Saturday, March 29, 2014

I've Never Been to Vegas, but my Luggage Has

Catchy title eh? I love it when titles catch me off guard, don't you? 

Mandy Hale is the author of this fabulous book titled "I've Never Been to Vegas, but my Luggage has." 

This book is hilarious, yet filled with losses of love, faith, friendships, mishaps, wounds and anything else that happens not only in everyday life, but for a single woman. This book is told in a sassy, fun, yet relatable way, which connects the reader to the story. 

This book will having you laughing, if not crying at some of things she says because she instantly grabs your attention from the start. She's real, authentic, fresh and just funny. I really recommend this book to someone in their twenties or early thirties. Perfect for someone who is in college trying to navigate faith, dating, relationships, while trying to develop morals. Even if you're looking to redefine your morals or start again, this book is a great place to laugh at the mistakes you've made and move forward. I love that this book covers a variety of topics, but love in the end that Mandy encourages the reader that she does not need Mr. Forever to be happy. If you happy to find him, it's awesome and that's just icing on the cake, but your faith, friendships, values and integrity are more important than any relationship.

Thank you Thomas Nelson for allowing the opportunity to review this book. I was not compensated for a positive review.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Broken Kind of Beauty

A Broken Kind of Beautiful written by Katie Ganshert is a novel about a twenty four year old model named Ivy Clark.

Ivy starts modeling at the age of fourteen, where she learns that appearance is the only thing that truly matters. Her uncle takes her to New York to help Ivy grow a career in the modeling industry, where she becomes quite successful. However, this success doesn't lead to happiness on the inside for Ivy. It leaves her lonely, empty and feeling broken on the inside, meanwhile the outside doesn't reflect her true feelings.

Ivy believes she is beautiful on the outside and she knows that is important because that is what she is been led to believe for the past 10 years. She is always used to be treating a certain way by men and is used to the way they look at her, like she is an object, not a person. She knows they look at her for her looks and they don't see her heart. She just flaunts her beauty and doesn't expect anything else. They really don't care about who she is and frankly, she wouldn't even know what it would be like for someone to see beyond her looks.

A Broken Kind of Beautiful: A Novel

However Ivy's perception is challenged when she agrees to go to South Carolina to start modeling her stepmother's wedding gowns. She encounters Davis Knight who is the photographer and will be taking her pictures. He however isn't just interested in her looks, he see's beyond her physical beauty and really wants to understand her heart. He wants to know what lies on the inside of her. Ivy isn't used to this kind of attention and is attracted to him, but cannot understand, nor is certain if she wants him to know her heart.

Davis also has a personal journey through his photography that he works through in this story, after putting down his camera for a couple of years, he returns, which is where he meets up with Ivy.  I love how his personal journey is tied into Ivy's story. 

Will these two individuals find they valued beyond their trades? Will they find a love story? Will the two end up together? Or will they see that their true value is the love found in God? The only way to know how the story ends, is to read it for yourself!

Thank you Waterbrook Press for allowing me to review this book! I truly enjoyed it! It was fantastic! 


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Weigh in Thursday

This morning I weighed in and I couldn't believe what I weighed! I was shocked! 
I can't believe how much I continue to drop. It's a beautiful thing! Let's keep this progress! Remember your beauty is not defined by your weight. I am not obsessed about my weight, but I can't believe how much I continue to drop.
This morning we woke up to more snow and let me be real, I'm tired of this snow!!! I can't wait for SUMMER!!
We have some awesome things happening this summer. I can't wait to share these things. 

Drew and I will be working this weekend on some stuff before we can tell you some BIG things!!

My father in law had heart surgery on Tuesday. He had a valve replacement.
His heart surgery went well, and the valve replacement went great. He was able to do it robotically, which was less invasive. I'm super excited for him and hope this will help him feel better. If you could keep him in your thoughts and prayers as he recovers, I appreciate it!

How's your Thursday going?


Monday, March 24, 2014

Runner getting her groove back

Friday, we hit 50 degrees and I finally decided to hit the pavement. It was glorious! 
The wind was rough at times, but I could careless! Look at that SUNSHINE!!!
Yes, it's actually grass! I couldn't believe my eyes either. Who would believe under the mounds of snow we have grass. It's ugly, but at least it's there.

If you look to the right, you can see snow. Eventually, it will melt away, but I'm just excited to see the grass and sunshine!

3 miles complete! My time was awful, I felt like a complete slug and even though
I've lost a lot of weight, I've lost a lot of muscle. I can tell that my muscle in my calves has been compromised, but have no fears because I think SPRING is here!

Wahoo! I'll take it. I hope to continue my running streak.

Did y'all get any good runs in this past weekend??

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Weigh in Thursday + Taking care of your Whole Person

This morning I weighed in and honestly I wasn't really surprised or disappointed. At this point, I'm not really trying to lose a lot more weight. My BMI wants me to be exactly at 139 to be healthy for my age and height. This is close enough. I'm comfortable in my own skin. 143.8 is just fine.
Yesterday, I went to this mental health training the entire day and I think I just needed it. I needed it to rejuvenate my soul. Somedays you can get so lost in the mental health field. When I say lost, I mean jaded, frustrated, burned out and feel under appreciated.

The two ladies who did the training made us feel valued, appreciated and continued to made me aware that I am at the front lines of mental health as a responder to crisis situations. 

As I was thinking of that, I was thinking of my physical, emotional and social health this year. I realize I'm burning the candle on so many ends, but I recognize this winter has been really hard because I haven't been able to run outside like I usually do. In January I was determined to get out in their and I kept getting sick. 

I'm reminded to be good at anything we need to take care of our whole person! That includes physical, emotional, spiritual and social.

My Challenge or question: How do you take care of your whole person? 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Inspiration Wednesday

I just needed some inspiration today! Maybe you need something to get you through too !

Love this!

These are just funny if you need a good laugh.

I hope you're Wednesday is going well! We are getting snow, again!!!!! Happy Inspiration Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Sky without Stars

A Sky without Stars written by Linda S Clare takes her readers to Arizona back to the 1950's where Native Americans and white people where uncomfortable with each other. This was a culture where one another did not trust each other, nor care for each other. If you have read other books by Quilts of Love, you will not be disappointed by this one. I really enjoyed this book because of the historical period of time it took me to and the fact that I did not grow up in a time period where Native Americans were so distrustful of white people. I learned a lot through reading this book and gained a new found respect.


After Frankie Chasing Bears husband is killed, she wants a new start to life, but that isn't as easy in the time period she lives in. She decides that she and her son, Harold are going to get in the car and head to California in hopes of a fresh start and a new life. Of course, things never goes as planned and Frankie finds herself controlled and life determined by the white mans rules. Of course, Frankie meets Federal Agent Nick Parker, who is attracted to her, but naturally Frankie is skeptical. Nick Parker works for the Indian Affairs Bureaur and he is a Christian. Frankie is struggling with her faith, her feels towards Nick and her desire to raise Harold with Native American values without completely assimilating to the white mans culture. I also love the character of Nick who steps up to be a man of dignity, character and respect for Harold. You can see he wants to be a good example to Harold. 

Overall, this book makes the reader aware the struggles that Native Americans faced during this time period and how Native Americans continue to face many challenges today. Of course the story has a romance twist and has a great historical premise, but it helps the reader think about their faith. I really enjoyed this book and think you will too. 

Thank you to Litefuse and Abingdon Press for providing me a complimentary copy of review. I was not compensated for a positive review. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Scrapping Dumbo

This weekend I really just wanted to get outside and run, but I'm smart enough to know that my body is so far behind for Riverbank this year. 

I blame winter.
I blame myself too. 

I thought maybe I would find some motivation and inspiration by working on some scrapbooks! 

It's exactly what I needed to feel inspired again! All of
My scrapbooking supplies are everywhere!!
Saturday Night we stayed up SUPER late watching Father of the Bride 1 and half of Part 2! We were laughing (my husband & I) and I was scrapbooking our races. It was therapy and healing to my soul. 

