Friday, August 31, 2012

Win a Pearl Necklace Set at Pearl Girl's "Mother of Pearl" Party 9/4!

To celebrate the release of Mother of Pearl: Luminous Lessons and Iridescent Faith Margaret McSweeney is hosting an evening of chat, laughter, and encouragement on Facebook!

She's invited the Pearl Girl contributors to join us on the evening of September 4th. I'd be so honored if you'd come too!

They'll be giving away a ton of fun stuff {books, gift certificates and a Beautiful Pearl Necklace set}.

Mother of Pearl celebrates the collective iridescence of motherhood. We'll gather to connect, be encouraged and make some new friends!

So RSVP today and then come back on September 4th (at 5pm Pacific, 6pm Mountain, 7pm Central, and 8pm Eastern) and join us for the "Pearl" party. Let's share our stories and encourage one another.

We'll also have an update from the charities involved with Pearl Girls, Wings and Hands of Hope.

(See what others are saying about Mother of Pearl.)
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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summer Rhapsody freebie

Over at Daybreak Scraps, I've posted another fun tutorial on how to amp up your wordart!

There is also a great freebie to go along with her new Summer Rhapsody kit :-)
Visit HERE to grab this freebie

 Here's the LO I made with the cute kit, great summer colors.


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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Midnight Madness from @SarahSundin!


Sarah Sundin's brand new book, With Every Letter, releases on September 1, 2012. To celebrate, Sarah is hosting the Midnight Madness Promotion!

Pre-order or purchase a copy of the book by midnight on August 31, 2012 and be one of the first to read Book One of her new Wings of the Nightingale series. AND as a Thank You for pre-ordering or purchasing With Every Letter you'll be entered to win a $50 gift card to Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble or ChristianBook.com (winner's choice!).

All you have to do is pre-order or purchase With Every Letter and send an e-mail with the following information to sarah{at}sarahsundin.com :

1. Your Name

2. Where you ordered or purchased it from

3. Your email address.

That's it. Easy. 

Here are the pre-order links:

Amazon   Barnes & Noble   ChristianBook.com

Legal Mumbo Jumbo:
**No Purchase Required** While I'd love for you to purchase the book, it's not necessary to enter the contest. Just send me an e-mail to be entered. Winners will be chosen at random from entries. E-mail me at sarah{at}sarahsundin.com to enter. Winner will be announced on 9/4/2012. Contest open to US residents only.
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Monday, August 27, 2012

T-Tapp Update #1 & Giveaway!!

As you might have read HERE...I have started using my T-Tapp exercises again. I truly enjoy these and love the strength I feel in my legs and stomach as I do them. They also keep me from having to get on my treadmill right now in the heat of the Texas summer/early fall ;-) (My treadmill is on the back porch...yep).

Here is a sample workout: (you always bend your knees till you can't see your toes, tuck your buns and push your knees out...feels weird but you get used to it!)
So I thought I would give you my first few week's results. I have been doing either the Basic Workout Plus, Instructional 1 or Instructional 2 for 3 weeks, 3-4 times a week so far. I have also had one 3Day training (8 mile walk) in between. I never tend to lose any weight when I'm training for the 3Day even though I will be walking a lot in the coming 2 months. However, if I keep T-tapping, I think my results might be a bit different this year.

I haven't changed my diet much, I'm still a sucker for bread and sweets...and my all time favorite Dr. Pepper.  I have been drinking more water and I started taking one OmegaPlex a day (Advocare's Omega vitamin). My oldest son and I are both upping our omega intake this fall.  We also both drink Spark almost every morning for an energy boost and a great source of Vitamin C!!  As I have also mentioned in my last post, I am just asking God to help me with my self-control in eating. I haven't even wanted to get on the scale in 4 weeks which just dawned on me today! That is HUGE and I know God is working in me because I could never have avoided that scale on my own will power.

Ok...so the results...after 3 weeks of T-Tapping, I have lost 2.75 inches! That may not seem like a lot, but when you realize that's after just 12 days of actual exercises (15-35 minutes most days) and not much change in my diet, it's A LOT. Would you like to know where those inches used to be? My belly (1 inch), my waist (0.75 inch), my thighs (0.50 inch together) and my chest (1 inch). Yes, that adds up to more than 2.75. Here's the deal...I gained 0.50 in my right upper arm (but it's not fat!) and 0.25 in my left upper thigh, which actually makes my left now match my right more closely.

Besides taking my thoughts off of the scale, would you like to know one incredible benefit that has come from getting back into T-Tapp for me?  Since I had a tubal ligation several years ago, I have had awful, sometimes nauseating headaches for about 2 days before each "time of the month".  They are horrible and lasted a constant 36-48 hours before I would start.  Well, this last month, I  only had one headache that lasted just a few hours.  Coincidence?  We will see as the months progress.  I think the stretching, twisting and tapping is doing what it says it will do inside my body and helping things I hadn't thought of.

I will post again in a couple of weeks with new measurements and we will see how things are progressing together.  Let me know if you are doing any T-Tapping, I would love to keep up with you!

Now...if you have never tried Spark, I have a 3 samples to giveaway!!  AdvoCare Spark® Energy Drink mix is a unique multi-nutrient system that’s designed to provide nutritionally advanced, long-lasting energy and enhanced mental focus.  Its 21 vitamins, minerals and nutrients work synergistically to give you healthy, balanced energy without making you jittery like other caffeinated beverages.  Spark’s unique combination of ingredients gives you fast-acting energy and B-vitamins enhance your body’s natural energy-sustaining processes.

Along with the Spark samples I also have 3 samples of Reydrate (an electolyte drink for use after or during exercise) and 3 samples of Slam (a quick energy shot) to go along with them.  I would LOVE to share these amazing products with you!!  In my house we call Spark our "Focus" drink.  It really does get you moving and helps you focus on getting things done.

If you like them and want to order some to try other flavors, just visit HERE and check out the options :-)  (you can also order from here) I will get you hooked up!  I can't go a day without my Spark.  

To enter the giveaway, just follow the three ways to enter listed in the Rafflecopter box below and the winner will be announced on Friday!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Win a Kindle Fire or Nook Color from @SuzanneWFisher in "The Haven" Giveaway! RSVP for Live Video Chat on 8/30!

Celebrate the newest book in the Stoney Ridge Seasons series with Suzanne by entering her 4 eReader Giveaway and Facebook Party and RSVPing for the Live Video Chat on 8/30! 

See what folks are saying about The Haven!


Four grand prize winners will receive:
  • A Brand new Kindle Fire or Nook Color 
  • $25 Amazon.com or Barnes&Noble.com Gift certificate 
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 29th. Winner will be announced at Suzanne's Live Author Chat Party on 8/30. Suzanne will be hosting an author chat (party will start on Facebook AND then be Live from her website) and giving away books, gift certificates and several Burt's Bees® Nourishing Radiance Kits!!

So grab your copy of The Haven and join Suzanne on the evening of the August 30th for a fun chat (both on Facebook and via Live Video), trivia contest and lots of giveaways. 

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 30th!
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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Book Review: Over the Edge & Contest Info!!


I  have been a sucker for prairie and early wild west romances since the 3rd grade when I was introduced to Little House (I soooooo wanted to be Laura!).  Then I became a big fan of Christian prairie romances in 5th grade when I was introduced to Janette Oke.  I still enjoy reading these books.  Are the plots all similar?  Sure, but the story lines are still so romantic and sweet. 

Over the Edge is a Christian romance set in the late 1800's, post Civil War.  Callie Kincaid and her toddler son Conner are traveling to Colorado to find her husband's family in hopes of having a place to live.  Her husband Seth disappeared on her one evening but she remembered the family ranch and has set out to find it.  She is a very independent character, knows how to shoot straight with both guns and her thoughts. 

After surviving a fire at an earlier age and the Civil War later, Seth has issues to put it mildly.  He has recurring nightmares, seems a bit out of whack but has a sweet way about him.  He also has no memory of having a wife and definitely no memory of having a young son.  Which explains why the woman he saves in a gunfight is so mad at him.

They move onto the family ranch and the fun continues.  As mad as Callie is at Seth, she still loves him and he seems to still love her very much even though he doesn't remember being married to her.

This book, for me, was ok.  It isn't one of the best Christian romances I have read, I actually had a difficult time with some of the ways Seth was thought of by his wife (slow, not very intelligent, etc...).  Granted, I know not all men are savvy, smart and stronger than an ox and I realize we women do think these things but I think the way it was written just didn't sit well.  Made me feel like the author and main character didn't have much respect at all for Seth or his brothers.  However, I also have never read another novel by this author so it could simply boil down to the fact that I am not used to her writing and would have enjoyed it more otherwise.

That being said, Over the Edge was easy to read and has a well written storyline full of humor, drama and suspense. There are also a lot of good details which made visualizing the roads, characters, town and ranch very easy.   Obviously the characters are fully developed because I actually felt sorry for Seth when he was described in such negative tones.  So overall, I would give this book a 2.5 out of 5 stars if I had a star rating ;-)

About the Book: 

Seth Kincaid survived a fire in a cave, but he's never been the same. He was always a reckless youth, but now he's gone over the edge. He ran off to the Civil War and came back crazier than ever.

After the war, nearly dead from his injuries, it appears Seth got married. Oh, he's got a lot of excuses, but his wife isn't happy to find out Seth doesn't remember her. Callie has searched, prayed, and worried. Now she's come to the Kincaid family's ranch in Colorado to find her lost husband.

Callie isn't a long-suffering woman. Once she knows her husband is alive, she wants to kill him. She's not even close to forgiving him for abandoning her.

Then more trouble shows up in the form of a secret Seth's pa kept for years. The Kincaid brothers might lose their ranch if they can't sort things out. It's enough to drive a man insane--but somehow it's all making Seth see things more clearly. And now that he knows what he wants, no one better stand in his way.


Meet Mary: 


Mary Connealy writes fun and lively "romantic comedy with cowboys" for the inspirational market. She is the author of the successful Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages, and Sophie's Daughters series, and her novel Calico Canyon was nominated for a Christy Award. She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her husband, Ivan, and has four grown daughters.

Visit her on her Web site maryconnealy.com

CONTEST!!!!!
Celebrate with Mary by entering to win a Nook Color with GlowLight!

See what folks are saying about Over the Edge!


One winner will receive:
  • A Nook Color with GlowLight
  • The entire set of Mary Connealy's The Kincaid Brides series
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 28th. Winner will be announced at the "Over the Edge" Author Chat Facebook Party on 8/29. Meet Mary, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at a trivia contest, and more. There will also be gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group.)!

So grab your copy of Over the Edge and join Mary on the evening of the August 29th for a chance to connect with her and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 29th!


Blog Tour Schedule
Here is a link for the whole blog tour schedule!  If you have been enticed by my review, I encourage you to check out some others :-)


Disclosure : I received this book free from Bethany House Books through Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review, the opinions expressed above are my own.
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

I am not my hair

Cancer.
It affects all of us, whether personally, through family or friends. It's everywhere. If you have never joined in the fight against cancer, I challenge you to visit my 3Day page here (or click the widget to the right) and consider donating, walking or working to help in the fight against breast cancer.
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Monday, August 13, 2012

Weight Loss Blahs...and my challenge

Can I see a show of hands? How many of you have battled the bulge before? How many have battled it most of your life? How many of you just truly enjoy food and find it hard to resist? How many of you just have maybe target areas you want to tone?

Well, even if you only raised your hand once, you will understand my post. I have always considered myself overweight...even when I wasn't (typical female, correct?). I have tried so many diets and programs and exercises, I get worn out just thinking about them.

A few months ago, while typing in my calories for lunch, I realized how consumed I had become yet again with my weight. To the point of being edgy beyond reason with my family and spending 1/2 of my day if not more counting calories, typing them in, and exercising to work a few off.

It. was. insane. I was using an app that helped me keep up with these things, but that put me on my phone way too much. I had to let it go. I had to LET go period. I was becoming so focused it was harming me, my family and my thoughts.

I had an encounter with God a couple of weeks ago finally. I have been praying each morning for awhile now that God would give me HIS joy each day, HIS patience and HIS peace because I have learned having my sweet boys at home all day, I can't do these things on my own. at all. Well, it dawned on me a couple of weeks ago that along with those requests, I could ask God for HIS self-control.

See, I've learned through this amazing book, Grace for the Good Girl, that those fruits mentioned in 1 Corinthians are not things I am to strive for by myself. They aren't there to mock me because I fall short of reaching them constantly.  They are the fruits of the SPIRIT, God's spirit, they are HIS fruits, not mine to constantly try to attain. 

And what a freedom I felt.  The burden of watching every morsel, counting every calorie, every drop of water, etc... was lifted and I actually began eating less.  Not because I was forcing myself, but because I wasn't thinking about food all day long any more.  I was also reminded that while I'm not a size 6, I am much healthier than I used to be.  I can jog a 5K now without wanting to pass out, that's huge.  But I am still a size 10/12, more leaning towards the 12.  (There, I said it, I've come out of the weight closet) 

Is it easy all the time?  Nope, in fact at a scrap weekend I just returned from attending, I had quite a bit of snack food...but I don't feel guilty any longer.  Have I lost any weight yet?  No, but I have another reason for that too...it's called T-Tapp.
Have you heard of this program?  It's interesting.  It's a "Wellness" exercise program based on the research and work of Teresa Tapp.  It's not about scales! (in fact, many T-Tappers might lose several dress sizes but only 10lbs), it's about inches, toning muscles and improving your joints, inner health and outer being.  It's very low impact but the Basic 15 minute work-out leaves you sweating if you hold your "tuck" and tighten muscles like she teaches.  Her primary back stretch can take knots out and help you sleep better when done daily (I do have proof of that already in 1 week).  Her hoe downs have been proven in a few people to help them with their battle with diabetes.


I have tried this program on and off several times, but as with most any other thing I start, I stopped around 2 weeks.  Not sure why that's my cut-off but there you have it.  This time, it's different.  I feel challenged but I also feel like it's the right thing for me right now.  While I'm also in and out of training for the 3Day Breast Cancer walk, it's so stinkin' hot outside I don't even want to be on my treadmill (which is on the back porch). Plus now that our new year of homeschooling has begun and we have a 16 month old running (seriously, running) around, I just don't have time for long workouts.  And this time...I"m not in a hurry.  I'm just letting God work.

And so I will be posting every few weeks, how my T-Tapping progress is going and what results I am feeling and seeing.  I will be taking before and after shots but I will NOT show them for quite awhile (sorry...since I'm still female and I'm still in the BEFORE area, you will have to wait).  I love the way I feel doing this exercise and I love the God is my Self-Controller.  I'm praying it's a winning team ;-)


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Friday, August 10, 2012

Win a Nook Color from Robert Whitlow in The Choice Giveaway. RSVP for 8/28 Facebook Party!

Celebrate with Robert by entering to win a Nook Color with GlowLight!

See what folks are saying about The Choice!


One "choice" winner will receive:
  • A Nook Color with GlowLight
  • A four book Robert Whitlow library (winner's choice)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 27th. Winner will be announced at the "The Choice" Author Chat Facebook Party on 8/28. Meet Robert, get a sneak peek of his next book, try your hand at a trivia contest, and more. There will also be gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group.)!

So grab your copy of The Choice and join Robert on the evening of the August 27th for a chance to connect with Robert and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 28th!
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Book Review and a Book GIVEAWAY!!

It only takes a minute...to change a lightbulb, to wash a dish, to become angry, to smile...change the heart of a child.

In his book, "Just a Minute", author Wess Stafford shares stories which together will convince you that any moments you have to spend with a child is a chance to either build them up or tear them down. Each. moment.

God gives us these chances to share words of encouragement, words of discipline, words of training...so will we use them as such? Or will we discourage, physically hurt or ignore? Each one of us is qualified to do this work for each child we encounter.

