Sweet Dreams: The Mitford Bedside Companion as Sleep Therapy


It’s that time of year again…time to stock up with some good books, a hot cup of coffee…and enjoy the sites (from the inside out).

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

I really have to thank my mom again for reminding me what a gem these Mitford books are…for getting a laugh…for finding some encouragment…for making my mouth water (since Mitford residents eat often and well)…and for helping me remember that it really is the simple things in life that bring the most satisfaction.

But beyond all those good, good things….is yet another good reason to read…Sleep Therapy.

No kidding.

As I’m finding it more and more difficult to sleep at night…I’m finding more and more pleasure in opening up my copy of The Mitford Bedside Companion as my personal sleep therapy.

And I’m not the only one.

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Retailers + Resources’ Review of Empty Nest, What’s Next?


Reviews matter.

In real life, nobody much cares about book reviews. But, if you’re an author (or a publisher) you realize how much potential readers rely on other readers’ thoughts/opinions/take-away-value of any product they purchase. So, it’s always with great relief (and a prayer of thanks to God) when a reviewer “gets” what you’re trying to communicate in your book.

Here’s the newest editorial review of Empty Nest, What’s Next?…and yes, I’m saying my “thank-yous”….

“Don’t start this book unless you have time to finish it. It is that good.

Howe touches the heart of every parent of an adult child, no matter what season they are in. It is easy to forget that we are not alone when it comes time for “adult-sized prayers” for adult children. But with wisdom and love, Howe assures us that we are not alone and that with our face toward God, we can survive. Whether you learn from her “Action Thoughts,” the heart wrenching accounts of tough love, cry out with her prayers to God or simply grow from her uplifting and encouraging stories, there is something for everyone.

This is a great study for a women’s group as well as for individual study. It is fun, interesting, and worthy of your time. This will definitely be on my Christmas list this year.”

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A New Review That Hits at the Heart of Empty Nest, What’s Next? (and warms my heart too)


You never know how readers are going to react to a new book…it’s sort of like holding your breath, exhaling, and repeat. Over and over again. This morning I was delighted by this reader review. I hope you enjoy it too.

I’m so glad to be reading and thus gleaning all of the wisdom from Michele Howe’s Empty Nest, What’s Next? long BEFORE I have a nest that is empty. With a 3-year-old and a 13-year-old, I was doubtful that I’d really find any sage advice that I could apply right now.

Boy was I wrong!

First of all, I love how this book is organized. It reads way more like a devotional with it’s thoughtfully titled chapters each beginning with a focused scripture and a selective quote to accent the theme.

Then, Howe unpacks the subject usually by sharing (vulnerably!) a personal narrative along with an easy description of how to execute all she has learned.

Finally, each short chapter ends with a “Take-away Action Thought” (to re-focus the reader on the “big idea”) and a beautifully written prayer growing out of that particular chapter’s topic.

A highlight to exemplify how this title will be helpful to parents at every stage is Howe’s prayerful mantra: “Make up the difference.” She says, “If I’d whispered that phrase once to the Lord, I’d repeated it over one thousand times as I parented my children while they were still under our roof. Now, with three gone and one on her way out, I’m still saying it—maybe even more now than then.”

And just like that, we have a new prayer to pray on our parenting journey — both now (while our kids are still at home) and later (when we’re still their parents as adults).

There is a LOT of helpful, practical wisdom in this book. Highly recommend… for parents with kids at home, for parents nearing the empty nest phase, and for parents already living in a next that is empty.

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Covered Forever — An Outreach Ministry for Women Caught in the Sex Trade Industry


If you think women (and girls) in your local community are not getting caught up in the sex trade industry in record numbers…you are dead wrong.

Recently, I attended a gala that raised support for a dynamic organization that supports women in the sex trade. The entire evening of 500-plus men and women was an education in and of itself. The sex trade is alive and well HERE.

What most folks don’t realize is that the women most likely to get caught up in this type of trade have been sexually abused as children (the stats go as high as 90-95%)…so these already wounded women have lived a life devoid of hope (and help). Is it any wonder they end up selling their bodies for money?

Coveredforever.com is a local ministry that seeks out these young women in their place of employment (the strip clubs) and enters into one of the darkest places on our planet to simply offer love, respect, and acceptance. NO shame.

The Covered Ministry volunteers enter the strip clubs bearing gift bags for the girls every single month…but they offer so much more to these hurting and defeated women…they offer hope. They offer love. They offer a better way to live life.

Want to help?

Take a few moments to visit Coveredforever.com and begin making a difference NOW.

You don’t have to enter a strip club to change a woman’s life.

You can —

Pray. Volunteer to bag the gifts. Offer a professional service such as counseling or legal advice. You can give monetarily each month in support of rescuing women and their children out of this no-win scenario.

None of us can do everything, but every one of us can do something.

