The Painted Table, a Litfuse Review, AND Chance to Win a Painted Table for Yourself

 Faith, family, Giveaways, Litfuse, Marriage, Womanhood  Comments Off on The Painted Table, a Litfuse Review, AND Chance to Win a Painted Table for Yourself
Jan 072014

I was provided a copy of The Painted Table by Suzanne Field through Litfuse for the purposes of this review. All opinions are mine and mine alone, no other compensation was received.

Banner in turquoise and orange for the Painted Table

The Painted Table looked like an interesting book when the opportunity came up for me to review it. it is the story about a family and an heirloom Norwegian table. A story of pain, mental illness, emotional abuse, and healing.

Safee inherits her mother’s antique Norwegian table. She remembers when it first came to them in a beautiful natural wood. However, the state the table is in when she first gets it (against her wishes) is anything but of beauty. It has layer upon layer of paint plastered upon it, and is an ebeneezer to the emotional crippling she received as a child. Yet, with the persistence of her husband, she starts the process of restoring the table to it’s natural beauty and in the process finds peace and healing over her past.

This book is a hard read. Especially for anyone who has suffered through abuse as a child, or seen the ravages of mental illness close hand. However, this book is well worth the difficulty in reading. Suzanne Field takes the reader on a journey that brought me to tears as memories of my upbringing came to the surface, I so identified with Saffee as she went off to college and learned to have a life of her own that wasn’t controlled by her mother. I also identified with her mother’s upbringing which is how the book starts. It wasn’t ideal either and while the first half of the book seems a bit choppy in moving through time, those parts are desperately needed to see how and why everyone turned out the way they did. By the end of the book, I was a blubbering mess as I realized how similar I was to Saffee in regards to my emotions and how I reacted to things. And as she learned a better way of living, I found myself cheering her on to a life of normalcy and of breaking the patterns set by the generations before her. (I too am breaking patterns that were set for me in previous generations, and it is hard, and this book doesn’t sugar coat it at all).

This review, is honestly, very hard for me to write. This book impacted me so profoundly that I am having a very difficult time seperating myself from the review. Just suffice it to say, I think that everyone needs to read this book, especially counselors and pastors. This is a good book to give to someone struggling with the abuse and mental illness that they grew up with or have in their family. It shows a shining example of how with faith and a great support system, we can overcome the pain of the past in story form. Stories teach sometimes better than a lecture can and are less threatening. This book is terrific for that.

You can connect with Suzanne Field on FACEBOOK

And to feel free to PURCHASE your own copy of this book.

Suzanne Field is celebrating her novel The Painted Table with a beautiful hand-painted table giveaway!


One winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 18th. Winner will be announced January 20th on Thomas Nelson’s Facebook Page.

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by the TNZ Facebook Page on the 20th to see if you won.

About the book: A beautiful heirloom ingrained with family memory has become a totem of a life Saffee would rather forget—a childhood disrupted by her mother’s mental illness.
Saffee does not want the table. By the time she inherits the object of her mother’s obsession, the surface is thick with haphazard layers of paint, and heavy with unsettling memories.

After a childhood spent watching her mother slide steadily into insanity, painting and re-painting the ancient table, Saffee has come to fear that seeds of psychosis may lie dormant within her. But as an adult with a family of her own, Saffee must confront her mother’s torment if she wants to defend herself against it.

Traversing four generations over the course of a century, The Painted Table is an epic portrait of inherited memory, proclivity, and guilt. It is a sprawling narrative affirmation that a family artifact—like a family member—can bear the marks of one’s entire past . . . as well as intimations of one’s redemption.

About the author: Suzanne Field, a graduate of the University of Minnesota, has taught English as a Second Language in China, Ukraine, and Hawaii. She has also been a magazine editor and home-school teacher. She and her husband have five children and divide their time between Kansas and Hawaii where she is a tutor and mentor.

What is My Legacy to My Children?

