Mentoring Moment :: You Have What You Need



You have what you need.  I am thinking here about wisdom for living.  Being a friend.  A wife.  A mom.  A neighbor. Just being YOU. You have what you need to live.  You just have to receive it.  But let’s go back a few years ago to a conversation I had when I was stressing out about raising teens.

My mentor spoke some wise words to me when I was wondering what books she would recommend to me to read about raising our teens.

Her words kind of took my breath away.

“You don’t need another book, Leslie.  You have what you need.  In the scripture.”I remember thinking, Whaaaatttt?  But I have so many books, and so many of them half-read on my night stand.

The other part of me thought. Yes. She is right. Again.

We are all into simplifying right? So how much simpler can it get than to search God’s word for wisdom in raising your kids?  It is all right there.  And, if you have joined me in the One Year Chronological Bible reading, you will get to it all in 2016.  It is all right there, divided into 365 beautiful bite-sized pieces.

Now I don’t think she was saying that we never read a book about kids or spiritual life or whatever.  But the crazy, frenetic pace of life that I was in and thinking that just one more book would have the answer to all my questions was just not true.

She encouraged me to trust that the Lord could speak to me through His Word and to have faith that the Holy Spirit could speak to my spirit and give me what I needed for the everyday.

Another mentor, just a few months ago, challenged me that I needed to study scripture with my Mom Heart group.  She asked me what we went through when we got together and I told her a book about marriage or kids, or sex or spiritual life.  She looked squarely at me and with no hesitation said,

“You need to be teaching those girls that they can get into God’s word and study it for themselves.  Teach them they don’t need to go through a study or another author.”

She was very firm. She always was.  And I have thought and thought about her words.  They are true.

You have what you need in the word of God.

So. I am telling you gals; I am passing on what I learned- You have what you need.

Spending time in the Word is all you need for life and godliness.  You have what you need, gal. There are wonderful Sursees waiting in God’s word for you today.  Let me know what you find.

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword, and piercing as fas as the division of soul and spirit , of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.




Reading the Chronological Bible in 2016 :: Finding the Sursees

morning and night chronological bible

Y’all have heard me talk about reading through the Bible using the Chronological Bible before, I know.  But I just have to toot its horn one more time. I have received some emails/messages from friends about how do I do it over and over OR what do I do when I read through it again; so I thought I would share a few ideas about how to make the Chronological Bible reading work year after year.

Let me just start off and say that I love reading through the Bible this way.  It weaves the stories together and you feel like you are reading a novel.  For instance, when you are reading through the stories of David in Kings and Chronicles, you also read through the Psalms. When you read through the Gospels you read all the versions of the miracle back to back.  When you hit Acts, you read the Epistles that match with what is happening in Acts.  Love.

The  deciding factor for reading this version of the Bible was the first year I read through it and hit Leviticus.  Now that is not the most scintillating book, but I was struck with the repetition of the phrase,

I am the LORD your God.


Chronological Bible

Over and over I read that and underlined it. I was encouraged by God’s reminder to them that He was their God and then His instructions would follow.  I need those reminders that He is who He says He is. That He is looking out for me.  We all forget don’t we?  Thank you, Leviticus, for the reminders.

So here are some tips for reading through the Chronological Bible.  Hope this helps.

I mark it up.

I underline passages that speak to me and write a notation for the year. Like thisShowing the years in my CB                                           It is amazing when the next year I read and I see my underlining and think, “I don’t even remember that!” Or, I put another  year marker by it because it still speaks to me.

I also grew more bold and wrote bigger in the margins with things that I wanted to remember.  Like the word GRACE or Thankful for this.  This year I plan to get some of these


Chronological Bible-4

to draw a little in my Bible.  I know there is a whole world of Bible journaling out there where people decorate their Bibles.  Going to try a little of that.

I Write it down

I buy a little journal or spiral notebook to keep with my Bible, and I write the date for the day in it and write longer thoughts about my reading.  Just something that causes me to think or a question I have, or a praise for something I read.

I Look it Up

When I am in the Old Testament and have a question about something in Ezekiel, I look up the passage in one of my Bible commentaries and read what a scholar has written to try and understand what I am reading.  I also have looked on the internet in John MacArthur’s website at his sermons that correspond with the passage and listened to that during the day. Dallas Theological Seminary also has resources that I have used to try and understand some of the more difficult books.

I ask a Question

I have several gals who are reading through the Bible with me and sometimes when I get stumped, I email or text them to ask my questions.  They are so helpful to respond and tell me their thoughts or questions.  Love that idea of community and reading with a group of gals.  It also like a little accountability group for me.  I know they are reading, so I keep on plugging through, too.

I tell a Friend

In my little community of Chronological Bible Readers, I will often share a verse that meant a lot to me in an early morning text.  I love the connection I feel with them when I do that and they share randomly with me.  Really makes me feel like part of the Body of Christ. Like I am not alone out there reading.

