Friday, August 31, 2012

One Thing My Husband Got Out Of Church

We went to church on Sunday for the first time in a long time. 
It was great.  And of course I want to jump right into that church but I am trying to dip a pinky toe barely in because we still have 6+ more to check out!
Anyways....  I don't really remember what exactly the pastor said when he started with a prayer-something about asking for forgiveness or forgiving (like always).  All of a sudden, deep inside and I felt the Holy Spirit lead me to the idea that I often make Mike practically beg for forgiveness. 
I forgive quickly.  It's always been a gift, I guess.  I don't really hold grudges, although I will end relationships that continue needing serious forgiveness.  You apologize and it's over.  You don't apologize and I still "understand" that you are human and meant to and it's over.  haha!
But... sometimes I want to know that Mike is so truly sorry for something and it's usually not all that important.  We get along 99.9% of the time, but when he has hurt my feelings I want an apology.  I hate, hate, hate, hate insincere apologies, actually all insincerity.  So for some reason until I feel like Mike is truly sorry, has learned his lesson and won't do it again, I don't let it go.  I don't forgive.  I won't drop it! 
You know the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman?  He also has set up The 5 Languages of Apology.  (You can take the quiz here!)  Btw, I am mostly A Words of Affirmation girl... no surprise with this story, right?  My Language of Apology is a tie between Expressing Regret and Requesting Forgiveness.  The two things I want my husband to do and he doesn't really do them willingly or easily so I nag and pout and drag things out until he says every single thing to make me get over it.  And then I'm fine. 
So ridiculous!
I felt, on Sunday, that I should knock it off and I saw myself before God with Him doing the same thing I do to Mike!  Wow!  I am such a sinner... an awful sinner and so undeserving of God's grace and how dare I not forgive anyone right away, especially my husband.  It is so easy, like I said, to forgive others, but the ones closest to me, especially my husband, take a little more effort.  Maybe because I expect more from him?  For whatever reason, I want God to expect lots from me and I want to fulfill so many of those expectations, of course, I won't even come close to being good enough, but I want forgiveness when I don't come close, as Mike doesn't always come close either.  I can start forgiving my husband right away the way I want God to forgive me!
I think it is super important to know one another's languages.  They are soo helpful!
Do you and your husband share the same languages?  Have you ever taken the Apology quiz? 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Review: The Choice

The Choice
My Review: 
 I absolutely LOVED this book!  I could not put it down.  This is a book about a teenage girl who becomes pregnant in 1974.  She is from a good family and was raised with good Christian morals.  The book has two parts, which I completely loved.  The first part starts out with Sandy, the pregnant teenager, deciding to go with adoption.  She meets an old strange "angel" woman who tells her that she is like Rebekah (from the Bible).  It is hard to tell much about the book without giving away all of the twists and turns.  After she delivers, her mom gives her the option of mothering instead of adoption.
 The second part of the book fast forwards about 30+ years, which I really appreciated.  The story gets really interesting then with lots of drama and excitement and unexpected twists. 
I could not put this book down.  From the beginning, I was hooked and cannot wait to share it with others.  It fills so many genre holes and it could definitely be for anyone!
The Back of the Book:
One young woman.  Two very different roads.  The choice will change everything.  Even as a pregnant, unwed teen in 1974, Sandy Lincoln wanted to do the right thing.  But when an ageless woman approached her in a convenience store with a mysterious prophecy and a warning, doing the right thing became even more unclear.  She made the best choice she could... and has lived with the consequences. 
More than thirty years later, a pregnant teen has come into her life, and Sandy's long-ago decision has come back to haunt her.  The stakes rise quickly, leaving Sandy with split seconds to choose once more.  But will her choice bring life... or death?
Dun... Dun... Dunnnn!!
(my addition)
I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion. 

A Few Random Reasons Why I Love Homeschooling

There are lots of reasons why I feel so blessed to be able to homeschool.  Lots of those reasons are talked about constantly, but some are not. 

1) I love that I get to correct my daughter's mistakes right away. 
     Remember when you were in school and you would get a paper back a week later and you had no clue how to do it properly or what in the world the teacher was expecting to be done differently?  When you homeschool, that problem is pretty non-existent.

2) I love that I actually know what is going on in her learning/school... duh!
     Our daughter actually went to a public kindergarten for a semester and then we moved and she did a year at a charter school.  I volunteered a lot at the charter school, but I still reall had no clue what she was learning or doing on a daily basis.  How can you truly reinforce or practice things at home when you don't have a clue?  Plus I get to choose what she learns!

3) I don't have to wonder how she is being treated at school or how she is treating others. 
     Maybe you call that socialization, but I don't.  I call that losing self-esteem and self-worth, whether you are being bullied or doing the bullying.  I know what my daughter (mostly) hears, sees and says.  It's not a wonder every day when she comes home from school if she heard something or saw something that really needs to bedealt with and discussed.

