Wednesday, April 25, 2018

{ The man he never was by James L. Rubart - TLC Book Tour }

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (February 20, 2018)

What if You Woke up One Morning and the Darkest Parts of Yourself Were Gone?

Toren Daniels vanished eight months back, and his wife and kids have moved on—with more than a little relief. Toren was a good man but carried a raging temper that often exploded without warning. So when he shows up on their doorstep out of the blue, they’re shocked to see him alive. But more shocked to see he’s changed. Radically.

His anger is gone. He’s oddly patient. Kind. Fun. The man he always wanted to be. Toren has no clue where he’s been but knows he’s been utterly transformed. He focuses on three things: Finding out where he’s been. Finding out how it happened. And winning back his family.

But then shards of his old self start to rise from deep inside—like the man kicked out of the NFL for his fury—and Toren must face the supreme battle of his life.

In this fresh take on the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, James L. Rubart explores the war between the good and evil within each of us—and one man’s only chance to overcome the greatest divide of the soul.

“Rubart will leave readers inspired . . .” —Publishers Weekly STARRED review for The Long Journey to Jake Palmer
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Purchase Links

Amazon | iBooks | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble



About James L. Rubart

James L. Rubart is a professional marketer, speaker, and writer. He serves on the board of the Northwest Christian Writers Association and lives with his wife and sons in the Pacific Northwest.

Connect with James

Website | Facebook | Twitter

My Thoughts:

 What a brilliant, edge of your seat, story this was.

From the very first page I was hooked and really wanted to know what had happened to the main character.  He wakes up in a hotel room without any recollection of how he got there, because the last thing he remembers was going out for a run.

He tries to make sense of his surroundings and the circumstances that led him to that room, but as he starts looking around and making calls, he realizes that he is deeply inserted into a mystery.  For one, it's been 8 months since anyone has heard from him.

He left behind a wife and children and a whole life that he has disappeared from, and now he makes the decision to immerse himself back into that life.  He just doesn't know how he will be accepted back, how his family and friends will react, and even worse, HOW he came to disappear for so long.

The author does a great job of keeping the suspense going, every time you think you know what happened, he pulls that rug right out from under your feet, and you're left confused again.  I LOVE it.

Watching it all unfold, feeling like I'm right there with Toren as he maneuvers around his new found life, was quite fascinating.  He was a man with a horrible anger, and with that he ruined many relationships and continuously broke the trust of the woman he loves.

How is he going to waltz back into her life after all these months, and show her that he's a changed man?  Because that is exactly what he is, no longer angry, no longer impulsive and he's actually a fun, kind and loving man, something he never thought he would be.

If you're into mystery, suspense novels, this one needs to shoot right up to the top of your list. 


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

{ Living a beautiful, simple, God loving life }

I've stepped back from social media, and I've thrown myself fully into my homemaking, baking and cooking, crocheting and sewing, photography and just plain living, away from the chaotic going ons of life outside my home.

It's become too noisy and I don't enjoy being on social media anymore.  I rarely post anything of substance, maybe a crochet pic of something I'm working on, or a little sweet post about my family, but even those are few and far between.


I was sat on the couch yesterday thinking about how I'll go days and days without even logging onto Facebook or Instagram, and about a year ago, I would have been on every day.  It was like an addiction that I found myself constantly drawn to.

It's funny when you outgrow things, isn't it?


Those same things that seemed to be all you cared or thought about, now become just a fleeting memory that doesn't even make it to your daily barrage of thoughts.  I would say I made this change and shift on my own, but I would be lying.  I think God has been nudging me, ever so gently in this direction, for many years, and my soul was finally ready to listen and obey. 


Guess what I got out of it?  Pure and utter joy!!!



My camera has been set up near the back patio door, and I've indulged in countless sightings of nature's beauty, in the form of green grass shooting up after months of cold and icy conditions, trees brimming with new green shoots and the birds sweeping into the yard looking for food.

My hummingbirds are back, and I am actually in the process of making them some more feed.  I don't believe in buying if you don't need to, and hummingbird food is so easy to make.


This weekend I took up another old favorite past time of mine.

