Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Save the Date

Save the Date

By Jenny Jones
Published by Thomas Nelson

When Alex and Lucy pick out wedding invitations, they wonder if they can be printed in vanishing ink.
Former NFL star Alex Sinclair is a man who has it all--except the votes he needs to win his bid for Congress. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancée in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn't quite what he seems, Lucy will find her heart on the line--and maybe even her life. When God asks Alex and Lucy to scrap their playbook and follow his rules, will they finally say, "I do"?

This is my first official book review, and, I must say, if every book I review is this enjoyable, I am really in for a treat.  I'll admit, I was skeptical.  The book bills itself as a typical romantic comedy, but it was so much more.  With a blend of laugh-out-loud humor, poignant drama, and irresistible romance, I quickly found I was unable to put this book down.  This is the first book I have read by Jenny B. Jones, but I am looking forward to reading more of her work.  The characters have so much depth, and the author does a great job telling their back stories.  At any given moment you could find my laughing aloud at Lucy's sass or shedding a tear over Alex's pain.  A funny yet touching story that I would  highly recommend to anyone.

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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Is there such thing as too much church?

My husband and I were both raised in church, traditional Southern Baptist church, to be precise.  We even met at a Baptist university.  When we first moved to the DFW metroplex, we went church hunting.  For more than a year we searched.  We must have tried at least 50 churches in the area between our apartments, one for every Sunday of the year.  One of our primary struggles was with the worship.  It was so, um, contemporary.  They had bands on stage!  There were drums!  It was like a rock concert.  This did not fit in with our "traditional" upbringing.  Where were the hymns?  Where was the organ?  Why didn't we sing "Just as I am" at every alter call?  We were totally thrown.  When it seemed all hope was lost, we did find a church home.  It was a fairly new church called Cornerstone.  They had just the right blend of traditional and contemporary worship, and the pastor was phenomenal!  We dove right in - Bible studies, praise team, drama ministry, nursery volunteers.  You name it, we were there for it.  It was even the church where we were married, and we were very happy there.

Fast forward a couple of years.  We had gotten married and quickly found a one bedroom apartment was not nearly enough space for the two of us, not to mention all our stuff.  So, we bought our first home.  The further you got from the metroplex, the more affordable the houses were.  We found ourselves a good 30 minute commute away from our beloved church home.  For about six months, we made the trek every Sunday and Wednesday into Plano.  Finally, we realized that God was calling us away from our "starter" church.  We were very sad, but soon found that God had a fabulous new church home just waiting for us not 5 minutes from our house.

We joined First Baptist Church of Little Elm (now called CrossRidge Church) in 2002.  The worship was *gasp* even more contemporary, but we had grown to love this kind of praise and worship and found it very meaningful.  Our new pastor was every bit as fired up about God and man as our previous one, another outstanding man of God.  Again, we threw all our irons in the fire.  Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, Wednesday nights, and various other days were quickly filled with church activities.  For seven years, this was our home.  These people were our family.  Both of our children were dedicated in this church.  Just thinking about it gets me teary eyed.  I think we could have been content to be a part of this particular church for the rest of our lives.  But, God had other plans, and eventually it was time to move on.

When we moved to New Mexico, our first order of business was to find a church home.  We had forgotten how challenging this was for us when we first moved to the city.  It proved equally challenging in the small town, but for the opposite reason.  The majority of the churches here are still way more traditional than what we have grown accustomed to.  We searched for about 6 months, before God called us to the church we now call home.  It has been an adjustment and we still miss CrossRidge, but the pastor is wonderful and I have even joined the church choir.  Yes, I said church choir.  We really appreciate many of the things we missed about our traditional upbringing, and we are making many new friends.  In all honesty, however, we never did find a church that fit us in the way CrossRidge did.  So, we have learned to compensate, and here is where I desire your opinion.

A typical week for us consists of:
Sunday morning services at our traditional Southern Baptist church.
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday our son attends preschool at the local Presbyterian church.
Tuesday mornings I have MOPS at a different Baptist church and Tuesday evenings are spent in a LifeGroup with people from our home church.
Wednesdays were spent at choir practice but are now being spent attending Financial Peace University at the same church where I attend MOPS.
Thursdays are for Bible Study.  I have been attending Bible Study at a non-denominational church with some family members, but have recently switched to one at our home church.  Honestly, it depends on what the topic that semester is, regarding where I choose to go.
Friday nights we go to church at the non-denominational church  mentioned above.  The worship is very contemporary and closer to what we have grown used to, which is one thing we really like about this church.  After church, we are part of a home group from that same church.