4) I don't have to miss out on 1,370 hours a year with my daughter. 
     Wow!  That number totally shocks me!  That is how long children are in school every.single.year.
If you homeschool, what are some of your random, not usually talked about reasons why you love it?  If you don't homeschool, why don't you?  Just kidding!!  I love non-homeschoolers, too!!  If you don't homeschool, what are your favorite things about public/private school that we homeschoolers don't get to experience?? 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Paisley's Diagnosis

I've written about what happened and now I will tell you why our baby died at 17 weeks in utero.  As I was writing my first of three posts on our birthing story, my dr called with the results of the study on the placenta.  {We were so blessed to be able to have the autopsy done.  I have a friend who never had one and many other women are never even given that opportunity.  It helped me heal tremendously and I am so thankful.}  Perfect timing!
Although I didn't recognize the number so I didn't answer the call!  It was so amazing of the dr, himself, to call me and to also give us his personal cell number.  He didn't pawn off the job to a nurse... he did the dirty work.  He really is my favorite!  We played phone tag and finally got to speak with him a day or two later. 
His news was pretty shocking, but also a relief. 
Paisley had Trisomy 18. 

Trisomy 18:
"Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome, is a condition which is caused by a chromosomal defect. It occurs in about 1 out of every 3000 live births. The numbers increase significantly when early pregnancy losses are factored in that occur in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy.

Unlike Down syndrome, which also is caused by a chromosomal defect, the developmental issues caused by Trisomy 18 are associated with medical complications that are more potentially life-threatening in the early months and years of life. 50% of babies who are carried to term will be stillborn, with baby boys having higher stillbirth rate than baby girls.

At birth, intensive care admissions in Neonatal units are most common for infants with Trisomy 18. Again, baby boys will experience higher mortality rates in this neonatal period than baby girls, although those with higher birth weights do better across all categories.

Some children will be able to be discharged from the hospital with home nursing support for their families. And although less than 10 percent survive to their first birthdays, some children with Trisomy 18 can enjoy many years of life with their families, reaching milestones and being involved with their community. A small number of adults (usually girls) with Trisomy 18 have and are living into their twenties and thirties, although with significant developmental delays that do not allow them to live independantly without assisted caregiving."
Trisomy 18 is what Rick Santorum's youngest daughter has. 
It was a relief because we knew that it was a freak accident... obviously ordained by God... but not something genetic that would likely ever happen again.  The chromosomes just didn't do their jobs right.  We know she had some serious issues and yet she kicked so strong and tried to hold on as long as she could, mostly for us I'm sure.  That is one part that really breaks my heart.... how hard she fought to live. 
If she had lived to be born with Trisomy 18, I cannot imagine having to lose her at that point.  I cannot imagine having to tell Kassidy that she will most likely die after that. 
I kind of knew once we got the first news that she had something wrong, only I thought we would be able to overcome it.  We would love her and educate ourselves and we would be ok.  I didn't know we wouldn't get that chance. 
And maybe awful as it sounds, the Trisomy 18 news was the best news we could have received.  If our daughter was going to die from something I wanted it to be serious.  I wanted the chances of survival to look like the stats above.  Why?  I guess because it meant that there was really nothing we could do.  She would have struggled soo much and been in soo much pain if she were alive that I could be ok that she wasn't.  Does that make sense? 

Our Sleeping Baby Birth Story...The Worst Day of Our Lives Couldn't Have Gone Any Better Pt.3

Here is Part 2 that will also lead you to Part 1 of our story. 

After I finalllyyy stopped practically convulsing, I decided to see my baby.  She was sooo little that the nurse kept her between 2 washcloths on the counter.  Ohh how I miss her :( 

It actually took me quite a bit of courage to see her and a couple of hours.  I knew she was really, really tiny, which I was not prepared for.  I knew she would be smaller than I thought but not that tiny. 

So I held her and looked.  I could only really hold her on the washcloth because her skin was kind of like a damp gummy bear... kind of tacky.  She fit in the palm of my hand.  She was adorable.  Completely.  To others she probably looked a little like a blob and she did, but a super cute, beautiful one to me.  She had eyes and a little teeny tiny nose.  You could see her little ear bud and all her fingers and toes.  You could see her amazing little umbilical cord that was the size of embroidery thread.  She had her arm wrapped on the side of her like she had been laying on it.  {A couple weeks later, I realized that I lay the exact same way when I sleep on my side} 

She had a little chin, little mouth, little skinny legs and arms.  To me she was perfectly made, minus whatever made her die so young. 

Mike chose to not really see her.  He got a glimpse when the nurse discovered I had delivered and he didn't really want to see her dead.  He chose to remember her kicking and punching and being awnry on the sonograms.  Kassidy saw her and it kind of bothered her, but I'm really glad she chose to see her.  Until we get to Heaven, where she will be perfect and healthy, it was our only chance to see her. 

I didn't hold her for very long the first time.  I was ok.  I felt ok.  I enjoyed seeing her body because it was what held her spirit for those 16-17 weeks.  But when I looked over to the counter where she was I could almost laugh (and cry) because she was so so so much more than that little weak body.  She had a personality, she loved us (I know), she had so much to give and she fought so hard.  None of that could be seen from her little body.  So to me, that wasn't really her.  She was already being held by God.

