Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Your Blueprint for Life

Your Blueprint for Life gives the strategies readers need to align their passions, gifts, and calling.
As CEO of the Blueprint for Life ministry, Michael Kendrick is devoted to helping others discover God's purpose for their lives. Your Blueprint for Life guides readers toward a Christ-honoring life-one that brings joy spiritually, financially, relationally, physically, and professionally. With practical guidance for discovering passion, gifts, and callings, Your Blueprint for Life gives readers concrete strategies for achieving the life they were created to lead, such as:
  • Intentionally carve out a specific time each day to hear from God
  • Prune your relational portfolio
  • Step into your children's world
  • Remember you are a steward of God's resources, not an owner of your resources
For anyone who has ever wondered why they were put on earth, Your Blueprint for Life not only answers the question, but it also gives readers a solid guide to understanding and achieving God's vision for their lives.

My Review:

This book is fantastic! If your looking to figure out your gifts, passions and calling on your life, relax sit back with coffee in hand and check out "Your Blueprint for Life." This book is designed to help you figure out exactly what your purpose and calling is. We were each created for something different. I found this book to be very easy to read, but not mind numbing. It is a great tool that will help you discover passions you did not realize were there. I loved how it talked about using your fiances to help guide your life and to use those towards your gifts, callings and to do it in a God honoring way. This book is a great resource for anyone who is looking for their calling and hasn't discovered why they are here yet! Check it out! You wont have wasted your time! 

Monday, July 20, 2015

A heart's Promise

A Heart’s PromiseA Heart’s Promise (Thomas Nelson, July 2015)
Emmie makes a promise to her friend that, if fulfilled, could mean the end to her dreams of a future with Isaac.
Emmie Croftner let Isaac Liddle go to avoid telling him about her past. But Isaac remains determined to win Emmie’s heart and hand. Though Emmie resolves to keep her heart in check, it hurts when she sees that another woman has set her bonnet for Isaac.
Then Emmie’s dear friend extracts a costly promise: if anything happens to her in childbirth, Emmie will marry her widower and raise the baby herself. And it seems Emmie may have to fulfill that promise. But can she live happily without Isaac?

My review:
I have really enjoyed this novella series from Collen Coble. These novellas are broken up into six small short stories and this book, A Hearts Promise is the fifth book in the series. These books are quick reads, but oh, so delicious!

We continue to see the struggles of Emmie and the lives of Amelia and Sarah who are all expecting children, but all having unique experiences with their pregnancy. Emmie has a deep secret and doesn't want Issac to know because she is afraid of losing him and honestly, I can't blame the girl!
Of course with lots of plots, twists and turns, can't wait to see what happens next to find out what happens and will they find their happily ever after or will heartache come to a crashing end in book six? The only way to know is to read the series!
Thank you to Litefuse Publishing Group for allowing me to review this series. I have loved every single book!

USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble has written several romantic suspense novels including "Tidewater Inn," "Rosemary Cottage," and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Weekend Beach Book Review: Crazy Thing Called Love

Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Crazy Little Thing Called Love: A Destination Wedding Novel 
My Review:
This book is the perfect book to sink your feet in the sand and curl up to get a tan as you turn the pages in this high emotion charged, delightful novel. "Crazy Thing Called Love" fuels us to take a gigantic leap of faith in the midst of a storm. This book is raw in honesty between Vanessa and Logan as they wed at such an early age. I must also admit, I love that Logan is a professional STORM chaser! That had me hooked to as I kept reading. This is Beth's best book yet and you don't want to miss it. Get ready to turn the pages and discover a romance, storm chasing, broken communication and a little thing called LOVE along the way!  You won't want to miss this summer read! 
Thank you to Howard Press for allowing me to review this book. The oponions expressed here are my own. I was not compensated for a positive review. 
Back of the book: 
Wedding bells and storm clouds collide in the first engaging novel in a brand-new series about destination weddings, the power of love, and the possible mishaps and missteps that happen on a couple’s journey down the aisle to “I do.”
Paramedic Vanessa Hollister has put her adolescence behind her, including the unwanted label of being the new kid in town over and over again, thanks to her father’s military career. She’s overcome what her mother called “the biggest mistake of her life” and is planning an elegant destination wedding in Destin, Florida with her new fiancĂ©. But will the reappearance of her first husband from her what-were-you-thinking teenage elopement disrupt her dream of an idyllic beach wedding?
As a professional storm chaser, Logan Hollister is used to taking risks. However, a reckless decision during the last tornado season has him questioning the future of his team, the Stormmeisters. Coming face to face with his ex-wife eight years after their divorce compels him to confront his greatest regret: losing Vanessa. Does their past give him the right to interfere with her future?
A fast-moving, powerful hurricane throws Vanessa and Logan together as they evacuate to a storm shelter along with other residents of the Florida Gulf Coast. Forced to spend time together, the pair battles unexpected renewed feelings for each other.
Vanessa and Logan are faced with a choice: Should they accept, once and for all, their teenage marital mistake? Or is God offering them a second chance at happily ever after?

Author's Corner: 
BVogtBeth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A 2015 RITA® Finalist and a 2014 Carol Award finalist, Beth is a contemporary romance novelist with Howard Books. Her 2014 novel, "Somebody Like You," was one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. In 2015 she introduced her destination wedding series with both an e-novella, "Can’t Buy Me Love," (May) and a novel, "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (June).

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

5 year Anniversary

Last week Friday, Drew and I celebrated 5 years of marriage!!! Crazy how time flies when you're having fun being an old married couple!! 
To think that we've been married this long has been crazy!! We celebrated by upgrading some furniture. It's time to get rid of the college, hand me downs and spend some money on nice stuff.. We bought a new couch!!! It was great because we found on clearance for an excellent deal!
It's navy blue and I'm slowly adding things to make everything match in our living room! This is quite a process to get everything to match and also quite time-consuming.
We found this crazy blue rug that matches perfectly, which I love!! Drew picked it out. I absolutely just love the design and it makes the white carpet pop!
If you know me well, you know that I had a white VW Bug!! I love Volkswagon!! When I saw this little yellow van, I knew I had to have it!

I also purchased this cool yellow lamp, which I think is super bright and funneling with the blue picture frame. The picture does not do it justice. I plan to incorporate some green and also gray in the mix of colors. We are looking to reupholster a chair, which will help add more color to the room. Additionally, I am also looking to add artwork and other accessories. We have also read done our Mickey Mouse bathroom and that has changed as well. Lots of changes are happening, but we are growing up our space, so life is good!!!

We went out to dinner for our anniversary and celebrated by having chocolate cake, ice cream and I even ate a full bag of licorice!! Time to get back running!!

Q: How do you celebrate special occasions? Any redecorating going on?? Tips or color ideas for my blue living room???

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Be The Match: For the Love of Lola

  I had the privledge of meeting sweet Lola last year at Starlite Shores and loving on this precious little one! This little girl is amazing and full of life!  She is a super hero who continues to fight CANCER! Won't you pray and read about how you or someone else could save her life or another?

Meet Lola….a sweet 9 year old girl from Grandville who has been fighting leukemia for nearly half of her life.  She was initially diagnosed on valentine’s day, 2011 with B Cell Leukemia.  She completed the standard two years+ of treatment and was declared in complete remission.  Just a few short months after her treatment was completed, her parents were given the devastating news that she had relapsed.  They immediately started treatment for an isolated central nervous system relapse.  This simply means that the leukemia was found in her spinal fluid, but not in her marrow.  She was scheduled to be finished with this high risk treatment, including many difficult spinal taps and brain radiation, for her relapse in November of this year, just before her 10th birthday.

