Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A to Z, it's the silly and crazy things about ME!

A – Age: 29 
B – Biggest Fear: Losing someone that I love dearly.

C – Current Time: 11:08pm
D – Drink You Had Last: :Water with Young Living Lemon Oil, delicious! 
E – Easiest Person To Talk To: drew, Jesus
F – Favorite Song: I have so many, that's a crazy question! I am runner after all.. We have a gizzillion.. How else do we make it through the suffering?

G – Grossest Memory:  How about the time in Disney when at 1:00 am, Drew found a snake in his suitcase and we had to call the front desk for pixie desk to come get it out... Love adventurers.
H – Hometown: G-Dawgs, Michigan! 
I – In Love With: That's easy. My husband, Jesus. Enough said. 
J – Jealous Of: People who are debt free and don't have mountains of student loans. Seriously, where did you grow up and how can I get in on that? 
K – Kindest Person You Know: Cricket. 

L – Longest Relationship: What are we talking here? Friendship? Dating relationship? Longest relationship with a human? This is vague. Longest relationship with a human would have to be with my mother. I was in her womb from day one. 

M – Middle Name: Marie- Enough said.
N – Number of Siblings: 1 sisters and 1 brothers and a few in-laws. 
O – One Wish: I wish for healing among all people who need it whether sick due to a physical, emotional or social situation.
P – Person You Spoke To On The Phone Last: Drew
Q – Question You’re Always Asked: What are you going to do with your life? 
R – Reason To Smile: Why not? I am eternally loved. The world is a blank canvas that is ready for me to paint it. 

S – Song You Last Sang: Doran Robin- Safe With Me
T – Time You Woke Up: 8:32
U – Underwear Color: Sorry, no one needs to know that. I don't even care. Let's be real. 
V – Vacation Destination: israel. I realize that's not a destination for a vacation, but I want to go there. It's a huge bucket list item for me. 
W – Worst Habit: Biting my finger nails.
X – X-Rays You’ve Had: How about the time when I had a concussion.. Yep.. That's the last time.. Followed with an MRI, and a CT scan... 

Y – Your Favorite Food: Favorite food, easy- tacos, chips & Salsa with gauc.. I am all for MEXICAN! 
Z – Zodiac Sign: I don't know and I don't care. Who really loves at this? 

Monday, August 24, 2015

One Thousand Wells- Book Review

About the Book:

Jena Nardella, cofounder of Blood:Water and one of Christianity Today's 33 Under 33, shares how her passion for saving the world grew into a humbler long-term calling of loving the world in all its brokenness in this beautifully written memoir.

Ten years ago, Jena Lee Nardella was a fresh-out-of-college, twenty-something with the lofty goal of truly changing the world. Armed with a diploma, a thousand dollars, and a dream to build one thousand wells in Africa, she joined forces with Grammy Award-winning band Jars of Clay to found Blood:Water and begin her mission.

Jena's dream for her nonprofit turned that initial $1 into $20, and then $100, and today into more than $25 million. Working throughout eleven countries in Africa, Blood:Water has provided healthcare for over 62,000 people in HIV-affected areas and has partnered with communities to provide clean water for more than one million people in Africa. But along the way she faced many harsh realities that have tested her faith, encountered corruption and brokenness that nearly destroyed everything she'd fought for, and taught her that wishful thinking will not get you very far. Jena discovered that true change comes only when you stop trying to save the world and allow yourself to love it, even when it breaks your heart.

With a fresh, intelligent, and winsome voice, Jena Lee Nardella weaves an evocative personal narrative filled with honest and hard-won lessons that demonstrate the amazing things that can happen when you fight for your dreams.


My Review: 
What started off as a small dream, turned in to be something extraordinary. What was a dream, now is a project reaching twenty thousand people. This book is the triumphs and failures of Jen who was willing to step outside of her box to do anything. Although she faced extreme challenges, corruption and even wanted to give up, she prevailed. I believe this book is for anyone who has a dream and doesn't believe it can come true. This book proves that anything is possible, even when all odds are stacked against you. You'll instantly find yourself hooked as you read Jens stories and you won't let go until you're finished with a Thousand Wells. You'll laugh, you'll cry, but you will leave without a greater appreciation for the simple things in life and the amazing work people are doing in other countries.

Thank You to Howard Publishing group for allowing me to review this book. I was not compensated to give it a five star review, but was only given a complimentary copy for review purposes.

Monday, Funday

Happy Monday!! 

I hope you had a great weekend and were able to relax, spend time with your family, friends or plain just do something you love! I am sure you are wondering about this picture? It's pretty stinking funny or maybe I'm the only one who thinks it is? 


Story time: My friend Eileen, see beautiful picture below, found out I have never had or made PEACH COBBLER! Please don't stop reading my blog, we're all a work in progress right? Want to hear something top secret....
                                             It was my husband's first time eating a PEACH.

So, ya know, we are all trying to new things around here.. Any hoo, I went over on Friday and spend the day with her lovely family. We talked, hung out, and yes, I learned how to cut peaches without slicing my finger open. I feel super domesticated and could probably make peach cobbler all for myself now. I just need to purchase the Pioneer Woman's Holiday Cookbook because the recipe was fantastic. 

          Aren't they just adorable? Remember Eileen from the Tulip day race?                   She's a superhero I tell ya! 


Mary will be a doctor one day. If you haven't had a shot by Mary, I highly recommend them. She is a fantastic Dr. and takes care of her patients. Seriously, for five years old, this little one is beyond her years, states the funniest things you ever did here and is just a sweet heart. Everyone needs a precious Mary in their life! 





Emma, there is something about this one that you can't help but fall in love with. We met Emma at Starlite Shores, which is where we are headed today! We love this amazing ministry where we get to serve and meet wonderful people, like the Vandebergs! They are definitely life long friends who have become people who not only do we call friends, but family. We are just so incredibly blessed by these amazing people! It's not everyday that people open their lives up to you like they have and we feel so incredibly blessed to be on the journey with them. 
 
And then there is Drew, not just my Drew, but little Drew or as we call him Drew #2. He is definitely a good brother, who is a great helper and can rip a quad. Did I mention he's hilarious too? Spending time with this family is like a breath of fresh air. We had so much fun Friday night! We stayed over super late, which made my Saturday long run, AWFUL! I didn't want to do it. I'll get to that a different day!

Q: What was the best part of your weekend? 


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Why can't we talk about Babies?

One look at Facebook, and instantly the mass feed of people announcing their pregnant. Somehow, it has been a busy spring/summer for couples and families. One after another. Last night, I counted four announcements in a row on my FEED.. Seriously people?  Many are expecting new bundles of joy that come only in pink and blue. While their announcements are cute, way over the top and for some, it's their first child,
the rest of us..

 Well, we tend to {cringe} and scroll past, IMMEDIATELY! It's a constant reminder of what we don't have. A sense of loss, a feeling of not belonging and a gaping wound. Unfortunately or fortunately, however one chooses to look at the situation, I have had to choose a different road when it comes to having my own children. I shared last week on my blog, I took some time off from blogging about my "real life" because I couldn't be authentic with ya'll. Well, here it comes unleashed..

As I have shared, running is therapeutic and it has also helped places in my life where healing needs to take place. The place I am in right now, is no different and healing begins every-time I lace up my running shoes, head out the door or climb on the treadmill to get some miles in. Running is healing.



Most of you know I have Epilepsy. If you didn't, sorry I dropped that on you, but it is what it is, and God is bigger. I bleed purple and I am #purplestrong., In July, I met with my Epilepiologist (he specializes in epilepsy) to discuss and transition going off medication. 


YAY!

So, I started the process of going off my medication as recommended by my physician. My body was doing fine for about a week, but then I started to get the funny feelings again and I knew I had to go back on the medication or I would start experiencing seizures. Here is the thing, when you know your body, you don't mess with it... All of this to say, I can't be on the medication and be pregnant due to the type of medication and the high risks. It's just not right. Even if we fast forwarded and I was off the medication without seizures, there are huge risks, but I also know a God who is all powerful, big on risks if he chose that road for me. 


Fast forward... It means... A different road for children. Do I believe that God could heal me of these seizures, TOTALLY! I hope he does it because it would be awesome! However, I also believe that he doesn't do things the way we want or expect and sometimes we trust him blindly because he has something BETTER. That said, NO, I don't want to hear about your BABY announcement, No I don't want to talk about your PREGNANCY, and No I won't come to your baby SHOWER. If I talk to you about your Baby, pregnancy or any thing of that matter, consider it a gift because somehow God has given me enough grace for that moment. 



