The Masterpiece

Just finished this amazing book, this is definitely a favorite! Francine Rivers is my favorite author because being a Christian isn’t all about being perfect, it’s about realizing how imperfect you are and seeing how you’re missing something to fill you without God. Although it’s so much deeper than that simple message I think most of her books ring true to that. They are some of the most raw books I’ve ever read not sugar-coated or made to look like the perfect Christian scenario that most people view a “Christian” to be. I found myself actually crying reading parts of this because I could truly put myself in their situations, also realizing how blessed I am in a way to be spared their stories because they are not easy! On the flip side I keep thinking about the story of Joseph in the Bible, how it seemed for sooo long that God had deserted him. He just stayed the course and those people are the ones that (either are so far from God and find him or that have gone through so much but stay true) have the largest impact for God. I think my biggest question left unanswered after reading this is.. Why do some people die after a couple chances to never be saved vs others he gives a million chances and they turn to him? I always wonder is it bc he knew that they would never turn to Him no matter how long they are on earth? Or simply you get chances you never know how many so you better take what you get?

This book is about a guy who grew up in a bad situation, turned to gangs, tagging buildings, running away from foster parents and grew up putting everyone at a distance to self protect. His journey to find what is missing when it seems like he has everything.

A girl who also grew up in a bad situation and stayed true only after one event her life changed forever. Trying to never make mistakes again and doing her best to stay on course even though life would never look the same. You get to walk through her journey of healing and see how God’s plan is revealed throughout their lives.

This is available Feb 6th! You can preorder on amazon!!

I received this copy in exchange for my complete and honest review. The views expressed are completely mine.

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A Song Unheard

I really enjoyed this book!! I already read the first in this series (A Name Unknown) and loved it so it isn’t surprising this one I enjoyed just as much! I’m in no way a history buff actually I’m just terrible at it. This book was set in the onset of World War I, typically that phrase would bore me but somehow books seem to help me see what those times were really like. It makes it all seem so much more real when you can follow someone’s story even if it’s fiction, a lot is based on fact! I never knew that the people of Belgium fled to Wales or how dire the situation for the people who remained. Standing in lines for food. I also loved the way Willa was portrayed, knowing she was a thief from the first book how no matter what was put in her path she always felt unworthy. I think that hits home with so many people, to see things God is showing you is for you and we deem ourselves unworthy. Thinking that we know ourselves better than He or being so closed minded we cannot see what he has ahead for us. I think sometimes it does take a crazy circumstance where there is no one else to lean on…. “rock bottom” to see the light. I also think it was cool that in this book music was how she saw God, I think for everyone God shows himself differently. Some through words in a song, nature, hearing still small voices can come in many ways and I’d never thought through music itself but I’m certain he does it that way as well! A great read! I also love that I still don’t know much about Mr V, haha he shall always remain a mysterious character!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

NIV journal the word Bible for teens

Got this really cool Bible a couple days ago! It has pink edges on all the pages!!!! And the cover is sooo cute! I love these new Bibles they have come out with, they all have this room for notes on the sides! Before I’d have to write the smallest font if I wanted to put a note in my Bible and I love how you can doodle something meaningful or simply put notes to remember a verse. It also has questions throughout to help spur on your thinking. Also it has the red letters for things that were spoken by God, I always love that in a Bible as well. What an awesome Bible, I’d totally recommend it!!

I received this book in exchange for my complete and honest review!

The Lacemaker

So going in this book was a bit rough to get into, probably because I’m not a huge history buff and actually had to google the Revolutionary War.. yea it’s bad. Parts of the book I really liked then some parts weren’t my favorite.

Loved: The main character of Noble, I thought was truly the picture of sacrifice and choosing to love was evident in him. I loved the estate he lived on and how different the Welsh aspect was in the book. I also loved that she used some welsh words but also put the translation. Major pet peeve when they use another language without even the meaning. Some people may love to research what it means, I’m just not one of those. I love that the book didn’t end right when they realized who they were going to end up with! Loved getting to see past the first kiss where so many books end!

