Friday, January 31, 2014

"Shadows of the Past" {a review}



In Shadows of the Past (Logan Point Book #1): A Novel, Taylor is a profiler and a professor at a local college. Nick is an author looking for his brother. Their paths collide when a stalker targets Taylor as she begins to investigate her father's disappearence. When their journeys take them both home to Tennessee, their unlikely friendship blossoms into something more. Until Taylor announces she thinks she wants to be a cop. Will Nick end everything over his fear of losing someone else?


This was such a fun read. I didn't expect the ending that came at all. The mystery of it all will keep you coming back for more. I did find some parts a little unrealistic BUT it added to the suspense throughout. There were also a few unanswered questions at the end of the book, so the author will revisit these characters again. I did like the fact that the characters never lost their identities and stayed true to themselves. In some cases a character will start off as a strong independent person and by the end of the book be a damsel in distress who can't do anything on her own. Not this story though. I also realize that there is a story to be told and that therefore somethings have to be rushed, but I felt like Taylor and Nick's relationship was a bit thrown together at times. Overall though, this is a fun read with a suspenseful story line that a mystery fan will enjoy.



**I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own. 

"You're Going To Be Okay" {a review}

I am truly honored to say that the amazing Holley Gerth is a friend and mentor of mine. She is of course amazing and one of the sweetest, honest, lovely people in the world. But before I met Holley, she was one of my favorite authors. It started with You're Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be, it continued with You're Made for a God-Sized Dream: Opening the Door to All God Has for You, and it keeps going with You're Going to Be Okay: Encouraging Truth Your Heart Needs to Hear, Especially on the Hard Days.


In Holley's latest book, "You're Going to be Okay", she addresses the hard times in our lives. I can tell you that reading this book is just like having Holley in the room talking to you and helping you through whatever is going on. In the last year, I have actually heard a lot of this from Holley. In a very real, very loving, very encouraging way, Holley reminds you that no matter what, God is there. God didn't leave you. And most of all, because of God, you can do this. You will be okay. Circumstances don't define you. They change but you will will be okay through all of this. On page 16, Holley says, 

"Your circumstances may change, but who you truly are remains forever the same. Your identity is eternally secure in Christ."

I am seriously considering writing that one phrase on several surfaces in my home just as a reminder. I will be okay. That no matter what is going on in my life, God and Jesus have this- I will be okay. 

I want you to have these words for yourself. I want everyone to have Holley's words in their lives. I really urge you to go and buy this book today. 


**I received a copy of this book through Revelll publishers in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own. 

Oh and just for you. This is Holley and I at Allume 2013. We are on the last day of Allume and I am exhausted but Holley looks amazing. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Online Community Groups CAN Change Your Life

Photo Credit- www.incourage.me


Have I ever told the story about how I met a woman names Kayse Pratt? In the fall of 2012, (In)Courage started online community groups through Facebook. I quickly looked for a group and joined Marriage and Mommyhood. Kayse was one of the leaders. And we started emailing each other. She is married to Jonathon Pratt and they live in California. We quickly became friends and have even had to convince people that we are not related- we just met and became friends through these things called Community Groups. We went through 2 sessions together and even became a part of the "Dream Team" together. I have had the honor and joy of reading both her books she released in 2013 and I am looking forward to her book coming out this year. Then last summer she asked me to take over the Marriage and Mommyhood group because she felt the need to step down. I prayed about it and talked about it and I accepted. So this past fall I led the group with my friend Tonya. Now here we are on the verge of registration (hint, hint- TODAY!!!!!) and I am again leading a group with a dear, dear friend- Mel! Mel is another dream sister and she is amazing and I am soooooo excited to be leading this session with her.

Community groups have brought friends into my life that I would never trade and cannot imagine my life without. The encouragement and support these women give is unmatched in my life. So here's what I want you to do. I want you to head over to the community group sign up page (ladies only- sorry guys) and find a group. There are groups for everything. These leaders are wonderful women with a passion for encouragement. There is no judgement in these groups and they are all based on a shared faith in God. 

So find a group, join them, and watch your life change and become fuller. REGISTRATION OPENS TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What are you waiting for????? Click HERE today!


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Compassion Bloggers Trip Happens NEXT week!


Follow the Compassion Bloggers in Uganda
The wonderful bloggers with compassion are at it again. They are on their ways overseas spreading God's word and his love to children in Uganda. This is the 5th year that Compassion has done this trip and they are doing things a little differently. They are only stopping at two centers so that they can spend more time at each place. They are also setting a goal to get 400 new children sponsored during the trip. So if you have been putting it off now is the time to sponsor a child. Find out more about the trip by going to www.compassion.com and reading along with the bloggers on the trip this year.

So here's what they really need from you- prayer. Prayers for safety, for open hearts, and for the message to be there for everyone.

Want to sponsor a child? Click right HERE and find out how!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Behind the Scenes- When The Fighting Stops

It's Tuesday and that means that I am linking up with Crystal Stine for Behind the Scenes. Behind the scenes is where we pick a picture- taken yesterday or 10 years ago- and tell the story behind it. Not the perfect Facebook version- the real life version. So here goes!

I actually did take this last night. The older 3 boys all started back to public school last week. The were in school for a week and then they had a 3 day weekend. I am in shock how after just one week of them being gone all day, having them home threw me for a loop. It was constant fighting all day. As in a couple of busted lips and a couple of broken toys fighting. So I told them all to take a bath and get ready for bed around 7 thinking that an early bedtime was just what the doctor ordered. About 7:30, I look over from where I was sitting on the couch and see this. These two, who had been at each others throats ALL DAY, playing a game together on Josh's DS and taking each other's pictures. For the next 30 mins, you would never have known the all day fighting had occurred. (I sent them to bed at 8.) It almost made the whole day worth it. Not quite but almost. The blond one still has trouble coping with the fact that brunette stole his baby of the family status- 4 years later. But moments like these lead to the hope that he is getting over it. And that little brunette uses that bigger blonde one as a punching bag everyday. But there is one thing about it- in the end, they are brothers and that is better than anything else in the world to all of them.



Linking up today with Crystal Stine and the Behind the Scenes crew.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Shop With A Purpose- Clothed in Love

I have a friend named Delonna. Delonna is one of the sweetest women you will ever meet and she has a heart the size of the world. Delonna makes this amazing jewelry and sells it online at her Etsy store- Clothed in Love. But Delonna doesn't make this jewelry as a way to make money for herself. She gives 50% her proceeds from the HANDMADE jewelry to orphans. So when you buy from her you are also supporting orphans in Ethiopia. (She just added 4 more to the list!)

Back on Black Friday I made my first purchase from Delonna. I bought a pair of Mad Hatter earrings and a ring. I love them both. I wear the earrings a lot so chances are if you know me outside of the blog and have seen me recently- you have seen her handy work.

Delonna is re-opening her shop this Saturday, January 18th for a Winter Wonderland sale. She has been showing some of the merchandise for the sale on her Instagram account. I am excited to see what else she has in the store. So if you like to wear handmade jewelry, stock up on unique gifts for family and friends, or just like to support great causes, I encourage you to head over to her shop and buy, buy, buy!!!!

photo credit- Delonna Gibbs/ Clothed in Love



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

(In)RL 2014

I am a huge fan of (In)Courage in case you have not noticed and it is honestly one of my favorite things as a blogger to be involved with many of their programs. I am a community leader for their community groups, I read their blog at least 3 times a week, participate in the Bloom book club, AND attend their awesome Beach House Retreat from the comfort of my own home yearly. So, of course, I am super excited to introduce you to (In)RL 2014!



(In)RL is all about building community and encouraging others. The first year, I hosted an event that no one came to, last year I hosted a one woman show because we were in the middle of moving and yard work, but this year it is on like Donkey Kong! (Once again I date myself.) I am so excited to be planning this event in my home and to be inviting ladies to come to my home and have coffee with me and watch the stories of 30 women and what community has done in their lives. And to share with each other the importance of community in our own lives.

Won't you join us and head over to register for an event in your area or to host one of your own. Let's make this the biggest year yet! Head right here to register for an event near you or even to have a one woman show.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Creating Community- Behind the Scenes

Photo Credit- Photobooth at Allume 2013
Community is an important part of life. Community is what builds you up, encourages you, and who you can turn to when you are in a bind. Oddly enough, the community that does that more than anyone else for me- these girls right here. Most of us had never met in real life- as a matter of fact we met on Facebook. We were part of the same groups, a part of the same team that encouraged us to dream, and sisters in Christ. Then October of 2013 we walked into hotel rooms and we were instant sisters in real life as well. We created a community of strangers who will now turn to each other when we won't turn to others. We created a sisterhood of dreamers. We became what community is- a network of woman (or men) who have each others backs, who will pray no matter what, and who will tell each other like it is. We don't tend to hold back. We share the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful.

When something happens, instead of calling someone local, I now tend to jump into our Voxer group or our Facebook group and go to them first. Because within seconds I have someone praying or encouraging me without a lot of judgement. I also think that since we don't see each other everyday, sharing is so much easier because you don't have to worry about it changing how someone looks at you when you admit that you are struggling with something. Because this girl right here is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and that is a problem with my "local" community. So I turn to the safety of a sisterhood and a community. God knew what he was doing when he gave me theses women.

Speaking of community- head on over to www.crystalstine.me to link up with the Behind the Scenes community.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Creating An Awareness- End Bible Poverty


My one word for 2014 is Create. And with that I want to create an awareness for causes that are spreading the borders of God's kingdom past just the small town where I live. So today I want to tell you about End Bible Poverty. I know that I have told you about them before but here's where I throw in the New Year's Resolution twist.

What a great goal it would be if you could buy 1 Bible for someone who doesn't have one. Just one Bible. And that's where you can go to www.endbiblepoverty.org. One Bible in one year. Or hey, start a campaign. Then you and your friends can raise money and buy even more Bibles this year.

By putting a Bible in the hands of someone, in a language that they can read, you are reaching someone. You are spreading God's word. You are spreading the borders of his kingdom. Just one Bible. I think that we can all make that happen. I know that it is a goal in our house this year. Next month I am going to start a campaign to raise money with End Bible Poverty and the Seed Company to put more Bibles in the hands of others.





Monday, January 6, 2014

Chasing God- a review

Have you become so caught up with chasing God that you forget that he is already beside you? I know that there are times that I have. I already had this book on my wishlist so when Icon Media contacted me about reviewing it for them I jumped at it. I love Angie Smith. I eagerly awaited this book to come in my mailbox. And as soon as it got here I started reading. (Then I had to stop because we had company coming from Canada and I had to get the house ready. But as soon as they left I was back at it.) No matter what subject matter Angie is writing about, she makes perfect sense to me and it just resonates in my heart. "Chasing God" is no different.

 

 In "Chasing God", Angie Smith talks about chasing God in your life and performing the actions of being a good christian without having the actual heart and knowledge of a good christian. Confused? Here's what I mean. We all know how "good" christians are supposed to act. They go to church, they read their Bible, they never seem to struggle. So we do that. And while yes, some of it has merit, there is also the fact that we tend to say to ourselves that we are being a better christian because we are doing this and that and we are trying to chase after God while doing it. What we need to realize is that God is already there. We don't have to "keep up with the Jones'" to be the "good" christian we think that God wants. We just need to read his word, study it, pray to him, and obey his commandments. We don't necessarily have to fit into the "worldly" view of what a Christian is. We tend to be so caught up in what the world tells us that we forget what God actually did for us and so we lose sight of Him.

 "We will never know God without first recognizing our need for Him. I hasten to say the larger the gap between what He actually did for you and what you believe he did for you, the more likely you are to continue chasing Him." 


SO head out TODAY and get this book. Read it. Realize which parts of you are chasing God instead of being with God. Read your Bible and get to know him and what he did for you. This would be a great group study as well.

**I was provided with a copy of "Chasing God" through Icon Media in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.**

Friday, January 3, 2014

I am a Homeschooling Failure

I had such high hopes for homeschooling. It was going to go perfectly smooth and their would be no problems anywhere. I was a bit delusional. Instead, I had a year that went fairly well and I was actually looking forward to this year. Then this school year started. No one wanted to do the work. No one wanted to sit still long enough to accomplish anything and my mom stopped keeping Miles 3 days a week so that we could actually get some work done. So I failed. I am throwing in the towel. I am sending them back to public school as soon as they open back up after the holidays. I won't lie- there will be a happy dance performed when they get on the bus that first day. So here is to spending the next week getting them re-enrolled in public school and buying bookbags.

Miles and I will certainly enjoy the quiet our house offers from 6:15 AM to about 4:30 PM since they will also be riding the bus to and from school. Except apparently on tennis days since I have to provide transportation for the oldest one to and from practice. Only 10 more days and I will be a stay-at-home mom only and not a homeschooling mom as well.

So that whole failing at this venture thing is really not bothering me. You know why- because my children and I do not have the discipline or personalities that work all that well at doing all of this stuff together. I will definitely miss the flexibility of long weekends and all but hey only one kid at the house all day. And you know what- he starts school fall of 2014. I think that I am happy to fail this. Happy that my children will be happy and happy that there will be a return of calm and peace in our house.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Start the Year Reading

We all know that I love to read and that I love to share those books with you. I have two books today to start off your new year.

First up is a work of fiction by Lynette Eason.

 
 In "No One To Trust", Summer wakes up one morning to find a man in her room threatening her and to find out that her life is full of lies. With all that she loves threatened, she embarks on a series of dangerous adventures to help find the truth and bring down the bad guys.

If you like Mary Higgins Clark, you will definitely like this book. The suspense stays steady all the way through the end of the book. And in the end there is that necessary twist to make a mystery novel shine.

And second there is a great new book on entertaining by Karen Ehman and Glynnis Whitwer.

In "Everyday Confetti", Ehman and Whitwer take you through a whole year of celebrations. With ideas for special occasions and just to spice up an ordinary day, I definitely enjoyed this book. I also liked that there are recipes throughout (because I love to cook- just hate the clean up.) This is a great gift for anyone that you know who likes to entertain or as a bridal shower gift.


**I was provided with a copy of these books through the publisher in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.

**Affiliated links used.