#favoriteblogs #inspiringpodcasts #favoritebooks

Inspiring Blogs, Podcasts, & Books

As we continue celebrating one year here at Mandy and Michele ~ Just Holding it Together, I thought we might share some reading and listening that has been inspiring us this year. Check some of them out, you may like them as well.

Our Favorite Inspiring Blogs

Tammy Mashburn – is Redefining the Wilderness this year. She is a fellow chronic pain warrior so her posts really connect with me; however, you don’t have to have chronic pain to experience wilderness life. Tammy is always an encourager to others. If you don’t have time to read, she started reading her posts aloud.

Nan Jones – Another friend who finds hope right in the middle of the wilderness. Beautiful prayers every Sunday and life lessons during the week.

Living our Days – Michele Morin is “Gaining a Heart of Wisdom” and passing it along to the rest of us. She posts a beautiful scripture lesson on Sundays. Her book reviews during the week always include a life lesson she is learning from the book. I always go away adding “yet another” must-read book to my list.

Karen “Girl” Friday – I connect with Karen because she is a pastor’s wife and is passionate about mentoring women and discipleship that helps followers of Christ live with an authentic faith in real life. Her personal and ministry vision is to know Jesus more and make Him known. As I read her blog, I am connected more and more with her.

Podcasts & Talks Shows That Inspire Us

Emily P. Freeman – I read Emily’s book Simply Tuesday a few years ago and she really resonated with me. Largely because she was a pastor’s wife who had experienced some of the same trials as myself. But she is all about taking time to breathe. This is a must. Her most recent book, The Next Right Thing, I haven’t had a chance to read just yet. However, I am enjoying her podcasts.

Better Together TV Show on TBN – There’s nothing better than women getting together just to talk about life. Check out this daily program with a variety of leading Christian women’s speakers. They discuss faith, family, friends and so much more—no topic is off-limits.

Do It Scared® with Ruth Soukup is the podcast created to help you face your fears, overcome adversity, and create a life you LOVE. She interviews

Dale Jr. Download – My husband and son are NASCAR fans which makes me a follower. I enjoy listening to Dale interview the drivers each week with the guys. (Just a note here: Ladies, learn to enjoy what your husband enjoys. It will improve your marriage.)

Inspiring Books we recommend

I’ve been obsessed with anyone named Susie or Susannah this year. Susanna Wesley has always been a role model for me. I finally got around to digging a little deeper in her life this year.

Then Ray Rhodes came out with his new book, Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles H. Spurgeon. I had never read much on her or her husband but this book was highly inspiring.

Susie Larson’s Fully Alive – Probably the best self-help book I have ever read. Susie shares from her own life to show us those hidden areas in our life that keep us down. This is a must-read for everyone. I have also been following her on Facebook. She has the most inspiring Morning and Evening Blessings and FaceBook Live events.

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Happy Thanksgiving from Mandy and Michele

Remember hOW wE gOT hERE

We wish you great happiness during this Thanksgiving holiday, a day of remembrance that is fast losing its importance in our society. But we encourage you to take time to stop and remember why we celebrate. Just as God instructed the Israelites to stop and remember the events that He performed down through the ages, we also, must stop and remember how God was involved in bringing these United States to this point.

Stop and remember How Christopher Columbus was brave and determined to cross the ocean, Remember how the pilgrims risked their lives to leave Europe and come to this new land for freedom to worship, remember how there were native Americans who were kind and reached out to teach the pilgrims how to survive and others that served as guides into this new land. Remember how we became a new nation and created a constitution that would create a new form of democracy where the people could be involved in making the decisions of the land. And how we needed to learn how to treat others and how ALL men were created equal. Remember that we didn’t always do the right thing but that we are still working to treat all men equally.

Remember in your own families how God has brought you through hard times. How he has blessed your family through the generations. Think of all the things that he has blessed you with. And praise Him for it.

Today Michele and I want to remember and share a few things from our own family memories. We love for you to share in the comments about your own traditions and memories of Thanksgiving and the blessings God has bestowed upon you.

Thanksgiving Traditions

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together again

Together Again

Together Again

You enjoyed our story page so we decided to do another post together. These are actually fun for us too since we live 1,411 miles apart. There have been many times we wish we could be together in the same place to share a cup of tea or coffee.

First, let’s tell a bit more of our stories.

We are both committed Christians and serve the Lord with all our hearts. So we thought it would be nice to share our personal testimonies. How we became sisters together in Christ.

