Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review of Fix by Force by Jason Warne

When I first read the description of this book, I knew immediately that I wanted to read it.  Here is the description: Drawn from personal experiences, this fast-faced story about self-image, relationships, choices, and sources of hope aims to speak to those readers who seek authentic and relatable characters they can identify with in real-life situations. Spencer doesn’t have a choice. He can't choose to be different than what he is—the son of the town's worst enemy, the weakling who can't stand up for himself, the loser without friends. He can't change the way things are. Or maybe he can. Spencer believes he needs to fix his life, and that is what the steroids promise—a quick fix.

The first thoughts I had were, that is so similar to the way I felt growing up.  I had some major self-image issues, because of a stepdad that was constantly telling me that I was fat and not worth anything.  I had relationship issues because I was scared of letting people get close to me and being hurt.  If I couldn't trust my Mom and stepdad to protect me and not hurt me emotionally, how could I trust others to not do the same thing?  I found myself turning to the misfits at school, because I was looking for acceptance anywhere I could get it.  

Looking for a quick fix, some way to forget about the pain for a little while made perfect sense to me as a teenager.  I never did drugs or steroids, but that could have easily been me.  I love reading books where the main character seems very real.  This one definitely felt that way for me.  

I loved the book and would recommend it to teenage boys and girls.  I will definitely recommend my son read it and have a conversation with him about it when he is done.  

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review of The River by Michael Neale

A friend of mine texted me a month or so ago and asked if I was going to read The River.  I had not heard of the book and really wasn't sure, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized Jennifer and I tend to be drawn to the same kind of books, so it would probably be a good book!  I am so glad that she texted me and let me know about this book.

The back cover states: “You were made for The River . . .”
Gabriel Clarke is mysteriously drawn to The River, a ribbon of frothy white water carving its way through steep canyons high in the Colorado Rockies. The rushing waters beckon him to experience freedom and adventure.
But something holds him back—the memory of the terrible event he witnessed on The River when he was just five years old—something no child should ever see.
Chains of fear and resentment imprison Gabriel, keeping him from discovering the treasures of The River. He remains trapped, afraid to take hold of the life awaiting him.
When he returns to The River after years away, his heart knows he is finally home. His destiny is within reach. Claiming that destiny will be the hardest—and bravest—thing he has ever done.

 It starts out with the author sitting in an airport and meeting Gabriel Clark.  Gabriel really wanted to share his story with someone and after the first couple of pages, you are so drawn into his story.  He grew up living near the river with his Dad.  The parallels in his life and my life, as a child that grew up after losing a Father way too soon, kept me riveted to this book.  I did not want to put it down.  The author tells the story absolutely beautifully.  The ending shocked me, but it turns out so amazing.  I would recommend this book to anyone.

I received this book from Thomas Nelson through Book Sneeze in exchange for my honest review.  I was under no obligation to write a positive review.  The opinions in this review are entirely my own.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review of Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan

Crazy Dangerous is not the normal book for me to read or review.  When I saw there was a new book by Andrew Klavan, I wanted to read it, though.  I have only read one or two other books of his, but I loved his writing.  He writes Christian fiction, but his books are not overly preachy.  I love that!  This book was a very quick read.  I think it took my two days to read it cover to cover.  My teenage son could not wait to read it when I was finished!  He actually purchased the book on his nook, because I was not reading fast enough for him!  

“You probably want to hear about Jennifer and the demons and how I played chicken with a freight train and—oh yeah—the weird murder . . . you’re definitely going to want to hear about that.”
Sam Hopkins is a good kid who has fallen in with a bad crowd. Hanging around with car thieves and thugs, Sam knows it’s only a matter of time before he makes one bad decision too many and gets into real trouble.
But one day, Sam sees them harassing an eccentric schoolmate of his named Jennifer. When Sam finds the courage to face the bullies down, he loses a bad set of friends and acquires a very strange new one.
Because Jennifer is not just eccentric. To Sam, she seems downright crazy. She has terrifying hallucinations involving demons and the devil and death. And here’s the really crazy part: Sam is beginning to suspect that these visions may actually be prophecies—prophecies of something terrible that’s going to happen very soon. Unless he can stop it.
With no one to believe him, with no one to help him, Sam is now all alone in a race against time. Finding the truth before disaster strikes is going to be both crazy and very, very dangerous.