As the day turned into night, I felt such a desire to hold her.  So I did.  I held her and looked at her.  Every little part of her, I studied and soaked it up.  I took pictures, which I am undecided about sharing.  For some reason, it was so private to me.  It still is and I am very protective of her pictures.  No one in my family besides one of my sisters has asked to see her and I'm glad.  To me she was perfect, beautiful and amazing.  To others I'm sure she left so much to be desired as a baby.  I don't think I could take the criticism or critiques of her from important people in my life.  The other part of me wants to show people because who gets to see a baby in utero at 13-15ish weeks, which is when they think she stopped growing (even though she was 16+ weeks old).  From a scientific perspective it is pretty awesome. 

I held her the rest of the time we were there and I was doing ok.  Until it was time to leave.  Then I basically lost it.  I was leaving my baby at the hospital to be picked up by a stranger and to be taken to be cremated.  As crazy as it sounds... all I wanted to do was take her home. 

You know the scene from 101 Dalmations where the puppies are delivered and Lucky isn't alive at first so Roger rubs him gently between a cloth and little tiny Lucky comes back to life.  I guess maternally I just wanted to be able to take her home, breathe some prayerful life into her and rock her until she got bigger.  I seriously contemplated taking her home.  But then logically what would I have done with her? 

So I left her and I bawled the whole entire way home.  I was in so much physical pain (the dr put me on the same contraction medicine for 2 days) and my heart hurt worse than it ever has before.  I left my baby at the hospital.  Before I left, I asked the nurse through tears if she would please take good care of her for me.  I believe she did. 

Picture below... do not look if you don't want to see!!

Yes, I was huge at 17 weeks.  Paisley was teeny tiny, but I was enormous.  I get big fast.  I had actually lost 4 pounds  from my pre-pregnancy weight when I went in to have her, but my belly was big!

Her legs are crossed in a yoga style.  Her umbilical cord is the red thing on her leg and laying on her side.  It was wrapped behind her back.  Her elbow is actually up by her head and her hand by her tummy.  She is my precious, beautiful Paisley girl.

Our Sleeping Baby Birth Story...The Worst Day of Our Lives Couldn't Have Gone Any Better Pt.2

Here is part one. 

I cannot believe this has taken me 2 more months to finish this story.  Wow!  We have been super busy since then and writing all this down just means I have to remember it all detail by detail. 

About an hour after I had the first dose, I felt something pop.  You know how you can stick your finger in your mouth and pop it in your cheek??  That's what it felt like it sounded... make sense??  haha!  And then a gush.  Yes, my water broke.  When I had Kassidy, they broke my water so I didn't get to experience that sensation and seriously it was awesome!  I couldn't get over how amazing and crazy it felt.  Weird, I know!

So after the first 4 hours of the Cytotec (again, I'm not sure of the name & I don't feel like looking it up, lol) it was time for round 2.  I had the next dose and told her I was then ready for an epidural.  I would actually like to have a baby naturally, but not when I have to feel my dead baby coming out.  And boy was I in PAIN!  Sooo much worse than regular labor contractions!!  Plus if I had to have a d&c, which I was almost guaranteed would happen, I would need an epidural anyway, so why not get it early. 

The anesthesiologist came in and started the epidural, which can I just say hurt worse than anything else that day!!!  Oh my goodness!!  I never felt any pain the first time with Kassidy... it was like a shot.  This was like someone sticking a straw up my spine on all the nerves and twisting it around just for fun.  I literally started crying and praying for it to be over... it hurt that bad.  When it was finally over, I turned to lay back down and another gush came out.  I told the nurse and she told me to continue to lay back down and she would check it.  I felt like I should just keep sitting there, but I layed down.

She checked me and said, "Well, hunny, you just delivered."  I was completely shocked and then my body went into complete shock.  I haven't really heard of many women shivering like crazy after birth, but I do.  I had a c-section with Kassidy and still shivered for a while after.  When I had Paisley... wow!  I shook for almost two hours so badly I couldn't talk.  I could barely open my mouth or I'd bite my tongue, but my teeth were chattering sooo hard I thought I would chip them and my jaw hurt soo bad.  The nurse couldn't read my blood pressure.  Mike was freaking out and kept asking if that was normal.  I guess it is normal for me.  My whole entire body ached for days because of it and my back was killing me. 

The placenta did not come out all of the way, but the dr was soo amazing that he came in, pulled down all the super lights, put my shaking legs in stirrups, did an ultrasound and pulled that placenta out!  No d&c!  Another miracle in our day!  I am so grateful that my dr was quick on his feet and thought to do that. 

The midwife came back in and said that 5 hours was the shortest time she had ever seen this labor happen.  I'm so thankful that was the record I got to set that day!

Tomorrow I will write about getting to see Paisley....

Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Review: Fierce Beauty

Fierce Beauty: Choosing to Stand for What Matters Most
I loved this book!  It is told in a story fashion which makes it such an easy read.  On the back cover Kim Meeder writes: "Ultimately, life comes down to one question: Will you serve yourself or your King?"  This whole book is about that.  The purpose of this book is to help us, as women, gain a closer relationship with God and the book serves its purpose very well.  Kim starts out the book with the story of her parent's murder suicide when she was only nine years old. 
I think women of all ages should read this book.  We really struggle with our self-image and self-worth especially in this day in America.  I will look forward to reading more of Kim's books!
I recieved this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Book Review: Heaven in Her Arms

Heaven in Her Arms: Why God Chose Mary to Raise His Son and What It Means for You
Heaven in Her Arms: Why God Chose Mary to Raise His Son and What It Means for You
This book was a great, easy read filled with lots of Scripture.  Catherine Hickem referenced many verses, but also spoke from her heart.  This book was not about how Mary was an out of the ordinary woman.  She was ordinary, just like us all, but she was given an unbelievably extraordinary task.  Catherine knows how to speak to women and mothers in particular.  I recommend this book to anyone, especially mothers and other women who want to dig deeper into the amazing story of Mary. 
I received this book free from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Amazing Parts of Having One Child

The other day I wrote about some difficulties having only one child.  Now I will write about the joys or positives, because there are so many... so many more than what I can write here.  :)

1) We can pick up and go pretty quickly.  Of course, we have our days when even us 3 cannot make it out the door, but multiply that by a 3 or 4 or 5 and oh my goodness!
2) We get to connect so much more often with eachother because there is only one child. 
3) Our grocery bill is soo much less than the families with multiple children.
4) Because our daughter is 8.5, we are done with the newborn sleepless nights, the terrible twos, the potty training, etc.  We have been able to experience those days and now we get to experience great interaction on a higher level.
5) We get to devote all of our energies to her and in turn she gets all of our attention.  Most of the time.

Our daughter is amazing and wonderful and beautiful and full of life, joy and love. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Book Review: Aftermath... Growing in Grace Through Grief

Link to buy the book:

About the Book:
Growing in Grace Through Grief

Loss is a four-letter word that grips our hearts and gridlocks our lives. Grief can hold us captive until we surrender it to God. How do we find the necessary grace to journey through the mourning process?

Juxtaposed to the outpouring of her mother’s words about grief, the author shares her parallel journey from the emotional abyss of grief after becoming an adult orphan. With candor, the author shares her own emotions experienced along the spectrum of loss after her parents’ deaths: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance—adding interactive options for readers.

Five sections cover these common emotions and provide:

• comfort Scripture lists

• counsel sections from grief experts

• chronicling sections with detailed helps

• tangible handles on dealing with grief during holidays, capturing loved ones’ legacy, and more.

About Margaret:

Margaret McSweeney is a well-published author often writing online articles for Make It Better (the former North Shore Magazine) and freelance articles for the Daily Herald, the largest suburban Chicago newspaper. In addition, she has authored and compiled several books including A Mother’s Heart Knows; Go Back and Be Happy; Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace and most recently, Mother of Pearl.

Margaret has a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina in international business. As is the founder of Pearl Girls, Margaret collaborates with other writers on projects to help fund a safe house for WINGS, an organization that helps women and their children who are victims of domestic violence, and to build wells for schoolchildren in Uganda through Hands of Hope. For the past 10 years she has served on the board of directors and leadership advisory board for WINGS. Margaret lives with her husband and 2 daughters in the Chicago suburbs. Learn more about Margaret and the work of Pearl Girls at

Blog Tour Schedule
My Review:
Margaret's mother was an author and she draws from one of her mother's books through her book, Aftermath.  She also pulls poem after poem from her mother's writings.  This book touched on several good points including a brief touch on what people should not say to those who are mourning.  I found that part very refreshing. 
Margaret lost her father and several years later lost her father.  She discusses her grief and hurt throughout the time.  She is understanding throughout the whole book especially when talking about how her mother grieved after the death of her father.  Not only do you learn from Margaret's grief you also learn from her mother's. 
This book was a very good read... not a quick read that hooks you... but a read that helps you realize it is ok to grieve and grieve for a long time after a loss.

Church Shopping

That's what I call finding a new church... church shopping. 

It's no fun, but yet kind of an adventure.  An adventure that takes a really long time, since you can only usually attend one service a weekend! 

We moved here a little over two months and have not gone to church yet!  {gasp!} 

We have literally had maybe 3 weekends to ourselves without family that whole entire 2 1/2 months and when we first moved I had just gone through the loss of our baby and was not in a must-put-on-my-happy-friendly-everythings-awesome face to find a church!

So now we are looking.  We have had 1 great church in the past.  It wasn't perfect but it was great.  I don't expect to find a perfect church, but I want one that is perfect for us :)  We thought, really, really thought our last church was our perfect church and we really tried to make it work for us, but it just didn't.  Then we met friends in our community group and felt like we had to stay because we loved them, but we were pretty miserable with the church. 

Oh man... writing about all that makes me think how much I really want to test the waters and then test them again.

We will be trying new churches for the next several months.  It really is a process that maybe I look too much into... I do research on their site first because I want great ministries (womens, mens, childrens)... then we go once but sometimes you get a fluke-sometimes there is a special service, sometimes the speaker is not the usual, sometimes they are not in their normal routine, which can change what you think of the church.... I want people who homeschool and who support families being families which is not an easy thing to find out right away... so then we go again. 

Maybe we will rotate 4 or 5 churches for the next few months (living in the Bible belt we could really go to a new church every single weekend for a year & not even leave our city!!)... I am fully open and non-commital until I longggg for the community and involvement in the ministries. 

My main goal will be to pray for us to find our church home! 

PS.  I really think that someone should make a website to help people find a church.  You could put in how big you want it, denominations of course, ministries you want, age of members, homeschooling strong, connected with a school, outreach programs, etc. 

