These are the books I'm reading to "Try" to prep me for motherhood via foster to adoption. Since I don't know boy or girl, or even age, I can't know exactly what to prepare for! It's open season here, folks!
  So, I just thought I'd read everything I could get my book worm hands on. This may be a couple of installments, but here are the first ones for now...


Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman
  This book is amazing! It's so interesting to see what the American culture is becoming. In my opinion, it isn't looking pretty! When going through the Foster Care classes, you have to come up with a loose parenting plan... how you will discipline, punish, etc. Since we won't know age/sex of the placement we will get, we decided to come up with a VERY broad plan. We knew we didn't want to raise an entitled child. Granted, I think each generation is spoiled a little more than the previous, but lately, it seems to have jumped about 10 generations with the spoiledness of kids I see in the stores!
   The book paints a picture of how American kids compared to other kids around the world and it's mind blowing! I'm determined to raise a well-rounded kid, even if the first precious years were hard for them... I think I can, I think I can!

                                                          book cover

Next up is Keeping Your Kids on God's Side by J. Warner Wallace
  Great book! I'm highlight up a storm in it. I know that the children we may have, (even if only for a short time) may not have heard about Jesus or God or even been inside of a church previously. Maybe, we will be starting from scratch in their faith. I know we will have to answer the basic questions about God, which I'm prepared for. What I'm not prepared for, however, is the really hard questions, such as, "If God is good, why do bad things happen?" Yeah, those gut punching questions where you have absolutely no idea where to start explaining! This book will give you the answers that they will understand. I'm pretty sure I'll be pulling this book out and having it ready for each of the God discussions!

                                                               Beat Sugar Addiction Now! for Kids: The Cutting-Edge Program That Gets Kids Off Sugar Safely, Easily, and Without Fights and Drama

Beat Sugar Addiction Now for Kids by Jacob Teitelbaum & Deborah Kennedy
  Again, we won't know where these children are in terms of age, but I'm pretty sure no one was concerned with their sugar intake. Along with the majority of America, folks just give kids the "Kiddie" types of cereals and snacks.
   After watching a documentary  on Netflix called Fed Up, I've cut out 95% of my sugar intake. Please, go watch it, it will blow your mind!  Besides special occasions, I try to steer clear of sugar by not buying it.
   Now, picture in your mind, we get a child where nutrition wasn't top priority, and their daily sugar intake is probably through the roof. And now picture how many big people emotions they will be going through in the upcoming weeks. Finally, add me trying to get them off a sugar addiction.... yeah, it's not looking pretty!
  I pray that this book will help us transition them off sugar easily.

                                                           

20 Teachable Virtues by Barbara C. Unell and Jerry L. Wyckoff
  Practical Ways to Pass on Lessons of Virtue and Character to Your Children book? Yes, please! The virtues they present in this book are so valuable. Every child should have an opportunity to learn these and apply them in their lives. Unfortunately, sometimes a child may not have had that opportunity to learn anything in a rough home life. You bet I will try my hardest to teach them everything I can for the time I have them.

All of these books I have purchased with my own money, (they're not a review for a publisher) and I plan on keeping & referring to them often throughout the years!

Do you have any other parenting books that made a difference in your child's life? Comment below! I need all the advise I can get!







My Book List While Waiting for Adoption

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Hi! More book reviews here for you! I normally wait until I have quite a few reviews to publish, but these books were far too awesome to wait!


From Booklookbloggers.com- The Longing in Me by Sheila Walsh
   I can't say enough about this book! Shelia Walsh dug deep to write her innermost thoughts, feelings, and tragedies. My admiration for her being a megaphone for God's grace just magnified a hundred times! Read this book, recommend it to all of your friends, and then re-read it each year... it's what I plan on doing!


From Bloggingforbooks.com- Mother Can You Not by Kate Siegel 
   The relationship between mother & daughter is special, but these two wonderful ladies are truly hilarious! I've followed their Instagram feed for months now, but I have to say, this book is so much better! A funny, easy read, perfect for Summertime or a great gift for someone who needs a little lighthearted laughter in their life.


