July 10, 2014

Books Read in 2nd quarter of 2014

So, I read 12 or 13 books during this second quarter of 2014 ( from April through June). Here are my favorites!

This is the book that I want to hand to all my friends who struggle with feeling beautiful. I will probably have to reread parts of this to myself often. It is an excellent reminder that true beauty comes from Jesus, and anything else is a false beauty, seen only through the world's eyes. I love that these ladies do still discuss the importance of not making excuses and just "letting yourself go" because you don't live in Hollywood. It's important to carry oneself well, we are daughters of the one true KING!

 I really loved this book. It is an excellent summer beach read. I've just ordered the next in the series and anxiously await the 3rd one in paperback, since I don't have a kindle. This is the story of Anne Boleyn as told through the eyes of her best friend. It is a great reminder of the moving hand of God throughout history. Each book in the series is about a different woman in English political history (during the time of the Tudors), the 2nd book is about Queen Elizabeth. 

 This is a heavy book as far as content, but not difficult to read. So much good stuff in here. One of Elyse's "platforms" is finding our identity in Christ (if we are believers). She really brings home the value of Christ's sacrifice, what He really did for me and how that should play out in my life. This is one to reread every few years.

 This was an interesting book. I don't think I have read this author before. The story is told from the perspective of a blind girl who sets out to rescue her father. I really enjoyed "seeing" things from behind her eyes. There was definitely a creepy factor in this book with all the talk about coincidences and famous people from history. This book definitely drove me to do some online research on the scientists/physicists/psychiatrists mentioned. Of course, I personally do NOT believe in coincidences:) Read the book and then tell me what you believe. 

This book was so, so good. This is another book to revisit and to share with others. What does it truly look like to follow Jesus? Not just for the individual but for the church body? Good stuff.

What are you reading right now? Would love to hear about some of your recent favorites!

April 5, 2014

Color Me Rad 2014

I had been hearing about the Color Me Rad 5K fun run for a while. It is a really fun and colorful race that is low key, no being timed, and all the proceeds go to charities. There were a lot of people walking, and many people running. There were lots of kids, lots of overweight people, lots of very fit people, lots of older adults. This race is the perfect race for the whole family. Next year, I'm hoping to have a couple of my kids join me. Now that I've done it once, next year I am going to GO BIG on color. So many people had such fun with their outfits; bright knee socks, colorful tutus, neon wigs. I am already impatient for next year! But I need to get through the rest of my 2014 races first:) Enjoy the photos from my fun first Color Me Rad experience. 

Before the color:

Lots of color stations:

Our RAD tats. We received the sunglasses and a cute tee for after the race also. And extra color bombs to throw on our friends.

I ran with my two running pals, Jen and Sara. We met up with two other friends from church after crossing the finish line.

We are so colorful! 

Even after shaking myself off some, I am COVERED in colored dust.

Headed to my new favorite place afterwards for a smoothie. Love my local Juiced Up! 

Who's joining me next year?

April 2, 2014

2014 Books Read (1rst quarter)

I've read 14 books since New Year's Day. That's about 4 1/2 books a month. There are so many good books out there, I want to read them all! Here are my favorite of this year's reads so far:

Shiloh Autumn
Beautiful, sad, and thought-provoking. A wonderful book for learning what being a true neighbor really means.

Hands down, one of my favorite books of all time. I want to give this to every man and teenage boy I know. Excellent.

This is an amazing book that makes Jewish history come alive! 

I read the first book in this series last December. These are good, but the first one was definitely the best. Lots of thought-provoking material.

The Slight Edge
I think everyone who sets a goal and wants to reach that goal should read this book. Perfect for the small business owner, but also great for the person wanting to lose weight and be healthy or for the family who wants to buy their dream farm someday. 

Miss Kay's Duck Commander Kitchen
Oh my, this was a fun book. Lots of fun stories and great recipes! I am going to be making the frog legs this month!

This was a different book for me. I love Robin McKinley, but this wasn't her usual style. A very nicely written, haunting book. It made me remember that I'd like to try beekeeping someday.

What are you reading?

January 31, 2014

The Eyebrow Story

I wanted to post this story here because I realize not all my friends are on Facebook. And because it's easier for me to find if I ever want to remember this event.

Friends, I have now experienced the worst pain a woman can feel besides childbirth or a broken femur. Let me explain. 

Today, my friend Marge decided at lunch that she wanted to get her eyebrows done. She already knew the place she wanted to go. Here's how that conversation went:

Marge: "Want to go with me to get my eyebrows done?"
Me: "Sure, I can take you. The roads are clear."
Jack (Marge's 95 year old husband): " Are you coloring your eyebrows or getting that string thing done?"
Marge: "Why? Do you want to come?"
Jack: "No, I'll stay here. You girls go on. But are you just coloring or doing the string thing?"
Me: "What's the string thing?"  I honestly had no idea what he meant.
Marge: "Oh, I don't know, it's something new."
Me: "Oh, maybe I'll try it. I'm interested." (fateful words, people....fateful words)
Jack: "Oh, maybe I'll ride along then." (Hah! He knows if I try something new, something interesting is bound to happen)

So we loaded up and headed off to the mall. We enter a little salon called Feah Brows Beauty.

