Wednesday, May 27, 2020

{ The Fight to Flourish by Jennie Lusko - TLC Book Tour }

Hardcover: 288 Pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (May 5, 2020)

Explore how to live a life of joy and fullness, especially in the midst of disappointment and broken dreams.

How do you live a full life? Perhaps the better question is, how do you really live when life throws you sucker punches, when you face obstacles that seem to snuff out your faith, when you lose something or someone precious to you?

In The Fight to Flourish, Jennie Lusko encourages women to suit up and thrive, not just in the dailies of monotony and routine but even in the most desolate of places. Using the backdrop of her second-born daughter Lenya’s passing into heaven five days before Christmas in 2012, Jennie invites readers to embrace whatever destination they’ve landed.

She teaches how, through the good and the bad, they can learn to grow, be strong, draw near to God, and be a blessing to others. It is in this sacred space of pain and promise that women can begin to flourish.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


About Jennie Lusko

Jennie Lusko serves alongside her husband, Levi, leading Fresh Life Church in Montana, Utah, Oregon, and Wyoming. They have five incredible children: Alivia, Daisy, Clover, Lennox, and Lenya, who is in heaven. The Luskos live in Montana, which boasts the largest snowflake ever recorded in history, one and a half times larger than a competition frisbee.

One of Jennie’s greatest joys and calling is sharing the hope and freedom found in Jesus to those stranded in sin. She feels most alive when she’s helping people and giving gifts.

Connect with Jennie

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

I want to begin by letting you know that I'm not quite finished with the book.  I received it a little late, so didn't get as much to dive right in as much as I would have liked to.

Nevertheless, even though I'm not finished, I feel quite confident that I can review what I've read so far.

To put it simply, you need to get yourself a copy of The Fight to Flourish.

Jennie Lusko and her husband suffered a heartbreaking blow, when their 5 year old healthy daughter passed away unexpectedly.  I can't even begin to put myself in their shoes, it is a pain that I have not experienced, and hope to never have to experience it.

What Jennie does is turn a tragic event into a way to flourish in her journey as a woman and a Christian.

I know from my own experience, that the moments we are in the storm, albeit the hardest and most painful at times, are also the moments where we learn and grow the most.  It isn't easy to see the light on the other side, and so at times we give in to the pain or the grief.

Jennie encourages us all to stand firm in the love of Christ, to keep going, to push through, and to flourish.  She uses her own journal entries to guide us and show us how to survive, to breathe through those times where it feels unbearable to even get out of bed.

Absolutely brilliant book that I believe any woman of faith, should have in her library.

Thank you to TLC Tours and the Thomas Nelson publishers,  for providing me with a review copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, May 25, 2020

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 05/25/2020 }

Good morning everyone.  I am sorry this is going up a little later than usual.  It's been a crazy few days here at home.  We have a barn cat that roams our property, and 3 days ago when Curt went out to the workshop, he found 5 baby kittens.  Within a few hours the mother had taken them all, but one.  We left it there in case she came back, but she never did, so we had to bring him in.

As you may know, I'm quite allergic to cats, so this has been interesting.  The poor thing is so disoriented and it breaks my heart to know that it's mother abandoned him for no reason.  He is quite healthy, full of energy.

But, it is a lot of work bringing a baby kitten inside.  We are trying very hard to do everything we can but it's new territory to us all.  Marley is not happy with this and though he's very sweet with the kitten and even afraid of it, he has regressed to peeing indoors.  I am struggling because I'm allergic so anytime I am near the cat I'm itchy and uncomfortable.  We are taking it to the vet on Wednesday, and are hoping to find a home for it in the meantime, because we can't have a cat at all.

Anyway, let me get this post up quick then I have to get ready to take my daughter to work.

♥♥The Weather♥♥
Insane storms lately, tornado in our town on Friday, multiple trips to the storm cellar under the house.  It's been just crazy.  We have more thunderstorms today and the rest of the week.   

Monday - Thunderstorms,  75
Tuesday - Scattered Thunderstorms, 72
Wednesday - Scattered Thunderstorms, 77
Thursday - Scattered Thunderstorms, 80
Friday - Partly cloudy,81
Saturday -  Sunny, 80
Sunday - Partly cloudy, 82

♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥
A bit tired if I'm honest.  Haven't been sleeping too well.  Also dealing with the cat allergies, so that's never fun, but overall I am good.   

