Tuesday, June 27, 2017

None So Blind-A Review and a Giveaway


Have you ever wished you could recreate your life?
Longed for a second chance to rectify all the wrongs?
Dani Weeks is given just that opportunity...

When she wakes in a hospital and doesn't remember who she is, she gets a clean slate...
but she doesn't remember anything else, either. Not her husband. Not her kids. Not her normal routine. Nothing.

Her adjustments to her "new" life not only affects her, but her family, and they all must make decisions about coping with their new normal.

I love that Dani's husband is so understanding. I don't think I would be.
I was saddened by her sense of not belonging in her own house. Sometimes, though, don't we all feel a little like that, to be honest?

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes good, clean fiction centered on self-discovery with a little romance thrown in. Havig never disappoints!

About the Book
Book title: None So Blind
Author: Chautona Havig
Release date: September 29, 2013
Genre: Contemporary


Dani and Ella Weeks–two women who share one thing in common. The same life, the same family, and the same body.
When Dani wakes with no knowledge of who or where she is–no memories of her life at all–David and Dani Weeks discover that “til death do us part” takes on an entirely unexpected meaning. Practically speaking, Dani died. But she didn’t.
What’s a gal to do?
In a desperate attempt to separate the old life from the new, Dani insists on a new name, a twist of her old one–Ella.
Ella’s doctors can’t explain what happened. Her children can’t understand why she doesn’t know them. David, her husband, finds himself torn between admiration for the “new” version of his wife and missing the woman he’s known for over fifteen years.
Will Ella ever regain her memory? Why does their pastor suspect it’s one great hoax?

About the Author

Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert with her husbnd and five of her nine children. Through her novels, she hopes to encourage Christians in their walk with Jesus.

Guest Post from Chautona Havig
“Who are you, again?”
“I’m Joe’s, daughter. Vyonie.” My sister pointed to me. “This is Chautona.”
For some odd reason, the niece she spent the least amount of time with, Aunt Doris remembered—somewhat. But she didn’t remember Vyonie from what I could tell. She smiled at me, that amazing, sweet smile I’d never forget. She asked how I was. I always thought that Mrs. Sanderson—mother of John, Alicia, and Carl on the TV show, Little House on the Prairie—looked and sounded like Aunt Doris. Of course, that memory of me didn’t last. A minute or two later, she gave me a big smile and asked if she knew me.
It gave me a picture of what it must have been like for my character, Ella Weeks—to wake up every day with these children there—children who knew her, but she didn’t remember. The hurt she caused every time she had to struggle to admit she didn’t know something she probably should—again. So, I thought I’d ask her to tell us about it.
Ella: People often assume that the worst part of losing my memory are the memories that disappeared, too. But it’s not. A much as I’d love to remember my wedding day, my daughter’s first steps, my son’s first words, or that moment I realized I was pregnant with my third, those are blessings that I don’t think about often. No, what hurts most is seeing the pain in my children’s eyes when they need me to remember something and I can’t. For me, not remembering their first day of kindergarten is an inconvenience. For them, it’s a further reminder that if they didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t know them. That without them pushing themselves into my life, I wouldn’t care about them any more than any other human in my path. I do now, of course, but not at first. I hate that they heard David say once, “…she doesn’t know me. She doesn’t trust me. She doesn’t know our children. She tries, but she could walk out of our lives tomorrow and never miss us.”
Living so close to it every day, I missed those little bits of pain that I inflicted without meaning to, but when I went with our Bible study to a nursing home and visited with the residents, then I saw it. Women with tears running down their cheeks as loved ones patted their hands and tried to comfort. I heard one man offer to find a woman’s father. She squeezed him close and whispered, “It’s okay, Daddy. I love you. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
The man promised to try to find her father in the meantime.
Those people there—most of them didn’t realize they didn’t remember someone important. They didn’t struggle to remember this or that. Their dementia had gotten bad enough that their lives had gone from constant frustration to, by comparison, blissful oblivion.
And their families withered with each forgotten face, name, moment.
That’s what my “episode” did for my family. It caused them pain that just resurfaced every time something new happened. Pain that I didn’t know I inflicted. And since that visit, I have a greater compassion and awareness of just how amazing and powerful memories are.
I also have a greater appreciation for those beautiful words in Isaiah when the Lord promised… “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.”
You see, there’s a lifetime of the sins that Jesus died for buried somewhere in my brain—or, at least at one time there was. I know that those sins were in there, because the ones I committed yesterday are there today. The ones I’ve already confessed and been forgiven for—I beat myself up for the next morning. A week later. A month. But the Lord has wiped them clean. I just keep smearing them back out there again as if to say, “But You don’t get how BAD I was.” Yeah. The arrogance, right? Because an almighty, holy God can’t possibly understand how sinful a sinner that He had to DIE to save from those sins… is. The arrogance? That’s an understatement.
But all those years before that horrible morning… gone. Maybe I stole something. I don’t know. It was forgiven, wiped clean, and then wiped from my memory. I can’t rehash it with the Lord over and over. I can’t drag it back up like a wife who won’t let her husband forget the one time he forgot her birthday. I can’t use it as a whip to beat myself up with. And I think there’s something beautiful in that.
Do I wish I could stop hurting my family with my blank past? Of course. But am I also grateful for a living picture of the fresh start the Lord gives His people at salvation? Definitely. I hope I never take it for granted again.