Crazy Dangerous kept my attention from the beginning until the end!  I did not want to put it down!  Sam is a preacher's kid that falls in with a bad crowd.  I could really relate to him, because I also fell in with a bad crowd in high school.  I was looking for attention from anywhere I could get it because I felt like my parents did not have time for me.  So, the book really hit home.  I was very caught up in the story line and could not wait to see what was going to happen!  The main thing that I carried away from the book was Sam's mantra "Do Right.  Fear Nothing."  I have lived my life in fear and that was very encouraging!  

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson publishers through their BookSneeze program in exchange for my review. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Review of Empty Promises by Pete Wilson

As soon as I saw that Pete Wilson had a new book coming out, I knew I had to read it.  I'm going to be honest.  I loved Pete Wilson's book Plan B.  I listen to his sermons online when I get a chance.  I've even told my husband that if he ever gets an opportunity to move to Tennessee for work, that's cool with me, because I've got our new church picked out!  I have never listened to a message by Pete that left me wondering what God was wanting me to hear out of that message.  They always hit me right where I am.  They convict me and challenge me.

So, I was expecting his books to do the same thing.  I LOVE challenges.  I love for people to challenge my thinking.  I love it when something is explained in a different way.  So, the part of the back cover of this book says: "We all long for more of something in our lives.  In our endless pursuit to feel worth and acceptance we find ourselves sacrificing everything for the promise to be a little more beautiful, a little richer, a little more powerful and successful, a little more loved.".

I cannot tell you how many times in my life I have wondered, is this all there is?  Am I missing something?  I know that life is tough here on earth, but surely we should have some enjoyment and really be living instead of just existing.  As soon as I looked at the table of contents in this book, I knew Chapter Four: Addicted to Approval was going to be a really hard chapter for me to read.  When I was growing up, all I wanted from my family was to feel loved, wanted, approved of and accepted.  By the time I hit my teenage years, I felt like I hated them because they would not or could not give me that acceptance and approval that I so felt like I needed.  I realize now, after reading this book, that they could not give me the acceptance and approval that I thought I needed from them.  Only God can fill that void.  There were so many other chapters in this book that hit home for me.  Chapter Eight: Addicted to Beauty was one that I definitely did not see me in.  But I realized in reading that chapter that instead of trying to make myself beautiful, I tend to rebel by not wearing makeup, because of comments that my Mom would make about me leaving the house without makeup on as a teenager.

This entire book opened my eyes to idols that I had no idea that I had.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone that wants a deeper walk with God.  It is an easy read and very well written.  I received this book for free from Booksneeze in exchange for a review.  The thoughts on this book are all my own.

Getting to know the "real" me

This post is going to be transparent, which is something I have been terrified of being for as long as I can remember. If you are looking for feel good and fluff, you might want to look elsewhere for awhile. There's your warning. :) I thought my childhood was a pretty decent one when I was young. My parents were divorced, that part stunk, but I got to see my Dad for 24 hours every weekend, except for one a month. We didn't have much, but I don't have any terrible memories as a young child.

Then my Mom met my stepdad and my world changed. We never knew what kind of mood he was going to be in that day or even that minute. It seemed like every thing that I said was wrong, so I stopped speaking unless I was spoken to and had no other choice. When they got married, we went to a Justice of the Peace and I objected. At 8 years old, of course the judge told me that not liking the man wasn't a good enough reason to object. That was one of the very last times I remember voicing my opinion about anything growing up. If we stopped for a burger, even though I hated the veggies, it could not be made to order, because that would take too long. Or if my stepdad was cooking steaks, everyone had to accept a medium steak because that's how he liked his. In my mind, that was saying that my preferences did not matter at all. I was not worth waiting 5 more minutes for my steak to be cooked the way I liked it. The first time my husband's(then boyfriend) Dad asked how I liked my steak cooked, I had no idea how to answer. I was fifteen and had no idea that the way I preferred my steak was well done. All I knew was I didn't want it pink. I was almost in tears at that one simple question, because that made me feel like someone cared. Since losing my Dad at 13, I had not felt like another adult man had cared for me.

