Strong, Courageous Women

Good morning, readers! Happy Mother’s Day weekend! Today on the blog I am writing about strong women. I have always loved the quote, “Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” I am hoping to raise my daughter to become a strong woman and I know several of you wish the same for your daughters as well. I love to read books about women that have fought hard for where they are in life and haven’t taken no as an answer because in the midst of raising a strong woman, I’m still figuring out how to fully be one myself. I’m hoping these books are an encouragement to you just as much as they are to me.

Hill Women: Finding Family and a Way Forward in the Appalachian Mountains: Chambers, Cassie

Title: Hill Women: Finding family and a way forward in the Appalachian Mountains
Author: Cassie Chambers
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: January 2020
Page Length: 304 pages

Cassie Chamber’s mother grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky. Her mother, Wilma, was the first woman in their family to leave the farm to attend college, which was always encouraged by Cassie’s grandmother. One of my favorite people in the book is her maternal Aunt Ruth. She wanted to attend college, but due to health reasons combined with needing to be on the farm, it was impossible for her to finish high school. Ruth could produce more on the farm than her brothers. She’s physically and mentally tough. Ruth worked odd jobs outside the farm in the community and took the money she saved to help send her sister to college. Cassie writes in the book that Ruth always remained strong outwardly, but wonders if she had difficulty coping internally with the fact that Wilma was able to receive an education to pursue a different job. Wilma attended Berea College, married a teacher’s assistant and they remained in Berea after graduation. I don’t want to spoil the book if you haven’t read it, however, I think the story of Ruth makes a lot of the book. Her grandmother also surprised me with how modern her thinking was for the time period by encouraging her daughters to attend school and work hard. She didn’t want them to be stuck in the mountains with lack of opportunities. She was a very smart women in that she knew not only how to manage a household, but also could take apart TVs and radios to fix them when needed. She didn’t read often because there was no time, but she listened to the radio frequently while doing household chores.

As a reader, I can tell that Cassie is still struggling about which world to belong in-the Appalachian mountains where opportunities are fewer due to location and way of life, and the Ivy League college she graduated from, that although full of possibilities, can seem intimidating when you are a second generation college student whose ancestors have primarily known life in the mountains. She writes about the close knit community she is from and that the people remain tough, hardworking and proud. She writes about attending an Ivy League college and adjusting to new social norms and how to dress for formal events. It seems that Cassie is coming to appreciate her family history more as she grows older and acknowledges how difficult it must have been for previous generations of women in her family to sacrifice their own dreams to earn a living. Cassie is an attorney who worked as woman’s advocate in the area for several years before turning to politics. She learned, as most of us do as we age, that people are afraid to leave the familiar and cross into the unknown, which means they can’t be forced to change. Leaving the mountains is leaving behind a whole way of life, family and community, that while may have its issues, is still in the realm of the familiar. Cassie decided to remain in Kentucky and currently lives in Louisville with her husband and son. She visits the Appalachian mountains often to see family. Hill Women is an encouraging read written by a strong woman about generations of strong women.

Author Interview - Cassie Chambers, author of Hill Women | BookPage
 Nathan Cornetet, Fusion Photography

From the author’s website:

Cassie Chambers grew up in Eastern Kentucky. Her earliest memories are of playing on her grandparents’ farm in Owsley County, Kentucky and exploring the campus of Berea College with her mother and father.

Cassie graduated from Yale College, the Yale School of Public Health, the London School of Economics, and Harvard Law School, where she was president of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, a student-run law firm that represents low-income clients. Chambers then received a Skadden Fellowship to return to Kentucky to do legal work with domestic violence survivors in rural communities. In 2018, she helped pass Jeanette’s Law, which eliminated the requirement that domestic violence survivors pay an incarcerated spouse’s legal fees in order to get a divorce.

She is a lawyer and the current vice chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party. She lives in Louisville with her husband, Bryan, their dog, Brixton, and their cat, Spaghetti.
https://www.cassiechambers.com/

Further Reading:

Cassie Chambers on Hill Women and Finding Strength in Her Background
https://southernreviewofbooks.com/2021/02/04/hill-women-cassie-chambers-interview/

Cassie Chambers: Creativity, intelligence and grit in the Appalachian Mountains
https://bookpage.com/interviews/24755-cassie-chambers-biography-memoir#.YJVsrLVKgdU

Beyond Bootstraps: An Appalachian memoir that rejects the narrative of Hillbilly Elegy in favor of something more complicated
https://slate.com/culture/2020/03/cassie-chambers-hill-women-interview-hillbilly-elegy.html

Quirky Bookworm is reading:

Title: Maid: Hard work. low pay and a mother’s will to survive
Author: Stephanie Land
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication Date: January 2019
Page Length: 288 pages

I am halfway finished with Maid by Stephanie Land. I love her insight into the world of domestic housekeeping. Stephanie dated a man during the summer and became unexpectedly pregnant with her daughter. Shortly after, she and the man broke up and Stephanie found herself as a single mom with no formal education and in need of making a decent income. She writes about the brutal truth of being on government aid and the vulnerability and shame it brings. She shares the stories houses can tell about the people that live inside them based on messes left behind and objects scattered about. Stephanie had always wanted to be writer and how that dream was left behind for awhile. She, however, overcame the odds her writings are now published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian and The Atlantic. Maid was on President Obama’s 2019 Summer Reading List and Amazon’s and The New York Time’s Top 100 Books of the Year. Maid is set to premiere on Netflix later this year and will star Andie MacDowell and her daughter, Margaret Qualley. Click here to purchase.

