Friday, February 28, 2014

Fancy Friday- A True Love Story

I have a special story to show all you guys today! So, a few months ago, one of my College youth leaders at church got engaged! How exciting right?! I am so thrilled for her and her fiance! Not to long ago, she shared her story of how they met and got engaged on facebook... So of course, I read her story, but I had no idea how romantic and spiritual it would be. It definitely touched my heart and I was thinking it might just do the same for some of you!

I messaged her on facebook first, asking her if it was okay to share her story. This is what she said-

"Go for it, girl! This isn't our story, it's God's story, so if it can be used to help others, I'm all for it! Thanks, sweet girl! It means a lot to me that you would include us in your blog! Send me the link to it - I'd love to read it sometime!"
Love you :)

I am so happy to share this with you all and I sincerely hope and pray that this gives you guys encouragement for your future! Don't give up women of faith, their are still some Godly men out there that just can't wait to meet you!

Here's the story:

My fiancĂ© Matt and I met at a church function about 3 years ago now. He had just, for lack of better terms, "come back to Jesus," so he was still trying to figure out how not to be that typical "hot headed, arrogant" guy. Before I get into the first time we met, I want to say this little piece because I think it's awesome. We were at our Thursday night college meeting at church and one of our production guys did a testimony video of all of the new guys that had come through our church doors. One of them was Matt, and for some reason, after I heard his testimony, I had this overwhelming feeling that I needed to talk to him. I didn't know why at the time, but I clearly know now. I walked outside, and he was standing there, and we just kinda locked eyes for a second, but I kept walking (I did not talk to him that night, but I'll never get that feeling or image out of my head). Now on to the first time we met. As I mentioned before, we were at a church function, and I remember sitting in one of the rooms with some of my friends, literally shoving cookies in my mouth because they were delicious (I'm not even embarrassed). The look on his face was priceless and he said "are you enjoying those cookies?" From then on, he found me on Facebook, and we exchanged numbers, ya-da, ya-da. Well, he tried UBER hard to get me to hang out with him and he ALWAYS wanted to talk to me. But honestly, I hated his guts. I was tired of the guys that thought they were "the stuff" and I was honestly just not interested. He was so annoying! I started ignoring him and finally he just got mad and stopped talking to me - until this one day in August. Earlier in 2011 (this story takes place in 2011, by the way), my boyfriend of 2 years had broken up with me and it had been a horrendous one (hence the reason I basically wanted to be a nun). Anyway, my ex, around August, started dating this other girl in my church (we're friends now, so it's all good), but at the time they flaunted it in front of me. It killed me inside. I remember talking to one of my friends at our Thursday college meeting at church and seeing them just be all lovey-dovey in front of me, so I basically lost it (crying only, I'm not a crazy person). As I was walking off, Matt grabbed my arm and said "do you need to talk?" I just nodded and he took me into the game room at church and literally held me and prayed for me until I stopped crying. After I stopped crying he said "we will just tell people you have allergies." I'm telling you this long story because this is the moment it all changed for me. Just the fact that he cared enough to make sure I was okay completely changed my feelings. We became best friends after that - talking all the time, and finally hanging out (like he so desperately wanted to do a few months prior). From then on, we were inseparable, and we still are today. He's still my best friend, he still holds me when I cry, and he always makes sure that I'm happy and okay. 

On to the proposal...

My favorite time of the year EVER is Christmas. I will do ANYTHING that involves Christmas - movies, lights, baking, Market Square and Gatlinburg festivities, you name it. I also LOVE taking pictures. So about a month before Christmas, Matt calls me and says "I thought of a new Christmas Eve tradition we can start! Let's get all dressed up in Christmas colors and go downtown on Christmas Eve and have a random person take our picture in front of the big tree on Market Square!" Well of course I freaked out because I love Christmas and pictures - what could be better? Christmas Eve rolled around and we had these really awesome Christmas outfits on and we started looking around for someone to take our picture. Well, it was Christmas Eve so we were kinda struggling to find someone. After looking for a few minutes, I turned toward the huge tree and there was a card hanging on it with my name on it. I opened it up and Matt had written 7 biblical promises for our marriage, and had written a note on the outside of the letter that said "Tomorrow I get engaged to my best friend." He signed it, dated it, and put the time he wrote it. I got done reading it, turned around, and he got down on one knee. He told me I was his best friend and also told me he loved me for the first time (he wanted it to be the first time he told me because he didn't want to be that guy that used 'I Love You' too loosely). It was so sweet. And we found someone to take our picture - he had arranged for his sister and brother to be there taking pictures, so it was all captured (still waiting to get those pictures, but they do exist). 

About us as a couple...