Lacked: I didn’t understand the parents in this book, I know every parent isn’t perfect but it seems odd neither parent wouldn’t make her be with them. To each do their own thing and leave her?? It seemed weird. Also the Dad was all about his position so I would think he wouldn’t leave his daughter and hope for the best, when that would make him look bad. Some parts of Libby and Noble were so confusing. Like how he liked her so much he wanted to marry her but then just wrote her off at the beginning because it wasn’t good for the cause. Seems weird to just let her go into the world of poverty when he had so much.

Overall I did like it and it wasn’t the normal era I read so it was definitely interesting and I learned a couple historical facts along the way! My favorite of her books is still “Courting Morrow Little” this one was a good read though!!

I received this book in exchange for my complete and honest review.

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage

So I actually had the first book already and had it on my list of to read, but the second book in the series came out so I jumped on it and decided to get reading! The first book was a bit slow but not in a bad way, I knew it was a series so everything wouldn’t be figured out at once. I love that these books both embody Jane Austen a bit, I love this era so it’d be hard for me to not like it. The first book was all about Jane a recent widow and her widowed mother-in-law, which to me sounded a bit well boring, don’t worry it isn’t in the least. It was all about the search to find their new place in life during a trying time. Then the second book added many more characters like Mercy & Rachel while still keeping Jane and her mother-in-law, Thora in the book as well! I loved all of the different stories in this one and definitely caught the pride and prejudice references here. One thing I really enjoyed about the second book was that even if the women had multiple suitors they weren’t some awful guy to some gallant one. It was more realistic like they were both good so it made the dilemma all the more tough to navigate. It was very well written and I really enjoyed this series! I can’t wait for the next book to come out, I’ll definitely be reading it. I received this book in exchange for my complete and honest review.

Trade Your Cares For Calm

Ive always been a worrier/over-thinker, so when I saw this one I thought, “Yep, that’s for me!” I’d say it’s like a short devotional or bathroom book. It’s a quick page or two per topic. Things like you’re not in control so what does worrying do anyways!? Along with a story. Other pages are just a scripture reference or a picture of nature. I’m always a sucker for nature pictures so I definitely enjoyed this read! Also Max Lucado books are always so good!

From the back cover:

Be Free from the Worries That Weigh You Down.

If you’re trembling on a tightrope of fear and worry, get ready for the best trade ever: your cares for God’s calm.

What if faith, not fear, could be your default reaction to circumstances? Imagine being able to walk away from worry, conquer the need to control, get rid of guilt, and end if-only thinking.

That’s God’s offer. He wants to exchange your burdens for an abundance of mercy, gratitude, and trust. To replace striving and stress with a faith-filled life in which you’ll see God’s goodness, feel calm in chaos, and find peace through prayer.

Bestselling author Max Lucado understands what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by anxiety. Through unforgettable stories and biblical wisdom, he offers powerful tools to help you manage your fears and worries.

I received this book in exchange for my complete and honest review.

Motherhood isn’t…

I’ve decided to “get real” about motherhood. In the hopes to encourage others that they aren’t alone or maybe just writing this for my own mental sanity, I’m not sure?

Motherhood isn’t what I thought, it’s sooo much harder. Everyone always told me as soon as they come all of these motherhood instincts would kick in. Well for all you other moms who felt like nothing ever kicked in, I’m with ya. Where you feel nothing, no overwhelming feelings of joy when you hold your child for the first time and when they cry you don’t want to jump up and grab them. Instead you’d rather just throw a pillow over your head because you just want the crying to stop. I was also suddenly super anxious! I would wake up in the middle of the night all throughout the night actually and check his monitor to make sure he was still breathing, I was just so terrified of him getting SIDS.

