Sunday, November 25, 2012

Book Review: Upside-Down Prayers for Parents

 
 
This book is terrific!  I absolutely recommend it to all parents!  I am not a very good pray-er.  I often feel like God already knows what I need/want and I want His will to be done anyway.  This book hits 31 different "upside-down" prayers that we should be praying for our children.

Examples:
-I pray you'll get caught doing things wrong-and experience the power of confession.
-I pray you'll have to wait-and learn the value of patience.
-I pray you'll fail in things that don't matter-and learn what matters to God.
-I pray you'll have to forgive someone who doesn't deserve it-and find the peace that forgiveness brings.
 
The chapters start with Bible verses and at the end of the short devotion there are "Making it Personal" and "Making it Relevant" sections.  I really enjoy the reflections all of this allows. 
 
Yes, some of the prayers and desires seem harsh like the prayers for suffering a loss, losing a job, brushing up against death, and being shattered, but the ultimate goal is for our children to experience these things so he can learn such valuable lessons for getting closer to God.  Sometimes we can only experience an intimacy with God that is brought on by one of our extreme challenges.
 
I love this book!
 
I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

Book Review: Every Perfect Gift

 

About Every Perfect Gift:
 Book 3 in Dorothy Love's Hickory Ridge Romance series.
Ethan and Sophie long to share a future together. But the secrets they're not sharing could tear them apart.
Sophie Caldwell has returned to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, after years away. Despite the heartaches of her childhood, Sophie is determined to make a home, and a name, for herself in the growing town. A gifted writer, she plans to resurrect the local newspaper that so enchanted her as a girl.
Ethan Heyward's idyllic childhood was shattered by a tragedy he has spent years trying to forget. An accomplished businessman and architect, he has built a majestic resort in the mountains above Hickory Ridge, drawing wealthy tourists from all over the country.
When Sophie interviews Ethan for the paper, he is impressed with her intelligence and astounded by her beauty. She's equally intrigued but fears he will reject her if he learns about her shadowed past. Just as she summons the courage to tell him, Ethan's own past unexpectedly and violently catches up with him, threatening not only his life but their budding romance.
Link to buy the book: http://ow.ly/ftJyo ;
Meet Dorothy:
An accomplished author in the secular market, Dorothy Love makes her inspirational fiction debut with her Hickory Ridge series of historicals set in her native South. Her skillful blending of the historical and the personal reflect her passion for discovering the histories of ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary things and set her apart as an authoritative voice of Southern historical fiction.
Find out more about Dorothy at http://dorothylovebooks.com/.


My Review:
I have not read a book set in this time period before and I really enjoyed it.  The setting of the book was so well described and I could imagine being there.  The characters are developed wonderfully and I would like to read the previous two books so that I could read more about those characters.  I really enjoy when books are part of series and we can read and then catch up on our favorite characters. 
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical romances and also to anyone who just enjoys a great romance story. 
 
 
I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.


 


 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Book Review: Christmas in Apple Ridge

 
 
Experience the holidays with the Plain folk of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania, in these touching novellas centered around love, romance, heartache, and restoration from best-selling author Cindy Woodsmall.

The Sound of Sleigh Bells
Beth Hertzler is unable to let go of a past tragedy, but when she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds. Determined that her niece meet the gifted artist, her aunt tracks him down, but it’s not that simple – will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love?

The Christmas Singing
Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve. Brokenhearted, Mattie moves away and pursues her longtime dream of becoming a cake decorator, and even finds a new beau. But when Mattie is forced to return home three years later, will learning the truth behind Gideon’s rejection restore her Christmas joy – or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?

The Dawn of Christmas
Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it’s time to come home and settle down. Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance. To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan—but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down. Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?
 
 
 
 
My Review:
I've said it many times, but I love Amish books.  I also absolutely love Christmas books, so I knew I would absolutely love this Amish Christmas book or books.  Each of these three novellas is written so well and is so enjoyable.  They really get you into the mood for the season.  Another thing that I love about Amish Christmas books in particular is that they usually really focus on the meaning of Christmas and are so far from being superficial and greedy.  They focus on the joy of Christmas and giving heartfelt, meaningful gifts. 
These novellas will definitely put you in the mood for Christmas and will definitely help you focus on the meaning of Christmas.  They have great romantic elements and make for very easy, enjoyable reads. 

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review: Hot Buttons-Internet, Dating, Drugs, S*xuality

Nicole O'Dell helps address the Hot Buttons in teens' lives before the issues become problems
From dating to drugs, modesty to purity, morals to popularity, teens face all sorts of tough issues. How teens respond to these hot-button issues can have lasting effects on who they want to be and who they actually become. What if parents can help their teens prepare for these hot buttons-before the issues become a problem?
The uniquely packaged Hot Buttons Series is an accessible, quick-reference resource that parents can use to equip their children to make the right decisions, even in the face of peer pressure and outside influences. More than just another how-to manual, Hot Button Dating Edition offers practical real-life situations that parents can read and discuss with their preteens. Topics include: physical activity, missionary dating, and violence/abuse in dating relationships.
Author, mom, and broadcaster, Nicole O'Dell provides short scenarios followed by three or four responses that a teen might choose in that particular situation. Parents are then encouraged to help their children explore the issue, ask questions, and discuss the options, so when a similar situation comes up in real life, the teens are already prepared to respond.