So, I closed down. I hid by reading in my room all of the time, only coming out when I had no other choice. I spent a lot of time in the bathroom sick and worried that something was wrong with me, because I had so many stomach problems.

Going to school became terrifying. If I was not allowed to share my thoughts and feelings at home, where I should be safe, how could I share them with people at school? I think I spent more time in the bathroom sick in junior high and high school than in the classroom and it was all because of anxiety. College was much of the same. I was terrified of just being me and no one liking me.

Then we had children and I put my first child in preschool. I mapped out every restroom between our house and his preschool and don't know how many mornings I would have to stop and get him out of his car seat and run into the store, hoping to make it before I got sick.

I have always hated this side of me. I hate talking about anxiety. I will never forget mentioning needing to see a doctor about depression and anxiety to my mother in law and she told me that I just needed to have more faith. That was all my problem was. I needed to read and study the Bible more and pray more. All I needed to do was trust God. That's easy to say, but my stomach does not hear those words.

Then we moved to Texas last July. My anxiety was out of control when I thought about finding a new church, a new doctor for me and most of all a new pediatrician for my children. I found a physician's assistant that I absolutely love. I explained to her that I did not feel like I had enough faith and that was why I was dealing with so much anxiety. It had progressed from stomach craziness to severe chest pains to feeling incapable of leaving my house some days. I will never forget my PA, Kellie, telling me that it's the opposite. It's not that I am facing anxiety because of not having enough faith, it is because God has a great plan for my life and the devil is trying to prevent those plans from coming to fruition.

A few weeks ago, I received Emily Freeman's newsletter in my inbox. I was just giving it a quick glance and saw a book mentioned by a name I had never heard of, Rhett Smith. I clicked on the link because it mentioned a book The Anxious Christian. All of my life, I have viewed myself as unworthy, not a good enough Christian and honestly disliked who I was, simply because of my anxiety. The tag line of the book says, Can God Use Your Anxiety for Good? When I saw those words, my first thought was no way! My anxiety paralyzes me. It keeps me from going and doing many activities, because of fear. What if I'm stuck in the bathroom sick and miss the whole concert or field trip or whatever I want to enjoy? How can God use that for His good? We don't open up our house and invite community in as often as we should, because of my anxiety. We were created to live in community and enjoy community, so how can my anxiety be something good?

Part of the back of the book cover says: "In our journey of faith there are particular moments that produce a certain amount of anxiety. Often anxiety and/or worry has been looked upon as an "un-Christian" feeling to have. But The Anxious Christian conveys the message that anxiety can actually be helpful in our spiritual formation, and that God can use anxiety as a catalyst to move people forward in their life of faith. In that movement, anxiety's gift is that it allows us to face our resistance and fears, understand where those fears come from, and then make intentional choices about important issues such as career, marriage, money, and our sprititual lives. It's time to get unstuck."

I have got to tell you that this book might have been one of the most life changing books I have ever read in my life. I have no idea how many books I have read, but I promise you, it is many. Just reading the foreword had me hooked. The first chapter had me in tears. I love that Rhett includes quotes from different authors in the book, also. It gave me some ideas of other books that I might enjoy reading. The best thing that I got out of this book is that I am NOT alone! The enemy wants to isolate us and make us ashamed of things like our anxiety and depression. No one likes admitting that they have issues with anxiety or depression, because some people do not believe they are that big of a deal. My mother in law likes to just say I'm a worrier and I just need to trust God. I do trust God. I know that He knows everything I am going to face. I know that He knows about my anxiety. I have a whole new outlook on anxiety after reading this book. I do believe that God can use it for my good. I do believe that that might just be the way that he is choosing to mold me and shape me into the person He wants me to be.

