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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gone Fishin'...

...Well, not exactly. But I'm like the rest of the world...scurrying here and there, preparing and planning and enjoying this time of year with my friends and family. 

I love the months of November and December for this exact reason. Everyone's so busy and festive. It just makes me happy and joyful! I feel like caroling...but I won't! :)

I'm happy to report that my Christmas shopping is finished and wrapped! I'm done!! Just sitting back and enjoying everything around me. 

I'm not happy to report that I owe y'all a review of last months book club title, A Bride Sews with Love by the sweetest of sweets, the lovely Erica Vetsch, and I just can't get to it right now. I've read the first few chapters and I'm hooked already, but unfortunately, reading has become one of those luxuries that I can't seem to squeeze in!!

I'm hoping to finish it and post a review before Christmas though, so keep your eyes peeled. But in the meantime, if you've read A Bride Sews with Love, will you do me a favor and rave about it in the comments, please? 

Most importantly, I just wanted to pop in here to wish all of you a Very Merry Christmas! Big hugs and happy wishes of family gatherings, piles of scrunched up wrapping paper, way more Christmas cookies than are healthy, and blessed spirits to you all!!!! 


Thursday, November 1, 2012

November Book Club Selection

 Happy November 1st everyone!!!

I'm so excited to announce the 2nd title in my little book club series! 

Last month we read Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz and it was breathtaking! Today we turn our attention to a book that's release day is also today! 

My November selection is: 


I've had the privilege of reading Erica's books before and they're always so romantic and engaging! So I have high hopes for this new release of hers! :) 

Grab yourself a copy and read along with me!!! (Click the title link to purchase your copy from Amazon.) We'll discuss our thoughts at the end of the month!! 

(Just a reminder that I'll be typing furiously this entire month so you may not see me as often. But in my spare time...I'll be reading Erica's book!!!) 

Share with me: Will you read along with me? Have you read Erica's wonderful books before? 


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Nervous Jitters, Radio Silence, and Happy Halloween!

I'm a bundle of nerves! I can't think clearly for longer than ten minutes. My mind keeps wandering from any given task back to how quickly the clock seems to be ticking down...reaching for Thursday! Doomsday. Also known as the kickoff to NaNoWriMo.

I'm as ready as I can be...I think. I'm all plotted out. I know where I'm going, or at least where I think I'm going. I've got nothing left to do but wait and jot down random ideas that occur to me.

So to fill the time, I've been trying to Spring clean my house. Don't ask me why. Apparently, I'm literally going to die from this next months task, and I don't want to suffer any humiliation in Heaven as I witness my relatives rummaging through my junk-filled house. (Who thinks like this??)

It's gotten a bit silly the last few days. My family would probably label me crazy and mad instead of my nicer word choice. But, really, I had my kids Clorox-wiping door frames full of fingerprints at 8:00pm the other night--granted they were their dirty fingerprints, but...I think the term crazy just might fit.

**Beginning next week, my poor little blog will be entering a Radio Silence phase. (I will still announce my November book club title on Thursday the 1st and we'll still be reviewing said book in the comments at a date to be specified later! Actually, I'm really excited about the next book...so come back in two days and grab yourself a copy and read along with me!!!) During the month of November, I'll be devoting all my free time, and much of my not-free-time to writing so I won't be updating my blog or hanging around Facebook as much. Who am I kidding? I don't think anyone could label my social media usage as "much". :) But just so you know...

I'd like to wish anyone else out there NaNo-ing a huge and hopeful...GOOD LUCK! We can do it!!!

Finally, tomorrow is Halloween. However you choose to spend this holiday, I hope it full of laughter with loved ones, safe adventures, and lots of sugar!!! Mine sure will be! 

Happy Halloween! 


Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's Review Day!!

I've set myself a nearly impossible feat...trying to review one of the most memorable books I've read since Janette Oke. Truly. (I can give no higher compliment than that, since Ms. Oke's stories are the first that drew me in so deeply, I would lock myself away for hours just to feel the emotional high that comes from a love story...of the heart and soul.)

I read Love's Reckoning almost a month ago, in a single day. Laura's story far exceeded even my highest hopes of what I thought the book would be about. I was so drawn in and spell bound by her setting, her characters, the customs...everything played a part in this tale. Everything was so intricately woven together. It was beautiful!
 
As Keli Gwyn aptly pointed out a few days ago, Love's Reckoning is so full of "emotion". There's no better way to describe or praise Laura's work. It's like existing in a dream where you are the heroine, and you personally experience every fluttery, heated stare, every heart pounding fear, every degree of uncertainty, every ounce of unfairness...until you want to scream at someone that it can't possibly end that way! And then you just give up, and fall into the story (again), feeling every emotion that Eden felt.


