Every Day: A Book Review

Title: Every Day

Author: David Levithan

Publisher: Ember

Copyright Date: 2012

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For as long as A can remember he’s woken up every morning in a different body. He’s almost always in Maryland, but that’s his only constant. When he opens his eyes in the morning he must examine the body that will be his host until midnight. Some days that body is male and other days it’s female. A must learn about the life he is taking on as quickly as possible. Whose body is this? What are they like? Who do they care about? He must access his host to answer these questions, but the host must never know he was there.

Over time A has learned to set his own rules. When he borrows a body he tries to return it without having left a trace. He leaves clues to the day for the person when they return, so he can float to another body as if nothing ever happened.

But he’s made two mistakes: Nathan remembers being A’s host and A has fallen in love with Rhiannon.

Nathan has gone public with descriptions of “being possessed by the devil.” While much of the world thinks he has lost his mind, A is curious why Nathan can remember when no one else can.

After meeting Rhiannon A struggles with telling her the truth. For weeks he visits her in many different bodies, but will she be able to accept him? Can she love someone who changes like he does?

Longing for attachment causes A to break some of the rules that have guided his existence. And without those rules–who is A?

This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it’s just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.” (Page 175)

This novel is a touching, thought provoking tale that paints a portrait of one of humanity’s basic desires: to belong. The protagonist abandons everything and risks the safety of his rule book to find his true identity.

As the first book in a series there are some loose ends left at the end of the book, but overall the author did a great job raising questions that hook the reader for the next two installments Another Day and Some Day. The plot is very unique and I was intrigued to find that it was developed based on a conversation that the author had with John Green.

Follow me on Goodreads to see what I’m reading next!

The Ameri Brit Mom

God Is Working In My Obedience

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Serving youth has always been a passion of mine. I work in a high school where my aim has been to positively impact the students in my classroom since DAY 1. A year ago we took a step of faith and left the church where we had become comfortable and followed God’s leading to a church in the community where we live and work. The Lord met us in that place in a very real way and we have seen growth in our daughter, marriage, and faith as a result.

The Lord has blessed us richly.

Not only were we welcomed into the new church with grace, but God provided many opportunities for us to dive in and serve almost immediately. Last Christmas we helped pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, our daughter jumped in and fell in love with the Childrens Ministry and AWANA, my husband and I took foundational classes and our most recent venture has been my involvement in the Youth Group.

Every week I work alongside another female leader to coach a small group of girls in the church. We play games, listen to messages, read the Bible, and pray for one another every week. Last week, we finished our first book of the Bible since I started serving: Ephesians.

God has blessed me and grown me so much since I took the step of obedience to serve the youth of the church. First of all, I am able to work with students from the school  in a brand new context. I love being able to step outside of school curriculum and openly minister to these girls on Sunday nights.

Secondly, when I was approached by the Youth Pastor to pray about my involvement with the girls ministry I had so many thoughts run through my head. Lord, am I strong enough for this? I am coming out of one of the hardest seasons of my life. Can I really be the leader that these girls need me to be? But almost immediately my decision was confirmed when a student connected with me and prayed FOR ME. At school, I came back to my classroom to a letter from one of the girls from the youth group that talked about the ways in which she was praying for me.

I cried because here I was thinking that I needed to be strong for these girls, but the Lord is helping me heal by providing me strong girls too.

I’m learning that when we choose to be obedient God uses that to answer our prayers. He calls us out of comfort to perform His will, but He gives us the chance to respond in obedience first.

 

Moment: Five Minute Friday

It’s Friday and I’m doing a dance for having finished another great week at school. I feel like I’m getting into a rhythm at school and I’m enjoying the process of getting to know my kids a little better. Today I am joining my fellow positive writers over at Five Minute Friday, where we gather weekly to respond to a common prompt. This Friday the prompt is Moment.

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In this moment I am…

Thankful for my faith. It keeps me grounded when the waves of this world swirl around me. I will not sink because my God is bigger than the waves.

Rejoicing over the fact that I am clear of the nasty virus that compromised my body this week.

Singing a bit of Ed Sheeran as the Pandora station became my soundtrack while grading papers today.

Smelling the hand-sanitizer a student put on just before the final bell. It smells like a fresh batch of snicker doodle cookies.

Thinking about all the things I want to get done this weekend

Walking out the door of my classroom! It’s the WEEKEND!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Fall Break 2018

The past week was Fall Break in the school district where my husband and I teach (and our daughter goes to school.) We were extremely busy during this week with traveling, hospital visits, big news, and family time.

Below is a look at all that happened during the past seven days (it’s all out of order, but I wanted to be creative with the word: FALL):

Flu struck the Sisley house! Days before our break began our oldest daughter was taken to the ER with a temperature of 105. I freaked out a little prematurely, but that was the first time I had ever read a number that high on a thermometer. A little hydration and medication went a long way to helping her feel better. The fever hung on for four days, but luckily she started acting back to normal much sooner.

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A trip to Niagara Falls, Canada, was the biggest part of our break. My sister moved to Canada to work at Brock University (more on that here) and so we loaded up the car, our passports, and tons of baby supplies and spent three days with her at her apartment. I really enjoyed getting to see her town and touring her campus. We also saw the falls, did the Journey Behind the Falls, and walked through the tourist district at Clifton Hill. The only thing I disliked about the trip was that the morning we drove up I woke to a high temperature myself. I spent the trip nursing the same flu that I caught from my daughter, but I tried not to let that keep me down.

 

Local tradition has it in my hometown that Pumpkins take over the city streets on the third week of each October. The Circleville Pumpkin Show is the Greatest Free Show on Earth. Before we embarked on our travels we made sure to spend a couple of hours at the festival eating Pumpkin-flavored baked goods and my personal favorite, bourbon chicken and rice.

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Love was in the air as my youngest sister got engaged at the beginning of the break. Her boyfriend proposed at Hocking Hills, which is a state park in Ohio. It’s a beautiful time of year there and I am so excited to plan her fall wedding at the same destination. I am also so excited to be gaining such a thoughtful and positive brother-in-law.

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Now you are caught up with us after Fall Break 2018!

The Ameri Brit Mom

The First Phone Call From Heaven: A Book Review

Title: The First Phone Call From Heaven

Author: Mitch Albom

Publisher: Harper

Copyright Date: 2013

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The city of Coldwater became host to a phenomenon.

For weeks, members of their community received phone calls from their deceased relatives. Katharine was the first to admit at church that she spoke regularly to her sister who had died a couple of years ago. As more phone calls came in, the town became the scene of a media frenzy complete with hundreds of people hoping to connect with their own lost loved ones.

While locals and visitors waited for their phones to ring, Sully Harding, a former pilot, was released from prison. He returned to town full of cynicism and the motivation to prove these miracles false.

As he researches the phone calls and those who have received them he learns more about the tragic day that landed him in prison and his wife’s ashes in an urn. He fights the spirit of faith that has overtaken the town and seeks to uncover the truth behind these unorthodox events in Coldwater.

“Fear is how you lose your life…a little bit at a time…What we give to fear, we take away from…faith.” (Page 117)

Full of poetic language and critical lessons this novel is one of the best I’ve read in a while. I have not read anything by Mitch Albom in ten years and now I feel as though I’ve been missing out. This emotional tale of the extent of the relationships we form gripped my heart at just the right time in my life. I finished this book with a renewed faith in humanity and strengthened faith in the Lord. This is a feel-good read that begs the reader to examine their beliefs about heaven and life after death.

Follow me on Goodreads to see what I’m reading next!

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Coffee Fest and Rob Bell

 

 

Date nights don’t happen nearly as often as they should. At this point in our lives we have two girls (one of which is an infant) and they keep us busy. Balancing work and family seems like a farfetched myth. But every so often the stars align and we are able to get away for a couple of hours.

