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Friday, December 28, 2012

Asylum by Ashley Hodges Bazer

I was really excited to read Asylum by Ashley Hodges Bazer. I'm quite the fan of dystopian fiction, as I'm sure you can easily figure out. Asylum did not disappoint. The story was intriguing and interesting. It took off quickly and kept a fast pace. This made it exciting to read and kept my attention.

The story follows a newlywed couple, Chase and Trista, who live in space. They are in service to their King who was disthroned by a corrupt government called the Legacy. In hopes of getting Chase to their one year anniversary surprise party on time, Trista takes an assignment for him. Doing so causes her to be taken by the Legacy. Chase refuses to believe that Trista has been executed and searches for her despite warnings to stop.

The book is part of a larger series and so it lacked the character development that is usually part of the beginnings of books. I recommend that you start at the beginning of the ten book series. I’m guessing that the other books would make more sense after that one. There was a helpful reference in the back, I just didn’t find it until I was finished. Most things I had correctly figured out due to the context of the book. The backstory that was missing, however, made parts of the book confusing, though they didn’t necessarily take away from the story.

Overall I was really impressed with this book and was so happy to finally have some Christian dystopian (or science fiction) literature to read. I am going to be figuring out how to get my hands on the other books.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Reason by William Sirls

When I was picking a book for Booksneeze, I wasn't initially drawn to The Reason. The premise didn't make sense, but when I started reading it, I was immediately drawn into the story. The story begins on a dark and stormy day. The lightening from the storm strikes the large wooden cross in front of a small church in Mighican. The repair of the cross unites a group of characters that together meet Kenneth, a man who is different from anyone they’ve ever known.

Kenneth joins the group as they work to repair the cross and his life begins to intersect the other characters in very mysterious ways. His faith is strong, even stronger than Pastor Jim. As this group of people faces difficulties Kenneth encourages them to “Only believe.” Will they be able to believe in the face of tremendous heartache? Trouble from the past? A belief in modern medicine?

I really enjoyed The Reason.  I didn’t want to put it down, but when I was forced too, I found myself thinking about the story and wanting to know what was going to happen. There was a lot in the book and the various and varying storylines were a bit confusing to follow at times, but they eventually all made sense. This is a great book for anyone as it is a tremendous story sure to help build or reinforce your faith.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Word for Wednesday: Watch

“Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.  Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.  So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears." - The Apostle Paul in Acts 20:25 - 31 (NIV) (Via)

The words above were part of Paul's farewell to the Ephesian Elders. What struck me when I heard them was the use of the word watch. 

Paul says, "Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers." This makes these elders the protectors of these new Christians. 

He continues and says little later in the paragraph, "Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!" Other versions use the word watch here, "So keep watch!" This was not some suggestion. This was an exhortation, a command. 

Paul knew the only way to protect many of these Christians was for someone else to keep watch for them. The distorters of the truth would be coming from among the Ephesians. They would look like them. They would know the customs of these christians and they would use these things to turn these Christians into their own followers. They probably wouldn't even realize that they had succumbed to such a power.

So I want to remind you - keep watch! Don't let your guard down. Protect your fellow believers. Guard and protect them.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Happy (early) Veterans Day!

I'm off of work today for Veteran's Day. I just want to take the time to say a big thank you to all of our veterans! Thank you for serving our country to protect our freedoms!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Red by Taylor Swift



That was seriously going to be my post. I have to say it took a little while for me to get to that point. Red is definitely not much of a country album. It is however great! I'm just not that into pop music. The good thing was that I was going on a road trip by myself so I could listen to it three times in a row. By the third go round I was hooked. 

Have you gotten it yet?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Word for Wednesday: Forthcoming

As the future comes Christians must remember that we are getting closer to being with our Father. The times are changing and will continually become worse for us until the day of his return.

So many of my friends have quoted this line from the song "In Christ Alone" over and over again about life. Its still true today and no matter the circumstances facing us:

"'Til He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I'll stand." 

So today whether you are happy or sad remember we are Christ's and His alone. It doesn't matter who is President, Senator, Boss, Pastor, Neighbor, Friend, etc. We are His!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tea Party: Smith Byrd House

Several weeks ago I went to visit a friend who lives in Prattville, AL. We went to tea at a cute little tea house called the Smith Byrd House

We shared a Queen's tea with an extra salad and quiche. It was delicious. Everything was spot on. If you live in the area or are visiting you should definitely visit. The food was delicious. The experience was cozy and the customer service was great! 

