Declare Conference Haul

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Declare Conference in Dallas, TX. Declare is a conference for Christian communicators and I learned so much! The conference was both challenging for my blogging life and for my spiritual life and I came away very encouraged. I also came away with a ton of loot, haha! Some of the things I brought home were given to me and some were things I purchased with my own money. I also have a couple of giveaways at the end of this post, so keep reading to find out how you can be eligible to enter!

Simply Bliss Boutique

I love this t-shirt! Simply Bliss Boutique had some of the cutest clothes and they are based in Texas. If you are in need of some items for fall, go check out their site!

Save the Storks

Save the Storks is one of the most amazing ministries I have ever heard of. The ministry was founded on love and continues to minister to any women. Save the Storks has several buses, nationwide, that reach out to women who are facing unplanned pregnancies, providing them with an ultrasound of their baby, and loving them through their next steps and decisions.

Embrace Grace

Embrace Grace is also another amazing ministry available to women who are experiencing unplanned pregnancies. “The primary goal of Embrace Grace is to empower churches across the nation to be a safe and non-judging place for the girls to run to when they find out they are pregnant, instead of the last place they are welcomed because of shame and guilt.” –Embrace Grace Website. I love this t-shirt for the simple design and the reminder that women can still be made whole in Christ–even in the midst of a very difficult situation.

Books

Deeper Waters: Immersed in the Life-Changing Truth of God’s Word by Denise Hughes. This book can be found here.

Submerged by Dani Pettrey. This book is part one of a novel series and it looks like it might be a fun read. I didn’t realize the titles of both of these books next to each other until after I took the photo–but the placement made me chuckle.

Make Your Mark: A 40-Day Devotional by Gateway Women. I love devotionals for specific challenges and I think this book will be a good one for me to read.

Thirty One Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and the Doer by Jenn Sprinkle and Kelly Rucker. I really like to read books about prayer because that is something that I’m always eager to improve. I like that this devotional is a challenge for a month and I’m excited to read this one too.

Cards by Andrea Howey and Co.

How adorable are these greeting cards!? Having cute cards on hand to send to someone for a special occasion or just because is something that I really like to do–and it makes me want to write more of them! If you would like to purchase some of these cards, visit Andrea’s website or check out her Instagram handle @andrearhowey.

Desert Creek Honey

The theme this year at Declare was “Sweet as Honey” and I thought it was really cute that we were also given honey bears. I can’t wait to use this honey during the colder/tea months. I also like that this honey is a local product of Texas–if you would like some, visit Desert Creek Honey’s website.

***Giveaway Items***

Oola Find Balance in an Unbalanced World by Dave Braun and Troy Amdahl. This book can be found here. I think we can all learn something about balancing life–can’t wait to read this!

Walk it Out: The Radical Result of Living God’s Word One Step at a Time by Tricia Goyer. Tricia is going to be one of the key speakers at Declare next year and she has written over 70 books–wow!! This book can also be found here.

Now the fun part…

I have an extra copy of these two books (Oola and Walk it Out) and I would love to give one to you! I am only shipping to the United States at this time, so if you would like one of these– leave a comment in the Contact section of my blog and include your name, email address, mailing address, and which book you would like to receive. Your comment will be made private so your information will not be public online. I will let you know if you were the first to comment on each book and if you won the giveaway!

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My Current Book List

Hi there! If you’ve been following this blog for a little while then you’ll know that I love to read. It’s one of my favorite ways to escape, learn, and entertain–without having to be on an electronic device. Whenever I read, I must have an actual, physical book in my hands–otherwise it’s just not the same. I’ve shared before some other posts on books I’ve read and/or wanted to read and I’m doing the same thing today. I have a little bit of everything this time and so if you are looking for something to read, maybe one of these will be interesting to you.

The Summer Before the War: A Novel by Helen Simonson

This book was recommended to me by one of my Facebook friends and I’m looking forward to reading it. I’ve read a lot of reviews that this book is similar to Downton Abbey–which I love!