What church shopping tips do you have??  What do you look for in a church???  I'll love all the help and suggestions!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

My New Best Friend In The Kitchen

No, not my awesome daughter, although she loves to help out sometimes.
My phone is my new best friend in the kitchen.  Actually Pandora.  Seriously amazing.  In case you aren't sure what Pandora is.... it is an app.  I have no idea what kind of app... I am sooo not into that kind of stuff.  I just know that I have it and am so in LOVE with it! 
You get to pick stations that I think other people have compiled.  My faves are Enya, Christmas, Casting Crowns and Adele.  You do not get songs exclusively from that artist, although I guess you could search for just that, but you normally get songs closely related to Enya, Casting Crowns, etc. 
There are commercials that last about 15 seconds maybe about every 30 mins to an hour.  Your phone pauses for a second when you get a text and it pauses for your whole ring tone and picks right back up when you are done. 
I take my Pandora with me every single time I am in the kitchen and you should, too!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Only One Child Seems So Unnatural

I've written before about our struggles to have more children and then our most recent heartbreak a couple months ago when my pregnancy ended at 17 weeks and we lost our little Paisley girl.

Recently throughout our daily life, I notice things... behaviors, attitudes, disappointments... that come only because our daughter is an only child. 

I think there is something major to say about birth order.  I am an oldest child and so is my husband.  I have read personality characteristics for only children and for other children (middle-child, youngest) and they are all pretty spot on.  One I have never read though is about only children.  I never really knew many growing up so I never really cared to read those.

They seem to be a thing of their own.  It is seriously so completely unnatural to me for children to be only children.  Of course, God allows only children and there is nothing wrong with having only one child, but there are so many issues with it.  (at least from what I've observed in our family and in other families that I now notice)

Here are some of the quarks:
1) Our daughter seems to not always get the difference between us being parents and her being the child.  Not that she doesn't obey (of course we have our times) but you can tell that life seems a little less fair when there are 2 of us (bosses/parents) and 1 of her (child with not much authority).  When you have more than one child, it's not just the single child being directed it is all of the children who are directed by parents.  Right now, she is the only one to go to bed early, she is the only one who can't watch certain movies or shows, she is the only one who has to do this or that. 

2) Our daughter is mostly around adults.  There are kids in our family and she has some friends, but when we are at home, just our immediate family, she is the only child.  Of course, we accomodate that but it's not the same.  We cannot play 24-7. 

3) She sees other families with multiple kids and when you are around siblings you see the bond even if the kids seem to hate eachother.  When we are with my sisters you can feel the bond we have and I know that K is missing that.  There is nothing like the bond between siblings. 

That is not counting any of the biologically and historically unnatural things about only children. 

I know there are issues with having 1, 2, 3, or 10 kids.  I just think people don't realize that having only 1 child has its issues also.  I think only-child adults have often missed out on many life skills such as changing diapers, holding babies, teaching someone younger and learning that they are not always the center of attention.

To each their own and if you have decided that only one child is perfect for your family, great!  If you are not able to have more children, I am sorry and I pray for women who long for more children.  If you have a large family, be thankful.  We have given the number of children we will have over to God.  He is in charge.  I pray that we will be blessed soon with a little baby.  If not, I continue to tell Him that I am trusting Him to heal my daughter and mend her broken heart because she hasn't had any siblings.  :) 

Were you an only child?  If so, how has that shaped who you are as an adult?  Did you want siblings?  Do you have only one child?  If so, is that by choice?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Something {emabarassing} that I will miss

Something I will miss dearly when my little girl grows up...
Her beautiful little voice singing away while she is in the bathroom.  As I am typing she just started with a version of Beethoven.  It melts my heart and makes me smile.  It just seems like a moment of pure joy.... while she happens to be going to the bathroom.  She is my happy little child.  Always has been and I hope she always will be.  She does this in public restrooms also.  All of the time.  I can always tell where she is and how long she is going to be by the way she is singing.  How hilarious is that? 
She would be mortified if she knew that I was writing this.  But she doesn't so it's ok.  I will really miss and always will remember my little bird {in the bathroom}.
Oh, it's obvious why no pictures come with this post.  :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Book Review: Over the Edge

Enter Today - 8/9-8/29!

Link to buy the book:
About the Book:
Seth Kincaid survived a fire in a cave, but he's never been the same. He was always a reckless youth, but now he's gone over the edge. He ran off to the Civil War and came back crazier than ever.
After the war, nearly dead from his injuries, it appears Seth got married. Oh, he's got a lot of excuses, but his wife isn't happy to find out Seth doesn't remember her. Callie has searched, prayed, and worried. Now she's come to the Kincaid family's ranch in Colorado to find her lost husband.

Callie isn't a long-suffering woman. Once she knows her husband is alive, she wants to kill him. She's not even close to forgiving him for abandoning her.  Then more trouble shows up in the form of a secret Seth's pa kept for years. The Kincaid brothers might lose their ranch if they can't sort things out. It's enough to drive a man insane--but somehow it's all making Seth see things more clearly. And now that he knows what he wants, no one better stand in his way.

