Jesus is Better

img_9613It’s no secret that I greatly enjoy following Jamie Ivey ‘s life.  I listen to her weekly podcast, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, follow her on social media, and read her blog.  Most recently, I was beyond honored to be chosen to participate in the launch team for her book!  I have been waiting on this for a long time.  Waiting for her to tell her story.  It aligns with mine in several ways.

In If You Only Knew, she lays everything on the line and bares her actual heart.  If you only knew her past, you might not think she’s worthy of being a pastor’s wife and so greatly used by God.  That’s the whole point.  None of us are worthy, but God has a way of redeeming stories and making beauty from those ashes.  I could go on and on.  I gave this book 5 stars hands down.  Well written and a true breath of fresh air with its honesty and transparency.  Some of its readers will be agog at the fact that she put all this on paper and sent it out into the world, but I am so grateful.  It’s a story that HAS to be told.

Jamie talks about her life growing up in the church and how she was a full participant there and in the party scene of high school which left her knowing ABOUT Jesus but not being in love with Jesus.  Her college experience is riddled with sin and pregnancies.  She was the most reluctant Jesus follower ever there for a while.  But when Jesus saved her, He did a true work.  Glory, hallelujah!  He makes all things new.  Whatever you’re in.  Jesus is better.  Whatever you’ve done.  Jesus is better.  Wherever you’re going.  Jesus is better.  That’s the mantra now.  Jesus is better.

And there’s no better time to preorder her book!  Today, December 12, 2017, when you preorder her book and then redeem your purchase on www.IfYouOnlyKnewBook.net, you are entered to win prizes and jewelry from Noonday Collection and Waterloo Style.  You also get a coupon code from Waterloo Style.  I redeemed mine for the cutest earrings around.  If you purchase this book as a Christmas gift (which you absolutely should), you will receive a download for a print out about the book which comes out January 18, 2018. And the ebook is only $9.99 right now!  WORTH IT!

This is a book that will be well worn in my house and in my circle of friends.  Check it out now and get yourself a copy and a copy for anyone you know who needs to know that Jesus is Better.

Advertisements

Work Friends

In the real life, outside the interwebs, I am a Labor and Delivery nurse.  I work the night shift at a somewhat local hospital three nights a week.  This is the fourth hospital that I’ve worked L&D at, and they all have a lot in common.

I’ve met some of my dearest friends at work.  When you work 12 hour shifts three nights a week with the same people for years, you get to know them quite well.  It’s basically a slumber party three nights a week–without the pranks of course…mostly.  Over the years, there has been so much laughter and a lot of tears, too.  Your lives get intertwined somehow, even when you don’t necessarily live that close to one another.  I’ve celebrated birthdays and holidays, new life and beautiful life, new jobs and retirement, love and loss with some of the greatest people in the world.  I seriously have no idea how I would survive without my work friends.

Those same sweet friends have been so good to me, too.  When I got married, they were there.  When I had my babies, they were literally right there, in the room.  When our family has moved, they were so supportive and helped me cope.  When I don’t want to do this nurse gig anymore, they ground me and remind me that it’s only 12 days a month and it’s a WONDERFUL job!  When my husband was burned and stayed in the hospital 10 days and we didn’t get back in our house for over two weeks and I was pregnant with one and had a three year old, they were the absolute best and made sure my family ate. The day shift works with the night shift and visa versa to help make sure none of us miss out on things with our families that start early or late.  We’ve been on road trips together, to ladies’ conferences, on shopping trips. I could literally go on and on.  Dang, I love my work friends.

You know who else I love at my job?  My patients.  Most of them are only with me for a few hours–12 max, but every once in awhile, I will have one for several days or weeks or months at times.  Those are the ones that I can sit and listen to and learn about.  Those are the ones that share their hearts and stories.

