Review: Love That Boy

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Tyler and I inch toward the Green Room, in line with blow-dried TV anchors and stuffy columnists. He’s practicing his handshake and hello: “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. President. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. President. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. President.” When the couple in front of us steps forward for their picture, my teenager with sky-blue eyes and a soft heart looks up at me and says, “I hope I don’t let you down, Dad.”

What kind of father raises a son to worry about embarrassing his dad? I want to tell Tyler not to worry, that he’d never let me down. That there’s nothing wrong with being different. That I actually am proud of what makes him special. But we are next in line to meet the president of the United States in a room filled with fellow strivers, and all I can think about is the real possibility that Tyler might embarrass himself. Or, God forbid, me.

LOVE THAT BOY is a uniquely personal story about the causes and costs of outsized parental expectations. What we want for our children—popularity, normalcy, achievement, genius—and what they truly need—grit, empathy, character—are explored by National Journal’s Ron Fournier, who weaves his extraordinary journey to acceptance around the latest research on childhood development and stories of other loving-but-struggling parents.


Love That Boy is more than just a father’s journey of learning who his son is and accepting him, it’s also a look into the raw struggles of well-meaning (sometimes) parents. Ron Fournier’s background in journalism is prevalent throughout the book which makes for a quick read. The first half is filled with unrealistic parental expectations and its opposing research. I shook my head at many of the interviews and had to check my heart to make sure I wasn’t doing those same things.

If “accelerated” has become the new normal, there’s no choice but to diagnose the kids developing at a normal rate with a disorder. Instead of leveling the playing field for kids who really do suffer from a deficit, we’re ratcheting up the level of competition with performance-enhancing drugs. We’re juicing our kids for school. We’re also ensuring that down the road, when faced with other challenges that high school, college, and adult life are sure to bring, our children will use the coping skills we’ve taught them. They’ll reach for a pill.

The author is both transparent and painfully vulnerable at times and his courage to write his truth is admirable. I most enjoyed getting a view a life from a child living with Asperger’s. Tyler is quite the character with a fascinating mind. I hope to read something authored by him in the future.

Parenting is filled with complexities and I think this book does a good job at addressing many of them. I recommend this book to any parent, there is something for all of us to learn.

People who focus on living with a sense of purpose are more likely to remain healthy and intellectually sound and even to live longer than people who focus on achieving feelings of “happiness” via pleasure.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.





Motherhood on Purpose


“Passing on the gift of inspiration to our children is partly a matter of vision, which helps them understand that God wants to use them in this world to spread his kingdom… The vision defines the purposes of God, but compassion defines the heart of the vision.”


“We are given one chance to live on earth, and the true measure of our success will be our faith, our faithfulness, and our obedience.”


“When it comes to protecting and preparing our children for all that will happen in their lives, the gift of a disciplined mind is one that truly keeps on giving.”


“It is natural to be selfish or self absorbed. Everybody is naturally like that. It is supernatural to see the needs and desire of others and seek their best through your actions.”


“As we launch our children into life from the sanctuary of our homes, the intangible gifts of God will go with them and help equip them for his service. In this, the ministry of motherhood will find its completion.”

Quoted from The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson


Review: Find Your Brave

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Have you ever found yourself in over your head, wondering how you would possibly get through with your faith and sanity intact?

It can happen any time. Life seems good and then—BOOM!—out of nowhere comes a storm that threatens to drown your hopes. Your storm might be a job loss, loneliness, a crumbling relationship, financial ruin, a serious illness, or the death of a loved one. Whatever it is, as the winds howl and the waves rage, you have a choice: will you cower in fear or will you rise to the challenge?

Cancer survivor Holly Wagner has endured her share of storms. In Find Your Brave she examines the dramatic shipwreck faced by the apostle Paul in Acts 27. There she uncovers profound truths that will guide you safely through life’s most difficult moments.

Through solid biblical teaching and relatable personal stories, Holly offers an uplifting, friendly voice in the midst of the gale-force winds and overpowering critical voices. She shows you how to anchor your trust in the God who remains faithful in every storm and in whose strength you can Find Your Brave.

