The Two-Minute Drill to Manhood: A Proven Game Plan for Raising Sons By John Croyle

Written through the lens of football and faith, THE TWO-MINUTE DRILL TO MANHOOD: A Proven Game Plan for Raising Sons (B&H Publishing Group; May 1, 2013) offers insight in how to prepare sons for authentic manhood.
 Drawing on his own experience parenting more than 1,800 troubled, abused, and neglected children on the Big Oak Ranch – along with his two biological children, Croyle drills down into seven actionable life principles drawn from the word “manhood” itself: 
 M – Master A – Ask and Listen N – Never Compromise H – Handle Responsibility O – One Purpose O – One Body D – Don’t Ever, Ever, Ever Give Up

As the Mother of a young boy I certainly loved reading "The Two Minute Drill to Manhood". It encourages us as parents to raise up our sons according to scripture and to be Godly figures in todays world. It's easy to point fingers after the fact and ask "what happened?" but it's even easier to start now and show your son how to be a great man and raise him up in the way he should go so we don't have to point fingers or questions as to "why?". I've never heard of the Big Oak Ranch until this book but this program seems to certainly work for the ones that have went through the program for abused and neglected children. John has a lot of insight after seeing and parenting over 1800 children who have went through the program and came out to be very successful. I encourage you to check out the link above and read some more on the organization itself, oh and buy the book! It's a great read!!
"Book provided by Shelton Interactive in exchange for an honest review"

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are By Ann Voskamp

Aside from being a New York Times bestselling author and popular blogger, Ann is a homeschooling mother of six. She is no stranger to the difficulties of motherhood – and life.In the book and on her blog, Voskamp shares her own journey through hard, dark days and hidden fears as she seeks to answer one of life’s greatest riddles: how do you discover joy—right where you are?With Mother’s Day approaching, I wonder if you might consider doing a review and/or giveaway of the book – an encouragement for mothers to find joy and gratitude in the midst of the worn-ragged days by counting their 1,000 gifts.

I previously read "Selections from One Thousand Gifts" so I was pleasantly surprised when I get an email offering the full book! Ann Voskamp is a talented writer offering the reader a chance to see the good in everyday, situation or circumstance. I follow Ann on facebook and she offers everyone a chance to see beauty around them and Joy Dares which encourages you to find the good even in bad situations. There's a peace, calmness that enters the soul and encourages you to slow down and enjoy the book to it's full potential, soaking up everything Ann has to say. It's like a time of refreshing, and not meant to be rushed. I encourage you to read this book, you won't be sorry!
 "Book provided by Shelton Interactive in exchange for an honest review"


Jennifer By Dee Henderson

It's a summer of change for Jennifer O'Malley.
The busy physician has a pediatrics practice in Dallas, Texas, and meeting and falling in love with surgeon Tom Peterson is adding a rich layer to her life. She's sorting out how to introduce Tom to her family--she's the youngest of seven--and thinking about marriage.
She's falling in love with Jesus too, and knows God is good. But that faith is about to be tested, and in a way she didn't expect. The results will soon transform her entire family.

First off I must say, I absolutely love the size of this book. It fits quite nicely in your hands and hardcover? bonus!
I never read the O'Mally series, although now I think I may have to go search for them. This book tells how Jennifer found her faith in God, how she fell in love with Tom and how she came to terms with her illness.
I think this is more of a prequel to Jennifer & Toms relationship and how it all came about.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Revealing Jesus: A 365-Day Devotional By Darlene Zschech

Powerful Encounters With the Heart of Our Savior For Every Day
Do you long for more of God's presence? Do you ache to see Him at work in your life? Do you desire His peace and rest? Renowned worship leader Darlene Zschech invites you to gather with her around the Word of God. Born out of her own yearnings that she poured onto the pages of journals, these meditations and Scriptures reveal Jesus and speak of His finished work--how He tenderly cares for you and wants you to know Him.
Honest, raw, and beautifully written, these devotions will inspire your journey and encourage you in every season. Come, sit at the feet of our Lord, be strengthened in your weakness, embrace His love for you, and breathe in His peace.
I've used this devotional for about 10 days now, such great teachings! There is a Bible verse, a reflection on that verse and a prayer to help us through the day. The devotions are dated for each day of the year but I never followed it, I just started at the beginning. It can get confusing this way.
Darlene is a great songwriter with a beautiful voice. I am familiar with her song, Shout to the Lord and remember many, many nights worshipping in youth group to this song. Such powerful lyrics, I believe her devotions follow the same path.
Because the writings are short and concise I find it a lot easier to follow espcially having to chase around my 2 year old son. This would make a great gift for that special woman in your life!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Adoring Addie By Leslie Gould

Not Since Romeo and Juliet Has a Couple Faced Odds This Long
The Cramers and Mosiers have been angry with each other for as long as anyone can remember. Things had cooled to a simmer...until Addie Cramer and Jonathan Mosier fell head over heels for each other. Now old tensions are renewed, and Addie's parents insist she marry stolid and uninspiring Phillip Eicher.
Distraught at a future apart, the two decide their best hope is to reconcile the two families...but that means digging into the past to see what tore them apart. Will their love be enough to keep them together or will long-held secrets ruin their chance at happiness?

A great followup to Courting Cate. Addie is a young girl in love with a boy who is part of a rival family namesake. Her parents want her to have eyes for no one but the Bishops son. But together, the couple unearth sin and secrets long buried but not forgotten to bring both families to reconcilliation so the couple can enjoy their happily ever after. There is also brief appearances by Cate which allows the reader a glimpse into her current life and where she is now.
I'm anticipating the 3rd book to see how the storyline will fall as this one is compared to that of Romeo & Juliet. Will the author continue on the Shakespearian storylines? We shall see!!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

It's a journey....Embrace it!!

So you've finally made that decision to start eating better and moving more to have a healthier you. Congratulations! The first step is the hardest one to make, I won't say it's all uphill from here, you will face battles, with the scale and within yourself. You'll have great days and you'll have horrible, no good, very bad days! But I just want to list a few things that I hope will help you, as it's things I've realized on this journey of my own.

1. Focus on loving yourself now, not when you get to a certain weight. This is a lifestyle change, a journey. Enjoy the journey for what it is. This is not some simple diet fad to lose X amount of pounds in X amount of weeks. It's about fueling yourself with the good stuff, portion control, moderation and exercise and make the rest of your life the best of your life!

2. Live in the moment, but set small, realistic goals. I see too many posts on facebook or blogs saying that they 'can't wait to be such and such weight then they will finally be happy'. Be happy now, don't let a number on a scale define that happiness, trust me, being happy and positive and taking the bad with the good will help everything else fall into place. Tell yourself "I am going to get healthier! I am going to lose these extra pounds! I am going to do it one step at a time". 

3. Slow & Steady Freddy! "It took more than a day to put this weight on and it will take more than a day to take it off". I had to tell myself this so many times after weeks and weeks of down 1lb one week and up 2 lbs the next. It fet as though it was 1 step forward and 2 steps back so know what I did? I changed up my routine! Sometimes we're stuck in the same rut of doing the same exercises or eating the same amount of calories. One day I may only eat 1300 calories, another day I might eat 2500. It keeps my body guessing. This has worked for me so well, when I follow the same pattern of eating the same amount of calories I'm guaranteed to plateau. Also, if all you do is cardio, try adding some strength into the mix, your body will thank you.

4.Water, water, water. Get it in ya! There are many different sources to stay hydrated but I have to say, water is by far the best for you. I remember first when I started this journey I could never get in more than 6 glasses a day, now I drink 12-18 glasses a day! It's good for your skin, it's good for you all around! When you feel hungry, drink a glass of water. Most times it's our bodies telling us we're dehydrated. If you're still hungry, get a snack lol

5.Pat yourself on the back once in a while. Give yourself credit. You did an extra minute on the treadmill today? Good for you! You chose an apple dipped in peanut butter instead of potato chips and dip? Awesome! You drank 2 glasses of water with supper instead of pop! You go!!! It's all about choices. Choices we make everyday. But remember to give yourself some credit when you make those healthy, wise choices.

I hope these pointers help you out a bit and if you ever need some advice there are so many people out there willing to help, but you have to want this for yourself! You can do this!!!


The Guardian By Beverly Lewis

Come home to Hickory Hollow, Pennsylvania--the beloved setting where Beverly Lewis's celebrated Amish novels began--with new characters and new stories of drama, romance, and the ties that draw people together.
When Jodi Winfield comes to Lancaster to house-sit, the last thing she expects to find is a disheveled little girl alone on the side of the road. The young teacher is mystified when she learns there have been no reports of a missing child, and the girl herself is no help, since she can't speak English. It's as if the child appeared out of nowhere.
Then Jodi turns her attention to Hickory Hollow--and the cloistered world of the Old Order Amish--in search of answers.