Our most recent date night consisted on attending two events (one chosen by each of us.)

For me: We joined the Columbus Underground and attended Coffee Fest

Coffee is not just a boost of caffeine in my life; Coffee is a lifestyle.

I’m well aware of the addiction I harbor toward this brewed beverage, but I have no plans of sobriety any time soon. I live on this stuff and I absolutely loved joining other coffee fanatics in my city for this fun event. It was held at the Ohio Village, an old-fashioned, model village behind the Ohio Historical Society.

Local brewers set up stands throughout the venue and provided samples of their best coffees for those in attendance. When we entered the festival we were given a ceramic mug that served as our cup throughout the event so that they minimized trash and kept the environment of the day clean and green.

My favorite coffee that I sampled was the Ethiopian blend from Hemisphere Coffee Roasters.

After several cups of amazing coffee we visited the Food Trucks on site and enjoyed  Mikey’s Late Night Slice’s famous pizzas.

 

For Him: We attended Rob Bell’s Holy Shift Talk

Ever since Rob Bell launched his career my husband has enjoyed his work. He is a Christian author and speaker who now lives in Los Angeles, California.

Although much of his work is considered to be a bit liberal for the Christian crowd my husband has continued to support Rob Bell and his ministry. I’ve read some of his early works and I have seen almost all of his Nooma videos. It’s easy for people to form an opinion about him and protests are a regular occurrence at his speaking engagements, but overall I enjoyed listening to him and found objection to none of the elements he spoke about in this talk. It was a call to Christians to regard the holiness in the everyday and mundane events of life.

Per usual, we laughed, cried, and felt goosebumps as he revealed seven ways that he has encountered God’s holiness in his own life.

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The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Praise: Five Minute Friday

I’m joining “my people” from Five Minute Friday today and responding to our prompt: Praise.

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One of the most difficult months in my life was September.

I felt the arrows of the enemy piercing me around every turn. Bad news surrounded me and my anxiety levels returned to a scary-high level. I was worn out, scared, and overwhelmed.

But as I turned the page to October I decided to focus on the positive things in my life. Instead of expecting the worse-case-scenarios I began expecting good. Instead of cowering in fear I embraced change. Instead of making excuses not to spend time with Lord I decided to praise Him.

After all, He has given me so much to praise Him for.

Whenever I feel the wave of anxiety course through my body I’ve tried to list 5 things for which I am thankful and that has really changed my perspective. This simple exercise has helped me to combat fear in a logical way.

Today I am praising God for:

1. My beautiful family

2. Some exciting news in my family that I’m sure I’ll be sharing soon (no, I’m not pregnant!)

3. My job where I am able to make a difference EVERY DAY

4. My church family who love and support my whole family

5. My friends who let me vent when I can’t carry my burdens on my own and who love me despite my flaws

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Share: Five Minute Friday

As I stand toe-to-toe with the weekend I am excited to finally have some time to rest. I’m looking forward to staying home, tidying the house, catching up with family, and going to church. But for the next five minutes I’m focusing on one little word. I’m joining the Five Minute Friday crew and this week our prompt is Share.

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My six year old daughter loves AWANA.

Every week she dons her bright red vest, recites her Bible verse, and heads off to join her friends at church. In the past year she’s learned so much. She’s memorizing scripture, applying it to her life, praying everyday, and talking to her friends at school about Jesus.

For over a year she’s been seeking Jesus regularly. She knows more than I ever did at her age and I’ve known for a while that she’s going to do BIG things in the name of the Lord.

But this week as we sat down to go over her verse like we always do she came with a questioning heart.

Acts 16:31– “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”

What does it mean to be saved? What are we saved from? How do we become saved?

These questions all came right after her recitation. They had been sitting on her heart for days begging to be asked. And it was on Wednesday night that I got to talk through these things with my daughter. I shared the message of salvation with her. It was beautiful, yet simple conversation. And I sensed these things she’s been learning in her head transfer to heart knowledge. Knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus are two different things. That night, I saw that connection being made.