When I was young, I was obsessed with puzzles and I could spend countless hours, sitting in front of one.  Some took far too long to complete, there was always that elusive piece that would disappear mid puzzle completion, and no matter how hard you looked, you couldn't find it.

Others, I just dove right in and within a few hours, had it done.


For about a month or two now, I've been missing making puzzles and really wanting to get back into it.  While out this weekend, birthday shopping for Jasmine, I decided to pick one up.

I swear I was like a kid getting a full bag of candy and being told to go home and enjoy every piece.

Sunday afternoon, I pulled it out, set up my card table in the corner of the living room (out of the way), and dumped the pieces on the table.  It was like a rush of emotions sweeping over me, it's quite funny how something so simple as a puzzle, can bring about such strong feelings of joy.

I had my housework done, I helped Curt in the yard a bit, did some laundry, made us lunch and then sat down with a cup of coffee and worked on my puzzle.

It took me 4 hours (with breaks, obviously), to complete it.  I think it's one of the fastest puzzles I've ever made, but I enjoyed it so much that I'm already planning on getting a few more.  I'm hoping to get all in this collection, so that I can hang them up.  I've given this one a couple coats of mod podge and now I'm waiting to find a frame so that I can hang it up.  :)


I've also picked up my crochet hook again.  I hadn't crocheted in a few weeks, wasn't really feeling it, but I did have my eye on a new Helen Shrimpton pattern coming out, or rather, a crochet along, and I do so love her work so much, that I knew it was the perfect opportunity to get back into crocheting.


I think she just released the second Part earlier this morning, and I'm still working through the first Part, but I love it. Know what else I realized?

That even in crochet, I'm a creature of habit, and I tend to have specific colors for specific crochet creators.  For Helen's patterns, I tend to stick with the same color combo.  This new one, called the Cosmic CAL, is reminding me a lot of my Mandala Madness.  Ooohhh I can't wait to continue working on it and see it coming to life :)


My kitchen has also become my safe haven again.  I've always loved being in there, so much so, that last weekend when I was gone to San Diego, Marley kept looking for me in the kitchen.  How funny is that?

But I've been digging into my cookbooks, baking and cooking and enjoying feeding my family.  For so long it felt like a chore.  I can't believe how far removed from my life I was becoming, not enjoying being a homemaker, not really enjoying cooking and always trying to get out of it in some way or another.  It's sad when I think back on it.

Anyway, I am back at it, above I actually have some Amish Friendship Bread started, I got it going this morning and will have to feed it and take care of it for the next 10 days.  I'm trying brown sugar instead of white sugar, after seeing a few people making it that way online.  Fingers crossed I like the result.


Also pulled out my Pampered Chef Apple Peeler and Corer which I had completely forgotten about.  It came very handy yesterday when I had a ton of apples to peel, core and slice so that I could make use of them before they went bad.


I wasn't quite sure what to make at first, I did consider an apple pie, but decided to go with an apple butter instead to which I also added bananas that were over ripe.  It was the first time I added banana, but my word, it is so tasty that I think I'll add it from now on. 

Everything we make in our homes is made with such love, our families appreciate it even if they don't always tell us.  I'm blessed in that both my husband and children often tell me how much they love what I make and do for them.  Certainly makes the mundane daily tasks seem worth it, don't it?

Monday, April 23, 2018

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 04/23/2018 }

Good morning friends, happy Monday :)

So glad to be back on my normal schedule and routine.  I do apologize again for not having this post up last week Monday, but I was traveling back from San Diego, and I didn't have my laptop with me.

I'm back today though, so let's get right into our HHM :) 

Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::
I've just had a cup of coffee with Vanilla Creamer, and once this post is up, I'll make some toast with cottage cheese.  

On this week's to do list::::
Monday - Vacuum, carpet clean, give my puzzle another coat of mod podge to seal
Tuesday - Sew new patchwork place mats and dish drying mat
Wednesday - Jasmine's birthday, out with family
Thursday - Clean back yard patio and pull out table and chairs
Friday - Laundry, clean out closet and organize

Currently reading::::
Between Earth and Sky by Amanda Skenandore 

On the TV this week::::
Been catching up on a new Portuguese Soap.
Vlogs - Homemaking, Amish, Homesteading

The weather outside is::::
Beautiful morning, blue skies, and a high of 77 today.  Looks like we'll be in the upper 70's all week long, except for Wednesday where we'll dip back down to 59.  Sick of this unpredictable weather, really. 

On the menu this week::::
Monday - Chicken Curry
Tuesday - Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes, Potato Wedges
Wednesday - Out to dinner for Jasmine's Birthday 
Thursday - Beef and Broccoli, Rice
Friday -  Homemade Pizza  
Saturday - Husband's Delight
Sunday - Veggie Burgers, Fries

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::
Work on the new crochet blanket.  I know, I know, I can't help myself and I don't have anything else going right now.    

What I'm sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating::::
A few years ago I used some pretty fabric to make some patchwork placemats.  Since then they've been washed so many times, that they've become quite ratty.  I have some fabric sitting around that is perfect for Spring and Summer, so will be making more this week. 

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::
Will be making some Baked Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Cheese.  I'll share the recipe when I make it :) 

Favorite photo from the camera::::
These sea lions were so cute.  

Bible Verse, Devotional::::
Love this inspirational quote.  It's so important that we learn to tune out the craziness of life around us, and turn towards the ONLY One who truly cares about us. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

{ San Diego Trip }

San Diego

What a wonderful weekend I had!!!

I didn't mention it last week because it was a surprise, and my niece sometimes reads the blog.

Her husband decided to throw her a surprise baby shower, and my sister in law and I, flew to San Diego on Friday night.  Well, I say flew on Friday night, but you have no idea the crazy day we had, everything that could go wrong did, but we pushed through and laughed it all off.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

{ Happy Homemaker Tuesday }

Hi everyone, I am so sorry there was no Happy Homemaker Monday yesterday, but I was actually flying back from San Diego and could not get the post up.  I apologize for that.

I decided to go ahead and get the post up today, feel free to add your link down below, and if you don't get to it this week, then just join back in next week, not a problem :)

Friday, April 13, 2018

{ When it becomes the norm }


I want to start this post by letting you all know that I got my mammogram results, and everything is normal.  Praise the Lord!!!

Your prayers and thoughts always help, so thank you so much for that :)

I know that some may find this whole thing silly in a way, but I've had issues since the age of 18, ultrasounds, call backs, more exams and imaging, fibrocystic breasts, pains and lumps and all sorts of things.

When that happens, a yearly breast exam done by my doctor, or my mammograms the past 3 years, become quite stressful and anxiety inducing.  For me. Not everyone is the same, and I'm hoping that as the years go by, I reach a state of fearless, non worry filled and no anxiety being around this time of the year.

The past week has been one of full on anxiety for me, so much so, that praying continually all throughout the day, became my norm.  It was the only thing that took away the edge of the anxiety and got me a little calmer.  Rebuke it all in the name of Jesus, and that is what I did, over and over again.

Here's the frustrating part about anxiety, and let me start by telling you that my anxiety only showed up a few months ago, completely out of nowhere.  I didn't really understand it, and what little I could get from it was through my daughter's daily battle with anxiety and in a way, my view and thoughts were always from an outside perspective.

When it hits you in the face and you're thrown into a full on anxiety attack, that is when you fully grasp how debilitating it can be.


Personally, I only really have Health related anxiety, meaning, any other situation in my life, no matter how scary or complicated, is met with calm, positivity and glass half full emotions.

Anything health related and more specifically breast related???

Forget it!!!

I will be talking to my doctor more on this, because I think a lot of it has to do with my hormones and possibly premenopause.  There is a LOT, and I mean a LOT going on with my body the past year, many changes, hormonal issues, cycle issues and so on, so when I go for my yearly in 6 months, I'll be asking to have my hormones tested and really try to get an understanding of what is happening.

But this week, my anxiety was out of control, so I held onto the Lord tighter, read my bible and devotionals, prayed and prayed and prayed, rebuked and proclaimed my health and life to the Lord on a daily basis.

It was hard my friends, there were days that by the time I went to bed, I was mentally exhausted from the constant battle.

This morning when the nurse finally called me to tell me the results, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders, and the very first thing I did when I got off that phone was praise God, give all the glory and thanks to Him and make a reaffirmation of standing firm in my belief and not straying, not ever doubting His way, or my instincts (which by the way, have been telling me for the past 3 months that there is nothing wrong with me, while my anxiety laughed and told me I was fooling myself).


