Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Story of God's Provision (Part 5)

In case you need to catch up you can find Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, and Part 4 here.

It had been about three and a half years since Collin got let go from his job with the defense contractor, and just over three years that he had been working in automotive. We were both so tired of having "just enough" money to get by, so tired of Collin coming home from work tired and dirty, so tired of not having normal weekends. We had been praying like crazy and feeling like God wasn't listening. We knew He was, He'd proven to us time and time again that He was, but it was really frustrating that Collin still didn't have a better job.

I mentioned that Collin had talked with both Air Force and Navy recruiters. His parents suggested while we were living with them that maybe he should consider the military. I was NOT pleased with this prospect. I struggled with it so much. It caused lots of arguments and many tears for me. I just didn't feel a peace about the decision, but I supported my husband. If it's what he wanted then I would "join" the military with him. He got pretty much nowhere with the Air Force recruiter though. It felt like she kept stringing him along. And it's not like he isn't completely qualified. The man got a 93 on his ASVAB; super impressive!! He more than qualifies for the physical qualifications (run, situps, pull ups). We just couldn't understand why the recruiter wasn't being more proactive about him enlisting. So Collin began to consider the Navy. He met with a Navy recruiter and he seemed really interested in Collin. But then he never returned Collin's calls, was never in the office when Collin would go by, failed to set up appointments, he failed to keep Collin in the loop. I know this isn't the case with every recruiter but it was VERY frustrating for us. Collin hadn't given up on the military yet, but he was just about done trying to force them to accept him, especially when it wasn't really something he was completely passionate about. He felt he needed to join the military as a way to support the two of us.

The end of January 2013 came and I got a text message from my dad's best friend, Randy, who happens to be a Project Manager for a defense contractor in the area. He (along with everyone else we know) knew that Collin was still looking for a job, so he sent me a link to a web posting for a job he wanted Collin to apply for. Collin applied immediately and was called in for an interview the next week. His interview went extremely well! Afterwards Randy couldn't wait to gush to my parents about how well Collin did in his interview! A few weeks went by and we hadn't heard anything yet, though we were very hopeful that this could be the big break we'd been waiting for! The third week of February Collin got an e-mail telling him that he HAD been selected for the job but they were waiting to send out official offer letters until the program finalized its budget. WHOA! We were super excited, but still trying not to get our hopes up because in the contracting world, budgets fall through all the time. Five days later Collin got a phone call telling him that everything worked out and that he could come pick up his offer letter and they wanted him to start on March 11!!

Collin started this new job almost three weeks ago. And so far, it is great! We are finally working the same hours, he's actually making more than me now, which creates some financial security for us, and the company will pay for Collin to take college classes! This is the job that we've been waiting for since August 2009.

Looking back, all those "unanswered" prayers about Collin getting a new job, all the frustration, the military seeming to not work out, having to live with Collin's parents, living in a tiny one bedroom apartment, it all seems perfect now. Everything we experienced, everything we went through has prepared us for this new job. God's timing is absolutely perfect! Sure, things would have been a lot easier and less stressful on us if neither of us lost our jobs shortly before moving, but we wouldn't be the people we are now. That job that Collin lost was at a locally owned company that shortly after merged with a much, much larger national company; and many of the people got laid off then or quit because they were treated so poorly. What if that had happened after we were married? Or that job that I lost that I was miserable at. I wouldn't have been able to be so relaxed during the month before our wedding if I had that job, and I certainly wouldn't be in my current job at a company I love surrounded by coworkers who are so fun.

The military not working out was exactly what was supposed to happen. I would have been miserable as a military spouse. It would have brought so much stress to our relationship. I can barely go a weekend without having Collin around so how would I survive six weeks of boot camp and then however many months for A-School? And what would I have done if he got deployed? I knew that the military was not the direction God was sending us, but we didn't know what else it could have been.

