Book Club, Anyone?

Book Club, Anyone?
In my Fit for Life group, some of the members and I have been talking about the most pressing needs we feel we have currently: spiritual + emotional health. In pondering how to best support our group, I wondered in a post if a book study might be of interest, and we definitely had some positive responses! I thought it might be easier to outline some potential books/studies here. Full disclosure, I have some affiliate links here, so if you choose to purchase a product because you saw it here, please know I appreciate your support!

OPTION 1:
Jennie Allen's Get Out of Your Head Study Guide is a workbook to go along with a 6-session study of the book of Philippians. My husband and I did this together pretty recently, but I'd be happy to do it again in a group setting. Because we've done it, we also have access to the videos that go along with it, so I can share my screen during our zoom meetings to watch Jennie's messages. (They are maybe 10-20 minutes long at most.) Jennie uses the book of Philippians as a springboard to discuss taking our thoughts captive before they take US captive.

OPTION 2:
If you like the topic of Option 1 but you're not sure you want a workbook (with homework, lol) plus video sessions, Jennie's Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts might be a better fit. We could read a chapter or so and have more of a freestyle discussion rather than being tied to a workbook. As I do not yet own this book, I don't know EXACTLY how it compares to option 1, but my guess is the content is very similar with just a different means of presentation.

OPTION 3:
If you'd rather delve specifically into how emotions affect us physically, with a smattering of spiritual elements as well (but in a different way than the options above), perhaps Karol Truman's Feelings Buried Alive Never Die book would get your vote. This is a well-known, often-cited resource that I ended up purchasing for our own family library, and I have referenced it a lot even though I haven't read all the way through it yet. My interest in the connection between our body, mind, and emotions continues to increase the more I learn, and this is a book well worth having even if it doesn't get voted into our book study!

OPTION 4:
From the author of the famous book Boundaries, Dr. Henry Cloud, is a newer resource that caught my attention: Changes That Heal. The first sentence in the book description says, "Many of us struggle with anxiety, loneliness, and feelings of inadequacy." Um, you think?! Check out the rest of the description to see if this might be a good fit for our book club. (Also, full disclosure, while I've seen excerpts from Boundaries, I've never read it, so perhaps that's an option...?)

OPTION 5:
I know this may be a little late, but because it captured my interest, I'll just put it out there. Paul David Tripp released Journey to the Cross: A 40-Day Lenten Devotional. Since Lent begins February 17, if we do this as a group study, it would likely require playing a bit of catch-up, but I think we could make it work if the majority desire it!

OK! If you're in my Fit for Life group, go there and vote in the poll by Sunday evening if you'd like to participate! And if you're not in the group, you can request to join! If you choose not to do a book study with us, no biggie, but I DO encourage you to be reading SOMETHING! What are you currently reading, or what will you start reading? Let me know in the comments!

Healthy Lifestyle Changes (6 Years Later!)

Healthy Lifestyle Changes (6 Years Later!)
It’s been 6 years since I ordered “that kit.” It was somewhat of a whim—my husband said we didn’t have much to lose, so why not try it? At least the house would smell nice, right?! And maybe, just maybe, it would help our family stop dropping like flies every time someone came home with a sniffle.

Little did I know how life-changing it would be for all of us. Little did I know I’d be learning more about science and how our bodies work than I ever learned in school. Little did I know how empowering it would be to have choices in the ways I support my and my family’s physical, mental, and emotional health—without harmful side effects.

This pic shows a few of my favorite things. A few came in that very first starter kit (well, refills obviously!) but are now counted as friends. What lifestyle choices have you made that are still part of your daily routine 6 (or however many) years later?

The ABCs of Mental & Emotional Health

Having been to the bottom of the pit of despair and back (and doing what it takes to never return), let me offer my ABCs of mental and emotional health. Maybe there will be some nuggets you can take away and implement today! 
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From Diagnosis to Delivery: A Special Pregnancy Journal

From Diagnosis to Delivery: A Special Pregnancy Journal
Recently I started a private support group for mamas who receive a prenatal diagnosis. In putting together resources for them, such as a place they can access medical research for themselves and their health care providers (who often don't have personal experience with the kinds of diagnoses the parents receive for their child), I realized there was absolutely nothing out there for those mamas in the way of a pregnancy journal. All the ones I found were happy, happy, joy, joy. Having been through a pregnancy fraught with anxiety and fear over whether we would meet my daughter alive or not, I decided it was time to create a special journal that would address the different aspects of this unique situation. While some aspects allow mamas to focus on the joy of a new life and the positive aspects, other sections help them work through difficult topics such as what in the world to do about a baby shower and how to formulate a birth plan.

The journal may be purchased here and would make a wonderful gift for anyone you know who is devastated to receive a prenatal diagnosis. I would love to get it in the hands of genetic counselors, palliative care teams, pregnancy resource centers, and other professionals who work with women who are carrying fragile babies. If this is you, or if you know of someone who ministers in this capacity, would you reach out? We would be happy to discuss options for bulk ordering to make this resource accessible to others!

Contents include: 
  • Journaling pages plus prompts to help you remember details
  • Space to record your baby's diagnosis and unique needs
  • Appointment trackers
  • Ultrasound photo keeper
  • Ideas for a baby shower
  • "Letters to My Baby" section
  • Birth Plan Brainstorming
  • Hospital Checklist
  • And much more.

From Diagnosis to Delivery - A Resource for Moms with a Prenatal Diagnosis

From Diagnosis to Delivery - A Resource for Moms with a Prenatal Diagnosis
It's been just over 4 years, but I well remember that difficult season of life: getting a phone call from my doctor and learning the baby girl growing inside me had what was considered a life-threatening diagnosis (Edwards Syndrome, or Trisomy 18). The following days and weeks were a living nightmare. My husband and I prepared for our baby's burial, and I was pretty much a weepy, emotional mess. Thank GOD for online connections! After about a month or so of feeling overwhelmed by negative information, we were introduced to online resources that actually showed REAL families living with children who had the same diagnosis. My eyes were opened to the positive stories of hope, and I began to turn my heart toward the idea of a different outcome than I had been led to believe initially. 

Of course, this also meant I had a whole different set of questions to address! The learning curve was steep, but as I look back, I can see how incredibly far we have come. Now our Verity is almost 4 years old, and our family absolutely adores her. I just cannot imagine life without her! But I will confess I was terrified to be the mother of a special needs child, especially when I already felt overwhelmed being the mother of 8 other children. 

From the moment of our diagnosis to the beautiful experience of Verity's delivery, my pregnancy was an emotional roller coaster. And beyond delivery came more learning. I won't say it's an easy road, but I wouldn't have it any other way. And because of the JOY and HOPE we have as a family (which ultimately comes from Jesus), I am now in a place where I am able to offer a bit of wisdom and experience as a resource for moms who have a prenatal diagnosis and are drowning in a sea of emotions.

We have a new private support group for those moms! I also have a free guide, From Diagnosis to Delivery. Please help spread the word! This is a journey best traveled with loads of support!
 
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