Reading over this, I know it must sound crazy to many of you.  We had difficulty finding one church home that met all our (perceived) needs, so we have sort of spread it out.  Sometimes I am afraid we are spreading ourselves too thin.  I also stress some on where our tithe should go.  Should our whole tithe go to the church where we are technically members?  Or should we divide it up amongst the churches, seeing as we use resources at them all?    Should we commit solely to one church?  Truly, I am truly thankful for the variety.  Also, we have met so many nice people.

In the last 11 years, I have learned that it is not about religion or denomination; it is about God's love.  As long as I am in a church that preaches and teaches God's Word, it doesn't matter what the label above the door says.  So, some may call us wishy-washy or even flaky, but this is working for us...for now.  Who knows what God has in store for us in the future? 

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Well, I applied to two different publishers to blog about their books.  So far, I have a 50% success rate.  One publisher wants me to have a more established blog (completely understandable) and will check back in with me in a month or so.  The other will be shipping me a book soon.  So exciting!!  In the meantime, I get to write about whatever I want.  My apologies that my life is not more exciting.  I suppose I could take this time to tell you a little (or a lot) more about myself and my family.

I am a thirtysomething wife and mother.  My son, we'll call him "Cowboy," is four and will be five in March.  My daughter, let's call her "Toodles," is one and also has a birthday in March.  These are the nicknames my dad has given them, and they seem to have stuck.  Also, I am just not comfortable with putting everything out there in the great wide open.  However, if you are reading this because you already know me, then you know my children's real names and the nicknames shouldn't matter much.  My husband, Luke (real name), and I have been married for about 9 1/2 years.  About a year ago, he accepted a position with Coca-Cola in "Nowhere," New Mexico.  He took this job partly so that we could be closer to my mother, who was terminally ill, and partly because his job in the big city STUNK.  I mean, it paid the bills and all, but he worked 12+ hours a day, six days a week in addition to a commute that was nearly an hour each way.  He left before the kids got up in the morning and often did not make it home before their bedtime.  It was difficult, but it helped to get us where we are today.  And, we are adjusting to life in a town without a Target, a Starbucks, or a Chick-Fil-A.  We do have family here, which is a first for us.  For more than 10 years we lived at least 3 1/2 hours from our nearest relatives.  During that time we made some really awesome friends, and we do miss them terribly. 

As for me, well, I am a full time wife and mommy.  Many women are full time wives and mommies in addition to being full or part time other things outside the home.  God bless them!  I'm not sure how I managed everything before I stopped teaching.  I did teach for 10 years before my daughter was born and we decided it was just as cost effective for me to be home with the kids rather than paying for daycare.  I love being home with my kids, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  But it's not always easy, and it's not for everyone.  Some days I want to lock myself in the bathroom and scream.  Most days, though, I am just thankful that God has provided for us so that I am able to be with them. 

I do plan to return to work one day, probably once both kids are in school.  I don't think, however, that I will go back to teaching.  I would really like to be a school librarian, though.  And, I think I'd be good at it.  Unfortunately, it appears as though NM schools are trying to phase out librarians.  Maybe I should run for a position on the board of education instead...  Either way, that's in the future, which is always uncertain.  For now, I must focus on the present and the load of laundry in the dryer calling my name.

Thanks for reading!


Monday, January 3, 2011

First Official Post

Hello World.  Welcome to my blog.  I hope it will be engaging, entertaining, and grammatically correct.  But, chances are, it will be very similar to the millions of other blogs out there.  I'll start by being honest.  I realize that everybody else in cyberspace started blogging about 10 years ago.  I know I'm late to the party.  I'm not a writer.  I am a wife, a mother, and I was a teacher.  The truth of the matter is, is that a friend told me I could get free books by starting a blog.  BOOKS...for FREE!!  I am a reader.  It's a bit of a sickness, I believe.  I love to own books.  I like how they look on the shelf.  I love the stack on my bedside table that beckons to me nightly.  I like the smell of a newly printed novel and the mustiness of an old book of poetry.  I could spend hours, days even, in libraries and bookstores.  I have many, many books.  More than I could possibly read in the next five years. Does this stop me from purchasing more?  From maxing out my library card every two weeks?  Of course not!  So, upon learning I could be given even more books...for the mere cost of my opinion on said books, I was overjoyed!  This means you, dear reader, will be given the blessing of my rambling opinions of the latest releases in this blog.  I hope you will find it amusing or at least informational.  I am open to hints, tips, and constructive criticism. 

Thanks for stopping by,