Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap into Spring


Happy Leap Day! Did you know today is Leap Day? If the internet hasn't warned you, then your email probably has. I have received dozens of great offers letting me know it's LEAP Day, and I should buy some great stuff at a discounted rate, which isn't bad if I was in the market for a thing or two...

Did you have a great weekend? I sure did! The weather is starting to improve around here, and it's putting me in a good mood. The snow melted off, and I feel like we're heading for Spring. It actually hit in the high 50's here, the sun was out, I threw on a pair of flip flops, painted my piggy toes and even had the car windows down. It was glorious. It finally feels like we are leaping into SPRING!

The hubs and I went for a walk, which was wonderful. We were talking about how great it was to have the sun on our backs and to feel it's warmth. The daylight is getting longer, and soon, summer will be upon us! Oh, I cannot wait!!! It was awesome to be out for a stroll without a care in the world. However, my tune has changed when I saw the forecast this morning for tonight and tomorrow, they are predicting another snowstorm to come through. UGH. I enjoyed this warm weather; maybe the snow will melt off fast.



This weekend was fantastic; I could see that people all around us were in a much brighter spirit, and I know the weather had something to do with it. We also were able to squeeze Fuller House in along with appetizers and some R&R between church, running, cleaning and all the usual weekend activities. 

What did y'all do this weekend? How is the weather where you're at? Doing anything great for Leap Day? 


Overload How to Unplug, Unwind, and Unleash Yourself from the Pressure of Stress by Joyce Meyer


#1 New York Times bestselling author Joyce Meyer shows readers how to become free from the burden of stress so that they can achieve God's best for their lives.
Overload
As technology increases your accessibility, it becomes harder to mute the background noise of your life and receive God's guidance. Joyce Meyer calls this OVERLOAD, when the demands of your busy life become all-consuming and overwhelming. But to experience the joyful life God has planned, you must make time to focus on His Word. Then you'll receive His healing calmness and gain the strength to take on life's challenges, from physical ailments to problems in relationships. Through the practical advice and Scriptural wisdom in this book, you'll learn how to unplug and free yourself from burdens that weigh you down. You'll gain simple, effective tips for better rest and stress management and discover the fulfilling life you were meant to lead.




My Thoughts:
At one point or another, we have all felt stressed. It is a simple fact of life. However, if not dealt with correctly, the long-term effects of stress can wreck havoc on our relationships, health, finances, marriage, parenting, jobs, etc. Often doctors say patients come in with health problems due to stress issues, and if they can manage the stress, the health problems go away. We need to get rid of the stress, but the question is how? We just add more to our plate each day and eventually we are on "overload." 

In Joyce Meyer's newest book, " Overload: How to Unplug, Unwind, and Unleash Yourself from the Pressure of Stress she offers some practical and Biblical advice on how to handle stress. Personally, she talks a lot about negative thoughts. When we allow ourselves to have a pattern or mindset that automatically thinks in a negative response, we stay stressed because we are focused on a situation in a negative way rather than choosing to think of it in a positive manner. She talks about having a heart of gratitude, which allows us to stay humble and keep our minds positive on the areas that are great in our lives. 

In each section at the end of every chapter, there is a section called "Things to Remember," which is great because it highlights key points. This is important because maybe certain things didn't speak to you in the chapter, but these key points might be significant for you to speak to someone else who is stressed out. I found this book to be insightful and full of wisdom.Another favorite section is when Joyce talked about using humor as a way of ridding stress from our lives. How often we forget that laughter is great medicine and helps us relieve stress. I found this chapter to be particularly useful. It made me laugh a lot. 

Overall, this book is filled with practical Biblical tools and solutions to help us unplug, manage stress and see things from a Kingdom perspective on how to deal with stress. If you're stressed out, pick up a copy of Overload: How to Unplug, Unwind, and Unleash Yourself from the Pressure of Stress as this book will give you tons of ideas to help manage your stress. Let's not forget the Bible as our ultimate example. While this is a great resource and full of wisdom, it should be used right with Bible next to it.

Thank you to Faith Words a division of Hachette Book Groups for providing me a complimentary copy for review purposes. I was not compensated for a positive review but was given a review copy for review purposes only. This book is being rated 5/5 stars for content, the ability to engage a wide audience, the in-depth knowledge, and sound Biblical doctrine.

