Love’s Memory by Shannon O’Donnell


It’s book launch day!  I was so blessed to be asked by Shannon to be a part of the launch of her beautiful book.  I really loved this book and I hope that you will read it with the same enthusiasm.

Valerie is a mom many can identify with – she is worn down, frazzled, lost, and haunted by her past.  Despite her best efforts, she cannot allow herself to rely on anyone and cannot escape the hard lessons life has taught her.  Her husband no longer understands her; he has pretty much given up on trying to rescue her from herself.  Wren, Valerie’s daughter, just cannot get along with her frumpy, tired mother.  But absolutely everything changes when there is an accident and a prayer is lifted up by a stranger.

I was immediately drawn into the story of this book by Ms. O’Donnell’s writing style.  The book begins the the accident and then backtracks to the beginning of Valerie’s tale of redemption.  She pieces together the story through different characters’ perspectives and through flashbacks.    I found myself identifying with almost all of the characters at different parts of the book.

Ms. O’Donnell tackles hard issues such as depression, illness, marital unhappiness, and family strife while weaving together a beautiful tale of grace and mercy.  None of the characters are perfect but each individual, in all of their flaws, points to the perfect God who is the only one who can fill the hole they all feel.

There is a message of hope for anyone who picks up this book.  I was reminded of the power of prayer, the necessity of forgiveness, and the uniquely beautiful gifts God, in His goodness, gives.

Now, head over to to order your copy and enter to receive some awesome gifts!


Book Review | Love’s Memory by Shannon O’Donnell

Love's MemoryI am so excited about this book!  Yes, it was a very good read, but I am also super excited to say that I get to be a part of this book’s launch!  In the sidebars you will see a count down to the launch of this book on January 15.  You may be tempted but don’t buy it yet!  On the 15th I will provide a detailed review of the book and a link to the launch site where there will be fun prizes, including a set of three headbands from my {future} store!

headbands2Until then, enjoy my Amazon review of this book.  🙂

Love’s Memory was immediately engaging and I had a really difficult time putting the book down! Shannon does a wonderful job of weaving together different parts of the story to create a moving and truly meaningful message. I identified with so many of the characters at different parts of the book. Not only was the story itself an entertaining read, but Shannon also reminded me in such deep ways of the grace that is extended to all of us by the Father and that He is continually working for our good. His way is so perfect in our messy and chaotic world.

Linking up with:

CSAHM Parenting Button WIPWednesday Walking Redeemed Wise-Woman-Builds  Missional Women Womanhood With Purpose 


Practicing the Presence of God

Worshiping God Through the Mundane

Do you know why I am happy when I make this sub sandwich every week?  While I make this sandwich, I think about getting to make this for a large family someday.  Right now these eight slices make for four days of lunch for Joey and me, but one day it might only last for one meal.  Joey and I have dreamed so many dreams together about our future family.  The other night, while I was playing with El on the floor, the love of my life stopped playing with the dog to tell me, “I have everything I ever wanted right now.”  Can I just say, if he thinks this is good, I can’t wait to see what else God has in store for us.  Joey is right, I never imagined that I would be so happy with where I am right now.  But oh how limited are our dreams when compared to the plans of God! Continue reading

Review and Reflections | Parenting in the Pew: Guiding Your Children into the Joy of Worship by Robbie Castleman

What is more daunting than teaching your child how to worship?  Bible stories and little kid songs are easy, but I am talking about instilling in them a true heart for God.  You may wonder how can you teach your child what is significant and wonderful in the service when you may not know yourself or have a tendency to zone out during the sermon (don’t worry, we all do it occasionally).  Then, of course, you may be concerned with how you (or others) will worship with a squirmy kid next to you.  My daughter is only six months old, but I have already wondered how in the world I will lead her in loving church time.  Continue reading

Bringing Up Girls

Review | Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Women

I have not had the pleasure of reading Bringing Up Boys (but I really hope I will have a reason to one day!) or any other publications of Dr. James Dobson.  This book was sent to me by my sister-in-law, though it was already on my list of must reads.  As far as the writing itself is concerned, I really like Dr. Dobson’s voice; he writes in a way that makes you feel like you are having coffee with him in your kitchen.  Each chapter covers a different topic, so it is a very easy book to read for a busy parent who may go weeks between chapters.  The chapters are packed with research (a couple I disagree with based off of other articles and texts I read while in school – but these differences do not affect the overall messages of each chapter), and I love that he inserts different resources like essays from other authors (my favorite being Embarrassing the Angels by Peggy Noonan).  My book, which I will sadly need to return to my sister-in-law, is filled with sticky notes marking so many book suggestions I want to read, like Everyday Graces by Karen Santorum.  I also appreciate how current this book is and that Dr. Dobson addresses everything from bullying to our hyper-sexualized culture.

