Tuesday, February 24, 2015

February Book Club

I've been a fan of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" from it's conception. (Except for those off seasons. Byron who? Prince Lorenzo?) But my favorite was Sean Lowe's season. After The Bachelorette broke his heart, Sean Lowe suspected his “nice guy” image hurt him. The show never emphasized it, but Sean committed to living according to biblical standards of sexuality, even as producers emphasized the risqué and promiscuous. A Texas boy from a Baptist home, Sean tells the story of how he went from a Division I college football player to a fan favorite on reality television, taking readers behind the scenes of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette to see the challenges of living out his values and faith—and ultimately winning his true love’s heart.

For the Right Reasons is about the journeys we all have to take in the real world, where being “good” is the right thing to do but sometimes doesn’t seem to be enough; where betrayal is commonplace; and where that thing called perfection is actually just a cruel myth. Sean learned a few things from his two seasons on the hottest romance shows on television, and he wants others to benefit from those lessons: good does eventually win, lies will be discovered, and “nice guys” do ultimately finish first. Loved this book!

I picked this book up on a whim at my church library. I know many of you may be pro or con Osteen, but I thought I would give this one a read and really enjoyed it. Pastor Joel Osteen asks everyone to examine what he or she really believes. Why is this important? Because we will become what we believe. Our beliefs will prove either a barrier or vehicle as we strive to go higher, rise above our obstacles, and to live in health, abundance, and victory. He says that our self-image should mirror exactly what God says about us, not what we feel or think. And he encourages readers to be people of faith, for if you can see the invisible, God will do the impossible.

I downloaded this book when it was free on Amazon, and it still is as I link it to this post. It may not be when it is published, though. Anyway, this story is about eighteen year-old Gemma whose life has never been normal. Up until recently, she has been incapable of feeling emotion. And when she’s around Alex, the gorgeous new guy at school, she can feel electricity that makes her skin buzz. Not to mention the monsters that haunt her nightmares have crossed over into real-life. But with Alex seeming to hate her and secrets popping up everywhere, Gemma’s life is turning into a chaotic mess. Things that shouldn’t be real suddenly seem to exist. And as her world falls apart, figuring out the secrets of her past becomes a matter of life and death. It was good, but not great.

50 Shades of Grey

I finally broke down and read this book with the movie coming out this weekend. I don't think I need to recap it on here for you. I didn't like it either. I just don't get the hype.

The Best Yes

Love Lysa Terkeurst and this book. This review from Amazon says it all:

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Yes is a Best Buy for Y-O-U!!! August 27, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I rate all the books I read, but haven't written a review yet... until this one. This is one of my favorite books I have read. It has hit my heart, mind and soul. I think the book description makes it seem good for people with packed schedules. While I am busy like everyone, I feel I have a good handle on my to do/work list. For me, the book has made me reflect on all aspects that make up me. I have so many highlights in this book and have shared quotes and thoughts from it with others. AND they have felt it really makes you think and is very profound. The aha moments have been many. I highly recommend this book!
So what books did you read this month? Do you have any suggestions for me?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Favorites!

It's Friday, so that means I am linking up with my FAVORITES NarciAndrea and Erika!

Peanut is about over this cold weather!  (That I'm loving!)

I had the opportunity to sing at Westminster Presbyterian Church's grand re-opening concert. The church was destroyed in the tornado of 2013. 

And speaking of opportunities to sing, I performed in the world premier of "The Prodigal", the new oratorio from this guy here, the one and only Mack Wilberg of the Morman Tabernacle Choir. 

Peanut says, "Put that book down and give me some attention!"

Mom and I celebrated Valentine's Day at the nursing home. 

Isn't she cute?!

Love my new earrings from Southern Gypsy!

The ladies on staff at The Lighthouse. We had a "Galentines" brunch for our residents and had a blast. 
(Can't photograph them.)

Mom's Mardi Gras parade

Showing off our beads!

We had a family band perform at the nursing home last night, and Peanut loved it! He sat still and listened to the music and barked as everyone else clapped. Too cute!

Little Man getting into the music

I posted this on social media, too. Proof that the Spirit is never touched by the disease.

I hope you all had a great week, too! I'm looking forward to spending some time with P and fellowshipping with The Lighthouse ladies. See you on Monday!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Just Me, JC - Candles!

Yay! Another edition of Just Me, JC. And this one is all about Candles!

I always have candles burning in my house. I just love a good scent. I've done a Just Me, JC on perfume, and this one is just as important to me. 

I cannot stand STINK, or SMELLS or any other ODOR!

These are a few of my favs:

WoodWick Vanilla Bean is my fav, but I love WoodWick simply for the crackling fire sound as it burns. 

Pumpkin Butter is also a good one.

Yankee Candles are also super popular, and Harvest is my favorite fall scent.

I really just like fall scents in general obviously! 
Bath and Body Works candles are great. The scent is strong but not overpowering and they last forever.