If you would like to purchase a copy, go HERE! 



Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter


Following a concussion, Lucy Lovett can’t remember the last seven months of her life. She doesn’t remember leaving her fiancĂ© Zac Callahan weeks before their wedding or moving to Portland, Maine. And she sure doesn’t remember getting engaged to another man. All she remembers is loving Zac more than life itself.

It’s taken Zac months to move on after Lucy left him with no explanation. He’s thrown himself into his family’s farm and his restaurant business in Summer Harbor. Now Lucy’s back, vulnerable, homeless, and still in love with him. She needs his help putting the pieces together, but letting her back into his life is a risk—and the stakes are high. If he follows his heart he’ll win back the love of his life. But if her memory returns he’ll lose her all over again



My Thoughts:

The Goodbye Bride is so, so good! The from start to the ending, you will just fall in love with this book. I read it from start to finish in one sitting, which isn't always the case for me. This one captured my attention. Imagine waking up in the bathroom and not knowing anything, but your former love, sitting in a wedding dress believing it's your wedding day and thinking you're supposed to be somewhere to find out that you're no longer with that guy anymore. YIKES! This book is full of surprises, twists, and turns, but will ultimately capture the hearts of Denise Hunter fans. This will be a favorite, and I hope they make a movie out of this book. Hallmark do yourself a favor and make a movie! It will be a hit! 

Thank you, Thomas Nelson, for providing me a complimentary in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday Night Fun Night

Good Morning and Happy FRIDAY! 

If you're like me, you're always excited when the weekend rolls around. Friday is here, and it's a fantastic day! Let's talk about a few things that are making this Friday and the past week amazing! 

First, let's head straight into the topic of workouts. You heard right! I just pulled myself off restriction and started working out. There is no sense in waiting for someone else to tell me I can come off restriction because it's going to be years before we figure out what's going on with the legs, so I might as well get back to working out.


During my 3 mile run! 

Workouts for the past week:

Friday- glorious 3-mile run
Saturday- 2.5-mile walk outside
Sunday- Lots of Stretching
Monday- 2.5-mile walk
Tuesday- Yoga
Wednesday- More Stretching
Thursday- R&R

I even have a half-marathon training plan all mapped out. If we can't get PT in, I'll just do what I know, myself. Doctors are taking their pretty little time. Appointments are now in the middle of March for testing. Did they forget to consult me on my training schedule? I think so! Ain't nobody got time for that business! Honestly, I have a life to live and I'm not sitting around anymore waiting for someone to say here is another test. If I wait, I won't be running until the middle of the summer. Um, that just can't happen. So, I plan to take it slow and easy, build my mileage and get right back out there. 


My Tree, isn't it beautiful? #Snowmaggedon

Second, it's Friday Night Fun Night in our household! Friday Night Fun Night usually entails a movie, carbs {Takeout} and a whole lot of relaxing in preparation for a Saturday run. Somehow, I'm getting up and going running. Whether it's a slow 4 miles or not, someone needs to do it, and I need to run or else, my half-marathon training schedule is going to need to be re-worked. Obviously, I'm starting off VERY slow and with BARE bone runs, so my body can get used to running while I stretch, foam roll for hours and let people in the white coats figure this out.  In the meantime, I'll enjoy every ounce of sweat. 

Third, Fuller House is on Netflix, so I'm sure we will have binged watched the entire season as of tonight or by the end of this weekend!   Is anyone else excited to see some DJ, Kimmy or Stephanie Tanner? I also have a stack of books calling my name in addition to some home and sewing projects. Overall, I am excited about the weekend because it should be one that is fun filled and one that has some R&R!


What are yall doing? Who is watching Fuller House this weekend? 
Any long runs planned? 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

An Amish Market Four Novella's in one book.. Don't Miss it!!!

An Amish Market
Image provided by Thomas Nelson
An Amish Market is just that! Look no further than a book packed with four great Amish novella's that you'll have a difficult time choosing which one to dive in first.  At the beginning of each story, the authors provided a glossary of the German dialect spoken by the Amish, which is extremely helpful to the reader. You'll also love the recipes that each author brings to the table at the back of the book, which I recommend making after each story. You'll be disappointed when each story is finished, but not to worry because you'll have something to munch on as you get ready for the next novella, especially the cookie recipes. YUM! 

