Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June eBook Deals + Steals

It's that time again--grab your eReaders and get ready to stock up on some AWESOME eBook deals! There are so many eBooks on sale right now that Jenny and I couldn't keep this amazingness to ourselves. If you don't have a Kindle device, no worries. There's always the Kindle app for your laptop, tablet, or phone, and as a rule of thumb, if something is on sale for Kindle, it's usually on sale for Nook and Google Play, too. Happy downloading!*






*FYI: This post contains Amazon Associates links. Thanks so much for your support! 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Musings: Finding My Way Back Home

When I was a senior in high school, I was definitely one of those kids who couldn’t wait to get the heck outta dodge. I knew where I was going to college. I had already planned the student organizations I wanted to be involved in and knew exactly what I wanted to study. I had a plan, and the only thing standing between me and the freedom of college was that final summer at home.

I was ready to experience something bigger than the life I had always known in our small town. I was ready to meet new people, experience life in a new city, and generally just learn more about the world around me. I was always more of the independent type, so my parents didn’t have to push me at all when it was time to leave the nest.

And man, does being one of 33,000 students allow you to experience something “bigger” than yourself. UGA overwhelmed and excited me all at the same time. And I loved it.

What surprised me the most, though, was how God brought my husband and me together in His knowing, sovereign way. My mindset going into college was not to get in a serious relationship right off the bat. But God’s plans were different (and so much better) than mine. I ended up meeting Kyle only days after moving away from home. To put it very simply, we started to “study together,” eventually fell in love, and then got married four years later. Life took us from one college town to another in Augusta, Georgia, where we spent almost three years for Kyle to earn his doctorate in physical therapy.

Fast forward to Spring 2013, and it was finally time to buy our first home together. Because of jobs and other circumstances, it brought us right back to where it all began for me. Five minutes down the road from my parents, to be exact.

Life has a funny way of bringing us back home, doesn’t it?

To be honest, moving back to the town where I grew up wasn’t an easy transition for me at first. There are some things about this town that annoyed me back then that still annoy me today. And the confused glances from people I knew before meant constantly explaining that yes, I do actually live here again. There was also the feeling that old friends who’ve been here all along had moved on and made other relationships without me, and I wasn’t exactly sure how I fit back into it all. It was an awkward transition, at best.

Through the awkwardness, I struggled with why God brought us here. Is this really where we’re supposed to be? Did we buy a house here because it felt like the comfortable, familiar thing to do?

If only I had known then what I know now. God was faithful to answer my questions and my doubts, and He reassured me that His work is not done here yet. I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be in this season. And He didn’t have to, but He has brought so many blessings with it.

The closeness to my family, for one, is something I genuinely treasure now as an adult. We can have weeknight meals together, call each other up to go on a walk, I can have spontaneous girl time with my mom, sisters, (and now my baby niece!). We can talk about our struggles and encourage each other face to face. It’s the best, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

And my fears about friendships? Turns out those were totally unfounded. The old friendships are still there, some stronger than ever. There are new ones as well, and I just wasn’t expecting the abundance in this area. There are so many people the Lord has brought into this community in the same walk of life as Kyle and me, especially in our church family, and I know God has something big in mind for this generation.

My heart is especially full of gratitude for the women in my small group. We've laughed, cried, and prayed together, there have been late night road trips, we've seen signs of life at each other's homes with laundry on the couch and dishes in the sink, and we're about to add two precious new babies into the mix. We group text each other almost daily for encouragement and prayer and general hilarity. There is so much to be thankful for, and sometimes I have to laugh at myself that I ever doubted God in this area. Not to say there wasn't/isn't any hard work required on my part--there certainly is. Friendships as an adult require intentionality and hard work, just like Lara Casey has been talking about in her #FruitfulSummer series. I couldn't have said it better myself when she said:

"When we surrender our fears, take leaps of faith, and focus on progress, not perfection, we begin cultivating what matters—what lasts longer than us. Relationships begin to bloom in soil that once felt lifeless."    

[Celebrating Liz's baby shower]
I think this is why reading The Peach Keeper meant so much to me last year. It was almost like I was reading my life and thoughts play out on the pages of a novel. One of the struggles for the main character was living back in her hometown as an adult, and this quote in particular stood out to me:

"People adapt. People change. You can grow where you're planted. She slowly began to realize she'd grown to like this place far more than she'd ever thought she would."              

So to sum up my rambling, I have grown to really love this community. I can appreciate why my parents thought this was a great place to raise us, and I’m excited about the possibility of raising my own children here, too (Lord willing). One day they may be clambering to get away, just like me. But hopefully, just like me, they can come to know it’s ok if life eventually leads them back home.