Blog Stops

June 15: Genesis 5020
June 15: Lane Hill House
June 16: The Scribbler
June 18: Carpe Diem
June 19: Quiet Quilter
June 20: Mommynificent
June 22: Remembrancy
June 23: Pause for Tales
June 24: Bigreadersite
June 25: Lots of Helpers
June 28: Just Jo’Anne
June 28: Henry Happens



To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize that includes:
1 $25 Amazon Gift Card
1 Paperback Copy of None So Blind
1 Paperback Copy of Will Not See
1 Lampwork Necklace
1 Cool denim mini-backpack (to hold your stuff!)
1 Custom Travel Mug (with quote from book)
1 FREE eBook code to share with a friend!
Check out this cool video from Chautona: https://youtu.be/5K_cTjlg4S8
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/ba35

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Lessons from Ruth

Today the message at church was from Ruth.

It's one of my favorite books in the Bible. It truly has anything that a reader would want in a story. Drama. Death. Long, arduous journeys. Romance. Redemption.

It's also part of a study that I'll be working through with Proverbs 31 Ministries starting tomorrow. I love when God keeps bringing things up... it usually means I need to stand up and take notice.

Ruth had to choose to leave a familiar country and go somewhere that she wasn't familiar with... with her mother-in-law.

A mother-in-law who was self-described as "bitter".

Not my idea of a great trip, y'all.

But Ruth was faithful.

And Naomi was rewarded for her faithfulness.

Because Ruth chose to follow her, she was cared for.... and she was blessed.

Blessed with a new family line...

Blessed with a kinsman redeemer...

Blessed to nurse her grandbaby.

All because Ruth decided to take that unknown step.

Ruth means friend in Hebrew.

It can also be translated as a vision of beauty.

A true friend is a vision of beauty.

It's a beautiful thing to have someone in your corner.

I've been reading a lot about friendship and community and I am seeing the importance of having someone who you can relate to. Even though they were different, and ages apart, Ruth and Naomi could relate to one another. Ruth was a true friend, a companion to the end.

And because of this beautiful friendship, Naomi's bitterness turned into pleasant delight, just as her name had always indicated.

Tonight I'm reminded of several things from Ruth.

Don't be afraid to step out.

Love those around you even when it is hard.

If you don't have community, seek it out. As an introvert, I get that this is hard... but making yourself vulnerable and allowing others to be vulnerable with you opens up a true heart connection that can't be replaced.

Don't buy into your feelings. Don't allow what you don't have or what you can't do be your identity... instead, embrace who God says you are.

Be a friend in action. Be present. Walk with them.

And never think you're too old to see your redemption.

He's got a greater plan... and He's working it out for your good.

(For another take on this story, read this this blog from January 2016

Friday, June 23, 2017

Five Minute Friday- Steady

I've never been too coordinated.

Even at the almost 38, my legs are a testament to this... full of bruises in various colors from bumping into dressers and falling down.

Here's the thing, though... I don't always feel that clumsy. One of my favorite things to do as a young girl was to pretend I was an ice skater or gymnast. I'd skate across the living room carpet, light on my feet as I perfected turns to the cheers of the audience in my head.

And while I'm not athletic, I have learned to embrace activity.

Yesterday, I had even convinced myself that my balance had improved as I skirted across some wet rocks in the creek, light on my feet as the rain misted around me...

And then my foot slipped.

I found myself shaking my head at my confidence, because I had ALMOST convinced myself that I wasn't a clutz.

Granted, I caught myself, but I found myself going a tad bit slower as I maneuvered my way across the remaining creekbed.

And I thought how life is like that.