Hot Buttons Dating Edition offers practical real-life situations that parents can read and discuss with their preteens. Topics include: physical activity, missionary dating, and violence/abuse in dating relationships.
Hot Buttons Internet Edition helps parents prepare their teens for online challenges they may face. Topics discussed include: internet activity, file sharing, social networking, and internet predators.
Hot Buttons Drug Edition braves the scary world of substance abuse, equipping parents with facts, warning signs, and real-world scenarios on: alcohol; Marijuana and other drugs; inhalants; and prescription drugs.
Hot Buttons S*xuality Edition offers the facts about teen sexuality, backed by statistics; specifics for how to talk frankly about s*x with your kids, discussion about the growth of homos*xuality and bis*xuality among teens; and compassionate advice for guiding your teen to reclaim purity.
Link to buy books: http://ow.ly/esojj ;
  
 
 
Meet Nicole:
Youth-culture expert, Nicole O'Dell is the host of Choose NOW Radio: Parent Talk and Teen Talk and the founder of Choose NOW Ministries, dedicated to guiding teens through tough issues and helping parents encourage good decisions.
On air, O'Dell covers peer pressure, dating, purity, drugs, alcohol, modesty, popularity, and anything else that comes up along the way. Nicole writes and speaks to preteens, teenagers, and parents about how to prepare for life's tough choices.
As an author, O'Dell writes both fiction and nonfiction. Her popular YA fiction includes the Diamond Estate Series and the Scenarios for Girls interactive books that feature alternate endings, allowing young girls to decide the outcome for the main character. Her nonfiction for teens includes Girl Talk, which she wrote with her two daughters based on their popular advice column.
While her YA resources encourage and equip teens, Nicole also works to bridge the communication gap between teens and their parents. The Hot Buttons series helps parents discuss tough issues with their tweens and teens before the issues pop up in real life. Watch for future Hot Buttons books on subjects like bullying, image, prejudice, friendships, politics, and more.
O'Dell, resides in Paxton, IL, with her husband and six children-the youngest of whom are toddler triplets.
Find out more about Nicole at http://nicoleodell.com.
 
 
My Review:
These books will definitely be something that I treasure and use for years and years to come.  Nicole gives little up-front answers from her own opinions, but when she does it is short and sweet the way I like it.  She does give answer after answer from what she has found Biblically in the form of an answer.  I love this!  These are not just another set of parenting books.  These are invaluable for the Christian home.  The end of the books have sections where you can talk with your child/teen/tween about different scenarios.  I love this, also.  I feel like these books are not written to judge or give us, as parents, more impossible goals to live up to.  I feel like they are written to inspire, inform and equip us with the knowledge and tools, with Biblical backing, to teach and guide our children in the right ways to live.  
 
I definitely recommend these books to every parent!
 
 
 
I received these books in exchange for my honest opinion.   

Book Review: Dear Deb

 
"I want you to know that if my illness inspired you to write these stories, the cancer was worth it."—Deb
What stories could possibly make cancer worth it?
Stories that represent a miracle—a lifetime of miracles. Stories that changed the writer as she wrote them and stories that will touch the heart of the reader, one by one by one. Stories that are not just stories.
They started out as words of encouragement to a dying woman. They turned into a collection of sparkling and intimate moments, pulled from the past to finally be understood and shared with new meaning.
Story by story, letter by letter, Margaret Terry uncovered powerful pictures in her own life of the one truth that could help carry her friend Deb from this life to the next: God is at work.
Together, Deb and Margaret found renewed hope in all the ways God shows up right to the very end. Which is where they found the miracle they'd been praying for all along. In each other.
 
 
 
My Review:
I have never experienced anyone very close to me having cancer (knock on wood).  I hope that I never will.  If I did I would want this book so badly.  If I was close to dying or having anyone close to me close to dying, I would want this book.  But as neither of those, I still want this book.  If you are not experiencing a terrible trial with death you can still gain so much wisdom and inspiration on how to live right now.  This book made me cry, laugh and hope to live my life more fully and be more thankful for the good health we have.  This was a great book and I recommend it to everyone, especially those who are going through trials with death, but also for those who want to live a more full life.
 
 
I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Book Review: At the Feet of Jesus (A Devotional!)

About At the Feet of Jesus:
You were made for more than serving God; you were made to know Him.

Intimacy with God-to know Him and be known by Him. It is what our hearts desperately need, but somehow life conspires to keep us busy and distracted.

For anyone who struggles when it comes to daily devotions, At the Feet of Jesus extends an irresistible invitation to set aside your duties and find the amazing peace and incredible joy that come from time alone with Him. Drawn from Joanna Weaver's beloved Bethany trilogy, each reading in this 365-day devotional includes a Bible reading passage and reflection question. All-new material and "Going Deeper" sidebars are also woven throughout.

Discover for yourself the riches that come from spending a portion of each day alone with God. At the feet of Jesus-where true life begins!

Includes a unique One-Year Bible Reading Guide.

Link to buy the book: http://ow.ly/erC31

Meet Joanna:

Joanna Weaver is known the world over for her transparent and life-changing books, Having A Mary Heart in a Martha World and Having a Mary Spirit. Joanna has appeared on a wide variety of nationally syndicated radio and television broadcasts. She is also a highly sought after speaker and shares her message at intimate gatherings and several high profile events each year. But Joanna's greatest joy is found in being a wife and mother and her role as a pastor's wife.