About Musings: 
Musings are thoughts that we have on literature-related things that don't necessarily fall into neat categories. These posts will tend to be rambling and, at times, philosophical. Books affect our everyday lives, and these posts are where we explore the intersection between life and literature.

Other Musings Posts:
What Is Love? | God As Other | Christmas Hymns

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Ten Books On Lesley Anne's Summer Reading List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is one of my absolute favorites! Whether I'm at the beach, chilling on the dock at the lake, laying by the pool, or just doing some front porch sittin', summertime reading really is the best. Here are ten books I'm hoping to get to over the next few months:

1. Restless by Jennie Allen - I've been craving a lot of non-fiction lately, and no one can give me a kick in the pants more than Jennie Allen can. I've started and stopped this book several times, but have a feeling this summer is the right time to finally dig in to it.

2. Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson - Those who live close to Jenny and me will get a chuckle out of this title since there actually IS a town called Between in Georgia. We've heard our fair share of "in Between" jokes, and it's such a small town, it's kind of hilarious there's a book named after it. Anyway, I've been wanting to read a Joshilyn Jackson novel for a while now, so I think this will be the perfect place to start!

3. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen - There's something about this book that screams summertime reading to me. I'm so excited to get lost in this story and get to know the infamous Waverley family!

4. A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman - I'm actually in the middle of reading this right now and it's SO good. I expect to finish this before the week is over!

5 - 6. The Queen of the Tearling and The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen - I bought the hardcover of Queen of the Tearling back when it came out last summer (because if I'm being honest---the endpapers were way too pretty to resist). For some reason I haven't gotten around to reading it yet, but now that the second book is out, I have even more motivation to knock both of these off my TBR.

7. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - I'm not sure what's wrong with me and why I haven't read this yet?! This is for sure next after I finish A Million Little Ways.

8. Emma by Jane Austen - GAHHHH I need to finish this book. Like yesterday.

9. Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul by Bill Hybels - Our small group is going through this one chapter at a time, so this will probably leak onto my Fall reading list as well. We just met to discuss the first chapter a few days ago, and I'm really excited about the practical implications of this book!

10. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai - Our book club is taking a break over the summer, but this will be the first book we discuss when we meet again in August. I know this will be an eye-opening read and I can't wait to get to know Malala's story.

What's on your reading list this summer? Let us know in the comments! 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The PR Report: May 2015

Hey y'all, LA here! It's been a while, hasn't it? After more than three months away, I finally feel ready to write again, and that's a GOOD feeling! I've missed this space so much. A lot has happened during my hiatus, and I'm not sure how to put it all into words (and for y'all's sake, I won't put it ALL into words, hahaha). The Lord has definitely been stretching and growing me in ways I never expected this year, and I'm learning to be content with where He has me right now.

May in particular was a pretty incredible month. I don't even know where to start! I got to meet one of my all-time favorite authors, I traveled to Hawaii with my husband to celebrate five years of marriage, and best of all, I became an AUNT to the cutest baby girl around. Bless my socks off! The rest of the year certainly has its work cut out for it. Here are just a few of the moments I captured from last month:

May In Pictures

Sarah J. Maas and Susan Dennard book signing! | Layover in Seattle | Waikiki Beach | The Road to Hana | Volcanoes National Park | Akaka Falls | Anaeho'omalu Beach | Kayaking the Wailua River | Swimming in Secret Falls

Kalalau Lookout | Waimea Canyon | Na Pali Coast | The best day in May--my niece, Lillianne Rose, was born on May 26! | Baby shower for my sweet friend Liz | My niece looking PRECIOUS at her newborn session

Favorite Book Read in May

Miraculous Movements: How Hundreds of Thousands of Muslims are Falling in Love With Jesus by Jerry Trousdale. This book was a gamechanger for me and couldn't have been more timely. It challenged me in the way I think about discipleship, prayer, and the power of God to draw people to himself through his Word. An awesome read for any believer, especially those who work in or are considering the mission field!

On My Shelves So Far In 2015 


Jane Austen Vintage Classics Collection
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen | Emma by Jane Austen | Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Sarah J. Maas Love
The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas | Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas | A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Nostalgic Book Buying Binge - Christy Miller Series 
The Christy Miller Collection, Vol. 1 by Robin Jones Gunn | The Christy Miller Collection, Vol. 2 by Robin Jones Gunn | The Christy Miller Collection, Vol. 3 by Robin Jones Gunn | The Christy Miller Collection, Vol. 4 by Robin Jones Gunn

A Pocket Guide to the Hawaiian Language by Albert J. Sch├╝tz

Bought on Sale for Nook
Cinder by Marissa Meyer | Scarlet by Marissa Meyer | Cress by Marissa Meyer

Bought for Book Club
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr