Saturday, April 30, 2011

and the beat goes on

When I hopped on last night to write my book reviews, I saw that it's been almost a month since I've written a non-book post.

That got me thinking...what in the world have I been doing? Oh right. Life. That does happen at times. And right now our life revolves around soccer. Monday through Thursday nights. Two nights for Alina, two nights for Sam. Plus musical rehearsals for Sam on Wednesday nights. And somewhere homework needs to get done and dinner made (it's been quite the challenge working 8-10 hours a day) each night. And we'll be adding in evening classes for Ed starting Monday.

Ah life. How quickly it goes by. We're down to single digit weeks for Ed now. 8 to be exact. 56 days. And it's going to fly by. Winding down of the kids' school, busy season ramping up for me work wise, Ed pushing through the final weeks, ending soccer, spring concerts, Sam's musical, and the big graduation celebration.

After that, life will continue. I have to keep reminding myself of that. That life doesn't finish on June 25th. But a new season begins. A season of no graduate school. A season of unknowns. Adventure. We don't know where that season will take place yet, but we're learning not to stress. To do everything we can, but leaving it all before God's throne.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Review of A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell

Bethany House Publishers sent me a complimentary copy to review for them.

The elegance of Madame Forza's gown shop is a far cry from the downtrodden North End of Boston. Yet each day Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana enter the world of the upper class, working on finery for the elite in society. The three beauties each long to break free of their obligations and embrace the American dream-and their chance for love. But the ways of the heart are difficult to discern at times. Julietta is drawn to the swarthy, mysterious Angelo. Annamaria has a star-crossed encounter with the grocer's son, a man from the entirely wrong family. And through no intent of her own, Luciana catches the eye of Billy Quinn, the son of Madame Forza's most important client. Their destinies intertwined, each harboring a secret from their families and each other, will they be found worthy of the love they seek?

Not as romantic as it sounds. As I have said before, Siri is one of my favorite authors. This book did not disappoint. With a new twist in her writing, she wrote the book from a narrative standpoint and the narrator would inject their thoughts throughout the book about the characters and the choices they were making. A very unique way of writing.

Based in the early 1900's in Boston, it was a glimpse into the lives of three dress making immigrant girls who's lives intertwined like thread. They were learning and exploring their way in life amidst danger and life vs death choices.

A great, fast read, even with all the Italian names (smart to put the glossary of characters at the beginning).

Review of The Dawn of a Dream by Ann Shorey

Revell Books sent me this complimentary copy to review for them.

Twenty-two-year-old Luellen O'Connell is stunned and confused when her husband of just one month tells her he is leaving her. Deeply wounded by this betrayal, Luellen decides to follow the dream she had set aside of obtaining a teaching degree.

More than anything, she wants to teach children in communities like hers and help them recognize that education opens a path to future possibilities. But her wayward husband left something behind when he abandoned her. Can Luellen overcome the odds and achieve her dream? Can she hide her secret, or will it destroy her dreams forever?

An altogether ok book. Several spots along the way the book slowed and I felt like I needed to plod through them. But a great read about an independent woman with tenacity who overcomes so many obstacles to achieve her life long dream.

This was book 3 in the Beldon Grove series and read like a stand alone novel which I do enjoy. I didn't feel like I was jumping in the middle of a story, trying to figure out who people were. A definite clear beginning and clear end.

Available April 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Review of Regret Free Parenting by Catherine Hickem

Booksneeze sent me this complimentary copy to review for them.

"Every mother wants her children to grow up happy, healthy, and fulfilled. But reaching that destination can be full of indecision, worry, and second-guessing. Ask any mother, 'Do you think you're doing a good job?' and she’ll likely give you a mixed answer. In her groundbreaking book, Regret-Free Parenting, Catherine Hickem offers seven principles for mothers to raise their children well . . . and know they’re doing it right."

Loved, loved, loved this book. It was mainly focused towards mom's (which I didn't know going into it) and it hit home. There were many light bulb moments and times I thought, "well, that completely makes sense!" The biggest area where it made the most impact was where Catherine talked about pre-teens. As a mom of a full blown pre-teen, it's new, uncharted territory and this book brought some clarity and some of those "ah-ha" moments to mind.

One other reason I loved this book was because Catherine is a licensed counselor. With my husband in school to become a therapist, so much of the terminology she used was familiar and it was easier to understand.

I would highly recommend any mom or dad to read this. A fantastic book that I will definitely be reading again.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Review of Indivisible by Kristen Heitzmann

WaterBrook Multnomah sent me this complimentary copy to review for them.

Battling his own personal demons, Police Chief Jonah Westfall knows the dark side of life and has committed himself to eradicating it. When a pair of raccoons are found mutilated in Redford, Colorado, Jonah investigates the gruesome act, knowing the strange event could escalate and destroy the tranquility of his small mountain town. With a rising drug threat and never-ending conflict with Tia Manning, a formidable childhood friend with whom he has more than a passing history, Jonah fights for answers—and his fragile sobriety.

I am a huge Kristen Heitzmann fan and once again she does not disappoint in this book. Right up to the last page I was engrossed. The characters were an eclectic bunch and their back stories took the whole book to explain. Kristen keeps you entwined in the story through the entire book and guessing as to what in the world is going to happen. She is a brilliant writer that effortlessly keeps you in the plot right up to the end.

Anyone who likes mystery, suspense and a touch of humor would thoroughly enjoy this book!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Easier said than done

Now is one of those times in life where I'd just really like to know what God's plans are for us. With just over two months left before graduation and no solid plans yet, it leaves one feeling a bit unsettled.

Job glimmers come and then are snuffed out. But the prayer continues to stay the same. "Jesus, put us where you want." I know what Iwant. But He trumps my wants. And that's where the faith and trust come in. And it hasn't been a "yippee-skipee" trust and faith. There have been many tears, many disappointments, many times of not understanding why things are not happening. Plans haven't panned out the way we thought.

But we continue to trust. To dig deep into the faith that has been so rooted in us that our Savior asks us to trust Him. Yes, I know God has a plan. But more than that, I believe He wants us to trust Him in every resume that gets sent out and every response that is received back. And that no matter what the next step of our journey is, that we will continue to deepen our trust in Him.