The first portion of the book defines the unique characteristics of girls, how they differ from their testosterone-filled counterparts, and how they are dangerously targeted and pressured in this “progressive” society.  Following these are chapters about the extreme importance of family in the lives of little girls and young ladies.  The importance of mothers is covered in a chapter, but fathers are largely targeted and challenged throughout the book.  (On a side note, be prepared that Dr. Dobson is strongly in favor of a mother staying at home with her children if at all possible.)  I love how many anecdotes Dr. Dobson provides about the raising of his own daughter.  The section of the book on The River of Culture was most difficult for me to read, but, despite the difficulty of the subjects, I am so glad that Dr. Dobson included these chapters on the reality of abuse, rape, pornography, and the like in his book.  A slight reprieve from the heavy culture chapters, the book concludes with a few chapters on puberty and current issues, like how to handle bullying and how to monitor increasingly invasive technology.  I found the chapter on technology the most helpful – it was written by Bob Waliszewski, the director of the Plugged In ministry.  If you haven’t already followed the link from my links menu, please go check out of the Plugged In website – it is such a wonderful resource for Christians trying to navigate an R-rated culture.

This book is an excellent resource for Christian parents of girls.  Personally, I’m pretty worried about the path in which our nation is traveling and the world in which my daughter will grow up.  Bringing Up Girls doesn’t quite all of my fears, but it does encourage me in my pursuits in raising El, make me incredibly thankful for my father and my husband, and provide me with plenty of resources to turn to when I need help.

Book Review – Cooking Light’s First Foods: Baby Steps to a Lifetime of Healthy Eating

My Mom gave me this cookbook while I was pregnant with El.  It is the only baby food cookbook I have, but I honestly do not think that I need another one.  The book was compiled and written by a dietitian and mother.  I can feel good about the information I am getting about creating nutritious food for El and laugh a little at some of the feeding baby stories in each chapter.

The first chapter is an introduction to making baby food.  It outlines why you should make your own baby food without making you feel bad if you have to buy premade food every once in a while.  Obviously this cookbook does not override what your doctor instructs, but it does give good outlines for when you introduce different foods and what to look for when watching for food allergies.  The first chapter also shows you how little you actually need to make baby food.  You can opt for a fancy Williams-Sonoma Beaba Babycook (which I actually have and love thanks to my thoughtful sister-in-law) or just use a fork, food mill, and mesh strainer.

The following chapters teach you about making food for each stage of your child’s food adventure.  The chapter for ages four to eight months has mostly simple purees with smooth textures.  Chapter three introduces baby to more texture and flavor.  There are charts to help you determine how much to feed of each food group and tips for helping baby learn to feed him- or herself.  I love that there is a recipe for teething toast (you can make 42 slices for about $3 which is way better than a box of 20 crackers for $7).  The last two chapters have to be my favorite (even though I am nowhere close to being able to use any of the recipes yet).  Chapter four gives recipes for family meals and shows you how to modify (ie blend or mash) the same recipe for baby.  And when baby outgrows the need for modified meals, First Food gives tips for how baby can help you in the kitchen for each meal – I love that!

So far, in my house, we are only to the pureed peas and rice cereal stage, but I am so excited about using this cookbook.  There are great cooking tips throughout the chapters and many recipes are freezable.  Not only can I control what is in my baby’s food, but I can also be confident that she is getting the nutrients she needs while she switches to solid food.  I also know that through being more knowledgeable of that kinds of foods she needs that I am training her to appreciate a wide variety of healthy foods that will help her to be a good and adventurous eater for the rest of her life.  I highly recommend checking out Cooking Light’s First Foods baby food cookbook whether you plan on making some or all of the food for your child.