This entire book just felt like it was full of hope and encouragement. It was an easy read and I am a fast reader, but I found myself wanting to read this book slowly and really think and pray on each chapter of the book. I feel like God pointed me to this book during this season of my life. Anxiety is something I have seriously feared for at least 25 years. Chest pains have sent me to the ER, thinking I was having a heart attack. This book has taught me that anxiety is not something to be feared. God could very well be using it to call me closer to Him and to show me my calling. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone that has ever worried or faced anxiety in any form. It is very helpful and might be just what you need. I purchased the Kindle version, but I will also purchase the print version, because I want this book in my hands to go through again and highlight and write in the margins.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Review of Simple Secrets to a Happy Life by Luci Swindoll

I had the opportunity to read and review Luci Swindoll's book Simple Secrets to a Happy Life and I have to say that it was one of the most encouraging and uplifting books I have ever read. I had never read anything by Luci Swindoll. I had heard her name through reading about Women of Faith, so I expected a good book, but it far exceeded my expectations. It was so easy to read. I laughed through many of the chapters. There were so many tips in this book that I wish every mom or grandmother passed on to their children. The description of the book states: Is it possible to stay full of life, laughter, love, and the Lord through eight decades in this crazy world? Is that even realistic? Yes! There is hope, and Luci Swindoll is living proof. With heart and humor, this best-selling author and beloved speaker lays out the truths that can help us all become a little more creative, organized, healthy, and happy. This is not a complex prescription for how to become superwoman. These are simple secrets, the wisdom produced by years of walking with God and living well. We don’t need more tips for “having it all,” but we could all use insight on “having what matters,” and there is no better guide than Luci Swindoll. Luci has spent eight decades accumulating the stories, memories, verses, and practical tips that make up Simple Secrets to a Happy Life. Whether traveling the world or building life-long friendships, singing in the opera or working for Mobil Oil, every step has taught her a little more about how to love God, love her neighbor, and love herself. The result is both personal and universal. Organized into fifty short chapters, her reflections form a simple and profound outline for making the most of the lives God has given us. We could all use a little more joy in our lives, which means we could all use a little more Luci. Visit her through these snapshots of wisdom. You’ll find yourself drawn back again and again. I loved reading every single word of this book. I think it is one that I will save to read again when I'm needing encouragement and a different attitude. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone that is looking for encouragement or just wants to smile or laugh while reading a book. You will not regret reading this book! I received this book for free from Booksneeze, in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review of Radical Together by David Platt

When I first noticed the title Radical Together, I wondered if it was any different than the book, Radical. I read Radical as soon as it came out and fell in love with the book. My 13 year old read it as soon as I finished it. We were speechless. We started listening to some of David Platt's sermons and tried getting a feel for what he is doing in this world. I was concerned that I might find Radical Together boring, but that is far from the truth. The book was very well written and has a lot of detail not mentioned in Radical. If you are on fire for the Lord and are ready to stop pursuing the "American Dream" and do something for the world, I would strongly recommend this book! Here is a link to an excerpt of Radical Together: This book can change your life if you will let it. I received this ebook for free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange of an honest review. I read this book in it's entirety and did not have to post a positive review.

