Monday, June 25, 2018

The Success of Simply being a Mom {Goodbye, Jones's}

I always knew I’d be a mom—never pegged myself as one who’d grow up to have 6 kids, but that pretty much sums up my job title.

And I don’t mind at all. 

Don’t need no side hustle. No trajectory plan to build success. To prove success. No push to ‘have it all’. No reason to get my Masters because I’m not even utilizing my Bachelors degree. No declaration that I’m going to simplify or go ‘off the grid’. Everyday is ‘no-makeup day’. Also, I use bleach (There. I said it).

It’s ok to go after those things if you want. And they aren’t bad! But for those of you who feel you can’t “Keep up with the Joneses”?

Seriously—it’s ok to take a pass. Because then you have more time to look at your life. Your blessings. Your goals. And if that means your life is summed up with the words “Mom of 6”?

Then you’ve found your success.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Tribute to Orphan Sunday {November 12, 2017}

Here's the thing about adoption; once you've done it, you forget. You forget you didn't birth them until you are asked if it was a full-term pregnancy. You forget when you tuck them in at night & when they crawl into your bed in the morning. Your soul knows you would die for them just like you'll die for the children who carry your DNA. You even forget they don't look like you until someone asks you "where they are from". Every day you forget. And every day there is a reminder.
Someday, 1/2 my kids will understand they were birthed by someone else. I pray that never matters. And I pray this is the best example of God's timing and His perfect plan in the lives of ALL my children. Because my life would not be perfect without them. #orphansunday#nationaladoptionmonth #foster #adopt #serve #thankyouGod

The Blessings of an Authentically-Mundane Life {Love is Key}

Remember that Spring Break where we didn’t go to the lake house because Kait had clinicals & Connor had track, and the grandparents wouldn’t be there anyway? 

It was good we stayed, or we would’ve missed discovering a leak under the upstairs bathroom sink Sunday night...which led to a broken faucet in the downstairs tub (fix one thing, might as well fix the other, right?), which led to keeping the water turned off for the day. But hey, at least we drove to Peoria twice for showers at Aunt Laurel’s! All on Monday, which made Mike’s “extra” day off of work a day full of mess and projects. #blesshisheart
And Tuesday was fun in that it’s STILL raining (#forthelove!), kid #5 has 4 cavities, so I’ve added that to my list of reasons I’m failing this #momgig. BUT thanks to our friend we forgot was a plumber, we now have a working shower (even if there’s a hole where the shower head is because improving it actually meant preferring demo over the previous setup) #oldhousefun
Kids #1 & #6 have just finished meds for walking pneumonia. Kid #2 might have a broken finger, but we are “keeping an eye on it”. Kid #3 can finally see, thanks to getting an updated eye exam & new glasses. In two weeks, kids #4 & #5 go to Chicago to see geneticist due to discoveries from recent testing. #physiciansarewonderful
It’s so easy for me to complain—to feel almost defeated. But I told Mike the best part of our “Money Pit” home and daily “What the What?” situations is this: I AM SO GLAD WE ARE IN LOVE. Because we’ve known too many couples over the years who seem to have it all, yet they can barely tolerate each other. All the outward appearance stuff masks the mess inside. And I’m pretty sure that can’t be an enjoyable way to spend your days. #fakeislonely
So, here’s to our boring, blah spring break, in our tiny old house that I absolutely adore even though it’s sometimes a kick in the teeth. Here’s to true love that lives within our messy home. Here’s to kids who find happiness in simple living, even if they are tired of eating Tombstone pizzas. And here’s to embracing authenticity, because somehow, life is easier when you embrace it honestly. #authenticliving #lovecomesfirst #gratefulhearts

Smack in the Middle of Motherhood {Raising & Releasing}

Today’s kids: Senior. Junior. Freshman. Five. Four. Three.
Tomorrow: Charlie turns 6. Kaitlin begins her job as a CNA; her first step on a path to further medical degrees.
Two weeks: Connor gets his license. The possibility of him going into the Air National Guard is a mere 10 months away.
Three months: Kylie turns 14 the 1st day of high school. Charlie goes back to the school & teachers we adore.
Four months: Brynlee turns 4. She and Kolbie will start preschool with the best teacher (who was taught by the best, and she was taught by the best) 35 minutes away because it’s exactly where I want them.
Five months: 21st wedding anniversary. A strong marriage that has never wavered.