Today's review is slightly unique in that I don't want to talk about its technical merits (although they're abundant), and I don't want to just tell you over and over how much I adored it (although I do, and I kinda already did!). 

Instead, I'd like to show you some of the images that wove the story together...some of the images that evoke the emotion that I've been trying to describe. Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. 

I borrowed each of these images from Laura's Pinterest board titled Love's Reckoning. There are many more pictures that will have you feeling the story before you ever open the cover. 

I hope you loved this book as much as I did...and I'm eager to hear your thoughts too. Please let me know (in the comments) about your experience reading Love's Reckoning

And have a HAPPY (early) WEEKEND!!! 

***November's Book Club Title will be announced on Thursday, November 1st!!! 







Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month (November) is a mere 8 days away!!!

And I'm signed up!

I'm nervous. No, I'm terrified...of failing. But this year, I'm trying it. I've wanted to participate for the last two years but I just haven't had the courage to try.

I'm quite notorious for my procrastinating ways. So naturally the task of writing 50,000 words in 30 days seems daunting to me.

The difference this time is that I feel prepared.

I'm all plotted out and ready to start a new story. I'm excited and hopeful that my detailed outlines will keep me on track and moving forward when I hit those inevitable blank screens and urges to go back and edit.

Also a huge relief is that I've cleared my November schedule to the best of my ability so no extra tasks will be on my plate while I attempt to complete the near-impossible.

Share with me: Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? How are you preparing? Have you ever done it in the past? What was your experience like? 

***Don't forget to stop by on Thursday the 25th for my review of this months book club title, Love's Reckoning!! I think you all know by now that I loved it! But I'm excited to tell you why! ;) And I hope some of you were able to read it as well and leave your thoughts in the comments! 

On a completely unrelated topic: I had a yucky head cold over the weekend and managed to plow through both season 1 and 2 of Downton Abbey...in two days!!! Wow! Why didn't you all tell me that show was amazing!?? Okay, you probably did...I'm just slow. Loved it! When does season 3 come out? I need to fake another cold. :)


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Do You Know Laura Frantz?


Laura Frantz
Today is all about the brilliant author behind Love's Reckoning, Laura Frantz. I literally read this story in a matter of hours, and I'm confident you'll love it just as much!

Apart from being a skilled and hypnotizing writer, she is also kind and generous with her time. She sweetly agreed to let me pester her with very random, unrelated questions. (Seriously, you might get whiplash reading this interview!) 

I'm always so curious about how other women, wives, mothers...do life...
This is what I wondered about Laura: 
  • When did you realize your passion was writing and what first steps did you take to pursue it? I actually knew at age 7, believe it or not. It was then I wrote my first story about ships and told my mom I wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first novella when I was 12 after visiting Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. And I've turned out a historical every few years since, even the very terrible sequels to Dances With Wolves and Gone With the Wind. Stories only a mother could love.  It wasn't until I had kids and had put my writing away for a few years that my brother (a pastor in Spain) encouraged me to make use of any gifts the Lord had given me.   
  • As a working mother, how do you find time to balance both work and family? Any tips for other moms out there that are trying to carve out some time for themselves? It's very hard to find balance and requires continual prayer in our house. I always ask the Lord to give me pockets of writing time - and He is always so faithful. I've learned to pretty much write through anything - the TV blaring, doctor's appointments, cooking supper, doing laundry, pregnancy and nursing, etc. I think the best thing is to pray for that time and then decide when you are at your creative best - early morning, during your kid's afternoon naps, or later at night when they're asleep.  When I homeschooled for 8 years, this was a real challenge. But now that my boys are in public school I have more time to write. 
  • Using five words, how would your husband and kids describe you? Do you agree with their choices or would you choose different words? Oh, love this question! Five words? Quiet. Compassionate. Dedicated. Sensitive. Blonde. But my almost 16 year old son said in a fit of exasperation last year, "Mom, you're so driven and intense!" Then he wrote in a school paper not long ago that I'm the kindest person he knows. So go figure! I think the intensity part is true - I feel things very deeply and this comes across in my writing, or so readers say. I'm also passionate about God and the beauty of words and hope that comes across, too. I think I'm one of those tortured souls who are never really happy unless they're writing. My family is so understanding of that and I'm deeply grateful. 
  • How do you go about plotting your stories? Or are you a seat of the pants writer? Give us a peak into your routine. I used to be seat of the pants and just sit down and write without anything but a couple of character names, a pen and paper. I still write all my manuscripts in longhand first. I think better on paper. But since I've been published, I've had to become more of a plotter. In The Ballantyne Legacy which is a 4 book series, I had to develop a synopsis for each story. Very hard to do for a panster! I like the thrill of sitting down and not knowing where I'm going and letting my characters and scenes surprise me. Thankfully, my pub allows me quite a bit of freedom as my books don't always echo my synopsis. 
  • What is your favorite time of year and why? Summer, hands down. Being a Kentucky girl, I'm such a sun lover. But from the look of my Pinterest boards, you would think fall! My autumn board is bulging and I'm loving that it's almost here.
  •  Favorite beverage and dessert of choice? Perrier and cranberry juice with a twist of lime. Favorite dessert would be chocolate cream pie... 
  • Do you have a life verse or a favorite verse that encourages you? That varies depending on the season of life I'm in. Right now my favorite verse is Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. This reminds me of the real reason I write and that God gives the gift of writing. It's all about Him, not me.

  • Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you have any all-time favorite books? Oh, I do! I love The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery, a veritable classic, and Catherine Marshall's Christy. Within the CBA, I think immediately of Liz Curtis Higgs, especially her recent Scottish series, Here Burns My Candle and Mine is the Night. She writes beautifully and packs a powerful punch with her well-researched historical novels. 
  • What is your idea of the perfect day? The one I had today, in fact - answering reader mail in the morning and doing a little marketing and researching my next story, then after lunch writing that same story on deck in the sunshine. My kids come home about 2:30 so I like to have everything pretty much taken care of for the day work-wise. Then I can fix supper and catch up on laundry and things like that. I get up uber early - about 5 am. So my days are nice and long. 
  • How did you meet your husband? What is the best marital advice you ever received? I met Randy when I worked at a historic lodge in Washington state one summer. He was at the other historic inn across the lake. I've been thanking the Lord ever since! We celebrated our 18th anniversary in September.  The best marital advice ever is found in 1 Corinthians 13, at least for us. Love is patient and kind...
Thank you Laura! These snippets give me such a clear picture of who you are and what you value! Just makes me want to give you a great big hug!! :) 

Like Laura mentioned in her answers above, Love's Reckoning is 1 of 4 books headed our way. I can personally vouch for Silas and Eden's story! Wow, wow, wow! In fact, I plan to re-read it very soon! 

Share with me: What is your idea of a perfect day?? Are you reading Love's Reckoning yet?? (You should be!) ;) Did anything about Laura's interview surprise you...or delight you?

***Next Thursday (the 25th) will be REVIEW DAY here on my blog! I'll be posting my review of Love's Reckoning and I invite you to participate by reading the book, (really you could start on the 24th and be done in time) and posting your thoughts/review in the comments on that same day! It'll be fun to see what everyone has to say about this particular story...and the twist! (There's always a twist, right?)***

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Question Time

Today, I'm wondering...

What makes you lose your cool?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And in happier news...
**If you're looking for an amazingly romantic read right now, might I suggest Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz?? You won't be disappointed! 
***Check back on Thursday the 18th for a deep look into Laura's life! She was such a sport with all my random questions. :) 

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Husband Project - Day 5

Yay! We made it to Friday! Anyone feeling a tad closer to their hubby than they did on Monday? :)

I gotta say my guy and I were on a pretty good playing field to begin with so the improvement was almost unnoticeable.

But I did notice something...

He knew I was doing this experiment on my blog this week, but even knowing about it, I could tell he was a tad excited to see how I was going to spoil him each day. It was kind of like a little game we played...and the anticipation is almost always the best part. Very fun for both of us!

Although, true to his goof ball nature...yesterday he got a bit lippy and gave me a list of his favorite foods that I was to make for him. "It's your homework, isn't it?" I let it go, but only because I was in such a good mood. ;)

So here's our final task...and it's a good one!

Project #5

E-flirt.com

Text or E-mail Some Sweet Nothings

“I turn on my computer. I wait patiently as it connects. I go online. My breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words, “You’ve got Mail.” I hear nothing, not a sound on the streets of New York. Just the beat of my own heart… I have mail, from you.”
Meg Ryan as Kathleen Kennedy in “You’ve Got Mail”

Your Project:
Send a flirty text or e-mail to your husband.

Getting Creative:
Use an e-card service (hallmark.com or americangreetings.com) to send a cute and flirty note.

Don’t know how to text? Ask any teenager in the general vicinity. Most phones have a camera feature where you can send a photo message. Be sure to keep it G rated so that he doesn't get in trouble at work.

*******

And that's it! That wraps up our fun week of hubby homework. I hope our experiment has been helpful in your marriage or at the very least, a fun realization that making our guys feel loved and special takes minimal effort...and sometimes it's actually kinda fun! :)

If you would like to continue The Husband Project (a 21 day project) pick up your copy here! And happy reading!!

Share with me: What did you think of this week? Did you notice a difference in your man, small or otherwise? Do you have any ideas of your own on how you might continue our project over the weekend?? 

Thank you to the brilliant Kathi Lipp for writing such a needed and lighthearted book full of great advice! And for allowing us to have a taste of her encouraging suggestions. I know they've been a help to me and I'm sure the others that participated would say the same!!! 

Thanks to all of you for stopping by this week and playing along! I had a blast!! :) 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Husband Project - Day 4

Kathi Lipp
Kathi Lipp's The Husband Project continues...

It seems like everyone had an easier time than I expected on yesterday's bragging assignment! Facebook really is a lifesaver sometimes. :)

I loved reading your sweet comments about your husbands! Most of you went the sentimental route...I chose to hit the surface level and give my shout out to my guys athletic ability...something I know he appreciates (especially as the years march on.)

Today we turn our attention to our hubby's stomach...particularly what he likes to put in it! :)



Project #4
Heart vs. Stomach

A Treat Just for Him

 “You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans.”
Ronald Reagan


Your Project:
Get a food treat for your husband that he’s not required to share with you or any other family member.

Getting Creative
Stumped for ideas? Here are some thoughts:

Get his favorite pint of Ben & Jerry’s and hide it behind the frozen chicken. Even if you buy it on Tuesday, you’ll have it ready and waiting for his special night later in the week.

Is there a certain cut of meat that your husband loves? How about having the butcher cut something just for him? Most supermarkets will even do the marinade for you – one less thing to think about.

Is there a certain candy that your husband loves from his childhood? Check out www.candywarehouse.com. They have all the nostalgic candy you could want (Black Jack Gum, anyone?) while also carrying any modern favorite you could be looking for.

My husband’s family loves something called “noodles and mashed potatoes” (we lovingly refer to it as “The Starch Fest”). I learned how to make this special dish just for him.

My guy loves the smell of baking almost as much as he enjoys eating the treat. Have some brownies in the oven when he gets home from work or working out. (I know, it negates the workout, but isn’t chocolate always worth it?)

Our friend Scott mentioned that he loves cranberry sauce, but eats it only at Thanksgiving. His wife intentionally made the holiday treat for him this past July.

Are you a wife who is an expert at low-cal salads and other forms of chick-food? Check out The Ultimate Guide to Man Food at www.kathilipp.com for ideas.

Share with me: Did your husband hear about your brag yesterday? What was his reaction? What is your guys favorite treat or thing to eat? What will you be picking up (or cooking) for him today?

*As a side note: I am having such a good time with all of you! I love being built up and encouraged in this way and all your comments and participation helps spur me on to be a better wife. So THANK YOU! for doing all this homework with me!! :) 


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Husband Project - Day 3


You know that feeling, when you've worked so hard for a certain set of results...only to have it shatter with a careless comment?

I hate that!!

But it's pretty much how my Day Two went. And I'm so bummed about it too, because I had high expectations for being able to breeze my way through this little challenge. But, alas, I came face to face with my temper and my unforgiving side...and the combination of insensitive comment and unwillingness to forgive and move past it, spoiled our whole evening.

However, I pray your evenings were much more fruitful than mine and put happy smiles on your husband's face with your thoughtfulness toward his hobbies.

Okay, enough about day two! Let's move on so I can hopefully redeem myself. (And how ironic that this is the homework for tonight!)

Project #3

You da’ Man

Spreading Great Gossip About Your Guy



Your Project:
Say something nice about your husband to someone else. Make sure you tell him what you said, and to whom.

Getting Creative
Who are the important people in your husband’s life? Your kids, his parents, his friends? Be intentional about who you chat with when you brag on him – it’s almost as important as actually doing it.

Having a hard time coming up with something? I still brag on my guy for things he did years ago. He loves when I tell the story of how brilliantly he proposed (there were waterfalls and stuffed portabella mushrooms involved…).

Here are some other areas to think about when crafting your brag:

  • His parenting skills
  • His patience level
  • The way he treats your mom
  • His culinary ability
  • His job
  • His loyalty to you
Share with me: How was your last night? Did you side-step the Husband Pit (hopefully) or did you fall face first into it, like I did? Any ideas on who or how you're going to brag up your hubby tonight? I admit to needing to think on this one a bit. :) 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Husband Project - Day 2

 Well, I don't know about all of you, but day 1 of Kathi Lipp's Husband Project has created a very happy home for the Nezbeth's. I hope your day 1's were just as successful!

Yesterday's assignment of giving our guys some transition time couldn't have worked out better for me...and I'm assuming my hubby liked it too. :) All day long I was trying to think about what would please him most. Time by himself? Time with the kids?

But I also know that he loves to come home to the smell of dinner being made, happy kids playing nicely, and a relatively clean home. A game on in the background is the cherry on top.