 Faith, family, Legacy, Motherhood  Comments Off on What is My Legacy to My Children?
Nov 112013

We recently were blessed to attend Dave Ramsey’s Legacy Journey Live in Tulsa. It was an incredible evening of learning how to lay a financial legacy of blessing to our family and those around us. The evening was full of practical application, tons of information, great stories, illustrations and fun. Who knew learning about financial things could be construed as fun, right? It was enlightening and really lit a fire under us to leave a legacy of generosity and blessing.

As the evening wore on, I kept getting more and more excited. This theme of Legacy applies to so much more than finances. And it struck me, we leave a legacy in everything we do. Not just when we die and what we leave behind in our wills.

If you’ve been reading much on here, I’ve hinted that I didn’t have the world’s most perfect family growing up. I was taught that I wasn’t worth much. Following my dreams and what I wanted to do in life would be a waste of time and be selfish to pursue. I was never allowed to know the details of the family’s finances, every time I asked I was told it was none of my business. Nothing I did was every truly celebrated, not graduating high school, not gaining entry to the college of my choice, getting married and giving birth to the grandchildren, it was all treated as if it was nothing too incredibly special (if it wasn’t blown off totally). I wasn’t even allowed to have birthday parties as a child. I was told that birthday parties are nothing more than telling people you want attention and gifts and doing so would be selfish.

It has taken me years to get to a point where I feel good about myself. I no longer have the continuous low sense of self-worth that was bequeathed to me (I still have times where I have to fight reverting back, but I have learned and am accepting of the fact that I am a child of God who’s life does matter and has meaning and a purpose. It is quite a journey and some days are harder than others for sure, but I’m not where I was).
Since I have come so far (finally. It didn’t happen overnight, and it is a process that I go through sometimes daily still) I started to think about my children. What kind of a legacy am I leaving for them? Am I purposefully living a life that gives them a legacy of belonging, love and faith? Or am I destroying them and their sense of who they are?
These past few years have been quite a journey (not just for me, but also for my husband who has been the most amazing support for me during the rough patches, and my greatest cheerleader, the man who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, my children as change and grow and even with my extended relatives and friends) and I don’t wish for my children to have to start where I did. So what do I do to give them a head start on living the life they have been called to live?

The answer isn’t simple, nor is it easy. I live my life with their Legacy in mind. I want to leave them a legacy full of blessing, wholeness, love and faith.

And how do I go about that? By being intentional. Welcome to a series of posts that was created the night I attended Dave Ramsey’s Legacy Journey Life in Tulsa. Living intentionally with the end in mind is what I have purposed to do and to share about in the coming weeks. Thank you for following along on this journey.

Oct 312013

Can’t-Wait Willow is a terrific book! I love how concepts such as delayed gratification are presented in a way for children to easily grasp and identify with.

Willow just can’t say no to some awfully good things, but when the one thing she really wants and has been anxiously waiting for to arrive finally does, she can’t do it because she has spent her time and her money on things that while they are good, they aren’t what she ultimately wanted to do. My children love this book and ask for it to be read very often. My eldest (7) has seen through this book that it is ok to reject the good to get to the best. My youngest (5) loves the story and I know the concept of holding out for the best will click for her. Eventually. I hope…

I love how this book was written to be fun and easily capture a child’s attention, yet explains this concept in such an easy way for them to grasp and understand. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous. I also love how all the girls in this book are very modestly attired (thank you!)

About Shine Bright Kids:

The Shine Bright Kids series provides children and their families with a relevant framework to help instill solid values and teach the importance of making good choices. The series teaches principles including: using good judgment, taking responsibility, self-control, having a positive attitude, and demonstrating perseverance.  Check out their website at for free reward charts, activities and other parenting resources.

About the Author:  

Christy Ziglar, financial planner, mother of twins and niece of legendary motivator and the world’s original optimist, Zig Ziglar, is bringing the same timeless wisdom and ageless advice to an entirely new, younger audience through her new Shine Bright Kids picture book series.

Christy is available for Q&A, author interviews, Skype calls, etc.!

The first book in the series:  Can’t-Wait Willow!