Is It Just Me? By Miranda Hart

Miranda Hart’s sitcom, Miranda, is one of those shows that I pull up on YouTube when I need a good laugh and it’s become a classic to me. I was so excited when I found this book written by Miranda and the style is a lot like how she communicates on the show. Miranda is hilarious and shares real life, awkward experiences and how to survive the sometimes awkwardness of adulthood. That sounds like a book that’s perfect for me….

Alive in Him by Gloria Furman

I have been reading through this book with a couple of friends and it has been really powerful so far. This book is written about the book of Ephesians and it’s helping me to see that in a whole different light. I’m looking forward to continuing to read it with friends and learn together. P.S. if you have friends who like to read or have the opportunity to be a part of a book club–I would highly recommend that you become part of one. I have been in a book club for the past 3 years and it’s been such a blessing to my life.

Practical Theology for Women by Wendy Alsup

A few weeks ago, I was talking with the same friends about how there never seems to be any Christian theology books written by women. For whatever reason it seems that men are more interested in theology and women take almost a more passive approach to it. If you’re a woman and that statement does not describe you at all–please don’t take offense, it was just an observation I’ve had on my part. However, I found this book on Amazon and wanted to read it to see if it was the book my friends and I had been looking for.

The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom by Melissa Hartwig

I have completed Whole30 two times now and think it has been life-changing for me. I bought the official Whole30 book to keep learning more about it, how different foods can effect your body, and learn new recipes to cook. If you want to know more about Whole30, read my recap posts hereherehere, and here.

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July Favorites

Welcome to my July Favorites post! I’m a little shocked that August is next week–time is just flying by, I tell you! I don’t have that many different favorites this month, compared to some other months, but I have a handful of things that I’ve been using consistently this month. Enjoy!

Suits TV Show

I have had Suits on my watch list on Amazon for so long but I’m just not settling in to watch it. Suits is about a college drop-out named Mike who is very law school savvy. So much so that he gets hired by a well-known lawyer and the two must keep the “con” between themselves because Mike is needed at that specific firm. I’m almost through Season 1 and I’m really liking it so far. This show kind of reminds me of White Collar, which is another show I recommend.

Egyptian Magic Cream

I have had this product for a few months now but I have been using it a lot this month. I think I bought this 4 months ago and you can see how much I’ve used. The texture is almost like Vaseline and a little bit goes a long way. Egyptian Magic Cream is made primarily of bees-wax and it can be used for a number of things. I use it primarily for a night-time moisturizer, because it is so thick, but I have been using it more this month to heal a really bad sunburn that I got a few weeks ago.

Jesus Without Borders: What Planes, Trains, & Rickshaws Taught Me About Jesus
by Chad Gibbs

The traveler in me really likes this book because it is a compilation of stories from the author’s travels around the world. Chad Gibbs connects each different culture with how they practice religion and Christianity and it’s so cool to read about the global church from the travel perspective.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day In-Shower Styler

This is a Birchbox sample that I received over the last couple of months and I had a chance to use it recently. This product is really nice and easy to use because you apply it in the shower, after conditioner, and then lightly rinse it out of your hair. Once out of the shower, towel-dry your hair and the product helps to give you textured waves all day. I used this on a recent trip, where it was just too hot to spend a lot of time on my hair, and it did give me that texture and wave to my very fine and straight hair.

Beautaniq Beauty Blush Serum in the shade Sunrise 

I haven’t been using that many powder makeup items this month because, once you get hot and sweaty, the finish can tend to look a little patchy. This blush serum has been a great alternative and it can be applied with your fingertips or with a beauty sponge. You don’t need a lot at all because the color is very pigmented.

DearTravelerShop on Etsy

I am the most excited about this favorite! If you haven’t heard of Dear Traveler on Etsy, please click the link about and check out the store. How cute are these greeting cards?? This shop is the creative child of one of my dear friends, Maggie, and she has designed and hand-painted each original design. Dear Traveler is based in the UK but ships to the US, and much quicker than I was expecting. I can’t wait to send someone one of these cards and to be a regular customer. Please click on over and place your own order!