Check.
Check.
Check.
And thanks to Monday night football, check!

For added measure...and because it just plain made me laugh...I have to share a few of his quotes throughout the evening.

"What's going on?"
"What did you buy?"
"Wow! What a night!"

Last nights results have me eager to move on to day 2! So here's our homework for today!

Project #2

Back in the Day

Do Something He Enjoyed Before You Got Married

“Lust is easy.  Love is hard.  Like is most important.”  ~ Carl Reiner

Your Project:

Initiate an activity that your husband used to love. Whether it’s his favorite hobby, sport, or pastime, it’s time for you to get involved – be his buddy today.

Getting Creative

Many a man’s hobby has gone by the wayside due to matrimony. Is it possible that it’s time you learned to golf or fly fish? Don’t try to beat him, just join him.

Possibly the only thing your husband would enjoy more than playing chess with you is teaching you how to play chess.  Ask for a lesson so he can teach you something that he is an expert at (or really loves). Just your willingness to learn will be a huge boost to your guy.

Pick up a magazine about your guy’s now dormant hobby. Ask him questions about why he loves it so much. Learn a couple of technical terms so that you are better able to discuss it.

Do a little research. Find out what the definitive website is on your husband’s favorite subject. Maybe there’s an event in town, a lecture to attend, or a game to watch.

Share with me: How'd your day 1 homework go? Does anything jump to the forefront of your mind after reading today's task? What are your guys hobbies? 

Good luck and have fun!!! :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Husband Project - Day 1


Today kicks off our husband experiment week!! Everyone ready? :)

We're embarking on Kathi Lipp's 5 day challenge to "love our men on purpose and with a plan". 

Kathi Lipp
You can be as involved as you'd like this week by conducting the "homework" with your husband, or you may choose to simply watch as I try these assignments with my hubby and share my experiences with you each day. 

Either way, the end goal is the same...to be intentional and selfless with how we choose to show our husbands love. 

So here we go. Today's homework is...

Project #1*

30 Minutes is All it Takes

Create Some Free Time When He Gets Home

“There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”
~Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes


Your Project:

Focus on your husbands transitional 30 minutes today. Would he like to be left alone to rest and rejuvenate, or does he want some undivided attention from you? The point is to let your husband know you value what he does out in the world, and that he has a safe loving place to come home and get refreshed at the end of the day.

Getting Creative
There are plenty of reasons why it might not be easy for you to give your husband some transition time at the end of the day. You need to look at what can work for your relationship. Be creative, like the stories listed below. Brainstorm with your friends until you find a situation that will work for you and your guy.

My friend, Joann, purposely scheduled her daughter’s dance classes twice a week at the same hour that her husband gets home from work. That way, her hubby comes home to an empty house. He gets some quiet, and she gets a more peaceful man.

One husband has his workshop out in the garage. His wife encourages him to go and hang out there for a while before dinner. (Since starting this arrangement, her husband has started helping out with the after-dinner clean up. Nice side benefit.)

Crockpots are The Husband Project’s best friend. Set your crockpot to be finished thirty minutes after your husband gets home from work. Let him know that you don’t need anything until dinner is ready. Don’t know a crockpot from a flower pot? Check out the recipes in The Ultimate Guide to Man Food at www.kathilipp.com

Does your husband already have a great transition routine after getting home? Find some other little thing to bless that time. Maybe it’s making sure the TV is available, his favorite sweats are clean and ready to be changed into, or there’s a cold soda waiting for him in the fridge. It may be so small that he doesn’t even notice. That’s okay – you’ll know what you did.

What if your husband works from home? Maybe the best way to help him relax is to ask what he would like the schedule to be. Does he want dinner before or after he gets some time to recharge? Ask him what would make his night better.

Share with me: Do you already have a perfect routine for when your guy comes home in the evenings? Or does Kathi's suggestion give you something new to try? 

Good luck! :) 

**Assignment and excerpt used with permission from www.kathilipp.com 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Husband Project by Kathi Lipp


Next week on my blog we'll be conducting an experiment. A husband experiment. 

I often hear my husband say he could use more love, more attention, more respect, more of me and my time. I doubt he's the only guy out there looking for more! 

Now, the selfish side of me, immediately thinks, "what about me?" or "if he just helped me with this and that, I'd be more than willing and happy to give him "more". 

But that's a different blog post. :) 

Today (well, Monday actually) we are going to fight those selfish tendencies and put our husband's first by utilizing Kathi Lipp's mini Husband Project--five days of loving our men on purpose. 

Monday through Friday I will post one of Kathi's assignments. Those of you that want to participate in this experiment with me, can do the homework too. If you feel like sharing about how the project is working for you, please do so in the comments. (Be careful not to post anything that's too personal or that might embarrass your spouse!) 