Willow is so excited that the Over-the-Top Circus has finally come to town! The only problem is, that when left to her own devices, she can’t say “no” to some good things. On the way to the show, she is distracted by enticing treats and fun that she just can’t turn down. Willow arrives late and is sad to find that, not only has she has run out of time, but money, and she won’t be able to enjoy the pink cotton candy she’s been dreaming of. Willow is given valuable advice and a second chance and is ultimately taught the lesson that sometimes in life you have to say “no” to good things to end up with something great!

Find Can’t-Wait Willow! at Barnes & Noble and other fine retailers, as well as





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How would you like a copy of Can’t Wait Willow for yourself or to give as a gift? Just use Rafflecopter and enter! Giveaway open to US residents only (or those with a forwarding agent in the US please). Prize furnished and sent from FlyBy Promotions. Winner will be drawn on November 12 in honor of my birthday. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the winning email with their mailing address, or a new winner will be selected.



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My Beloved and My Friend by Hal and Melanie Young, A Bow of Bronze Launch Team Review

 Book Reviews, Faith, family, finances, Marriage  Comments Off on My Beloved and My Friend by Hal and Melanie Young, A Bow of Bronze Launch Team Review
Oct 292013

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Book Launch button for My Beloved and My Friend by Hal and Melanie Young

I have been so incredibly blessed when it comes to my marriage. It isn’t perfect (who’s is really) but HubbaHubba and I really do strive to seek the good for each other, be the other’s biggest cheerleader and supporter. I have a marriage I had never dreamed of having in all my days. I wasn’t left a great legacy to follow in a marriage example, and to be able to buck the trend of what was passed down to me weighs heavy on my mind.

Every year, I make it a point to try and read at least one new book on marriage and how to make it the best it can be. I was asked to review My Beloved and My Friend; How to Be Married To Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses by Hal and Melanie Young. I was intrigued by the title and the premise of being married to one’s best friend so I jumped at the chance. I am very glad I did.

In My Beloved and My Friend, the Youngs  explore the premises of what makes a good friend, how we can make our marriages follow the Biblical patterns for friendship and marriage and plants ideas on how you can work on your own marriage (since no two people or marriages are alike, take the principal ideas and use them for what works for you).

I really appreciated all the angles this book was written from. It includes sections on sickness, submission, fidelity, money, all the things that are normally the thorns in the sides of marriages and discusses how they impact a marriage and what we can do to thrive, despite what is thrown our way (really, are we in control of job loss, catastrophic illness and such?).

Marriage is what you make of it. You can choose to nurture it and help it grow, or you can plant seeds of discontent and watch it disintegrate. The choice is yours to make really. My Beloved and My Friend is a book that will help spur you to look for the good in your spouse, plant hope to seed into your marriage and give you the tools to buck the trends of our society. I want mine and HubbaHubba’s marriage to point others to Christ. It can’t do that if we are backbiting, spreading gossip about each other and not seeking to bring out the best in each other. We also want to leave a legacy of a terrific marriage to our children. Children learn from their parents. I want to teach ours what an incredible marriage looks like and even instill really high expectations for their own marriages someday.  I want my children to know the blessing of being married to their best friend, the way I am.

I can highly recommend that if you read only one book on marriage this year (and as marriage preparation) make it My Beloved and My Friend; How To Be Married To Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses. You can have an incredible marriage, a marriage unlike so many others and be a shining light for all to see.  This book will be one of those that I will go to again and again as the years go on and we move into each new stage in marriage. It is a must reader  for those married and those contemplating it.

You can preorder your copy (or copies…why not stock up to have some on hand to give out as gifts?) by going to the Young’s Store, you can pre-order your copy for a mere $12.00. Which for a book now a days, is a steal. Then, in February, the month when everyone is consumed with relationships and love, your copy will arrive in your mailbox for you to dig right in. How’s that for easy and convenient?  So plan to make your marriage the best it can be, plan for success, plan to education yourself on it and order this book today. You will be doing yourself, your children (or future children) and society a HUGE favor.

If you want to see what others thought of My Beloved and My Friend, go check out the reviews linked up at Bow of Bronze.

