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Prayers For You | Book Review

Sometimes I have a difficult time shopping for gifts for the loved ones in my life. I usually find the gift of a book to be a safe bet for most people, however, I know not everyone loves to read or has the time to.

That’s why I was really excited about this Prayers For You book – specifically made with those trickier people in mind.

Continue reading “Prayers For You | Book Review”

An Ordinary Evening

Tonight, I feel a cold coming on, the itchy throat I told my mother-in-law I was positive it was spring allergies.

My husband decides to cancel our plans to watch the second Ant-Man movie and go to bed early. He wanted to watch the last released Marvel movies in preparation for Endgame.

I decide to browse the Internet while watching Brain On Fire, as he chooses to watch sports before bed. All is normal in the home that we live in, still sharing space with my in-laws, collecting the pieces from a rough few years.

Job loss. Death. Postpartum anxiety & depression. Car accident. Lawyers. Doctors. PTSD. Therapy. In-home therapy. The list goes on.

Things have finally settled into a routine, we both have jobs. My son starts school this fall. He and I have a long bucket list of things we want to do this summer. We might even try Geocaching. Next week, I hopefully can paint my sons room from the golden yellow it is now to white.

My husband and I celebrate 5 years of marriage this year. I want to renew our vows and get new family photos.

I’m on, I think 38 miles of my #Running4Her trek to raise awareness for domestic violence. I’ve reached out to State Representatives. I’ve drafted an initiative to protect police families. I’ve written three books, two published. If only the little girl sobbing in her closet could see what I’m doing now.

More often than I’d like, ‘he’ pops into my mind. Sometimes I willingly bring him into my mind, but most of the time, he just invades my thoughts. It’s been two years since we last spoke, and many years since a happy memory that’s worth remembering.

So, tonight, when my movie was over and I was about to get up to brush my teeth, I got a notification to check my messages and found I missed a message from him, originally sent two days ago. I couldn’t bear to read the entire short message, so I handed it off to my husband to read for me. He wants to talk, I believe, is the summary of the message.

My first instinct, what I’ve always done, is to jump back in wholeheartedly. I’d love nothing more but to respond, but I have a family to protect, and myself as well. He’s always broken my heart, with every chance I’ve freely given. We’ve reconciled so many times, only for me to learn that it’s usually to satisfy his needs. It hurts to learn you were just being used…a pawn…Disposable.

Other times, it’s short lived because you can’t change a leopards spots. I hate to say that because I believe God gives us the ability to change and be better, but as much as I trust God, common sense tells me to not stick my hand in the cages at the zoo.

I’d love to have coffee with him, hug him, hear him say that he’s genuinely sorry and that he loves me.

But he’s never said that.

And I am no longer that little girl willing to do anything to hear it.

So, I won’t respond to his message, but in case he’s reading this…I forgive you, every day, through the strength and the grace of God. I pray for you, specifically that God heals you from the trauma, pain, and illness in your life. I wish you the best, truly, I hope you live to glorify the Lord & find purpose in the path He wants to lead you down. I’m sorry that my lack of response isn’t what you hoped for, I know we are both used to me responding, but I just don’t feel God nudging me to reconnect. I hope you don’t let this bring you down if you’ve found peace and grace and forgiveness. Keep pursuing Him and all will fall into place like it should, in His timing.

A Love Letter Life | Book Review

a love letter life

I’m not a hardcore fan of the Roloff’s (the authors of this new book) and I received this book free to review in exchange for my opinion. Neither of these two things affected my review of “A Love Letter Life”.

The core principles that guide this book is solid and I’d recommend it to several of my younger friends & perhaps even my sisters once they are old enough.

Continue reading “A Love Letter Life | Book Review”

Finding God in the Shadow of Doubt (Book Review)

“How do you deal with the hard questions about God, the church, and the Bible? Where can you find a safe place to openly and honestly wrestle with your faith without being criticized or judged? If you have ever struggled with doubt, you are not alone.

Writing with humor and candor out of his own experiences, and incorporating Scripture, literature, and accounts of others who have doubted, Dominic Done argues that not only is questioning normal, it is often a path toward a rich and vibrant faith. Whether your struggle is with tragedy, the difficult parts of the Bible, the intersection of science and faith, or even God’s silence, you can move through doubt into a deeper, fuller faith—a faith that doesn’t run from questions and the hard work of honest wrestling but instead embraces the mysteries of belief.”

I grew up believing that if I had doubts about God or heaven or the purpose of my life, I was a bad Christian. I wasn’t specifically taught this by any pastor or Christian friend, but it became something that was implied through lectures I’ve listened to throughout my life.

