Saturday, August 17, 2019


"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." -Thomas Edison

Hard work. Good work. Worth-it work.

Sometimes the work IS the reward.

Monday, August 12, 2019


He loves working. Moving. He loves chopping firewood, clearing brush, maintaining the vehicles.

I'm a homeschooling mom of four with a budding writing career. My to-do list is always a mile long and I love checking things off. I don't even take more than a second or two to bask in a checked-off-box glow most days. Check! Next?

But not on Sundays.

Sundays are for memory making. Sundays are for savoring.

Yesterday we helped the kids ride their bikes down a hill on our property, over and over again. We watched the pride shine on their faces. We admired their smiles. We admired each other's smiles.

We played pretend. He played "soldier set" with two of them, set up little green army men and gave them voices. I played "babies and mom" with three of them.

We snuggled up together with his coffee and my tea. To watch and listen to the rain through open windows. We read books and watched a show while our little ones napped. We read them books. We all walked the dog and took in the view we still can't believe is ours.

There was a lightsaber battle. There was coloring. The guys cut their hair and marveled over how much cooler they felt.

This. This is what Sundays are all about.

And Sundays are what life is all about.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Recent Reads

Adopted for Life... I have had this book on my shelf since 2014. I finally got around to it in July and wasn't swept off my feet the way I had expected to be. I wasn't bad by any means, but it just did not resonate as deeply as I had hoped it would.

The Diet Cure... Life changing! For real. Can't recommend enough for anyone who has ever dieted or for anyone who has ever dealt with anxiety, depression, and anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, diabetes, mood disorder, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, insomnia... Understanding the brain chemistry- exactly why we crave things and what nutrients were lacking that keep us stuck- is so helpful. I am following her bulimia recovery protocol along with a few other supplements recommended to me by a different professional, and my body feels better than ever before. Read this one!

No Ocean Too Wide*... I spent about 3 weeks on this book and when I was still under 100 pages at that point I had to go ahead and put it away. I think this was just me, for whatever reason... I can't put my finger on what didn't hit me. It seems to be well-written, seems to be engaging. Maybe the characters were not grabbing me? I don't NOT recommend it, I just don't think I'll be at returning to it to myself.

The Path Between us... Y'all! The Enneagram! It is so amazing. It has helped Ryan and I both to understand ourselves better, to understand each other better, and to understand so many people we know and love!  He is finding it helpful at work, I am finding it helpful out and about, and we are both finding it very helpful in parenting. I really like The Road Back to You, which is a general understanding of the Enneagram, but I loved The Path Between Us, which is specifically in relation to our relationship from an Enneagram perspective. I don't think you need to have read the other to understand this one, but I do think you'll be missing out on a ton of great information if you skip The Road Back to You. (Check out for a quick and easy Enneagram assessment)

Shame Off You*... I have looked a lot this year into the concept of shame, guilt, remorse, humiliating, and how those negative feelings alter our entire world. Denise Pass had a lot of really great things to say about shame and healing our hearts in that regard, but I do want to give the caveat that this book is hard to read at times. I don't think it's a spoiler to share something divulged on the second page of chapter one... Denise's husband sexually abused their daughter and her church then shame her for wanting to take their daughter and leave him as soon as she found out. I cried a lot and had to skim through a few times. Her message is wonderful but you must be prepared for that pain if you are going to give this one a try.

Standing Together*... This husband-wife memoir really moved me. Carlos Evans was a Marine in Afghanistan who lost his legs and left hand when he stepped on an IED. He and his wife detail all that came after, and a beautiful redemption story leading to the creation of their ministry, without getting too heavy or forcing the readers to take on the pain they carry during those early days. I did cry and tear up a few times anyway, but I still felt hope rather than despair throughout the book and I am also very interested in the charities that helped them throughout their ordeal.