Tears are shed in our house quite often, I have had to stay away from all things that start with the letter B and end in Y. If someone starts complaining about their kids, I just tune them out because they don't understand the gift they have in front of them. Especially for those of us traveling a COMPLETELY different road.. Many of you know exactly the club I am in and it's not a membership we're all standing in line to sign up for. 



Time and perspective are everything. I have had both. After miles of pounding the pavement and excessive sweat, healing continues to happen, but the miles have given me the perspective of this....


Maybe kids aren't suppose to happen exactly the way I think they are supposed to happen. We dream of bellies, birth announcements, eating whatever we want for 9 months, sleeping wherever we can to find cat naps, shopping for cute clothes and coming up with names or any other perks that come with being "pregnant."  His plans are always better than mine. He's got children that need a mom, and they will be perfect for us. They will find their forever family in us. Maybe we will find them through adoption, maybe we will get pregnant by his grace or maybe someone will carry a child for us. Whatever the answer is, it's bigger than us, it's better than my dream and eventually, I will have complete peace about it. Sometimes you just have to run and sweat to get some good perspective about life. Ya know what I'm SAYING? 



Maybe you're like me and you can't see the full picture of how your story will turn out, but you can't talk babies right now.. I get it.. I sincerely apologize. Maybe you've lost a child and I can't imagine the pain you've been through or  are currently experiencing the loss, but know you always have a friend right here (raises hand) who welcomes you with an outstretched hand, an open door and a huge hug. It sucks, no way around it, but I know someone who takes our ashes and trades them in for beauty. 

He comes with an open door policy, no physical running required, he just wants us to give our burdens to him, he'll do the heaving lifting if we just have faith as small as a mustard seed, he'll be faithful in his promises and move mountains.


I apologize for my absence on the blog. Thanks for sticking it out with me. I am sure this will not be the last post about "Why we can't talk about babies in our household", but each day it continues to get better. Love to all of you! Happy Thursday/ late Friday Night! 



Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Heart's Home Book Review


A Heart’s HomeA Heart’s Home (Thomas Nelson, August 2015)
Emmie’s hope for a life with Isaac is overshadowed by a tragic loss at Fort Phil Kearny.

Isaac Liddle is keen to marry Emmie, and she knows she shouldn’t hide her pregnancy from him any longer. But before she can tell him her secret, a widower friend asks the impossible of Emmie: Will she honor her promise to his dead wife by marrying him to care for the orphaned baby?
With the Sioux Wars threatening outside the fort, Emmie’s solemn vow threatens her happiness from within. Will she honor a promise sure to break her heart—and Isaac’s? Or is there another way to find a home for her heart?


Learn more and purchase a copy.







My Review:
The final installment in the Journey of the Heart series by Colleen Coble Novellas is a perfect way to end everything in A Heart's Home. This final book continues as many of the others do with a conflict or trial. Colleen does a fantastic job of tying up the loose ends and even with Ben Croftner. This series surprised me more than I thought and I enjoyed reading a new novel every month, which took about an hour to read.  This series was clean and great for reading at shorter segments, so I loved that some of the books left you hanging and waiting for the next book to come the next month. I promise you will love these books.  



About the Author:
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.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Glory Days: Max Lucado Book Review

GloryDays cover with border

{MORE ABOUT GLORY DAYS}

Glory Days (Thomas Nelson, September 2015)
The wilderness. Maybe you know it well.
The Israelites sure did. After all, they spent forty years wandering the desert. Victories were scarce. Progress was slow. They were free from Pharaoh but not free from fear. Saved but stuck.
Sounds a lot like midlife misery. Caught in a rut. Stalled out. Running on empty. Are you mired in the same?
You can name the day you became a Christian and escaped Egypt. But you can’t remember the last time you defeated a temptation or experienced an answered prayer. You’re fighting the same battles you fought the day you came to Christ. You’re out of Egypt, but Egypt’s not out of you.
Isn’t the Christian life supposed to be better than this?
Jesus offers abundant joy. Yet you live with oppressive grief. The epistles speak of grace. You shoulder guilt. You are more than a conqueror yet are commonly conquered by temptation or weaknesses.
But there’s good news. With God’s help you can close the gap between the person you are and the person you want to be. Like Joshua and the Israelites, you can move from a wilderness existence into a promised inheritance.
This is God’s vision for your life. You, at full throttle. You, as you were intended. You, as victor over the Jerichos and giants. You, minus the stumbles, hurts, and hate.
You and your Promised Land life.