Amy Clipston will steal your heart in "Love Birds" as you enter the quaint gift shop Ellie works at in Bird-In-Hand Pennsylvania only to convince her friend, Llyod to start selling his beautiful wooden birds. Despite Llyod's opposition, Ellie won't have it.  Ms. Cliptson writes a story about forgiveness, trust, and betrayal.  This story is lovely, and her attention to character depth, story plot, and smooth transitions will capture you from th e beginning of the book as you mourn the loss of Seth till the very ending where your heart is pounding. Will love be in the works for Ellie and Llyod or did her mistake ruin her future?  You'll be in a whole ball of knots until the end wondering what happens!! I would recommend this Novella and any other full-length books by Amy Clipston as they are excellent reads.

In "A Bid for Love" by Kathleen Fuller, Hannah makes and sells home churned butter, but when Ezra is captured by Hannah's smile, he can't help but return to buy her butter. Of course at the local auction, Hannah saves all of her money to bid on a quilt but confronts Ezra because she can't understand why he would want to outbid her? When the auction doesn't go as either planned, will it lead to romance or a complete disaster? This story is light-hearted, and Kathy has a unique way of immersing the reader in the story, which continues to the Market feel. 

Will is left with a broken heart in "Sweeter than Honey" by Kelly Irvin. He must work through some forgiveness and even prayer to get past his wounded heart. Isabella comes along, a bit awkward and clumsy, which made me laugh out loud as I can totally relate to being a klutz. I love it when characters are real. She also has a pure heart with intentions to help Will move on. Is Isabella the one Will turns to in his time of need? Will sparks of romance fly or will a friendship evolve? Sweeter than Honey is just that, Sweet! 

Finally, Vannetta Chapman wraps up the Amish Market series in the final Novella entitled "Love in Store". Mystery and romance wrapped into one, David and Stella work together to solve some odd thing at the Old Amish Mill. Stella's character is perfect as she is a bit stark and bitter while David is the complete opposite. He is a family man willing to do anything. However, as we learn the past behind Stella, you can't help but empathize with her. The plot thickens and moves fast leaving the reader guessing who is behind the strange happenings? You'll enjoy how "Love in Store" wraps up the market series.

The Amish Market is a wonderful set of Novella's sure to be enjoyed for many years to come. They are the perfect bite-sized stories to read in the evening. 










Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Unplugged

You may have noticed; I have unplugged from writing for a while. Sometimes the things we love, asks us to take a step back for the sake of falling back in love again. 

Unplugging hasn't just been from writing on my blog, but from my phone, texts, emails and social media. I think we can all agree that our phones blow up, like our Facebook notifications, and it gets exhausting. 

Ding.
Ding.
Ding.
Ding.

All of the sudden my phone has fifteen text messages, and it won't stop. Does this happen to you? Do you ever feel like you can't silence the thing? Sure it has a silence mode, but the messages pile up, and you can't get to them all. It's so lovely to have friends and family that care and want to talk to you. It's a love/ hate relationship. However, you can't shut the thing off and often it will consume hours of my day if I let it. 

I found this picture at a store and it's exactly me lately! 


 In the past week, I have just let it all go the wayside more than usual, and it has been beautiful. I'm trying to be intentional about my time, especially with whom and the ways, I devote my time right now. I'm learning this season in my life is very special, limited and that the urgent keeps distracting me from the important. I've had to put the brakes on things, and I keep being reminded to limit the distractions, stay focused on the course and be intentional about the things in front of me. 


Not writing anything on my blog about life, has allowed me to work on writing projects that have been sitting. Sometimes saying "no" to one thing allows you to say "yes" to another thing, which is what I've needed to do. I also have been trying to show myself grace and mercy in the process, which is hard. I'm back to blogging and regular programming. I'm sure we have a lot of life to catch up on, and I can't wait to talk to y'all about it.

Has your phone blown up and you just need to be intentional about leaving it there? Do you answer all your text messages right away? Emails? How do you handle the constant social media blasts? Do you take a day away from all of it? 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

On a Lone Star Trail by Amanda Cabot

Cover Art
Image provided by the Publisher
About:
If there's one thing Gillian Hodge never wants to see again, it's a man on a motorcycle. Her last encounter with one left her right hand crushed, ending her promising career as a concert pianist. Unsure about the next phase in her life, she heads to Rainbow's End Resort for some R&R when a sudden thunderstorm causes a motorcycle to crash right in front of her.