I also use texts to send out to gals that I mentor when something has jumped out at me.  I will make  a visual and send it out.  I use the You Version Bible app because it lets you highlight a verse, copy it and text it.  It also lets you put a pretty background on it and send as an encouragement.  I love the feeling of connection I get when I do that and I hope that it encourages the gals that receive it.

I use the Kindle version when I travel

Instead of lugging my big Chronological Bible around on a trip, I use the Kindle app and have downloaded a version so that it is at the ready.  I found this was easier than trying to read it on my phone with just the Bible app and my notes about where to read.  A lot of times the Chronological Bible skips around between different books and it makes it hard to do that on the Bible app.  I am all about easy and the Kindle version of the Chrono Bible is easy.  Now, I will say, it is not the same translation as my hardcopy  Chrono Bible.  I don’t worry about that. At all.  I just read the day that it is and go on.

I do not stressed if I get behind

If I do get behind, I just read a bunch of days when I have the time.  I also have just skipped to the day that I am living.  I figure that I will read it all again next year and will catch the days that I missed then. God just wants me to spend time with Him and wash over my brain with His Truth.  I think He gets it when I get behind, and I have learned to not sweat it.

Join me?

So will you join me this year?  Let me know in the comments, and I  will add you to my community of gals reading through the Bible.  It is such a great, great way to read through the Bible and be encouraged.  Let me know if you want to join…I am reading the older NIV  Tyndale version, but you pick the version you want and we will mostly be together.  Let’s look for Sursees together.

I have to say a big thank you to my friend, Paige, who introduced me to this wonderful Bible several years ago. She encouraged me to give it a go and I have loved it.  xoxo




Books That I Am Reading :: A Fall Reading List

I love reading, and I usually have about twenty-thousand books that I am reading.  At the same time. You, too?  I have a huge stack on my night stand, by the phone, on my Kindle, and in my Creative Room.  I guess I feel like buying and stacking books equals- Reading.  I think this is why I never have anything in the menu drop-down about what I am reading- because I never finish any one book!   I just keep starting a new one.

I think that is why I love the idea of a Kindle.  You can have all different kinds of books on the Kindle and be ready for what ever you are into at the time when you have a minute to read.  Kid literature? Check.

Mystery.  There.

How-to or Christian living?  On the Kindle.

With my Kindle it is easy to flit back and forth between genres and not be worried.  Especially when I travel.  No more wagging a thousand books in my carry-on for all the whims of my reading.  Now it is all on the Kindle.

But, now back to  what am I reading right now.   I am reading this book by Linda Dillow with my Mom Hearts.

Satisfy My Thirsty Soul

Satisfy My Thirsty Soul is great book on getting to know God and worshipping Him.  One of her thoughts is this:

A good definition of worship is: an active response to God that declares His worth.  Linda Dillow.

Excited about what we are going to learn about worship together.  Will share along the way.

I am reading this next book because I love kid literature, want to review it here on Sursee Gal, and felt like I needed to refresh myself on the story; it is so magical and good.  More on Gone Away Lake later.

Gone Away Lake

(Finished it, by the way, so I get a gold star!)

Speaking of enjoying kid lit made me think of this author and book which I am also savoring.

Happier at Home

She is the first person who admitted to loving kid lit as an adult.  I am so there, but was embarrassed about that.  Wanted to like the big grown up stuff, which I do, but I also enjoy a good children’s book.  CS Lewis says it well when he writes:

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

Gretchen Rubin started a book club for Children’s Literature.  What a wonderful idea.  There are so many great children’s books that I would love to read again as an adult.

Oops, I got off subject which happens when I start talking about reading.

This book, Happier at Home,  is all about her journey of dedicating a year to make her home an energizing and calming place.  I like reading through her ideas of how to do that and am inspired with the little Sursees she shares.  Go check it out and start your own Happiness Project.

So this What Books I am Reading  post is all about variety and the spice of life.  It is all about starting one book and picking up another.  It is all about finishing what you start.  Haivng a goal.  Enjoying the ride.  It is the this and that approach to reading that I love and why it is so hard sometimes to tell you what I am reading.  Stay tuned for more Books I am Reading posts where I smush them all together for an awesome Sursee.

What are you reading right now?  Do tell.



Read through the Bible in a Year

Whew…things have been fun and crazy and busy around here.  I purposefully pursued Christmas with the family and decided to put the blog on the back burner- BOTBB-

So as I perch here on the edge of 2013 and peer into the blank wildness of 2014, I am reminded of one thing.   It is almost time to start my  One Year Chronological Bible. I keep wanting to write about this, but other things press in and I think, later I will tell all.  Well it is later, and I want you to know this is the best, best, best way to read through the Bible.