Living with Collin's parents, though stressful and hard, was so awesome. It allowed me to get to know them in an intimate way that I probably wouldn't have otherwise. Since moving out I have a much, much deeper appreciation and love for my in-laws. Living with them helped me to feel like an actual part of the family instead of just an extension of Collin. Plus, there were all the financial benefits that we had living with them.

I think the biggest thing about all this, if we both started out with decent salaries or if we didn't have to worry about our finances much, I don't think we would be as close as we are. Because we struggled, it brought us so much closer together. We know how to have fun without having to spend money, we know how to find great bargains, and we figured out how to get by with the things we have. These are all habits that I know we will continue to live with!

One of the amazing things about the past three years is how God didn't once let us down. When we thought there was no way we were going to make it he provided for us in more ways than we ever could have imagined. God is so, so faithful and He always does and always will provide!

A Story of God's Provision (Part 4)

If you need to catch up, Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here, and Part 3 is here.

When Collin and I realized we needed to move out on our own again we began looking for a cheap one or two bedroom apartment. It is VERY expensive to live here in Southern Maryland. We live in the 14th wealthiest county in THE UNITED STATES. That's a big deal. There's a rather large Navy base here that pulls a lot of engineers, logisticians and other high salaried people to the area. Plus, we're less than 2 hours from D.C. so people even live here and commute. Because there is a lot of money in the county things are more expensive. But that makes it very hard for the people who don't make what those other people do. Sure I may work for a defense contractor, but I don't make anywhere close to the salary of some of those people. And with Collin working at Wal-Mart on cars, he certainly didn't make much. Now granted, if it weren't for my student loans, we would be okay, but those pesky payments are just enough that we really have to pinch our pennies.

We searched for a little while for an apartment and we found a cute little one bedroom in a community that we had previously wanted to live in. It was just the right price for our budget and we put down a deposit! We signed the lease and moved in May of 2012. It was a relief to finally be in our own place! We knew that when we moved we would have to be even more frugal with our money than we were living with Collin's parents. We would have expenses that we didn't have while with them, but we knew we could and would make it work.

We had not been making any of these decisions alone. Throughout every step we prayed and sought God's guidance for what we should do and each time we felt like the decisions we were making were the ones that He wanted us to choose. Therefore we knew that with His help we would be okay.

We were so glad to have our own apartment. But once we moved out and had a little perspective and a little bit of distance from living with Collin's parents, we saw what a HUGE blessing it had been. God provided us with a wonderful home, wonderful parents, and a chance to get our lives back together. That plan we made to live with a roommate that fell through before we moved in with his parents would have been the worst mistake, ever. If we had gone through with that, we would have had enough money from our paychecks to cover our bills but we never would have been able to pay down our credit card as fast and we certainly would not have been able to save money! Plus, that guy we were going to live with turned out to be in worse financial shape than us and we would have had to cover his part of the finances as well as our own and we would have been even worse off than before!

So after two years of marriage, we were finally at a place financially where we weren't freaking out and having to go into our reserve funds to pay for stuff. Money was still tight but we were managing it a lot better; eating out less, buying less clothing (in my case), being mindful of the groceries we buy, etc. However, we were still dealing with Collin's work. He had been at Wal-Mart for over two years and was miserable. The hours he worked were less than ideal and the only day that we both had off was Sunday; and those were usually busy because of church and then wanting to spend time with people as a couple. Throughout all this Collin had been applying for jobs all over the place. He even talked to both Air Force and Navy recruiters. He was tired of working at a dead end job, getting treated so poorly and barely making above minimum wage. Collin wants to finish college and do something exciting with his life.

In June of 2012, Collin got a new job at a locally owned tire & auto garage, one that had better hours and slightly better pay than Wal-Mart. At this job, Collin worked from 7:30-5:30 Monday through Friday and from 8-1 on Saturday. His base pay was less than what he made at Wal-Mart, but because he worked 55 hours a week he got overtime pay which was time and a half. It ended up being a good bit more than his pay at Wal-Mart. This seemed like a great step up for the time being. And it was for us financially and relational. We had a little more security with money and we were finally able to have somewhat normal hours together. Collin still worked Saturday mornings, but we had the whole afternoon and evening together! It was wonderful! But the job began to take its toll on Collin. He was so tired from being on his feet 55 hours a week. And his boss (the owner of the garage) was very firm and completely different from his boss at Wal-Mart.