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I recently found myself in a situation where I unintentionally hurt someone close to me. What I thought was truth was actually a lie and I became so swept up and blinded by it that I said things I shouldn’t have. I made a mess and I knew I had to do my part to make it right. I took responsibility, I apologized, and I learned (the hard way) a huge lesson.

It is easy to have hope when we are on the mountaintop. But the truth is, every mountain has a valley. And I have learned that fruit does not grow on the mountaintops—fruit grows in the valleys.

While the relationship was bandaged, I had a huge gaping wound. I wanted to run, detach from everyone, and not be in relationship with anyone. I didn’t know how to pick myself up because I was embarrassed by how deceived I had been. I separated myself for 2 weeks, maybe 3 and I had a pity party. What a great time that was…

As I was scrolling through and thinking of what I’d like to review next, Find Your Brave by Holly Wagner appeared. I have Rising Strong by Brené Brown on my to read list but Holly’s book stuck out to me because she follows the shipwreck that Paul encountered in Acts. I knew in order for my heart to be healed I needed more than an encouraging word, I needed biblical insight.

It is only in navigating the challenges and the trials that we are made complete.

This book was such a comfort. The writing is authentic and friendly with a mix of tough love. Not only does she delve into an array of issues that can come our way but she also addresses the ones we make ourselves. Holly describes the different anchors we need to drop when we find ourselves in the midst of a raging storm-what will keep us grounded when we think it can’t possibly get any better. I highly recommend this book to anyone who’s just going through it and can’t seem to find ground anywhere. If you feel alone or want to be alone in dealing with your issues then pick this one up. You will find guidance, hope, courage, and the strength to get up and finish the race that’s been set before you.

She does not wilt; she does not complain; she does not blame. She finds her brave and she rises. She actually grows stronger in the midst of dark times when it seems as if the whole world is trembling. God is looking for a company of women who will find their brave and rise in the midst of any and every challenge—and then be a force for good to help others find their brave.



I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.

Be Blessed,


Review: The Little Paris Bookshop

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Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people’s lives.

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A literary apothecary, a book pharmacist and the romantic setting of Paris had me putting aside current readings to set sail on a completely new adventure. I’ve never traveled to France so my initial thought was to visit the country in the most economical way possible, via hardcover. I immediately felt the culture shock of the setting and found it difficult to connect with. I read words, locations, and expressions that I had no prior knowledge of but pressed through to learn what exactly a literary pharmacist looked like.

The heartbroken protagonist, Jean Perdu, spends his time aboard his book barge guiding customers in selecting books depending on their current situation in life. He knows which books will bring comfort and which ones will do more harm than good. I thought this was a brilliant concept that could’ve been elaborated on in the story (there’s an apothecary reference guide in the back of the book that eased this disappointment).

“Reading – an endless journey; a long, indeed never-ending journey that made one more temperate as well as more loving and kind.”

Jean’s journey south is where the book picked up for me. The adventure brought many smiles, laughs, and ultimately tears. The final journal entry from his first love’s traveling journal left mascara under my eyes and a sadness in my heart. The book is warm, full of discreet romance and oozes deep love. The kind of love that marks you and changes your entire life. I recommend this read to anyone who needs a getaway without leaving the comfort of their bed and/or longs for all the feelings that love entails.

“And women are the smart ones, because they didn’t oppose feelings and thinking, and loved without limits – yes, he knew that in his gut.”


I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review

Be Blessed,


Essential Oil Blends for Children

As I was browsing my Instagram feed last week I came across a post by The Drip Drop Shop that featured a newly released “Bee Well” Kids Collection. There are not many things that make me feel as though life will not go on without them but this was one of those situations. With my daughter’s enthusiasm and a pre-order discount, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.

As soon as I had my hands on the kit I went to brainstorming what I’d put in them. Alaina eagerly observed as I dropped essential oils into her water colored bug bottles and she couldn’t wait until I finished them to start applying. Between the two of us we had a serious aroma going throughout the house. Now she has her own personal blends to use throughout the day and we’re both happy about that!

I couldn’t keep this good stuff all to myself so I decided to share with my oily sisters! Check out The Drip Drop Shop on Instagram and enjoy these blends I put together that are perfectly suited for your little one.


Bee Well • Immune Support
{Apply to bottom of feet every night}
12 drops of Thieves EO
Fill with carrier oil

Bee Clear • Airway Support
{Apply to chest area as needed}
3 drops of Ravintsara
3 drops of Pine EO
3 drops of Lavender EO
3 drops of Eucalyptus Blue EO
3 drops of Northern Light Black Spruce EO
Fill with carrier oil

Bee Settled • Digestive Support
{Apply to stomach area as needed}
6 drops of DiGize EO
6 drops of Tangerine EO
Fill with carrier oil

Bee Cool • Body Support
Alaina’s “Perfume”
{Apply to neck, chest, and wrist daily}
3 drops of Frankincense EO
3 drops of Clove EO
3 drops of Patchouli EO
3 drops of Melaleuca Alternifolia EO
Fill with carrier oil

Bee Sweet • Mood Support
{Apply over heart and wrist as needed}
7 drops of Joy EO
7 drops of Orange EO
Fill with carrier oil

Bee Still • Rest Support
{Apply to neck, wrist, and bottom of feet every night}
7 drops of Peace & Calming EO
7 drops of Stress Away EO
Fill with carrier oil

Click here for essential oils


“Bee Well” Kids Collection by The Drip Drop Shop 6 rollers with blank recipe cards put neatly together in a metal tin.


DIY: Natural Facial Moisturizer

I’m always looking for different ways to incorporate essential oils into our lifestyle. Recently I failed miserably, it was so bad. I had researched different shampoo and conditioner recipes and read the results from each until I reached the dreadful computer screen coma.

That point where you just need to get outside and go for a walk, to breathe in something other than A/C and to see something other than pixels.

I decided to try a coconut milk based shampoo and a conditioner that incorporated coconut oil and shea butter. It was a mess, a complete disaster. I then tried the no shampoo method where you mix water with baking soda and apply to the scalp. You don’t follow with a traditional “conditioner” but instead a rinse of apple cider vinegar and water. It was better but not what I could imagine using on a daily basis. So I threw caution to the wind and dyed my hair silver. I purchased color protective shampoo for myself and Young Living lavender shampoo for my family.

Everyone and their hair is satisfied.

After the shampoo and conditioner failure (before the silver hair) I dusted my knees off and went onto the next oily quest: facial moisturizer

I’m happy to report that it was a success!

My skin feels moisturized, looks clearer, and has a smoother appearance when I wear makeup. I apply it to my face, neck, and chest area after showering/bathing at night and in the morning before I apply my makeup. While I plan to keep the base of the recipe the same, I can already see myself playing around with the essential oil blend each time I make a new batch.


Below is the recipe for the current blend I’m using that has nourished my skin on a whole new level.

Unrefined Shea Butter – Rich in vitamins A, E and fatty acids. Reduces skin irritations, evens out skin tone and wrinkles, and is non-comedogenic so it can be used on sensitive or acne-prone skin

Grapeseed Oil – Contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to treat acne, tighten skin, and relieve dark under eye circles.

Abundance – An essential oil blend by Young Living containing: Orange, Frankincense, Patchouli, Clove, Ginger, Myrrh, Cinnamon Bark, and Spruce.

Melrose – An essential oil blend by Young Living containing: Melaleuca, Melaleuca Quinquenervia, Rosemary Cineol, and Clove.

½ C. Shea Butter
2 T. Grapeseed Oil
20 drops YL Abundance EO
7 drops YL Lavender EO
7 drops YL Melrose EO

• Melt shea butter in a sauce pan over medium heat
• Add in grapeseed oil and stir
• Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and place in freezer to cool for about 10 minutes
• Add in essential oils and lightly whip with an electric mixer until smooth
Spoon into a 4 oz mason jar with lid or your preferred glass container
Apply a dime size amount to face after cleansing or when needed.

Be Blessed