♥♥On my mind♥♥
Finding a home for this baby kitten.   God has placed him/her in our care for the moment, but I can't have cats around, so I'll suck it up for the moment, but a permanent home needs to be found.         

♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥
Huge cup of coffee which has gone cold already as we were feeding and caring for the kitten.  I'll have a toast with my homemade cream cheese, in a moment.  Did I tell you I made homemade cream cheese?  It is divine and so much better than store bought.  I'll try to get the recipe up either later today or tomorrow.                  

♥♥On my reading pile♥♥
The Fight to Flourish by Jennie Lusko.      

♥♥On my tv♥♥
Nothing, I am so behind on watching anything.  Didn't get a chance last week to watch anything at all.

♥♥On the menu this week♥♥

Going grocery shopping on Friday, so only have meals planned until then.

Monday - Going to my brothers house for dinner
Tuesday - Bangers and Mash, Roasted Squash
Wednesday - Rotisserie Chicken, Garlic Potatoes, Salad
Thursday - Not sure, need to check freezer
Friday -
Saturday -

♥♥From the camera♥♥
The baby kittens.  The one on the right is the one that was abandoned by the mama.  So sad.  But it is being loved on and fed and we will try our very best to raise a healthy baby kitten. 


 ♥♥Looking around the house♥♥
I need to give it a good clean but haven't had a chance the past week.  The house is clean and tidy, but I just want to give it a deep clean, haven't even done a Spring cleaning yet.  I'm so far behind this year.            

♥♥Chore I'm not looking forward to today, or this week♥♥
As always, the bathrooms.  My least favorite room to clean in the house. 

♥♥To relax this week, I will♥♥
Read and maybe catch up on tv.                    

♥♥On my prayer list♥♥
The President, our country.

♥♥Devotional/Bible Verse♥♥

"Forsake me not, O Lord."
Psalm 38:21

Frequently we pray that God would not forsake us in the hour of trial and temptation, but we too much forget that we have need to use this prayer at all times. There is no moment of our life, however holy, in which we can do without his constant upholding. Whether in light or in darkness, in communion or in temptation, we alike need the prayer, "Forsake me not, O Lord." "Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe." A little child, while learning to walk, always needs the nurse's aid. The ship left by the pilot drifts at once from her course. We cannot do without continued aid from above; let it then be your prayer today, "Forsake me not. Father, forsake not thy child, lest he fall by the hand of the enemy. Shepherd, forsake not thy lamb, lest he wander from the safety of the fold. Great Husbandman, forsake not thy plant, lest it wither and die. Forsake me not, O Lord,' now; and forsake me not at any moment of my life. Forsake me not in my joys, lest they absorb my heart. Forsake me not in my sorrows, lest I murmur against thee. Forsake me not in the day of my repentance, lest I lose the hope of pardon, and fall into despair; and forsake me not in the day of my strongest faith, lest faith degenerate into presumption. Forsake me not, for without thee I am weak, but with thee I am strong. Forsake me not, for my path is dangerous, and full of snares, and I cannot do without thy guidance. The hen forsakes not her brood; do thou then evermore cover me with thy feathers, and permit me under thy wings to find my refuge. Be not far from me, O Lord, for trouble is near, for there is none to help.' Leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation!'"

"O ever in our cleansed breast,

Bid thine Eternal Spirit rest;

And make our secret soul to be

A temple pure and worthy thee."

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

{ Our first big snake encounter }


I want to live in the country.  I love living in the country.  I can't wait to have a huge property with lots of land.

That's me!, is that a rattlesnake?!?!?!?

That is also me.  Yesterday morning.


Let me rewind real quick.  LOL

We were doing yard work, which we've been doing a lot of the past two weeks that Curt has been teleworking from home.  We like to get out there early morning, while it's still cool outside, because as it is with Texas weather this time of year, it is already well into the high 70's by the time the clock strikes 10 AM.

Curt was busy weeding and working his way around our fences, both in the fenced in backyard area and the very front of the house, near the street.

I started working in my veggie garden behind the potting shed/greenhouse.    Moving some veggies around, planning where the rows will go and so on.



I then moved indoors and was rearranging, placing plants here and there, and just basically getting on with my day.



I was in the middle of this, when Curt yelled for me from outside, he wanted to show me something, and told me to grab the camera.  So I did, because you know me, as a blogger, the camera goes with me wherever I go and if there's a chance of something fun to share, even better.