At this point, the Navy was really starting to look like our best option. So we kept praying and waiting for an answer from God... just waiting like we had been doing for three years!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Story of God's Provision (Part 3)

In case you missed them, you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

March 2011 arrived and there we were with a credit card balance of almost $4,500, a savings account with less than $1,000 in it and paychecks that just didn't quite pay all the bills. It's not like we had been spending our money on ridiculous/frivolous things, or even big ticket items for that matter, we were really quite frugal. However, we definitely ate out more than we should have and I definitely bought more clothes/goodies than I should have. We were unfortunately living in a place that we just couldn't afford. Even with Collin's minimal annual raise in January and the small annual raise I was expecting in May, we knew our financial situation was not good.

A couple months before our lease was up, Collin's parents sort of casually mentioned to us that we could always live in their basement for a little while if we needed. I was dead set against that because I wanted to be independent. We were married now. Married people don't live with their parents. However, after our other plan fell through to move into an apartment with a roommate we prayed long and hard and felt God calling us to move in with Collin's parents. It was so uncomfortable having to approach them and see if the offer still stood for us to live in the basement. Of course they were more than gracious to help us out. And we even had our own private living quarters in a way. We had our own living room, bedroom, bathroom, fridge/freezer, microwave and sink downstairs. The only thing we needed to go upstairs for was to use the kitchen and enter/exit the house.

Before we moved in we sat down with Collin's dad and had a talk about our financial plan for while we lived with them. They wouldn't let us contribute financially to living there, but the deal was that each month we would put $500 into savings and $250 would go towards the credit card to pay down our balance. We still had to pay for our cell phones, insurance, car loans and my student loans, but our expenses drastically decreased! This was a huge, huge blessing for us! We could finally get out from under this money cloud that loomed over us.

Living with Collin's parents was not all easy. It was very difficult at times for me to live in someone else's house, especially after having lived on our own for a year. I felt like his parents, his mom especially was trying to do everything for us and I wanted to be as independent as possible. I wanted it to seem like we were still living on our own even though we were just underneath our parents. But I couldn't be completely independent; and so it made me very bitter and very frustrated with not being able to be the wife I felt like I should be. This caused some tension between Collin and I, and at times some tension between his mom and I. Collin and I even sought some counseling from our pastors at church (a husband and wife team) because we were fighting so much and couldn't figure out why. We had been married about a year and a half and it felt like we just fought all the time. We weren't headed for divorce, but we just wanted to be able to go a day without having a fight.

After about a year, I finally knew that it was time to move out. I was becoming a very negative person (totally opposite of my usually cheery, bubbly self) because of my attitude toward his parents. I LOVE Collin's parents. They are amazing people and so, so gracious. But I just couldn't get past the need to be independent. I couldn't see them for the wonderful people they truly are because all I saw was the couple "preventing" me from being the wife I wanted and to have the independence I wanted. We both knew that if we wanted to have a good relationship with his parents (and a good relationship between ourselves) we needed to find our own place again.

We were able to pay the credit card off by the beginning of 2012 and our savings had a bit more money in it than we started out with. It was still not a lot though because I got so antsy about paying off the credit card that I did take some money from savings to pay it. But with the debt gone and another annual raise for each of us we decided that if we found an apartment that was cheap enough we could indeed move out on our own once more.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Story of God's Provision (Part 2)

In case you missed part 1, you can catch up here.

May of 2010 came and went and we were blissfully happy! We were married and living on our own, both of us for the first time. Before we got married we joined bank accounts, combined all our finances, and decided that to get the best benefits from our credit card we would use our credit card for all of our purchases to rack up points and earn cash back. This seemed like a really great plan. We would pay off the credit card every month with the money from our bank account, and we always had enough. Until we didn't.

We paid for everything we possibly could with that credit card; rent, gas bill, electric bill, phone bill, insurance, groceries, water/sewer bill, clothing, eating out, Netflix, etc. It all got charged to the credit card. This was in addition to the money that was automatically coming out of the bank account each month for my student loan payments, car loan and our tithes to the church. And then there were the unexpected charges like when our cat, Stank, got really sick and we had to take him to the vet. Or when our "built-in" pantry shelves fell down and we had to buy something new to replace it with. Those things really add up, especially the unexpected charges!

Eventually it got to the point that we started having to take money out of savings to pay off the credit card completely. Our pay checks were just not enough. It started out as not much, just $25, then $50, then $100 and it kept increasing until we'd dwindled our already not very large savings account to just under $1,000. When this happened we ended up not being able to pay the credit card in full every month. Granted this didn't happen right away, it took several months for us to start racking up this debt. But by this point, my spending habits had been formed and it was REALLY hard for me to cut back. Before getting married I was so used to buying clothes whenever I wanted. I've ALWAYS been a thrifty shopper, but when you are really struggling financially, even being thrifty doesn't make up for buying frivolously. I never hid my purchases from Collin, but it got to the point where he would get really upset with me for buying something new that wasn't a need. And I would get really defensive and many arguments broke out because of my spending habits.

The first year of marriage is hard enough on its own, adjusting to life together, figuring out all the idiosyncrasies of living with a new person, but to add financial stress on top of that is no cake walk. It was hard. Very, very hard. We fought a lot and most of the fighting stemmed from something dealing with our financial situation. And it didn't make things any better that our work schedules were so different. I worked "normal" hours from 7-4:30 and had every other Friday off (still do), while Collin's schedule changed all the time. Working retail will do that. At this point the TLE (Tire & Lube Express) was open from 7am-9pm. Most days Collin worked from 12-9. However, that didn't mean he would get off at 9, sometimes it was close to 10 when he would get home from work and by that point I was ready for bed. And then even once the TLE began closing at 7pm, most days Collin would still be at work until 8 or 9, including Saturdays! That was hard in and of itself. We didn't have a "normal" life as I had always imagined it would be.

So our first year of marriage was quickly going by. We weren't getting to spend much time together (another bad thing for my shopping habits... when I was bored/lonely I would shop), and we were quickly accruing credit card debt. It came time for us to begin thinking about either renewing our lease or moving somewhere else. When we got our renewal notice in the mail, of course our rent had been increased. We both decided that there was no way we could stay in our town home, especially not with a rent increase since we couldn't afford it at the price it was. We started praying about what we should do and where we should move. We thought we had it all figured out but then our plan fell through. However, God provided us with a solution. It wasn't one that I embraced with open arms. But as I look back now, it was the absolute best thing for us at this point.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Story of God's Provision (Part 1)

In July of 2009 Collin and I got engaged! One of the prerequisites we'd set for ourselves to get married was that we both needed to have full time permanent jobs. Until July, Collin had been working full time with a contractor but only on a temporary basis. He was then offered a full-time position with a new contract that was being awarded. Great news! Collin proposed and we were so happy. Then about a month later, Collin got let go from that job, we're still not completely sure why. We were crushed! We'd already set our wedding date; already started planning. So we kept up with plans, praying hard and just knowing Collin would find a job in the 8 months until our wedding. However, after months of looking, applying at all the government contractors and not even getting an interview, Collin knew he needed to just get any job. A friend of ours worked at Wal-Mart in the Tire & Lube Express. He urged Collin to apply, and though it wouldn't be an ideal job, at least it would be something until a better job came along. We'd been praying for something to come along, and this just seemed like it was where God wanted Collin to go for now. Collin was hired and started at Wal-Mart on January 1, 2010. Things were looking pretty good. With my salary and Collin now having at least a steady job (even though it wasn't the best pay or best job) we put a deposit down on a town home to move into once we got married.