I really enjoyed the experience. I have never had a tea such as that one. Each item we were served was an exciting adventure for my pallet. The best part was that we were able to sit and visit like we were at our own home because it wasn't super busy. They weren't put out that we lingered over our food and tea. I think that was the best part of the experience for me. I really love to visit with my friends and this was a great way to do so.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Merry Mary Monday: 11.5.12

Mary didn't dress up for Halloween. If we got lots of trick-or-treaters, I would have put her in some type of costume, but we had a grand total of 0 kiddos. I did put her in her (last-year-on-clearance-way-too-big) Halloween shirt.

It says "TRICK OR TREAT SMELL MY PAWS." Its funny though, because it is the only shirt she has from which she can wiggle out.

Since it's the day before the Presidential election I want to encourage you to vote. I'm not going to tell you who to vote for or for whom I will be voting. Its your right to vote and its your right to vote for whichever candidate you feel like will do a better job. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

CMA Awards 2012

Did anybody else out there watch the CMA Awards on Thursday? Or maybe you were there. What did you think?

I have to say that my favorite moment of the night was when Miranda Lambert won Female Vocalist of the Year. Her speech was amazing. She managed to compliment every other nominee simply because she thought they deserved it more. She was humble, gracious and kind. Way to go, Miranda!

My other two highlights were when Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood danced to Gangem Style (look at Carrie's shoes) and the joke they made about Willie Nelson (too funny). This video is definitely worth watching if you didn't the other night.

So I haven't gotten to watch the CMA Awards from start to finish before since they have been on Wednesday nights the past few years. While looking for the videos above I found this one. It made me laugh a lot. Its a little over six minutes long, but funny nonetheless.

Friday, November 2, 2012


So one of the shows I've really been loving lately is Hart of Dixie on The CW. It is so adorable. Does anybody else watch it? I would love to have someone to talk to about it!

Hart of Dixie Poster

Happy weekend, y'all!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Shocker

This is not a mom blog. 

I know you're shocked. I realize that I haven't been posting lately and I realized that it goes back to the fact that this is not a mom blog. Simply because - I am not a mom. (Behold, the logic!)

The truth is I tend to find my average every day life boring in the context of my blog. I don't have cute conversations to share. I don't have take the time to DIY that many things. And when I do I forget to take pictures and/or post them. I don't do all these things that other more exciting bloggers do. But if you are here, reading this blog, then you are interested in my life. Thus my life is not that boring.

Don't get me wrong, my life is not boring. I just do the same things every weekday which is 5/7 of the time. I am going to try to do better. I am making it a goal to post more often through the end of this year. I did this last December and had great success. I am going to share more of my adventures that I normally sweep under the rug. Here's a teaser. There is a concert in my future, a cute dog in a Halloween shirt, and a quick weekend trip in my past. 

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall Vacation

Pop Rocks and I recently headed over the mountains towards Carolina. We were excited to be apart of my brother's wedding and spend some time with my parents. Unfortunately, because of the accommodations for the wedding we had to leave Mary at Pop Rock's parents house for the week. We missed her terribly as we always do when we are out of town.

The wedding was beautiful. It was in the mountains between Georgia and South Carolina. They are a beautiful couple and we are privileged to be their siblings! 


After the wedding Pop Rocks and I returned to my parents house where we spent time with them and exploring the town. We popped in at the zoo and those are amazingly the only pictures I took the whole trip!

This giraffe was hoping to get some food. We didn't feed its, that probably why it looks sorta sad. Its really neat to see them so close though! I didn't pet it because they were kind of aggressive about their lettuce of which I had none. Anyway, check out the one in the background. Its trying to feast on the post. 

Its kind of hard to see in the picture but these two lynx were using each other as pillows. It was super cute! The picture isn't very good, but it was still adorable!

This grizzly bear was in a super playful mood. As we were watching it jumped in the pool and went for a swim. Then it came out and was just chilling on the rocks that create the boundary of his enclosure. His partner wasn't much for the rain and was chilling inside.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Merry Mary Monday: 10.15.12

Mary got scared the other day. So she ended up here...

And then I couldn't get her out...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Ever since I cut my hair back in the spring, I've been wanting to dye. it.