I took care of a patient several times during her pregnancy a while back, and over those weeks, I learned so much about her family’s story.  There was some serious loss.  Lots of abuse and heartache.  The few of the family that is left are very close.  After hearing what little bits of their story that I did, I hugged mine a little closer and I really am grateful for that patient and her family and I’m grateful they have each other.  And now they have a baby to love.  Somehow, a baby brings people closer together and brings joy where there is so much hurt.

Also, having babies almost every day can be so much fun!  My favorite thing at work is for a new dad to tear up at the sound of their child’s first cry.  I’ve cried at other people’s deliveries over and over.  I didn’t even cry at either of my own.  There is nothing like witnessing a family welcome new life.  I do thank God for giving me that privilege.

Honestly, I want to quit sometimes.  When I have missed four soccer games in a row due to my work schedule, I want to trade it all in for a 9-5, but I know I would be so unhappy working 20 days a month instead of 12 and not having days off when I just sit on my couch and read and wash clothes and dishes while my whole family is gone to work and school.  Life is full of choices.  Work friends and the community we build there make those choices a whole lot easier.

November Collaboreads

I’m late on this.  And when I say on this, I mean soooooo late to this party.  I told myself back in January that I was going to participate in collaboreads with Rachel A. Dawson and  Taz+Belly this year as another way to immerse myself in the bookish community.  I’ve got a lot of warm feelings for this community, and I want to dive in.  Here it is, November, and I’m just now doing my first blog to participate.  Major eye roll.

img_9509-2Anyway, November was read a book older than you, and I chose The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams published in 1978.  It was originally a radio read aloud–I am so intrigued by this!  It has since been a play, a movie, a TV series, comic books, and more.  People love this thing.  It’s been sitting on my Kindle as a TBR for ages.  I picked it up as a Kindle Daily Deal for $1.99 one day and decided this was a perfect time to go ahead and knock it out.

Arthur Dent is just a regular guy living a regular life somewhere in England.  He thinks he has regular friends and a regular job.  One of his friends, Ford Perfect, is not so regular after all.  Ford turns out to be an alien and saves Arthur by taking him into outer space when Earth is destroyed.  They end up in hiding on a spaceship with an incredible cast of characters that take them to places light years away.  Arthur learns things about Earth that he never dreamed could be real–the mice here are actually experimenting on us, not the other way around–and is shown The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to help him understand all that is going on and how to get through it.

Thinking about what the author is trying to tell us through this book, I reflect on how small our actual existence is in the grand scheme of things.  The universe is so huge!  I think that if we thought for a minute how small we actually are, we wouldn’t let a lot of  things bother us the way they do.  Adams also encourages me to take myself less seriously.  No one is getting out of here alive.

This book is hilarious if you can picture it all happening in your head.  I had trouble doing that at times, but the humor was not lost on me.  It ended quite abruptly, but it is a series of six, so I’m sure that it ends cleanly somewhere along the line.  I do not intend to continue on in the series since sci-fi isn’t really my genre, but I sure am glad I read this and I would highly recommend it to anyone that: enjoys sci-fi, wants to read outside their comfort zone, enjoys humor, and teenage boys.  At just 180 pages, it can be read quite quickly.  I’m so glad I picked this one up.  I hope you will, too.  Let me know in the comments if you have and what you thought.

Also, y’all know I love podcasts.  This selection is no exception.  I listened to this episode of Literary Disco about this title and it did not disappoint.  Also, for those of you, like me, that didn’t know about this podcast, it is Rider Strong (yes, children of the 90’s, from Boy Meets World) and two of his friends talking books and SO MUCH MORE.  **Language alert, so I wouldn’t listen in the car with kids.

Thanks for stopping by here today!  This post contains affiliate links.