Find out more about Joanna at http://www.joannaweaverbooks.com/.
 
My Review:
This devotional is great!  I love it!  There are Read and Reflect notes at the bottom of every devotion that has you read a verse or a few verses and then a reflection question that you can spend some time thinking about.  I really enjoy when devotions give you something to "work on" or ponder throughout the day and the Reflections did that.  This is definitely a devotional that I will go back to again and again.  I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a short little devotion in the morning or at any point in your day.  These are very quick reads, which I appreciate.  This would make a great Christmas present for any woman!
 
 
I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Book Review: Practicing the Presence of Jesus

About Practicing the Presence of Jesus:
Experience the Gift of His Friendship
Do you want to experience Jesus as real? When we look at Jesus' life on earth, we see Him calling people to simply know Him. He made no demand on them to believe theological propositions. "Follow me" was the invitation which they accepted. They got to know and communicate with the real person. There is a big difference between believing something is true and experiencing it as real. This is the story of how Wally Armstrong learned to communicate with the real person of Jesus in his everyday life. Armstrong experiences Jesus up close and personal and introduces readers to the same experience. In a conversational manner, he explores what it is like to have a relationship with Jesus as if He is sitting right there next to us. He keeps an empty chair ready and imagines Jesus sitting beside him as they talk.

Link to buy the book: http://ow.ly/erBu0
Meet Wally:

Wally Armstrong is a professional golfer, teacher and dynamic life coach who has competed in over 300 PGA Tour events, including the British Open, the US Open, and the Masters, and was awarded a lifetime membership in the Tour. In his first Masters appearance, Wally finished in fifth place, setting a rookie record for the lowest tournament score of eight under par. As a golf instructor and clinician, Armstrong has taught golf all over the world and has produced more than twenty golf instructional videos and DVDs covering every area of the golf game. He is the author of seven books, including the bestselling In His Grip (with Jim Sheard and Billy Graham) and The Mulligan (with Ken Blanchard). He resides in Maitland, Florida, and has been married to his wife, Debbie, for forty-one years. Together, they have three children and seven grandchildren. Armstrong invites readers to visit his website, www.oldprobooks.com, for more insights about the wonderful opportunity each of us has to know Jesus as the real person that he is.

Find out more about Wally at http://www.wallyarmstronggolf.com/wallys-world/.

My Review: 
This book was an easy read.  It was very interesting to me how Wally experienced his time with God and Jesus.  I really enjoyed reading how he really visualized Jesus sitting with him having a normal conversation like he would with anyone else.  I think we do lack a certain intamicy because it is sometimes hard to really feel the presence of Jesus or God.  Wally's book can really help you to see the value in that and can maybe help you learn to practice that presence with Jesus.  This book is also a great read for golf fans, as Wally refers back very often to his time on the course and in his general life. 
 
I did receive this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Not A Book Review and A Job

So, yes, I have lots of book reviews on my blog.  I don't really like it because I don't really like all of the books, but I sign up to review them and so I do.  I will be filtering out the ones that I don't want on here.  I like to read other's reviews, but I do not like there being a million of them! 

We have been very busy lately.  I will write about that soon.  And hopefully I will be writing much more consistently if I plan ahead! 

But, one thing that has made me super duper busy is that I got a job!  Oh my goodness!  Like a real, leaving the house to collect a paycheck kind of job.  And I absolutely dislike it.  I am sooo thankful for the job, as we have really taken on too much lately and need the extra income for Christmas, etc.  It is 6 days a week, yes, 6. days. a. week.  Every night from 5-9 and on Sat from 9-2pm.  It takes up so much of my valuable time with my family.  But, again, I couldn't feel more blessed to have the job. 

Doing what?  This is an even bigger omg(osh)!  It is basically a telemarketing job.  Hahahah!  Never in my life did I seriously think I would harass people for a living. 

So next time when you answer your phone and someone is trying to do their job by talking to you, just be nice and say, "I'm not interested, but thanks."  And I will say, "I don't blame you.  I hate when people call me also.  Thanks and have a great night!"


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Book Review: The Memory Jar

Enter Today - 10/16-11/7!
 
 
 

Book One in the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series


Every year, 30-40 young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive 'resident' status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides! Sarah Shelter has lived in West Kootenai for the last ten years and wonders if she will ever fall in love.andnbsp;Since the tragic death of her best friend, she carries her memories in a jar along with the small items connected to them. For just as long, she's also been carrying around her emotions instead of allowing them to penetrate deep into her heart. Now she's met a kind and gentle man who may be able to break down the wall. But can Sarah risk her heart to finally achieve her dreams?

 Link to buy the book: http://ow.ly/esMtx 
Meet Tricia: Tricia Goyer is the award winning author of over thirty books including Beside Still Waters, Remembering You, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences and is the host of Living Inspired. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.


Find out more about Tricia at http://triciagoyer.com.
 