* I heard this awesome lady from my church speak on this and how one time she actually went out into the snow with her robe on and peeked in her child’s room from outside the house and had her moment with God when he was like what are u doing!? She said she realized she needed to just understand if they had passed away it was God’s plan and it wasn’t doing any good to wake up all through the night to check, she would just have to find out in the morning if that was God’s will. That helped me tremendously… giving up to God and letting go of all the worry. Realizing it isn’t my job to check if he’s breathing every 10 secs just trust God that he has your child and he has a plan. Really what good is that doing anyway!?

Then everyone said once u start feeling a bit better from having a child it will all get so much better!! Soo then my little chunky ADORABLE child was colicky… it’s the worst thing ever. Seriously. I’m pretty much convinced Satan created it to slowly torture parents until they feel like giving up and telling someone else , ” that’s it! I can’t do it.” Yep, I said that. Jon and I would take turns holding him for the 4 hours every night while he cried incessantly. Normally 8- midnight the dreaded hours of every day! Once we couldn’t deal anymore we would wake the other person up and say I can’t do it you have to. No matter what hour it was, we just HAD to take turns for mental sanity. I remember coming into our room crying because I was just so drained from hearing him cry thinking in my head I MUST be doing something wrong this cannot be what having a kid is like!! Thankfully I have family that helped us out too and my mom who had two kids who were colicky (don’t know how u did it) so she understood and spent some nights over here! Also my oldest sister who already had children came and stayed with me too, she would make me eat and help me get the night time routine with a child.

* Really there is no answer for this one except take it a day at a time, pray God helps you through it and get a really good swing to rock them lol. If your kid is colicky I’d love to know who you are so I can pray specifically for you. I think I’d also try vitamin drops next time too. I’ll say gripe water, colic drops and all the other on the shelf remedies don’t do anything. At least for us. Maybe one lesson is never feel bad or like a failure it is a really tough time. There are days u feel like u can’t do it. U can and God gives you help you just have to actually accept it when it’s given, don’t be proud.

Then things cooled off a bit and got easier and I finally started to enjoy motherhood after he was about 6 months old. I’m not sure exactly when I fell into PPD, because I tested completely normal when I went back to the OB. So somewhere in there it snuck up on me I think it was around the same time when he was colicky. At 6 months he would still have a really bad day here and there which would just send me right back into depression. It’s so hard to explain to someone why you’re sooo upset when your child is fussy. I think I was always just worried we would go back to the colicky phase and I hate feeling helpless. If they are crying I want to figure out why and remedy it, asap, I hate crying!!!

* I’ve learned postpartum depression really is no joke. Before this I had never once had depression of any kind and in hindsight I probably should’ve just gotten on some medicine but I was too stubborn and thought I could handle it. It wasn’t an every day thing so once I was feeling fine again I’d just forget about doing something about it. The best advice I can give on this topic is ask for help!! I would get so overwhelmed and it wasn’t even that tough of a day but it would just hit me on some days and there was no getting out of it. I have since learned to just straight up say, ” I can’t do it today, I need help or a break.” For me, that isn’t easy. I don’t like to ask for help or to put someone out, but in this case it is necessary.

Next we got the helmet — need I say more about that. I cried just thinking about getting this bc once again it felt like a failure why didn’t I do something sooner, was I doing something wrong to make it that way… guilt guilt guilt.

*** No I was not doing something wrong in fact I was fixing the issue, it’s just tough to see it on your kid. You can’t control everything that happens to your child but you can control your actions which was get it taken care of and move on! Get over how it looks and just be a good mom and do what’s best. Take it a day at a time and pretty soon that phase will be over.

