February 13, 2018

Living Life Young

I've been told I don't look my age. I must have good genes, but I don't think that is what makes me seem younger.

To be honest, I think it is because I love to laugh. I don't mind looking silly. I don't care if people laugh at me. Hey...I laugh at me. In fact, I record Dubsmash videos of myself and save them to my phone so if I'm down or discouraged, I can watch the videos and bring a smile to my heart.

I was going through some pictures the other day and thought I'd share some of my fun and silly photos.





 






I am married to a man who makes me laugh every single day. He is a kid at heart and I like to think I've absorbed some of his youthful spirit.


So laugh. Indulge in funny jokes, silly movies, and crazy pictures. Don't care what others think. Just have fun. Life's too short to just act your age. There's no fun in that!

How do you stay young at heart?


January 09, 2018

Beautiful Themes in The Greatest Showman

Have you seen The Greatest Showman? If not, then you should! Not only is it a beautiful, colorful cinematic display, but the music is inspiring and the choreography is spectacularly woven through the beat of the music. I have seen it twice and it gave me goosebumps both times.

One of the things I loved about this movie was a couple of running themes throughout. The first one was the theme of inclusion. Taking the marginalized and neglected and giving them a place to belong...a home to call their own and a family to care for and love them in their uniqueness. While some would argue that they were exploited...and indeed, it was that to some extent because of the misdirected focus of Barnum, but the circus became a place of belonging for the performers. A place of safety. A place they could be who they truly are and still be accepted.

This inclusiveness is the gracious way Jesus demonstrated in His life. He called fishermen and tax collectors to be his disciples. He talked to women because they were important. He went to the home of sinners and ate with them. He welcomed children into His lap. He healed the outcasts and touched the untouchables. He loved each and every one, just as we should.

The beautiful theme of inclusion should be a running theme in our life. 

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

The second theme I saw was the theme of the prodigal losing his way and returning home. Poor Barnum. He had such dreams of being significant. Of being someone that people respected and looked up to. In his success, he lost his way. He had everything - a family, money, a great house, a group of people who relied on him and loved him. And yet it wasn't enough.

Barnum wanted more. He wanted to earn the respect of high society...those who looked down on his father and him his whole life. He wanted to prove his worth to these people who considered anyone different to be beneath them. So he took his wealth and sunk it all into promoting a world-class singer, making a name for himself. He is seduced by the glamour and the fame.

Yet when tempted by her, the singer, he wakes up, stands firm and returns home -  and loses everything in the process. She walks out on the tour and he loses his money, his home, and ultimately his family. The circus building burns to the ground and he is utterly lost.

There is a scene where he is drinking alone in a bar during the middle of the day. His troupe walks in, surrounding him, reminding him of why he started the circus, reminding him of the family he created and the home he had provided.

He was welcomed back into the family with open arms and loving hearts. And the rejoicing!!!! Whew! What a dance of celebration!

And don't worry, the family is reunited as well. The wife is a beautiful picture of the Father figure in the prodigal story. She is there to tell him all she ever wanted was to be with him. To have a place in his life. To be loved by him.

And isn't that a beautiful picture of God and His desire for us? He just wants to be in relationship with Him. To love Him and want to be with Him.

So if I haven't totally ruined the story for you, I urge you to go and see The Greatest Showman. It is well worth the money! Let me know what you think about it!


January 05, 2018

2017 Book Reading Challenge Was A Success!

I thought I would share my reading challenge from last year. I purposed to read 24 books and ended up reading 32 books. You can sign up for your own reading challenge at Goodreads and track your reading progress.












What are your reading goals for 2018?


January 03, 2018

A New Year, A New Start

Don't you love the beginning of a new year? It is as if the slate of the past year has been wiped clean and the pristine slate is ready to be filled with new possibilities. It is energizing...hopeful.

The reason I'm so excited about this year is because I have completely turned my life upside down. The first of December I gave my notice at work at the elementary school where I was secretary. I know it probably is ridiculous to do so since the money was good, but sometimes it is not about money. It's about quality of life.

So my plans for this year center around the One Word I have chosen for 2018.

CULTIVATE: prepare; grow and maintain; to try to acquire or develop; tend

VERSE for 2018: "You see, God blesses the ground that drinks the rain and then produces a bountiful crop for those who cultivate it." Hebrews 6:7 from The Voice

I love having a word for the year that envelopes everything I choose to do. It forms my decisions and helps me to focus on what truly matters. This year I want to cultivate my life in a way that honors God and others.