Once again, Lola’s family has been given devastating news.  She has relapsed for the second time, again in her spinal fluid, and a bone marrow transplant may be the only option available to save her life.  Due to a rare genetic marker, Lola’s bone marrow is very hard to match.  The last time her oncologist looked at the registry, there were no suitable matches for Lola.  Her one biological sibling is not a match, and her mother is expecting another baby right now.  Biological siblings have a 25% chance of being a match.  It is unknown at this time if baby is a match to Lola.  In honor of this sweet girl, we are hosting a bone marrow drive.
Lola is so full of life, many people wouldn’t have a clue the battle her body, mind and family have been through the last 4 ½ years.  She is a friendly, happy, outgoing girl who loves Jesus, her family and her friends.

The drive will take place in Grandville, at Harbor Life Church, on July 20, from 4-8pm.  We want as many people aware of this event as possible.  There is a need for bone marrow donors to join the registry.  If by some miracle, someone locally is a match that would be fantastic.  But if not, joining the registry could save another life.  Many people will rely on the generosity of a stranger’s bone marrow to save their life, or the life of their child.  Won’t you be that person?

The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God

The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of GodA Moving Story of Redemption and Second Chances
Jep Robertson, the youngest son of Duck Commander Phil Robertson, and his wife, Jessica, open up about their personal trials, their early years together, and the challenges that might have destroyed them both had the grace of God not intervened. Jep describes being molested as a child and his reluctance to tell anyone until only a few years ago, his downward spiral into drug and alcohol abuse, and the eventual intervention of his family. Jessica shares about the difficult failure of her first marriage while still a teenager and the hurt that came along with it, much of it from the church. Her insecurities spun out of control as she wondered whether she would ever be good enough or pretty enough. This book is their love story but, more importantly, their love story for God.
“We are desperate to let people know that no matter what you’ve done; no matter what you’ve lived through, you can come out of it. You can be washed clean. You are redeemed."

My Review:
I love the raw honesty of this book. Jessica is honest about her hurt, her first marriage and the insecurities because of that marriage. I love how she is truthful about how she wondered if she would ever be good enough. As a female, I can relate to that and I think many females can relate to Jessica and her story of wondering if they will measure up? Can you be redeemed from past mistakes. Oh, I just loved Jessica's story and how honest/ vulnerable she was. Jep also was very vulnerable about the past mistakes of drug and alcohol abuse that led him down a tricky path, but eventually, God worked everything out together for good. I loved this book because it is a story of redemption and reminds me of so many people in the Bible who God calls as loved, redeemed and brand new! If you're looking for a beach read that is full of authenticity, this book has you covered! I highly recommend this book by Jep and Jessica Robertson! You won't regret this read!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Love Arrives In Pieces by Betsy St. Amant

Love Arrives in Pieces
For so long, Stella was known for her beauty. Now, with her heart stripped bare, she must discover who she really is.
Former pageant queen Stella Varland doesn’t trust beauty anymore after her divorce. Her appearance betrayed her and led to brokenness, so instead of being beautiful, now she tries to make beautiful things, but she always falls short. So she keeps her passion for art to herself and focuses on her interior design work. But if she doesn’t get another job soon, she’ll be stuck living with her parents.
Contractor Chase Taylor is determined to live a life of no regrets after losing his fiancĂ©e. Now he lives life at full speed, striving to see how much he can accomplish. He knows if he slows down, he’ll fall apart. So he returns home to Bayou Bend to renovate the town’s old theater and is shocked to discover that the designer for the project is his old flame, Stella.
Forced to work together, Chase and Stella battle their chemistry and past as they struggle to compromise and work together on a vision for the theater. Their wills clash as they attempt to hide their brokenness—and their unresolved feelings for each other—until Chase discovers the hidden parts of Stella, while losing her trust in the process.
A near catastrophe, a fire, and a small-town gossip mill finally force Stella and Chase to realize that they have a choice—to hold on to the shards of their pasts, or surrender their fragmented pieces to the One who makes a beautiful masterpiece from their brokenness.
Learn more and purchase a copy at Betsy’s website.