Here's Kathi's blurb from her awesome book:

Do you feel like your marriage has gone from "I do" to "What did I do?" Recapture the romance that made you and your husband fall in love in the first place. The Husband Project provides 21 days of fun activities to show love and honor to your husband.  Kathi Lipp will help you discover:

  • Proven ways to return fun and flirting to your marriage.
  • Inner assurance to meet your husband’s unspoken emotional needs.
  • Increased confidence when it comes to meeting your husbands sexual needs.
  • New levels of warmth and tenderness in your relationship.
  • A deeper sense of security with your husband.
  • A greater ability to boost your husband’s belief in himself.

 Kathi Lipp helps women renovate their life with projects for the soul. She is a national speaker and author who inspires thousands each year to take beneficial action steps in their personal, marital, and spiritual lives. Her wit and wisdom will give you new ways to: 
  • Avoid settling for less than God’s loving plan for your life.
  • Develop new levels of warmth and tenderness with your spouse.
  • Return fun and flirting to your marriage.
  • Boost your confidence to follow God-given dreams and goals.
  • Create an environment of encouragement in your friendships

Kathi is the author of The Husband Project: 21 Days to Loving Your Man on Purpose and with a Plan and The Marriage Project: 21 Days to Reigniting Your Relationship (coming Fall, 2009). In addition, her articles have appeared in Today’s Christian Woman, Bay Area Parent, Focus on the Family, Discipleship Journal, and Christian Parenting Today. 

Church leaders and women’s ministry directors rely on Kathi to help women move from living out of obligation to enjoying godly passion. She shares her cheerful humor and biblical insights over 45 times a year at conferences and retreats.

Kathi and her husband, Roger, are parents of four teenagers and live in San Jose, California. They are members of Church on the Hill where Roger is the programming director of the worship arts ministry. 

Renovate your life with a project for your soul! 

******

I hope you'll participate with me! I'm really looking forward to using Kathi's great ideas to put even more fun and romance into my marriage! 

What do you think? Are you up for some homework next week? Does your hubby want more of your time and attention...like mine does? :) 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Online Book Club Begins!

Well, it's officially October! Which means it's also time for my Online Book Club!!

I really just can't even say how excited I am about this! Although anytime there are books and authors involved, I get excited!

Let's get right to it!

I hope you'll all be reading the historical romance, Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz with me this month!

Here's a sentence about the book: Two sisters. One man. When he chooses one, will the other destroy their love?

Does it get any more intriguing than that?? I think not! I can't wait to dive in to this story!

Ready, set, READ! :)

Share with me: Have you read any books by Laura Frantz? I confess that Love's Reckoning will be my first, but I've heard stellar things about Laura's writing and storytelling!! Are you joining me for book club?? I hope so! :) 

***And don't forget about next weeks HUSBAND PROJECT! Another thing I'm really excited to try! Check back this Thursday for the final details!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Changes a Comin'

Change is in the air, and it isn't just because it's Fall.

I'm trying a few new things here at THE REAL DEAL...

Beginning in October, I'll have a new Online Book Club feature on my blog. I'm so giddy to try this! There is just something super cool about reading the same book as women all over the place!

Here's how it'll work:
  • At the beginning of each month, I'll choose a new title to read and post it on my site. I hope many of you decide to read the same book with me! (There might even be some more book giveaways in the future.) 
  • We'll take the month to read and jot down some notes, thoughts, etc. 
  • Then on a specified date (at the end of the same month) I'll post a review of the book and we can have a "discussion" in the comments. (Or if I really get things figured out...via Skype. Is that even possible with a group? Who knows...LOL) 
  • And maybe even some Author participation
  • Easy, peasy! 
  • October's book club selection is Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz. So order yourself a copy or download it on your Kindle...
And finally, I want you all to mark your calendars for the week of October 8-12. Because I'll be hosting Kathi Lipp's 5 Day Husband Project. I'm a big fan of Kathi Lipp and her book, The Husband Project: 21 Days of Loving Your Man on Purpose and with a Plan looks like a great and fun way to surprise our hubby's with some extra special treats and attention. 

So if you're feeling like joining me in this mini-experiment (and I hope you will!) I'll post a homework assignment every day (from the book) and then we'll see if our husband's feel extra loved and appreciated by us at the end of the week. 

Sound fun to you, too? Good! :) I'll post more details on The Husband Project next week!

So what do you think?? Are you in for book club and husband project? I hope so!!! :) 


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Joanne Kraft and Magic!

Joanne Kraft
The other day I saw a post on Facebook from the stunning, charming, and delightfully fun, Joanne Kraft. She is the author of Just Too Busy, Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical, a book that is nearing the top of my TBR (to be read) pile.