When TJ Benjamin's wife died, he lost more than his best friend; he lost his faith. He has spent the past year wandering the country on his motorcycle, trying not to think about the future. When he finds himself stranded with a busted bike and a reluctant rescuer, he has to wonder about God's sense of humor.

As these broken people collide, they find that a bright future is still ahead--it just might not be the one they imagined for themselves.

My Thoughts: 
Having only read Firefly Valley and Now On Lone Star Trail, I love the Texas Crossroad series. These books are fantastic and can be read as stand alone books, but are better if you read the entire series. The love story here is just a bunch of fun, especially when you have no idea what Gillian is going to do or whom shes going to choose.You'll love the story line, the characters, the romance and the charm as you find yourself stranded at Rainbows End Resort. I also love the heart of this book, which is how people always get second chances, which is the heart of God. He offers us second chances. Don't miss out on a beautiful story that will capture not only your heart, but also your romantic side. You'll love the ending, especially when you watch Gillian decide between two suitors and she can only have one. This book is worthy of five stars for the in-depth theme, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you to the publisher for giving me a copy of this book to review for my my honest opinion. I was not compensated for a positive review, but was given a review copy for review purposes only. I would recommend this author and this series to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance novels. 


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington


Image Provided by the Publisher

Breaking BusyHow to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy 
Have you ever felt like a fraud or failure as you struggle to find balance in life? Do you find yourself juggling everything in mediocrity and feeling like you’re succeeding at very little? In her no-nonsense way, Alli Worthington tackles the big questions about finding happiness and one’s God-given purpose.
Breaking Busy marries popular secular research with solid biblical principles, instilling confidence that you, too, can move from crazy busy to confident calm. With refreshing candor, uproarious true stories, and a Christian worldview, Alli delivers truths that dismantle common happiness myths. Then she empowers you to get unstuck, to let go of the good to make way for the great, to know yourself and your Creator, and ultimately to find peace and purpose in this world of crazy.
You will:
  • Learn how to stop chasing what leaves you empty and start doing what you were created to do.
  • Identify the common lies you believe and how to strip their power from your life.
  • Recognize how what you say no to determines what you can say yes to.
With relatable anecdotes, Alli models real-life guidance on boundaries, relationships, and self-care, humbly examining her own mistakes and walking through how she learned from her missteps and found peace in a world of busyness.
If you long to find real connection with both your loved ones and your Creator, Alli Worthington deftly balances intelligent humility and heartwarming humor to help you rediscover your path.

My Thoughts:

Are you the queen of busy? Are you wearing the badge of honor named busyness? Get rid of that title now! It isn't adding anything to your life and infact, it's taking away from your life. This book is a real wake up call to get us to slow down! Stop chasing the things that you weren't meant for and start living on purpose. So what do I love about this book? I love the honesty and the authenticity. Ali comes at this book straight from the heart, which is so important! She isn't afraid to just be honest and tell us we need to choose relationships, our marriages, kids and our Jesus before our To Do lists. While this book is practical, I think this book also asks a lot of women to take a step back and look at their lives to see if they can really live and practice these values out. I think she raises some solid points and questions, but I'm not sure if women can live this out and if it is realistic for many women today. I loved how she laid the book out and the content, but I think this information is very similar to other books I've read, so because of that, I am giving it 4/5 stars. 

Thank you to Zondervan for allowing me a complimentary copy to review this book. This is my honest opinion and I was not compensated for a positive or negative review. 




Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Roots & Sky by Christine Purifoy

Cover ArtAbout: When Christie Purifoy arrived at Maplehurst that September, she was longing for a fixed point in her busily spinning world. The sprawling Victorian farmhouse sitting atop a Pennsylvania hill held within its walls endless possibilities. It was a place where she could finally grasp and hold the thing we all long for--home.

In lyrical, contemplative prose, Christie slowly unveils the trials and triumphs of that first year at Maplehurst--from summer's intense heat and autumn's glorious canopy to winter's quiet grief and spring's unexpected mercies. Through stories of planting and preserving, of opening the gates wide to neighbors, and of learning to speak the language of a place, Christie invites you into the heartache and joy of small beginnings and the wonder of a God who would make his home with us. 