While weeding around the wooden fence, he came across baby bunnies.  He was so thankful that he didn't hurt them because they were just blending in with the fence and not moving an inch.  We stood there oohing and aahing, I took pictures and then he went on to weed the remaining fence near the front porch, and I went back inside.

I hadn't even been in but 5 minutes when he ran in to get me.  As he started weeding near the fence, three other small baby bunnies darted off.  One went towards the other two around the corner, and the other remaining two ran towards the house.  One hid under my bench on the porch and the other one, the little cutie above, hid in my flower bed.

At the same time that they darted in opposite directions, my husband saw a snake slither under one of the pallets that sits against the wall.

We didn't know what kind it was, but we knew it wasn't the usual small garden snakes we sometimes see around the countryside.



Yeah, this one screams STAY AWAY.  She started making a rattling noise and hissing at us.  I honestly thought she was a rattlesnake, because she sounded exactly like it, but this was before we saw her head.

Thinking it was a rattler, I called the local police department and they contacted the animal shelter.  We were told to stay away from her and the animal shelter would be out as soon as they could.


We kept an eye on her, just to know where she was because the last thing I wanted was for her to slither off into a spot I couldn't see.  I can't deal with that.

It also quickly became evident that what we had was not a rattlesnake but a bullsnake.  They mimic the rattlesnakes though that's why we were certain it was one until she started coming out from under the pallet and trying to strike at us.

The animal shelter????

Showed up 2 hours later.


Now from what we know, bullsnakes are not venomous and usually not aggressive, but this one, boy was it annoyed with us.  I'm not sure if it was because we interfered with her plans for a meal (baby bunnies), or because we disturbed her hiding spot.

Curt made a rope with a noose at the end, and pulled a MacGyver by making it where at the pull of the rope, the noose tightened.  He placed it on the pallet, waited for her to strike again and managed to catch her.

Rattlesnakes and bullsnakes are illegal to hunt and kill, so he didn't kill it, but merely caught it for the animal shelter.

That thing was HUGE people, almost 6 foot long.  Every time he moved or hissed, I shivered from head to toe.  I'm not usually scared of snakes but my word, that one was unnerving.

Just glad she was caught, we had no idea she was under there as we hadn't cleared that area for a few months, since Winter time.  But, she's now gone, and the baby bunnies are all safe and reunited with her mom and dad.

This is one thing that I have to get used to, if I want to live out here.  We have 3 acres, lots of field and land around us, always see wildlife around here whether it be deer, coyotes, skunks whatever.  It's not surprising that we encounter snakes too.  Just need to be more careful and make sure that we keep our property cleared out.






With that excitement out of the way, I managed to get back in the house and finish off all my chores before running out to pick up Jasmine from work.

I got my parsley and cilantro, washed, cut up and in the freezer.

Also made my garlic paste, added a few extra things this time to make it even tastier.  I didn't add that whole serrano pepper because as you know, or maybe you don't, they are pretty spicy and unlike the jalapeno peppers that lose their heat as you cook them, the serrano gains more heat as it cooks up.

I literally added a tiny sliver to my paste.

Was able to get a full mason jar for the fridge, and then almost a full tub that goes into the freezer, until needed.  I should have enough to last me for at least a month or so.

Then, I moved on to making my homemade cleaning mixtures.  It had been 2 months since I last made any, because I could not find rubbing alcohol in any store.  Luckily, we were at Walmart 2 days ago, and they had it in stock and even had hand sanitizer and gel as well.  So happy to see these products showing up in stores again.


It was a crazy day but it made me realize just how blessed I am to live where I do, and how much I love my house, my property and every little animal that comes with it.  They're creations of God and are here for a reason.

Every animal has it's purpose, even if we are scared of them or don't want them around for our own selfish reasons. 

I honestly didn't want the snake dead, just wanted it moved and maybe placed in a nearby field or just somewhere where it wouldn't get the baby bunnies, or lay eggs near my house.

It is par for the course when you live in a rural area, and I know there will be times when I'll encounter something I may not exactly be prepared for, but I am willing to learn and accept all that comes with living where we dreamed of.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

{ Bird watching on a rainy day }


Remember when we were stationed in Arizona, I always took a ton of pictures of the birds around the house?

I used to sit for hours in the backyard, with my camera on a tripod, just watching the birds, taking photos, and enjoying them fluttering about doing their own thing.


I haven't really been bird watching since then.  Life got busy, and ashamedly, I stop doing a lot of the little things that I enjoyed.  That needs to be remedied.

So, this past weekend we had non stop rain, pretty severe storms at time, but in the afternoons, a calming, constant rain.  I sat out on the back porch with the camera in hand, and just listened to the drops falling on the table, or the roof above me.

It was so calming and just what I needed.



So many different species, colors, sizes.  I am always in awe of God's creation.




This little one in the back was cracking me up.  He kept peeking over the other one, then looking away, then again that little head would pop up to see what I was doing.  Hahah


I know, I know that is a lot of bird photos, but don't you just love them?

But I also did take a lot of rain photos.  I think sometimes it feels good to sit back and really immerse ourselves into the nature around us.  I for one adore rain, I love sleeping to the sound of rain, I love rainy days and cozy afternoons, and I absolutely love sitting out on the back porch watching the rain falling down around me.








After sitting outside for about an hour or two, I came back in and got some reading done.  My boy Marley is my little shadow, where I go he goes and if he is not right at my feet, he is nearby, watching, waiting.



It just felt good to take it as slow as the rainy day.  Recharged my batteries and made me once again appreciate the life I have.

Monday, May 18, 2020

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 05/18/2020 }

Good morning everyone, welcome back to my blog and another Happy Homemaker Monday.

It's been a whole week since I've posted here on the blog.  Last week was incredibly busy for me, homeschooling took up every spare moment of my time, and when we weren't under piles of school work, I was once again driving my daughter to work. Thankful for that return to normalcy, but yes, it made it a bit difficult to get it all done and still find time for myself.

School is over though, we finished on Friday, and my Nick is now headed to 12th Grade.  I won't even try to wrap my brain around that one, it's not something I am quite ready to face yet.

Anyway,  we are officially on summer break.  Curt is also home for the next 2 or so weeks, unless they open the base completely back up, then he will be back in the classroom and not teleworking.

Jasmine has been back at work for 3 days and they have been absolute hell for her and her coworkers.  Huge lines outside the store, people waiting 2 hours in the rain to get in.  Others inside waiting 4 hours to check out.  It's just mind boggling to me.  I enjoy shopping but there's no way in God's green earth, that I would put myself through that nonsense.

All the cashiers have to wear both masks and face shields, which are uncomfortable but also hot, sweaty and makes them feel extremely claustrophobic.  It's just a whole mess going on, and I'm hoping that today things settle a bit.  My girl was excited to go back to work, and she still loves her job but she is exhausted and her body is hurting.

But all that aside, we are still extremely thankful to God for everything in our lives.

I am so happy to be on summer break, and can't wait to get back to sharing on here.

Now that I've caught you all up, let's get going with our post for today. 

♥♥The Weather♥♥
Hot but crazy storms around.  It's that time of the year for us, so big storms, tornado watches etc., is par for the course.  This week looks like some more rain coming in but still pretty warm. 

Monday - Sunny,  90
Tuesday - Sunny, 87
Wednesday - Partly cloudy, 83
Thursday - Isolated Thunderstorms, 86
Friday - Isolated Thunderstorms, 92
Saturday -  Partly cloudy, 89
Sunday - PM Thunderstorms, 86

♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥
Exhausted.  Was awake and up at 3:30 am.  I'm sure you remember a couple years ago I was dealing with horrible insomnia, but then it went away and I was able to get back to sleeping peacefully.  Unfortunately this past week, it's reared it's ugly head and I'm having issues sleeping again. 

A lot of my insomnia issues are perimenopausal related, if you didn't know, it is one of the many symptoms of this stage in our lives.  But, insomnia is also triggered by anxiety and when I had it a few years ago, there was a lot going on, it was an extremely stressful time for me. 

I'm not sure why it's showing up again, all I can think is that last week schooling was quite stressful too, so maybe that was it?  I don't know.  I'm going to continue praying that it goes away. 

♥♥On my mind♥♥
A lot of projects that I want to get done in and outside the house.  Hoping to get things taken care of while hubby is home, we have a list of things we want to try and finish while he is available.             

♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥
Just a humongous cup of coffee at 4 am.  Will have another later this morning, but I do have to take Jasmine to work firs, then I'll come home and have some breakfast.                     