From NetGalley.com- Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
   LOVED this book! I love Shauna's writing style on any subject, but her explaining why it's better to be present than to glorify busy was the push I needed to really believe that. If you find yourself frazzled far too often, please read this book, and then pass it along to all of your friends; it's that good!



Please go out & read at least one of these books this Summer!

*I received these books complimentary in exchange for my HONEST opinion!*
Summertime Reads

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Lord, I come to you now to pray for my nation...and my world. Help us, Father, to drive out hate with love. Comfort those mourning. Be with those who have evil thoughts in their heads, help them be strong in their faith, and help them to fight the enemy. Comfort us all, Abba.  In Jesus' powerful name, we pray, AMEN! 



 "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 
 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."  
Colossians 3:13-14
Every Life Matters

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  Hiya! It's been a while, hasn't it? My life is all about settling in & unpacking, so it's not terribly exciting, which is why I haven't posted lately! I promise to do a home tour once the boxes are gone and things are on the walls. Until then, I've been racking up in the bookworm department! Some of these I've had for a while and between packing to move, then unpacking, they were lost in the shuffle. Because of that, this post is chalk full of book reviews!


American Heart Association Healthy Fats, Low Cholesterol Cookbook (from BloggingforBooks.com)
  Because we want to eat hearty meals sometimes, but I need to keep in mind & continue our Thrive- subcategory goals from January that was on "Healthy". That, combined with the high cholesterol I have, makes this the perfect cookbook for us! The recipes call for simple ingredients, nothing crazy. Photos and easy to follow instructions make all the difference! I would recommend this book, or buy it for anyone who needs to be on a low cholesterol cookbook, or for anyone looking to be healthier!


Next book is Having a Martha Home the Mary Way by Sarah Mae (Tyndale Blog Network)
  Fantastic book! It reminds us that our homes do not have to be perfectly polished, it's more about having folks there to build community and making them feel at home. This book has a 31-day plan that guides you through cleaning and organizing your home to feel... like a home! I love the set up of this plan. You never feel rushed to learn the new way to clean, it's easy to slide right into her plan. You feel like you are talking to a friend and getting tips from her, little by little. The fact that she bases it on biblical perspectives makes me fall in love with this book! I will recommend and buy this book for anyone, but especially for a newlywed! The most important takeaway from this book that I am applying to my life is that my home doesn't have to be perfect, it just needs to feel like home.


Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way by Jimmy Wayne, with Ken Abraham  (Booklookbloggers)
   I will confess, I don't listen to country music often, and I did not know who Jimmy Wayne was. That didn't matter, though. This book is about his life of one heartache after another. It's not easy on the heartstrings. You will cry, but you won't be able to put this book down. As someone who is in the process of adoption, this book lets you peek into a childhood that is rough, That's something you don't always get to know about in their own words. I won't go too much more into detail than that. I don't want to spoil it for you, but this is one of those books that stick with you long after the final page. I would recommend it for all adults, especially those that are going down the adoption/foster home road.  



Married and Still Loving It by Gary Chapman & Harold Myra (Moody Publishers Newsroom)
  Full disclosure: I did not realize when selecting this book, that it was about "The Joys and Challenges of the Second Half" meaning second half of your life! We are still in our first half of life, but this book was amazing anyway. The wisdom about life and love can be applied to all. I love Gary Chapman's books, and this book didn't disappoint me. They also write about real stories, from real couples. I love that! Books that give you advice, but throw in real stories makes the lessons from the book stick with me more than just a list of do's & don'ts. It's an easy read, designed to help you breeze through and not get bogged down. And even though I wasn't the target audience, I want the healthy, long marriage so anything that I can get my hands on to teach me how to have the marriage that I want, you bet I will read it! I would recommend this book to everyone!


