Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts - May 23



Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. This is a chance for book bloggers to dabble in areas besides books (but those are welcome too). Share your plans for the weekend, a rant on people not using their turn signals in parking lots, or your love of Sunday morning mimosas.

Do any of you have experience with your school's reporting system? I'm wondering how your school district handles complaints or concerns brought forth by students and their parents. Feel free to share in the comments.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Book Review: Becoming Unconsumed by Lynne Britton

In this touching and insightful devotional for women, author Lynne Britton inspires those of us who have become all consumed with this world to step back, trust in the Lord, and spend time in the Word to build a better relationship with "ourselves, each other and, ultimately, God."

Becoming Unconsumed: A devotional for every woman struggling in today's all-consuming world, will refocus your attention on what really matters: family, friends, faith, and the Word of God. It helps you realize that living in this fallen world, we easily allow our attention to drift away as we get consumed with being everything to everyone.  It makes you stop and think about the messages you are listening to and what you're giving your life to each day.

The book designer, Meghan Mason Design, did a superb job of creating a beautiful and calming cover, complemented by a few carefully chosen fonts inside and out that work well together to create a meaningful reading experience; something I feel is truly important in a devotional. Each day starts off with a Bible verse, then a short reflection by Britton, followed by a prayer. At the end of each day is a page dedicated to any personal notes the reader would like to add.

Perhaps my favorite part of the book is that it grows with you. The first twenty days follow the format above, with the reflections deepening as you go along. On the twenty-first day, Britton invites the reader to reflect on her own. A Bible verse starts the day, and then there are blank lines for the reader to write out her own reflection and response. There are forty days to this devotional, just like the forty days and forty nights Jesus spent in the wilderness where He was tempted by the devil. The symbolism of our wandering in the wilderness here in Satan's world being tempted daily was not lost on this reader. But just like Jesus' journey was not over after those forty days, the reader's journey is not over either. Britton encourages the reader to continue the habits this devotional has inspired, offering another twenty days where she can choose her own Scripture, reflect and respond, because "In Messages, Prayers And Connection, We Thrive." This is Britton's lasting message to her readers, and it is a powerful way to end a devotional that can truly impact your life in many ways.

Becoming Unconsumed by Lynne Britton has already made an impact on my life. I pray it will bless many women around the world and they, in turn, will grow in their relationship with the Lord. I highly recommend it for women from all walks of life.

Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Grace & Impact (April 24, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0692089365
ISBN-13: 978-0692089361

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Book Review and Giveaway: Hot Mess by Laurie Palau

Looking to get organized? Looking to free yourself from all types of clutter? Then pick up Hot Mess: A Practical Guide to Getting Organized by Laurie Palau.

In this fun and practical book, readers learn how to get organized and stay organized. Palau helps you identify your dominate clutter and other types of clutter that keep you feeling overwhelmed and disorganized. She gives you ideas on how to uncover your clutter pitfalls. Then she provides you with overall solutions and tips on how to get organized by room (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc.). Finally, she provides the reader with ideas on moving forward and a bunch of helpful resources to get organized and stay organized.

Organization has always been my thing. I credit it to those years in retail sorting clothes by sleeve length and colors. But life got hectic over the last few years and my house has become a jumbled mess of stuff. It doesn't help we are moving my mother-in-law in with us. Already, using just a few tips from Hot Mess, I have been able to make progress through cleaning up my in-laws house. With this book in hand, I'll be turning my attention to our house next to get it ready for her to move in.

What I appreciated most about Palau's approach is that she acknowledged our "emotional" clutter: our need to keep something because of our emotional connection to it. In my basement, there are boxes and boxes of projects my kids made and school work. Hot Mess made me realize I need to look at these things with a new strategy. The other highly motivating factor was admitting my "calendar" clutter: how I try to fit it in too many things. Isn't there a saying that if you want things done, ask a busy person? This busy person is eager to use Palau's tips for conquering calendar clutter to make life and all that other clutter more manageable.

For those of us struggling with clutter in any form, Hot Mess: A Practical Guide to Getting Organized by Laurie Palau may be the most important and helpful book we read all year.


Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: zolopublishing (October 12, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0692921621
ISBN-13: 978-0692921623


I received a digital copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


Excerpt:

We’ve talked a lot about organizing your stuff, but how about finding time in your day for you?  Calendar clutter, in my opinion, is the driving force behind so much of our daily stress, anxiety, and frustration.  So many of us run on autopilot, especially when the kids are small, or when we are busy taking care of ailing parents or building a career.  It’s easy to see how we can lose sight of making time for other things in our life that are important, like self-care.

As a society, we have a difficult time knowing how to unplug.  Life is filled with distractions, and unless you make a conscious effort to prioritize time for yourself, it will never happen.  Maybe you want time to exercise, join a book club, volunteer, or take up a hobby, but figuring out the logistics may seem impossible.

...Only when I took a step back to look at what my goals were, and actually wrote down what I had been doing, was I able to see where I needed to change. Note the key phrase: “I needed to change.”  I had to reclaim control over how I chose to spend my time.


GIVEAWAY 

Laurie Palau will be awarding a FREE 30 minute phone consultation to help address specific organizing challenges to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, May 14, 2018

Mailbox Monday - May 14



Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a nice weekend and, those who celebrated it, a lovely Mother's Day. In true real estate fashion, I attempted to take at least one of the weekend days off and failed. It's the spring market, so I spent part of Saturday negotiating an offer and showing properties and some time on Sunday finalizing an offer and talking to people about land I have listed. Other than that, I did make my way into the garden--the one I have totally ignored for at least two years--to do some cleaning up. I'm buying a crop cage today and hopefully will have the garden ready to plant by the end of the month.