My Thoughts:
Christine Purifoy writes the first year of her life as her family moves into an old farmhouse, which they call Maplehurst. She is a wonderful story teller and vividly describes the beauty she finds in the ordinary living, which is divided into the for seasons. Ultimately, she breaks it down by each month and discusses her faith as she makes the Bible come alive. She is very honest about her struggles, postpartum depression, how her family celebrates holidays, which is very sweet and creates new traditions. Roots and Sky is small writings, in a larger story. It is not a memoir, but almost like a diary with someones personal thoughts.

 It is well written, especially many of the fine details, but I didn't connect as much as I had hoped for. It didn't captivate me the whole way through, which is difficult for me to write because I wanted too, but I had a hard time staying with the book. At times, I felt my mind wandering as I was reading this book and I would put it down because I couldn't stay focused with her. With that said, I have two thoughts. One if you have a hard time with short stories that connect to a larger story, read in small portions and two, this might not be your personal style of writing, which is okay. I think Root and Sky appeals to many readers out there and I will pick it up and give it another try in a different season of life, where I hope to finish to August. This book receives 4/5 stars because I could not stay with the book. However, you might love the book, so give it a chance! Thank you to Revell Publishing company for providing me a complimentary copy for review purposes. 

About the Author :
Christie PurifoyChristie Purifoy (PhD, University of Chicago) has taught literature and composition to undergraduates at the University of Chicago, the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, and the University of North Florida. In 2012, Christie traded the university classroom for a large vegetable garden and a henhouse in southeastern Pennsylvania. She is a regular writer at Grace Table and has contributed essays to numerous websites, including Art House America, A Deeper Story, and many popular blogs. She writes about the beauty, mystery, and wonder that lies beneath the ordinary at her blog, There Is a River(www.christiepurifoy.com).

Always Watching by Lynette Eason

                                                                          About:
Cover Art"This is one of the best romantic suspense novels I've read in a long time. Highly recommended!"--Colleen Coble, author of The Inn at Ocean's Edge and the Hope Beach series

Intensity. Skill. Tenacity. 
The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.

When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians to protect his son. But when Wade's bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap. 

Olivia's skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade's stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him--including Olivia. But in her mind, even more dangerous than the threats to her life is the hold her handsome client has on her heart.




My Thoughts:
This was the first book I've read by Lynette Eason. Always Watching is the first in a new series revolving around an all women body guard agency - the Elite Guardians.

In this book, head of the agency Olivia is working to protect Wade, local radio host, single father and well known clinician psychologist. Wade is being stalked and threatened, and we're not just talking about minor incidents. Whoever is obsessed with Wade will stop at nothing to get to him, even if that means using those who are closest to Wade. Throughout this book, the threats get worse but the struggle to track down the person will keep you guessing to the very last chapter.

This is a great book. I found myself not wanting to put it down. In addition to the suspense of not knowing that will happen next, I enjoyed how the author helped illustrate how God can help us in the most extreme of situations and our everyday lives - even if we've strayed away from him. It's easy to forget, or take for granted how God orchestrates our lives, our strengths and our experiences. In this book, we see through the eyes of Wade, his daughter Amy, and Olivia just how this all plays together to end up finding the stalker.

I'm excited to see Lynette's next book in this series, which is set to come out this summer. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense books. 

Thank you to the publishing company for allowing me to review this book. I was not compensated for a positive review, but provided a complimentary copy for review purposes. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

21 Seconds to Change the World by Dr Mark Rutland

Cover ArtRestore Your Soul Through Prayer

When he didn't have the words to pray, Dr. Mark Rutland turned to the Lord's Prayer. Through it, he reconnected with God and found comfort, hope, and healing. In this book he reveals how your soul can be renewed in the 21 seconds it takes to pray these words of Jesus. 

Dr. Rutland examines the Lord's Prayer alongside Psalm 23, making the two most familiar prayers of the Bible come alive like never before. You'll be inspired by stories of lives changed through this practical prayer strategy that works in even the busiest life. Discover for yourself the power of these prayers to bless and heal. In the end, it's not just about saying the prayers--it's about getting to know the Lord of the prayers.