I can't say enough about her and how she has personally encouraged and motivated me to stay the course with my writing! I love her to pieces...even though she's betrayed all us Californians and moved across the country! :)

But I digress.

In this particular post, on Facebook, she shared her magic secret for a perfectly Fall-ish, homemade scent. She claims it even covers a multitude of unsavory scents...including teenage boy smell.

I'll give you a hint. It involves cinnamon sticks, cloves, oranges, lemons and a simmering pot of water. Go ahead and check it out! You know you want the recipe for Joanne's World Famous Simmering Potpourri.

That recipe and me have a date for later in the week...or as soon as I get my lazy self to the grocery store to pick up some cloves! :) I can only imagine how awesome it smells!

Share with me: What scent/smell do you love to have wafting around your home this time of year? Do you ever make homemade concoctions? 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

And the Winners Are...

***Thank you all for your patience while Jenny and I chose our winners this morning!!***

Before I announce the winners...(tease, I know!)...I want to let you all know that I have a few fun surprises/new additions coming to my site in the next few weeks. So be looking for those. I'm really excited about what I'm hoping will be a fun and encouraging experiment! :)

I would also really love it if you would post your blog, Twitter, FB...URL's in the comments so I can follow you guys back! I've had a great time this week and want to keep the party going!

Next, I am beyond excited to announce the winner of Friday's prize basket

Debbie Parmer!!! 

After 2 hours of counting up entries and double checking to make sure I didn't forget any "shares" or "tweets"...I finally drew a winner for my GRAND PRIZE BASKET (my collection of favorite things!) 

And the winner is: 

Joanne Bischof!!! 

Congratulations ladies! Please email me your mailing address so I can get your *huge* prizes to you! (lacie0430@comcast.net)


And finally, I'm excited to announce the winners of the writing prizes! Email me to collect your prizes! (lacie0430@comcast.net)

Again, congratulations to ALL our winners! And thank you so much to all our commenters and new friends! We had a blast!!!! :) 


Almost!

Morning All!

I apologize that my results are late this morning! Unexpected delays...

But they WILL be up TODAY! Keep checking! And enjoy your Saturday! :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Can It Really Be Over? - Day 5

***Don't forget to stop by Jenny Hale's site to enter her final giveaway, too!***


(I apologize for my daughter's entry into the last bit of that recording. I have no idea why she was wearing a beanie. Silly girl!) 

Okay, drum roll, please............................



The winner of my Teacup basket is: 

Vera!

The winner of my regular keepsake box prize pack is: 

Hannah Joy!

The winner of my Cookie basket is:

Melody! 

Congratulations to my three winners! Don't forget to email me your mailing address so I can get your prizes to you!! (lacie0430@comcast.net)

Today's final prize pack includes:
  • A keepsake box
  • Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK by Betsy St. Amant
  • A Path Toward Love by Cara Lynn James
  • Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz
  • Ghirardelli Dark and Sea Salt Caramel chocolate
  • Stationary Set
  • Fall scented candle
  • $10 gift card to Amazon


In order to be entered, answer the question I ask in my video! :) 

And don't forget the Grand Prize basket (many of my favorite things!). I will be drawing one lucky winner for that on Friday evening (tonight)! So be sure you enter by either leaving me a comment to today's post, follow me on any of my social media sites, including my blog, OR use the Share button in my sidebar to help me advertise!

***As a bonus entry to my Grand Prize basket, click over to Jenny's site and tell me what person she'd most like to meet. You'll have to hunt for it a bit on her site...Good Luck!!! :) :) 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Possibilities! - Day 4

Grand Prize Basket. Read the previous posts to enter!
In yesterday's vlog, Jenny Hale talked about balance and the many hats we wear as women. She confessed to difficulty with balancing her many tasks as a mom, wife, writer, etc. Her vlog really resonated with me...especially yesterday! I'm in the same boat as Jenny. Only sometimes I feel as if my life preserver is busted.

Yesterday was just such a day for me.

It started brilliantly, as most Wednesdays do since I get to enjoy the weekly company of my women's Bible study group. We're working through Beth Moore's James study and it's inspiring...as all of them are!

But Wednesday's are also the day I work in my kindergarteners class for the afternoon. Which means I literally run from Bible study to school with no time to breathe...let alone grab lunch. Thanks to McD's (which I'm trying to eliminate from my diet) I multi-tasked. :)

Once school gets out, we only have time for a quick snack before jetting my son off to karate. Then home again for dinner and homework. Only yesterday, had to be more complicated. My youngest has a field trip today and my fridge looked pretty bare for lunch packing. Laundry was burying my floor and I couldn't find a window in which to accomplish anything. I was frustrated!