It’s a strange season of life; I’m a young mom and an old mom all at the same time. It’s a mix of beginnings and endings. Chapters of life that seem to land smack in the middle right at this very moment in time. A time where I assumed we’d have more money & a bigger house, and yet we are richer than I ever dreamed. Because it’s a life of love. A life of kept promises—both by us, and always by God. It’s a life that continues to rack up faith & trust, and raising up & releasing kids.

Today, I am aware. And I’m very grateful. #everyperfectgiftisfromabove
(Photo by Aleshka Grusy).

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Grace Revealed: Finding God's Strength in Any Crisis(Broadstreet Publishing Group, January 2018)

Grace Revealed: Finding God's Strength in Any Crisis(Broadstreet Publishing Group, January 2018)
Trust in the unmerited gift of God's grace

You can't escape the inevitable crises that will face you throughout your lifetime. Whether it's health problems, emotional issues, career challenges, gut-wrenching losses, or other failures, these experiences can destroy your morale and lead you into despair. Some crises may be a result of your own choices, while others may be completely out of your control. Whatever the source, there is a lasting solution that comes to you free of charge from above: God's amazing grace.
In Grace Revealed, you will:
-Experience real-life stories of others who discover they are not alone and that relief is within their grasp.
-See how devastating afflictions can be overcome through faith in Jesus and His love, mercy, and grace.
-Learn how God's grace transforms lives and leads you into enduring and rewarding Christian service.
-Be inspired to encourage others who are suffering but cannot seek help on their own.
Read these undeniable, modern-day examples of God's loving grace and its transformative power, and discover that God is always present in your time of need.


Fred Sievert is a speaker, author, and former president of New York Life Insurance Company. Following his early retirement at age fifty-nine, Sievert attended Yale Divinity School and received a master's degree. Sievert remains actively engaged in his greatest passions, which include speaking and writing about his faith, mentoring young executives, and serving as a lay leader of his church and on the boards of several organizations with missions well-aligned with his beliefs and values. Fred and his wife have five grown children, three grandchildren, and reside in East Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Find out more about Fred at

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Real-Life Romance by Rhonda Stoppe Party and Prize Pack Giveaway

I'll be honest; I expected this book to be a "good-feel" Christian read that I would enjoy, and I assumed I already knew how it would go. But the book delivered in a way I did not anticipate nor expect. And that is a fantastic thing, because Rhonda Stoppe has managed to put together a page turner that is complex yet easy to understand. Honestly, I don't know exactly how to best describe the book. It gives authentic stories of marriages but manages to avoid the "same old, same old" feel that so many books on marriage hold--while those other books are great resources, Stoppe has added a personal element that just makes her book unique. Strength. Determination. Redemption. Fortitude. Tragedy. Patience. Renewal.Family. Loss. Gain. Joy. Salvation. Hope. The book shares the complexities of marriage & relationships in a way that lets you appreciate so very much how God truly DOES make beauty from ashes, carries us through every trial and tribulation, and continually gives us chances to have a solid, joyous marriages regardless of our situations and circumstances.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to write a positive review.

Do you believe in true love?
In a world of broken relationships and hurting people, it can seem like all we ever see is heartache-that marriages are doomed from the start and romance isn't worth the risk.
But heart-fluttering, long-lasting love is all around us...we just have to look for it!
This collection of beautiful, real-life accounts will bring laughter and tears as you enjoy each story of ordinary people who found extraordinary love. Page after page, you will find inspiration to
-rekindle the romance in your love story
-trust in God's providence and timing
-faithfully hope for your own happily-ever-after
-celebrate true romance
-believe in life-long love
Don't let the world define romance for you! See how God is at work in the hearts of His people-knitting together hearts in a love that forever endures.
About the Author:

Rhonda Stoppe is the No Regrets Woman. With more than 20 years of experience as a pastor's wife, mom, mentor, author, and speaker, Rhonda uses humor and honest communication to help women build No Regrets Lives. She and her husband live their real-life romance in northern California, and have four grown children and eight grandchildren.
Find out more about Rhonda at

Whether you're single and looking for a reason to believe in love or a parent watching your own child fall in love, Real-Life Romance by Rhonda Stoppe will inspire you to believe in life-long love. This collection of beautiful, real-life accounts will bring laughter and tears as you enjoy each story of ordinary people who found extraordinary love. Don't let the world define romance for you! See how God is at work in the hearts of His people-knitting together hearts in a love that forever endures.

Join Rhonda and other real-life romancers on March 6 for a Facebook Live party, plus enter to win the Make Your Own Real-Life Romance prize pack!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • One copy of Real-Life Romance
  • A $50 restaurant gift card
  • A $25 movie gift card
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 6. The winner will be announced at Rhonda's Facebook Live Party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Rhonda and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word-tell your friends about the giveaway and Facebook Live party via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 6th!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Sacred Rest by Saundra Dalton-Smith, MD {Book Review}

My new year started off with new pj's I bought for myself, a special Starbucks tumbler from my brother, and a book to read & review--Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew your Energy, Restore Your Sanity by Saundra Dalton-Smith, MD. I had no idea how much insight, clarity, comfort, assurance, education and challenge I would discover within the pages of this book. Dalton-Smith writes from a place of personal insight; not merely as a physician, but as a woman who has struggled with finding balance in her own life. Dalton-Smith doesn't shy away from the fact she is a Christian, and she shares Biblical truths that have strengthened her. It is clear she desires for her book and God's words to bring strength and encouragement to others as well.

The book begins by defining rest, and also showing specific areas where our rest can be found (and also depleted). Answering some questions lets the reader discover his or her own key area. Each detailed chapter brings great insight and understanding. As the book progresses, the reader discovers how various things are gifts to our bodies, minds, and emotions. By accepting those gifts (boundaries, reflection, art, & faith to name a few), it opens wide the realization that we can choose our best life. I have already recommended this book to the women in my small group, and I pray it is a book that will be a life-changer for many people.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to write a positive review.

About the book:

Staying busy is easy. Staying well rested- there's a challenge.
How can you keep your energy, happiness, creativity, and relationships fresh and thriving in the midst of never-ending family demands, career pressures, and the stress of everyday life? In Sacred Rest, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, a board-certified internal medicine doctor, reveals why rest can no longer remain optional.
Dr. Dalton-Smith shares seven types of rest she has found lacking in the lives of those she encounters in her clinical practice and research-physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, sensory, social, creative-and why a deficiency in any one of these types of rest can have unfavorable effects on your health, happiness, relationships, creativity, and productivity. Sacred Rest combines the science of rest, the spirituality of rest, the gifts of rest, and the resulting fruit of rest. It shows rest as something sacred, valuable, and worthy of our respect.
By combining scientific research with personal stories, spiritual insight, and practical next steps, Sacred Rest gives the weary permission to embrace rest, set boundaries, and seek sanctuary without any guilt, shame, or fear.

About the author:

Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith is an author, speaker, and board-certified physician. She has an active medical practice in Alabama (near the Birmingham area). She received her B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Georgia, and graduated with honors from Meharry Medical College in Nashville. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Baker College and Davenport University in Michigan teaching courses on health, nutrition, and disease progression. Dr. Dalton-Smith is a national and international media resource on the mind, body, spirit connection and has been featured in Women's Day, Redbook, and First For Women magazine. She is the author of "Set Free to Live" and "Come Empty" (winner 2016 Golden Scroll Nonfiction Book of the Year and 2016 Illumination Award Gold medalist). She is a member of the Christian Medical and Dental Association and a repeat keynote speaker at their annual gathering. She has shared her tips on merging faith and medicine with over 16,000 health care professionals to encourage the current and next generation of doctors to treat the whole person.
Find out more about Saundra at