Meet Mary:
Mary Connealy writes fun and lively "romantic comedy with cowboys" for the inspirational market. She is the author of the successful Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages, and Sophie's Daughters series, and her novel Calico Canyon was nominated for a Christy Award. She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her husband, Ivan, and has four grown daughters.

Visit her on her Web site

Blog Tour Schedule:

My Review: 
I have not read the other books in this series so when I first started reading this book it was a little hard to understand who the characters were and what was going on, but soon enough it was easier to grasp.  The story was great and full of action, laughs and romance.  Callie is a wonderful character, full of adventure and excitement.  When you first meet Callie in the book, she is on a stagecoach with her son.  They are being attacked and she is the strongest shooter and ends up being the only one able to shoot the attackers.  Then Seth comes into the story.  The relationship that Callie and Seth has makes this story worth reading.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes romantic novels, especially those set in the past.  Anyone who enjoys a strong female role would also enjoy this book and most likely the others in the series.

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

Book Review: Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow

Live Webcast:
In coordination with the launch of their fall releases, Kregel will be hosting a live webcast event on September 20 at 8 PM EDT featuring authors Kim Ketola (Cradle My Heart), Teske Drake (Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow), and Dawn Scott Jones (When a Woman You Love Was Abused). The webcast will allow women to come together to share their struggles and fears in order to move toward healing and hope. Women will able to support one another and discuss shared experiences in a non-threatening, open and loving environment.

Cat Hoort of Kregel says, ""We are seeking to provide safe means for Christian women to be vulnerable with each other, to seek help and guidance from authors and counselors, and to find encouragement from those who have shared similar experiences. Our hope is that the Women Redeemed webcast will become a forum for hurting women as well as for those who can help. Kim, Teske, and Dawn are all survivors and their stories will surely inspire and equip other women to move toward healing and hope."

To register for the event, just click here. {}

Link to buy the book:

About the Book:
No mother ever expects to grieve the death of her child before or immediately after the child is born. But the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reports that as many as 31 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. When the unthinkable happens, where do women turn for help?

Written from the perspective of one grieving mommy to another, Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow is a ten-week study that will encourage and challenge women to delve into a deeper understanding of God's Word. As women engage in biblical teaching, they will learn to embrace God's promises of love, goodness, purpose, comfort, peace, refinement, restoration, hope, and eternity.

"Hope for Today" verses peppered throughout each chapter, journaling cues, prayers, and the stories of other women who have experienced loss will help readers move from grieving in silent solitude to living life in the richness of God's love.

While other books suggest a one-size-fits-all method for grief management or focus on understanding specific causes of child loss, Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow offers comfort for the reader, whatever her situation, by helping her focus on the light of the ultimate Promise, the hope of a Savior, Jesus Christ.

Meet Teske:
Teske Drake (PhD, Iowa State University), is mommy to three babies in heaven, mom to two on earth, and wife to her one and only. She is cofounder of Mommies with Hope, a biblically based support group for women who have experienced infant loss.

Find out more at

My Review:
Do you ever feel like a book is written just for you?  This book felt like that for me.  I just recently lost a baby girl at 17 weeks.  We tried for so many years for her and were finally blessed and then she was taken from us.  It is has been a huge struggle and to be honest beginning this book was really hard because I didn't want to feel every single emotion again. 

Teske has lost 3 babies and for that I feel even more blessed to have only lost one.  This book was encouraging, inspiring and healing.  Teske used Scripture to show what God promises us.  She shows how God wants our best, but we don't always know what is best or see the big picture. 

I will recommend this book to everyone who is going through something like this directly or indirectly.  This would be a great book for not only a mommy who has lost a baby, but also a husband, grandmother, best friend or sister. 

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

Monday, August 20, 2012

Barking Dogs=Bless my Neighbors and Back to School!

We are back to school!!  I love this time of year because it is leading to my most absolute favorite time of year which is from about Oct 20th-Jan 1st.  And yes, I actually listen to Christmas music for most of that time frame! 

3rd Grade!!!

Kassidy was actually also a little bit excited about starting school, which just made me so happy.  :)  I think that summers drag a bit even when you have family visiting for a month and a half like we did.  You still long for some kind of routine and normalcy and school brings that.  I am still not done planning or organizing, but I will finish soon (hopefully) and until then I have this whole week planned!

I love our house.  Love, love, love it.  It's twice as big as our old house and fits us perfectly.  There are a couple things that didn't get checked on my wishlist for a new house though.  1) a huge open kitchen with a great pantry and 2) a yard where my dogs wouldn't bark.  There are a couple more things, but those just popped in my mind and I'm not going to dwell on the things I didn't get, butttt....

I really, truly, deep-down inside have serious feelings of hate for my neighbor's dog.  It makes me want to hang my head in shame.  These are the neighbors that greeted us with banana bread a few days after we moved in.  They are a great older couple who introduced themselves and within the same few sentences said, "We hope our dogs aren't bothering you."  Oh they were, but we said no, of course.  They told us that their daughter and son-in-law are living with them and the dogs belong to them.  Oh, I cannot wait for them to move out!! 