 
My Review:
I really enjoyed this book.  It was a pretty typical Amish romance novel, but I love those books.  That being said, this book was fairly predictable, but it is the journey that is so much fun to read.  I am looking forward to the other books in this series.  It is great to read a series like I expect this one to be where you can "check in" on your favorite characters in an area.  I hope that Tricia's series will be like that.  Great book.  Easy read.  Very enjoyable. 
  
I did receive this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion. 

 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Book Review: The Trouble with Cowboys

The trouble with Cowboys by Denise Hunter
 


About the Book:
Only one pair of boots—and the cowboy wearing them—can get Annie out of the mess she’s in.

Annie Wilkerson is Moose Creek’s premiere horse trainer and equine columnist for Montana Living. Money is tight as she tries to put her kid-sister through college and provide for her young nephew. When Annie’s column is cancelled, she’s given first shot at a new lovelorn column—and she can’t afford to turn it down. Only problem is . . . Annie’s never been in love.

Always resourceful, she reluctantly strikes a deal with the town’s smooth-talking ladies’ man Dylan Taylor: She’ll work with his ailing horse, Braveheart, if he’ll help her answer the reader letters.

Working closely with Dylan is harder than Annie imagined, and she quickly realizes she may have misjudged him. But her unwavering conviction that cowboys are nothing but trouble has kept her heart safe for years. And she can’t risk getting hurt now.
The more Annie tries to control things, the more they fall apart. Her feelings are spinning out of control, and her sister’s antics are making life increasingly more difficult. Annie knows she needs to turn the reins over to God, but surrender has never come easily.

When Dylan reveals his feelings for her, Annie doesn’t know what to trust—her head or her heart. The trouble with this cowboy is that he might just be exactly what she needs.
Meet Denise:
Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!Find out more about Denise at http://www.denisehunterbooks.com/.
 
My Review:
I really enjoyed this book.  It was quite predictable, but there were a couple twists in it.  The main character starts writing a lovelorn column and at the beginning of each of the short chapters there was a little tidbit from her "column".  The characters were really relatable and lovable.  I recommend this book to anyone who wants a sweet, romantic easy read with great characters and a dream setting. 
 
 
I recieved this book for review in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Life with Lily

Enter Today - 10/1-10/15! Life with Lily Suzanne Woods Fisher Mary Ann Kinsinger Nook HD Kindle Fire Giveaway

Link to buy the book:http://ow.ly/e60PH

About the Book:
Book 1 in the ‘Adventures of Lily Lapp’ series.

Lily is six in this story, just starting first grade in a one-room schoolhouse in upstate New York. Her parents are busy building a farm, and soon animals join the family—Jenny the cow and Chubby the miniature horse. A baby brother arrives, too, which Lily has mixed feelings about. (She wanted a sister!) Aside from a mischievous friend like Mandy Mast, Lily is happy at school and even happier at home.

 

Trouble is brewing at the schoolhouse and change is on the horizon for Lily and her family.

Meet Suzanne:
Suzanne Woods Fisher
Suzanne Woods Fisher lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has one husband, four children, one son-in-law, a brand new grand-baby, and a couple of dogs. She graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.

Suzanne has contracts with Revell for six more books about the Amish, both fiction and non-fiction. She is also the host of “Amish Wisdom·” on toginet.com, a weekly radio program featuring guests who are connected to Simple Living.

Find out more about Suzanne at http://suzannewoodsfisher.com/.



My Review:
I love Amish books and this one was great.  It wasn't the typical romance that I read, but it was wonderful.  I also love learning about the ways of life for the Amish and why they do and believe the things they do.  In the books I normally read you get tidbits about those things, but in this book you learn as Lily learns, which I really enjoyed.  It is about a little girl named Lily who is growing up, as all children do, learning life lessons along the way.  Lily's lessons are lessons that Amish children learn and they can also teach us some lessons, too.  Life with Lily is a terrific book for people of all ages.  I will definitely introduce it to my daughter for her to read.  The chapters are short and there are several illustrations throughout the book.  I look forward to the next books in this series.
 
 
I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

Book Review and Giveaway: You Don't Know Me

Enter Today - 10/2-10/23! You Don't Know Me by Susan May Warren Giveaway

Link to buy the book:http://ow.ly/e6zml

About the Book:
A Deep Haven Novel

Sometimes the secrets we keep to protect ourselves can be our undoing.

To all who know her, Annalise Decker is a model wife and mother. She’s a permanent member of the PTA, never misses a sporting event, and is constantly campaigning for her husband’s mayoral race.

No one knows that Annalise was once Deidre O’Reilly, a troubled young woman whose testimony put a dangerous criminal behind bars. Relocated through the Witness Security Program to the quaint harbor town of Deep Haven, Deidre received a new identity and a fresh start, which began when she fell in love with local real estate agent Nathan Decker.

Twenty years later, Annalise couldn’t be more unprepared for her past to catch up with her. When Agent Frank Harrison arrives with news that the man she testified against is out on parole and out for revenge, Annalise is forced to face the consequences of her secrets. Will she run again, or will she finally find the courage to trust those she loves most with both her past and her future?

Meet Susan:
Susan May Warren
Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning novelist of over thirty novels. A five-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award.

A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!.

Find out more about Susan May at http://www.susanmaywarren.com/.
 
 
My Review:
I loved this book.  It is not the usual book I would choose to read, but I am so glad I did and will definitely be checking out Susan's other books!  There are so many twists and interesting relationships in this book.  Susan writes about each of the characters so well and tells their part of the story.  This book is filled with love, mystery, suspense and twists you never see coming! 
 