I actually have an UN-favorite thing this month and that is the book The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. I talked about this book in my Summer Reading List but my idea of what the book would be was completely different from what it actually was. I imagined the book to be an innocent, coming-of-age book about navigating social classes. However, this book was filled with violence, rape, families being separated, murder, infant death, etc. I’m sure that, in some aspects, this book is an accurate, historical portrayal of what life on a plantation was like for a black slave under the “ownership” of a white free man, but I didn’t enjoy reading about it. I kept reading the book in hopes that it would get better, but it ended worse than it started. I was disappointed with this book only because it was recommended so highly by multiple Christian women/bloggers who said it was an incredible book. It was pretty, incredibly sad and gruesome and I definitely won’t be reading the sequel, Glory Over Everything. If you are sensitive to graphic and violent content, I wouldn’t recommend that you read this book.

What are some of your favorite (or un-favorite) things this month?

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Summer Reading List

One of the greatest things about being out of school is having time to read again for pleasure. Even though it’s been a few years since I’ve been out of school, I still get excited when I have a new book to read–because it means that I can just go ahead and read it! I have a few books that I want to get through this summer and wanted to share them with you as well. If you have any summer reading plans, I’d love to know about those too! I’m only making the goal of reading a few instead of several, and then maybe I’ll actually be able to get through them.

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Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick

It is so easy, sometimes, for me to get lost in my own thoughts, fears, the thoughts and opinions of others, and end up forgetting Whose voice I really need to be hearing and relying on. I’ve read really good reviews about this book and I’m excited to read it.

Until We Meet Again by Michael Korenblit and Kathleen Janger

Next month I am going to Washington DC again and will have some time to visit the Holocaust Museum, which I have always wanted to see. I found this book at a local used book store and wanted to read it in preparation for going. I know that this book, or the visit to the museum for that matter, will not be lighthearted but I am always fascinated by stories of the survival and resiliency of others who have lived before us.

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

I also found this book at the same used book store and I have been wanting to read this for months because I have heard it recommended by so many people. This book is about a young Irish orphan girl who is taken to work at a plantation in Virginia, raised to work and live as family with black slaves, and then her struggle to know her true place in society as she grows older. I’m really looking forward to reading this book!

Happy summer reading!

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My Winter Reading List

A few days ago, I finished the small stack of partially read books that I had piled up. Now I’m ready to start reading some new books on my other stack of unread books. It’s a vicious cycle, my friends. I thought that instead of having several for a Winter Reading List, like I did in my Fall Reading List, I would just have a goal to finish 4. Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you thought about them!

Just Mercy

My sister recommended this book to me and I can’t wait to read it. This book is about a young lawyer, Bryan, and his stories of defending the needy, wrongly condemned, and those who seem beyond the reach of the criminal justice system. Having a background in social work, this book really appeals to me.

She Reads Truth: Holding Tight to Permanent in a World That’s Passing Away

I am SO excited to read this book! I’ve been reading and following She Reads Truth online for a really long time and I was so happy to hear that a book was being published by the women who started SRT. All of the studies and devotionals online have been amazing and have blessed my life in so many ways, so I can’t wait to dive in to this book.

Steadfast Love: The Response of God to the Cries of Our Hearts

Matt and Lauren Chandler are some of my favorite speakers to listen to on various podcasts. This book is about worshiping the Lord with all our heart, in any season or situation because we have His steadfast love! I read the first little bit in the beginning and I know it’s going to be a wonderful book.

How to Survive a Shipwreck: Help Is on the Way and Love is Already Here

This book kind of goes hand-in-hand with Steadfast Love because it’s focused on the love of God. When times are tough and turbulent, we still have His love and goodness and He makes us resilient.

I’ll let you know how I like these books once I have finished them. What are you planning on reading this winter?

Love from, Amy.