Beverly Lewis just keeps getting better and better. With every chapter, every page, every line I just keep drinking it in wanting more and more. I am fascinated with Hickory Hollow and the Amish lifestyle to I'm always wanting to learn more through story. I loved the character development right from the beginning how a widowed Momma takes care of 4 kids with such grace and poise. The relationship with the Englischer and the bond they both form after an incident with one of the children just seems so real. I would definitely recommend this book along with it's predecessors!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Here's my story, what's yours?

**Just merging my 2 blogs in one. Some posts are about my weight loss, some books reviews, just all around positive, happy posts!!!  Originally posted on another blog 10/25/12

I started out on facebook, but decided to blog over here, just in case facebook ever becomes the next myspace...lol But here I am if you all wanna follow me over there! Candace's Journey to Healthier/Happier Living!

What's your story?
Why are you on this journey?
Who gave you that push?

For me it was an extra 8lb 4 1/2 ozs, my son changed my life before he even knew how. I ate healthier during my pregnancy than I ever did, so after my son was born, I kept it up and lost 25lbs in his first year.  Good job! Then comes October 2011, his 1st Birthday. I realized just how out of shape I still was (I never exercised, only ate a little healthier) and if I didn't do something drastic soon I wasn't gonna be able to celebrate too many more. I was out of breath, sweating, tired, naseous, you name it. I weighed a few days later after my son went to bed one night, and I was 300lbs (remember, I already lost 25lb by this point). I sat down and I cried, and cried, and cried some more.

This pic was from August 2011. Me & my inspiration. (300lbs)

Later that week a friend of mine texted and told me how she was losing weight by counting calories with a free app on her iphone called My Fitness Pal. (Little did I know how much this would change my life. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!)

My husband was out of town for a few weeks, so I decided now was as good a time as any to get started, I was certain I could do it (what's that? A bit of positivity? lol. I think I suprised myself). I didn't wait for a Monday, I didn't even wait for the next day, I started that afternoon, after already eating horrible all morning, chips, pop, cookies, candy (and that was just breakfast!). I started logging food with the app.

Hold on....
That cookie has HOW many calories??? & I shouldn't eat more than 1500 calories a day?? That's only 5 cookies a day and nothing else!!!

But.....I have to do this!!!

I wouldn't even weigh in the before pic, I could have been higher than 325, who knows? But this was a huge breaking point for me, down 45 lbs and finally started noticing a difference!
I started out with the Wii Fit and thought I would die! I was crying and sweating so much, 10 minutes was all I could handle. I cried and cried and cried some more, how did I let myself get this far? I was digging my own grave. I didn't know if I could do it. I went and ate some chips, a handful of cookies, drank a 2 liter pop straight from the bottle, then it was like someone screamed at me CANDACE WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO YOURSELF??? And I again thought about my son. That was all I needed to throw everything in the garbage and start again.

I kept thinking, all these people doing 30 minute workouts, how do they do it? I'll never make it!! But I kept on, I cried, I hurt, I was hungry at times but I wanted this more than anything. I was borderline diabetic and given many warnings by several doctors, I was on medication for high blood pressure that kept being increased. But Thank God I am now off that medication, no longer bordering on diabetis!

And now, 1 year later here I am at 102lbs lost! (and I still eat cookies, occasionaly andin moderation!!) Moderation is a great thing :)

Here are some things I've learned/noticed:
-I can run and not get out of breath
-I can workout for an hour no problem!
-I can get into positions I never thought possible, just ask my husband ;)
-I have more energy than I ever thought possible!
-I am off my blood pressure medication!!
-I can sleep at night without waking a million times (except for when I hear "Mommy!")
-I would rather eat something healthy and homemade, than fast food! Big thing for me since I felt like I could eat fast food every day of my life!
-I wear my son out instead of the other way around
-I love and appreciate everyone and everything around me a whole lot more. It's funny how your perspective changes!
-I am more positive, happy, and grateful for every big and little thing!
-I eat more fresh food rather than canned or packaged convenience food
-Water is my BEST FRIEND! I drink a ton of it everyday!!
-There is always some time to be active. 24 hours in a day, I can always find at least 20 minutes!

Currently at 223lbs and feeling better every day!!

These are just a few things, I'm sure there are many more I'm forgetting, but I wanna hear from you. What's your story?
You will :)