 
I recieved this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Review: Grace

 
I really enjoy Max Lucado books and this one was no different. I was hoping for a little more in depth study.  This is a great book for new Christians and a good book for older ones.  There are some great points I had never thought about and some great stories from the Bible that were told in a different light.  There was lots of present day life stories that Lucado related back to his point.  Lucado added great Bible verses and quotes to every chapter, which I really enjoyed.  The last almost third of the book is a study for the book, which I think is a great addition to any book. 
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Lucado's books, as well as anyone who needs a little reminder about the amazing grace we are given... but don't we all need that once in a while?
 
I received this book for free from BookSneeze in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

90Day Gluten Free for PCOS Check-In#2

Week 2 eating gluten free was ok.  I'm missing my bread and bready type foods!  Haha!  I lost another 2.2 pounds so total I am down 8.4 pounds.  So that is encouraging, but I am still not working out like I should be. 

This week I will get 45 minutes of cardio in.  That might not sound like much, but I know once I start I won't really stop.  I'm like that, until I stop and don't start again.

I am beyond broken out.  I really look like my 14 year old self.  My chin is a bumpy mess and I am shocked by it.  Not a positive for the gluten free.  I was really hoping and thinking that if I did have an allergy it would kind of "cleanse" my body to be done with it.  But, maybe my hormones are actually getting back into sync and so I broke out.  I don't know.  That would be great! 

I'm still soo excited that Chipotle, chocolate and Dr.P are gluten-free!  And I've found a few sweet recipes that I will try for the holidays if I keep this up past 90 days!

Ohhh... Chex cereal has 4ish kinds that are gluten-free and 2 that are not, but I love the honey and nut one.  And I made Chex-krispie treats, just like rice krispie treats and they were delicious!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What Are We Getting Ourselves Into??

 
Crazy, right?! 
 
And now a little over a year later, we have decided to give it a try again! 
 
I'm really nervous.  Really Nervous!
 
Why?
 
Because as much as I tell myself to keep my heart protected, I don't.  I never do and probably can't.  I'm just not made that way. 
 
So, I am trying very, very, very hard to trust God... all of the time, with all things!
 
Including fostering to adopt. 
 
There are a few things that might hold us back:
 
1) We have a pool and will not get a fence (besides our regular wooden fence) around it.  We don't have the money for a fence and the way our yard is it would be really awkward and really just plain ugly (and that matters because we want to sell in 4-5 years).
 
2) We lost our baby a few months ago and usually there is a waiting period of a year for major life events and listed was the loss of a pregnancy.  I am hoping that this will not exclude us.  Of course, it was a major life event for us, but we made decisions to foster before we and now after that. 
 
3) The above mentioned incident.  I really cannot state enough that our dog did not bite our caseworker.  It was such a lie that devastated our family (and our foster daughter) like crazy.  I'm disappointed in the agency and my heart breaks that the situation was handled so unprofessionally by all parties.  But... I do not know if the new agency will accept our defense, even though there was no proof or offense ever given.  We were and are "guilty" with no evidence.  We cannot get rid of our dog.  He is 13 years old and did nothing wrong.  I would never own a dog who bit someone.  Ok... enough about defending him!!  I'm nervous that the new agency will contact our old agency and find out what happened and I don't see them being ok with the whole situation. 
 
So, I am leaving it up to God.  The door was slammed so hard in our face the first time and I had felt sooo right with that agency.  We are trying to find a window or new door that God has opened and if it gets slammed in our faces again, we will take that as a no. 
 
I am thinking about applying for 3 different agencies and telling them upfront that we worked with another agency before and there was an issue and we are no longer working with them.  I've told the first agency already, but haven't gone into details.  It's really hard to not seem like a trouble making family when we first have to defend ourselves about something right away. 
 
But I know that God can do anything and will if this is part of His plan for us!  The process is so long and tedious and tiresome because of the waiting and waiting and waiting.  We will not tell Kassidy until we are doing the classes or maybe not until right before the homestudy. 
 
Please pray for us.  We would love for this to be something for our family, but if it's not right pray that we will know soon- before we invest much time, money and heart into it.  Thanks!
 
 
Do you have any advice, wisdom, insights as to how and what to say about our incident?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Blahs! Do You Ever Just Feel...

...like you want a total life redo?  Or at least a chance to do what you want now?  I am just blah.  Seriously.  Seriously.  Blah. 
 
I think my hormones are doing a crazy number on me.  I am not one to blame emotions or actions on hormones, but right now I am.  I am an emotional person normally, but I am beyond that at this point.  I have been crying at the drop of anything. I just want to sleep but I also just want to go on a long trip or read all day.  I guess I just want to get away with Mike and Kass.  I've been really moody.  I have zerrrooo motivation.  I cannot get beyond my huge to-do list and it is overwhelming me.  I have been taking everything so personally to the point that I can name 4 people who are friends and family that I feel are really mad at me for some reason... maybe that isn't in my crazy head.
 
For a little more than a week I've been feeling like this. 
 
Things are just not going how I want them to be.... schooling K, my house being unpacked and organized, everything. 
 