I'm about to finish reading The String*, so I will tell you a little about it tonight too. When I first started to read more Christian books, I just could not get on board with Christian fiction. It was not edgy enough for my liking so I read a Christian nonfiction between Stephen King and psychological thrillers. I can't read that stuff now, but I got to say, The String would have been a perfect fit for Christian fiction newbie Sara Bell. It was intense. Gritty, edgy, thrilling... Truthfully, a bit much for me now. I am too old for books like this. It had me on the edge of my seat and terrified, and I did not like the way it made my body feel. Adrenaline-y, jumpy, nervous. But it was still great and if that's what you like to read, this is your book.

I will be starting Light from Distant Stars* tonight or tomorrow and will definitely be sharing that one here soon! This award-winning Christian author has been recommended to me many times and the back of this book calls it "both eerie and enchanting, one that will have you questioning reality and reaching out for what is good, true, and genuine." I love the idea of that last part... But the eerie, oh man. I don't know. I don't do well with eerie these days! Wish me luck!

*I received a free copy of No Ocean too Wide from Waterbrook Multnomah, Shame off You from Abingdon Press, Standing Together from Kregel Publications, The String from Revel, and Light from Distante Stars from Revel, all in exchange for an honest review

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Lake vibes

Trying to cultivate more playful joy in my life. This hit the spot 💙

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Recent Reads

Charlotte's Web... We listened to this audiobook on our drives for a couple weeks because one of my girls is obsessed with piggies. I forgot how much I love this book! The kids loved it, too!
Five True Horse Stories by Margaret Davidson... This was a very quick read I will be adding to my kids shelf for a second-ish grade reading level. It offered very quick stories about five famous horses including Justin Morgan, Misty, and Brighty of the Grand Canyon (actually a donkey). It wasn't super detailed but it was well written and a decent little read.

Imagination Station 7: the Curse of the Prince's Tomb... another super quick read, but a good one. I will also be reading the next book since it is about cannibals and after that I think I will just be skimming these ones. I have seen nothing inappropriate for our family in any of them. My six-year-old has started to read the books himself and absolutely loves them. He is in the middle of the third book now so I'd better move fast!

The Psychobiotic Revolution... this book is so amazing! I cannot recommend it enough. I learned so much and it was so fascinating. This concept, the microbiome, has been so incredibly helpful in my journey to healing. Learning about how impactfull our microbes are in our mental health has been huge. There was really only a small amount of information on bulimia (though it did pack a powerful punch), but there was so much awesome information about anxiety and depression. I am now choosing my probiotic specifically to target these three areas and I'm very excited to see the impact that will make on my physical and mental health!

Sex, Purity, and the Longing of a Girl's Heart*... this was a super quick read that I actually read straight through in one sitting, from about 7pm-10:30pm. I have not done that since having children so that was kind of a treat. I know it's a very personal topic subject but I personally found this one to align with the values I would like to teach my own daughters and have absolutely added it to my shelf for them to read as young teenagers. Kristen and Bethany, who are sisters, do an amazing job teaching the values of both physical and mental purity while also explaining the importance of staying far away from shame in this area. They did an excellent job letting young women know that their longings are perfectly natural, normal and even God designed... But that it is up to us to control our minds in regards to them.

Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine... once I started looking at the trauma aspect of my healing journey, I was shocked to discover just how much trauma I had experienced throughout my life, and how much trauma every person experiences. I had to work through memories of physical and emotional pain caused by others, seeing a limp toddler pulled out of a car accident, being the driver in a roll over car accident, a friend's death when I was in middle school, and all kinds of experiences that I had never considered before as trauma. After reading the emotion code and following Dr. Christopher Motley's work through podcasts, videos, and Instagram posts, I was pretty confident I was missing something in my healing work and reached out to ask him what he recommends next. His suggestion was this book, which I heard one of my favorite bulimia recovery mentors speak about the very next day! I pretty quickly got my hands on this book. I would not call it a riveting read but it was definitely very powerful and informative. I learned a lot from it, and actually learned some things I can do to help my son work through some of his dog fears surrounded by the trauma of recently having been bitten by a neighbor's dog.

*I received a free copy of Sex, Purity, and Longings of a Girl's Heart from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.