It's amazing to see how much weight I've lost from this fall. If I could get my butt to the gym, I could actually gain some muscle. I really just want to be outside. Anyone with me??

Anyways, as I study for my SSW licensure test, my treat will be to scrapbook after studying! I hope to complete tour Disneyland book and Dumbo races by May! 

Question: How do you keep track of race memories?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spoken For - Advanced Reader Copy Review

Robin Jones Gunn is my favorite author. You may be familiar with The Christy Miller Series or The Sister Chicks Series? She has written a number of books and I just love all of them. She recently has been working on a new book with a popular blogger and newlywed, Alyssa Bethke. The two of them have written a pretty great book! I can't wait for you to get your own copy and dive into the pages yourself!

The book is told from both Robin and Alyssa's point of view. The reader goes back and forth between both women, but don't worry, it's pretty easy to understand and pick up who is saying what.

The main purpose of this book is to tell women that they are deeply loved by God. It's easy in our society to be rejected, to find our self worth in all the wrong things, to get wrapped up in the things that really don't matter without us ever realizing we are evening doing it. We can easily become consumed by jobs and achievements hoping they will define us or somehow fill the empty hole, but truly only one wants to fill the gap. 

God is pursuing us. He loves us. We are not up for grabs. We are not disposable. We are loved. We are his. We are made in his image. We are precious to him. We are spoken for.

I really just love the premise of this book. It's soul lifting, spirit rejuvenating and each chapter you walk away feeling like you were created uniquely. You won't walk away feeling empty or dissatisfied, but instead feeling like your soul had been fed.

The book also includes group discussion and personal reflection questions after each chapter. I love that. This would be great to use as a book club book. The chapters aren't heavy and you could easily read them as part of your daily devotional each morning.

I received this ARC copy from Multnomah  Books in an exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated for a positive review.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Real Women Leading With Proverbs 31 Values

Lisa Troyer and Dawn Yoder truly get the concept on what it means to be a woman leading the Proverbs 31 values. Lisa Troyer and Dawn Yonder never make you feel pressured to be perfect, but man, they TOTALLY get it! They understand where women struggle and they can relate.

These understand the values of the "Proverbs 31" woman and they explain it so well in this book. They don't just explain it, they give examples and I truly believe they live it out. They don't sugar coat it and make it sound like it's this easy thing to do, but they are honest, they are realistic and they make it a reality for today. It's not just some reality that happened way back when, but something that women should be living out today. Lisa and Dawn give tons of tips and suggestions on how women in todays culture can live on "Proverbs 31." Both ladies show how we can implement God's character and values into our lives.

I love how honest and willing they are to share their faith throughout the book. They are very transparent, which is always nice as the reader. I love reading books where the authors just tell you where they are at. 

This is a great resource to have and to pass around to family or friends. This is a resource that can be used in ministry. I think these ladies really understand the meaning of what it means to be a 'Proverbs 31" woman. Their stories will impact your heart. Every woman going into ministry or those who are trying to lead their life by Godly principals should read this book! Your life will be touched and you'll never be the same. It's an awesome resource. I highly recommend it.

Just a great book. 

This book would be great to use as a Bible Study or in a book club with a group of ladies. I think that you find this beneficial for a small group and women in your church would really respond to this book. 

I reciceved this book from litefuse for my honest review. I was not compensated for a positive review.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Moms are so special! I am so very lucky and blessed to have a ridiculous and awesome mom! Not everyone is as fortunate to have a mom, but I'm so grateful. Today is her Birthday and I thought it would be great to just post some pictures from some awesome memories I have made with her! 

 My mom has been such an encourager, supporter, a best friend, always on my side, through the thick and thin, she has been my rock. I'm so thankful to call her "mom" and cannot imagine a life without her! She is truly one of a kind! Happy Birthday, MOM! Go rock it out WOMAN! Thanks for being AMAZING and leading by example. May you be blessed with many more years. LOVE YOU! XOXOXO! 
I hope to be half the mom you are someday!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Confessional Thursday is good

1) Confession, I weighed in at 143.4 this morning.