My Review:
Maybe you've been wandering in the desert for five days, five weeks or fifteen years? Whatever the case is, God allows U-turns. You don't have to wander anymore. Like the Israelite's, you can find freedom, but it comes with a price tag. The price tag isn't easy and freedom from it, that isn't easy either, but God never guaranteed this life would be easy. He said for who ever loses their life, will find their life. Despite whatever junk we might have to go through in losing our life, we will enter the promise land. The promise Land as Joshua entered and many others in the Bible is so much greater than the Promised Land we could dream for ourselves. Max is extraordinary in telling stories in "Glory Days", but also making you realize your story has just begun. You're not finished yet! I loved this ARC copy and know you will love this book too! Don't wait, pre-order your copy today. You won't regret it, I promise!
Thank you Thomas Nelson for providing me a complimentary copy. I was not compensated for a positive review. 
Max Lucado

{MORE ABOUT MAX LUCADO}

More than 120 million readers have found comfort in the writings of Max Lucado. He ministers at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and a sweet but misbehaving mutt, Andy.
Find out more about Max athttp://teamlucado.com/beforeamen/cbd.html.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Running is healing

Happy Monday!!! 
Maybe or maybe you haven't noticed, I haven't been super active on my blog. Due to some recent events, I haven't felt like blogging about life, running or anything else.
 And then, I decided the only way to start healing, was to get back running. Although I was dealing with an injury setback, I was given the clear to run with proper stretching, icing, wearing boots at night, etc, but I couldn't find it in me. 
Sometimes, you need a trip to the running store to find some new gear, a new perspective and you're ready to go again. I'll show you on my new running goodies later. For now, I am proud of my five mile run on Saturday! 5miles 51:11
I am sure over the next couple of weeks, I will share what has led to me dropping off the blog map, but for now we are in full training mode for a half marathon in October!!


Q: When has running been a healing journey for you emotionally?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Autumn Brides Book Review: Weekend August Read

Autumn Brides: A Year of Weddings Novella Collection A Year of Weddings Novella Collection

By Kathryn Springer, Katie Ganshert, Beth K. Vogt

Book Description Happily ever after begins today. The honor of your presence is requested at three autumn weddings . . . Happily ever after begins today. The honor of your presence is requested at three autumn weddings . . .


A September Bride by Kathryn Springer When Annie moves to Red Leaf, she’s ready to call the little town home. Deputy Jesse Kent can’t believe his mother has handed the keys to her bookshop over to a woman she met on the internet. Jesse has seen his mother taken advantage of before, and he decides to keep a close eye on this Annie Price. But when a close eye turns into a historical wedding reenactment with Jesse and Annie as the couple, make-believe nuptials quickly give way to real-life emotions.

An October Bride by Katie Ganshert No one but Jake and Emma know the true reason they’re getting married—so Emma’s dying father can walk her down the aisle. While Jake and Emma plan an autumn wedding together, it becomes clear that their agreement has a few complications—the biggest being their true feelings for each other.

A November Bride by Beth K. Vogt Having celebrated the big 3–0 by ending a relationship, Sadie is tired of romantic relationships-by-text. The only man she knows willing to put down his iPhone and have face-to-face conversations with her is Erik. It’s time to put a 21st-century twist on the Sadie Hawkins’ tradition of a woman going after her man. But when he realizes he’s fallen for her, can Erik convince Sadie his just-for-fun dates were the prelude to “’til death do us part”?

 My Review:

I found myself relating to Lorna Kent in September Bride who had a dream, but had a difficult time pursuing it. I enjoyed this novella and made me think about why we don't pursue our dreams?

In October Bride, I found myself wondering if I would be brave enough like Emma and willing to enter into a marriage because I found a bucket list of my fathers? This book was interesting because of their fake engagement and I found myself wondering would I be willing to do the same for my dying father? 

 In November Bride, I loved how the Novella ended with a surprise engagement party, which ended up to be more than what Sadie bargained for, but she was happy. 

 Overall, I enjoyed each of these Novella's and they taught me different lessons throughout the stories of each of the characters. If you're looking for some great stories, you'll love these quick reads! I cannot wait for the next installment of short Novella's called "A Season to Wed." Thank you to Zondervan for allowing me to review this book! 5 stars! You won't be disappointed!