May 2017 Reads

May gets HOT.  However, I’m here for it.  I want to sit outside with a sweaty glass of ice water and read a book while the kids play in the sprinkler after school.  Baseball and softball are in full swing, so a lot of time is spent running from field to field to try and catch everyone’s games.  We also rely on sweet friends to walk our kids to the next field when I have to work and can’t be at the ballpark to watch and my husband is coaching one of our kids.  That ball field, man.  It can run your life if you let it.  This is why we only play baseball and softball in the spring.  We refuse to commit to anything besides park league while our kids are small and I work night shift.  More on that later.

My peeps at work and I decided to do our own rendition of a book club.  We each picked a book and drew numbers to see what order we would read them in.  Everyone went to used bookstores and online to Thrift Books and got them all as cheaply as possible, then we read.  We didn’t try to read them at the same time since some of us read slower than others, and we made a pact not to get crazy when someone stopped participating.  We were just chill about it and had fun.  That said, some of these books in May are from that little exercise.

img_9511The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  This was my book club pick and I got my beat up copy from Thrift books for $3.49, I believe.  I had heard RAVE reviews of this book.  People on the interwebs LOVE this book.  Some even own multiple copies with different covers and just can’t get enough!  I am NOT that girl.  I don’t know if it was all that hype that had my expectations over the moon or what, but I just didn’t get it.  This is a story of a boy and girl who are pitted against each other very early in life and trained in magic by famous magicians.  Someone has to die, but of course, they fall in love.  There was a lot of back and forth between story lines and years.  I felt like I needed a chart to keep it all straight, so I was just mostly lost.  I’m sure it would’ve made more sense if I could’ve kept the timeline arranged in my head.  Their way of dueling was also lost on me.  I can appreciate the imagery, for sure, but it didn’t make up for the way I fumbled through the story lost.  Very disappointing considering all that talk.

It’s Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn’t Choose by Melanie Dale.  I’ve looked at img_9514this book for a long time and was excited to see it for $1.99 on Kindle Daily Deals one day.  I think I need to start reading the back cover of books.  I judged this one by the title and cover, and I was excited to read it.  It has taken me quite a long time to learn to love this town we live in and the people that are here, and I was looking forward to some encouragement in that.  This book was only partially that book.  Dale has three adopted children with special needs, and she talks mostly about loving the hand that you’re dealt as far as family and kids.  She is funny, so that’s a huge plus.  I follow her on social media and enjoy her presence there.  I will definitely give another of her books a chance.  Also, I listened to a podcast featuring Melanie, and she’s a hoot.

IMG_8616The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg.  This is the second in a series of three and I got all three at once on Kindle Daily Deals for $1.99/each.  You can read my review of the first one here.  A friend had posted her review of them on Goodreads, so I was interested, and when I saw them for cheap, I grabbed them.  This is a full on YA trilogy.  Stereotypical in every single way.  This second one was far better than the first.  The plot played out with much more interest.  I enjoyed the main character more.  She’s smart and resourceful.  I will be back for round three…eventually.

 

Wildflower by Drew Barrymore.  This one, too, was a Kindle Daily Deal.  Surprise, img_9516surprise.  I love Drew Barrymore.  I enjoy most of her movies with the exception of Riding in Cars with Boys.  Drew should stick to acting.  She is no writer.  She would be sad to hear that because she expresses her love of it in this book.  This is her memoir.  She’s been through a lot.  I knew that, but some of it was really hard to read about.  I had such high hopes for her last marriage which she describes in a fairytale type way, but I looked it up later and see that she’s gotten another divorce.  I think she may need to read Scary Close.  She’s jacked up.  It’s mostly due to her upbringing, or lack there of, but after 30, you have to start owning these things and making better choices.  I would recommend this to anyone who likes her or likes memoirs, but don’t go into it with high hopes about the actual writing.

img_9512Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  This was another one from our work book club.  This is the first in a series of four, and the friend that picked this book couldn’t have picked a better one for herself.  This is exactly her genre.  This is a retelling of Cinderella with a very futuristic, dystopian twist.  It was a fast, light read, and I’m still debating reading any of the others.  I enjoyed it over all.  My copy of this book came from Thrift Books online for $3.49.

