Book Review: The Magic of Motherhood by Ashlee Gadd

I love the blog Coffee & Crumbs. It was established right after Jimmie was born and I have been reading it ever since then. It has helped me cope with the bad days, enjoy the good days, and accept my feelings about motherhood. I have cried, smiled, and laughed, while reading this wonderful blog.

Now you can cry, smile, and laugh while reading the blog’s new book, a collection of essays, The Magic of Motherhood by Ashlee Gadd. Some of the essays I previously read on the blog, but most of them were new to me. I enjoyed reading one essay at a time, thinking about it, and then reading another. The pictures and quotes on several of the pages are beautiful and inspiring. This is a must read for new moms, soon-to-be moms, and moms who have been in the midst of motherhood for a long time. It’s full of all the stuff we want to say to each other but feel like we can’t because then we will be judged. This is a judgement free zone kind of book.

One quote that really hit home is:

‘I guess I just feel like motherhood is a lot of wishing away hard seasons and then realizing they’re gone forever. It’s tying to claw back through time because you didn’t realize what you were actually wishing away.’ Pg. 19

And  I also love this one:

You are more than your worst day.

You are more than your biggest mistake.

I promise, this will not define you. Pg. 109

The Magic of Motherhood opens up with my favorite post from the Coffee & Crumbs blog: A Letter to My Pre-mom Self. The first time I read this essay I ugly cried for a good while. I remember reading it because my son was just past three months old.  Those first three months were HARD. Looking back, I can’t even remember a lot because I was in a fog that I never thought would go away. But it did. Eventually the fog did clear. Motherhood is so hard. Motherhood is so beautiful.

The Magic of Motherhood is filled with love and struggle: Love for adoption, the struggle of infertility, love and struggles of marriage, the struggle of the hard days, and the love for the ‘easy’ days. Sure you can buy all the baby books at the store (been there), but you won’t find this kind of clarity in those books. The Magic of Motherhood reaffirms the fact that it really does take a village and we are all in this together.

Head on over to the official book page for more information and buying options.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Falling Free by Shannan Martin

 

Shannan Martin had the perfect life: a cute farmhouse on six rambling acres, a loving husband, three adorable kids, money, friends, a close-knit church—a safe, happy existence.

But when the bottom dropped out through a series of shocking changes and ordinary inconveniences, the Martins followed God’s call to something radically different: a small house on the other side of the urban tracks, a shoestring income, a challenged public school, and the harshness of a county jail (where her husband is now chaplain). And yet the family’s plunge from “safety” was the best thing that could have happened to them.

Falling Free charts their pilgrimage from the self-focused wisdom of the world to the topsy-turvy life of God’s more being found in less. Martin’s practical, sweetly subversive book invites us to rethink assumptions about faith and the good life, push past insecurity and fear, and look beyond comfortable, middle-class Christianity toward a deeper, richer, and ultimately more fulfilling life.

I was really excited to read Falling Free by Shannan Martin. I started reading it during a time when I was struggling. A time where I felt broken. It sounded like an inspirational story about how a woman found peace after losing her perfect life. I tried really hard to enjoy the book, the message and the story, but I couldn’t get past page 70. There was just too much repetition for me.

Every other sentence in the book seemed to be “God this, God that…” etc. I knew that this was going to be a religious book, which is one of the reasons I wanted to read it, but there just wasn’t enough content to keep me engaged. I wish I could have sucked it up and kept reading because like I said, I was really interested in the story and looking for the inspiration. It just wasn’t enough for me. Can’t win them all.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

Book Review: Spectacle by Rachel Vincent

Book two, Spectacle, in The Menagerie Series by Rachel Vincent does not disappoint. Picking up a short time after the first book, Menagerie, ended, Delilah and her fellow cryptid friends are discovered by Williem Vandekamp, owner of Savage Spectacle. At the Savage Spectacle, freedom is no longer an option. Back in a cage and stripped of all her rights once again, Delilah Marlow is forced to do things that she never would could have dreamed of doing. Williem Vanderamp is in the midst of perfecting a collar that allows his handlers to control everything a cryptid can or can not do. The situation is far worse than it ever was in Metzer’s Menagerie, if you can believe that were even possible. Even though the cryptids are eating better and living in bigger cages, Williem can control other aspects of their lives that only a real monster would consider acceptable.

I have been waiting over a year an a half to read the second book in Rachel Vincent’s Menagerie series. It was worth the wait. I never read Harry Potter, (I am one of those “watch the movies” people) but I can imagine this is how readers felt after binge reading one of J.K. Rowling’s books. I can only hope that there will be more than one more book in this series. Yes, people, I just compared The Menagerie Series to Harry Potter. You all need to jump on the Rachel Vincent train as soon as possible. Spectacle ended in such an incredible way making me want the next book even more than I wanted this one.

Rachel Vincent’s imagination is unbelievable. Her creativity kept my mind turning throughout the entire book. The world that Delilah and the other cryptids live in is so unreal, yet she is able to make me believe that this could happen right under my nose at a factory down the street. I remember when I read Menagerie and how I wanted to make everyone I knew read the book. I now want to give both of these books to everyone I know. I must admit, Spectacle is a little more colorful than Menagerie. There are a few sexual scenes that are disturbing and graphic, but they are also necessary to move the story along. I guess the disturbing part is how real she paints the picture with these creatures that are so unreal. I can’t imagine what a movie series would be like, but I would definitely be a midnight showing.

I like how the relationship between Delilah and Gallagher continues in Spectacle. Their friendship is so pure and honest, he will do anything to protect her because it is his sole duty in life. There are a lot of other returning characters in Spectacle, Rommily, Claudio, Genevieve, Eyrx, just to name a few. There are also new cryptids to discover. I wish I had reread Menagerie before starting Spectacle but it didn’t take long to remember who everyone was. I would not recommend reading Spectacle without reading Menagerie first.

Spectacle will be available for purchase on May 30, 2017. You can preorder is now. If you haven’t read the first book in this series, you still have time; Menagerie is, by far, one of my favorite books.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: 365 Devotions for Finding Rest by Christina Vinson

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Rest. Isn’t it a magical word? As a mom, it is something I think about all day, every day. We all need rest but resting is something easier said than done.  365 Devotions for Finding Rest by Christina Vinson is the perfect morning (or before bed) daily devotions book. Each day of the year is filled with ways to remind yourself that not only do you need rest, but you deserve it. Each page takes less than five minutes to read but the impact lasts all day.

The past two weeks have been absolutely exhausting. I have been sick, my son has been sick, and now my husband is sick. What we all needed to get better was rest. As parents, we were barely able to find rest, yet we made our mission to get our son to sleep better at night and nap better during the day. If only I had given myself the same type of medicine, rest, I probably would have bounced back quicker.

By reading  365 Devotions for Finding Rest by Christina Vinson every night before bed, I was able to calm myself down and remind myself that I needed to sleep well, just as much as my son did. As I continue reading this devotions book every day, I find myself thinking about God’s scripture when I am completely out of energy. I remind myself that God wants me to stop, breath, and recharge. This book has helped me get better. This book has helped me remember that God is with us, even when we are struggling to find time for ourselves.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

—Matthew 11:28

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Interview with Laura Sassi: Author of Goodnight, Ark and Goodnight, Manger

Originally posted on my previous blog on December 13, 2016.

I am so excited for today’s post! I had the honor to interview Laura Sassi, author of two of Jimmie’s favorite books, Goodnight, Ark and Goodnight, Manger. Not only does Jimmie enjoy listening to these books before bed, we really love reading them to him. The words and pictures are entertaining and full of fun. What a wonderful way to introduce bible stories to children of all ages.

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Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Rosie. It’s a real treat to connect with my reading family – the moms and dads and little ones who are enjoying Goodnight, Ark and Goodnight, Manger.

Growing up, did you always want to be a children’s author?

Actually, when I was little what I really wanted to be was Wonder Woman. I had her twirl perfected and everything. I loved imaginary play and spent hours with friends, or sometimes alone, creating fantastic make-believe scenarios – which, come to think of it, is sort of what I do now as an author. When I learned to read, I also fell in love with books and spent hours each week reading. One thing led to another and soon I was writing my own stories and poems. A few years ago my parents sent me a box full of journals and papers from my elementary school years. Included in the rather musty collection are limericks, riddles, and silly rhyming snippets – all proof that I not only liked to write, but that I also loved to rhyme, even as a child. So I even though never dreamed I’d grow up to be an author (I grew up to be a teacher first, instead), my love of imagination and playing with words has deep roots.

What inspired you to write Goodnight, Ark and Goodnight, Manger?

My kids and the weather were the spark that led me to write Goodnight, Ark. We get big storms in New Jersey and when they were little, my kids and the dog would get scared and come piling into our bed. However, I thought that a story about ordinary kids piling into an ordinary bed might be boring, so I kept flipping the idea until—Zip! Zing!—it hit me—I could set the tale afloat on Noah’s ark!

Goodnight, Manger was inspired by my daughter. As a preschooler, she loved playing with the little Baby Jesus that was part of our nativity set. She’d carry him around the house saying things like, “Baby Jesus crying. It’s okay, Baby.” Then she’d gently feed him or rock him and sing a lullaby. Before listening to her tender play, I’d never thought of Baby Jesus as ever crying. But, he was human (and God) and so he must have cried. With this sweet spark of inspiration, I was ready to write the story that was on my heart – which was to write a fun Christmas bedtime book that kids would want to read again and again and which would point them in the direction of Jesus – the real gift of Christmas.

Do you have any more “Goodnight” books in mind?

I have some ideas, but they still need to be developed. There are,however, a couple of other new books already in the pipeline for publication, so stay tuned for those official announcements. =)

What led you to write Christian children’s books?

For a long time I have had it on my heart to use my writing as a way to point kids towards good and towards God. To write stories that will appeal not just to believers, but to the broader culture as well. So when Zonderkidz said they wanted to publish first “Goodnight, Ark” and then“Goodnight, Manger” and said that the reason they especially appealed was because they were great “cross-over” books I was thrilled. In other words, they are books that anyone might like to pick up and read because the stories are fun. But because they are inspired by Bible stories they can also point little children and their parents towards God.

Have you ever thought about writing a novel?

I do have a middle-grade novel draft collecting dust in my files. But I don’t think that’s my gifting. At least for now, I’ve found my voice in telling stories for the very young. And I LOVE it!

Did you have a favorite teacher growing up that helped you develop you love for writing?

I do. Her name was Mrs. Rebholz and she was my ninth grade English teacher. Her favorite expression was “Keep percolating.” She used the phrase to prod us when discussing literature or to urge us to take our weekly writing assignments in new and unexpected directions. Her point was not to settle for the first idea that pops in your head. Instead, keep thinking. Keep pushing yourself to think beyond the ordinary. That refrain has been foundational to my writing. Indeed, I can see that my best written pieces are the ones I let percolate. Instead of settling for that first idea, I brainstorm, I revise, I revise again, often flipping the idea by trying a new setting, or new point of view, or new metaphor until I create something that really sparkles.

What is your favorite children’s book and why?

Oh, Rosie, this is such a hard question! I love so many books and for so many different reasons, but the one that comes to mind today is Virginia Kahl’s classic The Duchess Bakes a Cake. As a child what I loved most about it was that it was funny and it rhymed. It was a bedtime standard and, in my head, I can still hear my mother reading it to me as I now (or used to when they were younger) read with my children. As an adult, I now also appreciate that it features a mother who, like me, loves to write. In the case of the Duchess, leads to a gigantic baking mishap. Thankfully, so far, I’m a little better than the Duchess at doing both without wreaking too much havoc in the kitchen. =)

Laura Sassi has a passion for writing picture books in rhyme and prose. She is the author of two picture books GOODNIGHT, ARK (Zonderkidz, 2014), GOODNIGHT, MANGER (Zonderkidz, 2015) and is excited to announce that there are more on the way! Laura grew up overseas and in the US, but has spent most of her adult life in New Jersey where she lives with her husband, two children, and a black Cockapoo named Sophie. For her reflections on reading, writing and life,visit her blog at http://www.laurasassitales.wordpress.com or on Twitter: @LauraSassiTales. She can also be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LauraSassiTales.

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Click here to see the Goodnight, Manger Book Trailer
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Click here to see the Goodnight, Ark Book Trailer

Final Thoughts on ‘Army Wives: A Final Salute’

Since this is one of my most searched posts from my old blog, I figured I would move it over. Originally posted 3-17-2014.

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VIA lifetime network

Last night, the fans of “Army Wives,” which ran for seven seasons (and was unexpectedly canceled in September,) had a chance to say goodbye to their beloved characters, except for the Catherine Bell (Denise Sherwood,) in a special two hour farewell episode. I wish I could say I was satisfied with the goodbye that was “graciously given to us” by Lifetime, but I wasn’t. Of course, I cried on and off, beginning with the initial show recap, three minutes into the show. But other than that, I was left even more sad than before. Maybe, it’s because I watched all seven seasons in three years, instead of seven, but I just feel like we weren’t given the closure we deserved. The show was canceled, it didn’t end the way shows are supposed to end, and this goodbye just left a bad taste in my mouth for Lifetime.

Right before Jim left for Basic Training, exactly three years ago, he said to me, “Do not watch ‘Army Wives.'” I said, “Okay, okay,” and bought the first season the next day.  My mom and I watched the first four and a half seasons within a month, or so, to catch up to the fifth season that was being aired in 2011; we must have watched 2-3 episodes, a night, for weeks. It really was one of the few things that got me through being away from my Soldier for 10 weeks and four days.

The reason Jim didn’t want me to watch “Army Wives” was because it was more drama than informative, which was true, but I did learn about Army friendship, ranks, and how not to dress on post (thanks, Roxy!) The show was emotional for me, more often than not, but that is reality. Being in the Army family is an emotional roller coaster, no matter how you look at it. The homecomings were the hardest for me to watch, and next came the goodbyes.

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VIA lifetime network

The reason I didn’t like the “finale” that the network put together is due to the fact that A) Catherine Bell (Denise Sherwood) was not there. It was rumored (online) that she was working on another show but it was never addressed during the reunion. B) Only the “original” cast members were there; none of the “kid” characters were in attendance for interviews or the newer characters, introduced during season six/seven, that I had just started to accept as regulars. Some of the original cast members hadn’t been regulars for a while, heck Claudia Joy (Kim Delaney) had died on the show, yet she was still there. I just think the other cast members were probably interested in being a part of the goodbye, and weren’t given the opportunity, which is a shame because they had become a part of the Army family too.

The only interesting part of the “Army Wives: A Final Salute” was hearing from Tanya Biank, the author of the book Army Wives: The Unwitten Code of Military Marriage, which the show was based on, and see her cameo appearances on the show; I have yet to read the book, but may read it now since the series is “officially” over. Confessions of a Military Wife by Mollie Gross will forever be my favorite military book; her book would make a hilarious show! What wasn’t interesting, last night, was seeing how “Army Wives” affected “real” military spouses. We know it had a huge effect on the military, especially on spouses, and I think those mini interviews wasted precious screen time that could have been given to other cast members.

In my opinion, if they were able to get almost everyone together to say goodbye, why couldn’t they just do an actual goodbye episode, instead of a recap episode? Even if it was only an hour, I feel like the producers could have tied up some loose ends in a final episode, and then had an hour “after show” interview show to have all the characters say goodbye. Unfortunately, I do not call the shots and am just one of the many disappointed fans. As an Army wife myself, I have never been too great at goodbyes, this goodbye is no different. I am bitter and sad that all good things must come to an end.

Book Review: The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

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Louise Miller’s debut novel, The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living, is a hit. After a baking disaster at a club in Boston, Olivia Rawlings flees the scene and escapes to her best friend’s small town, Guthrie, Vermont. Shortly after arriving, Hannah sets Olivia up with a job interview at a local B & B, The Sugar Maple Inn. From big city to a small kitchen, Olivia has her work cut out for her. Her eccentric style and decadent baked goods quickly win over more than a few hearts in Guthrie.

Small town living is one of my favorite things to read about. Since we are going to Vermont in a few weeks, I knew The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living would be the perfect book to read before we left. I didn’t think I would read it so fast, but once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. Almost every character in this novel is so sweet and friendly, except for the horrible Jane White; what a wench! The owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, Margaret, is a bit rough around the edges. I like that she has a backstory that isn’t an easy to tell, it keeps her interesting. Her best friend, Dotty, has an amazing family that Olivia quickly becomes a part of. Dotty’s husband, Henry, is sick, which is ridiculously depressing. Their love story is adorable. Olivia’s dog, Salty, plays a big role in the book, as well.

I really enjoyed reading about the life of a baker. I can barely bake a cake without screwing it up. It always amazes me how people can bake such intricate desserts with such ease. Reading this book made me want to run to the nearest bakery and buy them out. Not good idea for someone who just started a new workout regime in January. Luckily, we did have some pie last weekend that satisfied some of my cravings while reading the novel. One of the major conflicts in the story is centered around an apple pie baking contest that Margaret used to win when her husband was alive. After he passed, the evil Jane White started winning the blue ribbons. At the end of the book, the winning apple pie recipe is featured. I feel inspired to try it out. I have never made a pie from scratch before.

Book Review: The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

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From Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.

Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff is an incredible story. A tale of friendship, family, and love comes alive in a place where one would least expect it: a time of war and a time of fear. Noa has had to grow up faster than any 16 year old should. She has been shunned by her biological family, given up her child unwillingly, and has rescued a Jewish child from the brink of death. With little hope of staying alive, Noa does all she can to protect this child, a child that isn’t even her own. When she is found in the woods, she is taken to a practice grounds for the circus. Since it is winter, she is given very little time to prove herself so that she can travel from Germany to France and perform as a part of the flying trapeze.

Astrid, Noa’s trainer, grew up with her family’s circus and left to marry a German, even though she is Jewish. After forcing a divorce on her, Astrid finds her family’s rival circus and is asked to join them with the promise of her own safety. The two girls need each other to survive but that doesn’t mean the road to survival is easy. During her short time with the circus, Noa learns that sometimes family can be found in places one wouldn’t think to look.

I am kind of obsessed with the mysteries behind the circus life. This is strange for me because I am one of those people who is terrified of clowns. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is one of my favorite books, as well as, Menagerie by Rachael Vincent.  We are lead to believe that the life of circus performers is full of magic, romance, and fun. In reality, circus life is a hard work, and for some people, like Noa and Astrid in The Orphan’s Tale, their only hope of survival.

Historical fiction is a genre I don’t read often. With that being said, I do enjoy learning more about WWII through fiction, no matter how horrifying and tragic the story may be. I had no idea that Jewish infants were sent on trains during the war to concentration camps: Left to die from frostbite, hunger, and lack of care. This is a devastating fact that Pam Jenoff wants her readers to be aware of. As WWII drifts further into our past, we mustn’t forget how horrific it was. Everyone, no matter what their religion, job, or age, was at risk of being arrested and sent far away. The fear that every single person woke up with, and fell asleep with, is described throughout The Orphan’s Tale.

It is surprising that during the war, circuses were still allowed to practice, travel, perform. It wasn’t easy for them, a long list of rules kept them from touring as they normally would, but as they say in the circus world, “The show must go on.” In a time of high stress, these performers brought joy to those who could still afford little luxuries. The circus was a place where a few Jewish performers tried to escape the Holocaust. Ringmasters took great risks, like Herr Neuhoff in the novel, to protect these people from concentration camps; unsung heroes that you won’t learn about in your history books. One of the stories that influenced Pam Jenoff to write this fictional story can be found here.

The characters in The Orphan’s Tale are inspiring. They show an enormous amount of courage which helps them overcome obstacles, not only to protect themselves, but also to protect each other. The ending on this novel is heartbreaking and unexpected. The Orphan’s Tale provides a unique look at WWII and how even during a time of darkness, there were people still trying to spread light and hope.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

Book Review: Love Unending by Becky Thompson

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I am a huge fan of Becky Thompson. Her blog and her first book, Hope Unfolding, speak to me like nothing else I have ever read. When I found out she was writing another book, I knew I had to read it.

Love Unending is a lot different than Hope Unfolding. Hope Unfolding is about the difficulties (and joys) of being a mother. Love Unending is about learning how to like you husband again, after having children. You’re probably thinking, “What do you mean like your husband again?” But if you have had a child, you would know that even though you still LOVE you husband, liking him is sometimes easier said than done.(And trust me, I’m sure our husbands feel the same exact way about  us!)

Becky Thompson’s book is a 21 day challenge that encourages us to fall in love with our husbands all over again. Think about the first time you met you husband. How did you feel? Think about the first time you said, “I love you.” Think about the excitement you had every time you saw him after a long day, or in my case, a long week, since we only saw each other on weekends. Becky Thompson guides the reader through a journey to improve their marriage after taking care of little people all day long.

Taking care of a child is exhausting. Taking care of more than one child? Probably 3x more exhausting. If you stay at home, like I do, you count the minutes until you husband comes home. It may not be because you want to see him, kiss him, or hear his voice, it is probably because you want to hand child raising duties off to him so you can cook dinner, and pee in private.

Throughout your 21 day journey, Becky Thompson will guide you through 21 daily challenges and journaling. Some tasks will be as simple (or as hard) as greeting your husband as soon as he comes in the door, instead of bombarding him with immediate tasks or not acknowledging his arrival at all. Another task will encourage you to thank your husband for things that you may take for granted. Each daily task also includes a daily prayer to help you stay focused and committed to your faith.

Don’t get me wrong, this book is not one of those books that encourage you to “serve your husband because he is always right.” It is not even close to that. It is woman centered, and makes you nod your head and want to say, “Yes, yup, that happens, I could fix that, he could fix that.” Being married is about being a team.