♥♥On my reading pile♥♥
Just started my next review book called The Fight to Flourish.  I'm only a few pages in but, wow.  This is going to be a good one, and a hard one to get through as well.  Jennie Lusko and her husband Levi, lost their 5 year old daughter Lenya, when she passed from an asthma attack.  The book is all about moving through such a heartbreaking and traumatic event, and how to continue to live, how to flourish so to speak after a devastating loss.      

♥♥On my tv♥♥
Honestly, had no time for any tv last week.  The only time I was able to watch anything was while preparing dinner, so I put on things that I could listen to, instead of having to focus on watching.  I found a brilliant channel on Youtube with fascinating interviews of Holocaust survivors.  That's what I've been listening to.

♥♥On the menu this week♥♥

Monday - Burgers on the Grill, Macaroni and Cheese
Tuesday - Sticky Asian Chicken, rice
Wednesday - Pao recheado (Beef filled bread rolls), fries
Thursday -  Crockpot cubed steak, Sauteed Collard Greens
Friday - Overnight Taco Pasta, Salad
Saturday - Barbecued Pork Ribs, Potato Salad
Sunday -  Chicken and Cheese Crispitos, Beans, Rice

♥♥From the camera♥♥
Last week was so busy, any moment I got to myself, I sat out on the back porch and just tried to enjoy nature and recharge.  The amount of birds that we have on our property, is insane.  So many, different species, colors, small, big.  I've been making sure to keep my camera on me, to try and capture a few. 

 ♥♥Looking around the house♥♥
I need to give my living room carpet a really good clean.  The constant in and out of Marley, family coming in from the pool, or me and hubby back and forth from the veggie garden, has results in the carpet looking quite yucky.  Nothing some water/bleach solution won't solve.  I'm glad my carpet is light enough that some bleach in the water gets it looking nice and clean again.          

♥♥Chore I'm not looking forward to today, or this week♥♥
Cleaning the pool.  We had very strong storms the other night which dumped a ton of dirt into the pool.  The vacuum we have is one of those cheapy ones and it doesn't work very well, but it's what we have and we have to make it work.  Not a job I enjoy, mainly because it hurts my back and shoulder to do, but it's a necessary job nonetheless.

♥♥To relax this week, I will♥♥
Read, take photos, bake and hopefully share a lot of posts.                  

♥♥On my prayer list♥♥
The President, our country.
My daughter and her coworkers.  I pray that the craziness and excitement of the store being open, slows down. 
Family and friends going through different things, health, finances and so on.     

♥♥Devotional/Bible Verse♥♥

"In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him."
Colossians 2:9-10

All the attributes of Christ, as God and man, are at our disposal. All the fulness of the Godhead, whatever that marvellous term may comprehend, is ours to make us complete. He cannot endow us with the attributes of Deity; but he has done all that can be done, for he has made even his divine power and Godhead subservient to our salvation. His omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, immutability and infallibility, are all combined for our defence. Arise, believer, and behold the Lord Jesus yoking the whole of his divine Godhead to the chariot of salvation!

How vast his grace, how firm his faithfulness, how unswerving his immutability, how infinite his power, how limitless his knowledge! All these are by the Lord Jesus made the pillars of the temple of salvation; and all, without diminution of their infinity, are covenanted to us as our perpetual inheritance. The fathomless love of the Saviour's heart is every drop of it ours; every sinew in the arm of might, every jewel in the crown of majesty, the immensity of divine knowledge, and the sternness of divine justice, all are ours, and shall be employed for us.

The whole of Christ, in his adorable character as the Son of God, is by himself made over to us most richly to enjoy. His wisdom is our direction, his knowledge our instruction, his power our protection, his justice our surety, his love our comfort, his mercy our solace, and his immutability our trust. He makes no reserve, but opens the recesses of the Mount of God and bids us dig in its mines for the hidden treasures. "All, all, all are yours," saith he, "be ye satisfied with favour and full of the goodness of the Lord."

Oh! how sweet thus to behold Jesus, and to call upon him with the certain confidence that in seeking the interposition of his love or power, we are but asking for that which he has already faithfully promised.

PLEASE stop sharing links that are not Happy Homemaker Monday  
related.  This linky is only for the participants of this Monday  
feature.  I am actually getting tired of having to go through and delete
  links to random blog posts.  Be respectful!!!

Monday, May 11, 2020

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 05/11/2020 }

Good morning dear friends, how was your weekend?