You can be flying along, coasting on your good luck and even standing on one leg...

and then you hit that slick spot, careening out of control.

The ONLY thing that can hold us is an inner balance...

an inner ability to right ourselves and stand a little straighter... pretending like we're a puppet and the puppeteer is holding the string straight up.

Steadying us by His peace... allowing His Spirit to help us right our balance.

Linking up today for Five Minute Friday, where we write for five minutes, unedited, on one prompt. Today's prompt- STEADY
(Image taken from Five Minute Friday website, as seen in picture).

His steadfast love endures forever, and He will hold us steady even as the waves of chaos and uncertainty knock us off balance.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Five Minute Friday: Worth

There can be a lot of meaning in five little letters.

Take, for example, the word used for this week's Five Minute Friday prompt.

WORTH.

Worth can be related to an object.

It can be related to a task.

It can be related to a person.

One of my favorite phrases to tell students when they start nursing school is, "It'll be hard, but all that hard work will be worth it in the end."

Worth indicates value.

It indicates the willingness to sacrifice.

If you think someone is worth your time, you'll sacrifice in some other areas.

It's true that we live out our priorities.

When we value an activity or a person, we make time for it.

We determine the worth of something or someone based on how much we are willing to give for it...
 how much time. How much effort. How much money.

Too often we see the worth of others when perhaps they don't see it themselves...

and maybe don't see our own worth.

It's easy to look at someone else and think they are special, beautiful, talented, smart... you fill in the blank.

But you? And me?

Y'all.

We are worth more than we can ever know. God made each one of us a priceless masterpiece.

You're worth the Savior of the world giving up Heaven and taking on sin...

That's how much we're worth.

Invaluable.

Linking up today with five minute Friday at www.fiveminutefriday.com, where we write for five minutes, unedited on a word prompt.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

For Such a Time as This... and That

Every now and again I get in a melancholy mood.

It usually always happens in the wintertime, when the days are short and the sun doesn't shine and it just always looks gray.

Occasionally, though, I get that way when everything seems to be going good.

Today was one of those days, just for a few minutes.

I had a great day. I went to Lexington with my Mamaw and Caleb and Aunt Lisa. We got to see my cousin Brandon's baby Scarlette and have lunch with him, the baby, his Mom and sister Alaina. Then, I actually napped in the sun for about an hour in my hammock before Vacation Bible School, where I spent two hours with some really awesome kiddos.

The rain held off just long enough for them to play their outside games and then we got blessed with a beautiful rainbow...

but I was still kind of blue when I came home.

Today I spent some time contemplating about how life isn't fair. I got teary-eyed thinking about Dennis not being able to see his grandbaby, and Scarlette not benefitting from hearing his hearty laugh. She's such a happy little thing, with soft skin and kissable cheeks. I know he would have fallen in love.

And then I thought about how unfair it is that kids get cancer. As I watched Colton Ritchie dance at VBS and listened to his twin brother Jaiden lead us in a Bible verse that said in all things we are more than conquerors, I got tears in my eyes again.

Y'all.  Life stinks sometimes, that's for sure.

And sometimes it's easy to question God, and I think He's ok with us wondering why things have to be the way they are, because while he's all about blind faith, He's also crazy in love with us.

And the truth of the matter is that some of us are just flat out lucky...

lucky that we're born in a place that has running water and enough food to eat.

The only difference between me and someone barely scraping by is God's grace.

And it's not because I'm special.

I wish I could explain why some people seem to have it easy and some struggle every single day of their life...

but all I can do is think about the story I talked about on Tuesday night. Esther was an orphan who ended up being a Queen. A Queen that saved her people.

She had been put through those circumstances, everything that she faced, for just that moment.

We are all living in our difficult circumstances for such a time as this, to show God's wonder and to proclaim His glory and to win others to His kingdom.

For such a time as this...

we were made to love and trust and live every day as if it's our last.

For such a time as this...

we were made to help others and be kind and do our best.

For such a time as this...

We may not understand, but when we finally make it, we'll see it clearly, and we'll say...

"Oh.  That's what that was all about."

Or we may not even care because we'll be so in awe...

We're living for such a time as this...

to get ready for such a time as that. When there is no time and no death and no crying and eyes haven't seen and ears haven't heard and we can't even imagine what it's like.

Such a Time...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Consignment Thinking

Today we met Kami in London (Kentucky!) and picked up Riggins. We got there a little early so decided to go to the Vender's Mall.

I love Vender's (or Peddlers or whatever they may be called) Malls because you seriously have no idea what you will come across.