I just want to move away with my wonderful husband and stubborn, loving daughter.  Literally, I want to move... and did you catch the part that I haven't even unpacked here?  We've been here for 3 months and I love this house, I really do, but it's not where I want to be living.  If we could just pick up our house and move it that would be awesome.  I love, love, love Texas and the people here, but I really want to move much farther north.  I want cooler weather and I want snow.  I'm the opposite of those people who get the winter blues.  I get the not fall/winter blues.  Luckily, it is almost fall.
 
I used to be a Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay.  Yep, I did.  That is one awesome company, by the way.  Anyways, we used to say that we wanted to add busy women to our team.  Busy women?  Yes, because they know how to get things done.  Think about it for a while.  Busy women get things done.  Because they have to. 
 
Part of my problem for years has been that I do not have enough to do.  You'd think that I did seeing the above statements and problems, but I don't in a different way.  I want to be a mom who is there for her children and I truly believe moms need to be home (most of the time). 
 
But, I feel like I am missing some things because I don't work, because I don't have a church that feels like home, because I don't have any friends or family here that live anywhere close to how we do. 
 
I long for the drive... the challenges... the deadlines... the competition.... the purpose... the passion... the the creativity... the sense of community.  
 
If I had more kids and more commitments/obligations I think that some of those holes would be filled and it sounds absolutely horrible as if my daughter and husband are not enough.  That is my struggle.  They are.  It's what God has given me at this time and I am so very thankful.
 
I am just not filling those holes with what I should be and I need to find ways to fill the others.  So, we are done with school this week.  I'm going to try and get some motivation and some ideas and some goals and some plans that I can be excited about. 
 
I'm going to be praying to get over my blahs and have some divine inspiration! 
 
 
Do you get the blahs?  How do you get over them?   
 
 
 
 

Pretty, Pretty Princess and Lessons With Grandma

We went to dinner at my grandma's and grandpa's the other night.  It was great spending time with them and nice to not have to make dinner!  We ate and then began our usual game playing.  My grandma taught me how to play so many games growing up.  When I would stay for the summer or Christmas break we played games or did crafts about 80% of the time. 
 
She always got right down on the ground and played like she still does with my daughter.  It melts my heart to see it.  She had a wonderful grandmother growing up, who played on the floor with her and devoted hours to game playing.  My grandma told me that she was her inspiration to be a great mother and grandma.  She definitely is the best and I will always treasure her and our memories spent playing games. 
 
I have 3 grandmas and although they all have special, unique qualities, this grandma is the only one who has ever gotten down on my level and poured herself into just spending time with me.  It is a lesson that I try to embrace always.  To be in the moment and to through yourself into your loves.
 
 
What on earth is the fascination with bunny ears??
I just don't get it.



All Pretty, Pretty Princessed up!!  She was the winner!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Book Review: Cleaning House

How appropriate for my life? 
 
Cleaning House
 
Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement
 
 
Kay Wills Wyma was tired of her children feeling like "socialists" who felt like they were entitled to everything and anything.  Sound familiar?  I think that all of us desire for our children to have a hard-working attitude seeing the opportunities life, in America, gives us if we work hard.
 
Kay decided she was going to make a change in her family's life and dynamics.  She decided she was going to stop doing everything for her kids.  She started having them learn the valuable skills needed for life- a life without so much dependence and self-centeredness.
 
This was a great book with so many ideas and tips that Kay used for her family.  It is a book that will help inspire you to raise your children to become the adults we all want to be and be around!
 
I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest opinion.

Children's Museum

Last weekend we went to the Fort Worth Science and History Museum.  Bank of America offers card holders free admission to museums on the first Saturday of the month.  You should check it out if you have a card.  So Mike and I got in free, which meant we saved $30 and that we actually got to go!
 
It is a great museum with lots of fun, interactive exhibits!
 
 
Laying on a bed of nails!!  Literally!  The bed of nails rose up.  It had a warning sign not to move once the nails started rising!

 





Monday, September 10, 2012

90Day Gluten Free Check-In #1

Here is where I explain why I am doing this challenge. 

Sunday night I went through some things in our pantry that were not gluten free and that would not be eaten (any time soon) by my husband or daughter. It included mostly canned soups. I printed off lists of what you can't eat and I can't find my great site for what you can eat, but might not be quite sure of... I'll try to find it. 


Before :o
SOOO bloated (&fat)!
 


 
Much less bloated!  Can you see a difference?
 








Before
After 1 week


I've got to mention that posting those pics sure takes alot!  Haha!  Those are not the most flattering clothes by any means but in a few weeks hopefully they will be much better.  I am pretty serious about true before and after photos!!  ;)
 

Monday: Pretty simple.  I only missed my green Doritos, which my husband ate to get rid of them. ;)
-Dinner was: stuffed smashed potatoes, chicken breasts, green beans 

Tuesday: Another great day.  I'm kind of starting to miss bread, although losing 3.6 pounds in one day is pretty exciting.  I expect it is a fluke, since I can usually vary 1-3 pounds every day.  The real test will be the end of the week.  I got a few coupons for some gluten free bread and tortillas.  I'll let you know how they taste once I try them!
-My spinach, acai berry and strawberry smoothie is growing on me.  I think the acai berry is just not my favorite taste and so far no help on the staying fuller longer, but we will see!
-Chicken and brown rice crockpot style but no cream soup because that is not gluten-free.  The rice was pretty gross in my opinion, but it was my daughter's favorite.  Funny how that works!?!?

