Book Review: Fading Starlight

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Kathryn Cushman’s latest novel, Fading Starlight, was just released in May of this year.  It was a sweet story and an easy read.

After having a huge accident in her career, Lauren Summers heads to a private community to live for the summer.  She attempts to regain what she can of her career, invest in her hobbies, and reach out to her neighbors.  One neighbor in particular is not interested in her friendship.  Lauren must decide if she wants to pursue her old career or become the hands and feet of Jesus to her neighbor.

I appreciated how the main character has to grapple with personal pain and disappointment while also attempting to do right by her cantankerous neighbor.  In so many books, it seems that Christian characters don’t really struggle that much.  Lauren does have some things that she is working through.  I did, however, think that one of the key verses that she kept going back to was taken out of context.

While not a new personal favorite, I did think that Fading Starlight was a sweet story.  It was a fun addition to the books I took on our recent road trip.

Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.


Book Review: Hope Unfolding

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I first discovered Becky Thompson’s blog when a post of hers went viral on Facebook.  As a result, I started following her and quite a few of her posts were very encouraging. When I discovered she had written a book, I was excited to get a chance to read it.

hope unfolding

Her book, like her blog, is easy to read but oozing with encouragement.  It is so obvious in every chapter that her heart truly cares about her readers even though she has never met us.

Overall, it was a little too conversational for my taste.  Each chapter started with a personal anecdote or some sort of story.  The anecdote was literally half or more of the chapter.  So for me personally it was a little too drawn out.

When she got to her main point…it usually wasn’t earth-shattering or revolutionary.  But it was just a whisper of something that my heart needed to hear as a Mom.  There were a couple chapters in particular that were great reminders for me and brought me so much encouragement.

If you are a Mom who wants a friend to sit down over coffee with you and encourage you to persevere in motherhood…this is a great book!

Read Becky’s bio here and join her online at her web site or on social media.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


When God Changes Your Dream

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I had the privilege of writing my first guest post for a fellow blogger.  The Rosevine Cottage Girls were doing a series on how to trust and follow God when your dreams are changed or taken away.  I immediately thought of our dreams for a large family.  The path God has taken us down looks nothing like the dream I had for years.  It was (and is) a challenge to trust God with the new dreams He is bringing to us.

So here are a few thoughts from me about what to do when God changes your dream.

– – –

December 22, 2011. I put on the most beautiful white gown and walked down the aisle to say “I do” to the man of my dreams. We were so happy that day. So insanely happy.

Since before we were married, my husband and I had thought that we would like about six children. We agreed that we would take it one child at a time, making sure that we were doing a good job parenting as unto the Lord before adding another child. But we thought the end result would probably be us having about six children.

After marriage, we moved into a 250 square foot apartment. It was tiny, but cozy and perfect for our first love nest. A baby would make it tight, but we knew we could do it for a few months until we moved out.

The months started to pass. We weren’t preventing pregnancy, so every month made me a bit more confused and discouraged as another negative pregnancy test greeted me.

Visit The Rosevine Cottage Girls to read the whole post.

Book Review: Counted with the Stars

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Counted with the Stars is a wonderful historical fiction book.  As I have said before, I am a harder sell when it comes to fiction, but I have really enjoyed this book.

Connilyn Cossette writes about an Egyptian girl, Kiya, who is sold into slavery by her father.  She is right in the thick of it when suddenly her beloved homeland is struck by terrible plagues.  Hearing rumors about a man named Moses, she tries to piece things together as she wrestles with what kind of terrible god would do such a thing.

I love this book because it is not predictable.  It immerses you into the story as if you were truly experiencing it as one of the Egyptians.  I have read the story in the Bible numerous times.  It’s an incredible story.  But to think of it as if I was experiencing it made the fear and terror come to life.  It made me think about the account in new ways.

Kiya eventually is able to leave her mistress and escapes with her family after the final plague.  They travel with the Hebrews, following Moses and God.  She is faced with questions about just who this Yahweh is.