My Review:
Summer is the perfect time to sink into a great book. With that said, I liked "Love Arrives in Pieces." Besty St. Amant is a fabulous author and had me hooked immediately in her first book "All is Fair in Love & Cupcakes", which I highly recommend.

With that said, I wasn't in love with the plot of this story. Chase dealing with the loss of his fiancee and Stella losing her husband to divorce created some interesting dynamics. The character dynamic between Chase and Stella was spot on as they had tension and chemistry. When the sparks hit, they flew like the 4th of July! However, besides chemistry, the storyline has a deeper level then just romance, but trust, learning to let go part of their past, and ultimately surrendering the areas of their life to The Lord. I did also enjoy Stella's love for art therapy and the connection she had in helping her let go of some of her past, especially through mosaic tiles. I found this to be beautiful and it really brought some depth to her character. I can also identify with Stella's anxiety, which brought a huge human form to her, especially as she struggled through panic attacks. Although never personally dealing with them, I loved that the author was brave enough to go there with the reader. While this wasn't my favorite out of Betsy's books, I did really enjoy it and I think you will as well!
Thank you to Zondervan Publishing Company for providing me a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion, which I have given. 

Author Corner:

Betsy St. Amant
 Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana with her young daughter and has a heart for sharing the amazing news of God's grace through her novels. A freelance journalist, Betsy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not reading, writing, or singing along to a Disney soundtrack with her daughter, Betsy enjoys inspirational speaking and teaching on the craft of writing.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Red, White & Blue

Happy Monday! 
I can't believe it's July 6th already? I feel like summer is already half over and I haven't even been out on summer break for a month. It stinks! 

We spent the 4th of July at my brothers place on the lake and had a blast! Of course we were all decked out in our red, white, and blue.
My sister is just a lovie! She is the cutest thing! I'm telling you what, she is always wearing stylish clothes and teaching me to be more high fashion. 
We went down to the lake and scoped out the temperature of the water, which was pretty cold, but that didn't stop us from getting in and having a little fun!
I have since learned about these awesome Nike Swim shirts that have SPF in them and protect the sun. I burn so fast that I need something to shield the sun and this shirt is perfect! I love being able to wear it in the water and it doesn't ride up. I also wear my suit underneath it. 
We had fun floating in the lake and enjoying the sun rays. I did save everyone from a nasty huge spider! I've become quite good at not being afraid of them anymore. I just take them out like noones business.

The boys were surprised! I even picked up a daddy long legs! 
Grandma came out for the festivities and got herself some selfies!! She has never taken a selfie, so it was pretty funny to get her taking pictures!
We roasted s'mores because it just isn't right to not have s'mores when you're outside at a house on the lake, let alone celebrating the 4th of July! SMORES are a must!!
This one was perfect and gooey! It was so delicious!! 
Then lighting of the fireworks began and soon before I knew it, we were inside getting ready to go to bed! I can't believe we are done celebrating Independence Day! 
                     Hidden Mickey 

Q: How did you celebrate?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Happy July First!

Can you believe today is July 1st? Where did the time fly? I am not ready for it to be July! That means summer is half over here in Michigan! Soon we will be packing for winter and snow will be upon us.. Oh, I am not even close to ready for that kind of weather. Recently, I have been reading some great books at night. I cannot wait to get back running again. Right now, my husband and I have been walking every night, so that has been great, but it isn't the same! My inserts will be done next week! I cannot wait :)

In the meantime, I have two new books that I think will be perfect for your July 4th weekend if you're looking for a new book! Both books receive 5 stars for various reasons and I know you will enjoy them!

The first book is by the wonderful and talented author, Karen Kingsbury. The book is titled "Friend of Jesus" which is the second book in her life changing Bible story series.
The Friends of Jesus

Back of the Book:
Americas favorite inspirational novelist and #1 New York Timesbestselling author offers a richly told tale about six of Jesus' ;closest friends and companions, bringing biblical truths to life in this captivating continuation of her Life-Changing Bible Study series.