They have 2 dogs, but only 1 barks.  My favorite kind of dog... a beautiful doberman.  Their other dog doesn't bark.  She just gets jumped all over from the other dog and often sounds like she is dying.  She's sweet and I would take her.  The doberman barks constantly.  Constantly.  Or what seems like constantly when it starts at 7 in the morning and goes throughout the day at the drop of a hat.  Or when my dogs actually go outside.  Their dog starts barking and mine join in and it won't stop until we go out there and break it up.  Yes, us.  Never them.  Ok, I think in the 2 1/2 months we have lived here they have gone out there one time.  So... I let my dogs bark and bark and bark at their dog, because I don't want my dogs in the house 24-7 and I keep hoping that they will get the hint.  My poor other neighbors.  My husband won't let our dogs continue to bark, he just lets them in where they bug me to death when I am trying to accomplish something... like school!!! 

But yay for school and yay for summer almost being over!!  Because after summer is fall and after fall is winter :)  Joy!!  It's pretty awesome that God designed the world for us each to have our own perfect time of the year :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Book Review: Live to Give

Enter Today - 8/9-8/25!

Link to buy the book:

About the Book:
Want to do something for God but don’t know what? Want to help others but don’t know who? Want to know what it is you’re really good at doing? Your gifts may feel small and insignificant. But God can use them to work a miracle!

Inspired by the biblical story of the feeding of the 5,000, "Live to Give" delivers a message of hope that we all have something to give. Written in the down-to-earth, candid voice of the gifted young man who as a kid founded a relief ministry that has saved and improved countless lives in Africa, "Live to Give" is the message that every teen needs to hear: You are more special than you know, and you can do big things.

Jesus proved that no gift is too small when He used five loaves and two fish to feed a crowd of thousands. And if no gift is too small, too ordinary, or too random, there is no limit to what the youth of today can accomplish!

A teenage philanthropist who has built a high school, two medical clinics, and a dormitory in Africa—all before the age of 16—Austin Gutwein shares how to take what may seem like the simplest of talents, gifts, and interests and use them for something Jesus can use to move mountains.

Meet Austin:
As founder of Hoops of Hope, Austin started what is now known as the worlds largest Free-Throw marathon. Austin's Hoops of Hope has raised more than $2.5M to help orphan children in Africa. Austin also serves as Co-Chair of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's Youth Council. As a highly sought after speaker, Austin has spoken and shared his heart in venues around the world. In 2009, Austin was selected into the Caring Hall of Fame as one of the top 10 most caring Americans.

Austin's first book, "Take Your Best Shot" shared stories that captured readers hearts and won a Moonbeam Award. For information on booking Austin or general inquiries, please visit

Blog Tour Schedule

My Review:
I loved this book!  Austin used real life and Biblical examples to show how we are all made for something.  We all have talents and a purpose in which to use those talents.  Finding out what our gifts and talents are is the goal in life.  Sometimes our gifts may not seem profound and sometimes what we do with our gifts may not seem profound either, but many times we do not realize what an impact we are or could be making. 

This book is definitely one that everyone could and should read.  We should all be working towards making a difference in the world, even if it is just one person at a time.  Austin is very good at pointing out that helping in a little way is powerful and important for us all to do.  This book is a great, easy, enjoyable read. 

Book Review: Making Sense When Life Doesn't

Link to buy the book:

More about the book:

Beloved author Cecil Murphey empowers readers to discover the good in every situation and to make life better because of adversities.

Sometimes life gets messy. It’s cluttered with too many demands. Companies downsize. Love relationships end. Trauma hits. When chaos erupts, every person has a choice to make—to decide whether it’s the worst time of life, to find comfort in the way things used to be, to move on because change is forced, and then resent everything that happens, or to say, “This can be the best time of my life. I can try the things I wanted to do but never did.”

In Making Sense When Life Doesn’t, Cecil Murphey’s compelling stories, hope-filled insights, and gentle encouragement move readers with messy lives to the stunning realization that life won’t ever be perfect, but it can be good…even exciting!

Meet Cecil Murphey:

Cecil Murphey has written or co-written more than 125 books, including the bestsellers 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). His books have sold in the millions and have brought hope and encouragement to countless people around the world.

Murphey stays busy as a professional writer and travels extensively to speak on topics such as writing, spiritual growth, caregiving, significant living, sexual abuse, and recovery.

Prior to launching his career as a full-time writer and speaker, he served as pastor of Riverdale Presbyterian Church in Metro Atlanta, as a volunteer hospital chaplain for ten years, and was a missionary in Kenya for six. For more information, visit

Blog Tour:

My Review:
Making Sense When Life Doesn't was a great book about trying to take our situations in life and, well, make sense of them or at least try to stop worrying or stressing out about them.  Sometimes we can change our situations and sometimes everything seems out of our own control. 

Cecil's point in his book is that all situations can be learned from and seen as a valuable lesson.  We don't usually want the lesson at the time because they often bring about suffering and pain, but in the end we can hopefully see the reason we were in that situation and what we have gained from it. 

