January Roundup: Links, Quotes, Books & More


Free As a Bird
by Rend Collective

“You break us out of our cages
Into the wide open spaces
We are free
Free as a bird on the wind
No prison wall can contain us
Your beating heart makes us fearless
We are free
Free as a bird on the wind
Love cannot be tamed
You shattered every chain…”

ABCs of Jesus’ Love

Visit this page anytime and let me know if you’d like to add to the words describing Jesus’ love along with a verse supporting it. Remember, there is also a print-out of the original list.

 Another verse about Jesus’ Love:

❤  Freeing Love 
“So if the Son sets you free,
you are truly free.

John 8:36 NLT

Books

I am not always able to keep up with the abundance of books that promote hope, healing, and freedom, so I haven’t always read every one I post here and on the Books Page. Though many are on my long wish list. 🙂  Many will be from recommendations of online friends. If you ever know of a book that is not listed and that supports this website’s mission, please let me know. 🙂

The Voice: Listening for God’s Voice and Finding Your Own
by Sandi Patty
(Link is to Valerie Murray’s review of this book)

“Christian music icon and forty-time Dove award winner, Sandi Patty has long astounded listeners with her powerful voice. And yet, off the stage, Sandi struggled to have a voice at all.

Through deeply intimate stories of her life and the empowering spiritual truths she’s learned, Sandi offers readers wisdom to navigate the journey from voicelessness to discovering the voice God has given you. With a poignant history of sexual abuse, infidelity, divorce, and crises of self-image, Sandi lived much of her life feeling unworthy of love or value. And like so many of us, she coped by living through the voices of others, allowing other people to prescribe her identity. As she performed around the world, Sandi met others just like her, who hid wounds behind quiet smiles and struggled to live with fractured identities.

Sandi’s warm and invitational writing will draw you to the voice of God who sings over your life saying you are seen, you are loved, and your voice is worth hearing. With timeless wisdom, The Voice will help you uncover your God-given identity and a voice of your very own.

‘God heard my voice even when I couldn’t hear it myself and then his voice broke through my walls and wounds, insecurities and self-doubts. I am voiceless no more!'” (Amazon Book Review)

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Hope Harbor

💞  Articles/Blog Posts That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

My husband and I lost a loved one (his brother) to cancer. His memorial service was yesterday. So in honor of Adrian and all those who are still fighting cancer, these links share how we can best support those who struggle with it. How we can give them hope and not cause additional emotional pain on top of what they already suffer.

💞 10 Things Cancer Patients Love to Hear  – Cancer patients share what they love to hear.

💞 5 Things Christians Should NOT Say to Cancer Patients by Lee Wilson – “For years now I’ve felt there was a disconnect between the well-meaning reactions of church members toward Christians affected by cancer and other diseases of similar dread.” Many cancer patients hear words that cause emotional pain on top of what they’re already suffering. Lee shares by experience what not to say and some things we can do.

💞 How To Support Someone With Cancer by Dr. Michelle Bengtson – From experiencing cancer with both herself and her husband, Michelle has learned these 12 important, insightful tips for supporting someone with cancer. 

Nature Retreat

“The woods would be very silent
if no birds sang except
those who sang the best.”
John James Audubon
“Be as a bird perched on a frail branch
that she feels bending beneath her,
still she sings away all the same,
knowing she has wings.”
Victor Hugo

I really miss birds during these winter months! My brother’s photos from Arizona truly brighten my days, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy them, too. Thank you, John! 🙂

White-breasted Nuthatch
Red-naped Sapsucker
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Flicker
Acorn Woodpecker
White-throated Thrush

🐾 Surfbirds – The World Birding Website – lots of beautiful bird photos, great articles, trip reports, blogs, forums, and more

🐾 BirdNote – I love this! BirdNote is a two-minute radio show that combines rich sounds with engaging stories to illustrate the amazing lives of birds and give listeners a momentary respite from the news of the day.

🐾 Bird Photography from National Geographic – A list of links to the Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week posts. Awesome photos!

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Quotes

I’m adding a new category this month – Grieving.