I want to cultivate: 

  • spiritual health: read through the Bible, pray (really spend time listening), Bible journaling
  • relationships: spend quality time with husband, kids, family, and friends- date night, 1 night a month having friends over, reaching out to family and friends I've neglected
  • self-care: eat well, move every day (walk, yoga or dancing where no one can see me!), rest (reading, Netflix), play (1 afternoon a week to do something fun for me - see a movie, go to the library or museum, read in the park)
  • home and garden: Simplify (get rid of stuff I don't need, use or like anymore), cleaning schedule, create beauty inside and out (huge plans for flowers in my neglected garden)
  • finances: budget, spending freeze, research Amazon store?
  • writing: write 2 books this year, bog 2 times a week, keep up the newsletter, write some short stories and submit, query agents
  • lettering/art: create something at least once a week, learn digitizing, possible Bible journaling course?, open Etsy store again?
There are so many possibilities, and now that I have time to explore the gifts God has given me, I'm excited to see what doors He opens and closes. 

What new plans do you have for the new year? Do you have a One Word? Resolutions?


December 28, 2017

I'm Blogging at Seekerville Today!

I'm talking about Resolutions and One Words over at the Seekerville blog. Join in on the conversation for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card and a hand-decorated Moleskin journal.

Hope to see you there! Seekerville Blog


October 19, 2017

Charming the Troublemaker by Pepper Basham

Pepper Basham's soon-to-be-released book, Charming the Troublemaker, is going to be a hit with readers. She has such a way of weaving romance, truth, and unique characters into a masterpiece you won't want to put down.

About the Book:

Rainey Mitchell is doing just fine. She has a great job helping children in need, her family is around her, she is mother to a fabulous little girl, and is getting over the betrayal of her ex-husband. Dr. Alex Murdock is not doing so well, as he is forced to work at a rural university, his life is full of secrets surrounding his family, and he has to start over in a new town. Luckily, Rainey, the daughter of his landlord, is there to get him settled. Rainey just wants to stay away from the new professor, who has the same charm as her ex. Unfortunately, they seem to need each other. Rainey needs his grant-writing ability to save her program, and Alex is terrible at the lecturing at which Rainey excels. The two must work together to fulfill their goals, but will they be able to do it? Rainey's insecurities and Alex's obsession with protecting his family could be their undoing. 

My Thoughts:

Pepper writes such vivid characters that you can sink your heart into and come away feeling like a part of their family. I loved the extended Mitchel family and the warmth and love they show to each other. They are such a giving family that enfolds a stranger like Alex in.

Can I just say that I love the term "adorkable" for Alex Murdock? Ever the flirt and teaser, he gueards his past and his family and hides behind his humor and adorkability. Rainey is bound and determined to resist Alex's charm, but he wears her down, little by little, with his sweet care and some fabulous kisses. Whew! Pepper can write a fabulous kissing scene!

I'm looking forward to the next installment in the Mitchell family series!

You can pre-order Charming the Troublemaker HERE. It will be released on November 1, 2017.


October 12, 2017

The Engagement Plot by Krista Phillips

If you love the Bachelor or Bachelorette, you will love Krista Phillip's newest book, The Engagement Plot. Seriously. Krista has a knack for witty banter, funny situations, and some ooo-la-la romance!

About the Book:

Six months ago, William stole Hanna’s heart and shattered it in front of millions of people on a reality TV dating show. And now the big-wig CEO is back on Hanna’s home turf in Minnesota and wants her to forgive him? Fat chance of that. But life is swirling around faster than snow in a blizzard, and despite her objections, teaming up with William seems like the only option to rescue her reputation.
              
William has never regretted anything more than the day he gave that ill-fated interview for the reality show, The Price of Love. But while he can’t change the past, he’s determined to fix the future. He just needs to convince Hanna to forgive him—and pretend to be engaged with him. Simple, right?

When the media erupts with even worse accusations, teaming up and pretending to be engaged seems to be the only way to salvage their reputations.  Despite the media frenzy that swirls around them, an attraction neither of them can fight off begins to surface. Could this love run deeper than a scandal, or will old wounds tear them apart once and for all?  When all seems lost, it’s only with help from above that Hanna and Will may find their happily-ever-after.


My Thoughts:

I love Hanna and William's story. Hanna's hope of a happy-ever-after seemed to be dashed with William's ill-fated interview, sending her home with her reputation in shreds. But when William shows up asking her to team up with him to save both of their reputations, she reluctantly says yes. Their rocky journey is filled with some funny experiences, warm-hearted relatives, and some incredible romantic tension. And Krista knows how to write a good kiss....yes, she does! 

If you love romantic comedy, Krista Phillips is the author for you. You will smile, laugh, tear up, and laugh some more. Yes, I snorted in a scene or too. 

You can pre-order Krista's book HERE. The Engagement Plot releases November 1, 2017.


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