When I was in middle school I started dying my hair blond. When I got older I decided that I wanted it my natural color. But there was this one time that I dyed my hair and before I rinsed, it looked really dark. Ever since, I've wondered what my hair would look like dark.
So when Vocalpoint sent a request for bloggers to try out Loreal's Nice and Easy Non-Permanent Hair Color I bit.
I got the coupon and then realized that my brother's wedding was coming up and I didn't want to do something that drastic right before I would be in family pictures. Well the wedding was last weekend and I decided to go for it on Sunday morning.
My hair is naturally a golden brown color. It was really blond when I was little and has since turned to this darker blond/brown color.
So I chose Medium Golden Brown. Its darker than my hair, but not super dramatic.
 So one of things that I love about box dye kits is the conditioner that comes with it. Before I started mixing the dye and putting it on my hair I went ahead and took the corner off of the conditioner packet. Those things are so hard to open when your hands are wet.
Anway I put the dye on and it was definitely somewhat dark.
I rinsed, conditioned, dried and straightened. Here are the results:
I really loved the process with the Nice and Easy Non-permanent dye. It was fast and easy. I did it all by myself. The color is fantastic, it followed my natual highlights so it looks more natural than some other products I've used. The conditioner was fantastic. My hair is so soft and silky. I am really impressed with the results. I definitely recommend this product.
So, what do you think about my hair?
I need to tell you that, I received a coupon for a free box of Loreal Nice and Easy Non-Permanent Hair Dye. The opinions expressed in this post are completely my own. I was not required to give a positive review, I really liked the product and its results.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Merry Monday: 10.8.12

Mary decided to play hide-and-seek the other day. Here is her hiding spot...

Friday, October 5, 2012

The River by Michael Neale

The River by Michale Neale is the compelling story of Gabriel Clarke. The story opens with five-year old Gabriel on a walk with his father, John. The Clarke men live at Big Water Adventure Camp in Corley Mills, Colorado. John is a whitewater rafting guide and owner of the camp. While the two of them are on their walk tragedy happens which will define the rest of Gabriel’s life.

Throughout the rest of his life, Gabriel must wrestle with the feeling of being made for The River. He must determine if he will return to The River and let it become his destiny or if he will run from it.

This debut novel from Neale is an intriguing, gripping and heart warming story. While it took me a little bit to get into the story (I’m not much of an outdoorsy person), once I did I really didn’t want to put this book down. It was a wonderful story. What I really liked about this book was that it would be a great book to give / recommend to men. I don’t often read books that would be interesting to men. I prefer more girly books. I recommended this book to Pop Rocks, but he hasn’t had time to pick it up. He really doesn’t have much time for reading these days. However I knew he would enjoy it.

The theme of the book is about finding your destiny. Throughout the book, Gabriel has to discover exactly what it was that he was created for and how to get to it. It was a wonderful reminder that we all have things which we were created for and that we should pursue it with our lives.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, October 1, 2012

Merry Mary Monday: 10.1.12

Since I've been doing a tour of Mary's favorite places (here and here) I thought I would share one more:

She loves to be curled up with one of us when she rests. My favorite part of this picture is that it captures the way she covers her nose with her paws, to keep it from getting cold. 

Normally there is a blanket involved but this particular moment they weren't on the couch.

PS: You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, if you're so inclined...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Word for Wednesday: Normal

Have you ever seen the movie "Angus"? It came out in 1995. If you haven't seen it, the movie has a fantastic message. I should also mention, that I only ever remember the made for TV version, back before you were allowed to have any kind of curse words in a program during primetime. I don't think it is a very clean movie, but I'm not really sure.

Anyway the movie is about a high school kid named Angus and his best friend. Angus is overweight and a science genius (nerd). He is continually humiliated by Rick Sanford, the school jock (played by James Vanderbeek). In order to get into the college of his dreams Angus has to come up with a science experiment. In his experiment he discovers that no two cells are alike. (I have seen this movie in a long time, so I could be completely wrong about the details.) There is no normal.

Angus realizes that if one person is considered normal then no one other person on the entire planet is normal, because no two people are alike. This was a great lesson for my nerdy middle/high school self. It is a lesson that has stuck with me all of these years.

Sometimes I struggle with wanting to judge others who aren't just like me. I continually reference this movie and realize all over again that no one will ever be just like me. 

There is no normal.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Merry Mary Monday: 9.17.12

Since last Monday I talked all about how Mary loves our bed, I thought I would tell you how much she loves her bed. She does!