❤ “Tears have a wisdom all their own. They come when a person has relaxed enough to let go and to work through his sorrow. They are the natural bleeding of an emotional wound, carrying the poison out of the system. Here lies the road to recovery.” – F. Alexander Magoun

“It’s okay to cry. Giving in to the tears is terrifying, like free-falling to earth without a parachute. But it’s vital to our wellbeing as we process the deep anguish.” – Lynda Cheldelin Fell

“Tears water our growth.” – William Shakespeare

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Thank You
to anyone and everyone who recommends
links, books, quotes, etc.

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New This Month: Links, Quotes, Books & More

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“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God
with all your heart and with all
your soul and with all your mind.
This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

(Matthew 22:37-39)

“An Incredible Act of Kindness by an Extraordinary Young Man”

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Books

I am not always able to keep up with the abundance of books that promote hope, healing, and freedom, so I haven’t always read every one I post here and on the Books Page. Though many are on my long wish list. 🙂 I find many of them because I read about them on someone’s blog post. If you ever know of a book that is not listed and that supports this website’s mission, please let me know. 🙂

✎  Meet the New You: A 21-Day Plan for Embracing Fresh Attitudes and Focused Habits for Real Life Change by Elisa Pulliam

meetthenewyou“As women, we are constantly evaluating ourselves. Am I enough? Why can’t I change this certain thing about myself? Should I be doing more?

We long for real, deep, lasting change—but we don’t know how to begin. In Meet the New You, Elisa Pulliam empowers women to take charge of their own life transformation by engaging in a meaningful relationship with God and His Word. Each chapter gives practical and interactive ways to address some of the biggest obstacles that stand in the way of permanent change. Through stories, biblical application, personality assessments, thought-provoking questions, and life-coaching principles, Meet the New You helps women:
· understand who they are
· cultivate a vision for who they want to become
· recognize what holds them back
· determine the steps necessary to put new, practical habits into action

It’s time to discover who you really are and how you can live life differently. It’s time to meet the new you!” (Amazon Review)

✎ Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home by Amber Haines

wildinthehollow“Amber Haines is a woman haunted by God. Like Eve in the Garden, she craved the fruit that she thought would lead her to freedom. But the whispers of temptation led her instead down a devastating path toward isolation, dissatisfaction, and life-altering choices. In her most broken moment, Amber met God waiting for her in the fallout, freely offering her grace and life.

This is a story of the God who makes himself known in broken places. In prose that is at once lyrical and utterly honest, a brave new voice takes readers on a windswept journey down the path of brokenness to healing, satisfaction, and true intimacy with God. Amber calls readers to dispense with the pretty bows we use to dress up our stories and instead trust God to take our untidy, unfinished lives and make them free, authentic, and whole. Anyone who struggles with doubt or holds secrets, anyone who feels marginalized or like she is missing something, will find in Amber a sister and an inviting voice back home, into the heart of God.”

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Hope Harbor

Why Does God Love Us? by Jack Wellman – “Just imagine what the Word of God says about those who belong to Him. What tender love is revealed in His words. We are the apple of His eye, He rejoices over us, He sings over us, He abounds in love over us, He has the compassion of a Father over us, He delights over us…and this love is from everlasting to everlasting. What more solid proof can there be? God can not lie and God tells us in dozens of Scriptures that He loves those whom he calls His own.”

You Are Not an Accident by Rick Warren – Do you sometimes wonder why you were ever born? This article is an encouraging read – “Your birth was no mistake or mishap, and your life is no fluke of nature. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He was not at all surprised by your birth. In fact, he expected it.”

20 Bible Verses about HOPE – Feeling downhearted and hopeless? Read some selected Bible verses on Hope (from Bible Gateway).

Nature Retreat

More of God’s Amazing Creatures

bee - John

bee & pollen - John

Javelina
(All photos this month were taken by my brother. The piggy-like creature is a javelina.)

Another Bird Blog – Bird watching, bird ringing, and some great photography

 Natureview Photography – “Hidden or remote, Natureview tries to give a view on the parts of nature that one normally does not see. Be it Polar Bears, walruses, Penguins and Seals of the remote Polar areas, or the dragon- and damselflies that might be hidden somewhere near your house, Natureview tries to expose them.”