2) Confession #2, I haven't ran in almost two months. The weather is just depressing to me, I can't handle the snow and I have no desire to hit the gym. I'm tired of snow, the weather was good for two days, my spirits were lifting and then we were slammed again. I need to get to Florida for Spring Break.

3) Confession #3, I'm way behind on blogging and even way behind on reading. I was catching up on books. I almost there. I think I have seven to read and crank out posts! I hope to accomplish 3 books today and two books this weekend! 

4) Confession# 4, The past two weeks have been just hard. It makes me wish I had some money stashed away to take my family on a long roadtrip. I don't want to miss out on my family. Life is short. My sister graduates. I'm afraid life is going to slip on by. Sigh.

5) Confession #5 I'm a huge Hallmark sap, so I was thrilled when I was able to order this DVD set!

Any confessions you're willing to make public?? These are my guilty ones this week/ month!
Love y'all!
Until next time, XOXO

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bridal Shower + Some Awesome Bridal Novels to Check out!

One of my friends is getting married! She is the sweetest thing! My dear Mal Pal is getting married! I'm thrilled. She is so sweet! Aren't they just adorable.


She is getting married May 3, which is a day before my Birthday! How awesome is that? It's like two celebrations into one!

 This past weekend, she had her Bridal shower and we had a blast, she just cracks me up. Unfortunately, I was sitting behind, so my pictures aren't front on of her opening her gifts, but I got to hear all the good stuff from behind. I had the best seat, just not the best seat for pictures.. lol... 

 Shower Games... Draw What Mallory and Tom will do in their future..

 Opening gifts and cards! The best part of showers is just being with friends and family, but feeling the love! People definitely love this couple! It was very evident by the love these two received! They were so blessed. I'm so happy for them and I cannot wait to see what their future holds for them both.

They are such a blessed couple and I know they are just going to be so happy together whether this life throws them difficult or the best circumstances, they will make it all work! That is the kind of couple that these two are. 

Speaking of Brides, I have recently read three good books on Brides, I think y'all will enjoy!  Zondervan is doing a series of 1 book each month. 

January: A January Bride by Deborah Raney 
Madeline Houser is an author who has moved from New York back to Kansas to be with her mother who is nursing home. Her sisters house is being remodeled and Madeline can't finish her book in a house that is being overtaken by loud construction and contractors all day. As if this wasn't enough, to make matters worse, she sprains her ankle. When her neighbor suggests the bed and breakfast, Madeline thinks that is a wonderful solutions to finishing her book.

Arthur Tyler is English college professor who runs the bed and breakfast. His wife passed away with cancer and the bed and breakfast is empty without her. He jumps at the chance to have Madeline come stay. Although, the two do not actually meet for sometime and a series of notes exchanged back and forth make for an interesting first interaction. Will love be on their side?

I received this book free from Zondervan Publishing company. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

 February: A February Bride by Betsey St. Amant

 I think we can relate to this one in someway or another. Allie Andrews thought she was going to marry the man of her dreams. As she is waiting to walk down the aisle to meet her groom at the alter, suddenly she realizes that she is going to end up divorced several months later just like the rest of her family members. She decides to immediately leave and gets into her fiances car. 

Marcus Hall is the man who Allie was suppose to marry. Unfortunately, Allie's best friend Hannah gets engaged and asks Allie to be the maid of honor. Here's where it gets very interesting. Hannah is Marcus' sister. Now, Allie will have to face Marcus, his family and deal with her feelings. Will the two put their past behind them and move forward or will Allie realize that Marcus was meant for her? Only time will tell. 

These books are just great pick me up novels that can be read in less than two hours! If you are looking for a feel good book and just need something to inspire you or get your mind off something, these novels are the perfect books to cuddle up with! Love them!