This book is a great read for anyone, because we all experience trials.  There is not a ton of "new" ideas in the book, but the way that Cecil writes is relatable and helpful.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Book Review: The Stars Shine Bright

More about the book:
After the FBI suspends her for bending its rules, Special Agent Raleigh Harmon is looking for a chance to redeem her career and re-start her life.
Sent undercover to a thoroughbred horse track, Raleigh takes on a double life to find out who’s fixing the races. But when horses start dying and then her own life is threatened, Raleigh realizes something bigger—and more sinister—is ruining Emerald Meadows.
She’s never felt more alone.
Her one contact with the FBI is Special Agent Jack Stephanson, a guy who seems to jump from antagonistic to genuine friend depending on the time of day. And she can’t turn to her family for support. They’re off-limits while she’s undercover, and her mother isn’t speaking to her anyway, having been confined to a mental hospital following a psychotic breakdown. Adding insult to her isolation, Raleigh’s fiancé wants them to begin their life together—now—precisely when she’s been ordered not to be herself.
With just days left before the season ends, Raleigh races to stop the killing and find out who’s behind the track’s trouble, all the while trying to determine if Jack is friend or foe, and whether marrying her fiancé will make things better—or worse.
Raleigh is walking through the darkest night she’s faced, searching for a place where the stars shine bright.
Meet Sibella Giorello:
Sibella Giorello grew up in the mountains of Alaska admiring the beauty and nature that surrounded her. She majored in geology at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts hoping to learn more about the landscape she loved back home. From there Sibella followed a winding path, much like the motorcycle ride she took across the country, which led to her true love, journalism.
She found herself in Seattle writing for rock-n-roll magazine and earned a journalism degree from the University of Washington before heading south to the land of great stories.
In Virginia, Sibella became a features writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. It was there she also met her husband and would hear Jesus whispering her name at a tent revival.
Sibella started writing about Raleigh Harmon as a way to keep her love of story-telling alive while staying at home with her young sons. As a journalist and author, her stories have won state and national awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. The Stones Cry Out, the first Raleigh Harmon novel, won a Christy award for debut novel in 2008. Sibella now lives in Washington state with her husband and sons.
Visit Sibella Giorello online at, Facebook or Twitter.
Link to buy the book:
My Review: I have never read a "Christian" crime book before and I am now very open to reading more, especially the ones in the Raleigh Harmon series.  For me this book was a little hard to get hooked on in the beginning.  All of the horse names and their trainers, owners, handlers, etc. all started off confusing and I actually don't ever think I got the horses all straightened out. 
It didn't really matter that I couldn't keep everything straight and eventually I got "hooked".  The book was great and the character, Raleigh Harmon, is a good one.  She is a very appealing character and very easy to relate to.  The crimes and endings are not what you expect, or at least not what I expected, throughout the whole book.  You do not need to have read the other books in the series, but it would definitely be fun to do so as certain things are Giorello refers back to. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Long Gone, Homeschool Plans & I'm the Trainer for You!!

Oh how much I miss blogging, but I step on myself and make things difficult sometimes... like I've been feeling like I can't or shouldn't make a random blog post till I finished my story about our little Paisley girl.  Writing about her is difficult on its own and I've been super, duper preoccupied also. 

My sisters and mom came to visit for more than 3 weeks, which was absolutely amazing.  My heart feels complete when we are together and I miss them bunches already.  The day after they left Mike's mom and nephew came and will be leaving in a couple of days after their 10 day stay.  Annnddd... I got the most terrible, horrible, no good, very worst ear infection ever.  Seriously up there with labor... I was out for a good 3 days not able to do anything and even after that I could do barely more than nothing.  It was a huge blessing that my sisters were still here and able to help out sooo much with the cooking, housework and entertainment of K.

Annnddddd.... I've been trying to work on our school year plans, which is kinda crazy for me.  I'm a planner.  A big planner.  I'm not always a big do-er.  If I could get a job planning someone else's life, I would win some major awards because I could be that good.  (If there were awards for running someone's life)  I want so much to be the do-er who follows my magnificent plans because they are quite awesome.  Let me know if you want me to make up a plan for you like I have for myself on: to effectively lose weight in a healthy way to lose tons of weight right away in a extremely unhealthy way to train yourself to become a morning person to prepare a month's or why not a few month's meals all in a day to have a spotless home and not mind making it that way to nurture your relationship with God so it blossoms and flourishes

and for you homeschooling mamas: to have the perfectly planned, organized, yet seemlessly fun homeschooling year

No, I haven't crossed a single one of those off my actually done list.  I just make a list of how to accomplish those things.  Maybe I'll learn... maybe not... I'm still hoping I will actually become the do-er so I still plan.  And I'm pretty far away from being planned for school and my new lists for #1, #3, #5 & #6 above.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to expand my expectations for #3.  That one I've somewhat given up on.  :/

So I have 5 days to get it all together.  Hahahaha!  I love the new school year... it's soo much like the New Year for me.  A new beginning.  Oh and actually keeping up with my blogging is another one to add- #8.

I would like to say, though, that I accomplish much less than I would if I didn't plan which is why having a school year plan seems to be the best way for me at this point.  Maybe one day I will be one of those amazing moms who can "not plan" their every second day out and can just put things together spur of the moment and actually get their child some education, but I'm not there yet. 

I also guess I hope to be able to get myself closer to that kind of person by following a schedule for 21 days or whatever it is so that those things become habits.  That is the real goal.  I want and need desperately to have better habits.  Wow!  Long post that started out to be about choir practice... I will just have to write about that in my next regularly scheduled post ;)

How do you plan things in life?  Home?  Homeschool?  God time?