I know our Mother's Day was a little different this year, but I hope for you it was a good one nonetheless.  In a way I feel that this was one of the best Mother's Days I've had.

Marley and I just saw Curt off to work, he is back teaching a class this week, then he is off for another 3 weeks, staying home, unless the base opens up completely, then he will be back in the classroom/office.  Jasmine also goes back to work on Wednesday and she is beyond thrilled.  My poor girl has struggled the past 2 months not being able to get out and work.

For all those returning to work this week, I wish you all the best, stay safe, stay aware, but enjoy every moment of going back into the work force.  I'm ready to see our country back in action.

Now, let's see what is happening around our homes.

♥♥The Weather♥♥
50 degrees this morning, so a little cooler than usual.  Looks like we have a week of storms coming up, which is not unusual for our area this time of the year, as we're heading into Tornado season. 

Monday - Partly cloudy,  78
Tuesday - Thunderstorms, 73
Wednesday - PM Thunderstorms and wind, 89
Thursday - Partly cloudy and wind, 91
Friday - PM Thunderstorms, 90
Saturday -  Scattered Thunderstorms, 82
Sunday - AM Thunderstorms, 85

♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥
Ok.  My allergies have been pretty awful the past week, so I'm quite congested and my tinnitus is quite loud today.  Anytime my allergies flare up, my nose gets congested and it immediately affects my ears.  But, I'm sure I'll start feeling better as soon as I take the meds. 

♥♥On my mind♥♥
This coming week things will start to finally feel more normal, as both Curt and Jasmine head back to work.  It will be a welcomed change for sure.  School is also ending on Friday, so this week is extremely busy when it comes to homeschooling.  Sure looking forward to summer break though.           

♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥
I've had my first cup of coffee, with peppermint mocha creamer.  For breakfast we still have a ton of donuts, so yes, that will be happening.                   

♥♥On my reading pile♥♥
Finishing up Beyond Awkward Side Hugs by Brownyn Lea, then will read one of my own books while I wait for the new review copies to arrive.       

♥♥On my tv♥♥

Was able to watch the first 2 episodes of Belgravia on Amazon Prime, but it seems the episodes after are not free.  I'll have to watch it elsewhere. 

This week I'll hopefully, finally catch up on:
When Calls the Heart

I'm also currently watching Hostages of the SS, on Amazon Prime. 

Based on a true story, this documentary film portrays the dramatic liberation of the “special prisoners” of the Nazi regime that were forced by the SS to the Alps and considered to be “bargaining chips” to the Allies.

♥♥On the menu this week♥♥

I have meals planned until Thursday, Friday I will be grocery shopping, so sometime this week I will be working on the new meal plan.

Monday - Pork Roast, Garlic Butter Potatoes, Salad
Tuesday - Great Grandma's Meatballs, Rice
Wednesday - Creamy Rotini with Ham, Garlic Bread
ThursdayOrange Chicken and Rice
Friday -
Saturday -
Sunday -

♥♥From the camera♥♥
There are moments throughout the day, that I walk by certain areas in my house, and can't help but smile.  Those are the moments I try to capture with the camera, to keep for prosperity.  To one day be able to look back and smile and remember exactly that specific moment in time.    

 ♥♥Looking around the house♥♥
It is cloudy today, so the house seems darker than usual at this time of the morning.  I've already opened the curtains in both the living rooms and my bedroom.  Also opened up the bird cage for the day.  The moment those covers come off, he is happily chirping away.        

♥♥Chore I'm not looking forward to today, or this week♥♥

I need to give the pool a good cleaning, we've been waiting on the net and vacuum to come in, and it's arriving today, so hopefully I can get that done before the storms move in later this afternoon.               

♥♥To relax this week, I will♥♥
I think I may have to stay indoors due to the weather, so no swimming unfortunately.  I will be doing a lot of reading.                

♥♥On my prayer list♥♥

The President, our country.
For my daughter as she heads back to work.  She is so excited but also a little apprehensive as she deals directly with the public.  Her store will be imposing the rule that all cashiers and remaining stuff, wear masks, gloves and face shields, so I think that will calm her anxiety a bit.   

♥♥Devotional/Bible Verse♥♥

This Sunday, Pastor Furtick's wife, Holly, delivered such a powerful message.  It was called More than Miracles, and boy did she struck some nerves, it was like she was talking straight to my heart.  You can watch the sermon here.

