Finding God in the Routine

I’ve always had a problem with the monotony of motherhood: the I-do-this-everyday sameness of meals and laundry; the watch-setting consistency of household tasks. As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, so will my laundry basket full.

But in the last couple of years, I’ve tried to embrace the rituals of motherhood and home managing. I want to see God’s hand in all of it. I know God’s ways are to use the ordinary means to offer his grace. He’s a God of bread, water, and fire, after all. He has taught us much and shown us much through these basics of human existence.

He probably has something to tell me through filing coupons, scraping dinner plates, and navigating the school car line, huh?

Well, friend and author Jen Seger is a few steps ahead of me in the sanctification process. Her new book, Routine Revelations, is a touching collection of these types of moments all mothers experience. Jen humorously takes us through the ups and downs of motherhood as she reflects on the ways God teaches her his truths during the routines of everyday life.

Routine Revelations is not only about errands, school projects, and church; but it is also about God’s love, forgiveness, and faithfulness. How many of us mothers have said that parenting shows us more vividly our sin and God’s mercy? How many of us know that—having been a parent—we have a new dimension of understanding for the ways our heavenly Father loves us? Jen beautifully weaves all of these themes throughout the forty-six short devotions in Routine Revelations.

I found myself chuckling, nodding my head, and whispering, “Amen, sister!” throughout this delightful book. I’m certain her insightful writing will resonate with you, too. It’s an easy “pick-up/put-down” kind of read (perfect for busy moms!) but leaves you with something to “chew on.”

Need a book for the beach or a long flight? Need a hostess gift or Christmas (it’s never too early!) gift? Want to brighten your best friend’s day?

Get Routine Revelations by Jen Seger.



Jen has graciously offered an autographed copy of Routine Revelations to a reader of The Writer’s Block!

The contest runs from Monday, July 5 through Monday, July 12, midnight (central time). One winner will be chosen using from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified no later than Wednesday, July 14.
To enter: You must complete #1. You have the opportunity to earn SIX additional entries, but you must leave a separate comment for each one completed. 

  1. Leave a comment here telling me about your most challenging aspect of motherhood.
  2. Subscribe to The Writer’s Block.
  3. “Like” The Writer’s Block on Facebook.
  4. Follow me on Twitter.
  5. Leave a comment on Jen Seger’s blog (any post)
  6. “Like” Routine Revelations on Facebook.
  7. Follow Jen Seger and Routine Revelations on Twitter.

Disclosure: I received no monetary compensation for this review. The author donated one copy of the book, Routine Revelations, to me for review and then to offer as a giveaway for a reader chosen at random. 

Don’t miss a post! Subscribe to The Writer’s Block now.

March Movie Madness! ~WIN Whip It!~

I’ve never been into the basketball playoffs that make up “March Madness.”

But movies? Now, I can get into movies.

I’m celebrating my own version of March Madness at The Writer’s Block with some terrific movie giveaways this month.

First up: Whip It.

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small commission 
on my referrals that result in purchases. 

Whip It is Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut. It’s an engaging story about a teenage girl who’s trapped in a small Texas town with a pageant-crazy mom and a weak dad. Ellen Page (from Juno) stars as Bliss Cavender, who finds her passion in roller derby. 
If you like “coming of age” films (think Sixteen Candles), you’ll enjoy Bliss’s story. If you like movies about the small town guy or girl looking to make a break for the big city (think It’s a Wonderful Life), you’ll have fun watching Bliss become the star of roller derby in the big city of Austin, Texas. 
Ellen Page’s acting is terrific, and Drew Barrymore is to be commended for a solid start as a director. I haven’t been on roller skates in several decades, yet I found myself wondering if I could skate roller derby. Hmmmm. Me? On skates, knocking other women down and taking nasty spills myself? (Are you laughing? Is that laughter I hear?)
I don’t know. There’s something kind of curiously attractive about being tough like that. And the fact that the movie causes me to even think in that direction? Now that’s good storytelling. 
A few warnings: I would not recommend this film for children (it’s not appropriate for “family movie night”). It’s full of cursing and vulgar slang terms. Bliss lies to her parents; there’s underage drinking, and obvious and implied sexually intimate scenes. It’s rated PG-13.
You can win a copy of Whip It on DVD. Just leave a comment, telling me your favorite “coming of age” film or “small town kid who wants the big city life” film. If you tweet this post, come back and leave another comment, which means you’ll get two entries. 
The contest will be open through Monday, March 8, at noon. I will use to choose three winners from the comments. 
I can’t wait to read your comments and find out some of your favorite movies! And I look forward to helping you win your very own copy of Whip It.  
Whip It is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. 
Disclosure: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment provided me one copy of the film Whip It on DVD in order to facilitate this review. I received no other compensation for my review or this post. I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small commission on my referrals that result in purchases. 

