The Best Yes by Lysa Terkuerst.

This post is part of Lysa TerKeurst’s “The Best Yes” Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE.

The Best Yes blog tour at www.thesoutherninstitute.com

Does the quote above speak to you in any way? It does me. Maybe this sounds familiar: You have a hard time just being still. Your day consists of you rushing from one thing to the next. You feel guilty taking any time for yourself. When is the last time you just sat and read a book for the fun of it? Before you know it, it’s 11:30 p.m. and you realize that you haven’t even stopped to spend time with God today. You haven’t cracked your Bible open or uttered a word of thanks to Him, outside of the dinner time and bed time prayers that were spoken with your children. The day is ending and you wish you had about 8 more hours because your to-do list is no where nearly checked off and you feel completely drained and empty, falling into bed, exhausted, and yet your mind is still going 100 MPH thinking about what you need to get done tomorrow.

Does any of that sound familiar?

“When a woman lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule, she’ll ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.”

How has this played out in your life? Does your soul feel underwhelmed? Yes? Here’s the thing…

“The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul.”

Did you see that? It’s an eye opener isn’t it? Life doesn’t just happen to us, at least not the majority of the time. The decisions that we make determine the schedule that we keep. If I haven’t made a point to carve out time with God in the morning then guess what? It ain’t happening, because there is ALWAYS something else fighting for my time and attention. Always. And I let it. And I let it win more often than I should. I’m left overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

This book is about finding your best yes.

Lysa TerKeurst is learning that there is a big difference between saying yes to everyone and saying yes to God. Because really, when we say yes to everything we are saying no to something, right? Is that implied “no” the very thing that is your best “yes”? I can’t answer that for you, but The Best Yes just might be able to help you figure that out. In The Best Yes Lysa will help you:

-Cure the disease to please with a biblical understanding of the command to love.
-Escape the guilt of disappointing others by learning the secret of the small no.
-Overcome the agony of hard choices by embracing a wisdom based decision-making process.
-Rise above the rush of endless demands and discover your Best Yes today.

I have not even gotten to the end of this book yet and it’s already got me thinking in a new way. Whenever I read a book from Lysa I feel my soul saying, “Yes! You get me, Lysa. Thank you for putting into words what I haven’t been able to verbalize. Thank you for helping me think through this!”

Here are some more great quotes from The Best Yes:

“We must not confuse the command to love with the disease to please.”

“We have to put our hearts and our minds in places where wisdom gathers, not scatters.”

“If you desire to please God with the decision you make and afterward it proves to be a mistake, it’s an error not an end.”

“My imperfections will never override God’s promises. God’s promises are not dependent on my ability to always choose well, but rather on His ability to use well.”

“Not making a decision is actually a decision. It’s the decision to stay the same.”

New York Times Bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst’s new book is about finding your Best Yes. Many call this book “inspiring” and “fabulous.” I call it a game-changer. Go grab a copy here, I’m going to go read my Bible. ;)

On friends and sunglasses.

Firmoo review atwww. thesoutherninstitute.com
Last year turned out to be a pretty great month. I turned forty years old… FORTY! Do you remember the fundraiser for Enchanted Makeovers that I posted about? Maybe you contributed! If so, thank you so very much, because you were one of the many that helped me reach my goal of raising $1000 for that amazing non-profit organization. Because of our coming together there will be hope where there was little hope before. I’m so excited about that!

Earlier this year I had told my husband that my fortieth birthday wish was to go away for the weekend with my two best friends, and my sister if she was able. So, I decided to make it happen instead of just wishing about it! We found a weekend in July that would work for all of us, I rented a beach house on the coast of South Carolina, and we hit the road. Sadly, my sister wasn’t able to come with us.

Folly Beach sunrise

We had the best time, just three 40-year-old girls who were college roommates and have been best friends for 20+ years. We listened to 80′s music, we laughed, we cried, we laid out on the beach, we went out to eat, and we relaxed. It was exactly what we needed, a time to catch up without kids and husbands, just like we used to. It had been years since we had time to spend together like that. I missed it. It’s so important to nurture the relationships in our lives. In this online world it’s easy to get caught up in the social worlds of Facebook, IG and Twitter, but please don’t neglect the real life friendships that you are blessed with. They are a gift.

Folly Beach South Carolina

Funny story about the trip. I brought my favorite sunglasses with me, of course, because they go with me EVERYWHERE! Seriously. I don’t really like wearing contacts so I wear my glasses almost all of the time, but I’m also out and about a lot. I wear my prescription sunglasses most of the day when I’m out. My first pair of prescription glasses were from Firmoo.com. Yes, they were huge on my face, but I loved them! The picture at the top of the post is of my daughter and me in my beloved Firmoo sunnies…

So, my besties and I were enjoying a cool off in the ocean. The waves were rolling in, no big deal, they weren’t that big. Silly me, I turned my back to the waves, and I bet you can guess what happened. Oh my goodness, I never even knew what hit me! A wave hit me from behind and put. me. down. All of the sudden I was underwater and had no clue for a few seconds which way was up. Thankfully I had only been up to my waist in the water, so I found the ocean floor pretty quickly and emerged from the water, sputtering. That dang wave had knocked my sunglasses right off of my face. Needless to say I never saw them again. LUCKILY, Firmoo had just emailed me the week before to ask if I wanted to review a pair of their new glasses, and of course I agreed. Could the timing have been more perfect? I think not.

Firmoo review at www.thesoutherninstitute.com

So here I am in my new prescription sunglasses from Firmoo.com, and I’ve already gotten compliments on them. People are shocked when I tell them how inexpensive they are and that they are prescription sunglasses. You really cannot go wrong with Firmoo. Especially if you are prone to losing your glasses (who me?). You can even take advantage of their First Pair Free program and get your first pair of selected frames free! Even outside of that offer, the average price of frames is only about $33! Some of the prescription sunglasses are a bit more, but frames are still $80 or less. So go take a look and see if something catches your eye. I bet you’ll find a pair that you love.

Just don’t wear them in the ocean.

I received my sunglasses free of charge through Firmoo’s blogger program, but I would gladly pay for them myself! All opinions are honest and my own, as always.

iPhone Photography: the visual guide. Review and Giveaway.

You all know that I love to take photos.  I used to take them with my DSLR… that was before I got my iPhone.  My poor Canon sits and collects dust most of the time now.  I pull it out when I’m taking photos for a tutorial or when we’re taking family photos.  Let’s get real though, lugging that bad boy around in my purse is just not convenient.  My iPhone on the other hand…

What in the world did I ever do without it???

Seriously!?!  I use my iPhone camera each and every day, at least several times a day, and if we’re buddies on Instagram then you already know this.  How could I not with kids as funny and cute as mine, LOL!  I have always loved to take pictures, ever since I was a teenager really.  I come by it honestly, my dad is the same way.  I remember how exasperated we would get on family vacations, waiting for my dad as he stopped to take photo after photo of flowers and landscapes.  Now I am that person!  The iphone has changed my life as far as my love for photography goes.  I can document our daily lives, all of the sweet moments with my kids, the funny things that they do, things that inspire me… I always have my camera with me and it fits in my pocket.

I’ve just finished reading iPhone Photography: the visual guide, by Alli Worthington. You may know Alli because she is one of the co-founders of the amazingly successful Blissdom conference.  Have you gone?  It’s amazing!  Did you know that she is also an accomplished eBook author? Her eBook iPhone Photography: the visual guide is a really great tool for anyone who is trying to figure out the whole iPhone photography thing.  Alli likens her book to a cookbook… you can skip around, pick it up, put it down, read it however you want.  It’s full of colorful images that were all taken and edited on an iPhone and it’s broken down into easy to read sections:

  1. Tips for taking the best pictures with your mobile phone
  2. Wisdom from the experts
  3. All about Instagram (I love me some Instagram!!!)
  4. The toolkit
  5. Backing up your pictures

The tips are useful without being technical.  The tips from the experts are helpful… I learned a couple of things that I will apply today!  I use Instagram several times a day (ok, I’m addicted to it) and even I learned something new in the section about Instagram.

 from iPhone Photography: the visual guide

I have to tell you that my favorite part of the book was the section called “The Toolkit” where Alli writes about her 10 favorite apps to do it all on the go, and she should know… this girl travels a lot!!  Part of the fun of my iPhone camera is all of the apps that are available.  I could fill my phone up with them, but I try to keep it to several that I know I will use.  Sometimes this means downloading several, playing with them for a few weeks and deleting those that don’t get much use.  The Toolkit listed some of my faves, but it also introduced me to several that I immediately downloaded and cannot wait to start using!

This book is a great investment if you want to learn how to better your iPhone photography skills.  Right now you can get it as part of The Ultimate Homemaking eBook Bundle.  It normally sells alone for $9.97, but this week only, you can buy Alli’s book as part of the eBook bundle and get iPhone Photography plus 96 more eBooks and eCourses for only $29.97, plus you get $140 in free gifts!  

 from iPhone Photography: the visual guide

Alli has kindly offered up a copy of her book to giveaway to one lucky Southern Institute reader!  This giveaway is open to anyone who can download a pdf file and will be open through Saturday night.  Enter through the Rafflecopter widget below!  Many thanks to Alli for writing a fun and informative book and being so generous!

a Rafflecopter giveaway