Our Get Away

by adustyframe ~ May 26th, 2016

We had such a nice time on our get away. I wouldn’t have complained about an extra day but I’m not complaining about the time we had.

It was nice to just be “us” and not have to parent the whole time. Don’t get me wrong. I’m so privileged to have these two boys to parent. We are blessed beyond measure but I need a teensy break now and then and Lee and I need a little time to be spouses not parents. (Hmmm hope I’m making sense!)

We were able to go to a big flee market.

We had a nice meal out.

We used a gift certificate for lunch (free!)

We used a gift certificate for the hotel (free!)

It was an inexpensive get away that’s for sure.

The drive to drop the boys off and get to the hotel was a bit long just because there wasn’t really a straight shot but it was nice. We meandered and got to see some pretty sights.

Of course I cannot keep my eyes open in the car and so there wasn’t a ton of conversation on the drives!

At the hotel, we saw some neat sights–it’s in a secluded area. I wanted to sit in an Adirondack chair by the beach and read my book but chose to take a very big nap. If  we’d have been there one more day, those beach chairs and I would have had a meeting!

Now, I have to figure out how to make this happen sooner than later!

Lizzie

Happy Friday

by adustyframe ~ May 20th, 2016

Happy Friday!

What are your weekend plans?

 

My husband and I get to celebrate our anniversary with a night away. We are looking forward to time to rest and reconnect.

We’re thankful for his job, but it makes spending time together difficult!

What are you up to?

Lizzie

The Beautiful Pretender~Melanie Dickerson~Book Review

by adustyframe ~ May 18th, 2016

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About the book:

What happens when a margrave realizes he’s fallen in love with a servant?

The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble-born ladies from around the country to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina is only responsible for two things: making sure her deception goes undetected and avoiding being selected as the margrave’s bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.

Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost? 

 

About the Author:

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Melanie Dickerson is the author of “The Healer’s Apprentice,” a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama.

 

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book. I can’t remember if I’ve ever read a book by this author but it was great!

The premise of the book is a little bit like a reality show! Ha. I don’t mean that offensively but that’s exactly what it seemed like to me but not in a bad way. It felt like I was watching a game. “Who will get the guy?” The rich guy by the way!

I wasn’t exactly sure if the things happening or some details were correct for the time period. I didn’t take the time to look up what puzzled me and now I’ve forgotten. I just am not quite sure that the historical background is as detailed as it may be in other historical novels I’ve enjoyed. This didn’t take away from the story which I did enjoy.

The characters are well written and enjoyable and if you’re looking for a different type of book by a great author check this one out.

If you’d like to know what other reviewers thought of this book, check out her page on Litfuse.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in order to provide a review. All opinions are my own.

Lizzie

Walmart Summer Sale

by adustyframe ~ May 17th, 2016

Every extra penny saved matters and it’s basically impossible to beat any cash back on top of Walmart’s low prices. So when I heard that Swagbucks is giving you more for every dollar you spend at Walmart, I had to share! That’s right, Swagbucks is making earning Cash Back easier and giving away $1,000 in prizes when you Shop & Earn at Walmart.

Starting today through May 31st you’ll earn up to 7% Cash Back on your summer shopping needs at Walmart. Enjoy savings in your favorite summer categories including:

  • Home

  • Clothing

  • Toys

  • Baby & Toddler

  • Electronics

  • Patio & Garden

  • Sports & Outdoors

  • Autos & Tires

  • Cell Phones

  • Food

Plus, be entered into their Walmart Summer Sweeps! For every $25 you spend at Walmart from May 16th through May 31st you’ll be entered to into their $1,000 Giveaway!

  • 1 Grand Prize: $500

  • 20 Runner Up Prizes: $25.*

The more you spend, the better your odds!

*All prizes to be paid out in SB.

Do you have a Swagbucks account? If not I’d be delighted if you signed up with my link.

**Disclosure~ this is a post to promote Swagbucks and the Walmart Summer sale~ I will receive Swagbucks for sharing the promotion~

Lizzie

Solitary Confinement

by adustyframe ~ May 17th, 2016

A week or so ago in Sunday School, someone mentioned that being in solitary confinement sounded wonderful. Then of course the laughs and giggles followed.

“But no one is around you then.”

“That sounds like heaven.”

And then I felt the tears threatening to start. My eyes burned while I fought them. I did not want to sit there and cry over something everyone thought was funny.