March 2010 arrived and we were so close to our wedding! Things were going good and we were both really excited for the future! Then I find out that I'm being let go from my job. I'd been there just under a year, and though I didn't love it, it paid really well. My last day of work with that company was March 26, only 29 days from our wedding, and the exact day that we signed the lease on our town home and Collin moved in. You guys, this was scary. Collin working at Wal-Mart was NOT enough to support us. Not even close. I immediately applied for unemployment benefits, not sure that I would get them, but thank goodness I was approved. I hated having to use government help, but without it, we would have struggled much more. Having a rent payment, two student loan payments (that add up almost to our rent payment), cell phone bill, a car loan, and now all the expenses of living on your own (utilities, food, etc.) we needed that unemployment check.

I began praying hard. I didn't know why God would do this to us. So close to our wedding day; so close to beginning our future. I had no idea why God would let me lose my job. But I prayed, knowing that He could and would provide me with a new one. Fortunately I found a job within two weeks of my last day of work. However, I didn't start until after our wedding, because really, I would need to take a week off after only working for a week. I discussed this with my new boss and he was perfectly okay with me starting my job on May 3, after the wedding and honeymoon were over. And this is when I realized that God used the loss of my job for good. It allowed me to focus solely on wedding planning. That final month before the wedding would have been the most stressful month of my life, but because I was unemployed, because I found a job shortly into my unemployment, I was able to focus all my time and attention on the last minute details of our wedding. It was the BEST blessing, ever. So after the wedding was over and we returned from our honeymoon, I started my new job. And as excited as I was for my new job, I was NOT excited to have to take a $4/hr pay cut. When we looked around for where to live months prior, we took in to account our salaries. That pay cut was going to hurt, but little did we know how much!

Friday, March 22, 2013

5 Fact Friday

Happy Friday, my friends! It has been a long week here. Not quite sure why, it just seemed to have dragged by. But IT'S THE WEEKEND!! I am so happy for this weekend. Nothing really planned except for a group dinner with my book club and all our husbands on Sunday, but I love weekends!

1. This past week I signed up for some free online courses through a government sponsored "university" to better myself for my job. However, I have spent hours trying to figure out first, why I couldn't log in, and then trying to figure out why the content for the course wouldn't load on my computer. Frustrating. But, at least I got to listen to this ridiculous hold music the university has.

2. Collin has been watching The Walking Dead pretty much since it started. He has always been a zombie fan and I on the other hand am terrified of zombies. I would try not to be around when Collin watched the show but sometimes it was just impossible. Then the story pulled me in. So when Season 3 came back a few weeks ago, I started watching it, too! And now I can't wait for 9 PM on Sunday nights!

3. It snowed on Monday AND Thursday this week. I think I mentioned that earlier. It didn't stick to the roads on Monday and then on Thursday it didn't stick at all, but still, it snowed. However, I didn't hate it. It was much too pretty to hate. I thought it would make me mad because it was supposed to be spring on Wednesday, but I enjoyed the snow!

So pretty! #winter #snow #nature #pretty #isitspringyet

4. The first day of spring turned out to be a pretty nice day! And I love that Rita's gives away free Italian ice that day. I went with Collin and some of his coworkers. I got myself a yummy cup of chocolate!

Free Italian Ice for the first day of spring? Why thank you, Rita's!

5. Taking this photo yesterday afternoon really made my heart happy. It turned out to be such a beautiful afternoon. And it made me want to go on a photo walk to capture spring prettiness.


I hope you guys have a happy weekend. I pray it's full of fun and relaxation!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

(Semi) Wordless Wednesday

Guys, it snowed on Monday. SNOWED. Today is the first day of spring and it snowed on Monday. I was so disappointed when I got up Monday morning and there was snow on the ground. And it was still snowing! It kept snowing until about noon or so and then it was dreary and rained the rest of the day. But the snow actually stuck and stayed on the grass and vehicles until the rain came. Fortunately it was too warm for it to stick to the roads.