The only criticism I would make is a minor one and that was with the Hebrew girl Kiya befriends.  A pet peeve is when Christian authors paint the Christian characters as habitually bubbly, happy, and smiley.  Joy does come from knowing God, but joy doesn’t always equal bubbly or happy.  But as I said, minor detail and does not detract from the whole story.

I will definitely be keeping this book for a re-read later!

Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.


Book Review: The Mapmaker’s Children

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The Mapmaker’s Children is an easy-to-read yet intriguing book intertwining present day and Civil war history.

I have always enjoyed Civil War history and I have read quite a few historical fiction pieces on the Underground Railroad.  Sarah McCoy does a great job getting her readers into that world.

The book goes back and forth between Eden, a woman in 2014 going through infertility and marriage difficulties, and Sarah Brown, the daughter of the famed abolitionist John Brown.  At first I didn’t appreciate how much the author jumped back and forth between the two, but I quickly became engrossed in the story.

I appreciated the history, the dialogue, the descriptions, and the character and plot development.  There is some language that some readers might find distasteful (one instance of s— and several instances of d—) so I do want to point that out so that no one would be caught off guard.

mapmaker's children

I enjoy fiction that is not stereotypical and predictable, and this book was far from it.  Read more about the author, Sarah McCoy, and her other books here.

Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books for free in exchange for this review.



How My Miscarriages Speak to the Pro-Life Movement


I am pro-life.

Pro-Life Miscarriage


For the sake of simplicity for this post, that means that I am 100% for the lives of the unborn and I do not believe that abortion is an ok alternative.

I believe that life begins at conception.  And no one should have the power to take that life.  Calculatingly stopping the life of another human being = killing them.

Harsh words, I know.  I wish there was some way to sugar coat it.  I don’t like to think about it.  But if the unborn is a human life….there is no way around the fact that abortion kills that life.

I will not focus much on abortion right now because that is not the purpose of this post.  But it is important to state my beliefs on that before I continue.

What is the unborn?  That is the crux of the abortion question.  If it is nothing but a blob of cells, abortion shouldn’t matter.  But if it is a life, it changes the whole question.

What is the unborn?  As a pro-life person I believe it is always, 100% of the time, a human being, just like you and me.  So I write this post to my fellow pro-lifers.

If we get so caught up in the abortion debate….if it hurts our hearts and breaks us up to see pictures and videos of babies being aborted….if we grieve every year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade….if we volunteer and pray and work to try to save the lives of the unborn…..

….we value that life.

What is the unborn in the case of a miscarriage?

The answer should be obvious and I know that most pro-lifers would agree.  It is a baby.

But why is it that a miscarriage, especially an early miscarriage, is not treated as such?

I want to scream out the window, “My babies died!!!”

My BABIES died.

My babies DIED.

Instead, I am expected to quietly move on.  No one mentions it.  My children are forgotten by all but me and my husband and perhaps a select few others.  We are told to just try again in a few cycles.  We are told that it is time to move on.  We are told to just be thankful we already have one child. It is counter-cultural when I choose to post about it on Facebook six months later.  Christians say that we need to just trust God….to put on a grateful smile and move on.

People don’t know what to do with it.  They don’t know what to say.  And trust me I know that it is hard to know what to say to a grieving person.  I get that.  But in silence, we are denying the lives of the unborn.

I am a part of several miscarriage support groups.  And all. the. time. there are posts of women feeling so alone, so isolated.  Posts where women tell stories of absolutely heart-breaking things that others have said to them.  Cruel things against their babies and their pregnancies.  Posts where women cry and wonder why they aren’t allowed to talk about their children.

We have to suck it up.  We have to be strong.  We have to carry our pain and grief all alone.

What is the unborn?

The unborn are babies. Human beings with souls, made in the image of God.  Worthy of dignity, worthy of respect, worthy of love, worthy to be known.