Swan Creek candles are a newer find. I see them mostly at little boutique stores. These scents are just different, like "olive verbena" and "red currant". Some are great and some take my breath away in a bad way. Have you tried Swan Creek?

I've also been told to try the pet odor candles they sell at the vet, but I haven't felt the need. Peanut doesn't really leave a "pet smell". Nor does he have accidents in the house (Ok, he does every few months, but they really are accidents. And probably my fault for leaving him inside too long...)

How many of you love, Love, LOVE candles, too? They are definitely a Just Me, JC love!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Floral Shoes Love!

As springtime approaches, I am always drawn to floral prints. It's a beautiful way to be girly and feminine.

If worn correctly.

Insert Easter dresses of days past...

#scary #whatwasmamathinking #whydidntdaddystopher

But really, I love the look of springtime florals anytime! Especially on your feet! 


Steve Madden high heel shoes

Wet Seal oxford shoes

Are you loving the floral trend?!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Daily Essentials!

Happy Monday, friends! I had to take some time off last week because of my crazy schedule, but I've got several posts planned for this week. You know those moments when you're driving home and pull in the driveway and think, "How did I get here?" I've been on auto-pilot a lot lately, but I've still been trying to stay in the moment. For someone as busy as I am, it's important for me to really take time to take it all in.

So, today's post is all about the essentials! There are certain things (both good and bad I might add) that I just have to have on a daily basis. I've said this before, but a lot of times I blog just for myself to have something to look back on one day. This is one of those posts. I wonder how much of these "essentials" will still be important years from now?

Daily Essentials

1. Eyelash curler - A no brainer for me. I have naturally long lashes that do well when curled.

2. Diet Coke (most important one!...and the one I need to cut.) - Some people have to have coffee to survive. I have to have my diet coke by the gallon.

3. My iPhone - I had to go without my phone recently while my brother did some restore thing to it, and I felt so naked. And what did I ever do without Siri? She's like the other half of my brain.

4. Kindle Fire - I read all the time. It's my favorite decompressing/entertainment activity.

5. Burt's Bees cuticle cream - Every night when I go to bed.

6. Burt's Bees lip balm - Also every night when I go to bed.

7. My Erin Condren Life Planner - The only thing that keeps me organized. (And it's pretty!)

8. And the most important daily essential...Peanut! This little guy loves me unconditionally, and I cannot imagine what life would be like without him lately. He's my bestest little bud!

Monday, February 9, 2015

25 Random Things

Happy Monday, friends! I have a BUSY week ahead of me because it's concert time again. I love singing in the two community choirs (and church choir), but the abundance of rehearsals is a little too much. I haven't quite learned the word "NO" yet...

Today's post is just a little randomness. I was scrolling through old Facebook posts and stumbled upon a "25 Things about Me" tell all. It was one of those where if you're tagged you have to complete it and then tag 25 others. It's funny how some of the stuff I originally wrote is no longer "me". I thought I'd post it today for a fun little recap.

*Today's thoughts will be in italics.

1. I love my dog. If you know me, you probably know Chandler Grace just as well. She has been with me through everything: high school, college, getting married, etc. She is my best friend. 

Insert me sobbing here. Chandler was and will always be my best friend. She passed away last year out of the blue. Ruptured spleen. I loved that dog so much! She also saw me through my divorce and mom moving into a nursing home since this post was originally written. It's funny how your pet just knows what you need when you need it. 

2. I love birds: bluebirds, cardinals, finches, Kestrels, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, all birds! I had North American bird flash cards when I was a little girl. While other kids were learning addition and subtraction, I was learning migratory bird patterns and nesting box preferences. Go ahead. Quiz me. I still know it.

Yep, still do.

I painted this when I was 4. Can you see my little mistake and why Dad framed this and kept it in his office over 20 years?...

3. I wish I could play the bagpipes. I took lessons in high school and never got the hang of it. I am soooo jealous of bagpipe players. It takes lots of talent.

It will also cost you your teeth! I had to have a crown put in place of the tooth that bit the pipe chanter on the upper left side of my mouth. Apparently I bit and ground my tooth so much on the chanter that the tooth eventually started cracking. Not fun.

4. My life-long dream is to be an astronaut. It’s all I talked about growing up. I still wish I could. I attended Space Camp four times and even sat in Mission Control – I cried. It was so emotional for me. I have shaken hands with Al Shepherd and John Glenn. I have every lapel pin from the Gemini missions and every mission patch from the Apollo missions. One of my heroes is Jim Lovell (And not just because of Apollo 13! Hello! Gemini 7, Gemini 12, Apollo 8…Amazing man. He has more space flight hours than any other.)

Can someone just pay to go to space? I would save, sell and borrow everything to be able to go into space and see the moon up close. I recently purchased The Astronaut Wives Club about the Mercury 7 astronauts and can't wait to read it!