Get started on your “something” today.

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People — The Vehicle God Often Uses to Get Us Where We Want to Go


People…God still uses “them” to change “us.” :)

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


I smiled when I looked at this photo of how-to prepare a winning cheese spread. I really smiled when I noted the author’s little arrows pointing to various elements of this yummy looking appetizer. But the term, “vehicle” cracked me up. I never considered a cheese board a vehicle before…but in truth, it is just that. An object that moves that delicious food nearer to me. ;)

When we hear the word vehicle we think of something that moves something (or someone) from one spot to another.

Our automobiles are our primary vehicles for getting us where we want to go.
Our two feet can also be the vehicles that move us from one spot to another.


All of these move us forward, backward, or around and around in circles.

But there’s an even more powerful vehicle at work in our lives every single day. One that…

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Undivided: Living for and Not Just with One Another by Mitchell & Rhonda Owens

undividedThe following is an excerpt from Undivided: Living FOR and Not Just WITH One Another by my friend Rhonda Owens and her husband, Mitchell.  It’s a 12-week study on the “one another” passages in the New Testament and is perfect for parents who want a simple, easy-to-use resource to work through together with their families. Accompanying each short devotional (like the one below) is a list of discussion questions as well as an activity in which the whole family can participate.

We live in a culture where people are pulled in a thousand different directions. With so many distractions, it’s easy to live in the same house with children and a spouse without really engaging them in deep relationship.

In other words, if we’re not careful, family members could become mere roommates — people whose paths we cross for a few minutes at breakfast, and maybe a few more minutes before bedtime, but no one with whom we develop any real connection.

But Jesus said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

When He commands us in this verse to love one another, He isn’t suggesting that we love one another; He is, instead, ordering it.

To follow the command fully means to not only say you love someone, it also means to show in action and in deed that you love the person.

For example, you could tell your mom how much you love her while at the same time taking her breakfast dishes to the sink.

You could tell your sibling you love her while at the same time helping her across the busy street and then playing with her at the park (even when your friends want you to join them for a quick game of baseball).

You could tell your dad you love him while joining him in the garage clean-up effort.

Granted, you may not feel like cleaning up the breakfast dishes, playing at the park, or organizing the garage, but by choosing actions that you know will bless another member of your family, you are, in effect, loving that person by your actions.

Something else to notice about Jesus’ command is this: we are to love each other as He loved us.

Jesus gave His life for us. So if He wants us to love our families as He loved us, it’s going to require some sacrifice.

Loving each other in your family might mean opting out of a sports season; getting up earlier than planned; staying up later than is comfortable; engaging in an activity that bores you (but blesses the other person); visiting a store you dislike; making or eating a meal that isn’t your favorite…

Bottom line? Jesus commands us to love each other like He loved us — and He expects that we show this love to each other by what we do.

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A Box of Books Delivers Happiness


A box of books was delivered today. Happiness.

A new reader’s review was posted on Amazon. Double Happiness.

“It’s difficult to pick a favorite from among Michele Howe’s many books, but her latest, Empty Nest: What’s Next?: Parenting Adult Children Without Losing Your Mind, may well be mine. This compilation of rich reflections imbued with biblical wisdom and Howe’s personal experiences as a mother of four adult children – strikes me as her best yet.
From the first chapter describing the “torrent of tears” she shed after dropping off her youngest child at college, to the last, a hopeful but honest look at unconditionally loving adult children who have become what we don’t like, Howe has penned an inspiring guide to the empty-nest years.
By transparently – and yet discreetly – sharing the lessons she and others have learned as parents and now grandparents, Howe offers advice that acknowledges the pain of the empty nest, but lovingly insists on letting go of adult children. In the chapter on “Recreating Your Life with Children on the Sidelines,” for example, she writes, “To stay stuck in a place where your only happiness in life comes when your children are front and center is wrong, nor should our children place us as their parents in the front and center of their lives.”
Howe goes on to write about how to help adult children endure difficulties without rescuing them, letting them become fiscally responsible, finding solace in praying for them, and a host of other concerns related to this phase of parenting.
She shares the reality of the empty nest with pathos and humor, assuring readers that she knows of what she speaks. In “Redefining Your Role in Life Now,” for instance, Howe writes of still missing the whirlwind of activity that marked the busy parenting years: “. . . on occasion, I sometimes find myself with a little time to spare, and I look around the corners of my house half-expecting (half-hoping?) to see a swarm of noisy children running past me. To what? Save me? Distract me? Complete me?”
To survive – and flourish—in the empty-nest years, she recommends reinvesting in one’s marriage and investing in people other than our adult children, keeping faith first, and accepting parenting mistakes. Empty nesters – and those nearing this often-dreaded phase – will appreciate the way she draws readers into her own parenting journey, inviting them to join her in finding hope and joy in the midst of its challenges.”

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