Wednesday, July 29, 2009

First Blog Book Review & First Give Away

Blue Like Play Dough

I am so excited to be doing my first blog book review for Random House books! I love to read & even as a busy mom, I read every day even if it is a few minutes before I go to bed. Even just that 5 or 10 minutes allows me to wind down. Occasionally I will really get into a book & have a hard time putting it down! After reading a blog book review a couple of months ago, I knew I could really get into this! For some of my book reviews I will be able to give away a copy of the book & for this first review I will be having a very "official" drawing on Sunday August 2nd. So for all 2 or 3 of you out there :) this will be a great book to win!

About two or three chapters into Tricia Goyer's book Blue Like Play Dough, I thought that her writing was a little "all over the map." It was not very long after that very brief thought that I realized, not only am I all over the map myself but so is motherhood in general. After all, how in the world could a writer sum up SO much? I soon changed my thinking & was so thankful that she was able to cover so much. Tricia Goyer touched on subjects that sometimes we are hesitant to admit we struggle with as self imposed super moms. She shared her personal story as a teenage mother & was very vulnerable in sharing many of her feelings during that time & how God used that part of her life in an awesome way to minister to others. In fact, every chapter has very personal stories. I really appreciated her honesty, encouragement & how down to earth she comes across.

One thing that I couldn't personally relate to was how she shared about the struggle of giving up dreams (as a writer) as a part of motherhood. I am thankful that it really always was my dream to be a wife & mom as well as be a nurse. So I can't really say this is something specific I have struggled with but overall I loved this book. Blue Like Play Dough is more than just a warm fuzzy read but truly points us to the One who molds us, strengthens us & guides us as moms.

"One day I was praying about all the hard stuff in life, and into my mind came an image of a blue lump of play dough. As I focused on it, I realized the lump wasn't something my kids or I held in our hands. Rather it was something God held in His. I was that lump. As I watched God pull and tug, I saw that He was following a pattern. He had something in mind. God, the artist, was shaping me, forming me to represent an image of His Son."

This is truly a story of not only redemption but God using our circumstances. "I thought I knew what I wanted. Instead God knew what I needed. I love that He does that."

I do too!

Leave a comment by Sunday August 2nd (9pm) & I will have my very official helpers pick a winner! Or go get your copy here.

In the everyday stretch and squeeze of motherhood, Tricia Goyer often feels smooshed by the demands of life. In Blue Like Play Dough, she shares her unlikely journey from rebellious, pregnant teen to busy wife and mom with big dreams of her own. As her story unfolds, Tricia realizes that God has more in store for her than she has ever imagined possible.

Sure, life is messy and beset by doubts. But God keeps showing up in the most unlikely places–in a bowl of carrot soup, the umpteenth reading of Goodnight Moon, a woe-is me teen drama, or play dough in the hands of a child.

In Tricia’s transparent account, you’ll find understanding, laughter, and strength for your own story. And in the daily push and pull, you’ll learn to recognizes the loving hands of God at work in your life… and know He has something beautiful in mind.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What else have we been doing?

Now that the b-day reunion pics are posted (Ok, really just a small sampling but I figured we had covered the event pretty well), I can move onto what else have we been doing this summer?
Swimming lessons for one.
Jacob had a great time (except for day 2....)

Just in case you ever find yourself drowning in Jacob's presence he is completing qualified, trained & certified to save your life! See he will get on his belly & hand you a noodle:)

The last day they got to swim in the lazy river & water park area (great pools in Gwinnett County, love those tax $$ at work!)
When they were floating around the whirlpool area with their noodles on, they looked like little ducks!
Coach Joe (Jacob loved that he could finally call someone "coach"
Ms Caroline
Both of his teachers were so good with the kids (look at them though, they look like babies themselves!)

Jacob did great. About day 2....he had done great on day one. You could tell he was nervous but he did fine, no tears, did everything they told him to. Day 2: I hear crying. I looked but didn't think it was him. He was turned & it was hard to tell. Oh my! He is crying & hard! At first I thought maybe he was freaked out by several kids crying the day before. Then I thought, I know he exhausted from all the events & visiting. Then it came clear, he was just scared. We talked when he got in the car & he was just pitiful. He was scared, didn't like the water getting in his eyes, and nose. He was afraid they were going to let go of him etc. Jacob does best when he knows what to expect. Sometimes it may seem like I am being insensitive but I just have to tell him how it is. (Recent example after a pretty nasty toe injury..."Jacob your toenail is going to fall off & soon." When I knew the beloved blankie was about to become 2 blankies..."Jacob the blanket is going to fall apart into 2 pieces really soon & eventually I will piece it back together.") So I tried the same approach. The next morning we had our locker room peptalk minus the locker room. "Jacob, it is Ok to be scared & even cry a little but these are the things you need to remember... (he also does best with lists:)
1.) God is always with you wherever you may go (line from choir song, we use this reminder all the time) even in the pool
2.) I am watching you from the side. My eyes will not leave you & I will not let anything happen to you
3.) Coach Joe & Ms Caroline went to lots of school to be great teachers. They can swim better than Momma & Daddy.
4.) You have done everything they are asking you to do, jump in off the side, blow bubbles, kick your feet etc
That's all he needed. Not another tear. He did ask me every morning but one after that, "what are the things to remember this morning?"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

LOTS of pics.....

Last update from the family reunions/80th b-day weekend....

Drew (Liann's youngest)

Drew & Logan are a couple months apart. Drew is older, faster & steady on his feet. But Logan is bigger & I think he scared Drew a couple of times:)

Ethan (Liann's 3rd) & Jacob

Logan & Drew again

Drew was trying to hold onto Logan as he tried to escape the picture. Liann & I laughed so hard (& don't worry we caught Logan too!)

This response was to "have you two had fun together this week?"

Gordon & Koyo

Logan gets a push from Cammy

Rylee gets a peak at her tiny cousin

Slip n' slide fun

Waffle House (they didn't know what to think of all these kids!)

Many, Many popsicles helped the kids stay cool all week......

Laser Show

It was fun for us to see our kids having fun playing on the lawn & watching the laser show. We all remember going together when we were little.
(Liann, Steph, me, Becca)

The boys sum it up. We had so much fun & were exhausted! It was so neat to see our kids playing together, watching their group dynamics, & playing some of the same things in the same spots we used to play in. 
Cousins....if you got a picture of the kids playing in the trees in Grandmomma & Granddaddy's backyard, I need to get a copy! Thanks for making the trip. It was a blast! Can't wait to do it again:)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Granddaddy's 80th b-day party

Still catching up the "80th b-day/family reunion" posts. My goal is to completing finish posting on the great time we had  in the next couple of days. Next week I will be posting my first blog book tour for Random house books which will include my FIRST give away ever! I am looking forward to reviewing a book & giving away a copy of the book too! So check back:)

Ok, on to the recap: 
This was Sunday the day of Granddaddy's 80th b-day party.
This is part of the group that was at church with him that morning.

Grandmomma & Granddaddy

We met a little before the party officially began and took TONS of pictures. We had Carrie Tabb ( come to capture this special time so we could focus on visiting & get plenty of group pictures without anyone missing in the shots. We did Grandparents with grandchildren, Grandparents with Grandchildren & spouses, Grandparents & great get the picture! Lots of pictures! Carrie did a great job & I hope to post some of her pics soon too.

Aunt Steph flew in from Colorado for the weekend. Troy has been on assignment at Young Life's Frontier Ranch this summer. The boys were so glad to see her (me too:)

Let me stop here. My grandparents are the cutest things! Granddaddy turned to Carrie & said get one more....and planted a big one on Grandmomma! Not only do we think that Granddaddy is the BEST Granddaddy, (I think I mentioned that in the Father's day post) but there was a time that we were told there wouldn't be an 80th b-day much less any other birthdays. It is a pretty emotional story. I was just starting my 2nd trimester of pregnancy & Granddaddy had a heart attack with several complications. It was a very rocky few weeks but there was a particular night that we were told he would not make it until the morning. I will never forget saying goodbye to him. I cried & cried over the fact that he would never meet any of my children. I can not tell you what it does to my heart to see him play with them now. 
OK, I have to move on....can't see through my tears to type!

One of Granddaddy's favorites is the varsity. It was a surprise until they rounded the corner & Jacob said, "Look! The varsity!" Grandmomma asked when he learned to read. He doesn't know how to read but does recognize logos:)

Some of the crew....

3 cakes for the occasion.....

At the end of the night everyone was exhausted but we had a great time! The rain even held off for the most part, the kids had a great time playing, we ate & ate & ate, took lots of pictures & most importantly, I think Granddaddy had a great day!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

4th of July

Silly Momma, thinking she could get a picture of her 2 boys on 4th of July!

I just waited & caught an action shot, they were grilling together

Let the festivities begin.....this will start the family reunion/Granddaddy's 80th birthday recap:

Before going to the Gwinnett Braves game on the 4th of July, we met for a BBQ. Becky & Marshall worked very hard to pull off this great start to our weekend & time together.

Steph was the only one in the family who started off her 4th of July running the off:)

Baby Koyo was the youngest family member & is already quite the world traveler. Atlanta is nothing, he has already been to Japan & will move across the country next month for Daddy (Gordon) to start med school.

The crew

4 Hot Houstons...and I do mean H.O.T! Thankfully the sun started to set (eventually) & we cooled down

Not a great pic but the Braves wished Granddaddy a happy 80th b-day & welcomed the Freeman family, very cool!

Drew is excited about the 4th festivities

Jacob appears to be loving the fireworks. He did love them most of the time except for the time he burst into tears because they were too loud but the rest of the time he LOVED them!:)
More to come...with our family you have to know there were so many pictures taken!