Title: All The Single Ladies: Unmarried women and the rise of an independent nation
Author: Rebecca Traister
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: October 2016
Page Length: 368 pages

I am really looking forward to reading All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister, who discovered that singlehood for women is not new and has been a growing trend for decades. Statistics show that only 20 percent of women marry by 29 in today’s society, compared to 60 percent in 1960. Traister looks at the history, economics, friendships and lifestyle of single women. Single Ladies is a New York Times Notable Book of 2016, Best Books of 2016 selection by The Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, NPR and Chicago Public Library. Rebecca lives in New York with her family and is also the award winning author of Big Girls Don’t Cry. She has been a contributor for The New Republic, Salon, The Nation, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Vogue, Glamour and Marie Claire. Click here to purchase.

Title: Memorial Drive: A daughter’s memoir
Author: Natasha Trethewey
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: July 2020

Page Length: 224 pages
Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey has been on my TBR list for a few months. I discovered the book when I was compiling a list for Black History Month. Natasha writes about tragically losing her mother at the age of 19 in this intimate memoir. She writes of grief, love and loss and also how her mother’s legacy of resilience shaped her to be the prize winning author she is today. Natasha is a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, Cave Canem Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Grolier Poetry Prize, and Pushcart Prize. She teaches creative writing at Emory University. Click here to purchase.

Title: The Right Kind of Strong: Surprisingly simple habits of a spiritually strong woman
Author: Mary A. Kassian
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: July 2019
Page Length: 224 pages

I discovered The Right Kind of Strong at the public library over this past week. I’m always wondering what does it mean to be a strong woman according to the Bible. Does this mean I have a “I can do it all by myself with no support, thank you very much” or does it mean maybe seeking advice from wise family members and friends? How much is asking too much? Award winning author Mary A. Kassian answers these questions based on Paul’s writings in 2 Timothy to the women in the church of Ephesus. Mary writes about how to develop healthy friendships, managing our emotions, confessing our sins, controlling our minds by taking every thought captive, embracing our human weaknesses, live out what we are learning, developing confident convictions and rely on the Lord. Mary Kassian was a professor at Southern Baptist Seminary for several years, and is now a women’s speaker and award winning author of Girls Gone Wise. Click here to purchase.

Title: The Women of the Bible Speak: The wisdom of 16 women and their lessons for today
Author: Shannon Bream
Publisher: Broadside Books
Publication Date: March 2021
Page Length: 256 pages

The Women of the Bible Speak caught my attention on NetGalley a few weeks ago. I was looking for a Christian book that would speak about the lives of women and I looked up reviews, which were positive. Shannon writes about 16 women of the Bible and how their lives are able to inspire us today. The Women of the Bible Speak by Shannon Bream is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and a Fox News Book selection. Shannon is currently host of Fox News @ Night and the network’s Chief Legal Correspondent. Click here to purchase.

Mended hearts and fun reads for spring

Happy Monday! Today on the blog I have four books written by strong women. They have faced challenges and have come out on the other side willing to share their story to help other women. I hope you find encouragement from them just as much as I did. You can check out my additional reads on my Goodreads page by clicking on the link located on my blog homepage or click here.

Title: The Beauty of Broken: My Story and Likely Yours Too
Author: Elisa Morgan
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2013
Format: Paperback
Length: 256 pages

Elisa Morgan, the previous CEO of MOPS International for 20 years, shares her personal story. Morgan writes how we have bought into the myth of the perfect family, when in reality there is no family that is perfect. She writes “We all come from a broken family because God’s family is broken. The thing is, this isn’t the tragedy we assume. Broken is right where God wants us-and right where he can powerfully reassemble us,” (p. 30). She writes about her family’s struggles with alcoholism, drug addiction, infertility ,adoption, teen pregnancy, abortion, divorce, homosexuality and death. Morgan is relate-able in her writing and I found encouragement as a mom.

Five out of five bookworms. Excellent read!

About the author…

From the author’s website:

Elisa Morgan was named by Christianity Today as one of the top fifty women influencing today’s church and culture and is one of today’s most sought-after authors, speakers, and leaders. She has authored more than twenty-five books on mothering, spiritual formation, and evangelism, including The Beauty of BrokenHello, Beauty FullShe Did What She Could: Five Words of Jesus That Will Change Your Life, the NIV Mom’s Devotional Bible. Her newest release is The Prayer Coin: Daring to Pray with Honest Abandon

Her blog, Reallyplatforms both Elisa’s voice and the voices of a myriad of women who are committed to living out their influence in real life.

For twenty years, Elisa Morgan served as CEO of MOPS International (www.mops.org). Under her leadership MOPS grew from 350 to over 4,000 groups throughout the United States and in thirty other countries, influencing over 100,000 moms every year. Elisa now serves as President Emerita.

Elisa received a BS from the University of Texas and an MDiv from Denver Seminary where she now serves on the board. As a co-host of the syndicated radio program Discover the Word Elisa offers a daily fifteen-minute real-time conversation around the written and living Word of God. She also writes regularly for the Our Daily Bread Devotional. She is married to Evan (Founder and President of christianuniversity.org) and has two grown children and two grandchildren who live near her in Denver, Colorado. Wilson and Coach, her Rottie-wannabes, take her on walks in the open space behind her house.

Connect with Elisa on Instagram (elisamorganauthor), Facebook and Twitter (@elisa_morgan).

Title: Beautifully Broken
Author: Kimberly Jones-Pothier
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication Date: 2015
Format: Paperback
Length: 136 pages

Kimberly Jones-Pothier, a pastor and speaker, shares her testimony in Beautifully Broken. God called Jones-Pothier to be a pastor from a young age. She was raised in an evangelical family that was legalistic. Women were not allowed to sing, preach, wear jewelry, or slacks. She rebelled and didn’t want to be part of religion. God allowed healing in her life that eventually allowed Jones-Pothier to fulfill her dream of becoming a pastor. She shares how the broken pieces of our life and our trauma can be used to fulfill God’s will in our life. She has experienced rejection, abandonment, and divorce. She tells her story in a way that provides the opportunity for the reader to experience her own sense of healing. I have been following her FB page and have found encouragement as a believer.

Five out of five bookworms. Excellent read!

About the author…

From the author’s website:
Kimberly Jones‐Pothier, known as Real Talk Kim, travels the world fulfilling her passion and purpose of loving people back to life. 

She is a wife, mother, pastor, entrepreneur, best-selling author, entertainer and most importantly a worshiper after God’s own heart. Pastor Kim and her husband Mark Pothier are the Senior Pastors at Limitless Church in Fayetteville, Georgia and together have four sons.

She is a human rights advocate with a passion for giving back and believes in the compassion of the Holy Spirit, delivering it to those who need it most. Pastor Kim is an advocate partner with Rock Paper Scissors Foundation, a Non-profit Organization, which exists to foster healing and give a voice to those who have been silenced from all forms of abuse and human trafficking.

Pastor Kim has been featured on The Doctor Oz Show, Oxygen’s Network Series’ Preachers of Atlanta, Your World with Creflo Dollar on BET, ABC’s Nightline, The Word Network, CNN, Praise in the Park’ Atlanta and numerous magazines and radios shows. She is truly a living and walking testimony of God’s redemption plan in action. Follow her on FB and visit her website, RealTalkKim.com

Title: The Glass Castle
Author: Jeannette Walls
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: 2006
Format: Paperback
Length: 288 pages

Jeannette Walls shares her story of growing up in extreme poverty with parents that were eccentric. Her father was incredibly smart and well read on various academic subjects, but could not keep a job for long periods of time. The family was constantly moving and at times were homeless. Her mother had a degree in education and was a skilled artist, but refused to get or keep a job. She would rather spend all day working on her art. Walls and her three siblings were forced to take care of each other. Her years of growing up with an eccentric family was both a blessing and a tragedy. The Glass Castle is an amazing story of determination. Walls shares her family story in a beautiful way-not out of anger or bitterness, but of forgiveness and learning to understand what made her parents the way they were.

Five out of five bookworms. Excellent read!

About the author…

From the author’s website:
Jeannette Walls graduated from Barnard College and was a journalist in New York. Her memoir, The Glass Castle, has been a New York Times bestseller for more than six years. She is also the author of the instant New York Times bestsellers The Silver Star and Half Broke Horses, which was named one of the ten best books of 2009 by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. Walls lives in rural Virginia with her husband, the writer John Taylor.

Title: Girl Meets Change
Author: Kristen Strong
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company
Publication Date: 2015
Format: Paperback
Length: 224 pages

Kristen Strong writes about the stresses of expected and unexpected change in her book, Girl Meets Change. She writes about the several seasons of change that have been part of her life. The three stages of change according to Strong are acknowledgement, acceptance and adapting. Change can be a way for us to draw closer to God and allow Him to grow us an individual. Her book is filled with practical advice for women in how to deal with the changes life brings. She doesn’t preach or write in a condescending way-just as an encouragement for women that find themselves in difficult seasons life and are experiencing loneliness and heartache.

Five out of five bookworms. Excellent read!

About the author…

From the author’s website:

I’m Kristen, and I’m so happy to meet you. I’m wife to a U.S. Air Force Veteran, mama to three delightful teens, and your change mentor, belonging helper, and all around listening friend. I write to offer you fresh air encouragement for every season of your life by helping you see your specific season through the filter of God’s care and provision. I love to write stories that help you make sense of your own and help you see your season with more hope and less worry.  Visit Kristen’s website, Chasing Blue Skies.

Spring is around the corner…

Y’all, I am ready for spring. I want warmer weather and days where the sun is out longer. While the weather may not be our best friend right now, I have some authors that write lighthearted novels that will help chase away with winter blues.

Mary Kay Andrews
Robyn Carr
Dorothea Benton Frank
Jane Green
Elin Hildebrand
Debbie Macomber
Hannah McKinnon
Mary Alice Monroe
Wendy Wax

The Mother of All Posts for Grandparents and Parents

The month of May has been busy for the Schick family. My daughter graduated kindergarten, we celebrated Mother’s Day and I have a new nephew. I enjoy celebrations and new life.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I went through a season of depression. I found myself not being able to find energy to make it through the day. I was going through the motions of arriving to work, going home, spending time with family and going to bed. There was little or no joy to be found. It was hurting my family and me. I knew I needed to let go of so many fears I had lived with for so long. The fear of not being perfect. The fear of being a failure. The fear of rejection.

Satan uses our fears to hold us back and rob our joy. We can’t carry out our purpose so he wins. Fear becomes our security blanket. We find ourselves not wanting to trust God, but holding on to fear because it’s comfortable. We feel control. Can we truly experience joy, hope and peace and let go of fear? Does God care about our hurts? How can we let go and be focused on today?

In Loving Natalee, there is a section of the book I read that stays with me. Beth Holloway, Natalee’s mom, visits a church in Aruba. There are crosses lined up outside on the ground. She has the taxi wait for her and kneels before each cross praying for peace. She is crying out to God in the midst of her brokenness and pain. God is speaking to her heart. He tells her that he has Natalee. He has been with her this whole time and has not ever let her go. In the light, in the darkness he has held her. Beth experiences the feeling of peace wash over her.

I can only imagine the guilt, fear and what-if’s that was going through Beth’s mind. God met her at the lowest point and held her. In her grief, he carried her. He doesn’t meet us at our darkest point to shame, question, or judge. He speaks right to our hearts when we call out to him.

I grew up as a pastor’s kid and thought I could be perfect. I wanted to please everyone. That was illogical thinking and an impossible goal. I was not able to meet everyone’s ideal of a perfect pastor’s kid. I march to the beat of my own drummer at times. I don’t always say the right things and I’m not an eloquent speaker. God didn’t call me to be perfect. If I would have let go of my fear, I would have realized that God made me perfectly the way I am. I wore a mask to protect myself from rejection, but what I didn’t realize is that I was causing myself more pain. My security should have come from God and not from what others thought of me.

Listed below are inspirational reads I found comforting during my season of depression.



Title: Victim of Grace: When God’s Goodness Prevails
Author: Robin Jones Gunn
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication Date: April 27th, 2013
Format: Paperback
Length: 205 pages


From the publisher:
Robin Jones Gunn reveals poignant truths from her life as well as from the lives of women in the Bible as she flips the notion that we are at the mercy of circumstances. She asks, what if God has dreams for you? What if he is accomplishing those dreams in the midst of shattered hopes? When life doesn’t go as expected, it’s easy to feel like a victim. We look at the events that have gone wrong and view our lives as impaired. What if we could see our future as God sees it? Would our view radically change if we understood we are indeed victims rather than of happenstance? God, the Relentless Lover, has vigorously sought you. He has instilled dreams in your heart that are grander than you can imagine. But the route to their fulfillment often is through a path you wouldn’t seek. What if God wants to take the hopes that tug at your heart and enliven them? Are you ready to live inside the mysterious joy of being a victim of grace?
Victim of Grace is one of my all time favorite reads and was a huge help to me during my depression. I viewed myself and God’s grace differently after reading this book.
Purchase here from Amazon.



Robin Jones Gunn is the author of the beloved Christy Miller series for teens and Sisterchick novels. Find more about her here.

Title: If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil
Author: Randy Alcorn
Publisher: Multnomah Books
Publication Date: September 15th, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Length: 512 pages

From the publisher:
Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.
In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God–Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist? 
These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God. 
In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise. 
Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear. 

Purchase the book here.

Randy Alcorn is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 books and the founder of Eternal Perspective Ministries.

Title: So Long, Insecurity: You’ve Been A Bad Friend to Us
Author: Beth Moore
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Length: 352 pages

From the publisher:
Perhaps one of the biggest issues all women face is their own insecurity. Beth Moore, one of today’s most admired and trusted Christian writers, wants women to be free from the insecurity trap. So Long, Insecurity will strike a chord with women everywhere, as Beth speaks truth into the lives of readers, showing them how to deal with their innermost fears, rediscover their God-given dignity, and develop a whole new perspective–a stronger sense of self. Women of all ages and backgrounds will resonate with this message of security and discover truths that will free them emotionally and spiritually and lead them to a better life as they walk with God.
Read more about Beth Moore here.
Purchase book here from Amazon.

Title: Enough
Author: Sharon Jaynes
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Publication Date: April 3rd, 2018″
Format: Paperback
Length: 274 pages

From the publisher:
Do the voices in your head say you’re not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough…or just not enough, period? It’s time to stop listening to lies that sabotage your confidence and embrace the truth of who God says you are.
Popular author and speaker Sharon Jaynes exposes the lies that keep you bogged down in shame, insecurity, and feelings of inadequacy. By recognizing the lies and replacing them with truth, you’ll be able to silence the voice inside that whispers you’re just not good enough, accept God’s grace and move past failures that have defined and confined you.
Your confidence and faith will grow when you trade self-defeating thoughts for God’s truth. Today is the day to embrace your incredible worth as a woman who is uniquely fashioned and spiritually empowered.

Purchase the book here.

Sharon Jaynes is a popular speaker and writer. Jaynes has been in the ministry for over 25 years.She served as the Vice President of the Proverbs 31 ministry and is the co-founder of Girlfriends in God. Learn more about Jaynes here.

Parenting…

I carry lessons I learned towards my parenting. My parenting may look different than others, but that doesn’t mean I can’t parent Ella or provide her with what she needs. The same goes for you.

Mom Confessions and Tips:

  • I don’t like to cook all the time so we usually order food, eat sandwiches or I make a plate of fruit/veggies. Occasionally I will cook spaghetti, sloppy joes, casserole, tacos and breakfast for dinner.
  • I let my child watch TV each evening and on weekend mornings so I can sleep in.
  • On the weekends she occasionally stays up until 10:00pm.
  • Sometimes I bribe her with treats/TV time so she will listen.
  • I take her to Target way too much. I think she believes it’s her second home.
  • I buy crafts at the store because she loves them, but also so I can read/watch TV without distraction. I find them $10.00 or less at Hobby Lobby, the $1.00 store and the $1.00 section at Target.
  • I do not have the gift of teaching. I take Ella to museums, free educational activities in the community and read to her. That is about as much patience as I have. God bless all of you that have the patience. You are my heroes.
  • I just started going to the gym early in the morning. Joe gets Ella ready for the day and sometimes ready for bed at night. I hear you, mom that doesn’t want go the gym because I’m not super tiny and it’s oh so intimidating. I’m right there with you. Through several medical issues (okay, and also snacking) I too have found it hard to keep down my weight, but we’ve got this. It’s not only good for physical health, but for mental and emotional health. Do the best you can do with where you are at on your journey.
  • I don’t deep clean my own home. I skip eating lunch out so I can hire a cleaning service. If you have room in your budget or a place you can cut back to hire a cleaning service, I highly recommend it, even if it’s just once a month. You will save time and sanity.
  • I buy produce that is already cut at the grocery store. I place the produce in Tupperware when I get home and keep on a shelf Ella can reach. When she asks for a snack I let her go to the fridge and grab what she wants. This also goes for snacks in the pantry.
  • I use Dr. Teal’s bubble bath. If you haven’t tried it, you should. It’s amazing. The lavender scent helps me relax and I usually have no issues going to sleep after my bath.
  • I buy all my makeup, hair products and hair tools at ULTA. You can collect points and use them for discounts on purchases. I have saved money by doing this. My favorite makeup brands at ULTA are Stila, Butter London and IT.
  • I buy all my maxi dresses on Amazon. They are usually no more than $25.00 so it saves money. If I shop in a department store, I download the app so I can use the coupons.
  • Find a foot spa in the area you live. You can get a half hour massage for $25.00 and a hour massage for $60.00. I skip my pedicure sometimes and go to a foot spa instead.
  • I keep markers/pens/crayons, construction paper and magazines stashed in the craft “bar” at our house, in my room and the playroom. When Ella says she is bored, I let her make a mess out of paper, glue, scissors and let her color as much as her heart desires.
  • Orbeez, slime and kinetic sand. Use large plastic containers. Hours of fun.
  • Have frizzy, wavy hair that drives you crazy? Ask your stylist about Keratin treatments. Mine have changed my life. My hair dries faster and I use less hair product. I don’t think I could have enough time to work out AND style my hair without losing my sanity if it weren’t for Keratin treatments. I get mine done every 6-8 weeks.
  • Best rash/eczema cream for kids I have found? Aquaphor. Best soap for sensitive skin? Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash. Ella is super picky about toothpaste. The only kind she likes is Tom’s of Maine Children’s Gel. I buy Ella’s clothes at Carter’s, Target, Belk and Nordstrom Rack. She loves to live in skirts and so I buy the scooter skirts available at Target for $8.00. Throw a t-shirt on top and it’s an easy play outfit.
  • I drive a minivan. I know. On the bright side, my 6 year old loves it and thinks IT’S THE BEST CAR EVER.

What are your parenting confessions? What are your strengths? What blessings are part of your life? What can you do to save yourself time and sanity? Listing all these things can help bring a new perspective. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t parent as well. I know this from experience. Maybe you are skilled in the area of cooking, homeschooling, or crafting. If you are, I am a little jealous. Your skills and talents make you the perfect mom for your kid(s). They allow you to make a difference in your child’s life whether you are a stay at home mom or work outside the home mom. That doesn’t mean every day or choice will be perfect, but it does mean that God chose you for your kids. He knows you have what it takes to raise them and be the primary influence over their life.

I mentioned last Monday that I was looking for parenting books to help me out on my journey. I fell into a reading slump and just couldn’t find any I would recommend. I finally found found a few enjoyed. These books served as a reminder that my kid needs me. Your kids need you. They need to see us living a life in abundance and without fear.

Title: More for Mom
Author: Kristin Funston
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019
Format: Paperback
Length: 224 pages

More for Mom is one of my favorite parenting books I have read. Kristin Funston discusses that we are already holy before God. It’s not our works that save us, including our works in parenting. We can’t be perfect. We can’t be all things to all people 24/7, including our children. Allowing grace for ourselves and others is what helps make for more joyful parenting. According to Funston, each of “us is a whole person with one whole life, and we were designed to experience the holy of this life, now on earth.” Our lives shouldn’t be compartmentalized, but instead flow all together. For example, I’m a wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend and employee. All my roles work together and I should be the same no matter what role I am fulfilling at the time. People should be able to see God working through me. We have a void that only Jesus can fill. Marriage, parenting, family, friends and work can’t completely fill that void. They can’t be all things to us either because they are human so just like us they become exhausted from day to day life. Funston writes in a clear manner to moms about how God designed us for parenting and the boundaries we need to set for ourselves.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

Kristin Funston is a speaker and blogger. She’s a contributor for the Today Parenting Team, Scary Mommy, The Better Mom and The Memphis Blog. Visit her website at www.kristinfunston.com

Title: Overcoming Grandparenting Barriers
Series: Grandparenting Matters
Author: Larry Fowler
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date: April 30th, 2019
Format: Paperback
Length: 112 pages

Overcoming Grandparenting Barriers by Larry Fowler, founder of The Legacy Coalition, discusses geographical, relational and spiritual boundaries grandparents may face with their grandchildren. He addresses issues such as when the parents divorce and the grandparents are not allowed a relationship with the grandchildren, when parents will not allow the mention of Christianity and when grandchildren live far away. Fowler discussed these concerns in a practical way and the advice given was also helpful for parents as well.
The only disagreement I have with Fowler is that he mentions grandparent narcissism, which is where grandparents focus so much on themselves by taking trips and doing their own activities that they don’t babysit enough or take part enough in their grandchild’s life. I understand grandparents play a significant role in the grandchildren’s life and Ella can see her Papaw and Mimi as much as they would like. However, I think after decades of parenting, grandparents deserve to have enough “me” time as they want. Travel. Read. Join clubs. Spend days lounging around in pj’s while you watch TV all day. The beauty of no longer having children in your home is that you can do whatever you want and go wherever you want. (I say this because that is exactly what I plan on doing, just don’t tell Ella. Also, drink a margarita(s) for me while you are on vacation.)

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

Larry Fowler has served in ministry for over 40 years, with a majority of years spent working for the AWANA ministry. He founded The Legacy Coalition in 2016 as a resource for grandparents. You can find more information about him here and purchase additional books here.


Title: Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday
Author: Valerie Woerner
Publisher: Tyndale Momentum
Publication Date: April 9th, 2019
Format: Paperback
Length: 272 pages

Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday is an excellent read for moms of young ones. Woerner gives moms ideas on how to take care of themselves and their kids without losing their sanity. Her advice is practical and the book is a fast read, which is important for moms of young ones. I enjoyed the section on “Divine Interruptions.” Like Woerner, I’m an introvert with perfectionistic tendencies. If a plan gets interrupted during the day, I feel very frustrated. She writes, “If what we planned doesn’t happen, then it wasn’t God’s purpose for the time. Our frustration comes because feel we should be doing something different from what we’re doing in the moment. We struggle because what we think we’re supposed to be doing has been interrupted…if my plan gets interrupted, then it wasn’t his plan for that moment after all.” So GOOD! I really struggle with this and it’s probably where my main frustration as a parent comes in and causes most of my anxiety in life. Woerner gave very good advice on how to handle life as a mama when you are Type A like myself.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

Valerie Voerner is a blogger and founder of Val Marie Paper, a company that produces prayer journals. She is married and has two young girls.

What I Am Watching Now…

I love a good series to binge on the weekends. These are some of my favorites at the moment.

I love Christina Applegate and she’s perfect in her new dramedy, Dead to Me. Her character, Jen Harding, is looking for the person responsible for her husband’s death due to a hit and run. She meets Judy Hale (Linda Cardellini) in her grief support group and uses her to help find the person responsible for her husband’s death.
Genre: Comedy-Drama
Available on Netflix.

Schitt’s Creek stars Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Daniel Levy and Annie Murphy as the cast of the Rose family that loses their fortune after being defrauded by their business manager. The only option they have is to move to the tiny town of Schitt’s Creek, which the Rose family had purchased for their son one year as a joke. The cast is perfect together and makes for hilarious comedy.
Genre: Comedy
Available on Netflix and Pop TV.

Grace and Frankie stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterson and Martin Sheen. Grace and Frankie move in together after their husbands sit them down to dinner one night to tell them they are in love and getting married to each other. The husbands have worked together for years as attorneys and the wives have NOTHING in common. The show revolves around the two as they adjust to being on their own after so many years and dealing with adult children.
Genre: Comedy
Available on Netflix.

The Ranch stars Ashton Kutcher, Debra Winger, Elisha Cuthbert and Sam Elliot. The show revolves around the Bennett family who owns the Iron River Ranch in Garrison Colorado. Colt Bennet (Ashton Kutcher) returns to the town after 15 years away to help his dad work the ranch and marries his high school sweetheart, Abby Phillips (Elisha Cuthbert).
Genre: Comedy
Available on Netflix.

Northern Rescue stars William Baldwin (John West), as a search and rescue commander who moves his family from Boston to Turtle Island Bay, Ontario to live with his sister-in-law after the death of his wife.
Genre: Drama
Available on Netflix.

The Crown traces Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy) from her wedding in 1947 to present day. Perfect for fans of Downton Abbey.
Genre: Historical Drama
Available on Netflix.

Stranger Things is set in Hawkins, Indiana during the 1980’s and focuses on supernatural events occurring in the town due to the scientific research from the nearby Hawkins National Laboratory. The cast stars Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin and Noah Schnapp. Season 3 will premiere on July 4, 2019.
Genre: Science Fiction
Available on Netflix.

Three suburban moms are tired of trying to make ends meet and decide to pull an unlikely heist by robbing a supermarket. Good Girls stars Mae Whitman, Christina Hendricks, Reta and Reno Wilson.
Genre: Comedy-Drama
Available on NBC and Netflix.

Greenleaf revolves around the Greenleaf family and their mega-church, full of scandal and lies. Greenleaf stars Keith David (Bishop James Greenleaf), Lynn Whitfield (First Lady Daisy Mae Greenleaf), Merle Dandridge (Pastor Grace Greenleaf and the oldest child), Desiree Ross (Sophia Greenleaf and Pastor Grace’s daughter), Lamman Rucker (Pastor Jacob Greenleaf and the only son who pastors the rival church, Triumph), Kim Hawthorne (Kerissa Greenleaf and Jacob’s wife) and Deborah Joy Winans (Charity Greenleaf, Minister of Music and the youngest child).
Genre: Drama
Available on OWN and Netflix.

Podcasts I Listen To…

Serial is an investigative journalism podcast hosted by Sarah Koening. There are currently 3 seasons with each non-fiction story lasting all season long. The first season follows the disappearance of Baltimore high school student Hae Min Lee who disappeared in 1999 after school one day. 6 weeks later her ex-boyfriend and classmate, Adnan Syed is arrested for murder. He claims innocence. Season 2 follows Bowe Bergdahl, a captive of the Taliban held for five years. Soilders from his unit claim he purposely walked into enemy territory. Bergdahl is charged with being a traitor. Koening speaks to Bergdahl, who is opening up for the since the charges about his version of the story. Season 3 looks at the justice system in Cleveland and examines each court case week by week. Learn more here.

Dr. Laura Call of the Day features one phone call from her show on Sirius XM. Dr. Laura is America’s #1 Relationship Talk Radio Host. Learn more about Dr. Laura here.

Jenny McCarthy’s Celebrity Dirt Podcast features the latest news on celebrity dating, parenting, relationships and pop culture news.

On a less serious note…

So…….this blog post today was supposed to be reviews on parenting books from NetGalley. I have a 6 year old, whose one gift for Mother’s Day turned out to be a huge temper tantrum over the fact I wouldn’t give her the phone. According to her, I am stupid and she also hates this world. So clearly, I am winning at parenting. Maybe I will get lucky and she will become a soap opera star due to her drama abilities and take care of me. She went to bed early so that was my Mother’s Day gift to me.

Anyway, all the books turned out to be DNF’s (did not finish). I requested several and they were not helpful, to say the least. One book looked promising until I started actually reading it. The issue with me is that her way of parenting is so successful that none can compare! All you have to do is sacrifice everything for your children. Your needs, your wants, your life. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So simple, right? SMH. Have a career? That’s too indulgent. Are you a SAHM and spend time on a hobby you enjoy during the day? You have children that need their mother 24/7 for heaven’s sake! I could only make it halfway through the book. I understand her children are grown and she is an empty nester. I’m sure her knowledge far outweighs mine. However, she didn’t even share how she became a judgmental wonderful parent. No mention of her children ever causing scenes in public. No bad parenting decisions. She gave birth and instantly was filled with all surpassing wisdom, not like us mere mortals with our inferior offspring. UGH. Pass.

The next book looked hopeful. It promised a new style of parenting. According to the authors, this style of parenting is so outstanding that we wouldn’t believe it could work. I read about a quarter of the book and I agreed with the authors. I don’t believe it could work. For example, if Johnny refuses to take out the trash when you ask him too, we are supposed to acknowledge his feeling of irritation and then negotiate a time that would work better for him. Maybe after he is done watching TV so he’s not irritated about being interrupted. You can’t make this stuff up. That was an actual example from the book. This style of parenting encourages the parents to reach their children’s hearts and allow for mutual understanding. I came to an understanding with my parents too, but it didn’t look like the example from the book. “I’m the adult, your the child. I pay the bills which is why we have cable in the first place, you do chores as I say so you learn to be responsible” (and lets be honest, eventually leave). See? Understanding. I wrote the publisher and told them I couldn’t finish the book. I have a strong willed child so if I negotiated every chore, nothing would ever get done and there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

I gave up on parenting books and decided to read a thriller. I have several in my to read list and would share them today instead of parenting books. I love thrillers as much as the next person except I haven’t been reading them much as of late. There are so many authors trying to copy Gillian Flynn. I’m just going to write it. Gillian Flynn is to the thriller genre what Oprah is to talk shows. You can’t imitate her work and claim to be the next Gillian Flynn. She is a master at her craft and has a gift that very few authors have. If you are writing “the sky turned dark” and “the door creaked” that is not classified as a thriller, Nancy Drew.

Anytime I am reading a book, I want to hear the author’s unique voice. I can tell when they are attached to their storyline and characters or when they are hoping to make a quick buck based on the popular genre of the moment. I have been in a reading slump since I’ve read Dorothea Benton Frank’s novel. She is a romance writer, but doesn’t try to imitate Danielle Steel or Nora Roberts. She writes using her own voice, her own personality and what she loves. One of her homes is located in the Lowcountry of South Carolina and that’s where her novels are set. She has knowledge and a love for her home which shows in her writing. If the author isn’t being genuine to themselves, I don’t finish reading the work no matter how popular it is.

I am still in my reading slump, but managed to find a few from NetGalley that I loved. Y’all know I love works that classify as humor so listed below are two that I recommend.

Title: Mama, Mama, Only Mama
Author: Lara Lillibridge
Publisher: SkyHorse
Publication Date: March 5th, 2019
Format: Hardcover
Length: 208 pages

I love the author’s sense of humor and style of writing. I feel like she could be one of my BFF’s. In her humorous memoir, she shares her frustrations, fears and successes as a single mom for 6 years to two young boys whom she refers to as Big Pants and Little Pants. Recipes and parenting tips are shared. Even if you aren’t a single parent, you can still relate to some of Lillibridge’s feelings and experiences in the book.

Thank you to NetGalley for the free copy in exchange for my honest review.

From the publisher: Lara Lillibridge sings off-beat and dances off-key. She writes a lot, and sometimes even likes how it turns out.
She is the author of two memoirs, Girlish: Growing Up in a Lesbian Home, Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards Finalist (Skyhorse Publishing, 2018) and Mama, Mama, Only Mama (Skyhorse Publishing, 2019).
Lara Lillibridge is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College’s MFA program in Creative Nonfiction. In 2016 she won Slippery Elm Literary Journal’s Prose Contest, and The American Literary Review’s Contest in Nonfiction. She also was a finalist in both Black Warrior Review’s Nonfiction Contest and DisQuiet’s Literary Prize in Creative Nonfiction.

Title: How To Be A Perfect Christian
Author: The Babylon Bee
Publisher: Multnomah
Publication Date: May 1st, 2018
Format: Hardcover
Length: 203 pages

How to be a Perfect Christian is satire about modern day Christianity. There were so many lines I highlighted. One of my favorites was, “Whether you’re watching Christian movies in which the world lights up like a big ball of fire and only Kirk Cameron is left standing or you’re reading a bonnet ripper about Jebediah the Amish farmer casting his steely gaze at Abigail the spinster, remember to turn your mind off and let your own efforts rack up credit in heaven with the Lord. Don’t think critically about any of these things. They have been approved by cultural Christianity, so they’re undoubtedly wholesome.” I laughed so hard I had tears.

