Thursday, August 3, 2017

What I Read: June + July

My reading slowed down a lot these last couple months. Linc man was out of school and free time was a lot less, and I just can't justify spending a lot of time reading while he's home. I've also been watching Hart of Dixie and when I'm tired after work, I'd rather just watch that instead of read. 

With Lincoln going back to school next week I'll be reading a lot more in the pick up line. But for now, here's what I read this Summer. I didn't read a lot, but what I did read gave me some new favorites!

Truly Madly Guilty - Liane Moriarty 

I read one of her books a couple months ago and loved it so I tried this one. Here's the thing.. I waited and waited and waited for some exciting turn and just never got there. I ended up reading to page 200, and then didn't finish the book. So not one I would recommend. 

Confess - Colleen Hoover

Easily one of my new favorite books and new favorite authors. Sadly, our library doesn't have many of her books, so I'll have to buy some (husband, did you read that?? I think I need a monthly book allowance). The main character desperately needs to land a job, so she walks into an art studio and is immediately hired. She falls for the owner of the studio, but finds out he has a lot in his past he isn't telling her. What comes next is perfectly put together, and extremely captivating. 

The Woman in Cabin 10 - Ruth Ware

Laura Blalock goes on a cruise, stepping in for her boss at the magazine she works for. One night she is sure she hears a body being thrown overboard, and the rest of the story is a thrill of her trying to find out who was thrown over. She finds out there are a lot of secrets on this boat, and the ending I did not see coming.

This book is SO good. The plot is all over the place, but in a good way. I couldn't guess what was coming and I read it fast because I just couldn't put it down. A must read for sure.

The Life We Bury - Allen Eskens

College student Joe Talbert has to do a project for his English class. He decides to do an interview on Carl, a resident at a nursing home, who happens to be a convicted murderer. Joe believes Carl is innocent, and he sets out to prove it. 

This book is another book that I would absolutely recommend (and is on my list to buy for home). 

The Giver - Lois Lowry

I've read this book several times, with the first being in elementary school. I'm not sure what lead me to read it again, but I loved it just as much this time as the last. Jonas is given an assignment as 'Receiver of Memory' and it changes everything about what he believes in his community. An easy read, and if you haven't read it you should.

So that's what I read this Summer. I'm currently working on Jodi Picoult's "Second Glance" and I have Ruth Ware's "In a Dark, Dark Wood" on hold at the library so those will be next month! 

What are you reading right now?

Monday, July 3, 2017

Lessons in the Waiting

I've debated on writing about this for a while. I know some people might not understand why I write about things so personal, but for me it's therapy. I started writing back when I was pregnant with Lincoln, to document his life, but also as a stress reliever. Sharing my story of teenage pregnancy and single motherhood did immensely more than I bargained for. Not only was it therapeutic for me, I've watched as it has affected others. So when I started going back and forth on whether to write about this, I realized, maybe this will help someone along the way. Maybe my story will encourage someone else. And if that's the case, then it's definitely worth it for me. 

I'm well aware that some people may think this is too personal to write about. If so, I'm sorry, and feel free not to read any further. But because this is such a personal topic, I have cleared this post with my husband, and so I'm going to speak about it.

I watched my sister go through infertility. I watched as she shelled out massive amounts of money, cried a lot of tears, went through pain, and visited doctors countless times. There's a beautiful blue-eyed princess I get to love on now, and I think my sister would agree.. she was worth it all. 

I just didn't think I'd find myself in the same position a few years later.

Linc man was a surprise. At 18 I wasn't expecting to have a baby. Thank God for that sweet miracle surprise. He's everything I didn't know I needed. But I always expected I'd get married and have another one. Until I got married and didn't, and found myself in a strange doctor's office a year and a half later.

Long story short, we've seen a reproductive medicine doctor. They've put me on a no caffeine, no sugar, low carb, high fat diet. I've found out that the best mood swings come from a lack of bread and coffee. At this stage in the process we need to start testing. But before we start that we have to come up with a pretty hefty sum. Some states require insurance to pay for at least some part of fertility testing/treatment. Our state isn't one of them. #thanksFlorida

I've seen how infertility can affect people. And although I have been up close and personal to someone dealing with it, it's significantly harder than I imagined. It's overwhelming in a way I don't think words can quite describe, physically, emotionally, financially. I go from hopeful to hopeless, from having daydreams of a baby, to trying to convince myself I don't want one. We have good days, and bad days, and through it all I'm so thankful for a husband and a family that is so supportive.

Because of the fact that our insurance doesn't pay for anything, we're at a standstill for testing. We can't move forward, and it's frustrating to not have answers. It's a waiting game, and at this point we don't know when we'll start.

As I was at work a few days ago thinking about how I just wanted to move forward with testing so I could feel like we were doing something, anything, I was reminded of other times in my life I was sick of waiting, and nervous about the outcome.

I was reminded of being 18 and not knowing how I was going to financially take care of a child of my own. But that baby boy changed my life in a million different beautiful ways, and God provided for us daily. I remembered failing classes in nursing school and feeling like I would never graduate. But then somehow I moved forward and walked that stage, and then added RN to the end of my name. I remembered praying so hard for a man to come into our lives, and feeling like it would never happen for us. But then in God's sweetest timing He brought the perfect addition to our family, and gave us a man that exceeded all my expectations for a husband and a dad. 

So as I was reminded of how scary the unknown can be, I was also reminded of the way that God got me through it. Some of the endings didn't come as soon as I'd hoped, but they did come. They came in different ways than I expected, and some brought a lot of heartache in the meantime, but God was faithful as usual. He carried us in weakness, and provided for us always. I have watched as God's love for me has carried me through some of the hardest seasons of my life, and I know He won't stop now.