I had an interesting experience reading this book. I like to think that my husband are in love (and in like) still, after almost 6 years of marriage (8 years of dating.) I told him I was reading the book for review so that he wouldn’t see it and think, “What is going on?” He kind of thought it was silly, but asked about it for the first two weeks or so. I told him some of the tasks, and kept some of the other ones private (he could have read the book, too, if he wanted to.)

As my journey through the book played out, I did notice our marriage getting even better than it was before. We weren’t struggling, by any means, but let’s be honest, no one’s marriage is perfect. I told him that I wanted a kiss every night when he came home, and even though we now joke about it every night, and laugh, we do it, even if our son is running a muck during witching hour. I realize that I do obsessively read, and I try to put my books down when he is talking and really listen instead of just half listening. Really listening to someone is a game changer, making eye contact is important, and although we are not big cell phone people, I have tried to put mine down after he comes out from putting our son to bed so we can talk about our day, child free.

We have tried to make cuddling a priority, even if it is just during a TV show, or while we are both reading (it helps that is is winter and he is a furnace of heat.) It’s funny because when we were dating, we would always say how we would NEVER sit on opposites sides of a couch. I truly do feel like we started to appreciate our marriage more during the past 21 days. Many of the days and challenges were things we already did. Jim buys me surprises like flowers, several times a year to show me he cares. I also leave him things to let him know I care. But I found some new ways to show my love and it really did make me think about the beginning. Love Unending made me want to focus on us even more than we already do.

I suggest all moms (and dads even) read Love Unending to make your marriage better. Even if you are not suffering a rut (which we weren’t) you could still benefit from this challenge. I must admit, I did not journal throughout the journey, but if that if you thing, or if you marriage truly is on the rocks, journaling may be the right choice for you. Your marriage should be your priority. Even though little ones need so much attention, if your marriage is suffering (or not thriving as it should) your parenting will start to suffer. To teach your children to love, you need to be able to show them how to love.

Someone should send Becky Thompson on a child-free vacation with her husband, she deserves it. As for me and myhusband, we make child-free vacations a priority; once a year is a must. couple of weeks. Every marriage could thrive from a few days away without kids.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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There are no words to describe how much I enjoyed reading After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It took me on an emotional roller coaster that ended in lots of ugly tears. This novel is real. This novel is raw. This novel is what marriage is all about. It shows you that the love isn’t perfect, but it is worth fighting for. Love is worth waking up for, it is worth pushing through those hard days, it is worth every minute of your time, because “for better or for worse, till death do us part” is what we promised to do our on wedding day.

Lauren and Ryan met when they were 19, in college. They fell in love, moved in together, got engaged, and eventually got married. After 11 years of being together, they realized they were in a rut. They weren’t having sex, they were fighting over everything and anything, and they just plain old didn’t love each other anymore. After a few weeks of debating what to do, they decided to take a year break, no communication what-so-ever, and see how they feel at the end of it.

Although this concept isn’t typical, and I certainly wouldn’t partake in a year long break from my husband (we are happily in love, thank you very much), it seems to be the right choice for Lauren and Ryan. They don’t want to give up, but they also know they can’t keep going down the dangerous road they are on. While on their break, they meet other people, discover themselves, and realize what they want from each other. They also decide if they think they can overcome this obstacle in their marriage.

Lauren’s gramdmom is my favorite character in the novel. She reminded me of my grandmom, whom I lost while I was pregnant with my son. I wish I asked her what her secret to love was. I wish I asked her so much more than I asked her. My grandpop died 17 years before her. I can’t imagine being without my husband that long. I can’t imagine all the pain she endured.

‘Did you love Grandpa the whole time?’ Maybe she didn’t. Maybe she is just like me. Ending up like my Grandma would not be so bad.

‘The whole time,’ she says. ‘Every day.’ Okay, so maybe not.

‘How?’ I ask her.

‘What do you mean, how?’ I had no choice. That’s how.’ Pg. 113

I mean, Grandma gets it, people.

‘You have someone. That’s all I am going to say. Don’t give up on him just because he bores you. Or doesn’t pick up his socks.’ Pg. 303

‘Just because you can live without someone doesn’t mean you want to,’ she says. Pg. 304

Preach it, Grandma. Oh, this is where the ugly tears start.

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid is brutally honest. Whether you’re married, about to get married, in a serious relationship, or single, this book is a must read. Once you dip your toes into the sand, you won’t want to take them out. Get ready to cry hard and feel all the feels that Taylor Jenkins Reid so beautifully portrays.

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