This book, while at first I thought I was reading something that seemed so obvious...really made an impact on my thinking as well. Cemented it, I suppose, but also made that cement fluid, made it move around in my thoughts more as I interact with even my own sons. It reminds me of the words I say in frustration or when I'm tired and how that can affect a child for life. Do children still wear me out? Yes, that's just who I am, but I don't have to let that be what I do with children. I can be worn out...when they aren't around. I can frustrated...and channel it to God and let Him deal with me. I can show my children that they are treasures. They are amazing.

Wess has brought together an incredible sampling of stories and instances where a child's life was changed, as well as the adult's. He covers topics such as forming character, discovering talents, awakening spirits and stretching the mind.

 I encourage you to read this book, even if you don't think you are a "kid person". You will still have many opportunties through your lifetime to share love with a child.

ENTER TO WIN!!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure : I received these books free from Moody Publishers through C Grant & Co. I was not required to write a positive review, the opinions expressed above are my own. 
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Choice - Book Review & Giveaway!

I was drawn to this book right away, but I was also nervous to read it at the same time. 

The Choice is about a young woman named Sandy in the early 1970's who gets pregnant while in high school.  Sandy is faced with the decisions available to her...keeping the baby, abortion, adoption. This is the first choice she must make.  She does the best she can and lives with her decision.

Thirty years later, she is teaching high school and becomes the confidant of a young pregnant teen at her school.  Sandy becomes involved in the life of the girl, not only for her but for the baby as well. The teen is faced with pressures from her father, a counselor at school and others around her.  Sandy remembers all too well the choices available and what they each can bring.  

As she begins to help this young girl, her past comes back in ways you would never expect and she is forced to make another life or death choice.  

We adopted our son over a year ago, which is one reason I was drawn to this story.  It's also the reason I was nervous to read it.  This story is from a birthmom's perspective, and while I keep in touch with our birthmom, it still gave me a lot of insight into things she probably felt and still feels.  It opened my eyes quite a bit.  I truly got caught up in the character of Sandy Lincoln and could feel her struggles.  I understood how her parents felt when they found out but also fell in love with the way her aunt helped her and provided the support she needed.  On the other hand, I would actually feel my blood pressure rising as I read things the counselor did with the young teen and adult Sandy. And I think most women have met the boyfriend at one time in our lives. 

 Will others feel as I did about this story if they haven't been in this situation?  I think so, maybe not as personally, but I think it's a well written book and would catch most any reader's attention.  
Robert does a wonderful job of helping the reader visualize Sandy, her family, the boyfriend, and other characters, I could see them as if in a movie.  I definitely recommend this book, it's touching and easy to enjoy.

About the Book: 

One young woman. Two very different roads. The choice will change everything.

Even as a pregnant, unwed teen in 1974, Sandy Lincoln wanted to do the right thing. But when an ageless woman approached her in a convenience store with a mysterious prophecy and a warning, doing the right thing became even more unclear. She made the best choice she could . . . and has lived with the consequences.

More than thirty years later, a pregnant teen has come into her life, and Sandy’s long-ago decision has come back to haunt her. The stakes rise quickly, leaving Sandy with split seconds to choose once more. But will her choice decision bring life . . . or death?


Meet Robert: 
Robert Whitlow is the best-selling author of legal novels set in the South and winner of the prestigious Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction. A Furman University graduate, Whitlow received his J.D. with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law where he served on the staff of the Georgia Law Review. A practicing attorney, Whitlow and his wife, Kathy, have four children. They make their home in North Carolina.

For more about Robert and his other books, visit www.robertwhitlow.com.

Check back later this week for information on the 
NOOK Color Giveaway from Litfuse!!

Blog Tour Schedule
Here is a link for the whole blog tour schedule!  If you have been enticed by my review, I encourage you to check out some others :-)



Disclosure : I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Books through Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review, the opinions expressed above are my own.
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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Photoshop elements tutorial for wordart

Just a quick heads up for you digi scrappers...

Do you use Photoshop Elements or CS4 for your digital scrapbooking? 
Over at Daybreak Scraps blog, there will occasionally be some tutorials for using your software. Tips and tricks to get you scrappin' more smoothly :-) 
 I have just posted a tutorial on "coloring" your wordart images with papers. 
Click HERE to check it out!
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