Finding the Balance

Lately I have been thinking about the balance in life, not work and home life, but more social media and what we expose ourselves to while participating in that. I won’t lie, I love social media. I love posting and participating and watching all the things, but it can really drag us down if we are not careful. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert on anything pertaining to social media or the affects it has on people, but I am observant and have watched its affects on myself and others. There are a few things I have noticed about myself that might help some of you as well, especially if you have been struggling with finding that balance. None of these are particularly groundbreaking, but if you’re like me you might that just seeing that someone else struggles too will be more helpful for you!

Comparison Game

I can’t tell you how much this happens to me. I am ALWAYS comparing my feed to other feeds, my videos to other’s videos, my books, clothes and house to other’s items. This is SUCH a dangerous game to play. This is a hard one to reign in too, as you can get so caught up in what other people have or how other people appear.

So what, how do I reign this in? This one is quite simple – I put my phone down. Anytime I find myself comparing anything about myself and what I have to someone else I put my phone down immediately. This seems simple but it’s hard. You want to keep scrolling and thinking and critically examining yourself compared to others, but you just can’t. Put the phone down and pick up a book or bake something or go for a walk! Enjoy your life and don’t try to compare it to others. You have no idea if that’s who the person you are comparing to even is!


I surely can’t be the only one that suffers from a Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)? This is something that probably has the strongest hold on me with social media and something that causes me to purchase things and books I probably don’t need and will never use. I will see someone post a piece of clothing or a book and I will immediately want it, for fear that I would miss out on having that ite,

How do I combat this? This one’s a bit trickier as I am still working through ways to do that… I have a lot of self control items I have to work on with this. It is far too easy to jump on Amazon and purchase whatever I am missing out on, so to start with I deleted Amazon from my phone. I found that by removing the ease of purchasing items greatly helps for me. Another thing I do to help, is I think about what I already have. Even though I might be afraid of missing out on something, I have so many other “things” that I don’t need to add this new “thing” to the mix. This is something that I know not everyone struggles with, but for me it’s a serious catch with especially Instagram.

Loss of Time

This is one of those things that might play into your home or even work life. Do you find yourself scrolling and scrolling endlessly, no matter the app or site, only to look at the time and see that hours have passed? I will never forget the first time I looked at TikTok and I checked the clock and almost 2 hours had passed. Needless to say, I no longer have TikTok.

So how do we monitor our time and not waste it. Well, I think everyone kind of has their own way of dealing with this, but I actually use an App to help with this. What I use is a simple app called “Forest” that literally grows “trees” while you work, or read or spend time with your family. If you go on your phone to anything but this app (besides phone and text I believe) your forest stops growing and you fail. I am quite competitive and I feel bad if the forest dies, so this is VERY successful for me! If this is something that would help you I highly recommend checking it out, otherwise things like timers, or giving your phone to a family member can be just as successful for you!

Again, none of these are groundbreaking items, but they are things I struggle with when it comes to social media. It’s important for us to find that balance and not let social media take over who we are. That’s my 2 cents and I will leave it at that!


New Release Fall Fun

I don’t know why but Fall always feels like a time for new and amazing releases! Is it because Christmas is around the corner or do publishers know that Fall time is the cozy time? Either way I will not question it and accept all the amazing releases!

Two fall releases, coming out next week on Tuesday, September 6th, are these lovelies from Waterbrook & Multnomah (a division of Penguin Random House). I was so excited to be sent early copies of both of these items because 1.) I ADORE historical fiction and 2.) coloring is amazing and calming and everyone should be doing it!

First up, Still My Forever. This book (with it’s beautiful cover) is available NEXT week so get those pre-orders in now! I am in the process of reading this lovely book right now and it does not disappoint! Not only does it involve music (violin), but it’s historical fiction! What more could you want? Here is the preorder link: PREORDER

Here is a quick summary from Goodreads of the book:

Four years after leaving town to make a name for himself as a composer, Gilbert Baty has returned temporarily to Falke, Kansas. Now, he’s trying to keep everyone from learning the truth about his disastrous years in New York City. He hopes to start writing music again in Falke, but he can’t help being distracted by Ava Flaming, the brown-eyed baker to whom he was briefly engaged before he ended things–and who still stirs feelings in him he knows he has no right to pursue.

Ava had thought she was past the loss of Gil Baty. But to her dismay, she’s as drawn to him as ever. The situation only gets worse when Gil establishes a youth band in Falke, showing once more what a good man he is.

But when the band has a chance to compete in a statewide competition, Ava faces the prospect of heartbreak again. Could music take Gil away forever this time? Or might God be stirring in Ava’s and Gil’s hearts a new song that will draw them together for good?

The other item, the coloring book, I am so excited for its release into the world! This is actually something I looked through for this review and then promptly gifted to my mom because I KNOW how much she loves coloring. One of her favorite items is her Bible that has coloring in it, so I knew these Bible verse and nature images would be absolutely perfect for her! I was right because they can with her to our devotions at the beach this past week! These images are also perforated so they can be taken out and put in place and used for inspiration and encouragement throughout your day!

This amazing coloring book would be perfect for a teacher as the school year begins, or maybe you pick it up for yourself and enjoy the peace of coloring and reading God’s word! The coloring book also comes out NEXT week and can be preordered here: PREORDER

If you want to know more about either of these let me know because I would love to share with you all!


Making a Difference while Journaling

I can’t be the only one out there who watches the news or get’s a notification on their phone and thinks, “how am I supposed to make a difference in this world?” Not only as a human do I struggle with this question but also as a Christian. I am only one person, how can I serve others and make a difference everyday?

While I don’t claim to know the answer to this in any way, I do know that praying, journaling and utilizing my planner have helped me to stay on top of these worries and questions. When I reflect back to God and I take time to plan things out, this question of “how can I make a difference” seems so much less daunting.

I was fortunate enough to be gifted a review copy of Be the Difference from Ink and Willow. This LOVELY planner is set up in a very journal like way and I think it serves its purpose very well! This planner is set up with various prompts and spots for you to reflect on your own progress. A few key sections of it that I adore are:

  • A place to share things/topics I find interesting and I am passionate about.
  • Monthly reflections on your progress.
  • Things you want to advocate for/take action for.
  • A read/watch/listen list by month (more for fun!).

Those are just a few of the items I am LOVING about this planner. I cannot wait to start it at the beginning of August and give it a go for myself. I will be sure to share updates here on how it’s going for me, and how it helps me view the question “how am I supposed to make a difference in this world?”

This lovely planner is out in the world August 9th, so preorder your copy today! It would make a great back to school gift for a high school or college student as well!


Bible Verses and Home Conversations

I grew up homeschooled with my 4 siblings. We were fortunate enough to have an amazing mom with a degree in education that worked tirelessly for our schooling. We learned it all from her, from Kindergarten through 8th grade. A incredibly big part of our education was faith based. Being a Christian family it was important to my mom that we receive a Christian education as well. Each day we would have time set aside to watch her create felt Bible stories, or read us a story or even teach us some Hebrew. It was an education full of verses and memorizing as well! One “tool” my mom would use was a simple whiteboard and marker, adding the verses and having us go over them as a group. There are still MANY verses I can recite by memory thanks to her!

Recently I had a representative from Ink & Willow reach out to me about possibly checking out a new product for them. This product is a set of “Bible Conversation Cards” that I received in the mail today! I was overjoyed to get these not just because I was interested in reviewing them, but also because I can see the true value in memorizing verses.

The first thing that caught my eye with these cards, is that they are brightly colored. This is from the box to the cards themselves. It makes it not just pleasing to the eye, but also divides the cards up into categories based on colors. As a visual learning this is something that I find not just appealing but truly helpful when learning.

In addition to the cards being divided up by color they are also divided by category. There are 5 categories total:

  • God
  • Jesus
  • Holy Spirit
  • Me
  • Growth

Each of these categories falls into those parameters, with a verse that corresponds. The amazing thing is that on the back of the card it breaks down the verse and the thoughts/ideas behind it. They ask questions of the memorizing; questions that help a kiddo to reflect and think on what they are learning.

This set of cards is not just beneficial to a kiddo, but how amazing would this be for a parent, grandparent or even sibling to sit down with a younger child and go through these. They could be something you pull one out each night or week at the dinner table to discuss or even a way to wind down before bed.

As a past homeschool student, I could also see these being incredibly helpful to supplement any Christian faith based curriculum. These would add not just the memorization that is key, but also discussion within the “class” setting for the student! No need to go in order either, the parent could pick and choose verses and categories based on their curriculum. What a great way to get kids involved in their faith at a young age!

I know my siblings and I would have LOVED these and most likely would have started some competition to see who could memorize the most!

These will be available August 9th, and what a perfect way to start the school year right! Be sure to check them out and pre-order some today!!


To Binge or Not to Bing

First off, I know I don’t have to say it, but sorry for the sparse posting lately! My sister recently got married so the last few weeks have been wedding crunch time with my family. I should be back to my normal daily posting schedule this coming week!

Okay – I have been thinking a lot about binging lately. Not your typical Netflix/Streaming Service Show binge, but instead a book binge! How many of us binge book series? How many of us wait for the whole series to come out before we read it? I have been going through the pros and cons of this in my head the last few weeks as I have been binging a few Star Wars book series and I think I have come to a conclusion and it’s not how I used to feel. I LOVE BINGING BOOK SERIES. There, I said it!

I did take some time to work out some pros/cons and I figured I would share them here if you are on the fence about binging a book series. I should say – this is not something I have really done until recently. I was all about reading one book at a time as they came out. Either way we are always waiting for that last book to come out so why not enjoy them all at once? Okay – moving on…. pros/cons of waiting for a series and binging it!


  • You don’t have to wait for books to come out!
  • You can decide right away if you want to buy the whole series or not…
  • Box sets or discounts on buying all the books in a series!
  • Not having to wait to find out what happens to your favorite characters.
  • Getting to stay in that world and not learn a new one (or relearn after waiting…).


  • Feeling like you have to finish them all before starting a new book.
  • Can be costly to buy them all at once instead of 1 at a time.

Honestly, I had a hard time coming up with Cons as I have been binging SO many series lately (mostly Star Wars) and it has been so beneficial and amazing!

Share your thoughts below… do you binge book series? Do you read as they come out? I would love to know!


What Star Wars Does Right. . .

Okay, hear me out whether you are a Star Wars fan or not, the Star Wars novels are works of art. Why, you might ask? Let me tell you, there are MANY reasons they are works of art and in many ways far superior to the movies and shows (with the exception of The Clone Wars – which is a work of art in and of itself).

First off, they do an incredible job of hiring some of not just the best Sci-fi but the best writers in general. The list of people who have written a Star Wars novel is long but it is prestigious as well! To give the names of a few, E.K. Johnston, Timothy Zahn and Chuck Wendig. These amazing authors take the amazing world that George Lucas started with Star Wars and have made it so much more. The way they write Star Wars brings everything to life, but fills in the gaps of things that might be bothering that Star Wars enthusiast wanting to know more!

The thing that really makes these books stand out though, is their audio versions. There are SO many things they do well with their audiobooks and I can’t begin to explain them, but I am going to try! The narrators are some of the best around. Something that makes these audiobooks so fantastic are the various voices done by the narrators. Each character has their own voice and this is something I rarely hear except in the Star Wars audiobooks. In addition to that, each audiobook has sound effects and music that constantly play in the background. This adds to the atmosphere of the audiobook in such a positive way and I can’t help but recommend reading them!

I can’t say this enough, whether you are a Star Wars fan or not, these books are a must. The writing is superb and the audiobooks are fantastic. If you are looking for something new or maybe to revisit some of your favorite characters this summer, these books are a must!

Be sure to check out Wookiepedia and the books listed below, you can’t go wrong!



Audiobooks are Books Too!

This blog post is going to turn into a mini rant, so I apologize in advance…I am going to touch on something that I think some of us still struggle with – AUDIOBOOKS! I am dyslexic and one of my favorite past times is listening to audiobooks, as reading a physical book can take me quite a while. I also appreciate audiobooks because I am able to consume so many more books during my driving time to and from work.

I have see so many people comment on social media or other avenues about how audiobooks are NOT the same thing as reading a physical book, and I am here to say that is just not true! When you pick up and audiobook not only are you supporting that author and their book, but you are also supporting narrators and making books accessible for all people.

When I say all people I am thinking of people like myself that struggle with dyslexia and have a hard time reading a physical book or even people unable to read a physical book. Audiobooks open the door for a whole new audience. My Dad, while he hates reading, loves audiobooks because it is like he is being dropped in the story without having to pick up the book himself.

Are you curious about the other benefits of reading an audiobook? Check it out in this article and go pick up a new audiobook today! https://www.chirpbooks.com/audiobook-lists-and-spotlights/are-audiobooks-good-for-the-brain

A few of my favorite audiobooks:

  • ANYTHING Star Wars (There are always sound effects!)
  • The Hobbit
  • The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Under the Whispering Door
  • How to Think Like A Fish


Fishing for a Good Book?

I have always loved fishing and I adore watching River Monsters, These Dark Waters and literally anything with Jeremy Wade fishing in it. I grew up on and around water, so anything dealing with swimming, boating or fishing is a literal part of my DNA.

This past winter I had been dealing with some anxiety and missing the sun and summer, so I turned back to fishing and came back to Jeremy Wade’s shows. Instantly I was hooked! I love the process of interviewing the people (as cheesy and staged as it is) and how he goes about fishing after that. It was intriguing to me and I found myself pulled further and further into the fishing. Eventually I discovered Jeremy Wade’s first book, How to Think Like a Fish.

This book was absolutely fascinating and not only went into various aspects of fishing, but it also gives the reader a better look into Jeremy Wade’s life! Here is the summary from Goodreads:

In his bestselling first book, Jeremy Wade, the star of the hit TV series River Monsters, memorably recounted his adventures on six continents in pursuit of fish of staggering proportions and terrifying demeanor. Now the greatest angling explorer of his generation (Independent on Sunday) returns to delight readers with a book of an entirely different sort, the book he was always destined to write–the distillation of a life spent fishing. Thoughtful and funny, brimming with wisdom and above all, adventure, these are pitch-perfect reflections that anyone who has ever fished will identify with, for ultimately it touches on what fishing teaches us all about life.

Again, as someone who loves fishing, I took the information from this book and applied it to my own fishing. My incredible husband (who also loves to fish) took me out so I could try my new found skills! I was pleasantly surprised to find that the skills learned in the book translated to me catching fish (OR I was just lucky…but I think it was the book)! I genuinely hope Jeremy writes more books and also narrates those because that made the audiobook the absolute best experience!

If you have any kind of interest in fishing I highly recommend checking this book out. Otherwise, give the show a watch, you won’t regret it!


An Ancestral Home

Recently I attended an in person book event for the launch of the book Downton Shabby by author Hopwood Depree. I happened upon the event through social media (Facebook) and signed up immediately. As someone who loves history and all things England this sounded incredibly interesting. Upon signing up for the event I discovered that not only was the author from my hometown but he also attended my same high school years before!

I went ahead and pre-ordered the book from Amazon a few weeks prior to the event. I was so excited when it actually showed up on my front porch the day it came out (and the day before the event)! The book is beautiful and I adore the pictures that not only follow the restoration of the Hopwood Hall, but also cover the history of the family there.

Here is a quick summary of the book from Goodreads:

Hollywood producer Hopwood DePree had been told as a boy that an ancestor–who he was named for–had left his family’s English castle in the 1700s to come to America. One night after some wine and a visit to Ancestry.com, Hopwood discovered a photograph of a magnificent English estate with a familiar name: Hopwood Hall, a 60-room, 600-year-old grand manor on 5,000 acres. And with that, Hopwood DePree’s life took an almost fairytale turn.

Hopwood Hall, in northwest England, was indeed his family’s ancestral home. It had been occupied continuously by the Hopwood family for five centuries until the last remaining male heirs were killed in World War I. Since then, the Hall had fallen gradually into disrepair and was close to collapse. When Hopwood visited, he discovered trees growing in the chimneys, holes in the roof, and water sluicing down walls. It would take many millions to save the Hall–millions that Hopwood certainly didn’t have–but despite the fact that he lived in Los Angeles and had no construction skills, Hopwood DePree came to a conclusion: He would save Hopwood Hall.

Downton Shabby–the name Hopwood coined for the glorious ruin–traces Hopwood DePree’s adventures as he gives up his life in Hollywood and moves permanently to England to save Hopwood Hall from ruin. But the task is far too big for one person, of course. Hopwood discovers that the Hall comes with an unforgettable cast of new neighbors he can call on for help–from the electrician whose mum had fond memories of working at the Hall to gruff caretaker Bob, and the local aristocrats who (sort of) come to accept Hopwood as one of their own. Together, as they navigate the trials and triumphs of trying to save an actual castle, Hopwood finds himself ever further from the security of his old life, but comes to realize that, actually, he’s never been closer to home.

I am over half way through the audiobook currently and I feel so invested in the story and the restoration of this castle! I started watching the videos on You-Tube and have started considering becoming a part of the Patreon for the castle restoration. I can’t recommend checking it out enough!

Here are a few links if you are interested in learning more or becoming involved in the restoration of the castle:


A Sweet Swap Part #2

Well, it’s the first official day of the book swap I am participating in and I received Loveless by Alice Oseman as my first book to read through and annotate.

Now, I do not know A LOT about this book but I do know that Alice Oseman’s books (Heartstopper) have taken off via their series the past few months. For those of you that don’t know, here is a quick summary of the book via Goodreads:

It was all sinking in. I’d never had a crush on anyone. No boys, no girls, not a single person I had ever met. What did that mean?

Georgia has never been in love, never kissed anyone, never even had a crush – but as a fanfic-obsessed romantic she’s sure she’ll find her person one day.

As she starts university with her best friends, Pip and Jason, in a whole new town far from home, Georgia’s ready to find romance, and with her outgoing roommate on her side and a place in the Shakespeare Society, her ‘teenage dream’ is in sight.

But when her romance plan wreaks havoc amongst her friends, Georgia ends up in her own comedy of errors, and she starts to question why love seems so easy for other people but not for her. With new terms thrown at her – asexual, aromantic – Georgia is more uncertain about her feelings than ever.

Is she destined to remain loveless? Or has she been looking for the wrong thing all along?

For this swap I will be swapping books 2 more times going forward through September. There are 4 people in my group total and throughout the following months we will be swap books, round robin style, and annotating each other’s books! I am so excited to read what is written in my book and even more excited to meet my group mates at the end of all this at a “mixer” that is being held for all of the groups. This is an event that I am very interested in being involved in and I look forward to seeing how it plays out as this is possibly something I would like to host myself!