To add to my stress, I work in my son's class all morning today, I was supposed to film a vlog for this post and my son's timed math test is looming. The cherry on top?? My husband and I got in the most ridiculous fight so our treasured Survivor TV watching night appeared spoiled.

I literally wanted to pull out my hair.

When it occurred to me...that I must be doing something right and good. See, I believe that Satan doesn't waste his time messing with people that are already ignoring God. I think those of us that are trying...really trying...to get things right by being the best wife we can be, the most attentive mother we can be, giving our whole effort as if to glorify God in all our tasks...have his full attention. He likes to muddy the water. He likes to make us doubt ourselves and our efforts.

But I refuse to be one of his victims, so I prioritized my to-do list. Gave myself some grace where the vlog and the laundry were concerned. Focused on the homework and enjoyed the evening with my husband.

Praise God for new mornings filled with new possibilities! I know I've come to rely on them greatly! :) 

As part of Thursday's "new possibilities", I'm giving away THREE prizes today! 

 The Teacup basket includes:

  • A decorative teacup
  • A Bride's Portrait by Erica Vetsch
  • Stars in Her Eyes by Erica Vetsch
  • Erica's favorite reading treat: peanut M&M's
  • A $10 gift card to Erica's favorite store: Amazon
  • Three titles by Julie Jarnigan
  • Julie's favorite reading treat: gummy bears
  • A $10 gift card to Julie's favorite store: Target

The daily prize pack includes:
  • A Stripped keepsake box
  • Love Finds you in Mackinac Island by Melanie Dobson
  • Wish You Were Here by Beth Vogt
  • The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen
  • Ghirardelli Milk and Hazelnut chocolate
  • Stationary set
  • Fall scented candle
  • $10 gift card to Starbucks


Photo used with permission by Glorious Treats!
The Cookie Basket includes:
  •  6 beautiful fall cookies by Glory of Glorious Treats!
  • A Bride's Portrait by Erica Vetsch
  • Stars in Her Eyes by Erica  Vetsch
  • An autographed copy of Apollyon by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye
To be entered to win one of these 3 prizes, leave me a comment telling me what YOU struggle with most, how you find balance, or what derails your day the fastest. 


Oh and before I forget...just kidding, I can't forget this part...I get to announce yesterday's winner!!!!! 

Congratulations, to Becky Doughty!!!! You are the winner of my "sunny basket". :) 
(email me your mailing address at lacie0430@comcast.net)
















Wednesday, September 19, 2012

But Wait! There's More!!! Day 3

First of all...I apologize that I don't have a video for you guys today. We had one of those days in the Nezbeth household yesterday, and I just wasn't able to squeeze it in.

However, that doesn't mean that I don't have more treats for everyone!!! But before I get to today's prize pack, let me announce yesterday's winner!

Congratulations, Lori Dilworth!!! 

You are the winner of my "Ooh la la" basket. Send me an email with your mailing address and I'll get your prize in the mail. (lacie0430@comcast.net)

If you don't already know, Jennifer Hale is AWESOME!! And NICE! And she's giving away more books and goodies! Check it out!

Today's basket includes:


  • A sunny keepsake box
  • The Bride Wore Blue by Mona Hodgson
  • Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble
  • Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin
  • Ghirardelli Milk and Caramel Chocolate
  • Stationary set
  • Autumn scented candle
  • $10 gift card to Target


***In order to have your name entered to win today's prize pack, tell me who your favorite Bible character is. Even if you don't know much about the faces in the Bible, don't be scared away! I'm not here to test anyone on their Bible knowledge, I'm merely curious as to who you heard about most growing up, or who left the biggest impression on you.***

My favorite Bible name (apart from Jesus...) has to be Queen Esther. And I'll tell you why! Beth Moore's Esther study is the first Bible study I did as an adult...as someone who thought they already had all the Bible stuff figured out. And I'm here to tell you, that study knocked my socks off. That was the first time I realized that while God's name is never mentioned in the entire book, the book is practically drenched in His fingerprints.

And I like knowing that. That even when I can't see God, even when He feels far away from me, His plans, His workings, His fingerprints are scattered all over my life. 

Grand Prize Basket!
Apart from those sentimental reasons, I just love strong, beautiful, brave women! And it certainly doesn't hurt that Esther got to spend 12 months at a day spa! :) 

Okay, that's enough for today. Don't forget about my giveaway at the end of the week! Today if you leave me a comment answering the above question, you'll not only be entered for today's basket but I'll also enter your name in the final drawing TWICE!!! 

And writers...leave me your blurbs in the comments for a shot at some pretty amazing critiques. Read yesterday's post for more details. 

Have a Wonderful Wednesday...And safe travels to all my ACFW friends! :)