Book Review: Mirror Images by Laurie Norlander

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I love a good suspense novel.  The inner detective in me tries to figure things out before the ending and this is one of those books that had so many twists and turns that I was totally wrong in my guesses!  It was a bit confusing at first trying to figure out who was who and how they were connected but once I got everyone straight, I couldn’t stop reading.

The main character, Madison, was annoying to me in the beginning because she seemed like such a snob but once her layers started to be peeled back to see why she was the way she was, it all made sense. She had a genuine heart of love that had been hurt so she used her attitude to protect herself.

There were parts that had my heart pounding in anticipation of what would happen next or from fear over what was happening. Many things were totally unrealistic but, hey, it’s fiction so what do you expect?

All in all, I think the book was great and will recommend it to my friends.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I also must tell you that this post does contain affiliate links.  Please use my links if you choose to purchase item.


FitBit Force Fiasco

I have debated on whether or not to post this because I wanted to give the company a chance to respond to my concern…it’s been a week and I have yet to hear from them.

In November,  I ordered the Fit Bit Force for my birthday. It took a couple of weeks to arrive so I didn’t start wearing it until mid-December.   It was so comfortable that I would forget that I had it on. I loved it…until the rash started.

I first noticed the redness around the 2nd week of wearing it.  I had washed my hands that afternoon without taking it off and a little soapy water got between it and my skin…it started itching a couple of hours later.  I thought that maybe it had something to do with it getting water under it so I took it off, dried it, & switched wrists. Within a couple of days, my wrists looked like this

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I looked online to see if others were experiencing any problems and discovered that I was not alone. Many people are having issues. The company claims it is from an allergic reaction to the nickel or even bacteria from not cleaning the product. I don’t think it’s either. I honestly think the water getting on the exposed battery charging posts caused the product to actually burn my wrists.

Hopefully I will hear from the company soon and get my money back so that I can look for another fitness tracking device.

UPDATE 2/6/14
I have received a full refund from FitBit and have sent the Force back.


Focus

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At the start of each year, God gives me a word to use as my “theme”.  This year, the word is Focus.  I didn’t quite understand why He gave me this particular word at first.  I thought that I was a pretty focused person. I mean, I DO get a lot done so I must be pretty focused, right?

The more I prayed about it and asked God if He is SURE this is the word for me, the more clarification I received.  It all came into focus so to speak.

I looked up the definition…

The first definition under noun –  a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity

Ok…so I needed a central point or activity to focus on this year.  Got it.  I have kept my focus on God and having Him in the middle of ALL I do.  So why is He telling me to focus?  I don’t understand.  What kept coming to mind was the fact that I have had so many different projects going on at one time that I haven’t been able to finish this one particular project…writing my book.  I have helped 3 other people with their dream of publishing a book in the past couple of years and now I need to focus on MY dream. I have been to scared to really do it…afraid of what people will think.  Afraid to hurt someone’s feelings. Afraid to put myself out there.  And most of all, afraid it wouldn’t be successful.  I am letting go of the fear of failure and going for it.  I got the sweetest encouragement from my grandmother on my birthday.  She sent me a card that had 2 bookmarks in it.  In the card she wrote “the bookmarks are for that book you are writing.  I have faith that you can do it.”  Wow…that spoke volumes to me!

So, folks, I am FOCUSING on getting this book finished and in your hot little hands this year.

I am asking for your prayers, support, and encouragement.  Thanks and Happy New Year!

 


Book Review: Downside Up by Tracey Mitchell

A few months ago I received Downside Up by Tracey Mitchell to review for Booksneeze.  I was excited about reading it because I thought it would help me learn how to deal with rejections I have experienced in my business but I quickly discovered that this book focused on personal rejections that we experience in life and how they can affect relationships which in turn can affect all of life.

I have always struggled with insecurity and even though I have learned to deal with this, reading this book helped me to understand more about WHY I felt the way I did and some ideas I can use when those ugly feelings start to come up again.  It also helped me to understand why some of the people in my life are the way they are and how I can better deal with them. Like my momma always said “Hurting people hurt people.” When I figure out WHY these people are hurting, I can relate to them and help them.  Tracey Mitchell digs deep and shows that through God, we can take the rejection we experience and use it to grow and learn.  That is exactly what I am doing.

I enjoyed this book so much that I gave away a copy on my blog and plan on having an online book study of it starting in January.  If you are interested in joining, simply fill out the Contact Me form and be sure to note that you want to join the book club.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through theBookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

I also must tell you that this post does contain affiliate links.  Please use my links if you choose to purchase item.


Downside Up Book Giveaway

I recently reviewed this book for Booksneeze and after I finished it, I kept thinking about it and knew that it could help many others like it did me so I decided to include it in my annual Birthday Bash giveaways but what’s even better is that we are going to start an online book study beginning in January so I am giving everyone who registers for the FREE study 10 extra entries in the drawing! Go ahead and sign up now with and put Downside Up Study in the message box.

When you are done, register to win a copy of the book here:

Enter to Win a copy of Downside Up by Tracey Mitchell


Birthday Bash 2013 Intro

Woo-hoo! It’s time for my annual Birthday Bash where I celebrate my birth month by giving YOU great gifts! Like I said on my Facebook Page, this was not my first choice out of the MANY takes we did trying to shoot it but it was the only one I could get to actually upload so even though the lighting isn’t the greatest, please watch the video to see what is new this year.  Get ready to see lots of changes in yourself and your community!


My Facebook Breakup

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Yes, it is official…I am breaking up with FACEBOOK!  Ok, it isn’t a permanent thing.  Just a separation I guess.  Here is why…

I got behind on a lot of things around here while I was caring for our foster baby. He has gone home to live with his birth family and I noticed that in the week that he has been gone, I spent more time on Facebook than I used to so I know I need to seriously step back and evaluate where I am spending my time. I need to catch up on things and I don’t need Facebook to distract me. I am not saying that I won’t be on at all but I am only scheduling myself for an hour a day to log on.  You may see some posts from my Christie Jarvis Connects page or any of the other pages I manage but these will be pre-scheduled and I won’t be replying to them until I get on later. Since I DO get paid to do some of these, I kinda need to make sure they get done! You may even notice that SwagBucks posts when I earn for searching, iHeart tells you when I like a song, or Goodreads may tell you about my reading progress but that doesn’t mean I am ON Facebook. These are automatically posted.  I will be busy homeschooling my boys, finishing up some websites, doing a project for Bright Ideas Press, reading the books that I am supposed to be reviewing and posting my reviews, finishing MY book, making plans for the 2014 Relay for Life of Tipton County, purging my home of stuff I don’t need and giving it to Tipton County Junior Auxiliary for their yard sale, and working on many other things that I need to do…like clean out the fridge! So, as you can see, Facebook is not on the top of my list.

It feels good to be logged out on my phone and not be tempted by that little red notification number.  Ahhhhh freedom!

Anyway, I will get on once a day and will answer as much as I can during that hour so if you absolutely need to get in touch with me during my separation, you may email me.


From My Heart

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Hello there!

     Yeah, it has been awhile since I have written…I apologize for making you wait so long.  If you really miss me when I take blog breaks, you CAN keep up with me on my Facebook page if you would like!

     Since I titled this “From My Heart”, you are probably wondering if I have something special to say.  The answer is YES! No, really, it is.  I said YES to whatever God asked me to do and WOW…I am amazed at how everything is lining up!

     I felt called into ministry 15 years ago and have dabbled…yes, dabbled, but I let my fear and insecurity keep me from doing what I knew God had called me to do.  I would serve the Lord in my various roles at church, obviously, but that wasn’t all He had called me to do and be. I look back now and see all of that “dabbling” as preparation for bigger things.  NOTHING was a waste!  I am reminded that Luke 16:10 says ” “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” If I had not served faithfully in those roles and learned what I did during those times, I would not be able to do what I am doing now.  At the beginning of 2013, God told me that I would be speaking…I laughed and said “Ok God, you make it happen.” I didn’t advertise or promote myself at all but started getting messages and phone calls from people needing a speaker.  God, in His wonderful ways, has put me in front of groups to talk about foster care training & adoption, homeschooling, women’s issues, etc. numerous times this year. He awoke me the other night with this statement. “It is time to FINISH THAT BOOK.”  Yes, the book that I started writing TWO years ago!  It is definitely time to complete that project. I just keep adding more to it when I meet people and they tell me their story. Hmmm…maybe that is another book idea!  HA HA!

     Anyway, oddly enough, the current book for the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study is What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa Terkeurst.  I have already SAID yes but thought this book would be good to read and study with the group so I signed up and it has already spoken to me and given me more ideas about where God is taking me on my journey. 

      Sunday at church, before I had even started reading the book, I looked at the position of my hands during worship.  I had my palms up like I was waiting for someone to drop something in them. I asked myself why and then said “I want to accept whatever God hands me.”  Imagine my surprise when I watched the video and heard what the theme for this week was…#PalmsUp! Yes, I am keeping my palms up and expecting great things from God!

     To see what other bloggers have to say about this week’s lesson, check out the #YesToGod Blog Hop 1.

     Are you ready to say Yes to God?  We are one chapter 1 so if you want to join us, it isn’t too late to sign up!

     I just want to tell you that I am so thankful for my friends and family members who believe in me and encourage me to do what God has called me to do.  It means SO much!  When I don’t have confidence in myself, YOU are the ones who remind me that through Him ALL things are possible.  It’s not me…it is Him in me.  We will all look back someday and say “remember when???” Wow.  To God be the GLORY!  

     Be blessed my friends.  I am praying for you and hope you are praying for me too. 

 

The law requires me to tell you this:

As a way to provide a little bit of  income for my family, this post does contain affiliate links.


Not MY plan

Well, as you recall, my husband and I went through the classes required for us to become foster parents and we were planning on adopting a teenage girl. Well that didn’t work out and we have decided that for now, we are going to be foster parents. We haven’t had a placement yet but will get to share our home and hearts for a few days with a child whose foster parents are going out of town. She needs a crib so we got one and set it up in the room that was ready for the teen girl.
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It was hard for me emotionally when I realized that we were not getting the teen that we had planned on…or the second one that we had hoped for for that matter. I know God didn’t take us through that whole thing for us to just give up. He has plans for us! We have a room prepared, thanks to many friends and family who gave us gifts to do this. We WILL have someone who needs us in that room soon. This time, only for 5 days. Next time, who knows. We are just going to wait patiently and see who God sends who needs the love of a family.
Please continue to pray for us.


Direction

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This morning I was getting ready to go to the Anti-Drug Coalition of Tipton County monthly meeting and remembered that our meeting location had changed. I was sitting there putting my makeup on and thought “I have NO idea where I am going!” which made me laugh at myself.  The verse that I have pinned to my bathroom mirror is Hebrews 11:8 which tells about Abraham leaving out not knowing where he was going.  This is the verse I have clung to for the past couple of years because I want to be like him and do whatever God leads me to.

This was especially meaningful to me this morning because yesterday, we found out that the young lady that we wanted to bring into our home and adopt into our family would not be coming here after all.  As I was sitting there thinking that I didn’t know where I was going for the meeting, I also don’t know where I am going in this adoption journey.  I know God didn’t put us through the classes and everything else for nothing.

So, here I was putting on my makeup, thinking about direction and I noticed my notifications light blinking so I picked up my phone to see what it was.  It was an email from my pastor in response to me emailing him an update on our adoption and in it he said “I have heard it said, It’s not rejection…but direction.” That made me laugh!  During our classes, one thing that I said I struggled with is rejection and before I got the phone call yesterday, I had started feeling that maybe the girl didn’t want us but if that was true, I needed to know.  I didn’t feel hurt, I just wanted to find out what direction we were headed. So that quote meant a lot.  Nope, I wasn’t rejected, just redirected!  I DO feel like God has been guiding us in the right direction for these past few months and now that we have been told NO for this girl, we are now moving toward the one He really has picked out for us.

Before I left for my meeting, I told my husband that I was leaving but had no idea where it was.  I said “I am not sure if it is a good thing or a bad thing that I am clueless as to where the Sheriff’s Department is.”  He gave me a funny look and reminded me where it was.  If only all directions were that simple 🙂

Still praying daily for God’s direction in my life.