In our everyday lives, friends are the people whom we spend the most time with, go through struggles with at times, and who know us best. Each of Jesus friendsPeter, John, Matthew, Judas, Mary Magdalene, and Lazarus traveled with Jesus and were part of His daily ministry, and each has a compelling story to tell. There were some who would question or doubt Him and one would even betray Him. Kingsbury brings these fascinating personalities to life in ways that will not only help bring you closer to the truths found in Scripture, but also to Christ.

By combining valuable, instructive Bible study with compelling, insightful character sketches of Jesus companions, Kingsbury provides you with a deeper understanding of the scriptural teachings featuring these fascinating people. Emotionally powerful, thought-provoking, and soulful, The Friends of Jesus will help you to appreciate the Bible and understand how it applies to your relationships with the most important people in your life.

My Review:
Often the Bible can be difficult to read because it is not told in chronological order, which can make it difficult to place people and their stories in the Bible. However, Karen takes all of the guessing work out and puts Jesus' friends into a beautiful woven story that is based off Biblical content in a fictional way. This book is for those who have read the Bible several times and those who are trying to learn about the stories of the Bible. You will find your love for each of the people to grow stronger. In each of these stories you see yourself through the characters of the Bible, but more importantly you see the love Jesus has for each of his friends and how he loves each of us through the stories of these people. I loved reading this book in a fictional way. Additionally, this book can be used for a Bible study, which I think would be great to do with a group of people. I can't say enough good things about this book and I highly recommend it, just like I recommend her first book, "Family of Jesus." 

The second book that I had the opportunity to review is called "Breaking up with Perfect Kissing Perfect Goodbye and Embrace Joy God Has in Store for YOU" written by Amy Carroll. In certain situations, I really struggle with perfection and I think we can all relate with having a difficult time with perfectionsim. I always want to do my best in all that I do. 

Back of the book:
An inspiring and thought-provoking guide to help you abandon the pursuit of perfection and become comfortable and more confident in your own skin.

Every woman has felt the pressure to be perfect. Whether you're a good girl who constantly strives to put on a perfect front or the never good enough girl who finally decides that if she cant be perfect, she might as well be good at being bad, the impossible quest for perfection inevitably results in stress that impacts everything you do.

Because what you believe determines how you think and feel, Carroll identifies common misunderstandings about others, ourselves, and God and counters these misconceptions with affirming biblical truths that redefine the source of your worth and help you gain confidence and new ways to think about yourself. In doing so, she helps you rework your thought patterns so that misconceptions like God expects me to live up to His standards perfectly can be replaced with truths like God understands our imperfections and loves us unconditionally.

In this relatable book, Amy shares biblical teachings, personal anecdotes, and transformation exercises that are easy to apply to your daily life.Breaking Up with Perfection will give you the tools you need to break the perpetual cycle of stress that chasing perfection induces, so you can live a life filled with happiness, success, and spiritual fulfillment.


My Review:
This book exposes the lies of perfection and how it can entrap one from true freedom. Having said that, I learned a lot about wrong beliefs, values such as relationships with friends, family, TV, Books, internet, my Iphone, etc. I also learned about myself selfishness in dealing with "to do list" instead of spending time resting. Have we all done this? Our "to do list" is a mile long and we HAVE to get it done or else we can't go to sleep! Sometimes, I need to accomplish the list and that can drag me down! The other thing I love about this book is this is the practicalness, but the authenticity of this book. You really get ways to handle perfectionism, but you also feel like Carroll really understand it and has real solutions. I LOVED this book. I felt like she was talking to me the whole time and I really enjoyed the content of this book because I felt like it was very solution focused, but was REAL. This book was so great! 

Thank you to Howard Books for providing me review copies. I was provided review copies for review purposes only. These reviews are my honest opinion.