Movie Lovers: Visit the Netflix Holiday House and Enter to Win a Gift Basket From Netflix

Long before my kids were born, I worked for a Nashville publishing house. I loved my job and my creative co-workers, who happened to be movie fanatics.

We had a great time talking about our favorite movies and quoting scenes to one another.

Eventually, we swapped our lists of our “favorites,” even to the point we’d ask job candidates during interviews to name their favorite movies. I thought it was a lot of fun, not only to relive some memorable cinematic moments but also to discover some new movies and learn a little bit more about my friends.

So, as a nod to my former co-workers, I want to hear your top three favorite movies. Just comment below AND (here’s the best part!) …

When you do, you’ll be entered to win this AWESOME gift basket from Netflix with autographed CDs from Julianne Hough and Jennifer Hudson plus the following Netflix-branded items:

  • slippers
  • two luggage tags
  • one messenger bag
  • business card holder
  • soccer jersey

I’ll bet as you read through the comments, you’ll find some titles of movies you’ve never seen or you’d like to see again. Netflix can help with that!

Leave at least three favorite movies (more if you’d like) in the comments and you’re entered to win the basket.

Earn additional entries by:

  1. Tweeting the contest with this link
  2. Posting the contest with this link to your Facebook profile

(Please come back here, though, and leave a comment for each, saying what you did).

The contest will be open until midnight, December 21st. Winner will be announced Tuesday, December 22nd.

And because you asked (and because there’s NO WAY I could ever limit myself to just three), here are my Top Ten Favorite Movies (in no particular order):

  1. Gone With the Wind
  2. Cinema Paradiso
  3. Moulin Rouge
  4. It’s a Wonderful Life
  5. Waiting for Guffman
  6. Memento
  7. American Beauty
  8. Rope
  9. The Sixth Sense
  10. The Matrix

Visit the Netflix Holiday House

Nashville shoppers are in for a special treat.

The Netflix Holiday House is open today, December 17, at Opry Mills Mall in the Food Court. As Blonde Mom Blog says, you’ll probably just want to move in!

At the Holiday House, you can take a break from shopping, have a snack, and try out Netflix-ready devices for instant streaming of TV episodes and movies.

Take a much-needed break from the crowds and craziness and visit the Netflix Holiday House at Opry Mills today. You’ll get some great gift ideas for the movie lover on your list and learn about new ways to enjoy your Netflix membership.

Compensation disclosure: I have not been compensated for this giveaway but did agree to participate with other Nashville bloggers on this promotion. I agreed to do it because I thought it sounded like fun and am really excited for one reader of The Writer’s Block to win this great gift basket.

Movie Lovers in Nashville: Come to the Netflix Holiday House!

Come See A Variety of Holiday Gifts for the Movie Lover

Nashville-area shoppers are encouraged to rest their weary feet in one of several rooms at Netflix’s Holiday House in the Opry Mills Mall. Lounge in the family room, a child’s bedroom, a teen’s hideaway, the media room or in the kitchen to instantly watch TV episodes and movies streamed from Netflix.

Not sure what to get the movie lover on your list?
Need a moment or two to rest during the frenzy of shopping?
Want to try before you buy?

Visit the Netflix Holiday House on Thursday, December 17, at Opry Mills in Nashville

The Netflix Holiday House features all the comforts of home from comfy couches, recliners, and beanbags, to hot cocoa, cookies, and popcorn.

Each room is equipped with Netflix-ready devices including the X-Box 360, PlayStation3, TiVO HD DVR, Roku Digital Video Player, and LG Network Blu-ray player, providing shoppers with the opportunity to try this holiday gift before buying it for a loved one.

WHERE: Opry Mills Mall – Food Court
433 Opry Mills Drive

WHEN: Thursday, December 17, 2009

AND … make sure you visit The Writer’s Block on Thursday when I’ll be giving away an AWESOME Netflix gift basket! More details will follow. That’s just a little teaser for now.

Another Cool Contest!

Lindsay at Suburban Turmoil has an awesome giveaway going on right now! You can enter to win a mobile Internet device, the Viliv X70EX.

Lindsay describes it as a pocket computer with all sorts of capabilities—email, movie-watching, basically anything your laptop or desktop can do.

Enter here and while you’re over there, check out some of Lindsay’s posts. She’s funny and real and she’s a Nashvillian.

WIN! A Perfect Gift for Grandmothers this Christmas

If your family is like ours, choosing gifts for the grandmothers is always a bit daunting. These two great women, who love our family so well, have everything. They have jewelry and clothing, appliances and tote bags.

What do they not have?

Authors Pam Ferriss, Susan Kelton, and Kathy March have written a new devotional book for grandmothers,
My Grandmother Is … Praying for Me.