Review of God Loves Broken People by Sheila Walsh

I have to admit that I was super excited to see that this book was coming out by Sheila Walsh. I follow her on Twitter and have seen statuses about it coming out and I couldn't wait to read it! I requested the ebook from Booksneeze and I have to tell you that now that I've read the book, I wish I had the hard cover! I wanted to highlight so many parts of the book. I have faced some junk over the years making me a broken person and this book was so uplifting and encouraging! I did not want to put the book down, but at the same time, I never wanted it to end! I think I read it in three days. There are times that I look at the heartbreaking days of my life and wonder how God can turn it all around for His glory. This book helped me see that we are all here for a reason and everything we go through is for a reason. Maybe things won't be turned around for good for us, but if we can use what Satan meant as bad and help and encourage someone else, that is a good thing! I definitely think I will read it again! I would strongly recommend this book to friends. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Last night I owned up to the fact that I've been living behind a mask since I was 12 to my wonderful husband. I have been ashamed of some things in my past and terrified that he would leave, if he ever knew. Growing up, I was shamed for bad decisions and I have let that carry into my adult life. I am so thankful that God finally pushed me enough to tell him every last detail of my life. Growing up, there were so many secrets in my family. I accepted that as the norm, until I realized it was making me emotionally sick. We are meant to carry each other's burdens. There is a reason God wants us in relationships. My thankful list: 31. Grace when that is probably the last thing I deserved. 32. God tapping me on the shoulder and encouraging me, until I felt like I was going to explode if I didn't tell my husband everything. 33. The amazing peace I have felt today. I am not sure I've ever felt anything like it. 34. Hubby unexpectedly coming home early from work. 35. A contract on our house in Louisiana! 36. Hubby getting an offer on a permanent position here in Texas! 37. Only one more month of paying Cobra! 38. Our oldest having a fabulous time at a youth retreat this past weekend and making some new friends. 39. Trying out a small group from church and feeling like we belonged there. 40. Long talks with my brother.

Review for Bittersweet Surrender by Diann Hunt

When I saw the cover of this book, I knew I wanted to read it. There are chocolate, candles and a bath towel, some of my favorite things! I love long hot baths, scented candles and chocolate. I read the description of the book and was definitely hooked! It reads: Carly Westlake is living the dream. She spends her days at a spa (okay, so she owns the place), she's dating a hunk, and she's surrounded by chocolate—milk chocolate, her favorite—that she uses for the chocolate facials that made her spa famous. But when long buried secrets threaten Carley's business and her friendship with business-partner Tom, she fights like crazy to keep the dream—and the illusions—afloat. It takes a miracle of grace to get Carley to finally make that bittersweet surrender to love and real life. Growing up with a family that was all about secrets, I was really curious to see how the book turned out! You can guess what will end up happening in the book, but it's a great story. I loved every minute of reading it and was honestly sad to see it end! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an electronic copy of this book free from Thomas Nelson as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, February 3, 2012

Review of: Where Will You Go from Here? by Valorie Burton

Where Will You Go from Here? Moving Forward When Life Doesn't Go as Planned by Valorie Burton is a fascinating book! I received this ebook for free from Blogging for Books with Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange of a review. I usually don't like books that are from a coaching perspective, but this book had a lot of good points. We all face different things in our lives that seem to throw us into a ditch. For me, I have faced that feeling a couple of times. I am sure I'll face it more in the future! I loved how she shared some real life stories at the end of each chapter. I don't know about you, but I love reading about situations where people were able to resume their lives after having a major setback. It is very encouraging to me. I know that God works all things out for the good of His people, but the inspirational stories in this book helped me to see how people are coming out stronger on the other side of a crisis. I loved that. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone that is feeling down and out and doesn't know how they are going to pull themselves out of the ditch they seem to have fallen into. You can read an excerpt of the book here.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thankful Thursday!

The past few weeks have been rough and I have struggled with being thankful. I started counseling last night & it feels like a huge burden has been lifted off of my shoulders already!

Today I am thankful for:

A wonderful, hardworking husband that loves me, even when I'm at my worst.

Four beautiful blessings that fill my house with laughter!

My Keurig! I love flavored coffee & only drink a cup a day, so my Keurig is perfect!

The homeschool group we found in our little city. They are such a blessing to me!

Homeschool open gym gymnastics! My 4 year old loves being active & it's a treat for us every other week!

Squeaky shoes! I love the baby's squeaky shoes!

My beautiful house we found in Dallas. I love this house.

Hardwood floors! A bottle of cologne broke this morning & I'm thankful it was on hardwood & not on carpet!

Our church. My kids love it! Everyone is so friendly & welcoming.

Counseling. I had my first session last night & feel so much lighter than I've felt in a long time!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I read a description the other day of a coffee cup that looks beautiful and whole and flawless, but when hot coffee was poured into the cup, it shattered. That's how I feel these days. I smile. I laugh, sometimes a little too loud, because if I'm laughing, I'm not crying.