After our conversation she asked me if it was okay to pray and ask Jesus into her heart because she believed and wanted to be saved. With tears in my eyes I listened as my six year old girl prayed to God and in the most natural way asked Jesus to live in her heart and make her into a Child of God.

I wanted to share this with all of you. First of all because I am so proud of my beautiful daughter and the decision she has made to follow Jesus, but also because she asked me to share it with you.

When I dropped her off at AWANA she was bounding with joy. She couldn’t wait to tell the world.

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The Ameri Brit Mom

The Way of Abundance: A Book Review

Title: The Way of Abundance

Author: Ann Voskamp

Publisher: Zondervan

Copyright Date: 2018

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For the past sixty days I have journeyed through the pages of this devotional study on what it means to live a deeply meaningful life. Each of those days I opened the pages of encouragement and allowed the scriptures and wisdom of the author break my already broken heart a little more.

I’ve learned so much truth in this study. Things like:

-abundance is only achieved through the breaking and giving away of the heart

-giving away the heart helps the heart to heal

-a field must be broken before a farmer plants the seeds–likewise, we must be broken before we can experience growth

-helping others helps our own wounds

-the scars in our lives and on our hearts are just proof of the fact we have loved

I started reading this book while in a desperate state. The scars on my heart were fresh and bleeding, but the words of Ann Voskamp helped to bring me to a place of abundance. Living broken is counter-cultural. We live in a day where the world tells us to seek comfort, but a life of abundance is about risks. It’s about giving up pieces of yourself so you can experience what is to be put back together by God.

Of all the books I’ve read recently this one has made the most profound difference in my life. It has changed the way I look at turmoil and increased my desire to love everyone at all times.

Ann Voskamp has a way with words. And as the wife of a farmer she draws unique parallels between our hearts and the fields that she helps cultivate every day. Abundance takes work. A farmer can’t just sit back and expect that his seeds will yield crops. But, if he is willing to give himself to the promise of the field he will see the fruits of his labor realized.

Follow me on Goodreads to see what I’m reading next!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Spirit Week Outfits

Last week was Spirit Week at the high school where I teach. My goal was to participate (as I always do) without spending ANY money on my outfits. It was so much fun to coordinate with the themes chosen by the Student Council.

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Below is a look at what I came up with each day.

Monday: Superhero Day

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My husband had an old Superman shirt that he bought years ago at Walmart. I found it in his closet (it was an XL–which is even too big for him) and I tied it up to make it look less massive and more “cute.” I also wore cropped jeans paired with converse Sperrys in navy blue.

Tuesday: Tacky Tourist Day

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I wore a loud floral print shirt with khakis. I borrowed a floppy beach hat from my cousin and the Michael Kors fanny pack was bummed from a former student. To complete the look I wore strappy sandals that didn’t really match the colors in the rest of my outfit. This was probably my favorite of the outfits for the week.

Wednesday: Grease/College Day

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Our school’s annual college fair was scheduled for Wednesday night and so while the students were dressing like characters from Grease the staff was to wear college gear to promote the event. My sister recently moved to Canada to study at Brock University and she sent me this t-shirt so I could talk to my students about her school. I paired the college tee with army green pants and a cardigan with fall hues.

Thursday: Disney Day

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I joined a gaggle of teachers who dressed as dalmatians from 101 Dalmatians. I used my Cricut to cut out the spots and safety-pinned them to my white t-shirt. I put my hair in two high buns to make dog-ears. For my bottoms, I wore black leggings with shorts over top and black Toms.

Friday: Blue and Gold Day

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To show school spirit I wore a crew neck sweatshirt, blue and gold earrings, cropped jeans, and my navy converse Sperrys.

Which outfit is your favorite?

Go Vikings!

The Ameri Brit Mom