We are a very easy-going, fun-loving couple and we both serve in the student ministry at our church as small group leaders. We LOVE Tennessee football (Go Vols!), as well as the Denver Broncos (you'll always find us watching every game, in our jerseys). Because Matt is in grad school, we have very little funds at the moment, so we improvise - we will make dinner together, or rent a redbox movie, or go to the park, or workout. As long as we are together, we are happy. It doesn't really matter what we do. Everyone loves Matt, especially all the ladies (they swoon over what a Godly man and spiritual leader he is, which I'm clearly aware of), so I am very lucky and very blessed that God chose him for me!

What love means to me...

My marriage definition is loving each other unconditionally as Christ loved the church. To me, marriage is the opportunity to show Christ's love to everyone by how we love each other. It's not going to bed angry, it's caring for each other when we're sick, it's going out of our way to make sure the other is happy. Marriage isn't about me - it's about Matt and how I can cater to his every need and be the best Godly wife that I can. Marriage isn't simply having a sleep over with your best friend every night (it's definitely a plus!), it's putting someone's needs above your own and counting yourself second in everything. Marriage is about dying to yourself and sacrificing every day. I'm so blessed to have the opportunity to be a Godly wife for Matt and to show Christ's love to him and others on a daily basis.

And here is a picture of the lovely couple!  

Thank you Marlee for letting me share this on my blog! I truly appreciate it! Love you, and again, CONGRATULATIONS!

To everyone else...

THANK YOU so much for stopping by my blog and reading this! Please leave comments if you have any! I would love to hear from you!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Glittering Promises by Lisa Bergen

Glittering Promises (Grand Tour, #3)


 Lisa T. Bergren’s popular Grand Tour series concludes as Cora Kensington journeys farther into Italy, wrestles with a terrible ultimatum from her father, and comes to terms with the Father who will never fail her.
Wealth cannot buy peace... Or Direction.
For Cora Kensington, the Grand Tour was to be the trip of a lifetime. She discovered the family she never knew she had and may have even found the love she longs for in Will. Yet her life has just become infinitely more challenging...

Hounded by the stubborn pursuit of Pierre de Richelieu and journalists chasing the beguiling story of the newest American heiress, Cora fights to remain true to her past, reconcile her present, and still embrace her future. But as Will struggles with her newfound wealth, Cora begins to wonder if their love is strong enough to withstand all that threatens to pull them apart. 

As she glimpses the end of the tour, Cora knows it's time to decide Who and what defines her... and who and what does not.

My Opinion:

So, I don't know about everyone else, but when I read a final book of a series I expect a ringer. Glittering Promises was, sadly, lacking in the thrill department. I liked the book, but it did not hold to my expectations for an ending to a story. When I turned the last page I felt like this story had so much more to offer, like the last few pages were ripped out... 

I did not like the romance between Cora and Will as much in this book. It was much more laid back and mushy-gushy compared to Grave Consequences. Most of Will's thoughts about Cora made him sound like he had a high school crush on her, and his jealous tendency's were a bit over the top. *SPOILER* I also did not care much for the other woman that gained Will's eye. She should have created much more drama between Will and Cora or she shouldn't have been in it at all. As it stands, her character was not really important.

I also felt like Lisa didn't know how to conclude this story, so, in order to do something "unexpected" she *SPOILER* Enhanced Andrews nasty behavior and changed Pierre's standards of what he deemed right and wrong to make it plausible for them to turn against Cora, which I definitely don't believe was intended from the beginning. Maybe Andrew, but not Pierre.

On another note, I did like the struggles that Will and Cora had to face to be together. Such as Cora's newfound wealth, and that Will did not want to be a kept man. But with God as the focus of their relationship, they overcame every obstacle put in their way. Which leads me to say that also I liked how much God played a part in this book since in the other two he wasn't as much of a focus. 

Most of all, I loved how this series revealed the budding relationships with Cora and her estranged siblings and then showed their continued bond and love for each other as a family develop. Especially between Cora and her sister Vivian.

This series showed how wealth and power are not always good things,  they can bring you together, but they can also pull you apart. It all depends on how you handle them and if you still look to God as the number one priority above all others.

Rating: 3 Stars

Friday, February 21, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Kindle Fire Valentines
Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)   This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HDX 7" (or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash).
All New Kindle Fire HDX 7" Giveaway
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)
  Or $229 Gift Card (International)
  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)
      Giveaway Sponsors
  Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Fire Giveaway:   Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7". Ends 3/16/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma

Snow on the Tulips


In a time of unprecedented darkness and fear, Cornelia must decide if saving a stranger’s life is worth risking her own.

In the twilight of the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands, the Germans have taken everything Cornelia had to give, even what was most precious to her. Now Gerrit Laninga—a man who puts God and country above all else—arrives at her house, needing help. She is terrified for herself and terrified for her family, but most of all, terrified of the pain she might feel again if she allows herself to love Gerrit. Her hope is to be free from her paralyzing fear.

Gerrit is a known and hunted Dutch Resistance member. When he comes to Cornelia’s home for shelter, he’s drawn to her strength and kindness. When he asks her to contact the local Resistance on his behalf, she refuses. Gerrit is determined to find a way to continue his underground work without putting Cornelia or her family in harm’s way.

When things start to unravel and Gerrit’s life depends on her actions, she must summon her courage and learn to depend on the perfect love that drives out all fear. But will her new love be snatched away before it has a chance to bloom?

My Opinion:

This book moved me to tears more than once, but it wasn't all depressing. There was quite a bit of humor to balance out the sadness from it being set during the Holocaust. I laughed, I cried, I got angry, and I smiled in triumph. So many things happened that brought on a whirlwind of emotions. 

I liked the plot of this story, and thought it was used to it's full potential. I liked the way that Cornelia's and Gerrit's relationship grew as well as the faith behind it. I was glad for the obstacles put in their way that not only tested their growing relationship, but also their faith. I also liked the secondary characters in the book, they all played important roles other than staying in the background. I liked how I saw through multiple perspectives. Normally that is something that I despise in a book, but I thought it was a great idea for a book with this setting. I saw how the Holocaust effected many people rather than just one.

Something that I LOVED was that this story is partially true, based on the life of one of Liz Tolsma's relatives. But you will have to read the book and the side note at the end to know whats true and whats not for yourself!

Their were a few grammar/punctuation errors that I spotted in the book. As well as some points where I felt like things in the book were repeated to much, such as thoughts the characters had. Overall however, it was a fascinating read that I would recommend to anyone who gets into historical events as well as romance.

Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Life Update

Again, I am truly sorry for not posting much on my blog lately. Life has been quite a whirlwind and has taken me for a ride. Not a fun one I might add. As I have told you guys before I have been struggling with school this year. The classes have been challenging as well as some of the teachers. On top of that, just last Sunday, my Grandpa past away. It was definitely a shock and unexpected seeing as I had just seen him for Christmas. We live in different states, so I had to hop in a car for a 12 hour drive to be with my Grandma, not that I'm complaining, I just wish it was under better circumstances.

Even though I'm struggling I thank God that he is true to his word. He will NEVER give me more than I can handle. I might be going through a tough time, but we all go through it and it just strengthens and molds us into the person we are meant to be. All we can do is not let the temptation to fall apart succeed, and trust in God that we will overcome our struggles.

Here is a picture of me and my siblings 3 years ago with my Grandpa at his and my Grandma's 50th wedding anniversary party!

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (NIV)

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

Matthew 5:4 (NIV)

Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Dare to Love Again by Julie Lessman

Dare to Love Again (The Heart of San Francisco, #2)


 She's a sassy socialite burned by love. He's a jaded cop burned by the upper class. When sparks fly...will love catch fire again?

Spunky Allison McClare is determined to be a fearless, independent woman. But when she takes a notion to explore the wild Barbary Coast, she quickly discovers she's no match for the unsavory characters that haunt the dark streets.

Detective Nick Barone would rather do almost anything than teach this petite socialite self-defense, but it seems he has little choice. Sparks fly every time the two meet until a grudging friendship develops into something deeper. But is he just a fraud like all the rest of the men Allison's cared for? Or is he the one who will let her dare to love again?

My Opinion:

Love, Love, Love! Their is no word to describe how much I enjoyed this book! Julie Lessman's characters are the most humorous, light-hearted souls I have ever read about. Their playful banter back and forth never ceases to make me laugh whenever I pick up these books. I look forward to jumping into these families lives and learning more and more about each person as the series continues. Their childhood backgrounds that fire up their career desires and passions are fascinating to read about. Every time I picked it up I absolutely did not want to put it down, the pages kept flying and flying until my eye lids didn't have the strength to stay open anymore.

Julie is great at inserting an element in a story and then bringing it back to keep the story going. It also helps bring back memories from the beginning of the book so you can relive those parts in your mind. It's like your re-reading the book before you even finished it for the first time!

One thing that I did disagree with was Julie's statement, "Barely a KISS," in the book. None of the characters kissed until closer to the end, but once you hit that mark I believe that their is about the same amount after that. There was definitely a physical attraction between Allison and Nick throughout, but instead of having so much kissing it was replaced with more playful banter as well as some aggressive arguments. 

One thing that disappointed me was the Ju Jitsu. I liked that element being put in the book, but their wasn't as much in it as I thought their would be. Their was a lot of talk about it, but I think only one part where I actually got to see Allison going through her training. After a couple chapters her training was over. I would have appreciated a little more sparing, less tongue lashing, and more physical beat downs per say.

On a side note! Julie, you are the MASTER of drama! When are you going to stop torturing me?? You know what I'm talking about... LOL

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

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