This time I realized that I didn’t feel like  crying BECAUSE they thought it was funny. I admit I can still feel tender when people joke about jail and I rarely say anything. But I felt like crying because I remembered OUR experience with solitary.

I remembered how it felt to visit Lee and be told he was in solitary.

I remembered how it felt to go sit in that big metal booth in the visiting room in front of everyone.

I remember how it felt to have all eyes turn and look at you wondering what your loved one did to be in solitary.

I remember how it felt to talk to him on the phone and look at the video monitor and try to see–you both have to sit in the exact correct position or you don’t see faces.

I remember how it felt to feel cheated out of touching his hands or getting a hug.

I remember how it felt to hear him say he was cold because they didn’t allow him a blanket.

I remember him saying how it’s loud and not quiet at all.

I remember him feeling completely isolated and as if he were at the end of his rope.

I remember feeling desperate because there was nothing I could do to make him feel better.

 

It’s not a vacation or relaxing or fun. It’s terrible.

Yes, I know it’s his fault. But it’s still terrible.

I am thankful to realize finally, that my tenderness isn’t really outrage at others for their silly comments. It’s just tenderness because I remember how it felt and I’m sad we ever experienced it.

 

 

 

Lizzie

Sister Dear

by adustyframe ~ May 16th, 2016

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About the Book:

All Allie Marshall wants is a fresh start. But when dark secrets refuse to stay buried, will her chance at a new life be shattered forever?

Convicted of a crime she didn’t commit, Allie watched a decade of her life vanish — time that can never be recovered. Now, out on parole, Allie is determined to clear her name, rebuild her life, and reconnect with the daughter she barely knows.

But Allie’s return home shatters the quaint, coastal community of Brunswick, Georgia. Even her own daughter Caroline, now a teenager, bristles at Allie’s claims of innocence. Refusing defeat, a stronger, smarter Allie launches a battle for the truth, digging deeply into the past even if it threatens her parole status, personal safety, and the already-fragile bond with family.

As her commitment to finding the truth intensifies, what Allie ultimately uncovers is far worse than she imagined. Her own sister has been hiding a dark secret—one that holds the key to Allie’s freedom.

 

About the Author:

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Laura McNeill is a writer, web geek, travel enthusiast, and coffee drinker. In her former life, she was a television news anchor for CBS News affiliates in New York and Alabama. Laura holds a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and is completing a graduate program in interactive technology at the University of Alabama. When she’s not writing and doing homework, she enjoys running, yoga, and spending time at the beach. She lives in Mobile, AL with her family.

 

My thoughts: 

Even though I knew this book would involve something about prison when I applied to review it, I wasn’t prepared for the way it would hit me. We’ve lived the “After prison” life and heard the whispers (or shouts in some cases) and have wondered who was going to hire him. We’ve felt the sting of family distance.

It just was interesting to me how I responded. I found the main character a very sympathetic one indeed!

The characters were believable and engaging. As I read and realized something was very amiss, I found myself reading faster and faster to find out what would happen and to see if my suspicions were correct. Gasp! Uggg! yes, I was right.

A very good well written story.

 

If you’d like to know what other reviewers thought about this book check out this page on Litfuse.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in order to provide a review. All opinions are my own. 

Lizzie

Pardon My Mess

by adustyframe ~ May 9th, 2016

I was thinking about inviting some friends over now that the weather is getting nice. We have a fenced in yard with all the escape routes closed off. We have nice grass and a patio. We have a play house and a sandbox and a slide and things to ride on.

I thought it would be fun to have some of Nathan’s little friends from church over to hang out. Then I thought about the best route to the back yard and it’s a mess. It’s a BIG mess.

Lee is remodeling our back porch and there is wood and sawdust and our belongings everywhere. I mean everywhere.

Parts of the ceiling are torn away. There are some huge cobwebs that haven’t been pulled down yet. There’s pieces of trash randomly plopped all over everything. One of my box of books split open and is spilling onto the floor.

The tools and paint and supplies are all over the place too. We try to straighten it up a little bit but we gave up on cleaning and organizing until Lee is done with the project. With his schedule and limited time at home, well, you can imagine this mess has been there for a long time and it will probably be there for a long time.

I’m not sure who is “safe” to invite over. Who would come over and play and not make judgments about me when they saw that mess. Oh sure most people could understand why it’s a mess while remodeling but why is it a mess when the work isn’t going on?