I received this book free from Zondervan Publishing company. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 March: A March Bride by Rachel Hauck

I have read one of Rachel's books before. She has a different style when it comes to writing and you have to go into reading her books with a different mindset, especially when it comes to princes and princess's if you're not familiar with that type of writing. This story is a continuation of Once Upon a Prince a previous book Rachel has written, don't worry if you haven't read that book. I did not read that book, and I think you can learn the characters and story without any problem.

Let's me the characters and story. Nate and Susanna have found their happily every afters. They believe they are one another's one true loves. When Nate asks Susanna to give up something very special, Susanna cannot believe it and begins to doubt whether Nate is her Prince charming after all. She can't but begin to question whether he is the man of her dreams.  Susanna begins to doubt God's plan for her to be married. Meanwhile, Nate is willing to do anything for his bride and he knows that she has given a lot to be with him. She realizes that her life will never be hers, when she travels home right before the wedding, Nate is afraid he has lost her for good and that she will not return. The question remains; Does she return back to him? Do they get married and live happily ever after? Or does she return back to her home in Georgia and live a normal life? You'll know when you read the book!!!
I received this book free from Zondervan Publishing company. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own

Monday, March 10, 2014

Live the Way you want to be Remembered

As many of you know, I have a sister who is a highschool senior this year who is going to graduate! I can't believe it!!! Where did the time go?

This past week, two students at her school have passed away suddenly. One was in her senior class and just an out standing young man. He 
embodies what it means to be a bulldog and was very kind to everyone. He lived his life courageously.

The other, just a freshman battling Cancer who had undergone 2 years of Chemo and was under going treatment again because the cancer had returned. She was a very positive, kind spirited person and very well loved among her family, friends and school. She too was a bulldog!

As the families, students, staff, friends and community grieve the losses of both of these wonderful young people, I am remind of these things....

Tomorrow is never promised, so today choose how you want to live and how you want others to remember you.

I also reminded that in times like this people don't need you to fix their pain, but to sit with them. Nothing is going to make this better. Throwing Bible Bandaids at people isn't going to make things better, so sit. LISTEN. Be in the pain with them.

Finally, at the end of the day, I need to remember this! Whether funny or angry, big or small......

May you all be blessed today and live your life, with the gaurteee of no tomoorow!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Giants in the Land:Book. 1 & 2

I had the opportunity to review Giants in the Land Book One: The Way of Things written by Clark Rich Burbidge. 
This book is about a village of people who rely on giants to step in and help them whenever something is too difficult for their village. One day the giants leave the village and the people are left panicked because they do not understand why the giants have left them. They put their faith in a young man named Thomas to find the Giants to figure out why the giants have left. Thomas embarks on a journey to find the Giants, meanwhile he finds a giant who has gone estray from the Giants and encourages him to return to the pack. Eventually, Thomas does reach the Giants and his questions are answered, but I will not spoil any secrets beyond that. 

My Review:
I love the creativity of this book. This is my favorite book of the two! The names of the Giants are very thoughtful and cool. As an adult I enjoyed this book, but you could read this to children. It is not scary in way. It is a very appropriate book with no graphic content, so even younger kids would love the idea of Thomas going to find these big Giants! Just a cool book all around!

I also had the opportunity to review book two: The Prodigals 

Book Two follows book 1, so I highly recommend reading The Way of things or you will miss pieces of the story line. The author does a goo job at filling in the gaps, but it reads smoother if you have read the first book. Book two follows Thomas, but he is much older now and served as the lands Forest Ward. It had taken Thomas five years to learn the role as he had to learn every role of the Giants. This story is more than just Thomas' role, but the role of his two grandchildren; Tommy and Rosa. We also meet some other characters along the way like Sarah, Sam, Tommy, Marcus  and maybe a Giant or two. One of Thomas' granchildren is captured and it up to the brave warriors to go and rescue  the young soul, but are these young warriors are as equipped as they thought? Do they have what it takes to rescue their friend?

My thoughts:
I really liked this book, it had a lot of action and I know children/ teens will just love this book! It captures you within three chapters and you can't put it down.  This book has a third one coming out, so I'm curious to see where the author goes next.

I reviewed these books for PR by the Book. I highly recommend both titles !!!!