Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Napping 101 Infographic from Casper

For busy moms, tired and stressed are two words that follow us around forever. Especially now– April is Stress Awareness Month. It seems like just a part of life, but stress can have some pretty serious effects on our health. The good news is, there are some simple ways to help reduce stress one day at a time. One of the best is to take a healthy, long overdue nap. It might seem straightforward, but there's a lot that goes into taking the PERFECT nap. The sleep experts at Casper have spent years figuring out ways to help people sleep better– that's why they created their latex mattress, but they've also put together this Napping 101 guide with tips how to take a refreshingly healthy nap. Check it out, and be sure to find time in your busy life to catch some well-deserved Zs!




Thursday, April 21, 2016

Book Spotlight: The Black Sheep Shadow by Ashley Terrell



The city lights blind your amazement. The sound of the traffic challenges you to be alive. Families ask bystanders to make magic and capture the moment with photographs. Newly engaged couples seal their union by kissing under shooting stars while loving by crossing their hearts.

But what if your heart was under arrest, wouldn’t want to embrace something to feel something like others?

Go inside the world of one courageous sheep as she discovers that her heart was under attack by darkness. As she travels on a spiritual journey to understanding her purpose, overcoming the understanding her purpose, self-acceptance, and the importance of inspiration, she rose against the odds with forgiveness and strengthening her faith.

Purchase here!



Ashley Terrell is the founder of Stella Bistro Foods and Black Sheep Inc. Terrell is the host and co-director of Cooking with Stella (2016) and Unaverage Ash (2016).  She resides on the East Coast where she enjoys blissful sunsets and sounds of ocean waves.
For More Information

Vacation Week Antics

School is out! The Lil' Diva and the Lil' Princess have happily been on vacation this week. With Dad in London on business, that means the girls and I are hanging out and getting into all kinds of trouble.


We started the week off at church. It was lovely outside, so we had our Sunday school lesson in the yard. 

Then the Lil' Diva attempted to show me how to take a proper selfie. Most of her shots are with half a face, but I don't see why anyone would want to see half of me. 


The great thing about school vacation is we treat ourselves to eating out. This usually leads to more picture taking.



The Lil' Princess decided to buy herself a new toy. Check out her trampoline! The girls and their friends worked hard to put it together. I had to help with the safety net and tying the net down, but everything else they handled. Notice the Lil' Diva acting as the supervisor.


We had plenty of sleepovers. This afternoon we met up with family and my sister-in-law took the Lil' Princess home with her. She'll have fun at their place until Saturday entertaining the Lil' Nephew.

It's also been a work week for me. I kept my schedule light so I could concentrate on the girls, but I'm still out showing houses. Tomorrow will be my busiest day. 

Thankfully, Dad will be home from London tomorrow night. We've missed him. 

What are some of the fun things you do on vacation?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Book Spotlight: Facing the Facts by Stan and Brenna Jones


Designed for children ages 11-14, Facing the Facts equips kids to understand and deal with the changes of puberty. It also examines why God intends sex for marriage, discusses love and dating, and answers tough questions about sexuality.

Series: God's Design for Sex (Book 4)
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: NavPress; Rev Upd edition (March 29, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1600060153
ISBN-13: 978-1600060151

Purchase here!

Monday, April 11, 2016

What Writing an Inspirational Romance Taught Me About My Own Faith by Lori Soard, Author of Cupid's Quest

The only life Gracie has ever known has been the nursing home and the residents who are like family to her. Now, she risks losing it all and her friends scattering to different homes if she can’t come up with the money to save the business.

Between caring for his ailing mother and running the family farm, Brandt is stretched thin. Too thin. When his mother begs him to enter a local scavenger hunt, win the prize money, and convert the farm into an orchard, he knows he can’t refuse her anything, so he reluctantly agrees.

While seeking clues to the scavenger hunt, Gracie and Brandt keep bumping into each other. Gracie’s always had a crush on him that keeps her from stringing two coherent words together. Brandt doesn’t understand why she dislikes him so much she won’t even talk to him. If the nursing home residents would settle down and stop getting into crazy shenanigans long enough, the two might figure out that they have more than a little in common.

For More Information

  • CUPID’S QUEST is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
What Writing an Inspirational Romance Taught Me 
About My Own Faith


There are some days when I’d be embarrassed to admit just how long I’ve been a Christian. The Bible tells us that we will know Christians by their fruits, but the truth is that even though I love the Lord with all my heart, there are times and days that I fail Him miserably and my fruit is downright rotten and full of worms.