Now we are at the phase of a couple words, he’s running everywhere, TEETHING!!, he gets super frustrated quickly but I’m starting to really see a little personality which is so cool. I’ve decided to “label” him as a high needs child lol he hates when I leave the room, always snacking on something and when you tell him no it literally is the end of his little world and sometimes I think he cries just to cry. Some days are so tough with him because he’s still working on words so I’m not sure what he needs and he’s not sure how to say or show me. Meltdowns are a daily thing lol. I used to think it was all on the parents but I will not judge another mom again whose child is just losing it in the store, I know better now!! And yea sometimes that’s me, don’t judge. Imagine if you were mute and couldn’t get out that you are so thirsty I just keep passing the drinking fountains and bottled waters in the store the pointing was getting you no where, eventually you’re just gonna get real mad. Some days I still struggle with feeling like an epic failure when he’s so upset all day from teething or who knows what I’m not picking up on that he’s trying to tell me!?

* what I’m learning- God doesn’t demand perfection, although your child might make you feel as though he does. He asks for my best some days I screw up and then he gives me many many more chances to improve. Parenting is like learning on the fly you’ve never experienced anything like it until you’re already in it.

Although there have been so many hurdles so far, most of the time I FEEL so very blessed to get to have a child. I love that he runs up to me and gives me kisses (loving this while it lasts, he is a boy after all). That he cutely calls me “Babe” instead of Mom because Jon calls me that. I love that he likes books so much. I can tell at this age he’s gonna be creative and I think (every mom says this) smart because he studies how everything works. He can already kick balls around and catch them so if he’s sporty he didn’t get it from me lol. Life is challenging but I think that is life!  What makes life less challenging is when u realize life is bigger than you. When you realize you are here for a purpose and your child is yours for a season. You aren’t promised a perfect life without trials, you are just to follow God’s plan. When you let go your tight grip on your child to control every scenario and realize you aren’t in control. The quicker you realize that, the easier life becomes. **still working on that lol

Tripp is literally my favorite thing. Its that cliche thing that every mom says. It’s the best and hardest thing I’ve ever done. Being a mom has definitely changed me. It has made me question everything I’ve ever known haha

I’ve never worried more in my life. This is about how it goes: 60% of the time I’m hoping and praying I’ve got it right. 20% of the time I know what I’m doing. And another 20% of the time I’m losing it and don’t know what the heck I’m doing. This is why God decided there needed to be two parents I think. For those of you that have 4 or more children, you defy all odds I don’t know how you survive daily life lol

There are days I cannot wait til 8 aka bedtime. I’ve seriously had it with the day, the whining, the diaper changing, making sure they don’t kill themselves with anything and everything. And other times I want to freeze a moment and make it last forever. Like when they fall asleep in your arms and are so peaceful and pure. Or when you play music and they are just dancing all over the house, when they run up and give you kisses. Seriously, motherhood makes you experience every emotion and to the extremes! Sometimes you want to snap and other times you are so full of love you almost don’t know how to deal.

I know so many moms in my life, they are all amazing in their own ways. Each excelling at one or another thing. I love to watch something before I try it bc I like to be the best or at least know what I’m doing. I should’ve paid a bit more attention before having a child but I am just thankful to have many great examples in my life and hope to do an amazing job with my little man. Moms are so hard on themselves and now that I’m older I see how tough this job truly is! I’ve been putting off posting this for about a year now maybe because it’s super transparent, but it’s time. You don’t go through experiences to keep them to yourself, God can use it all. He will, if you allow him.

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

This isn’t just a verse for you, it’s for your child too.  He kinda knows what he’s doing, maybe just let the Guy do his job. Since he can see into the future and created the world & all.

Lizzy the Lioness

Super cute book about what it means to be brave! The whole book she looks up to the bigger lions and wishes she could be brave like them. She finds a cute little friend along the way who gets into trouble, then realizes getting help is just as brave! She makes her parents proud by doing the right thing and because she was brave enough to ask for help she stayed out of harms way as well!

The pictures were super cute and they did a great job illustrating. I also really liked all the action words they put in the book, I think it captures a boys attention more.

I received this book in exchange for my complete and honest review.