 ➺ Birds and Blooms – A celebration of our natural world through stories and photography by Jim Flowers

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Quotes

❤︎ “Our sufferings may be rough and hard to bear, but they teach us lessons that in turn equip and enable us to help others.” ~ Billy Graham

❤︎ “Flowers fade. Hearts break. But, there in the darkness, through all the storms, hope is sure. Even when life doesn’t turn up the way we plan, our hope is secure in the One who died, was buried and rose again.” ~ Rebekah Hughes

❤︎ “In my deepest wound, I see Your glory and it dazzles me.” ~ Augustine

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Barbie – Weekend Whispers

OneWordCoffee Linkup

Open Up Your Wounds to Jesus

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“The scab came off, leaving the wound wide open.” I heard something like this on a TV program in reference to opening the wound of an abusive past. In context, it was considered a bad thing to open and talk about the wound of abuse.

So often I hear it is better not to open up those past hurts. Just leave them in the past, some say. Don’t talk about it, or you get yourself all riled up again. Forgive and forget. Bury the past and move on.

It’s never that easy. When it comes to emotions, healing is a process. If pain oozes when a scar is scratched open, then we aren’t really healed in the first place. If a wound is opened, especially if it’s festering underneath that scab, it needs to be opened to the air in order for the infection to seep out and the wound to heal.

If we don’t let these past painful emotions out, they will seep out subconsciously into our actions and attitudes. In a negative way that will hurt us and others around us, especially our loved ones.

I’m not talking here about those triggered memories that open up around certain people and places. We do need to set boundaries to protect ourselves from being hurt again.

I’m not talking either about opening up these hurts to people who don’t understand and don’t offer a safe place for us to open up. That can only lead to further hurt and may even shut us down further.

I’m talking about dealing with a past issue of abuse itself. It is never good to let it brew inside of us. It will continue to fester in unintended ways if we don’t expose it to the air.

Many years ago, I was under the impression in the church I grew up in that going to a counselor is sinful. That we shouldn’t seek for help in man, only in God. But then I realized that just as doctors are means provided for us to help us with our physical ailments, trained and safe counselors can be used to bless us in dealing with emotional issues. The emotions God created us with are just as important as our physical bodies. We’d be an empty shell without them.

So I finally went to a counselor. The first one I went to helped me to a certain extent, but I felt like I wasn’t going any further. I went to a second one, a Christian one, but she would have me read certain books that I wasn’t ready to read and I didn’t feel that books that were graphically detailed helped me at all, and besides that, sometimes her “Christianese” reminded me of the pastor and church who abused me. It didn’t feel safe. Finally, by the grace of God, I found another Christian counselor who God especially used to help me. She continually validated me and helped me to work through emotions  and gain freedom from my abuser while at the same time pointing me to my true identity in Christ.

In Christ Jesus. He is who we need most of all. We need to let our past pain break wide open to Jesus so He can apply His healing balm to our troubled souls. Layer by layer, no matter how hard it is, we need to scratch those scabs off and expose them to the healing air of Jesus’ compassion, love, and grace.

His compassion knows no bounds. Maybe you’ve never been believed or validated. Jesus will believe you with all His being. I care so much, I hear you, I believe you. I am so sorry you are hurting, My child.

“Who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion.”

~ Psalm 103:4

His love reaches the deepest depths of our misery. Maybe you feel unloved or all mixed up about what love really is because of what you were wrongly told it meant. Jesus will teach you that love isn’t supposed to hurt. Love sacrifices for your well-being, not your harm. I love you, My child, so much I died for you.

“No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.”
~ John 15:13 AMP

His grace is unending. Maybe you have been misunderstood, judged, and wrongly condemned. Maybe friends or family are mad at you or have deserted you because you told the truth. Jesus knows that and He will offer to you nothing but kindness and no condemnation. My child, in your desperation, you can find help and deliverance in Me, because I care about you so very much and desire to show you My favor. 

“But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!”
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

“You’re My Little Girl” by Go Fish
(Men, just imagine you’re His little boy.)

Jesus longs for us
to rip open our deepest
wounds to Him!

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Bonnie – Faith Barista’s Beloved Brews