Between Pain & Grace by Gerald W. Peterman & Andrew J. Schmutzer (Moody Publishers Newsroom)
  OK, this book was amazing for me. I suffer from Fibromyalgia & Endometriosis, and I can attest to the fact that if God wasn't by my side through the bad days, months, years... I would be a completely different person. Constant, chronic pain changes you, and it's hard not to take it out of those you love. This book answers questions the hard questions that you've been asking yourself as long as you've had pain & suffering. It's chalk full of things you need to really make the wisdom it offers, sink in. Again, I love when a book doesn't just load you up on advice but offers real stories from real people. I would recommend this book for everyone, not just a person dealing with pain, but ones who suffer from mental illnesses. This book needs to be read by everyone... those that suffer and those that love people who suffer. 


   And that's all of them! I told you there were quite a few!  Even though I do get books complimentary in exchange for my honest opinion, every single one of these books I recommend to you. They are all on different topics, but I feel like they all can relate to different demographics. If you're looking for a new book, try one of these!

What's on your summer reading list? Comment below!

**I received all books complimentary from publishers, but these are my 100% honest opinions. **
Shh, your bookworm is showing

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... I've been absent on this blog. I'm sure you've noticed. Well, aside from doing lots of things to get licensed as a Foster Home, (read more about our adoption story here) we've been making big, bold moves in our lives. And in case you don't follow me on Instagram, this is what's been going on-


We're nomads no longer! For the next couple of weeks, we will be settling in. After that, we will have to have another home inspection, and then will be able to take placements and hopefully, God will send us our child! 

I will also take another week or two before I open up the Etsy shop, and before I start blogging regularly, but I promise to get back to all of it ASAP! 

Now tell me, what's the best new homeowner advice you have ever been given? Comment below! 

Lately...

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  Y'all, this story is one that breaks my heart but encourages it as well. I won't get into the details, you can click the news story links to hear them. To sum it up, tragedy struck, leaving these 4 precious children motherless, and a father in jail. Regardless of the circumstances, these babies had their world turned upside down.  That's the heartbreaking part.

Video- Did the law fail a woman who died after calling for help? 

Article- "Sherriff: Husband shot wife, dumped body in Palmetto canal." 



  The encouraging & downright inspiring part is- an older couple took them in, without a second of hesitation. It is the children's Aunt & Uncle, a couple who'd already raised their family, grandparents even. God took a bad situation and blessed these children with another set of parents who'd love them as their own. That encourages me with our own adoption process. Knowing that, when the time comes, God will give me that no hesitation feeling when I meet our child(ren).


  Unfortunately, they'd long ago rid their home of all children's clothing. Looking forward to retirement and life slowing down. Now, they'd start all over in the parenting world with a 7 yr. old girl, 5 yr. old boy, 3 yr. old girl, & a 6-month-old baby girl.


  When I started this blog, I knew that I'd never put up tons of donation things. Unless it was an awesome cause that I'd prayed over & knew God lead me to do so.  This is one of them.   So, this is where I ask you to now search your heart, pray about it. Give up that Starbucks run this week & put it towards helping this loving couple & these sweet babies. You can donate anonymously, so don't feel embarrassed. No donation is too small.  You can also donate clothes & toys! There is a PO Box listed on the gofundme page. If you have any questions on what they may need, there is also an email address listed.


  Check out the gofundme link below. Know that I know this family, they're from my hometown. As they say, "They're good people." I wouldn't be here, sharing their story, asking for donations and prayers if this wouldn't be legit and super important as well as time sensitive. This all happened a month ago- they went from empty nesters to an instant family of 6 overnight.


On the gofundme page, there are multiple ways to share this story. Please feel free to share their  story any way you wish, and as much as you want to. They could use all the help & uplifting they can get.  Fellow bloggers, feel free to share this post as well!

Above all, I ask that you pray for this family.  God bless you!



Heartbreak to Encouragement

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My prayer life was looking, well, pretty pitiful! I had tried reading various books on boosting my prayer life, getting a grip on prayers, honing your prayers, streamlining prayers, etc. Nothing was working!

Now, don't misunderstand me. I said all the "Normal" prayers, Our Fathers, Hail Marys, praying for all family members, friends, special petitions, my own petitions, and on & on. But it was all so... jumbled. Never in the same pattern, coming up with great prayers one night, forgetting them the next, forgetting so-and-so's request... just a mess! And so, my Pinterest investigation began.

