a spacious place. And that’s His happy promise to us.

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Endorsements for Empty Nest, What’s Next? Parenting Adult Children Without Losing Your Mind

EmptyNestGaryThomasendorsementSince you’ve been asking…here are the endorsements for Empty Nest, What’s Next?

Enjoy. :)

Endorsements

This isn’t just a book; it’s a spiritual devotional designed to shape your heart, turn you back toward God and help you grow through a sometimes painful but also liberating season of life – the years of the empty nest. Though there is much wise and practical advice, in the end Michele offers hope and turns us back to dependence upon God. I was challenged, encouraged and renewed to make these empty nest years ones filled with joy instead of worry; hope instead of despair; and new promise instead of old regret.
Gary Thomas
Author of Sacred Marriage and A Lifelong Love

In her new book, Empty Nest, What’s Next, Michele Howe captures perfectly the angst and challenges associated with being an empty-nester and parent of adult children. She hits all the important topics we never think about, and lays them out in a concise and easy-to-read manner . . .
Rick Johnson
Bestselling author of That’s My Son, That’s My Teenage Son, and Becoming Your Spouse’s Better Half

I am an empty nester so I know – no, I guarantee: If you are a parent, you will need this book at some point in your life. Empty nesting is a difficult time of life and Michele Howe’s words are the bandage you will need to help heal, whether you require a companion during a good cry or a wise counselor to point the way ahead. I wish I’d had Michele’s book when I was limping through the empty nest stage.
Jeannie St. John Taylor
Author, Illustrator, Radio host

Michele Howe’s Empty Nest is chock full of stories, wisdom, candor, and comfort. Her conversational and transparent style is like sitting across the table with a dear friend. As an empty nest mom I can relate to the rich content in each chapter. What a terrific book this would be for a women’s book study.
Brenda Nixon
Author, Beyond Buggies and Bonnets: seven true stories of former Amish, speaker, and award-winning blogger at http://www.BrendaNixonOnAmish.blogspot.com

In Michele Howe’s new book she covers every significant aspect of the sometimes-beautiful/sometimes-brutal journey of learning to be the parent of a grownup. ‘It was only when I dropped to my knees before the Lord and pleaded with him to help me transfer ownership of my child to his care that I was able to let go.’ Wow! I’ve been there. Her stories range from raw to sweet to fun, but they all contain deeply relatable truth. I saw myself in many, I saw my mom and friends in others. The transition from mommy to peer, friend and occasional counselor (by invitation only) is made a little easier with this book.
Diane Markins
Speaker, Trainer, Radio Host of Bold Living

In Empty Nest; What’s Next, author Michele Howe meets parents at the celebratory and confusing crossroad between nurturing lively offspring and relating to adult children. Joyfully we celebrate their wings, also suddenly aware that the children who once were the center of our focus now captain their own lives. Having launched my own seven grown children, I know parents must make the transition to establish a healthy peer-to-peer relationship. With gentleness and insight born of experience, Empty Nest; What’s Next tells you how. Thirty practical chapters address issues from meeting potential love interests to giving advice and helping through a crisis. Always at the center is faith, family, and unconditional love for our grown children.
PeggySue Wells
Best-selling author of The Slave Across the Street, Rediscovering Your Happily Ever After, Für Elise, and Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries

Empty Nest, What’s Next? should be required reading for all parents of adult children. If you are struggling with how involved to be in the lives of your adult children, or if you are raising your grandchildren due to unexpected circumstances, you will find valuable encouragement, helpful advice, and biblical wisdom in this excellent book. I suggest reading the 30 chapters one at a time, over a 30-day time period. Follow through with the ‘Take-away Action Thought’ at the end of each chapter, and make the ending prayer your own heart-cry to God. This is a must-read book!
Carol Kent
Speaker and author of Unquenchable: Grow a Wildfire Faith that Will Endure Anything (Zondervan)

Howe (Burdens Do a Body Good) looks at a relatively unaddressed topic in parenting literature: relating to adult children. A mother of four young adults, Howe draws extensively on her own experience as well as that of others. She covers ground logically, examining myriad possibilities (grandparenting, children’s in-laws, “adult-sized mistakes,” and more). The book is strongly Christian; each chapter begins with a Bible verse and ends with a prayer. Parents for whom the faith of their children’s potential mate is not a major issue will likely have other strategies that rely less on faith and more on psychology. Chapters are at times frustratingly short, as if the author has just gotten going on a subject but time is up. Still, Howe has an earnest, been-there (and “there” includes being in court with a child) authorial voice that speaks with candid strength. Christian readers might find themselves using the book as a daily devotional, given the volumeÂ’s short chapters and regular prayerful advice.
Publishers Weekly, Agent: Les Stobbe, Leslie H. Stobbe Literary

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Soon to be released…

EmptyNestGaryThomasendorsement

Thankful once again for the endorsers who take the time out of their very busy schedules to read and then endorse my newest book, Empty Nest, What’s Next? – Parenting Adult Children without Losing Your Mind.

And yes, you can order it here and now. :)

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Publishers Weekly reviews Empty Nest, What’s Next?

emptynestcoverphoto

Breathing a sigh of relief after reading this Publishers Weekly review of Empty Nest, What’s Next?…because as everyone in the publishing industry knows…a PW review can be brutal.

Remember, sharing is caring. Please share this review with your friends and family and then take it a step further and purchase a copy to read (or give away). Thank you!

Howe (Burdens Do a Body Good), a PW reviewer, looks at a relatively unaddressed topic in parenting literature: relating to adult children. A mother of four young adults, Howe draws extensively on her own experience as well as that of others. She covers ground logically, examining myriad possibilities (grandparenting, children’s in-laws, “adult-sized mistakes,” and more). The book is strongly Christian; each chapter begins with a Bible verse and ends with a prayer. Parents for whom the faith of their children’s potential mate is not a major issue will likely have other strategies that rely less on faith and more on psychology. Chapters are at times frustratingly short, as if the author has just gotten going on a subject but time is up. Still, Howe has an earnest, been-there (and “there” includes being in court with a child) authorial voice that speaks with candid strength. Christian readers might find themselves using the book as a daily devotional, given the volume’s short chapters and regular prayerful advice. Agent: Les Stobbe, Leslie H. Stobbe Literary

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The Timeless Tension Tamer for Everyday Ups and Downs

michelehowe:

Psalm 23….the best tension tamer out there…anywhere.

Originally posted on Burden Lifters: Every Woman's Daily Guide to a Healthy, Happy Life:

falltrees

Tension comes in three tenses. We worry about the mistakes and misfortunes of yesterday or yesteryear; we’re anxious about today with its trials and troubles; and we are apprehensive about the future, which is as uncertain as the wind. Robert J. Morgan

I’d like to think that if I were standing in the middle of the woods and was looking straight up at these gorgeous trees, I’d take a deep breath, exhale, and relax.

And I probably would.
For about 60 seconds tops.

Then, I’d likely fall back into my more common state of tension worrying about everything covered shared in Morgan’s quote above.

Yesterday.
Yesteryear.
Today.
Tomorrow.

Which is why just getting out into nature isn’t enough for me…I mean, seriously, can a tree (or a bunch of them) really calm my troubled heart? While I can appreciate their beauty and spend a few moments relaxing in their presence…nature…

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Burden Lifters — soon to be released

michelehowe:

Burden Lifters is being -re-released!!!! Click on the link here for all the exciting details and brand-new book information. :)

http://www.patheos.com/Books/Book-Club/Michele-Howe-Burden-Lifters

Originally posted on Burden Lifters: Every Woman's Daily Guide to a Healthy, Happy Life:

burden lifters cover 2

Don’t you love that phrase?

Soon to be released?

If you’re an author, you surely do.

That soon to be released book is the culmination of a lot of things…

Time
Energy
Persistence
Stick-to-it-iveness
Determination
Creativity

And, let’s be honest…

Frustration
Aggravation
Exhaustion
Doubt
Worry

Like anything we pursue in life….writing a book is a mixed bag and it isn’t until you actually see the finished product in your hands (or on your computer screen) that you really believe it’s real.

I hope you are enjoying this cover as much as I am…and soon, very soon, I’ll be sharing the details on where and when to find this new book.

Thanks for traveling along this reading (writing) road with me.

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