Pinterest Verification

Friday, May 30, 2014

To the Class of 2014

Its been 10 years since I graduated from high school (the photo is from my college graduation - with my Grandmother). While I am not old enough to really give much advice, the song "Wake Me Up" by Aviccii has struck a chord with me lately. If you aren't familiar with it watch it here.

The line in the song that has gotten me most is: "Wake me up when its all over / when I'm wiser and I'm older"

The thing is that if you were to sleep through the next ten years, you would wake up older, but you wouldn't wake up wiser. 

The past ten years for me have been full of incredible learning and growth experiences. Many of the lessons that I have learned have  come with high costs. Many I couldn't learn except through my own struggles. 

Everything you go through has a way of shaping and molding you for the future. At some point you will have to stop looking at crisis as something horrible and awful and look at it as a part of life that you can grow from. 

Another line from the song that resonates with me is "All this time I was finding myself / And I didn't know I was lost." 

You don't have to get lost in order to find yourself. You will find yourself as you go through life. You can jumpstart the process by figuring out your personality type (though it may change). There are lots of different tests, each will explain who you are differently. 

Your quirks and pet peeves will also develop as you age. Don't let them get out of control. 

Finally remember, "Lifes a game made for everyone / And love is the prize."

Don't be afraid to love hard. Love your family. Love your friends. Love your life. Love your school. Love where you live. Love what you do. Love who you are. Love who you want to become.  Love your neighbors. Love your boss. Love everything and everyone. 

You are going to be great and to do great things. 


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Right Thing by Amy Conner

I recently received an advanced copy of The Right Thing by Amy Conner. The book releases today and its worth a read. You can pick it up from Amazon or Barnes and Noble

The story follows the story of Annie Banks and Starr Dukes in Jackson, Mississippi. The girls were best friends at the age of seven, but because of circumstances outside of their control the two are forced apart. When they meet again in the dressing room of their favorite department store, their lives collide again. The book alternates between the girls childhood and their present day (1993). The story is told from Annie's perspective. Annie is from a well to-do family in the town and Starr from a poor family. Their lives should not have intertwined but they did and the result was a delightful read. 

Two quick notes: This book contains a few adult scenes (nothing too racy, but definitely not appropriate for children/young teens) and adult language (there were a couple of bombs).

I did not want to put this book down. It captured the southern parts of my heart and did not let go. I highly recommend it if you liked The Help or The Secret Life of Bees. I definitely recommend it, as long as you know about my two quick notes. I don't want to offend you with this one. 

I received a free copy of this book (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. I really did like this book a lot and definitely recommend you add it to your summer reading list. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I've Never Been to Vegas but My Luggage Has by Mandy Hale

I’ve Never Been to Vegas but My Luggage Has by Mandy Hale is about her life. Hale starts with the story that resulted in the title of the book. From there she backtracks to high school through college. Hale became a Christian and then tells about landing her dream job. She lost that job and then explains how it sent her into a spiral. A deep, dark spiral. After her recovery she lands on her feet and drifts in and out relationships which are explained in detail. One of these was an abusive relationship which she does not gloss over. Among all of the relationship drama Hale began her blog The Single Woman and that weaves its way through the rest of her story.

I really did not like this book. I keep trying to find something about it that I did like, but I’ve struggled and can not. I didn’t find Hale’s story relatable or her writing enjoyable. Apparently a lot of people do. I was really excited to read this book and was thoroughly let down. There are a lot of cliches and trite “christianese” phrases. There is even a section about how Hale would speak her dreams into life, “I would dream aloud about how I wanted a certain celebrity to follow me on Twitter, and a week or so late they would start following me.” (From page 165)

Maybe its because I’m not single and I didn’t really spend much time on the dating scene. Maybe its because I am somewhat younger than Hale. Maybe it is something else, but this book fell more than flat for me. If I wasn’t writing a review I would have stopped reading it about a quarter of the way through. I did put it down and read something else in the meantime, but it was still lost on me. I hate writing about how I didn’t like it because it goes against everything in me. I am happy for Hale, for her accomplishments, her fulfilled dreams, and all of the good things that have happened to her. I wish her all the best. Truly.

If you want to read a different perspective check out my friend Brenda’s.

A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. If you don’t think this review is honest, then I’m at a loss for what would be honest.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Here To Stay by Melissa Tagg

Do you remember when I reviewed Made to Last by Melissa Tagg in October? I really enjoyed it and was excited to review a new book by the same author. I didn't realize it, but Here To Say was the next book in the series that Tagg is writing.

Here To Stay picks up the story of Blake Hunziker and his return to Whisper Shore, his hometown on the shore of Lake Michigan. He returns and has to try to earn back his reputation after his years traveling the world and playing house with TV star Randi Woodruff. To succeed he needs to pull off the Christmas festival and he needs it to be fantastic. He recruits Amber Kingsley to help him. The problem is that the Hunzikers and Kingsleys have a stormy past that both Blake and Amber must overcome, along with their families. 

I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun read. I happened to read it in fits and spurts and it worked just great. When I would get a chance to read longer sections, it was extremely enjoyable as well. The story was fast-paced and believable. Both Amber and Blake made great protagonists as they fought each other, their past and their circumstances. The plot developed well, however it followed the same pattern as Made to Last, so I'm not sure if you would want to read them back to back, but that is a matter of personal taste. I like books to be somewhat unpredictable. Overall, I recommend this book, especially if you like romantic stories. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Min Pin Monday: 5.19.14

So last week was a big week at our house. Will started going in his bed voluntarily! He will also now go to bed on command. This may seem small, but it is huge for us. Until now when you told him, "Go to bed" he would go hide. This was cute for about a week. 

We keep both pups crated while we are gone and at night. Min pins are known for their exploratory nature and we don't want them to find something they shouldn't when we aren't able to help them. We do occasionally let one or the other sleep with us, but they both tend to get restless in the middle of the night and go wandering. This means that one of us, often me, has to go track them down and get them resettled. 

It took Mary awhile to warm up to her crate, but eventually she came to LOVE it. I feel like it marks a comfort level. Something along the lines of, "This is my bed, in my house, with my family." Anyway, it was a big moment for me. 

I figured it out one night when Will kept running into the kitchen. It was close to bedtime and I had gone to brush my teeth, etc. He usually goes with me and when we walked by the kitchen door he seem more excited than normal and ran in there. I kept walking toward the bathroom, so he came back out. Then when I got up to put him to bed he jumped up and ran to the kitchen. I thought that he was going to his usual hiding spot (on the pedestal of our table), but he was in his bed. I couldn't tell for sure and had to put my hand in to find out. He stayed in and I told him goodnight.

I would love to post a picture of him in his bed, but I can't get a good one since he is so little. Instead here's a recent picture of the two of them: