R = Relax {All About Me}

I chose the word relax because it is almost like a foreign language to me.

I haven’t quite grasped the idea.  I mean, I understand the definition of the word.  I just can’t seem to turn off the to-do list that is in my head.  This could be one thing that I will never master.

If you could sit down with my husband and ask him, he’d tell you that I’ve lightened up a little but I still have a hard time relaxing when I know there is so much to be done. 

Here are a few things I do try to do during moments that I can turn my brain off.

1.  Snuggle : I enjoy snuggling with my babies.  Reading to them, playing with them, or teaching them several of the next few of my favorites.

3.  Photograph : I love to head out just for the purpose of taking pictures.  I enjoy walking around and finding something beautiful to capture. 


2.  Read :  I love to read.  It’s relaxing plus I almost always either learn something or am entertained. 

3.  Bake :  My grandma started teaching me how to bake probably when I was three or four years old.  We would make cookies or pies on a weekly basis. 

4.  Play : I love to play Words With Friends.  This is another love that came from my grandma.  We would play scrabble every single time I visited.  She was so smart yet somehow I would win more often than not. 


5.  Exercise : This will sound crazy but I love to work out.  I don’t always have the motivation to get it done but once I’m dressed and ready I’m good!  I’m getting ready to start Insanity for the second time after losing a bit of weight (almost 35lbs. now). 

These are all things I’ll be working on this year.  I need more me time in my life. 

Let’s be honest here.  I am a much better wife and mom when I’ve had a little bit of alone relaxation time. 

What do you like to do to relax? 


Decision To Love by Michelle Sutton {book review}

Many of you know I’m part of the CWA Review Crew. I love to read.  I always have.  My grandparents used to bring me a new book every Saturday which I finished by Saturday night.   I still have the love of reading but the quantity of reading has changed a lot because I can rarely find the time. 

I originally didn’t sign up to read this book.  There weren’t as many reviewers needed for this one.  I already had quite a few books to get through so I thought I’d leave it and come back to it.  A few months later I checked on it and there were still spots open to review it so I jumped right on it.

The author Michelle Sutton had posted a personal note along with her introduction to the book.  She stated that the book is an edgy Christian fiction novel in that it contains some controversial subjects. 

I wondered if some reviewers passed up her book because of the disclaimer.  I read it again and Michelle truly didn’t want anyone to read it that might feel uncomfortable doing so.  This is what made me decide to go ahead and review it.  The fact that she was concerned with the ladies on the crew impressed me.  I’m also not one to shy away from a controversial subject and judge a book because of it.

In fact, part of her statement to us was, ‘People need to love and not reject those who are going the wrong way. You don’t have to condone sin to show love.’  I couldn’t agree more.  I’ve always thought it seemed strange that so many so-called Christians are the first to jump in and start judging.  Of course, I don’t believe these people are really Christians but that is an entire separate post. 

At first, I didn’t understand the need for the disclaimer.  The book didn’t seem to be controversial in the least.  It is a well written story about a few families with struggles and issues just like the rest of us.

Then, the book dove headfirst into a few topics that are definitely controversial and definitely prominent in the world today.  In case you took the disclaimer to mean that you wouldn’t be interested in this book, I ask that you reconsider. 

It is the third in a series but the first two aren’t needed to follow along with this book.  I haven’t read the first two but will probably go back to them. 

Michelle explores topics such as infidelity and homosexuality from the perspective of the personal struggle.  I felt the way she introduced the issue wonderfully and that the details were truly pertinent to the story.  I wasn’t uncomfortable in any way while reading the book.

I’ve never walked a path similar to those in the book so I would never have had a clue what a struggle like this could look like.  Michelle did a fabulous job with this book.  As I was reading, I truly felt for these characters.  If any of these characters were members of my family, friends, or my children I would definitely want to be someone they could turn to in their hour of need.  I couldn’t wait to find out how the situations eventually turned out. 

I believe this book helped solidify for me that I can indeed love without condoning a behavior I may not agree with.  I’ve always felt this way.  Someone else’s choice is their walk, not mine.  I can love them, pray for them, and be there for them without changing my entire belief system.  

Great decision on Michelle’s part to explore such edgy subjects and a great resource for someone struggling with such a predicament.


Love is a decision, or is it merely an emotion?

Eight years after Tony and Hope’s affair ended, new problems arise. Jimmy has gone off to college, but returns home with a startling revelation that devastates his father and causes his final heart attack. Now Hope is grieving the loss of both her husband and their son. She tries to make sense of everything, and in the end she decides to love her son through the grief. More than that, she makes the decision to love whoever her son chooses to love, whether she agrees with his choices or not.