The book does make you think about how Christianity is portrayed in our culture and that is sad. I’ve grown up in the church my whole life and while I would feel comfortable in the environment, I can easily understand why many don’t. I will give a warning and say that this book may be offensive to some believers. For example, if you are offended by John Christ’s posts on social media, you will more than likely be offended by this book. However, if you love John Christ, this book is perfect for you.

Thank you to NetGalley for the free copy in exchange for my honest review.


Visit the Babylon Bee’s website.

Hey Moms! Grab a glass of wine and these books!

In honor of Mother’s Day this month, I’m going to be sharing my favorite books on motherhood and parenting. I don’t know about you, but I love a book that makes me feel I’m not alone on this crazy, wild, and beautiful journey of being a mother. Happy Mother’s Day to all of my fellow mommies!

Title: Cat and Nat’s Mom Truths: Embarrassing Stories and Brutally Honest Advice on the Extremely Real Struggle of Motherhood
Authors: Catherine Belknap and Natalie Telfer
Publisher: Harmony
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Format: Hardcover
Length: 224 Pages


Cat and Nat, online media celebrities, dish about everything motherhood in their new book, Mom Truths. The book will make you laugh, cry and feel like you are talking to two of your best girlfriends. Cat and Nat discuss all the brutal honest truths of labor and delivery, husbands, marriage after baby, friendship and life with little ones. It’s definitely on my favorites list. Grab a copy for you and your BFF.

Click here to purchase.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

From the publisher:
CATHERINE BELKNAP and NATALIE TELFER have been friends since they were teens but grew closer with motherhood when they chose to confide in each other about the more taboo topics of parenting. It wasn’t long after that when they decided to bring the conversation online in hopes of helping other moms feel less isolated. Their rapidly exploding community of like-minded moms tune in every day to watch them rewrite the paradigm of “the perfect mom.” Cat & Nat share everything moms think, but are too afraid to talk about. Find them online at https://www.catandnat.ca or on all social channels @catandnat

  • Title: Surprised by Motherhood
  • Author: Lisa Jo-Baker
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication Date: April 1, 2014
  • Format: Paperback
  • Length: 240 Pages

I purchased Surprised by Motherhood when Ella was four and it is honestly one of the most beautiful and encouraging books on motherhood. Lisa-Jo Baker is so honest about the challenges and insecurities of motherhood. She shares her personal journey that helped mold her into the women she is today. If you are looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift for a new mom, this is it.

Click here to purchase.

From the publisher:
Lisa-Jo Baker is the author of Never Unfriended and Surprised by Motherhood, as well as the Bible Study, We Saved You a Seat. She lives just outside Washington, DC, with her husband and their three very loud kids, where she connects, encourages and champions women online and in person through her honest take on life and her ability to laugh at herself and learn out loud from her mistakes. As the community manager at the website incourage.me since 2010, Lisa-Jo has had the chance to engage hundreds of conversations with women about friendship. And she’s convinced that the shortest distance between strangers is a shared awkward story. She’d love to connect with you at her website: lisajobaker.com or on Instagram @lisajobaker

  • Title: Nurture Shock: New Thinking about Children
  • Author: Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
  • Publisher: Twelve
  • Publication Date: January 5, 2011
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Length: 352 pages

I read this book two years ago and remember it being one of my favorite books on parenting. Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman discuss sibling relationships, pros and cons of private school, technology’s influence on children’s thinking, diversity and why kids from the best homes may struggle with behavior problems. The authors take what they have learned and apply it to their own children. The book has been wildly successful and I personally believe it is because the authors are encouraging, not critical of parenting styles. Bronson and Merryman provide practical advice and share what they have learned based on their experience and studies. Read additional reviews from fellow parents here.

Click here to purchase.

From the publisher:

Po Bronson has built a career both as a successful novelist and as a prominent writer of narrative nonfiction. He has published five books, and he has written for television, magazines, and newspapers, including Time, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and for National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. Currently he is writing regularly for New York magazine in the United States and for The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom.

Po Bronson’s book of social documentary, What Should I Do With My Life?, was a #1 New York Times bestseller and remained in the Top 10 for nine months. He has been on Oprah, on every national morning show, and on the cover of five magazines, including Wired and Fast Company. His first novel, Bombardiers, was a #1 bestseller in the United Kingdom. His books have been translated into 18 languages. Po speaks regularly at colleges and community “town hall” events. He is a founder of The San Francisco Writer’s Grotto, a cooperative workspace for about 40 writers and filmmakers. From 1992 to 2006 he was on the Board of Directors of Consortium Book Sales & Distribution. He lives in San Francisco with his family.

From the author’s website:
NurtureShock, has become one of the most influential books about children ever published. On the New York Times bestseller list for more than six months and an Amazon Top Nonfiction 100 book for over a year, it has been translated in 20 languages.
Ashley M erryman’s mastery of the science is considered so authoritative that her work’s been cited in 185 academic journals and 503 books to date. Among the honors Merryman has received: She’s a Poynter Fellow for Journalism at Yale University and was a William J. Clinton Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Arkansas’s Clinton School of Public Service. She has received nine awards for her work including the PEN Center USA Literary Award; AAAS Award for Science Journalism; an “Audie”; and two Clarions.
Merryman has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University.
An attorney, Merryman previously served as a speechwriter and in other positions in the Clinton Administration. She lives in Los Angeles. In addition to her writing and consulting, she volunteers at a tutoring program for inner-city children, that she founded in 1999.