I'm sitting in a coffee shop alone, because I needed a break and I am struggling to hold in tears, because I'm alone! It's crazy! I told my doctor that I'm depressed & she said "You don't looked depressed!". She said I was smiling, laughing and joking. Have you ever heard "Fake it till you make it?". That's what I was taught growing up. I was told that other people have it much worse than I do. That is very true, but when did life become a scorecard? I don't believe that is how life is meant to be lived. Keeping score. What a joke!

What are your thoughts on keeping score of the good & bad that life brings your way?

My gifts:

21. A beautiful 16 month old baby girl that just started telling me "I love you!".

22. A 13 year old boy that still thinks its cool to hug his momma.

23. An 11 year old girl that comes to me about everything.

24. A 4 year old girl that is full of hugs & energy.

25. A hubby that let me escape to the coffee shop for some alone time.

26. That same hubby cooking supper while I am gone.

27. An iced snickers coffee with whipped cream and chocolate toppings.

28. A nice, big, comfy chair to relax in.

29. Crosses hanging on the wall right in front of me. Reminding me of Christ's love.

30. A beautiful home that is loud and filled with laughter.

Review of Mercy Come Morning by Lisa Tawn Bergren

I received a copy of Mercy Come Morning by Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange of an honest review of the book. This book is about a lady named Krista that returned home to try to repair her relationship with her mother when she found out she was dying of congested heart failure. Her mother has Alzheimer's and is unable to talk. This was a beautiful story about grace, forgiveness, love and mercy. The relationships portrayed are broken, but become whole again in the story. Krista and her high school sweetheart work through the past and get over hurts together. The story was very predictable, but beautiful at the same time. It was a quick, easy read. I would recommend this book to anyone that would love to see relationships repaired and how God fixes us along the journey.

Review of Max Lucado's The Lucado Inspirational Reader

I love Max Lucado's style of writing. It is straight forward, but so full of hope and inspiration. When I saw that Booksneeze was offering a book that contained snippets from many of his books, I couldn't wait to check it out. It took me a long time to read this book. I loved it and found it very full of encouragement, but I found myself needing breaks from it. Mr. Lucado is an exceptional author. He explains things in ways that I can easily understand. He provides so much wisdom in this book. There are Bible verses between the chapters and some stories of his own life. I would highly recommend this book to friends, especially if they are looking to read something encouraging! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Bella girl is 4!

I will never forget the day I found out I was pregnant with Bella. After a miscarriage and then being told I had PCOS then over a year of trying to get pregnant, we were ecstatic to find out we were finally expecting again! After labwork to find out how the pregnancy was progressing, we found out my HCG wasn't as high as it should have been. And it wasn't rising as quickly as it should have. My progesterone was also dangerously low. They started me on progesterone asap, but told me that there was no way to know if the baby would make it. It didn't look good. She hung on, though! I was a wreck and did not allow myself to become very excited about the pregnancy because I was so worried that I was going to lose her. Around week 11 my blood pressure started climbing and I had to be put on blood pressure meds. Around week 20 or so, I had to find a different OB, because mine went into an addiction treatment facility. My new doctor immediately reduced my work hours and told me to get more rest. Later in the pregnancy, he put me on modified bed rest and took me out of work completely, because of my blood pressure. He induced me at 38 weeks and I was in shock when they placed Bella on my chest. The entire pregnancy, I prepared myself for losing her. When she made it, I was shocked! God is so good! She turned 4 yesterday and has been such a light in our lives! She makes us laugh all the time. We are so blessed to have her in our lives! 1000 Gifts: 11. A wonderful birthday party for Bella filled with family and friends. 12. A safe trip to and from Louisiana. 13. Being able to visit with my brother. 14. Time visiting with Mamaw Shirley. 15. Irish stew in the crock pot when we got to Mamaw's house. 16. A warm bed at her house for the weekend. 17. Spending time with some friends I haven't seen since we moved. 18. Hugs from friends. 19. The smile on Bella's face when she saw her friends. 20. Friends praying for me on our trip.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Five minute Friday...