Was totally not expecting snow on the ground this morning. It's still coming down and things are even more covered now! #snow #winter #isitspringyet
The light dusting before work. It was even more covered later in the morning!
So pretty! #winter #snow #nature #pretty #isitspringyet
It may have not been the weather I wanted, but it was pretty.

So yesterday and today it's in the high 50's. Tomorrow barely 40 with a chance of snow. UGH. Now that it's officially spring, can't we just have all spring-like weather??


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Book Review: The Sky Beneath My Feet

I recently finished reading the book The Sky Beneath My Feet by Lisa Samson. It didn't take me long to read this book at all. I downloaded it from Booksneeze to my Kindle app on my iPhone on a Thursday; I began reading on a Friday and finished it on a Monday afternoon. And I was BUSY that weekend. I just wanted to keep reading though. Good thing it was on my phone because it made it convenient to read!

The book is about Beth, a pastor's wife and mom of two teenage boys. Beth's husband Rick is taking a one month sabbatical from his church and he told Beth to plan a vacation for them. Beth struggles with planning something the whole family will enjoy and eventually a friend gives her the keys to a beach house in Florida. However, just before the sabbatical is to start, an old friend of the family comes to visit and offers Rick a great new pastoral job in Richmond. This offer throws Rick for a loop and he holes himself up in his office/shed without saying a word to anyone. No one knows exactly what is going on with Rick and it really upsets Beth and her boys. They begin trying to deal with their absent husband/father, but it messes up the vacation Beth had planned.

With Rick "away", Beth decides she needs to figure out some things for herself. She tries activities she never would have thought to do before, she gets involved in helping a girl who is addicted to drugs, she hangs out with people she has nothing in common with (or so she thinks), and she even has an adventure with her soul sister, Holly. Throughout this sabbatical Beth attempts to rediscover the idealistic woman she used to be.

The Sky Beneath My Feet was a great novel. I felt really close to the characters and I wanted to see Beth happy. I was really engrossed in this book and at times I was laughing, others times I was really angry at characters, and at other points I was so excited about what was happening! I would definitely recommend this if you want a light read. I also want to point out that this wasn't your typical Christian "Romance" Novel. This novel had characters that were down to earth and real; characters that can be related to. They struggled with serious things and it wasn't all lovey-dovey like some Christian novels are. I really enjoyed it!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com. 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 guidelines.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Thoughts on Pop Culture

Something I don't understand... why is pop culture such a big deal? Really, how do celebrities affect "normal" people's lives? Why do we care so much about what people are doing, wearing, eating, driving, how they look, etc etc? It's all just a bunch of hyped up nonsense. Sure trends and ideas might come from them, but does that really matter? I feel like if people spent as much time focusing on themselves and the people around them who directly affect their lives as they do focusing on celebrities, everyone would be much happier. We wouldn't be striving for things that are hard to obtain because there's no "superhero" ideals to live up to. We would be striving for the very best for ourselves. Not striving for the things of someone else, someone famous.

The media and pop culture completely over play celebrity deaths, and I'm not saying I'm heartless and don't care that *insert celebrity name here* passed away, but death is a natural part of life. Lots of people die everyday and they don't get days of media coverage. People make such a big deal out of celebrity deaths but it's someone who they didn't even know! Is it really that much of a hardship that they passed away? Is it really going to affect your life so drastically for you to react that way? And like I said, I'm not heartless, I feel compassion for the friends and family of those who died, but most people are not friends/family of the deceased. They don't even know them. So what's the big deal?