MICHELE:  I have to give credit to Mrs. DeYoung, Orange Kool-aide and Grahm Crackers. Ok, so you’re probably laughing, but seriously…Mrs. DeYoung taught 5 Day Club and the after school Child Evangelism program. She asked one day if anyone wanted to invite Christ into their life and I raised my hand.  Afterward and she asked me “why?” I wanted this salvation.  I told her because I wanted to stop fighting with my brother.  She said that was a good place to start but she was getting at the part that I needed a savior because I am a sinner- thus the reason I wanted him for stopping the fighting :).  Man… faith as a child is so simple, isn’t it?!  Then from there life kinda just rolled along until I had some hard family stuff and as I senior in high school I made a public confession of my faith.  God was very real to me as I struggled with what was going on. But mostly the most pivotal point in developing a relationship with Christ was going through infertility treatments, followed by the adoption of our daughter Gabrielle and then the move to Minnesota.  As believers, we are never done growing, stretching and rediscovering.  I am a piece a work!  A work in progress! Amen.

MANDY:  I have a great heritage of Christian parents and grandparents that extend at least five generations. In ’71, my grandfather passed from this world. It was that summer at family camp, Sebring Holiness Camp, That I heard a fire and brimstone sermon. I was 9 or 10 at the time. My friend and I had spent most of the week sitting in the back on the tabernacle. There was a rotation of evangelists and the one this night was not our favorite. But this final night on a hot July Sunday, I learn that hell was a real place and just because my parents knew Christ and I went to church every Sunday, did not save me from my own sin. IT may have been that death had become a real thing to me since grandpa was really the first death in the family that I experienced. It might have been that I just didn’t want to go to a fiery hell. Either way, I stepped out of the bench in the back and walked down to an altar and prayed for Jesus to be Lord of my life. And that was the “End of the Beginning” for me! Since then I have re-committed myself to the Lord a couple different times but this was the day I got saved. I have moved forward with God ever since that day. Attending Christian college, really confirmed my decision. It was the place that my parents’ religion became my faith. You can read more on my memoirs blog.

Favorite Vacation Place

Alright, suppose we were to plan a vacation together. Where would you suggest that we go? What are your favorite get-away places?

MICHELE:  There are so many cool places to go. The Rockies! The Florida Keys or a cabin in the Black Hills!  I love nature, its quiet beauty.  Let’s just sit and be quiet, have a great lunch, talk about some good reads.  Discuss what may be challenging us in our life and walk with Christ and have great conversations around verses in the bible that have meant so much to us.

MANDY: The mountains! our family usually run to a cabin in the mountains whenever we are able to get away. It is so beautiful there and such a relaxing place. Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge is most common for us. However, we have loved a chance to go to Branson as well. Both places are very family oriented.

THIS OR THAT GAME

Shopping – in-store or online?

MICHELE: I do lots of shopping online.  But I love, love, love to clearance shop at Kohls!  I wish they had a food court so you could get a quick bite and then back at bargain hunting!

MANDY: Definitely online! I didn’t get the shopping gene that is prominent in the women of our family. Perhaps because my mom took me with her and I would always get so tired. (Probably the  beginnings of chronic illness). Or perhaps because of the time Mom left a cart full of items at the cashier’s because they wouldn’t accept a check for over $100. How embarrassing!

Museum or movie theater?

MICHELE:  Museum.  I just enjoy looking, thinking and being in my husband’s company and not having to talk- which I am sure he so appreciates!

MANDY: I like the museums too. Just walking and looking with my husband is wonderful. When Mike and I pastored in Milwaukee we enjoyed a myriad of museums from history to art to children’s museums. On Mondays, most of them were free to the public. We took a lot of Mondays to go stroll through them. I loved to just walk and read the informative plates. Awesome.

Guitar or piano?

MICHELE:  Love piano.  Took lessons for a good year or two.  I still love to plunk around just for myself.

MANDY: It depends on if I am playing or listening. As a youth, I spent hours on end playing the piano. I had to give me my pianos in this last move because we had to downsize extremely. I so miss the piano but I do get to occasionally play the piano at church with the praise team. Playing the piano releases stress for me. However, so does listening to my daughter play her guitar. She would sit in her room and play her music. I miss that now that she is married.

And now, What you’ve been waiting for … The Giveaway

prize give away

pine slice ornament created by Michele will customize if desired.

Christmas GiveAWay Stocking

Pair of Crocheted Decorative Christmas Stockings made by Mandy

The Winners are Melissa Henderson and Kathy Dawson. Congratulations!

 

Mandy & Michele

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