5. I have been run over by a car. Literally. 

Scars are still visible. This year is the 10th anniversary.

6. My favorite movie is The Little Mermaid. I always wanted to be like Ariel. I cried every time she had to leave her daddy in the end. I knew it was going to be the same way for me when I got married. (And boy did I cry...)

I obviously cried for good reason since that marriage is long over. And my Daddy is still my rock!

7. I would give anything, and I mean anything, to have my grandparents back. Losing the four of them was probably the toughest thing I have ever been through.

Enough said.

8. Have I mentioned Chandler Grace?

And now I have my Peanut James!

9. When I was younger, I always participated in a program called “Hymns in My Heart”. I had to memorize and sing every word to every verse of a list of hymns. Then I had to perform the ones the judges selected from the list. To this day, I can still sing every word to every verse to just about any hymn you can name. The hymns really are in my heart.

I also won a personalized engraved hymnal when I finished this program that I use to this day.

10. I adore music. I play the piano and French horn as well as sing. I may not be the best in the world by any means, but I love it. I started taking piano lessons when I was seven all the way through three years of college. I majored in music education for three and a half years before changing my major. It finally sunk in that I really didn't want to teach. I just wanted to perform. Anyway, I adore music.

Still do. Still performing!

11. If I could be a flower, I would be a Sunflower. They stand so tall and so strong. They are always bright and open. My dad and I always joked that my Indian name was “Sunflower”. Yes, I would be a Sunflower.

I guess...?

12. I love to read. My favorite authors are Catherine Marshall, Nicholas Sparks, Beth Moore, and James Patterson. I have books scattered everywhere in my house. I love to read.

See my post on books here

13. If I could change one thing about myself it would be my negativity. I am always so certain that nothing good will come out of anything I try. It seems like nothing will ever go the way I want it so why get your hopes up? 

Still working on this one...

14. I used to want to be a Power Ranger. I thought they were so cool. 

I actually admitted to this on Facebook? Yeah, I still think the ORIGINAL series was cool.

15. Karen Carpenter is the best female vocalist ever. Her voice pierces straight through you. If you don’t know the Carpenters, check them out. 

Yep! See my post on music here.

16. My best childhood memories were coming up with new and crazy ideas to torture my little brother. That boy has been through some times let me tell you. He would kill me if I wrote some of the stuff on here, but trust me. He got it bad. 

I still jump out and scare him if he doesn't know I'm in his house. And it still makes him mad.

17. I miss high school show choir. It was so much fun. Dancing, singing, singing while dancing. All in the most sequin-covered, rhinestone-embossed, frilly dresses and high heels. I can still remember the smell of all the hairspray as we girls tried to accomplish “the poof”. 


18. I think living in a cottage under a lighthouse would be awesome. To see the waves and sand every day, to guide boats in a storm – too neat.

Ironic that I work at The Lighthouse now. Even though it's not an actual Lighthouse.

19. I own the entire Nancy Drew book series. I even have some of the original editions. They look like they will fall apart any moment. The picture on the front of one is almost gone. I love a good mystery book.

Yep! Nancy Drew got her own mention in that post on books.

20. One of my goals is to prevent aging at all costs. I’m not talking plastic surgery. I started using anti-wrinkle, anti-aging, skin tightening you name it right out of high school. I figure if I start early enough, maybe I can hold it off as long as possible. Getting older scares me. My husband gets aggravated with all the facial products I have scattered over the bathroom counter. Maybe he’ll appreciate it one day…!

Said husband is gone, but still no wrinkles!
See post on skincare here.

21. My dream home would be on a Plantation. Lots of land, animals to care for, a garden to tend and flowers everywhere. Maybe somewhere near the mountains, too. (Preferably with four seasons. Good ole south Mississippi humidity.)

Not anymore. I would now choose a rustic, but modern home overlooking the mountains. 

22. I want to go on an African safari.

Still on the ole' bucket list.

23. I love (what I can remember) the 80s. Neon was hot, big hair was awesome, and the makeup-yeah, I wouldn’t go that far. But the music is timeless!

Oh, yeah!

24. I like crafts. I really enjoy scrapbooking and lately I've gotten into pottery. I just wish I could draw/sketch/paint. Those aren't my forte.

*See picture of 4 legged birds above... :)

Still no Martha Stewart no matter how much I try. I've since taken art classes and that turned out to be a waste. The most creative I've gotten is how to organize apply winged eyeliner!

25. I am OBSESSED with Christmas. I start listening to Christmas music in September to get into the spirit. I love decorating the tree, the house, you name it. I adore twinkle lights and garlands. I can play Christmas carols on the piano by memory. I know every word to every carol and can quote “Twas the Night Before Christmas” word for word. I love cooking for the holidays and can wrap presents all day long. I adore Christmas!

It's an obsession for life apparently!

Have you ever looked back on journal entries or Facebook and seen how much you've grown or changed? I'd love to hear some of your stories!