When something "news-breaking" happens, you hear about it for days. People talk about it incessantly. It's like it's the biggest thing to ever happen! People get so worked up, so fired up over some dumb little thing that doesn't even affect them. Really, put that passion into something constructive. Why don't we ever talk about God the way we talk about celebrities? Isn't Jesus the ultimate celebrity? Shouldn't we be worshiping Him like we worship pop culture? Or rather, shouldn't we be worshiping Him ALONE and NOT pop culture? Shouldn't we be striving to live like Jesus lived? Shouldn't His ideals be the ones we want to live up to?

Just a thought... let me know what you think, if you agree/disagree/have something to add.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

(Semi) Wordless Wednesday

I really love this boy. #cats #catsofinstagram #furbaby
Stank has actually been snuggling with me lately. I've missed it.
Seabass really enjoys sitting on the toilet. No idea why.
While eating dinner on my parent's porch, their cat Jake fell asleep with his head on the candle holder and behind the digital photo frame. Ha!


Friday, March 8, 2013

5 Fact Friday

Happy Friday! I thought this Friday would NEVER come. UGH. It has been the longest week. And I have felt so uninspired about blogging and photo taking. I blame it on the weather. It's been so schizophrenic here! One day it's sunny and in the 40's, the next it's windy, cold and SO MUCH RAIN. Supposedly we were under a winter storm warning on Wednesday. Seemed more like it should have been a tropical storm warning with the amount of rain and lack of snow we got. And the wind was awful! It really did seem like a tropical storm out there! We even had some downed trees around the county. But the rain stopped, and it issunny today and was yesterday, too. And the temperatures are rising; it's supposed to be in the 50's for the foreseeable future! Now the wind just needs to blow out. ha!

1. I don't mind a little bit of cloudiness/precipitation, I know it's good for the earth, but boy do I love seeing the sun and white fluffy clouds after it's been gross out.

After the nasty day we had yesterday, this is enthusiastically welcomed! #sky #skylove

2. I really enjoy card making but sometimes I just don't feel inspired to create.

3. On that same note, I am SO excited to be moving into a two-bedroom apartment next month so the other bedroom can be an office/craft room. My head is spinning with possibilities for decorating and arranging it. I can't wait to have an actual desk to make cards on and to have an easier way to store my stuff!

4. We got a free one month trial of Hulu+ and I've been watching through Sabrina the Teenage Witch for the past few weeks.

5. This weekend Collin is going on our church's men's retreat. I am really excited for him but I'm dreading being alone at night! This isn't the first time he's left me at home for a retreat, but it's not often at all!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Book Review: Come to the Table

Hello friends! I've got a book review for you guys today. This book is number 2 in the Souled Out Sisters novels. I posted a review on the first book here. I was really excited to see that Booksneeze was offering Book 2, Come to the Table by Neta Jackson, so I quickly requested it!

This book was definitely a continuation of Stand By Me. The only difference was that instead of telling the story from the point of view of Kat and Avis, it tells it now from Kat, Nick, and a little bit of Edesa. Nick was introduced during the first book as a close friend of Kat; Edesa is a member of Souled Out that Kat works closely with to figure out her plans. In this novel, Kat begins to seek a plan with the help of God, her friends and women from her church to use her ideas of teaching nutrition to impoverished people. However, with guidance, prayer and lots of help Kat gets the idea to open a food pantry at Souled Out Community Church. During this same time, Nick is appointed as a pastoral intern at the church. He struggles with this new position in numerous ways, one being that his feelings for Kat keep growing and he doesn't want anyone to think impurely of him since they are roommates at the moment, along with Bree, and Avis's daughter Rochelle and her son, Conny.

This was a great novel. I love that it continues from Book 1 so well and it answers questions that I had at the end of the first one. I love how it's not just a feel good book, but that Neta actually creates tension between the characters. I also love how the story keeps growing and the lives of the characters keep intertwining. If you're looking for a good read, I suggest picking up Books 1 and 2 and giving them a read. I wouldn't recommend reading this one without having read Stand By Me just because the story is so involved. However, you could read it by itself if you wanted because the main plot points are "recapped" so to say at the beginning of the book.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com. 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 guidelines.

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