My Thoughts:
Do you have twenty one seconds every day? We all do right? Or at least I think we manage to find hte time. If your heart is beating, then I think it's a safe bet. Dr. Rutland has done something beautiful in 21 Seconds to Change Your World by taking The Lords Prayer and the Twenty Third Psalm and making a studying that will open your heart to a deeper understanding of faith, a complete new level of prayer and a level of intimacy with God that begins with 21 seconds a day. You will find this book refreshing, beautiful and completely life giving. Overall, I found this book to be easy to read, full of biblical and practical teaching, insightful to God's words with principles that demonstrate wisdom into my every day life. This book has strengthened my walk and it is one that I know I can look back on it years later to help in different season. I recommend this to anyone look to grow in their faith, prayer walk or deepen their relationship with Christ. It is a very unique book.
Thank you to Bethany House for providing me a complimentary copy for review purposes only. I was not compensated to give this book a positive review. I am giving this book a 5/5 stars. 

About the Author:
Dr. Mark RutlandDr. Mark Rutland is the New York Timesbestselling author of ReLaunch as well as fourteen previous titles. He founded Global Servants in 1977 and still serves as its president. Over the last twenty-five years, Dr. Rutland has also served as senior pastor of a megachurch and president of two different universities. These three institutions experienced dramatic turnarounds under his leadership. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Gift of Friendship by Dawn Camp

Cover Art
Image courtesy of the Publisher
Whether next door or in the next time zone, our friends are some of our most vital relationships. We cherish time spent together and look forward to the next time we can solve the world's problems over coffee. There is something about a true friend that no other relationship can touch.

Collecting over fifty true stories from some of today's best writers, Dawn Camp offers you a chance to sit back and experience the gift of friendship. With its beautiful photographs and poignant prose, this collection is the perfect pick-me-up anytime you need a boost.






My Thoughts:
Grab a cup of coffee and have lunch with some of the best friends of your life. Whether you're listening to stories from Holley Gerth, Liz Curtis Higgs, Lysa Terkeurst, Renee Swope, Dawn Camp, Jessica Turner, Lisa Jo Baker or many more, be ready for the collection of the perfect pick me-up. These stories are healing, holy and worth your time no matter the season of life you find yourself in. I found this book to be incredibly uplifting, entertaining and encouraging. I felt like I was at Starbucks with a bunch of friends having coffee discussing life. This book is just a beautiful book and one that you don't want to miss. Pick up a copy not because I'm telling you to, but because you will miss out on something beautiful here. I am reading this book as a devotional because I love to read the stories each day. To find out where you can purchase it, head here.  I am giving this book a five star review for its content, depth, uniqueness and ability to capture a large variety of audiences of readers. Thank you to the publishers for giving me a copy for review purposes only. I was not compensated for a positive review. 

About the Author:
Dawn Camp
Dawn Camp is the camera-toting, homeschooling mother of eight children and the editor of The Beauty of Grace. She is also a featured blogger at (in)courage, and her beautiful photography previously graced their monthly calendar and currently decorates the desktops of women around the world. Camp blogs at MyHomeSweetHomeOnline.net and is a featured photographer on Adobe's website for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software. She lives with her family in north metro Atlanta.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Love Gently Falling by Melody Carlson

22217696About:
Rita Jansen is living her dream as a hairstylist in Hollywood when her father calls with news that her mother has suffered a stroke. When she gets home to Chicago, Rita finds her mother is healing but facing a long recovery. Worse, without being able to run their family-owned salon, her mother could lose the business. Rita decides to help, but she only has until Valentine's Day to come up with a plan. 
As Rita takes her mother's place at work, the nearby skating rink she loved as a child brings back fond memories. Rita also finds herself renewing friendships with her childhood best friend, Marley, as well as her classmate Johnny. Although they now lead such seemingly different lives, Rita is surprised by how well she and Johnny connect and how far he will go to help her. Though Rita believes Johnny is only being kind, with romance kindling in the air and on the ice, their friendship may just fall into something more. 




My Thoughts: 
A phone call can change your life, which is exactly what happens in Love Gently Falling by Melody Carlson. For Rita Jansen, everything was going smooth until her father called her up with horrible news regarding her mother having a stroke. Her father made it clear that he wasn't sure if she would make it and Rita needed to come immediately. Rita leaves California in a flurry much to her surprise when arriving at the Chicago airport to find Johnny Hollister waiting to bring her to the hospital. During the drive, Rita learns a lot about her mother's salon and the clientele. She has also learned that Johnny has opened his own business. 