These are the books I purchased at our local library's book sale.









I rarely buy fiction at book sales these days because I have boxes and boxes of unread books here. These are all great research materials for my writing or on topics of interest to me. 

What was in your mailbox this week? What's the weather been where you are: good to get outside and spring clean or better to hunker down with a warm beverage and read. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts - May 9



Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. This is a chance for book bloggers to dabble in areas besides books (but those are welcome too). Share your plans for the weekend, a rant on people not using their turn signals in parking lots, or your love of Sunday morning mimosas.

Started a new devotional and I love it. It is long overdue. Even the first few pages made me feel better and refocused.


I am so tired of working all the time. Thought I might get the weekend off and then realized there is no way I can take Saturday off. I hope Sunday will be dedicated to my garden, but it's not looking likely.

Do you ever wonder why bullies exist? Well, we know they exist because we live in a fallen world and Lucifer is the master bully. But other than that, don't you just wonder how kids can be so mean to other kids and how it's possible some people are always pushing others around? Why can't we all play nice?

Missed writing group this week. I'm bummed. I'll plan to go next month if I can.

Have you ever taken a bet for what age your kid will be before she starts listening to you?


Monday, May 7, 2018

Mailbox Monday - May 7



Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Welcome back to Monday. It is going to be a busy one, so I might not leave comments until later on tonight or tomorrow.

Last week was the library book sale. I was thrilled to donate 45 books to the cause, but I also knew I would go and support them with buying a few too. I'm very selective these days in what I bring home because we really are out of space. I've been cleaning for a few days trying to get the house ready for my mother-in-law to come live with us as soon as her room is ready; an exhausting task, but I'll be glad when she's here where I can watch out for her.

I'll share my book sale books next week--they are still sitting in a box in my truck--but here are a few things I borrowed from the library last week.


The mother of a bullied first grader, popular blogger Carrie Goldman's inspiring true story triggered an outpouring of support from online communities around the world. In Bullied, she gives us a guide to the crucial lessons and actionable guidance she's learned about how to stop bullying before it starts. It is a book born from Goldman's post about the ridicule her daughter suffered for bringing a Star Wars thermos to school--a story that went viral on Facebook and Twitter before exploding everywhere, from CNN.com and Yahoo.com to sites all around the world. Written in Goldman's warm, engaging style, Bullied is an important and very necessary read for parents, educators, self-professed "Girl Geeks," or anyone who has ever felt victimized by a bully, online or in person.


In 2014, Chessy Prout was a freshman at St. Paul’s school, a prestigious boarding school in New Hampshire when a senior boy sexually assaulted her as part of a ritualized game of conquest. Chessy bravely reported her assault to the police and testified against her attacker in court. Then, in the face of unfathomable backlash from her once trusted school community, she shed her anonymity to help other survivors find their voice.

This memoir is more than an account of a horrific event; it takes a magnifying glass to the institutions that turn a blind eye to such behavior and a society that blames victims rather than attackers, while offering real, powerful solutions to upending rape culture as we know it today.

Prepare to be inspired by this remarkable young woman and her story of survival, advocacy, and hope in the face of unspeakable trauma.


In this astonishing memoir, Paige tells a story that is both deeply personal and completely universal—one that will resonate deeply with the thousands of children and adults whose lives have been touched by bullying.

Paige Rawl has been HIV positive since birth…but growing up, she never felt like her illness defined her. It never prevented her from entering beauty pageants or playing soccer or making the honor role.

On an unremarkable day in middle school, while attempting to console a friend, Paige disclosed her HIV-positive status—and within hours the bullying began. She was called "PAIDS," first in whispers, then out in the open. Her soccer coach joked that she was an asset because opposing team members would be too afraid to touch her. Her guidance counselor told her to stop all the “drama,” and her principal said she couldn’t protect her. One night, desperate for escape, Paige swallowed fifteen sleeping pills—one for each year of her life to date. That could have been the end of her story. Instead, it was only the beginning.

The gripping first-person account of Paige’s life will pull in even the most reluctant readers of nonfiction, and her call to action to choose compassion over cruelty will stay with them long after they turn the last page.

That's it from me this week. What was in your mailbox?

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Book Review: The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y'Barbo

Filled with romance and adventure, The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y'Barbo is an excellent addition to the Daughters of the Mayflower series.

Maribel Cordoba is just a girl when she joins her father to sail to the Caribbean. Their adventure is cut short when Captain Jean Beaumont takes possession of their ship, but a new adventure is awaiting Maribel just around the corner.

I have to admit, this is not what I expected based upon the write up. Yes, we end up with a bride, but it's many years in the making. I loved Maribel--who one reviewer has called a "swashbuckling Anne of Green Gables." I see the comparison, but I think Anne fell into trouble, while Maribel went looking for it. When Maribel and the privateer reconnect, the true adventure begins.

This is a strong addition to the Daughters of the Mayflower series. It's a fun, adventurous story. Loved all the characters, especially the secondary ones: the bonds they shared, the love of the privateer lifestyle, their strong faith. There was a great little surprise at the end too.

This is a total stand along novel, but I encourage readers to pick up The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse, which is the first book in this series, because of the family relations. I'm also one of those people who likes to read a series from the very beginning, so I often encourage that.

History, adventure, faith and romance make The Pirate Bride a perfect story.


Series: Daughters of the Mayflower (Book 2)
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books; Gld edition (April 1, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1683224973
ISBN-13: 978-1683224976

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.