I was taught, more or less, that there is no room for doubt & we as Christians should not doubt God…I was not taught that doubt is a part of our sinful world and that every single Christian, including Mother Theresa, had doubts at some point in their lives.

When I received When Faith Fails for free in exchange for my opinion, I figured it would be just another book I’d toss on my pile to donate to my fellow reader friends, but within the first few sentences, I was pulled in.

This book doesn’t claim that doubt isn’t sinful or anything like that, it just gets the point across that Christians have doubts about the world, about God, about Jesus, and about eternal life. With so many unanswered questions in the world, it’s natural to question.

I LOVED this book because not only did Dominic Done go over how all of us doubt at some point in our relationship with God, he also goes over ways to overcome that doubt and how to change that doubt into faith & how to see God within our doubtful minds.

I highly recommend this book to…well, everyone! It was such a wonderful read.

Buy on Amazon.

Struggling with Body Dysmorphia

Years ago, I watched a video about a girl struggling with anorexia. She looked in the mirror and saw that she was a chubby, overweight girl. When the camera panned out, it showed that she was actually just skin and bones.

I felt bad for her, but I didn’t connect to the video on a personal level. “The difference is that I’m actually fat,” I said to myself.

At a healthy 180 pounds (for my tall statue), I stopped eating because I was thought I was fat. I not only struggled with anorexia, binge-eating, and general restricting, I also struggled with body dysmorphia like the girl in the video and I didn’t even know it.

At 160 pounds, my skinniest, fitting into a size medium, I’d look in the mirror and think I was 100 pounds heavier than I was. My calorie intake was extremely small and I’d try on clothes at least one size too big and I’d buy the next size up from that because I felt so fat and when I looked in the mirror, the clothes literally looked tight on me.

Now that I’ve gained some weight back, I’m probably a size 14 and L/XL, but I pick out clothes that are 2x or 16/18. I know other people notice, like my husband and sister-in-law encourage me to wear clothes that aren’t so baggy, but I can’t. It’s so unbelievably difficult.

My struggle with body dysmorphia limits how much I can enjoy things. Some days, I feel great. Other days, I want to peel my skin off because I am so uncomfortable. I can’t wear tighter fitting clothes on those days or I feel I can’t breath and end up in a crying fit in the bathroom. On really bad days, I’ve even ripped the clothes off my body because they felt so tight, but they weren’t.

My husband doesn’t understand and is shocked when I point out a person or celebrity that I believe is the same size as me. “Samantha, she’s easily 50 pounds heavier than you,” he said one night when I said I was the same size as the mom on American Housewife. I’m looking at photos of her as I write this and I still think I’m the same size as her. I also think I am the same size as Ashley Graham, Adele, Ana Laura (model), Melissa McCarthy, etc. while I’m realistically related to the size of celebrities like Christina Hendricks…or honestly, it’s hard for me to even accurately judge some days.

I’m not the only one, it turns out it’s pretty common and most women suffer from some form of body dysmorphia. It can be something as small as picking a part of your body you dislike and focusing on it obsessively.

I do my best, but I try to not think about it or not focus on clothes or fashion or look in the mirror too long, or look at photos of myself because it’s easy to get triggered and fall into an unhealthy pattern.

My family is doing a healthy living weight-loss challenge and that’s been an emotional struggle all on its own.

I know it started in my past, my growing brain being trained by an abuser to think I was bigger than I was; obsessing over my size while I was in elementary school. Most days I don’t have hope that I’ll ever escape this. Other days, I have faith that God will help bring me out of this mindset and realize that I am his masterpiece, perfectly designed.

I have no words to wrap up my post today, no bible verses, or happy ending of me overcoming this, because it’s so constant. I imagine what I go through can be relatable to AA/NA. Once you have an eating disorder, you always have an eating disorder.

Book Review | Tiny Truths Bible

I picked this book by the cover because I wanted my son to have at least one Christian book that represented what Jesus would have actually looked like. I’m so glad I did because this book is so amazing!

My son is 2.5 years old and is starting to enjoy reading stories together. He has a bible for babies that he’s outgrown and his other bible is a little too old for him, but this one is perfect. He wanted me to read it in one sitting. It captures the excitement and joy of the gospel and I’m so blessed to have been able to review this.

While I did receive this book free, it has not influenced my review and I recommend the book to my family, friends, and readers.

Buy it on Amazon.

Distant From God

My relationship with God has been suffering lately. I feel distant, as if God isn’t within arms reach anymore.

An article from Changing the Face of Christianity listed three ways why one would feel disconnected from God and two are as follows:

  1. We treat God the same way Aladdin treats the Genie. Calling on Him only when we need something.
  2. We are too busy for God.

Continue reading “Distant From God”