We Got to See Dave Ramsey Live!!!!

 Faith, family, finances, Frugality, girls, Growth  Comments Off on We Got to See Dave Ramsey Live!!!!
Oct 242013

Let me start by apologizing for the length of this post. I thought the background information was necessary and didn’t want to split it up into multiple posts for this one. I started out trying to write a review of the Legacy Journey Live event, and ended up spilling my heart out instead. You are warned! There will be more posts coming up on the theme of Legacy and what we are leaving for our children and children’s children. Not just materially, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Be watching for it in the next month!


A year and a half ago, HubbaHubba and I were blessed to have been able to take Financial Peace University at our church. Let me start .by saying, if you have never taken FPU, get yourself to Dave Ramsey’s Website and look up a local class and commit to joining before you read any further


Ok, you are now registered for a class? Good. You may now continue reading.


FPU was a massive game changer for us. Knowing what the Bible says about debt is one thing, finding practical ways to implement it in our consumer driven excess of a society is a lot harder.  We both came from homes where money was just not really talked about. In my family, if my sister or I asked financial questions, we were always told it was none of our business and not to worry about it. My mom would worry about money a lot. Dad was more of a free spirit and didn’t worry about credit card balances or having money in the checking account at all, so mom took control financially of everything. And I mean everything. She paid all of the bills, did all the shopping and no one had any say in anything at all. Asking if we could buy something she deemed as an extra was always met with derision, scorn and then shaming. No matter what it was we asked for (something more fashionable to wear, a better pair of sneakers than what she had decided we could get, flowers for the dining room table, a different brand of ketchup than what she decided was acceptable…) was always shot down. Wanting something new and especially for ourselves was a sign of greed and selfishness and not being grateful for what we had. Going out with friends rarely happened, especially if it involved money.  I learned from her that wanting anything for myself was tantamount to a sin. To this day, I can hardly spend any money on myself. Just ask my poor husband about me spending what I felt was a rather large amount of birthday money on myself last year (it was hardly over fifty dollars…).  I’m surprised he was able to be so understanding and kind to me while I vacillated for two hours with hitting purchase on my cart at Amazon….then after I clicked the mouse to purchase that cart load of books I had been dying to read and the Firefly series, I about had a panic attack. Why he didn’t commit me over that, I’ll never know.

It probably didn’t help that my dad really has never been too great when it came to managing finances.  If he saw something he wanted, he would buy it. One time, he had no cash and my sister and I did (we were given a small allowance as children, but we were never allowed to spend it. We would sneak it to Wal-Mart in a purse and pretend we could spend it secretly in our heads) and Dad saw something he wanted to purchase. Knowing mom would have had a conniption if he used any of the family’s money for such an item, he asked to borrow the cash my sister and I had on us. Having had the “obey your parents” thing drilled into us so much, we had learned not to question and went ahead and let him have our money. He promised to pay us back. It’s been twenty five years. Dad was also unemployed most of my high school career, which also added to the stress and strain at home. One time, he was laid off from his job for several weeks before I accidentally found out. If my parents had had their way, I probably never would have known about that particular layoff (I was a senior in high school at the time).

So you see, I don’t deal well with money. When I was single, I would earn my paycheck, shove it in the bank and pay my bills and go as cheap as I could on groceries. I also had a habit of having jobs that didn’t pay very well. I thought that was normal. I thought it was normal to have just enough to get by but barely, because I wasn’t worth having enough money.  I never bought myself new clothes. Having to replace my shoes caused me to freak out so I always bought the cheapest off the clearance rack, no matter how they really fit or if I liked them. The day I broke down and bought myself a cell phone nearly caused me to have a panic attack and was met with derision from my family, as they believed they were a fad and unnecessary.

FPU showed me how messed up my thinking towards finances was. I knew there had to be a better way to live than how we were (through a series of events we had been living paycheck to paycheck well under the poverty line for our family for most of our marriage. That is another story for another day perhaps. One of God’s provision for sure).  I had to confront the way I personally thought about money, how it made me feel, and realize for myself that I can spend a bit of cash on myself and I don’t have to feel guilty over it. I am a work in progress.  Sometimes I can handle having money, other times I still freak out over buying groceries and paying the utility bills.