I have friends who wouldn’t care but they don’t have little ones like Nathan. I probably will go ahead and take the plunge and the chance that they will decide things about me that may not be true based on what that porch looks like. Maybe we’ll have a great time and maybe they will not mind my mess at all. Maybe just maybe they would say, “Let me help you clean this up.” (A girl can dream?)

Life is a bit like that porch of mine. Sometimes we have things that are such a mess. Things that we ARE working on and things that we know need to change but everything isn’t taken care of yet. It’s hard to know who is safe and who is a good person to be transparent with.

I know that it’s good to be transparent with everyone but unfortunately some people aren’t trustworthy with our messes. Some people create their own story about us based on very limited information. Some people see our messes and are delighted. Some people see our messes and point fingers and look down their noses pretending they have no messes in their lives.

But thankfully some people say, “Hey! let me help you clean this up.”

Figuring out who these “let me help you” people are is the hard work. Learning to pray for wisdom and discernment and trusting God to bring these people into our lives is part of our life journey.

I’m thankful for many trustworthy people in my life. I’m working on being thankful for those that I’ve discovered are not trustworthy, because I learn lessons from them too.

 

Lizzie

A Dream Of Miracles by Ruth Reid~ Book Review

by adustyframe ~ May 4th, 2016

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About the book:

Amish widow Mattie vows never to love again . . . until a suspicious outsider with a shadowy past comes crashing into her fragile world.

Mattie Diener can barely keep it together. A young Amish widow and mother of two young children, she faces the lingering heartbreak of lost love, her son’s mysterious illness, and a torrent of accusations that threaten to undo her.

Bo Lambright is a fast-rising social services investigator whose high-society mother won’t rest until she finds his Mrs. Right. Despite Bo’s worldly success, the raw ache of a shadowy past and a series of unsettling dreams have left him reeling.

When Mattie and Bo cross paths, all signs point to disaster. Yet as they face a crucible of trials and tragedies together, longings begin to stir that seem destined only to end in more heartbreak. Is a miracle possible—not only of healing but of forbidden love? What secrets lie in Bo’s dreams? And will Mattie find the courage to face her uncertain future . . . or will she simply run away?

 

About the Author:

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Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA bestselling author of the Heaven on Earth series. She’s a full-time pharmacist who lives in Florida with her husband and three children. When attending Ferris State University School of Pharmacy in Big Rapids, Michigan, she lived on the outskirts of an Amish community and had several occasions to visit the Amish farms. Her interest grew into love as she saw the beauty in living a simple life.

 

My thoughts:

This is my first book by this author. I have a soft spot for Amish and Amish books so of course I said that I’d like to review it.

I enjoyed the book and though that the story was well written. I felt myself being uncomfortable about the social services investigation and found myself tensing up and getting angry. I always think that if a book gets me to feel then the author is doing a good job at developing the story and the characters.

The interesting twist is Bo’s deep dark secret!

If you’re looking for a page turner, you may definitely enjoy this one.

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book in order to provide a review. All opinions are my own.

Lizzie

From Outside The Frame

by adustyframe ~ May 1st, 2016

outside the frameI haven’t posted one of these in ages.

Here are a few links I enjoyed this week.

 

When you’re sinking instead of sailing

Secret to success as a mom

Korean Beef we’re going to try this soon

When infertility doesn’t end in a miracle baby

Man sings to his dying wife (oh man! you need tissues but it’s so precious!)

What have you found lately?

 

Lizzie

The Bachelor Girl’s Guide To Murder~ Rachel McMillan ~ Book Review

by adustyframe ~ April 25th, 2016

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In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever–if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

About the Author:

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Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.

To Read Other Reviews:

Check out the authors page on Litfuse.

My Thoughts:

I had a difficult time getting into this book. It’s a little confusing but I realized it’s a part of a series. It IS readable outside of the series, I could just tell I was missing a few details.

This may be picky and small, but I had a hard time getting past all the pretentious names. I can tolerate a character here and there having a name that sounds a little stuffy or so uncommon as to make you wonder where in the world it came from. This book seems to have all names like that. Once I got past that, I did begin to enjoy the story.

It’s lighthearted and fun but at the same time tackles some issues and has intrigue and danger!

If you’re looking for a fun read, check out this book!

Disclosure:

I was given a free copy of this book in order to provide a review. All opinions are my own. 

Lizzie