 

 

Better Than New: Lessons I’ve Learned from Saving Old Homes (and How They Saved Me) img_9515by Nicole Curtis.  I have a not so secret love for Nicole.  I’ve seen every episode of Rehab Addict about seven times.  My life long dream is to live in a Victorian home even if that means lots of repairs and upkeep.  My husband doesn’t share this desire which is why we live in a 1960s split level which still needs lots of repairs and a ridiculous amount of upkeep.  Cue the eye roll.  But I digress.  This is a great look behind the scenes of the show into Nicole’s actual personal life.  She’s incredible.  I admire her grit.  I do think she needs some counseling, but we could all use a little of that.  I enjoyed her parallels of life change that coincided with different houses that I recognized from the show.  Very good.  Another KDD cheapy.

img_9513The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.  This was next up on the work book club list.  Again with the Thrift Books.  My particular copy was ROUGH and included a good bit of water damage.  I didn’t mind this, but buyer beware when ordering used books.  So this book was exactly what it claimed to be–funny, light-hearted.  We all loved it.  Don is an autistic man who has no idea that he’s any different than anyone else.  He has a gross friend that he doesn’t totally understand, and that’s exactly the friend that sort of sets him up with Rosie.  Don is looking for a wife in an unusual way when he stumbles upon Rosie who is not his match at all on paper.  Poor Rosie has no idea about any of this nonsense.  I love Don and Rosie’s relationship and how they interact.  A great book club read.

Not bad for one month.  That puts my yearly total up to 30.  DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO ME.  A lot of joy has been sucked right out of my life by comparison.  Don’t do it.  I do hope that you’ll let me know if you read any of these and enjoy them.  I also want to know if you completely disagree with my point of view and why.  I like to hear differing opinions.  I also want to hear where you buy cheap books!

**This post contains affiliate links.  By making a purchase using one of these links, there is no added cost to you.  Any reimbursement made from affiliate links is used in the upkeep of this site.  Thanks!

April 2017 Reads

I love spring.  We live in the woods.  That’s the best way I can describe it.  Our house is shaded by hickory and oak trees.  In the fall, when all those acorns and hickory nuts are falling, I’m no fan since it sounds like a battle going on when the wind blows, but SPRING!! In the spring, every tree around us starts putting out apple green leaves and there is so much life!  One of my favorite things is to look out my back windows after a rain and see the sharp contrast of the dark tree trunks to the bright leaves.  Spring is new beginnings and baseball/softball around here, and it makes me want to enjoy some new books.

IMG_9399Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.  A favorite of the year for me!  I snagged this one for $1.99 as a Kindle Daily Deal after hearing it mentioned in conjunction with Towles’ newest novel A Gentleman in Moscow.  This one took me back to the times of The Great Gatsby–another favorite of mine.  This is set in 1930’s New York, and all the glamour that goes with it makes me long for times gone by.  One woman is making the city all hers and she’s not letting an indecisive man stop her.  The characters are so well developed and their stories twist and intermingle in beautiful ways.  This one left me hungry for more of that era and more of Towles’ writing style.  It’s a good thing I’ve got his next one on my shelf!

Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy by Donald Miller.  I bought thisIMG_9400 as a Kindle Daily Deal for $1.99 strictly going by the title.  I’m all about community, and I’ll read most anything I run across that hints at the idea.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but this isn’t what I was expecting.  In this book, Miller is discussing friendship intimacy in some ways, but mostly he’s talking about letting your guard down and letting people get close to you in the ways he was challenged to do while dating his now wife.  If you or someone you know has relationship and commitment issues, this is a book for you.  Miller discusses unhealthy habits and character flaws that keep true intimate relationships from forming while taking a long, hard look at himself as well.  Very good.