So I don't see the end in this situation. I don't know if God will ever give us that baby we so desperately want. I know that God can, but I don't know that God will. And that is a hard truth to swallow. But this I do know.. God is good. God is faithful. And if we are a family of three forever, then I will love these two boys with all my heart for the rest of my days. And in the joy, sorrow, and waiting.. I'll remember that God is good and always faithful.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What I Read: April/May

I love, love, love reading. And  I really love reading other people's book recommendations. I'm always looking for a good book so I thought I would share my own! I read A LOT of books these past couple months. I always take a book in the car line to pick up Linc man, and that's where I do the majority of my reading. This group of books did not disappoint.

(You'll see that once I read one Jodi Picoult book I read a bunch. Just a suggestion: You should too.)

I Let You Go - Clare McIntosh

This book was so good, and so heartbreaking. It's about a mother who loses her son in a tragic car accident and starts over.  It probably did not help that I read this the day before Lincoln's sixth birthday. So many twists and turns that I didn't see what was coming. Definitely a good read!

Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult

I'm calling this one of my top ten books I've ever read. When I got done I raved about it forever to Michael. It's about a labor and delivery nurse who has been told she can't take care of a baby/his family because of the color of her skin. The baby tragically dies and she gets tried for murder. What unfolds is brilliant. She develops the characters beautifully and the book makes you really think. PS. Read the Author's Note, it's amazing too.

Storm Front - Richard Castle

A bunch of murders with signature details means that Derrick Storm's enemy is back. The CIA calls on him to help solve the case. Along the way he meets a woman he's not sure isn't an enemy. It was just okay. 

Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult

This book was so heartbreaking, and so so good. Definitely a favorite of mine by Picoult. It's about a boy who is bullied his whole life and then carries out a school shooting. This one will make you want to cry - for the boy, for the girl, for his parents, and for the town. Definitely read this one!

The Last Mile - David Baldacci 

Melvin Mars is a convicted felon awainting his execution when someone else confesses to the crime, and he's let go.  Because of some similarities in his own life, Amos Decker takes over the case, trying to find out why someone would commit to the crime, when it doesn't seem like they actually did it. An agent gets abducted, and they continue to try to find answers. Such a good book! Go read it!

Leaving Time - Jodi Picoult

This book is about a girl who lost her mother very early on in her life. Her search for truth leads her to some very interesting characters, and some even more interesting answers. I can't say much without giving the rest away, but go read it. Maybe not one of my favorite Picoult books, but still good.

Big Little Lies - Liane Moriarty

This books follows three women who come into contact with each other because of their kids starting Kindergarten. A lot more characters develop as a result. At a school function someone is murdered, and the whole book leads up to what happened. Such a good book! 

Salem Falls -Jodi Picoult

This book isn't one of my favorite Jodi Picoult books, but it is still good. It's about a man who went to jail for sexual assault, and has just gotten out. He's left with nothing and wants to start completely over. It comes to light in his new town that he is a registered sex offender and everything goes downhill from there. It's a quick book and easy read.

So there's what I read these last two months! I expect the Summer to be slower because there's a lot less alone time (which I don't mind!), but I'm already starting on my June list! What are your recommendations??

Thursday, May 4, 2017

My Boys

Today I'm sharing one of my favorite groups of pictures from our wedding - pictures of my boys! 

From the moment Lincoln and "Mikehodges" met, they've been inseparable. I remember being so nervous that day, and it was like after five minutes, they acted like they'd known each other their whole lives.  

Two years later and they've even more smitten now. Not only was my marriage to Michael a huge answer to prayer, I also got to watch that day as God answered one of my biggest prayers yet - a man who would love Lincoln as his own.

Hands down, one of my favorite pictures of our wedding day.

In addition to his vows to me, Michael also wrote vows for Lincoln. The next series of pictures is him saying his vows to Linc man. He also gave Lincoln a necklace to keep. It was the most thoughtful part of that day and I've been told there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

I prayed for this relationship between my son and a man for a long time. In every aspect, God exceeded my best dreams. I'm so thankful for these two and the love that they share - even if that means I get beat up a little beat in wrestle fight.

Other wedding posts:

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Never-Ending Stomach Bug

I had Thursday - Tuesday off work (allllll the praise hands) and Linc man was sick the whole time, meaning a LOT of unexpected family time for us! 

Even though he's been sick (sad face), he hasn't acted sick at all which is awesome. He doesn't seem to feel bad until he actually throws up so I'll call that a win. 

So basically we've spent SIX family days laying around, staying in our pajamas until noon (or 5 pm), and enjoying our backyard.

It was the sweetest, and most needed, six family days we've had in quite a while, and I'm so thankful for that time together.

Thursday morning started off like this at 5 am. I surely didn't mind the extra snuggles. 

There was lots of playing with the dogs and even more puppy snuggles. 

Hey Brinx. The 90s called. They want their crimped hair back.

Then Lincoln learned how to ride his bike, so we bought him legos. And a pool. Because we're suckers and we live in Florida. #survivalinsticts

It was the sweetest family time with the sweetest boy. 

"Mommy, it's supposed to say Linc loves Mommy, but I did it backwards." Melt. My. Heart.

This big almost six year old has his first loose tooth! So I had to get one last picture with all his teeth. 

I also got my new favorite picture! Look at that sweet face!

We played wrestle fight with light sabers..

And wore this poor kid out..

Despite the sickness, it was the best six days off I've had in a long time. Full of family and laughter.. my very favorite things!