Tony’s life has its own disaster tearing through it. First, he is accused of killing his ex-wife, but he is soon released once the authorities realize he had nothing to do with it. The tragedy with his ex led to some major changes in his life, however, and some soul-searching that ultimately turns Tony’s life around. While he is still adjusting to his new perspective on life, his long-lost daughter Nina contacts him and has some secrets of her own. He is overjoyed to be reunited with his daughter, but with their relationship comes an entirely new set of challenges. 

Jimmy is confused about his faith, his life, and ultimately, whom he should love. After some severe trials knock him off what he thought was the right course for his life, he makes the decision to love himself enough not to be used by someone again. But will his decision protect him in the end?

About the author:

Michelle Sutton is a social worker (and now supervisor) who has been writing romantic fiction with an inspirational message for over nine years. Southeastern Arizona is where Michelle calls home. She loves being surrounded by mountains and fresh air, which inspires many of her novels. She and her husband are approaching twenty-two years of marriage and their two sons will begin their third year of college in August. She is the author of well over a dozen novels in print and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, as well as an avid book reviewer and blogger on a variety of sites. She founded Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers social networking site which has nearly 1200 members. Crafting new stories and reading/reviewing great books is her idea of a fun time.

Learn more about Michelle at:

Michelle’s website:

Michelle on Facebook:

Michelle’s Facebook Fan Page:

Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers social media network:  http:/

Youtube book video trailer:

Purchasing links:

Decision to Love is available for purchase online at  Amazon, CBD, Barnes and Noble or directly from her page.


Creating A Tech Sabbath Habit by Bryan Brooks {book review}

Has there ever been a moment in your life when you felt overwhelmed?  Short on time?  Too busy to think straight?  Me too!  Most of my days can feel like this:  two little ones, work, blog, laundry, cleaning, dinner, check email, and so on, and so on.

Have you ever made a list of what you do in a day?  There are so many activities that eat up our time.  What are your time wasters?   

Today I’m bringing you an amazing resource to help us remember to live our best life.  Bryan Brooks has written a book about how to handle the technology in our lives. 

I’ll admit that I’m using technology more now than ever. I began this blog almost six months ago and am still just getting started.  I’m getting used to the groove of blogging.  Working on promoting, bringing new content, making new friends, and learning the how to does eat up a lot of time. 

This book came to me at a great time because reading it provided me with a guideline for technology use. Just before I started reading this book I started to feel overwhelmed with the amount of work it takes to keep a blog going.  A blog, which is not a paid position, but something that I enjoy. 

Bryan breaks down and tells us about how technology almost destroyed him.  Lack of sleep, no down time, and missing precious time with family were only a few of the issues that his technology use caused.    There are more and more technological items available to us now.  Even my oldest can use my Kindle, phone, and computer better than I can.  I strive to not allow too much technology in the boys lives.  I’ll start by being an example while using this book as my guide. 

I want you to know that I know Bryan personally through one of my old jobs.  He was my customer and I’m being completely honest when I say that he was my favorite customer!  He’s one of the most upbeat, friendly, and Godly men I know.  I can tell you that I would never have guessed any of this about him.  It’s true that what we hear, what we think we know, or what we see on social media might not be an accurate depiction of another person’s life.  I still almost can’t believe that it was him going through this war with technology.

One of the main things I loved about this book were the use of biblical references.  I love learning what the bible says about certain situations.  I also loved the tips he provided that can help us realize we may have an addiction to technology.  I will be honest, reading through that list of what to watch for, I pictured a few people I know.  A few of those things I’ve already started working on myself to prevent going down the same path. 

Bryan’s 52 week Tech Sabbath Habit plan is nothing short of amazing.  It walks us through week by week with a daily log of how much time we spent on technology.   It provides a chart to keep track of our technology use as well as great activities to do instead.  There are also encouraging thoughts for each week.  His encouraging thought from week 11 is one that I have written in my planner.  “The dreams of your future have no room for the devastations of your past.” 

Now that this review is complete, I’m planning to begin on my own journey of monitoring my technology use. 