I kept busy, my Nicholas had his 15th birthday on Wednesday, and I baked him a cake, as I have always done the past 15 years.

I also took photos, went outside and sat in the fresh air, talked to family and friends, loved on my dog, made summer plans and pushed and pushed closer to God.

Because you know what hit me, especially this last week???

That this is my norm, this is what is normal for me now as a woman in my 40's and as many other amazing women out there, this is our lives.  These tests, these exams and appointments that we subject ourselves to yearly, this is OUR normal, all of it, with the uncomfortable pains and the small talk during certain procedures, and the fear and anxiety while waiting for results.

And many of us will get called back and be subjected to other stress inducing tests, and then we will wait a while longer only to be told it's all fine and to come back and do it all again the following year.

Would it be easier to not go, to not get mammograms or breast exams, to not check for ourselves, or get the yearly pelvic exams and paps and all that stuff???  Oh absolutely, I don't think any of us enjoy this yearly ritual, but at least I know that I'm doing something proactive towards my health and being able to be around for years to come to enjoy my children and my husband.

I actually have it set up where I get my mammogram the beginning of the year, do my self exams at home every month after that, and then have my yearly Gynecologist exam six months later in the middle of the year. 

And yes, this is my new norm since turning 40 and will be my life until the day I die.  I can complain, fight it, get frustrated or whatever, or I can just accept it and do what I have to do not just for me, but for my family.

So I go into this weekend with a sense of relief and a renewed love for God, for putting up with me the past few days and never letting go, and I'm so glad he didn't because the relationship I have with Him at the moment, compared to the one I had with Him just a few months ago, is worth every fear, stress, worry and anxiety filled moment I went through......and why you may ask??

Because it taught me to trust implicitly and to let go and let Him take over, and that's not something I ever want to change, ever again :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

{ Power AirFryer Oven - Is it all it's hyped up to be? }

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were at Walmart and he surprised me with an Air Fryer.

I know that sounds a little strange that we were there and he surprised me, but he really did, we were getting ready to leave the store and he took me back to the aisle and told me to pick the one I wanted.  I have wanted an air fryer for so long so this was quite exciting.

I've heard about air fryers for a few years, the first time was actually through a blog from Portugal, and I found the whole process of frying without oil, quite fascinating.

We don't eat a lot of fried foods as it is, but knowing that when we do, I can make it much healthier for my family, is enough to make me dive right in to this new fascination that everyone is talking about.

I was going to get just a very simple model, but as we looked through all that was available, we both decided on the Power AirFryer Oven.

Power AirFryer Oven

Monday, April 9, 2018

{ Happy Homemaker Monday - 04/09/2018 }

Good morning everyone, hope you had a great weekend.

Welcome back to my Happy Homemaker Monday, I apologize for not getting a chance to visit youa ll last week, but I'll be doing that here shortly, and then later today will visit today's links :)

I had a pretty good weekend but could have done with one more day of weekend before this new week starts.  You all understand right?

I have a busy week ahead, working on finishing off the school year with Nick, tomorrow I have my mammogram appointment (prayers would be appreciated as I get super nervous), Wednesday is Nick's birthday, and this weekend I'll be super busy as well.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

{ Not the typical Sunday }


The day started like any other, up early for me, started the dishes and a load of laundry and then sat down on the couch to watch some Vlogs and my Portuguese Soap.

Once the hubby was up, we made breakfast together and then sat down to enjoy it, while chatting about the week ahead and things we have coming up.

Friday, April 6, 2018

{ Two Week Grocery Haul }

Hey everyone, I'm back with a grocery haul.

I'm not doing a video haul, and I don't know if I will do them again, so I thought that I would start adding them here to my blog instead.  You get pictures instead of video....hope that's ok.

So I did my usual two week shopping, and this time around I spent $230, which is pretty good.  I didn't have to buy a lot of meats this time around because I'm making quite simple meals.

If you're curious about my meal plan, be sure to check out yesterday's post.

I'll try my best to show you everything I got, hopefully don't leave something out.   As always, I do my grocery shopping at the base commissary.

Grocery Haul