Well, they don’t have a brand-new devotional book written by a trio of grandmothers, called My Grandmother Is … Praying for Me. (One of the authors, Pam Ferriss, is a good friend of mine and has been a sweet spiritual mentor to me for ten years.) And I’m telling you, any grandmother in your life needs this book! Don’t miss the opportunity to bless the women you love with the heartfelt and compassionate wisdom of these ladies.

My Grandmother Is … is a beautiful hard-cover book that takes the reader on a journey through the Book of Proverbs. Each page features a brief devotion for each day of the year. The devotions include a selected Proverb, a prayer, and an application of the devotion.

My Grandmother Is … is written from a grandmother’s perspective and is intended for a grandmother (though anyone who has a relationship with a child would enjoy this devotional). The application items are suggestions for grandmother and grandchild to spend time together learning the Proverb. Each month features a different character trait (such as wisdom, self-control, and honesty) with appropriate verses assigned to each.

The book is a beautiful keepsake that is also practical and accessible. The type is easy-to-read in a crisp, attractive presentation. The devotions are bite-size nuggets, perfect for even the busiest grandmother. As a writer and editor, I am so impressed with the breadth of creativity. In writing 365 devotions, prayers, and applications, these ladies never disappoint, always giving fresh and interesting treatments to each day, with appropriate content.

Most importantly, this book is a must-have guide to one of the most often neglected aspects of our Christian lives: consistent, focused, and intentional prayer. The grandmother who uses this book as a prompt for prayer can be assured God hears her and will answer her.

What better gift could you give your kids’ grandmothers this Christmas?


Visit the website to find out more about My Grandmother Is …, the authors, and to purchase copies.



Win a copy of My Grandmother Is … Praying for Me from The Writer’s Block and the books’ authors.

It’s soooooooo easy to enter.

In the comments section below, tell me:

1. Your favorite verse or passage in Proverbs OR a creative way that you pray for loved ones.

To earn additional entries to the contest:

1. Post this contest link to your Facebook page.
2. Tweet this contest link on Twitter.

(Be sure to come back here and put in a separate comment for each additional way you enter. For example, you’d make a separate comment that says, “I posted to my Facebook page,” if you do so.)

The contest will be open until Sunday, December 13, at midnight. You may enter daily (all three ways once per day).

Winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 15, by noon.

Compensation disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book, My Grandmother Is … Praying for Me, for review purposes from the authors. The authors contributed a second copy to give away to a reader.

Love the Wiggles? Win Some Tickets!

A fellow Nashville mom blogger, BlondeMom Blog, is giving away FOUR TICKETS to this weekend’s Wiggles concert. Wanna win? Enter here.

Changes Coming to My Blog

So, I’m getting all creative lately as I become more and more obsessed with my blog. I’m still trying to decide how it should fit into my life because, well, you know, I have a home and a husband and 3 kids and a dog and 4 part-time jobs. But my hope is that I can figure out how to blend it in so that it serves me (emotionally, professionally, creatively), rather than the other way around. Oh, that’s the story of my life …

Three great posts on blog writing, by the way:
1. Blog Content Before Traffic by Michael Hyatt
2. Blog Content, Respect, and Responsibility by Gina Haskett
3. The Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging by Sonia Simone

Anyway, I bought the domain name, that now points to my blog. Yay! I’m also playing with some design ideas because it’s fun. As I switched over my domain name, I lost some links and comment posts and I have no idea why. But if you previously entered my contest, you are still entered. Your name is just not showing up.

It is not too late to enter the contest for the Melaleuca giveaway.

Back-to-School Giveaway! WIN! WIN! WIN!

Koala Pals School Days Set

Start the Year Right by Going Green and Switching Your Home to Melaleuca Products

It’s back-to-school time. What better way to get your little ones ready than with these fabulous products from Melaleuca??? The children’s vitamins will keep their minds sharp and energy high. The bubble bath is sweet-smelling without the use of harsh chemicals.

Did you know that most brand-name children’s soaps and shampoos contain chemicals that irritate delicate skin and scalp and have been linked to long-term illnesses? Parents should think twice before reaching for Johnson’s Baby Shampoo or Gerber’s Grins and Giggles products.

If you want to convert your home from toxic chemical cleaners and toiletries and you’re ready to “go green,” contact me at my blog, The Writer’s Block or by email at maryb1517 [at] gmail [dot] com. Melaleuca products are an affordable, effective, and safe alternative to supermarket brands.

OK. Here’s how to win the Koala Pals School Days Set:

1. Leave me a comment below. (If you are reading this on Facebook, click on over to my blog to leave a comment.) Nothing specific at all; it can just be “hi.”

2. Tell your friends and blog readers to enter, too.

That’s it! I just want to see who’s out there, I’d love to meet some new readers, AND I’m always excited about getting Melaleuca products into the hands of moms.

Contest ends Monday, August 17 at midnight. Drawing to be held Tuesday, August 18. I’ll announce the winners here on Wednesday, August 19.

Tell your friends.
You’ve got ONE WEEK.