About the author:

Bryan S. Brooks
blogger. technology coach. author
Technology guru, dunkin donuts coffee lover, jazz music fan and small business owner, yep that’s Bryan. Bryan was born and raised in Northern CA. He is married to the most beautiful woman in the world, Karyn Brooks and is a Father of two amazing kids Shawn and Danielle Brooks.
Bryan runs two blogs, and, where he discusses the risks of technology overload, the importance of taking a break from it regularly and teaches people how to create great technology habits. He has a deep passion to see every person that uses technology, live nothing less than an extraordinary lifestyle with it.
He continues to build his blog contribution partnerships with top-notch websites such as, Church Tech Today (, Church Leaders ( and Faith Village ( 
Besides Bryan’s blogs, he is also a published book author. His first book “Creating a Tech Sabbath Habit” was released in July 2011. In this book, he shares his own personal technology lifestyle transformation and takes you on a remarkable life changing, technology-transforming journey.
Bryan is currently the Director of Technology at his local church (The Father’s House. in Northern CA).
To connect with Bryan:
email: [email protected]
Bryan Brooks on facebook,
Additional resources: - Main site
Publisher book listing book listing - Website review

Bryan has generously offered to provide a book to one of you!  Enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win! 
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The Car Thief by Theodore Weesner {book review}

About a month ago I randomly answered a tweet from another blogger about the prospect of a book review.  I love to read.  I have enjoyed reading since I started.  Every Saturday my grandparents would bring me a new book which I would finish that evening by bed time.

I slowly backed off on reading once I could drive, had friends and started working.  Making the time to read for pleasure seemed impossible in college.  I stared at the tweet and immediately thought I’d love to review a book because it would get me back into reading mode.

Well it did.  Little did I know that I would enjoy the book as much as I did!

It’s easy to relate with the main character Alex.  How many of us can relate to doing something we probably shouldn’t with no clear reason why we did it?  I was taken on a roller coaster of emotions as Alex evades police but then gets captured.   I was nervous, scared for him yet sad because he so needed a hug!

The book is beautifully written with language that’s easy to read yet draws you right in.  It was difficult to put down because I was drawn in chapter to chapter with a need to know what happened next.  Being sucked into the relationship struggles of a father and son quickly takes you back to your teenage years.  It will definitely keep you on your toes.   What teenage boy hasn’t been in a bit of trouble, fallen for a girl and experienced a strained relationship with his parents?

If you enjoy getting caught up in a book, escaping your own reality and falling in love with new characters this book is for you! 

It does have some language in it so I’d recommend it for adult reading.  Use your own judgment when recommending to younger ones.    Order your copy here!!


Described as “one of the best coming of age novels of the Twentieth Century,” Theodore Weesner’s modern American classic, The Car Thief is poised for a new generation to discover.

Once talked about as an undiscovered American classic, The Car Thief is now re-launched—by upstart “Digital First” publisher Astor + Blue Editions—in a beautifully-designed electronic book format (to be followed by its print edition) in order to finally reach the audience that the book and author so richly deserve.  (ISBN: 978-1-938231-01-8, Ebook, April 24, 2012).

It’s 1959.  Sixteen year-old Alex Housman has just stolen his fourteenth car and frankly doesn’t know why.  His divorced, working class father grinds out the night shift at the local Chevy Plant in Detroit, kept afloat by the flask in his glove compartment and the open bottles in his Flint, Michigan home.

Abandoned and alone, father and son struggle to express a deep love for each other, even as Alex fills his day juggling cheap thrills and a crushing depression. He cruises and steals, running from, and to, the police, compelled by reasons he frustratingly can’t put into words.  And then there’s Irene Shaeffer, the pretty girl in school whose admiration Alex needs like a drug in order to get by.  Broke and fighting to survive, Alex and his father face the realities of estrangement, incarceration, and even violence as their lives hurtle toward the climactic episode that a New York Times reviewer called “one of the most profoundly powerful in American fiction.”

In this rich, beautifully crafted story, Weesner accomplishes a rare feat:  He’s written a transcendent piece of literature in deceptively plain language, painting a gripping portrait of a father and a son, otherwise invisible among the mundane, everyday details of life in blue collar America.  A true and enduring American classic.

About the author

Theodore Weesner, born in Flint, Michigan, is aptly described as a “Writers’ Writer” by the larger literary community.  His short works have been published in the New Yorker, Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, Atlantic Monthly and Best American Short Stories.  His novels, including The True Detective, Winning the City and Harbor Light, have been published to great critical acclaim in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper’s, The Boston Globe, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, Boston Magazine and The Los Angeles Times to name a few.

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Weesner is currently writing his memoir, two new novels, and an adaptation of his widely praised novel—retitled Winning the City Redux—also to be published by Astor + Blue Editions.  He lives and works in Portsmouth, NH.
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