So no I am not over my grief.  It has changed over the past 6 months.  But it is still there.  It is still deep.  My arms still physically ache sometimes because they never got to hold or caress my beloved children.  The physical pain in my heart is indescribable.

I’m not strong.  I am a mother who is broken.  A mother who has had to say good-bye to two of her children.  That is a pain I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  I am a mother who has to wake up each day, knowing that I “should” have three children with me to take care of, but instead I only have one.

I am thankful, unbelievably thankful, for our son.  But he doesn’t replace my other children.  Future children will not replace the two children that we have lost.  Having one child already doesn’t magically take the pain away from having two other children die.

Grief is the evidence of great love.  My children were and are loved so much.  I will never forget them.  I will never stop grieving.  I will not apologize for thinking of them or for talking about them.  They were real.  They were mine.

I rejoice that they are in the presence of Perfect Love right now.  As much as it pains me to know that I cannot hold them or tell them how much their mommy loves them, I know that God is loving them in my absence and loving them so much better and more fully than I ever could.  I trust God because I know that He is grieved by this effect of the curse and He is walking beside me in the midst of my deepest pain.

And I absolutely cannot wait for the reunion when I get to heaven.  To finally be able to see the faces of my precious babies, to hold them close, to tell them how much I love them and how absolutely wonderful they are.

Because they are my children.  They weren’t just the unborn.  They weren’t just pregnancies.  They are my children.


Fertility Smoothies

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If you have been in the TTC world long, you have probably heard about fertility smoothies.  For the longest time, I put it off, because it seemed so overwhelming.  And annoying to have to make a big old smoothie every day.

Well, a few months ago I joined a TTC accountability group and one of the first things the leader wanted us to do was to make a daily smoothie.  I finally took a deep breath and bit the bullet.  Lo and behold it wasn’t that complicated, and some (most!) of the smoothies tasted great!

fertility smoothies

Life happened and I stopped making them daily, but my goal is to get back to daily or at least every other day.

Fertility smoothies are a great way to infuse your body with foods and boosters that will aid fertility.  First of all, I want to talk a bit about some of the ingredients I’ve been using and how they relate to fertility.  Then I will include a few of the recipes I have tried.

  • Kale.  Kale is an amazing source of iron, calcium, vitamin C, folate, antioxidants, potassium, etc.  Kale can help alkalize your body, which is important in a culture where our diet is so acidic.
  • Spinach.  Spinach is another one that is full of antioxidants, iron, folate, zinc, and iron.
  • Celery.  This is another one that helps to alkalize your body.  Eating foods like this will help to balance your body’s pH.
  • Flaxseeds.  Rich in Omega-3!  Flaxseeds can help balance hormones as well as cleanse the colon.
  • Chia seeds.  Another great source of those necessary fatty acids.  Omega-3 can help balance hormones, increase cervical fluid, aid ovulation, and increase blood flow to the uterus.
  • Berries.  Again, lots of antioxidants.  Antioxidants are great for egg health, as well as keeping reproductive tissue healthy.

Those are just a few of the things you can include in your smoothies.  If you would like more ideas, I highly recommend Natural Fertility Info.  Here is a list of items you can include as well as a 10 Day Smoothie Challenge that they have put together.

So here are a few “recipes” that I have used.  Honestly, they aren’t even recipes.  I usually just look to see what I have in my refrigerator and freezer, and throw stuff in the blender.  Only a couple have turned out badly (don’t worry, I didn’t include those 😉 ).

2 cups kale
1/2 cup frozen dark cherries
1 small banana
1 tbsp flax seed
1 tbsp almond butter

2.5 large sprigs of kale
frozen dark cherries
1 medium banana
one big spoonful of almond butter

Almond milk
2 celery sticks
1 cup spinach
1 medium banana
1 cup frozen mixed berries
1.5 teaspoons chia seeds

There are lots of ideas on Pinterest as well for fertility smoothies.  It is a great way to get super foods and fertility-friendly foods into your day!


Have you ever made a fertility smoothie?  What did you put in it?