IMG_9401The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon.  I picked this title up at the local Goodwill Bookstore for $2.99.  If you don’t have one of those around, find one stat.  I never go in that place looking for anything.  I just go and browse and I am usually pleasantly surprised by what I find!  People get rid of all sorts of books and I am left scratching my head at it most times.  This book is no exception being that it was in perfect, like-new condition.  It’s spine had never been cracked.

I enjoyed this book very much.  It was a fascinating peek inside an autistic teenager’s mind.  Christopher found his neighbor’s dog dead and that led to the discovery of his mom being alive and an odd adventure to London to find her.  There were a few times that I got bogged down in details and had to skip a few paragraphs, but I think it’s a true representation of an autistic person’s thought processes.  I’ve recommended it to a friend who read it and said the same thing.  Worth the read.

April was uneventful.  I had been reading so many a month up until now!  Spring gets pretty busy for us, but don’t worry, May made up for what April lacked!  Thanks for stopping in and catching up.  I mentioned the Goodwill Bookstore in this post.  I would love to hear where you find cheap books in your town!

 

**This post contains affiliate links.  Purchasing an item using these links is no extra cost to you!  Reimbursement from the affiliates is used for the upkeep of this site.

March 2017 Reads

Here it is, October in real life, and I’m talking about March.  Geez.  I’ll catch up at some point!  I’ve got several books that I have read early release copies of, and those reviews are coming soon!  Also, I’m going to catch up on all my monthly reading, and there have been several instances of COMMUNITY that I need to share!  So, here’s March’s reading list and reviews.

IMG_8613I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi.  I picked this one up as a Kindle Daily Deal on Amazon for cheap.  I listed it on my reading challenge checklist as “a book you don’t want to admit you’re dying to read”, but I wasn’t dying to read it, and I don’t mind admitting that I wanted to read it.  That category is difficult for me because there’s no shame in my reading game.  Anyway, Luvvie has a lot to say on many different topics.  I enjoyed her humor and a lot of her views and ideas.  Several of the chapters felt like Bad Feminist (read my review of it here), but the rest were worth the read.  I’ve listened to her speak on a podcast since reading this, and if you’re in to podcasts, or just want to hear more from this author, they are worth the listen.  She was on Just the Right Book!  with Roxann Coady and For The Love! with Jen Hatmaker.

Running for Women: Ditch the Excuses and Start Loving Your Run by Danica Newon.  IIMG_8617 think I thought I was going to pick up running this year.  I borrowed this book for FREE on the Kindle’s Lending Library that comes with a prime membership.  This book was very informative about running both long and short distances.  It addressed speed and how to build it, diet, and marathon running.  There was a lot I didn’t know about long distance running, so it was a good source of information on that.  It was also motivational in the way of having goals and journaling those to track progress–which is totally me, I love to journal.

 

IMG_9397Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley.  I grabbed this one as a Kindle Daily Deal as well.  I check that every day and get great deals on books that I’ve had my eye on but don’t want to pay high prices for.  This one has been talked about in many reading circles for awhile.  It has recently come up again in a reading Facebook group that I am in.  This is a short read at just 126 pages!  It’s about a 39 year old woman who lives with her brother and stays home while he goes and does all the things.  When she’s given the opportunity to buy a traveling book store, she goes for it.  The adventures that ensue lead to danger and love.  This one is set in 1917.  I really enjoyed this one.

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George Saunders.  I’m surprised that I’m just now IMG_8623writing about this one because I feel like I’ve talked about it all year long.  Easily one of my favorite reads this year, and I wasn’t a bit surprised to see Saunders win the Man Booker Prize for this one just recently!  I loved this book so much, I also bought the audio book because I’ve heard rave reviews of it’s theatrical style and I want to hear all the different actors that portray different characters.  I lent this book to several friends, and I was surprised that they didn’t necessarily hold my same sentiments on it, so it’s one of those polarizing books that people either love or hate.  That’s fine, I fall into the “love” category for sure.  I bought a signed copy of this at Square Books in Oxford after a date night with the hubs, and I’m so glad to have it on my shelf.  It is written unlike any other book I’ve ever read.  It took me a minute to get used to the format, and I highly recommend at least looking at a few pages before listening to the audio book so that you can see what they are saying.  President Lincoln’s son, Willy, has died of typhoid and the ghosts in the cemetery are talking to him, encouraging him to go on to his afterlife, when the president himself shows up and picks up the boy’s body and holds it.  His grief is felt by everyone.  Later you realize that none of them have any idea that they’re dead, and Willie helps most of them transition into the afterlife when he goes. It was all so interesting.  This would make a GREAT book club read since there are so many, many ideas to talk about: the grief of a parent, the way the characters are disfigured after death (and why), redemption, there’s a scene about heaven/hell, how Lincoln’s grief affected the civil war.  I could go on and on.  It has stuck with me for the rest of the year.  I have also listened to several podcasts about this one!  It was recommended on What Should I Read Next and then discussed pretty thoroughly on Slate’s Audio Book Club.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this one.  Also counts as “a book nominated for an award in 2017.”

IMG_9398The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald.  This is another book with a good bit of buzz that I snatched for $1.99 as a Kindle Daily Deal.  A girl from Sweden has a long time friendship with a woman in Broken Wheel, Iowa through their shared love of books.  Sara goes to visit Iowa for two months, but when she arrives, she finds that her friend has just passed away.  Through a series of events, she takes all of the friend’s books and opens a store that transforms the whole town and brings the people together.  Of course there is some love involved, and all the quirky townspeople were so enjoyable.  It is translated from Swedish, so it could definitely count as “a book in translation” on the reading challenge.  This could also maybe be “a book about books or reading” since you will definitely add to your TBR some of the titles talked about.  I checked off “a book you were excited to buy or borrow but haven’t read yet” on mine.

The Mothers by Brit Bennett.  I checked this book out from my beloved local library afterIMG_9396 seeing it on every “must read” book list for 2017.  I was not prepared for the subject matter, but I’m so glad I read this.  This is the story of Nadia and Luke who have a sexual relationship while Nadia is still in high school.  When she gets pregnant, Luke’s parents (his dad is a pastor and his mom is “a Mother” in the church) pay for an abortion.  The book follows them through grief and how it affects all the lives involved-including a friend who knew nothing about it all-for years to come.  There is no tidy ending, but I liked it just the same.  Very timely.

 

I think this is a great place to stop and say that I am trying to mix up my list of authors this year.  I’ve done a fairly decent job of reading books written by more than just white women.  In the past, I’ve read a lot of “chick lit” which is mostly written by white women with white women characters.  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with those books a bit!  I’ve read loads of them!  I just see a need to branch out in my life.  In March, I mixed it up quite a bit looking back.  I would love to hear how you’re being intentional in your reading life.  Maybe it’s not changing up authors, but mixing up your genres.  I have gotten stuck in some ruts before myself.  Leave a comment and let me know what’s working for you this year!

If you’re counting, This puts me at 20 books for the year!  That’s more than 5 per month so far in 2017 (up to March).  This is the first time I’ve tracked my number of books read, and I’m really surprised at myself!

**This post contains affiliate links.  Purchase of items using affiliate links is no extra cost to you!  Money earned using the links goes toward upkeep of this site.

Bout of Books Readathon

I am so excited about the next readathon in which I am signing up to participate.  I did 24 in 48 back in July and had the best time–even if I didn’t make the whole 24 hours.  This one is a week long event with no specific hour goal.  There are games and prizes and LOTS of reading.  Here’s a bit about it and how you can sign up to join in on the fun!

“The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 21st and runs through Sunday, August 27th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 20 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.” – From the Bout of Books team

Bout of Books

” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>nhfiVnq

This starts August 21.  I sure hope to see you in the Readathon!