Wednesday: Woke up to another 3 pounds lost!!  Quite exciting!  I used to drink just cold from my fridge water with no ice, but did you know that drinking ice water actually burns calories... not a significant amount per glass but it adds up!
 
Thursday: Seriously disappointing trip to the grocery store.  I was so excited since I had printed out several coupons for gluten free bread and tortillas.  I got to the store and with the coupons bread was still $5.00+ for a small loaf.  Seriously?!?!  I could not get myself to spend 3 times as much as I do for a regular loaf that is twice the size!  So no bread.  And no tortillas for the same reason.  Big, huge BUMMER!!  I bought roast beef from the deli, after I tried a super thin slice, and realized that the only ingrediant I couldn't read on the list before I bought it was the one that was on the "maybe" list.  I'm sure it's fine, but I haven't eaten any more :( 
 
Friday: We went to Boston's since I had a free pizza coupon.  I got the gluten free pizza but was seriously worried I would hate it since I have major new food and weird taste issues, haha!  But it was great... just like thin crust and definitely helped my bread/pizza cravings!!
 
Saturday, Sunday: slight up and downs on the scale.  I am seriously exhausted this week, which isn't helping my pro-gluten-free cause. 
  
 
Pros: Total loss of 6 pounds this week and I feel much less bloated.  I am getting the hang and idea of gluten free stuff.  Not crazy hard, except for when things are on the "maybe" list.  This has made me quite a bit more conscious of what I am eating in a great way!
 
Cons: I miss my bread and pancakes and pizza.  Andddd... I was really, really tired all week.   

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hilarious Sign... QXYZ



OH MY GOODNESS!!!  I saw this on this great blog and could not get enough!!  I want to find where this is because that town now has my heart :)  Although the scenery looks like what I spent my life getting away from!! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Conquer Your Fears and “Live to Give” Webcast

Here was my review for this book.


Thomas Nelson Author and Hoops of Hope founder, Austin Gutwein, to host September 6 online event to focusing on themes his latest release, Live to Give. On September 6 at 8 PM EDT, Austin Gutwein will be hosting a live Facebook web event to encourage participants to conquer their fears and use their talents to help others. The webcast will center on the themes Gutwein writes about in his latest release “Live to Give: Letting God Turn Your Talents into Miracles(Thomas Nelson/August, 2012). At the conclusion of the webcast, the winners of a month-long social media fueled “Get and Give” contest will be announced, including the winner of a Kindle Fire and $250 donated to the winner’s charity of choice. Join Austin on the evening of Thursday, September 6th as he shares about his own experiences and encourages others to conquers their fears and “live to give”. Austin will also be taking audience questions and interacting with participants. PLUS – there will be several “Live to Give” giveaways – books, gift certificates and much more! RSVP today and tell your friends. Based on the John 6 story of Jesus feeding the 5000, in “Live to Give” Gutwein challenges his readers that regardless of age and talent, God can use them to make a difference. Even though God could take care of everything Himself and doesn’t really need our help, He desperately WANTS us to help Him care for others. Gutwein walks young people through discovering and embracing their unique God-given strengths and abilities, then figuring out how to use those talents to help others. Sometimes doing that takes a leap of faith on our part, and often becoming fearless in the process. More about Austin: At eighteen years old, Gutwein speaks with wisdom and has the experience to reinforce his message. When Austin was just nine years old, he watched a video that showed children in Africa who had lost their parents to AIDS. Gutwein realized these kids weren’t any different from him—except they were suffering. Feeling called to help, he took his love of basketball and decided to shoot free throws to raise money for orphans in Zambia. On World AIDS Day in 2004, he shot 2,057 free throws to represent the 2,057 kids who would be orphaned during his day at school. Through sponsorship from parents and friends, Gutwein raised over $3,000 that day to give hope to eight orphans in Zambia. Over the past eight years, Gutwein’s efforts have created Hoops of Hope, the largest free throw marathon in the world. With an estimated 40,000 people in more than 25 countries participating, Hoops of Hope has raised more than $2.5 million to build schools, medical clinics, dormitories for orphanages, and the only computer lab in Zambia. Enter to win a Kindle Fire and have $250 donated to your favorite charity. Click for the banner for details and entry or visit http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/13528976/livetogive. Learn more about Austin and Hoops of Hope at www.AustinGutwein.com and www.HoopsOfHope.org.

PCOS, Gluten-Free, 90 Day Challenge!

I have PCOS and in case you don't know that stands for PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome.  It is a metabolic/hormonal disorder that basically means I (and 5-10% of all women) have trouble metabolizing insulin. 

My grandma called me a week or so ago and just left a message saying that I should check out Celiac disease.  I knew what Celiac was since I took care of an elderly woman who had it and because years ago we thought my husband might have it; instead, he has a form of Chron's. 

I did not think that I had Celiac and still do not, but for some reason I felt like I should look it up last night so I did.  I do now think, though, that I have a gluten allergy. There are many symptoms I have that seem to go along with it. I self-diagnosed myself with PCOS years before I could go to a dr to get "diagnosed and treated" due to insurance issues. I read alot and educate myself and I've gotten better at knowing my body.