So, it was with great excitement when I opened my email back in April to find that Dave Ramsey was going to be in Tulsa on October 10. After confirming with my husband that he would get the time off work so we could go, I purchased the tickets.  Dave was coming to Tulsa as a part of the launch of the new Legacy Journey.

The evening far exceeded any expectations I may have had (it was informative, engaging, the Live Events are FUN [never thought I could say fun and financial in the same sentence…] We laughed, learned, got misty eyed and it was incredible. If you ever get a chance to attend a live event, do so. I really don’t think you would regret going.). The theme of legacy fit in beautifully with the theme of my life in recent years. The last year and a half after FPU and the realizations it brought me in how I relate personally to money, showed me about how I react to these things and how our children are learning by my example. They see me when I start to have issues buying groceries so they get scared we don’t have enough money to live on. They see when I have some spending money for myself how stressed out I get and how it affect s my relationship with them. I don’t want to leave that sort of a legacy for my children. While the Legacy Journey is about building a financial legacy to pass on to others (taking care of now, the future, the family and then others and how each stage builds upon the last ones), one that is full of blessing and sharing of financial blessings, it is much more than that. One can have ample money, yet if they constantly worry about it, hate spending it on anything and let the worry of it not being there control them and their behavior and leave a bitter legacy behind them. I grew up in a financially disadvantaged family, but worse than the legacy of being constantly broke, is the legacy of financial fear and shame.  I do not wish to pass that legacy on to my children. If I had to choose between giving my children millions of dollars to manage at the end of my life, or being assured that they had a good attitude about money and didn’t let it bring them worry and shame, I would chose to give them the legacy of peace and freedom instead of the dollars.

Leaving a legacy is so much more than leaving earthly possessions behind when we finally are done with this life. Yes, being able to be a blessing to others financially is an incredible legacy to leave. One I sure wouldn’t mind being able to give. However, if I have the ability to give away money and help out tons of people and not try to help their hearts, what good have I done? What good will it be to give my children a solid financial standing in life if I also pass on my phobias about money? What good is it to have money if it brings you fear? I would not be a good steward of the legacy I am passing on to my children if I instill in them a fear of spending money, of being terrified to use money at all. What kind of a legacy filled with burden is that? It is one I have to live with daily and fight constantly in an attempt to find the proper balance with money in my life. It is a legacy I have no desire to pass on to my children.

The Legacy Journey series/study itself looks phenomenal (I hope to be able to get it on the class schedule at church in the very near future. If not there, we will be getting the series ourselves. It wasn’t in the budget to get at the live event unfortunately). Attending the live event lit a fire under us for sure to finish with the steps in FPU and be more disciplined with how we spend the money entrusted to us.  We don’t have a car payment, no credit cards. The only debt left is a bit of my student loans and the mortgage. We live on less than the average household in this country, but it is more than we were living on before. And way more than what the majority of world’s population lives on. We have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams, and can’t wait to be able to be a blessing to others in ways yet to be seen.  And through this journey of changing the legacy I was given, I have learned so much. I have learned I don’t have to be a slave to the legacy of guilt and shame that has been given to me.  I don’t have to pass the same legacy down to the Bugs and the Beans. In fact, it would be wrong of me to do. So, even though the journey to a better legacy is painful, it is less than the pain of knowing that I am passing on what was passed to me; to the girls. The tastes of freedom that I have had on this journey are sweet, and knowing what life should be like for not only the girls, but for myself will keep spurring me on towards freedom.

So I shall continue on in learning the appropriate place for money, to not let myself feel guilt for spending it on things that are necessary for life, and I will work on not getting stressed over having mad money of my own to spend for myself and on myself. This is just part of my Legacy Journey. I have a lot of other areas to work on to leave a better legacy for my children than the one I was given.

What sort of a financial legacy are leaving to your children?   For that matter, have you given any thought to the kind of overall legacy you are leaving behind?