Nothing was looking great until I came across Kari from Stone Soup for Five's Prayer Binder, it was quite literally, an answer to my prayers! I turn on my Relax Melodies app, for some background sounds, then I set up my 30/30 app that Kari suggested and helps me stay on task SO MUCH!

I spend 1 hour a day, and I pray for everybody and everything under the sun (slight exaggeration, but it's pretty close!)  AND I get 30 minutes of bible study within that hour! Amazing, right? Yeah, I thought so, too! 

Kari suggested reading The Hour That Changed The World by Dick Eastman.  So while I was gathering my supplies that she suggested, I bought this book and dived in.  IT was fantastic! I couldn't wait to organize my prayer binder and get an effective prayer life.

To start off, I organized my prayer binder exactly like Kari did hers. I thought that after a while if something doesn't work for me, I can make adjustments. But so far, everything is flowing smoothly.

This is what I used:

Supplies:

1- Avery half sized binder
2- packs half-sized paper
2- packs half sized dividers
1- pack half sized page protectors
1 pack individual tabs
a couple rolls of washi tape

I found the book used on Amazon for about $12 total, and with a coupon from Staples, the grand total for all supplies and books came up to $33.78.

For the outside pockets, I made a cool watercolor graphics page, which I'll link at the bottom of this post, and you can print it out for yourself if you get the binders with the clear pockets! If not, no worries, I'm sure you can personalize your binder all sorts of ways!

I also had a book called Prayers with Purpose for Women by Jackie M. Johnson that was AMAZING for all my subcategories! You'll see what I mean in my photos.

This is how to break it up:

*Sections need to be using the plastic dividers*


Section 1- Praise,  praise God for all that He is! I like to think of this as the worship songs part of the church.  2.5 minutes.



Section 2- Rest, I sit and picture snuggling up to God, resting on his shoulder; a silent surrender to God so he can shower his love on you. 2.5 minutes.



Section 3- Confession, A.K.A. Spiritual Cleansing 2.5 minutes.


Section 4- Scripture Prayer, This is where you study the bible. I'm currently doing the read through the bible in a year with the Good Morning Girls. I spend 30 minutes on this one.



Section 5- Petition, Prayer for me. These I have split up into subcategories, using the individual tabs. This is where I used the prayers from the book Prayers with Purpose for Women by Jackie M. Johnson I mentioned above. Y'all, it's amazing! And you can switch these around. Obviously, you can add more subcategories for the weekend days. Or maybe you have a category that you need more prayer time in because you will be repeating the weekend tab over the weekend days.

 Monday- Christ follower,
Tuesday- Wife & Marriage,
Wednesday- Mother,
Thursday- Stewart,
Friday- Work/Encourager,
Weekend- friend & sister.
2.5 minutes each subcategory, but on the tab for that day.













Section 6- Husband (optional) I also broke this into subcategories using the individual tabs.  I didn't have a book like the Prayers with Purpose for Women for the Husband category, but I'm sure you can adapt some of the prayers to fit your husbands. What I did was just write down prayers from the heart. And I'm always adding new ones to the pages as they come along.

To protect the Mr.'s privacy, and that of my future child, I won't show their individual prayers, but it's broken down like this-

Monday- Faith,
Tuesday-Husband/Marriage,
Wednesday-Father,
Thursday- Brother/Son/Friend,
Friday- Employee,
Weekend- Leadership.  I also printed off a monthly calendar from Inspiredtoaction.com for Husband, and I pray a vertical line daily so I start the first line on Monday and the last line on Sunday.
2.5 minutes.



Section 7- Child (optional) Again, I broke this down into subcategories using the individual tabs, Monday- Christ Follower,
Tuesday- Wisdom/Discernment,
Wednesday-Integrity,
Thursday- Purity & future spouse,
Friday- As a Student,
Weekend- Career. I also printed off a monthly calendar from inspiredtoaction.com for Children and pray a vertical line daily, same way as the husband section.
2.5 minutes.



Section 8- Extra- This is where I write down the prayers that I hear people need. Like, "Oh, so and so's father in law passed away this morning, pray for their family." Or any that I hear specifically from friends and family. 2.5 minutes.


