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.

Jan 082014
 

Yes, I realize we are on January 8th right now and I should have probably gotten my resolutions/word for the year post done last week. Having HubbaHubba home for nearly two weeks, a weird round of winter weather hit, and our plans for the holidays get up-ended twice threw me for a loop and a half…Then we all took turns with a super severe cold that threw us intermittently into bed. Yes, it was a rather interesting holiday break for us.

I have been choosing a word to focus on for the year the last couple of years. This year, I have chosen the word Legacy. I want to remember that everything I do is leaving a legacy for my children. All of my choices for my personal life leave a legacy for them, my marriage to HubbaHubba is leaving a legacy, my choices in food, housekeeping, education, all contributes to the legacy I’m leaving them. I want them to have a terrific legacy. A legacy that I wasn’t given. I want better for them, so each decision I make, I am weighing the outcome to how it will affect my girls when they are my age and beyond. I want them to have a legacy of love, hope, joy, peace, diligence, health. And what I pass down to them is totally up to me.

I haven’t made resolutions for years. I hated breaking them in the first few days. However, I’ve come to realize that without goals and plan, nothing gets done….so, this year, I intend to:

Work on the women’s mentorship/education website I have dreamed of having for the last few years. I’m trying to settle on web design this month for it and figuring out the features and how I want it to work so my web designer can finally get to work on this rather huge project…

Continue towards a healthier me. I started Trim Healthy Mama last year in the spring. I had several weeks where I couldn’t stay on this incredible plan due to life throwing me curve ball after curve ball, but in about the seven months I was fairly faithful, I have managed to lose 40 pounds. At least 80 more to go, and with extra diligence and work, I think I can get most of it off in the next 12 months. I also got T-Tapp for working out, I need to be way more diligent on using it…I’ve seen the results of these workouts, they are way more friendly than harder ones, and I know I can do it, I just have to be more purposeful in setting aside the time to do it.

What are your goals for this year? Do you chose a word to focus on?

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!

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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.

Dec 272013
 

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I have always had rather sensitive skin. My mom couldn’t use most laundry detergents with me, there were only three brands of bath soap I could use. And growing up, most lotions were totally unusable for me with the fragrances.

I’m a mom now, and my youngest has also inherited my super sensitive skin issues so I am very limited on the types of products I can use on her and in the house. I had one brand of lotion I could use on her without her skin breaking out in rough orangish colored dry patches and her scratching so bad she would cry.

Enter now Udderly Smooth lotions. I now have a second option to use on the Bean’s tender skin.

I am absolutely in love with this stuff. The lotions and creams all spread easily, absorb quickly into the skin, and they really do soften up tough to hydrate skin.

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I don’t have pics of my heels. Suffice it to say, I will peal chunks of dead skin off my heals at times. The Udderly Smooth Foot Cream is thick, feels smooth to rub it in and is the only thing I’ve ever had success with in treating my dry cracked heals (which trust me, you really would be wishing for the mind bleach if I posted pictures of my feet and nasty heels)

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I also love the heavier body cream. It works great on the dry itchiness that is common for me this time of year. It also is super absorbant, non-greasy and the light scent reminds me of sunblock. Which takes me back to memories of great summer experciences (and I find that scent as a light mood booster, which is nice during the winter doldrums).

Udderly Smooth has proven to be quite a skin saver for my family. If you have dry skin this time of year (and if you live in the Northern Hemisphere and are running your heater this time of year, chances are you have some dry skin someplace) I highly suggest you purchase some to moisturize your skin and make you feel soft and silky. My husband loves it when I use this on myself. Perhaps yours would too!

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To see more about Udderly Smooth, go visit their WEBSITE! And HERE to see a list of where to buy this wonderful lotion.

And to see what others had to say about this product, go visit HOMESCHOOL MOSAICS!

Dec 182013
 

I was given a copy of the movie When Calls the Heart for the purposes of this review, all opinions are mine and mine alone, no other compensation was received.

Way, long ago when I first started reading Christian fiction, I came across Janette Oke’s writing. This was back in the day when there really wasn’t much in the world of Christian fiction to choose from (yes, I am that old[ish]) I did enjoy her writing and the weaving of the stories and the series that followed several generations of the same family. It made me feel like I was a part of the story and knew these people, and I saw how faith can be passed down from one generation to the next.

I was thrilled to be able review the film based off one of my favorite series of Janette Oke’s books, When Calls the Heart. It was produced by Michael Landon Jr, who has been producing many other family friendly, faith based films. The movie follows Elizabeth Thatcher as she is trying to determine where she is called to go as a teacher, her finding her aunt’s diary of when she was a teacher out on the harsh prairie and the decisions she must make which may not be popular with those she loves the most. Does she decide to take the easy job teaching locally at the premier area school, or does she take the call to go out West, far out west to the fringes of society to a coal mining town that is devastated by a horrible accident?

This film is safe for the whole family. I let my 7 and 5 year olds watch it with me, and they begged to watch it several more times. The themes of family, love, faith and pursing what it is we are called to do are woven throughout quite well. The costuming is very well done, the story flows very well and is pretty engaging. If you like westerns, light romance and a good story, you won’t regret watching (or buying, please buy a copy to tell retailers and those who produce movies that as a society we want this sort of product) this movie. Safe to have on in the background if littles are around, and it is uplifting to you at the same time. When Calls the Heart could be added as a fun activity for the study of Canadian history, a supplement for studying about God’s call on our lives or to be watched after the book is read for a comparison/contrast essay on the two.

I can highly recommend this movie to everyone. You can purchase it where ever you find your entertainment.