There are two of the tiniest women working, maybe 100 pounds each. Both are under 5 ft 2. Tiny, I tell you. Both are Middle-Eastern, maybe Indian. Gorgeous, both of them. And soft spoken. Seated in the waiting area is another Middle Eastern woman who is also stunningly beautiful. I'm beginning to think I don't belong. Seated in the salon chairs getting their brows done are two African-American women with beautiful skin and already perfect eyebrows. Standing by my side is 88 year old Marge,  a tiny Italian woman who doesn't look or act her age. I am feeling more and more like a blonde she-hulk with my 5 ft 8 inches (with my shoes) and size 12 self. As I look at all these women and all the posters advertising the brow services offered, I not only feel like a She-Hulk, but I realize that my eyebrows belong on Duck Dynasty. Uh huh. Time to see what this string thing is all about.

Apparently, it's called THREADING and it will take you to the gates of hell and back. Here's what happened. So, Marge is all laid out in her chair, having decided to forgo threading today and simply get her own brows colored. I'm in the chair next to her, having been told by one of the girls in the waiting room that she comes in once a month because it's part of her culture and that it doesn't hurt at all. Liar!!! Liar!!! Pants on Fire!! Look up threading if you want to know what it is. All I know is that it involves cotton yarn and a near death experience. 

The very first tug had my eyes stinging. By the second tug, my left eye was watering like crazy. Third tug, and I was in full-on crybaby mode. My nose even started running, people! The brow tech had to give me tissues. I was ready to run out but I couldn't leave Marge,who still had hair color on her eyebrows. And I couldn't leave with a half done face. I like my eyebrows to match each other. But I was beginning to wonder if maybe I shouldn't have committed to having my upper lip threaded. Yeah, I just admitted that on Facebook and now, this blog.

By the time the tech moved to my second eyebrow, whimpering sounds were coming from my mouth. I was trying to so hard to be still and be quiet but it was not working. I was praying that maybe my right side wouldn't have as many manly hairs as my left side, but alas, it was worse. Or maybe my pain tolerance lessened with each tug. Whatever it was, I almost died on that chair today. The tech almost died too, and it is only because I exhibited enormous amounts of self-control that her 100 pound self didn't end up getting thrown across the room by She-Hulk. People, I was full on sobbing by the time she finished. 

I was too proud to wuss out after she finished my eyebrows so yes, I got my lip done too. Apparently, my face's lower region also belongs on Duck Dynasty. I now understand why bearded women just let it grow rather than getting rid of it. Pain. In order to "thread" the lip area, the tech asked me to close my mouth (because I was crying so hard) and push against my upper lip with my tongue. The picture you see is what I looked like. A monkey. So now I am a She-Hulk Monkey who belongs on Duck Dynasty.

Finally, it was all over. The tech asked me to return in 3 weeks and gave me a "Buy 10 Get 1 Free" card. Who can survive that TEN times? Maybe an orc.

Jack was glad he came. He and Marge laughed the whole way home.

January 15, 2014

Best Reads of 2013

Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis (read twice now)

This book is so good. I'll be handing it off to my oldest this year. This is an excellent book for moms to read with their daughters, great discussions on what it means to die to self and to love like Jesus. 

Forgotten God by Francis Chan (read twice now)

This book fostered some amazing book club discussion on the power of the Holy Spirit in a Christian's life. I try to read this every couple of years. 

Fierce Women by Kimberly Wagner

Oh my word. This is the book I want to buy for every newly engaged girl I meet. It is a difficult book to read, my toes really got stepped on! I saw myself in so many of the author's personal illustrations. This is an excellent book on what being a godly wife really means. 

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Not everyone will enjoy this fictionalized account of spiritual warfare. I loved it! Very interesting, and our book club discussion was pretty good, too. 


Gospel by J.D. Greear

Excellent book that I want to give to every new believer I know. I also think it's a good book to revisit every few years. This author is the pastor of my mom's church, The Summit in Triangle area, NC. Lots of good truth in this one!


Leota's Garden by Francine Rivers

I really loved this book. I maybe cried a little bit. It's an amazing story about keeping the peace and when we can take it too far. There's some powerful redemption in it, too. Love it.


Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges

Now this is a book that will step on your toes!  I highly recommend this book to everyone I know. Time to stop pointing fingers and start looking at our own hearts. Very convicting.

The Iron Scepter by John White 

I highly recommend this allegorical series for kids- The Archives of Anthropos- I've read this so many times over the past 30 years. We read it aloud as a family last year and one of my sons is currently revisiting it this month. Really fun series.

Spindle's End by Robin McKinley (read many times- love her retold fairy tales)

I can't even tell you how many times I've read this book now. This is right up there with her "Rose Daughter" for me. Kimberly and I both re-read this retelling of Sleeping Beauty last year. This is a really fun read with lots of sweet, clean romance and magic and humor. 


East by Edith Patou (read twice now, this was the year of revisiting favorites!)

Another favorite fairytale is the Nordic, "East of the Sun, West of the Moon." This is a nice retelling. 


Is it Just Me? by Miranda Hart

Oh. My. Word. This is the funniest book I have ever read. I seriously laughed all the way through it. One night, I laughed so hard I was crying at 2:00am while trying not to wake my hubby. I've recommended this to so many friends. If you love Chummy on "Call the Midwives," you will love this book. Such fun! 


Divergent by Veronica Roth

My sister has been trying to get me to read this for at least a year. Finally in December of 2013, I read it. And loved it. In January of this year, I read the other two in the series. Really intense and crazy fun. What faction are YOU? I'm Dauntless in my heart, but outwardly I live like Amity. 


I only read 33 books in 2013, but they were all good books that I thoroughly enjoyed. I'm getting picky and only investing my down time in books and shows that I really love. These few that I've mentioned here were my favorites and ones that I feel like I can recommend to anyone.

What We're Memorizing This Month

Romans 12:9-21
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.