Before our move to Texas, I just thought I was really alive and enjoying life. Since the move, God has placed people in my lives to open up my eyes wide and really see the world for the beautiful place it is. There's that friend that gives me a hug, when I don't even realize I need one. That friend that says I've been there and it's ok to feel the way that you feel. That friend that asks how I'm doing and really wants to know. That friend that doesn't settle for the answer "I'm ok". There's that friend that asks "How can I pray for you?" and really means it. There's that friend that texts and says "I'm sorry I haven't been a great encourager this week", when she has a million reasons to not worry about other friends. There's that friend that asks if she can stop by to talk for 5 minutes. There's that friend that stands at her door and talks for an hour when needed. There's that friend that texts me to tell me she's proud of me and would take me out for a coke, if she was in town. Wonderful, eye opening colors that fill my world these days. God is so good and gives so much more than we could ever think to ask for. Vivid colors that fill my life and my heart to overflowing. STOP

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One word 2012

I'm just a little late(17 days, if we're counting), but I wanted to share my one word for 2012. I don't do resolutions. Occasionally I'll do short term goals, but I don't like resolutions. They've been the same almost every year for the last almost 20 years, so I feel like making resolutions is setting myself up for failure. I do love one word to focus on for the year, though. My word for this year is COURAGE. I've lived a lot of my life scared. Scared of not being accepted. Scared of ridicule. Scared of not being loved. Scared of failing. Scared of broken relationships. Scared of people that I love dying. Scared of pursuing my dreams. As I started thinking about something I wanted to focus on and change about myself this year, the word fear kept coming to mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 says For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline. So, if God does not want us to be fearful, I need to change that! I will be working on that this year and also working on cultivating an attitude of gratitude. I am starting my list of 1000 gifts on this post. I am thankful for: 1. A baby walking out of the room with an empty bowl on her face after eating popcorn. 2. Three of my kids looking for the fourth one that is hiding(playing hide and seek). 3. The sound of the dishwasher, washing dishes from a warm lunch. 4. The sunlight streaming in through my bathroom window. 5. My fourth child laughing loudly, because she was found. 6. An unexpected phone call from my brother this morning. 7. My mother in law blessing me with a huge, beautiful, expensive framed picture to go over my mantle. 8. My mother in law helping me to decorate my mantle, since I have no decorating sense. 9. A huge pile of clean clothes and towels that are overflowing the basket onto my bedroom floor, because that means we are blessed with clothing. 10. New friends in a homeschool group here in Texas. They have sure helped me not feel as lonely.

Review of Kay Arthur's As Silver Refined

I have to start this by saying that I had never read anything by Kay Arthur before. A friend of mine read this book and enjoyed it, so I decided to give it a try. In the beginning of the book, she mentions that God will never give you more than you could handle. I have to be honest, I completely disagree with that statement. The Bible says that God will never give you more temptation than you can handle, not that He will not give you more than you can handle. He does give us more than we can handle, so that we will lean on Him. After reading that statement, I did not want to read the book. I had to read it, though, because I agreed to read it and write a review. After getting into the book, I absolutely loved it. There was so much scripture and sound advice. I have struggled with us moving this year and the news about my brother being sick and this book really helped put a different perspective on everything. Mrs. Arthur states that every trial that comes our way is filtered through God's hands with love. How beautiful is that picture? Knowing that He lovingly uses trials to shape us. I have had a hard time understanding trials for most of my adult life. I was taught by a pastor that I sat under for years that everything good comes from God and everything bad comes from the devil. That doesn't line up with the Bible and was very confusing. I am thankful for books like As Silver Refined that are helping me understand trials. I would recommend this to friends that are going through any kind of trial in their life. Whether your trial is a job loss, loss of a loved one, loss of a relationship, etc. This book is very helpful in understanding that those trials are there for a purpose. I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange of an honest review.