Even though I made that decision to follow Christ when I was thirteen years old and I have not wavered from that faith, I have not always lived my life for God the way I should have. The world has a way of creeping in and taking hold, doesn’t it? Anger, greed, bitterness, jealousy can all cause us to act in ways we otherwise wouldn’t. I truly believe the only difference between a Christian and a sinner (besides the obvious difference of redemption) is that a Christian feels horrible guilt and the Holy Spirit’s urging to change and be better and more Christ-like. It isn’t always a gentle whisper to change, either. Sometimes God gets to the point with me where he has to hit me over the head to get my attention.

That is what He had to do with me over romance novels. He had to really get my attention and let me know that I am here to glorify Him. That’s my purpose, that’s your purpose, that’s everyone’s purpose. We all do it in different ways, of course. I spent a lot of time in prayer a few years ago, trying to decide if I should go out and get a “real” job or continue writing. Writing wasn’t really making me much of an income and my children were nearly grown. I wanted to do something, I just didn’t know what.

I even went on some interviews during that time. However, even though I was extremely qualified and had excellent interviews, something always happened to take the opportunity away from me. Through this time, I kept praying that God would lead me to do what He most wanted me to do. That he would place me in a position to somehow glorify him. That was my prayer, but it hurts to be rejected, especially when you think you’ve nailed an interview and they are certain to offer you a position as soon as possible.

God kept nudging, placing inspirational fiction in my hands through the strangest ways, having friends mention books by Karen Kingbury (friends that don’t normally read nor are they Christians). It takes me a while sometimes, but I finally took the hint to write a contemporary inspirational romance.

As I got to know the characters better, I found myself relating more to the hero than the heroine in Cupid’s Quest. You see, the angst that Brandt goes through and the doubt about whether God really loves him is exactly where I’ve been a couple of times in my life. The anger over losing someone you love dearly is something I have been through when I lost my cousin Michael. I was young, I didn’t understand, and I was angry at God. I turned my back on Him, but he never gave up on me and never turned His back on me.

As I wrote about Brandt’s experience with this, I was reminded how much God loves me. How he took the time to send me messages and to send people into my life to help me through that time. I had nothing but anger and distrust for the first time in my life when I thought about God. He could have easily grown frustrated with me, but He showed me true grace by continuing to love me through it.
As my character grew in his face and realization, my own was reaffirmed. I set out to write a book that might one day reach just one person for Christ. If my book can encourage someone going through the loss of a loved one and questioning God’s plan, or if it can inspire someone to visit a church, start a discussion, or pick up a Bible, then I feel my job has been done. However, through that goal, I also was reminded of the strength of my own faith and just how much God and I have been through together.

This is a very timely reminder as we have a family member who is young and facing a serious illness right now. It’s going to be a rough year, and I truly needed to be reminded that God is good ALL the time. His plans aren’t always plans I understand, but there is a purpose to them and He loves us with a pure love we can’t really comprehend in this world.

So, did I write the book for others or did God have me write it for myself to remind me of these things? Perhaps a little of both. If you read Cupid’s Quest, I hope you are inspired by Brandt as I was and that you remember the things God has brought you through over the years.




Lori Soard has a Ph.D in Journalism, but she’s hardly the stuffy professor type. She loves nothing more than a good comedy and laughing over silly things with her family and friends. She adores animals, has two daughters in college and is married to her high school sweetheart.

Book Blurb for recent release: The only life Gracie has ever known has been the nursing home and the residents who are like family to her. Now, she risks losing it all and her friends scattering to different homes if she can’t come up with the money to save the business.

Between caring for his ailing mother and running the family farm, Brandt is stretched thin. Too thin. When his mother begs him to enter a local scavenger hunt, win the prize money, and convert the farm into an orchard, he knows he can’t refuse her anything, so he reluctantly agrees.

While seeking clues to the scavenger hunt, Gracie and Brandt keep bumping into each other. Gracie’s always had a crush on him that keeps her from stringing two coherent words together. Brandt doesn’t understand why she dislikes him so much she won’t even talk to him. If the nursing home residents would settle down and stop getting into crazy shenanigans long enough, the two might figure out that they have more than a little in common.

Visit Lori online at http://lorisoard.com



Friday, April 8, 2016

Book Review: The Productivity Book by Michael Brecht

Busy moms know the key to getting it all done is putting systems and schedules in place. Oh, and getting enough rest is a big help too.

The Productivity Book by Michael Brecht is a helpful resource for those who wish to become more productive by learning how to work smarter, not harder. Brecht is the CEO of Doodle, an online scheduling tool.

After a brief introduction by the author, numerous interviews appear with a variety of productivity and time management experts. The book is rounded out with an engaging Afterword and Conclusion.