Today, though, as we roamed up and down the aisles, looking for a "bus" for Melody to play with, I started thinking about the items on the shelves.

As I gazed at the chipped crockpot with the lid placed on it askew, I thought of the young housewife who may have received that as a wedding gift. How she may have anxiously tried out a recipe passed down from her grandmother and sat across from her husband, holding her breath as he took his first bite. Did she get it right? Is it even edible?

The set of porcelain dishes lined with flowers may have served some ladies group, or been used for a fancy tea party for a grandmamma and her grandchildren.

All of those Barbies had entertained some little girl for hours and hours, changing their clothes and brushing their hair and getting them ready for a date with Ken.

Those books had fascinated some little girls as she hovered under her covers with a flashlight on because her Mom told her to turn off the lights.

Some of those objects had happy memories attached to them, but many of them may carry negative significance- they are no longer treasure because of divorce or death or a necessary move.

Some of the stuff may seem like junk to the shopper... and maybe to the owner, since they were selling it...

but to others it truly is treasure, because of the memories associated with it.

And honestly, sometimes we are like those objects. Easily tossed aside and forgotten. Full of painful memories, so it's easier just to get rid of us. Maybe you feel like that... maybe somebody has hurt you or rejected you recently and you find yourself asking why.

Here's the thing... those objects that were tossed aside? Put up for sale? Someone will stumble upon it and put it to use again. The crockpot may help a down on his luck college student have something semi-homemade as he studies for finals. There will be new little girls having tea parties and brushing Barbies hair. Those books will transport someone else to a magical land.

Things that may seem as though they have little to no value, but somebody will always find a use for something. If you don't believe me, you've never visited my Papaw Paul's basement, where he kept hundreds of bread ties because "you never knew when you might need them".

And like those objects with seemingly no value, you have value.  You are valuable more than you know!!! And you'll never be a hand me down or cast off!

As I type this, I'm looking around my living room. There's the teddy bear that Caleb brought me home for Christmas, a Mission of Hope giveaway that he was so proud of. A conch shell my Uncle Greg brought Caleb home from the beach. A Longaberger basket Wallace surprised me with. My Bybee pottery is more than just pottery... I can't look at it without thinking of standing in line with Mom outside of the shop early in the morning, and the eeriness we felt driving the morning after 9/11.

So the next time you stop into a consignment shop or visit a yard sale, stop to think about those objects that have been cast away. Think about the people who they belonged to, who cherished them... and maybe say a prayer for them.

And then snatch up whatever bargain you can and give it a place of significance.

And whenever you are sitting uncomfortably at a meeting or at school or standing in the line at the grocery story, see that person next to you as a treasure, too...

You never know what you may find.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Literary Fathers

(Image courtesy of The Broke and Bookish blog, where I'm linking up for their Top Ten Tuesday.

I was excited when I saw this prompt because Father's Day is coming up and I've got one of the best dads out there.

Plus, my love of reading was in a sense fostered by my Grandpa Paul, who voraciously read everything he could get his hands on.

The prompt involved honoring fathers somehow, whether it be best advice from a literary father, best or worst father figure, best books with a father mentioned...

And as I pondered all of the books I've read (and that's A LOT), I realized something.

I read a lot of chick lit.

A lot of literature centered around the relationships between mothers and daughters and coworkers and friends...

but not much with strong father figures.

Off the top of my head, here's the list of favorite fathers I could come up with:

1. Atticus Finch (To Kill A Mockingbird), because he is raising Scout and her brother on his own with the help of their aunt, and he stands for all that is good and right in this world. I hear Go Set a Watchman paints him in a different light, and to be honest, that's one of the reasons I've not read the book.
2. Gerald O'Hara (Gone with the Wind)- because this is my favorite book of all times and he's such a lively little thing. He loves Scarlett with a passion and loves Tara and teaches Scarlett the importance of loving her land.
3. Rhett Butler (Gone with the Wind)- bet you didn't see that one coming. He's known for his love affair with Scarlett, but he was a doting father to Bonnie Blue and when tragedy struck he near couldn't stand it.
4. Pa Wilder (Little House series)- He made sure his family was protected and loved his girls. Also I loved this TV series, so I always picture calm and serene Michael Landon as Laura runs to him, braids flying.
5. Nancy Drew's father- I don't even remember his name, I just know that he made sure she was recognized time and time again.

And that's it.
Seriously, y'all. 
I couldn't think of another book with a strong dad figure.
I know they are out there.
I know I've read them.
Nothing sticks out...

but t google was full of ideas, so I browsed