Section 9- Daily, I broke this down into subcategories using the individual tabs,
Monday- Family,
Tuesday- Christian friends,
Wednesday-Non-Christian Friends,
Thursday- Church & Missionaries,
Friday-Our Nation, Weekend- World. I also printed off a 30-day prayer calendar for our nation  from ifapray.org, and same as the others, praying a vertical column daily. 2.5 minutes,


Section 10- Listen, This is where you ask specific questions for God and listen for his answers. 2.5 minutes.


Section 11- Thanks, You allow your mind to wonder over the last 24 hours and thank God for everything you can think of. The more specific, the better. 2.5 minutes.





Section 12- Praise. We began with an act of adoration, but we will end with an act of magnification of God. 2.5 minutes,



Below are the binder cover inserts I made using Picmonkey.com. Click the link below each design and it will bring you to googledocs so you can download!

Link to Download


Link to download


Link to Download



Please, go to Kari's blog to see all the details. She does a much better explanation of the sections than I do.

And get the book, it's amazing! Your prayer life will be so streamlined, it's the difference like night and day!

How do you streamline your prayer life? Leave your tips below!
DIY Prayer Binder, Get Your Prayer Life In Order

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It's not a secret, if you want to lose weight, you burn more calories than you take in. Simple enough, except when you have Fibromyalgia.

  The main thing my group of doctors say over and over is, "Take care of yourself. Rest, relaxation, the right medication cocktail and sleep are the keys to a good quality of life." So how in the wide world am I supposed to burn more calories than I take in, if I'm supposed to go easy on my body?

  Walking and yoga, that's how! Fibromyalgia patients benefit from at least 2 rounds of Physical Therapy a year, (so say the doctors) so, for my first round, I'm learning how to exercise my body with Fibro. Before, it was- work out hard, get the heart rate up, feel the burn, etc. Now, if I were to do that, I'd be down for days and could cause a flare up... you don't want that!

  Basically, walking is good for you, provided its level and you have supportive shoes. Yoga is also good for you. The problem with these is... they're not exactly fast fat burning exercises. So, as my doctor put it, you have to be stricter on food choices than the average dieter.

  There is also another problem, to eat healthier and meal/food prep, you need energy. And some days, I just don't have it. The only way, I can see, to fix this is to prep asap. and have things on hand that you can heat up. Some meals that are frozen or snacks that are already measured and prepped. And that's hard, my friends!

  I've pinterest-ed, (totally not a word, but you know what I mean) the ever loving mess out of this and I've come up with one lady who is all around amazing- Dashing Dish. This little lady does it all! She tells you exactly what to do, how to do it, how much to do, and gives you a bit of good old Christian gospel in the process? Sign me up! She's the cutest thing! Her meal prep ideas really helped me, and as we speak, I have about 20 breakfasts ready to go in the freezer, about 8 dinners ready to go in either the crockpot or the oven, and I'm figuring out lunch freezer/crockpot ideas. Really, this whole freezer to crockpot idea is a genius!

  I also found incredible help from this book- Trim Healthy Mama's Cookbook that I received complimentary from Bloggingforbooks.com. These mama's have it all figured out, too! This book was thick, pages were also thick, which I love for a cookbook. It means it can be used over and over in a kitchen and still last for years to come without being destroyed. Pearl Barrett & Serene Allison came up with amazing healthy alternatives to the all-time favorites and made them as slim as they could possibly be. At first, their code of the recipes is a little confusing. I had to read their guide many times to figure it out. Eventually, I did, but it's tricky. Most of the recipes are straight forward, but a majority call for special ingredients that the average kitchen or grocery store doesn't have on hand. Overall, it's a good cookbook to have. I like it, I would not have purchased it on my own, though.

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Overall, this whole getting healthy with Fibromyalgia process will be a sloowwwww process. Incredibly slow. I'm not going to shed pounds like a normal person, and I'm okay with that... as long as that scale is moving in the right direction and I'm getting healthier, not just worried about being slim, right?

What's your favorite cookbook? Share below!




Getting healthy with Fibromyalgia

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