A Valentine’s Inspired Giveaway!

 Marriage, Reviews  Comments Off on A Valentine’s Inspired Giveaway!
Feb 132014

As a part of the team for the launch of Hal and Melanie Young’s My Beloved and My Friend, I get to give away an e-copy of the book, AND an audio copy to one person! Head over HERE TO READ MY REVIEW of this amazing book!

Cover of My Beloved and My Friend

Just use the handy Giveaway Tools form below, and enter today! Winner will be selected Saturday night!

Jan 172014

Blue banner with outlines of the continents on it with an airplane proclaiming my participation in Fawn Weaver's Happy Wive's Club Blog Tour

This post is part of the Happy Wives Club Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with hundreds of inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!

I wasn’t given the world’s greatest example of what a happy marriage looked like. I had an example of people who barely tolerated each other and life was miserable in the home. I didn’t realize how not-ideal this was growing up as it was all I knew.

I moved away for college and the church I chose to attend while there had some terrific people in it. I watched their marriages and was amazed to see people who not only were civil to each other, but they genuinely seemed to care for each other, had fun together and really did enjoy spending time together. Their children seemed to be happy with life at home too. Seeing married people happy with their spouses was a foreign concept to me at the time. Seeing happy marriages (not to say marriages that didn’t have their struggles, but these people came through them stronger than ever) caused me to start pondering how different they were from my family growing up and I started researching marriage, relationships and studying those marriages I came into contact with.

Fast forward to my marriage. It is radically different than that of my parents. HubbaHubba and I truly do enjoy spending time together, we rarely have disagreements (we do, but they are rather rare), and I honestly can’t imagine being blessed with a husband better than HubbaHubba. It isn’t this great giant secret to how we are so happy together. It is rather simple, but it does take work and commitment.

First, we are best friends. I know that sounds cliche’ but we truly are the best of friends. We have a lot of the same interests, we find things we both enjoy to do together. We line up in theology and parenting style. In fact, before HubbaHubba even asked to court me, we had been friends for two years. During that time, we got to see each other as friends who we could do fun things with, were free to discuss issues with and just hang out. As time went on, and HubbaHubba asked if we could court each other, it just felt like a natural progression in our relationship (granted, our courtship was not a “normal” one. It was all long distance since I had graduated from college by then.) But through even that time, we put our friendship first, really learned how to talk to each other and remained focus on the purpose of the courtship.

Second, we look out for the other person. We are each other’s biggest supporters. We find ways to bless the other person on a regular basis. We took the time to learn each other’s love language and we seek out ways to use it to our advantages.

We make time for each other. After we get the girls to bed, we spend time just snuggling and talking and enjoying each other’s company.

I’m not saying that marriage isn’t a lot of work, it is. Some days it is harder to love your spouse than others. But it is so worth it. The more you work at something, the better it is. We’ll have been married for nine years in July, and it is better now than when we first got married. I look back to where we started from and see us now, and let me tell you, it just keeps getting better and better. Marriage is worth it. And with hard work, it can be the most rewarding relationship you’ve ever had. My marriage has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams. And yes, even if you didn’t have a good example of a happy marriage growing up, you can change that for your future. Be purposeful, read about marriage and relationships, seek to be a blessing to your spouse, learn what makes your spouse “tick” and do what you can to strengthen and enrich your marriage. The rewards are great and so worth the effort.

Fawn Weaver, the founder of the Happy Wives Club wrote a book about the best marriage secrets the world has to offer. They say the book is like “Eat, Pray, Love meets The 5 Love Languages.” I say the book is inspiring. You can grab a copy HERE.

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.

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

Bow of Bronze Launch Team Disclaimer Graphic
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.

10 Great Dates, Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage by the Larsons and Arps, A Bethany House Review

 Bethany House, Book Reviews, Faith, family, Growth, Marriage  Comments Off on 10 Great Dates, Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage by the Larsons and Arps, A Bethany House Review
Oct 032013

The following is a book review brought to you by Bethany House and Created for Home. I was given a copy of the book to facilitate the writing of this review, no other compensation was received. Disclosed in accordance with the FTC’s rules on bloggers and material connection.

Marriage takes a lot of work to keep it the best it can possibly be. And when I find a new resource with ideas on how to keep our marriage fresh and growing, I get excited. There are tons of excellent books out there to help you grow in your marriage and I love finding new ones with fresh ideas.
It is with excitement today that I get to share with you a new book from Peter and Heather Larson along with David and Claudia Arp. 10 Great Dates; Connecting Faith, Love and Marriage.
I really enjoyed how simply this book was laid out. The chapters are short for our busy lives as married couples (and parents). Each chapter after the introduction is further split up to describe the purpose of the date, the foundational principals behind it, discussion topics to have during the date along with pre-date homework. It is laid out for you, easy to use and all you have to do is plan where to go and find a babysitter if that applies. You can go out to a nice restaurant or be as frugal as perhaps taking a blanket to a park with a picnic, it is up to you. Just carve out time to be together and go through the discussion questions in the book.
This book was written to get married couples talking about their spiritual lives. Yeah, when was the last time you sat down with your husband (or wife) and had a good long conversation about how you relate spiritually, how you each experience God best, how you can both be different in your approaches to your relationships with God.
This book takes you on a journey in digging into the Word as a couple, praying together as a couple and learning to build your marriage on the Rock that will not be moved.
I don’t recommend you take this book and force your spouse to join you on this journey if they are unwilling. Forcing our spouses to do our will is rarely if ever a great idea unless you wish to cause problems in your marriage. Even if you have an unwilling spouse, I do suggest you get this book and read it so you can fuel your prayers for them to see the importance of being in sync in matters of faith with you.
I do ask that you do seek ways to nurture your relationship with your spouse and to do everything you can to protect it and keep it precious. Going on the dates in this book is just one way of doing so.
You can purchase 10 Great Dates; Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage at Amazon, CBD or wherever you prefer to purchase your reading material.