It begins on January 1st in Genesis 1:1 and ends up on Dec 31 in Revelation 22:21.  IMG_3606

Reading through the Bible this way has been life changing for me.  A friend had recommended it to me a few years ago,  saying it was like reading a novel, and I thought, sure.  But, she was right!

As you read through David’s life, you also read through the Psalms he wrote.  So beautiful to see how these interact with each other.

The letters of Paul are interwoven throughout the reading of Acts.  The Gospels are all together, so sometimes you read an account of Jesus healing someone or performing a miracle three times.

When I read through some of the Old Testament books, they sprang to life as I saw God’s faithfulness to His people or read about His reminders to be holy, over and over.  I saw new patterns in passages that were familiar to me.  IMG_3611

The other aspect I like about reading through the Bible this way is the community I feel with other gals who are reading it, too.  Sometimes we text each other if we have questions or comments.  Sometimes we just talk about an amazing verse we read that pierced our hearts.  I like sharing with these gals what the Lord is teaching me.

I have tried reading through the Bible before with a reading plan and always failed.  Mostly because I got behind in my reading and then gave up.  I also didn’t like how you read in the Old Testament, New Testament and a Psalm…seemed disjointed to me.  This Bible has nice reading chunks that are very doable and has the date in the Bible so you always know where you are.  And when I do fall behind,  I play catch up over the weekend.  IMG_3608

I really started seeing the flow of scripture in my reading and how it all related to one another over the year.  It really was like reading a novel, with real people and a real God who loved me and was showing me how He has always been pursuing me.

I bought the Tyndale One Year Chronological Bible on Amazon.  With two day shipping, you could start with me on Jan 2!  Get some gal pals to read with you and form a community.  You will love it!IMG_3614

You will see the Word of God in a new way and fall more in love with Him.  What a great SURSEE and a great way to start 2014!  Ready?


Thank you, dear Paige, for introducing me to this wonderful Bible!

What I am Reading Now :: A Fine Romance

A Fine Romance by Susan Branch



A wonderful read


Oh my, is this ever a delightful book.  Now you have to understand I am a Susan Branch-o-phile.  I have her calendars, scrapbooking supplies, garlands, stickers and more.   I have even been to Martha’s Vineyard and stood across the street from her white clapboard house, willing her to come out.

Susan, are you home?

Susan, are you home?


Susan Branch Backyard

I heard the chairs calling my name, “Leslie, Leslie!”

I also longingly looked in her back yard and thought for a moment, I might steal a nap in her Aidorondack chairs….but I didn’t and I am still in the depths of despair over it.

Maureen, my partner in crime  in Susan's driveway

Maureen, my partner in crime, in Susan’s driveway

But back to the book.  This is a wonderful travel diary of Susan Branch and her hubby, Joe, as they travel in style across the Atlantic and then all over  England. She fills it with her winsome watercolors and stories about the charm and Britishness of all she sees.


I want to paint like this!

I loved how she took her paints and her knitting and sometimes found time to knit by a pub fireplace or paint on a dreary rainy day while she waited out the bad weather.


she writes in her own handwriting- not kidding!

The book is filled with her wonderful watercolors and illustrations and chatty conversation.

You feel like you are on the trip with Susan, and she is such a good travel companion.  She talks of what she sees and tastes and lets you know all her thoughts. I wanted to go on the  trip with the Bear after reading the book.

Susan talks of  ideas and thoughts and captures your imagination.  I had to force myself to read in bite size pieces because I didn’t want to finish it!  She includes recipes and travel plans and maps and all that you need to go on your own trip of trips.


recipe for butter cookies

So look over here on her website and purchase for your favorite gal-pal.  It will be a SURSEE she won’t easily forget.  Or make sure you put it on your wish list or gal, why not go out and get it right now!  SURSEE yourself!

Do you like reading travel literature, and if so, what are your favorites? Do share.

Happy New Year!

Here it is 2013, and here I am thinking about resolutions and plans and schemes.

Boxed up Christmas today.  Felt good and it looks great.  Something about the year changing makes me want to get Christmas down and put up.  Did it, check.

Started my new Ann Voskamp devotional.

Started my Chronological Bible again.  Genesis 1:1.  Love it.  Love reading through the Bible like a novel. More about that later.

Bear and I are starting a project that I gave to him for a Christmas present.  The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  Starting today.  Has 12 chapters and each chapter has an overall theme with smaller goals in it.  We each have a journal and will read the book and then discuss and try to work on the goals for the month together.  I am excited.  More on this project later. (Imagine a picture of the book here.  Can’t get my Iphoto to work.  Ugh.)

Just had to check in and write- another goal for this year.  Plus, Number 2 son is blogging, too.  And he said he wrote something today.  So, I decided I needed to write, also.

Looking forward to 2013 and all that the Lord has for me.

Thanking Him for the gift of writing and the sursees waiting to be discovered this year.