She hangs out in there whenever she needs some space and of course she hangs out in there when we aren't home. Don't let that sweet face fool you, she is mischevious when no one is paying attention to her.
She also sleeps in her bed at night. She loves that little crate. I'm pretty sure it is in her top five places in the whole world... Of course Mary's world is pretty small.
This is what she looks like many mornings when I wake her up to go outside:
So what makes your Monday merry?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Word for Wednesday: Fruit

Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.    - Matthew 7:17-20

Everyone bears fruit. Its true. So the question is what kind of fruit do you bear?

How do others view the fruit you bear? Do they recognize you as a who you think you are or do you bear fruit that is different? 

Our fruit defines us. How do you cultivate your fruit? You cultivate fruit with what fills your heart and mind. Everything we watch, read, hear, and think about directly results in the fruit we bear. I know I need this reminder. 

dI have a tendency to think that I can watch a tv show or movie and it won't affect me at all. The same with books. This isn't true, but I continually tell myself (and sometimes even others) that I can get away with it, that I'm above it. That's my pride. 

I hope this encourages you today. What can we do to bear better fruit?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How to Receive a Complaint

A while back I wrote a post about complaining. There is definitely an art to complaining. So anyway I was recently in a waiting room of a popular business. There was only one other person in the large waiting area and he looked miserable.

A gentleman comes out and asks if someone was waiting on a check. Man A stood up and went over. He confirmed he was waiting and Man B introduces himself as the Finance Director. Let that soak in for a minute, Finance Director. 

Well Man A asks if Mr. Director knows what happened that has caused him to wait on this check. Finance Director says that no he doesn't know and he prefers not to. That the less he knows the better. I don't know what your life experience is, but this is the first Finance Director I have ever met that says the less he knows the better. I exchanged looks with one of my family members. This made no sense. 

Well then Man A asks if the Finance Director would like to know what happened. (When someone has been wronged, what they want most is an apology.) Finance Director reiterates that he prefers not to know. About this time a third gentleman arrives with check in hand and gives a quick "Sorry this wasn't handle the way it should've been." He then hands Man A the check. Man A says, "No it wasn't." Turns and stalks out. 

I don't know what happened that caused this man to receive a check. This was not the kind of business where checks are regularly handed out. I definitely saw a few things that could have been handled better and was inspired to give a few pointers on receiving a complaint. Something of a follow-up.

1. Apologize. 
When someone feels like they have been wronged (everyone complaining feels that they or someone has been wronged) they mostly want to hear someone justify their feelings. If you try a little bit, you can always find a way to apologize without admitting fault. "I'm so sorry I/we made you feel that way."

2. Specify.
Sometimes people want something specific sometimes they just want to inform you of an experience. Find out what the complainer is looking for out of their complaint. Make sure you find out something specific. Usually you can find this out by asking something along the lines of, "How can I fix this situation for you?" Also, be sure to get all of the details of the complaint, especially if you are going to relay it to someone else.

3. Explain.
If the complaint warrants an explanation give it. Sometimes the explanation is all you need. If this is the case it will be clear to you upon hearing the complaint. Always start with step one even if its, "I'm so sorry you felt like (this) happened." Avoid using the word "but" in your transition. Make it, "I think what happened was..." or  "Could it have been..." This makes it more positive.

4. Follow through.
Whether you promised to tell someone higher or you said you would take action, do it. And do it as quickly as possible.

I think steps two and three are interchangeable but you should always start with step one and end with step four. Someone's experience when they complain is just as important as the first time they experience what you are offering.

Every complaint received is probably indicative of many others you don't hear about. So be thankful you are hearing the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Merry Mary Monday: 9.10.12

If you've been reading my blog long enough to have read a few Merry Mary Monday posts then you probably know that Mary loves our bed. It might be her most favorite place in the world; though the competition is pretty close: the couch, her bed, and her crate. 

This is her, "I'm just innocently sitting here" pose.

Consequently most of her pictures are taken in these locations. Our bed is definitely top of that list, because I always find her in the cutest poses there.

If that didn't make you smile then you really are having a rough Monday.

Sometimes though my picture taking disturbs her....

If she could talk she would be saying, "But why, mom?"

Sometimes when she is in our bed she makes herself super comfortable by getting all tucked in. Case in point:

I hope this has left you Merry!
In exciting blog news: This is my 200th post. Its fitting that it is a Merry Mary Monday post!

PS: Did you know you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and/or Pinterest. We're all up in Social Media over here :)