Celiac is at the farthest end of the gluten allergy/intolerance spectrum.  It is not a good thing.  Having an allergy to gluten and not doing anything about it is also not a good thing as ingoring it can cause: inability to lose weight, chronic sinus problems, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, cancer, depression, skin disorders, osteoporosis, diabetes or hypothyroidism, autoimmune diseases, infertility, tingling numbness in the legs, sores inside the mouth, hives, joint/muscle pains and aches.  Those are the pretty serious things.  I didn't even bother with the little issues. 

"When you have gluten intolerance your body does not absorb fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A and E and K as efficiently as well as the essential fatty acids. EFA's are critical for women with PCOS because we use these to make all our reproductive hormones and adrenal hormones including estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, cortisol and DHEA. Other nutritional deficiencies include a calcium, folic acid, iron and vitamin B12 (which may already be low due to taking Metformin."
 -http://bridgetobaby.com/profiles/blogs/go-gluten-free-for-pcos

These are some of the symptoms caused by having a gluten allergy:
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Nutritional deficiencies due to malabsorbtion e.g. low iron levels
  • Gastro-intestinal problems (bloating, pain, gas, constipation, diarrhea)
  • Fat in the stools (due to poor digestion)
  • Aching joints
  • Depression
  • Eczema
  • Head aches
  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability and behavioural changes
  • Infertility, irregular menstrual cycle and miscarriage
  • Cramps, tingling and numbness
  • Slow infant and child growth
  • Decline in dental health
  • -http://glutenfreenetwork.com/faqs/symptoms-treatments/gluten-intolerance-symptoms-how-do-you-know-if-gluten-is-making-you-sick/

    Now, obviously, many issues can be the cause of those above problems, but I had never known that there was a correlation between PCOS and a gluten allergy.  But, "Dr. Jeffrey Aron who has been practicing gastroenterology for 35 years and is Head of Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine at California Pacific Medical Center, is quoted as saying that, 'PCOS and celiac are related.'   Melissa Diane Smith who’s a nutritionist, health educator and author of Going Against the Grain says that '…85% of her PCOS clients test positive for a sensitivity to gluten. When these women remove gluten from their diets they often see a marked improvement in their PCOS symptoms.'"  http://bridgetobaby.com/profiles/blogs/go-gluten-free-for-pcos

    So I have decided to be gluten free for the next 90 days (actually 88 days because I am late posting this!).  Completely, utterly, 100% gluten-free.  And boy, do I love my bread!  I read websites that said you should definitely see a difference in your energy levels and your overall health in just a little more than a week of being gluten free, but others suggested 4 weeks and some even 3-4 months before truly knowing if you have an intolerance. 

    What can it hurt?  Nothing.  I am also going to start walking/running and maybe some other working out, which should also improve things.  Although, I don't think it will really alter my "results" because I will workout at night and that's not going to really help my hating the morning energy level.  Hopefully, my new diet (not lose weight diet... just food diet) will! 

    I'm going to share the ups and downs each week and maybe you will get some ideas or encouragement from my posts, but I also really, really need the accountability! 

    I read many, many "testimonials" from women who said that within just a couple months their cycles were normal and they were feeling great with a huge reduction in almost all if not all PCOS symptoms! 

    My goals for this week are:
    1) to workout or be aerobically active for 2 hours
    2) to lose 3 pounds

    On Monday, when I recap the week I will post my before picture!  DUN, DUN, DUNNNN!!



    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    Postcrossing!

    Postcrossing.com


    My sister, Rachel, got us started on something super cool called Postcrossing!  It is a website where you send and receive postcards from around the world!  How cool!  You set up a profile and send your first card.  After you send a card and it has been received, then you will be in the system and start receiving cards.  It's super simple.  After each card of yours is received you will be put back into the system to receive again.  You can send 1 at a time or 100 at a time. 
     
    We buy our postcards at Walmart for about 22 cents a piece (I think) and the stamp is $1.05.  So for less than $1.30 you can receive a postcard from around the world!  We just started and Kassidy has sent one to Finland, Germany, Japan, Algeria, Belarus and the Netherlands.  She has received ones from Poland and Japan so far.  The one from Poland was from an 8 year old also, which was really fun!
     
    You can request certain themes for postcards and some people have very interesting requests like maps, city views, landscapes, animals, etc.  We try to meet some of their requests, but it's not always possible.  My sister suggested that we write that we do not want any profanity, obscenities or nu*ity so we did in our profile.  We write about basic stuff that tells about our culture and way of life.  If we send a map we tell a little better about where we are on the map, etc.   
     
    At first, I was a little weary about doing it.  I'm not super crazy about sharing our address, but we did not do the US exchange.  We only opted for international.  You never send postcards to the person you receive one from, unless you contact them back and ask.  I have thought about doing that with the 8 year old so the girls could be penpals.  We will see. 
     
    You should definitely check it out.  I think it is helping Kassidy learn more about other cultures and her geography skills (and mine) will benefit for sure!  She has also requested that we look up the addresses of the ones we send on google maps, which has been pretty fun and interesting!
     
    Happy Postcrossing!!
    (how almost everyone ends their postcards)
     
    Have you ever heard of Postcrossing?  Do your children have penpals?  If so, I would love to learn more about that!