365 Bible Answers for Curious Kids

This book was cute, although it’s explanations were rather small for each question and I didn’t really like how they answered about hell. Basically it says it’s this terrible awful place of forever torment, and tomorrow we will tell u why there’s good news. Haha I’d def have to read the whole thing in one night, wouldn’t want my child to think they were going there. Also explain better how if you are a Christian you won’t be going there. I really liked how there was a question and directly answered it with a verse underneath and not an opinion. Then under that it has a small example, story or explanation. A small little prayer and that’s it. I think it would take 2 mins to read at night before bed. Here’s one example of the pages!

I received this book in exchange for my complete and honest review.

Hawthorne House Series

Ok so I decided to review these all in one post, because I actually bought these so I don’t have to do them individually and also because I just read these straight through!

I would say I definitely recommend them!!! There was only one book I really didn’t like and that was the second book, “An Elegant Façade” I’ll tell you why below!

A Noble Masquerade- loved this one! I loved the plot and that it wasn’t like something I had read before. A little danger, romance and it also showed character flaws which I loved! I hate reading books that seems like the guy is perfect, reads her mind and they live happily ever after. After being married for a bit I hate to disappoint single people but that just isn’t how it works! Loved the aspect of the blue paper (I’ll leave you to wonder what that means until you read it) Miranda has always been a free spirit, in her own head and even talking to her make believe friend, at least she thought he was make believe! Ryland is a spy and on his very last mission he is determined to see it through. Only one thing is getting in the way and starting to cloud his judgement. The lies he convinced himself was for her good, the games more for his fun and the suspense made me never want to put this book down!

An Elegant Façade- to be blunt I really didn’t like this one. I think she could’ve skipped writing the first half of this book by just writing, “although they were in similar circles, they certainly were not about to acknowledge one another!” I hated that it replayed the first book but just in someone else’s perspective, normally I might not of minded it but it went so far as to quote word for word the first book! I think until page 160. Seemed like she was maybe lacking inspiration on this one, I almost didn’t continue the series after this one but sooo so glad I did! What I did like was after page 160 it was a small book that finally caught my interest. Georgina is the picture of perfection, or so everyone thinks. Determined to hide her secret she does everything with much calculation and nothing is left to chance. Except when it comes to one man. Colin. He isn’t interested in the titles or frippery but makes an honest living and his blunt comments and clear lack of interest in Georgina has her completely bothered.

An Uncommon Courtship- This one or the first one was my favorite!! I love books that are about married couples, while it is fun to watch people during courtship that is such a small but exciting part of life. Where it really gets interesting to me is managing life after the hype is over and figuring out who you are, what are your roles and how to compliment each other. I think maybe one of my favorite parts was talking about even if you aren’t similar people that God has a purpose for your union and that you promised yourself to someone to be the best spouse you can. There isn’t just one special person although it may be easier with someone, you can basically make it work with anyone as long as you both do your parts. While that doesn’t sound super romantic, it is. Even when it’s tough, showing someone love and being the bigger person is romantic. I loved this one! Trent the youngest brother of the Hawthorne house has gotten himself into a sticky situation and now “Manning up” for a new life of new expectations he is dreading Learning to be a spouse, well a good one is turning out to be a lot harder than he expected! . Annabelle has always been in the background, in fact most people don’t even know she existed. When thrown into a new life she is full of guilt to please everyone only this time there are too many to please which is sure to leave someone upset. On an adventure to find herself and her voice, there is so much she doesn’t know.

An Inconvenient Beauty- Who doesn’t love a story about rich guy falls for poor girl.. I mean really! This one was mostly about not being so rigid that u don’t leave room for God to change your plans. Also don’t play God when you feel He isn’t listening. He knows your needs and will supply them, when u trust in Him. In a whirlwind of London elite Isabella is to save her family from destitution if she only woos men into backing her uncle on a political proposition. Somehow the Duke although set against it finds himself utterly confused when searching out the girl he intends to marry and finding himself pondering another woman. One he is dead set against.