PLEASE stop sharing links that are not Happy Homemaker Monday  
related.  This linky is only for the participants of this Monday  
feature.  I am actually getting tired of having to go through and delete
  links to random blog posts.  Be respectful!!!

{ Beyond Awkward Sidehugs by Bronwyn Lea - TLC Book Tour }

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 7, 2020)

It Doesn’t Have to Be This Weird

When it comes to relationships between men and women, we have more questions than answers:
  • How do we keep relationships with the opposite sex healthy—and still hug each other after small group?
  • Is it possible for married men and women to be friends with people of the opposite sex?
  • What does it mean to be a woman if you’re not a wife, or a man if you’re not a husband?
Jesus’ pattern for church living was one of family—of brothers and sisters living in intimate, life-giving community with each other. With story, sensitivity, and hope, Beyond Awkward Side Hugs invites us to leave behind eroticized, fear-based patterns and move toward gendered, generous relationships between men and women of character as we love one another as Jesus did.

Beyond Awkward Side Hugs is a deep well of biblical wisdom, and Lea has written with nuance and clarity, humor and grace.” –Jen Pollock Michel, author of Surprised by Paradox and Keeping Place

“The church desperately needs a bigger vision for how men and women can flourish together in ministry and friendship, and Bronwyn Lea paints a vivid picture for how we’ll get there.” –Steve Wiens, author of Shining Like the SunBeginnings, and Whole 

Purchase Links

Amazon |Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Thomas Nelson


About Bronwyn Lea

Bronwyn Lea is a writer, bible teacher, lawyer and ice-cream addict with twenty years of pastoral ministry experience. She heads up Propel Sophia, the Christian living wisdom resource for Propel Women, and is on the pastoral staff of her local church. Bronwyn is mom to three school-aged kids, who keep her somewhere between hilarious laughter and desperate prayer on any given day. She and her fellow South African husband live in Northern California, where they count the men and women in their church as not just friends, but family.

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First things first, Bronwyn is from South Africa.  YAY!!!

I know that may sound ridiculous but having lived in South Africa my whole childhood, it's always a joy when I get to enjoy a book by a South African author.

Aside from the South Africa thing, Bronwyn is a Christian woman just like I am, and I think she has a lot of the same thoughts and ideas that I do when it comes to the sexuality department and how it applies for a Christian.

I think as a Christian we have quite strong beliefs and are sometimes shunned and looked down on by those who are not of the Christian faith.

I want to start by saying that I've always found the use of sex in movies, commercials and books, a bit extreme.  There doesn't seem to be anything on the TV that doesn't bring in a sex scene or some sort of innuendo.  Now stop right there, I'm not afraid of ashamed of sex, but I do believe that it has a time and place.

Bronwyn leads us through a myriad of examples, Bible based facts and scripture, to help us navigate this ongoing world of commercialized sex that somehow seeps into everything we do and say.  As Christians we often find ourselves in situations that my leave us a bit uncomfortable.  That hug between a brother and sister in Christ that sometimes makes us immediately hope that no one is thinking that it is more than a simple hug.

The author lays out a biblical vision for our relationships in the church, how to keep a male and female relationship healthy without it becoming awkward and weird.

The truth of the matter is that we've been conditioned to look upon everything in a sexual way.  Bronwyn makes a perfect point when she mentions that she has to refer to a pencil eraser as an ERASER and not a RUBBER.  That struck home with me because having grown up in South Africa, we always called it a rubber, and in my innocence when I moved to the United States that is what I referred to it as, until my husband explained that a rubber will most likely make people think I'm talking about a condom instead.

These are the kind of examples that she touches upon.  The fact that nothing we say or do anymore, can be just that, just a simple pencil rubber, a simple hug between opposite sexes without it meaning anything other than friendship.

As a Christian it is becoming increasingly harder to navigate this world we live in and I for one appreciate Bronwyn bringing into light, not only our innermost thoughts on this matter, but how she has worked around these preconceived thoughts and notions, and how we can start to change the way we look at the narrative and rather focus on what exactly the Bible tells us to do.

Why does everything have to be so sexualized?  Is it possible for a male and female to have a friendship that is purely platonic?

If there's one thing I'm taking away from this book, is to stop worrying about what the world in general may think and rather focus on what Jesus wanted for us.

Thank you to TLC Tours and the Thomas Nelson publishers,  for providing me with a review copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review.