Monday, January 26, 2015

Team Us: Marriage Together (Review and Giveaway)

"Team Us" Official Book Trailer from Ashleigh Slater on Vimeo.

Through the FlyBy Bloggers program, I was offered the opportunity to review this book. I was intrigued by the description:

What are you agreeing to when you say “I do”? When a couple promises “I do,” they agree to more than just a shared last name, a joint bank account, and no more dateless nights. This husband and wife duo forms a new team. “Life together” becomes their mantra. Nothing can come between them.
At least, that’s the plan. But then real life sets in. With it come disappointments and frustrations. If the couple isn’t intentional in their day-to-day interactions, that once enthusiastic “we” can slowly revert to “you” and “me.” Before long, the couple’s left wondering what happened to their team spirit.
Team Us: Marriage Together offers couples practical ways to cultivate and strengthen unity in their marriages. Author Ashleigh Slater shares from her own marriage as she presents couples with realistic ideas on how to foster cooperation, deepen commitment, and exercise grace on a daily basis.
While I am not currently married, it is on the horizon fairly soon for me, God willing. My boyfriend and I (who I frequently call partner because, we are in our 30's, boyfriend just sounds...very middle school), have been together for a few years, and we will be getting married this year or next year. Pretty excited!
So saying that, this book is GREAT either way. It's nice in that it gives perspectives from not just Ashleigh, the wife, but also from her husband, Ted. It's written in a way that makes you feel like you are talking to your friend, to someone you would go grab coffee with, or have play dates with your munchkins. If you are thinking about what you would like your ideal marriage/partner to be like, if you are engaged, newly married, or stuck in a rut, or even if you wonder "is this what marriage is supposed to be like?" read this book! It's perfect for any of those. I'm not normally a fan of relationship books; a lot of them feel...forced and like they are just shoving their PERFECT marriage in my face. Not this one. She's real, and vulnerable, and more than willing to say "I mess up and overreact, all the time!" 
With that, through the blogger program, I am able to do a giveaway for this book!

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Sometimes being a Christian is hard. I feel inadequate and like a confused kindergartner from another country.

These people that can spout verses at the drop of a hat. How??? Why??? I can't do that. I can barely remember a verse I just read. I know a few but it takes effort for me and sometimes it makes me feel so discouraged. Scared. Meek. And, well, dumb. 

I've attended churches most of my life, but I'm feeling like, while I was there physically, mentally and spiritually, I was a million miles away.

However, I have this hunger for learning. I want to read and learn more of His word. It looks different on different days. Not any one thing works for me. sometimes u want to read the Bible. Sometimes I want to hear it. Read a Bible study. Use an app. It always varies. But I'm learning. And praying. And through God's infinite grace, I will arrive in a place that feels like my spiritual center. Or at least I'll be on the same map.

Image from

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Online Resources

Some of these things have been mentioned previously, but I thought I'd condense them a bit.

PowerSheets from Lara Casey Shop are great for getting your goals in line. I purchased them and am going to start working on them this weekend. I have some goals that need some serious work.

Lara also has some printables and great backgrounds for your mobile devices here. She's also doing a Goal Setting series that I'm sure will be awesome. First post is here!

And, because I am now obsessed with Every Bitter Thing is Sweet, I plan on implementing the adoration for January. It's the first printable on that page. She's also doing a book club for the book which is downloadable on her site now!

There are also some great printables available at Emily Ley with everything from a daily planner to a daily devotional.

Ann Voskamp's site has a page of free tools and various printables. Memory verses, projects, gift tags.

Every Wednesday, Holley Gerth does a link up post called Coffee For Your Heart. I enjoy reading the posts each week.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Coming up on the blog (Exciting news!)

So I've been doing a lot of book reviews because I am such a book nerd. Primarily, they are faith based so I put them on the blog. I am being given the opportunity to review AND giveaway a copy of the books I'll be reviewing soon. I'm so excited about this and hope you are too!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Make It Happen Review

So I've been reading Make It Happen by Lara Casey. Since I've started it, I've read a few other books, because it's not a book to run through quickly in one sitting. It requires you to work through your mess a bit. Not just with your career, but with your faith, relationships, and balance. [This blog seems to be turning into a review blog but I just really love to read!] 

I've actually known who Lara Casey was for quite a while as a follower of her Southern Weddings blog. I looooovvveeee that one. I lived in Georgia for some of my youth and still love most things Southern. When the chance came to review this book, that I already had on my wishlist, I grabbed it.

Every time I think of the title, I think of the 90's Mariah Carey song of the same title. The lyrics that pop in my head go:

Never knowing if I could take it
If I would make it through the night
I held on to my faith, I struggled and I prayed
And now I've found my way

If you believe in yourself enough
And know what you want
You're gonna make it happen
Make it happen

And if you get down on your knees at night
And pray to the Lord
He's gonna make it happen
Make it happen
You're gonna make it happen, ho yeah

It's sort of fitting. This song is pre-extra crazy, extra diva Mariah.  But this a lot of what this book is about. Part autobiographical (with dark moments, not just the happy ones) and part advice intermingled with lots of faith. She never claims to be perfect or have it all figured out, quite the opposite, but she does share the lessons she learned from the hard, the ways she found to make life work for her, tips on work/life balance (Lord knows we all need that!), struggles, and good times as well. 

It's divided in to parts. 

1. Surrender Your Fear
2. Take the Leap
3. Live on Purpose
4. Your Guide to Make It Happen

There are questions and guiding thoughts to think about every few pages, action plans at the end of each chapter with a link to download pertinent printables for using on your journey to make a goal happen. Maybe not even a goal, just to simply breathe and make LIFE happen. The book isn't about just doing things we want to do, it is about doing things God seems to be calling us to do, praying about it, and setting up a plan. If you have ever heard of her powersheets, then you'll have a good idea of the plan she mentions. 

It works out like reading an autobiography with a life journal interspersed throughout. I really enjoyed the book and love Lara's writing. 

So if there is something that's been pulling out you to move forward, if there is something you feel like is a gift God has given you MAKE IT HAPPEN! Try this book and her powersheets and start working on your goal (I sound like a Lara Casey fangirl...I'm okay with it).

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

From Tablet to Table: review

Through Tyndale Publishers, I was given the opportunity to review the book From Tablet to Table: Where Community is Found and Identity is Formed by Leonard Sweet. It's a fairly quick read but the focus of it is this: getting back to our roots that were formed by Jesus and having community around a meal. If you think about it, which I did after reading this book,  almost all of Jesus's big revelations and moments were found around food. Around gathering together in prayer around a meal (table). This book focuses on getting back to that: No books, iPads, phones, TV. Just a meal with your family and friends a few times a week to encourage sharing and togetherness. Especially if you have children!

There were many times I found myself nodding in agreement, and at others questioning where the author found something or how he came to that conclusion. Perhaps the one that perplexed me the most was that Eve was alone when she took of the forbidden fruit (every translation I've ever read states that Adam was next to her but hey).

A sentence I particularly liked:

The more you refine your tastes-the more gourmet your gospel-the less satisfied you will be with a franchise faith.

In my own family, we instituted the no technology at the table rule last year. We were out at dinner and looked around at the restaurant realizing that most of the families or couples were on their phones and barely spoke to each other. We resolved then that technology was no longer allowed during most meals (this rule can change during basketball season however).

I also realized after reading this book, that this idea, that the best relationships with our family and community are found around the table, around a meal, with friends, family, and strangers. I attend a small group and this group is centered around a big meal at a big family table with people from various campuses of a church. We each bring something, a side or a dessert, pray in a large group, and sit at the table and discuss whatever comes to mind. After, we pray and usually read a chapter from the Bible. Sometimes we get so distracted by our conversation at the table that we stay there, but that's okay! The feeling of fellowship is amazing though.

From the press release for this book.

Practical Tips for Bringing Back the Table:
  •  Make your table a place for your family and friends to gather and connect.
  • Turn off all electronics.
  • Pray for the meal, thanking God for your food and the people gathered around the
  • table.
  • Keep conversations positive and give everyone a chance to speak.
  • Don’t judge the comments and responses of others.
  • Avoid jumping into trying to fix a problem that has been shared by someone.
  •  Encourage sharing by listening—you want your family members and friends to feel heard and valued.
  •  After dinner, play a game or share in a faith activity to keep the conversation going.

I am all for the idea of more families gathering around a table, praying, and sharing their lives in a somewhat set way in order to connect better with their faith and each other. 

I was given this book by Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest review.