It's definitely interesting to learn how experts plans their days, what Apps they use, and what their predictions are for the future. As someone who hasn't always used a ton of Apps, I am glad to have a list of new ones to consider to increase my productivity. My slight criticism is that the interviews coming one after the other makes for some monotonous--though easy--reading. I would have liked to have seen more of the author's thoughts interspersed between the interviews. As CEO of an online scheduling tool he must have a wealth of his own information to share.

The Productivity Book is loaded with great information, so it's definitely worth reading. The low cost of the book makes purchasing it a no-brainer. Pick it up and see what a difference it can make for you.



File Size: 5800 KB
Print Length: 206 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Doodle AG (November 16, 2015)
Publication Date: November 16, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B01844YLP8


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



Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Guest Blogger: Jill Kemerer, Author of Her Small-Town Romance



Cozy Lake Endwell, Michigan, seems the perfect place for Jade Emerson's new T-shirt shop—and perhaps a fresh start. After a lifetime of letdowns, she is finally ready to face the future on her own. So when local wilderness guide Bryan Sheffield offers to help Jade overcome a past trauma, she warns him they will remain strictly business. But soon, with the help of Bryan's big, complicated family and a boisterous St. Bernard named Teeny, Jade's frozen heart begins to thaw. Now Jade wonders if she can return the favor, bringing a little happiness to a man who has long kept his own sorrow under wraps…

Interested in purchasing Her Small-Town Romance? Purchase links available at http://jillkemerer.com/books/her-small-town-romance/.


My Spring Reading Habits by Jill Kemerer

I’m a seasonal reader. Well, let me rephrase that. I read all year, but my habits change with each season. When spring comes around, I want my nonfiction helpful, bright and optimistic, and I want my fiction fun, light and romantic.

In the winter I gravitate toward cookbooks with comfort foods or thick biographies, but in the spring I’m all about tea parties, birds and gardening. I also have three Love Inspired contemporary romances on my nightstand!

Spring is the perfect time to fantasize about road trips. Maine, Vermont, the Grand Canyon, Napa Valley, Wyoming, Mackinac Island, anywhere in Virginia—I check out books so I can dream about them.

Will you catch me reading a Christmas novel in the spring? Highly doubtful. What about a much-talked-about critical favorite novel with a reputation for being sad or disturbing? Maybe in the fall. Maybe not. I just know I won’t be reading it in the spring!

Here are a few goodies on my current list:


The phrase art of stress-free gets me every time. Plus, I like books that motivate me to get more done. Win-win!

Her One and Only by Becky Wade.

I am SO excited for Becky Wade’s new novel! This is the fourth book in the Porter Family Novel series, and I’m more than ready for it. Becky writes contemporary Christian romance, and her books are heartwarming, funny and amazing. I could go on and on!

The Coast of Maine by Carl Heilman II

This is a photography book, and oh, the beauty! If I can’t go to Maine in person, I can at least go there in my dreams.

What are your reading? Do your habits change with the seasons?


Thank you, Cheryl, for letting me be your guest today!



Jill Kemerer writes Christian romance novels with love, humor and faith for Harlequin Love Inspired. Jill loves coffee, M&Ms, fluffy animals, magazines and her hilarious family. Visit her website, jillkemerer.com, and connect with Jill on Facebook, Twitter and sign up for her Newsletter!


Monday, April 4, 2016

Mailbox Monday - April 4



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.

Well, it's been a few weeks. Totally tied up with selling real estate lately. Sold two condos, three of my four listings went under agreement, and two tenants were placed into rental properties. Not much blogging going on as a result.

I hope life is treating you well and that you have had some nice spring weather. It has been cold and snowing in Massachusetts.



These books were scooped up at the ongoing library book sales. I think I paid 50 cents each for them. 



This one came to me unsolicited from the publisher:


In the war-ravaged England of 1940, Charlotte Bromley is sure of only one thing: Kitty McLaughlin is her best friend in the whole world. But when Charlotte's scientist father makes an astonishing discovery that the Germans will covet for themselves, Charlotte is faced with an impossible choice between danger and safety. Should she remain with her friend or journey to another time and place? Her split-second decision has huge consequences, and when she finds herself alone in the world, unsure of Kitty's fate, she knows that somehow, some way, she must find her way back to her friend. Written in the spirit of classic time-travel tales, this book is an imaginative and heartfelt tribute to the unbreakable ties of friendship.

What was in your mailbox?

Blogging From A to Z April (2016) Challenge



For the first time in a while I am not participating in the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge. As I was checking my stats for this blog, one of my  most recent popular posts was from when I participated in this challenge in 2013.

It's a shame sign ups are closed for this year because I would have joined up....even though I would be hard-pressed to commit to it. To be successful, you need to have time to comment as well as post. Time is something that is in short supply right now. I'll just be a cheerleader this year.

Are you participating in the Blogging From A to Z April (2016) Challenge? If yes, what is your topic?