Upon arriving at the hospital, she learns more about the recovery process for her mother's stroke than anticipated. Rita decides while she is in town, she will help her mother out by making some renovations to the salon or soon her mother may lose her source of income, which will be detrimental to her mother's lively hood and ability to heal faster. Will Rita be able to pull off getting the Salon done in two weeks? Or do past relationships put a halt to the salon efforts? Is Johnny the love of her life or just some man she liked the idea of being in love with? 

Overall, this book is a fun read that is light-hearted, romantic, but also has some serious moments when necessary. It is the perfect Valentine's Day read, and the author leaves you with a surprise, so don't forget to check it out! 

Thank you to Center Street Publishing for providing me a complimentary copy for my honest opinion. I was not compensated for a positive review but was given a copy for review purposes. This book is 4/5 stars for me. I have given this rating because it ended rather stark and I would have liked to see Melody tie the ending up better. She left us with some loose ends, which might be strategic for another book in the future, which I'd love to see.


Kissed by a Cowboy by Debra Clopton

Cassidy was looking for a home and a place to belong . . . not for a cowboy to steal her heart.
Kissed by a Cowboy
Image Provided by the Publisher
Having lived through her parents’ endless string of “matrimonial bliss gone wrong,” Cassidy Starr knows when the odds are not in her favor. Divorced and humiliated, her faith on rocky ground, Cassidy is through with love. She’s been bucked off that horse far too many times. Instead, she returns to Wishing Springs, Texas, and the rundown farm she’s inherited from her great aunt Roxie. She’ll reopen the strawberry farm and a bed & breakfast and follow in her aunt’s footsteps, remaining forever-independent, happy . . . and single.
Rancher Jarrod Monahan’s hands are full running the ranch, looking after his ailing grandfather, and chasing down a group of rustlers on the loose. He’s pushed his longing for a family to the bottom of his list of priorities. Besides, he was in love once but ran scared and lost his shot at happiness. But suddenly, the biggest regret of his life has moved in next door with a wounded heart, determined to become a spinster . . . and that’s a challenge that Jarrod can’t pass up.
Jarrod sets his mind to breaking down the walls around Cassidy’s stubborn heart. How can he show her that a cowboy’s kiss lasts forever? For the good folks of Wishing Springs, falling in love has never been so much fun to witness.

My Thoughts:
I was glad to be able to return to Wishing Springs as this book is filled with second chances. This is the third book in the series, but don't worry if you haven't read the first two, it can be read as a stand alone, which is perfect, but I absolutely recommend the first two books! You'll read this book in the first sitting if you have the opportunity, especially with the weather being awful depending on where you life. I love the story line about a man, Jarrod who knows exactly what he wants and who he wants and will go at great lengths to get her, despite her own stubbornness.  I loved the character dynamics between Jarrod and Cassidy. This is one of those books that you don't want to miss! Overall, I just loved this book because it isn't a romance novel, but the characters deal with some difficult life stuff, which we can all relate too, which makes this book more real life and I loved that. Thank you to Thomas Nelson for providing me a complimentary copy for review. I give this book 5 stars for content, strong story line and real character connection to the reader.

About the Author: 


Debra Clopton
Image provided by the Publisher

DEBRA CLOPTON}

Debra Clopton is a multi-award winning novelist and has written more than 22 novels. Along with writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. Debra’s goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Unlacing the Shoes

Happy Friday!!!

Wednesday I had another PT appointment and I left extremely disappointment. Actually, disappointed is an understatement, but rather the of overwhelming feeling of sadness. Until further notice, I won't be lacing up my shoes and in fact, Physical Therapy has been entirely put to a halt. Sad, frustrated, angry and a sense of loss are just some of the emotions I am feeling over this.

Here's the skinny: Unfortunately, #purplelegsyndrome is not going away and the physical therapist is concerned he could be doing more damage, which is understandable. Until they can find the cause of the discoloration, he doesn't want to treat the symptom that could be the potential of a larger problem, which I respect. Let's fix the problem and not just the symptom of something larger. My feets are better; my legs are not. They still are super tight with knots in them continually, and he can spend twenty minutes getting the knots out, for them to return two days.  It isn't normal, especially after all the stretching and rest.  However, by being a good physical therapist and looking out for my best interest, it doesn't mean I'm getting out there running and exercising, which is very hard.  I miss running like I miss eating garbage food after a long run.  



The game plan:  I return back to the Sports Medicine doctor next week to be referred on to probably any number of further specialists for additional testing. In this household, we have some theories, as I've started to do some significant research on this stuff.  If a doctor can't figure it out, be your advocate. I'm not WEB MD-ing it; I'm reading about the structure of veins, blood flow, and other unusual things that could be going on. Sometimes unusual symptoms have led me to some weird online diagnosis's that others have been treated for, which I've furthered explored. At this point, I feel like it's my only choice or I will see every specialist on this side of the earth and it will all be "normal." 

I couldn't agree more with the PT about just treating a symptom and not the real problem. We need to get to the bottom of this, especially when I have no injury to either leg or knee. He is correct, but it doesn't mean I don't want to run! On the positive side, I am no longer in my custom orthotics! Those things are toast, and I've decided I will use them to make some form of art. Goodbye, you bricks, I will never wear you again, and I don't recommend ever going to them, unless you want to have shin splints and run awful race times! Thank you to podiatrists and custom orthotic people who just wanted to make money off me. Y'all lied!  A second piece of goodnews, we are actually treating the problem and not the symptoms anymore! We're gonna get there, it's just gonna take sometime. Staying positive and focused is making it very hard, but I'm sure as heck trying! 

So, I need feedback on how to stay positive with this thing y'all? I've been 109 days without running!!! Give me all you got people, please?  I feel like I'm losing my mind over here in this part of the world! HELP? I'm calling in the professionals!! I welcome your encouragement and advice? 

Dancing Through Life Steps of Courage and Conviction by Candance Cameron Bure

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Candace Cameron Bure has grown up before our eyes and we've watched as she's balanced life in Hollywood with her faith for many years. But that all reached new heights when she was given the opportunity to join the cast of Dancing With the Stars. Being on the show was one of her dreams come true; and with that dream came the opportunity to display her Christian faith in front of millions of people, through an intense season of stretching beyond her limits, and to run the race God gave her with joy and perseverance.

Join Candace as she reflects on the self-discovery that came through leaping out of her comfort zone. Go behind the scenes and experience the highs and lows, the roadblocks, and the personal victories. Hear straight from her heart on tough lessons learned about grace, rejection, perfectionism, disappointment, accountability, dealing with criticism, and more. Through God's strength, and with the help of endless support from her family and friends, see how Candace stayed true to herself and publicly lived out her faith in Christ all the way to the finale.


My Thoughts:
If you buy one book this entire year, buy Dancing Through Life, and this purchase is one you won't regret. Having read it in one sitting, I was amazed at the strength, courage and endurance Candance faced not only through her time with DWTS (Dancing with the Stars), but what she encounters in life with the thoughts of millions of people.  In Dancing Through Life, we get a glimpse of the grueling training Bure goes through as she learns the routines of the different dances, behind the scenes, the live events and the emotional roller coaster of her journey through Season 18 of DWTS. More than just about dancing, this book encompasses Bure's faith, which is evident in everything she does, the words she speaks and the costumes she chooses for each performance.

Off television, Candace talks about her struggles as a mother. During this season of her life, she was top notch career wise, but that meant making sacrifices on the home front, which included moments with her kids. She specifically talked about an incident in the book with her daughter, Natasha. I love how the candidate and honest, Bure is about her struggles, emotions and faith during this season of her life because it brings genuine authenticity to who she is a mother, Jesus follower, actress, wife, and woman. During DWTS, it was difficult for Candace to juggle all of these areas, but she learned how to manage where she could. I love how she talked about during the day for the live show of DWTS, she would be sitting to get her hair done and she would pull out her Bible to read or how she would minister to people in small ways to God. She is an example of living out the Great Commission with a solid faith.  

Dancing Through Life is a book filled with Biblical truths that will leave you inspired and more passionate about the Lord after reading it. You will look at Candace entirely different and know that everything she does is prayerfully considered. She and her family genuine live out their faith and practice what they preach, which is something very rare to find. I love how real she is and how she uses examples from the Bible to go alongside the struggles she was facing in life.

Thank you to B&H Publishing for providing me a complimentary copy for review. I was provided a copy for my honest opinion, which I have given. 

To Purchase a Copy, pick it up here, which I highly recommend!!! This is a great winter read that you don't want to miss, especially if you're a DWTS fan or a Candace fan!