Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Book Review: English Lessons by Andrea Lucado

I wanted to read this book and be a part of the launch team for it because I wanted to hear her story. I was also at a place of being hurt in church (again) and wanted to hear how others wrestle with their faith, in God and in people. I also needed a story. Although it's non-fiction, she's a story-teller and this book reads smoothly. Maybe too easily!


I could not put this book down... but I made myself do it, just to savor her writing. Her honesty and openness of questioning what she believed in, the colorful descriptions of the places, people and situations that she encountered, it was as if we met and I listened to her heart each time I picked up the book. She's a fabulous writer, very conversational. It really is as if she's sitting across the table telling you about her thoughts, her stories, her travels. I've never wanted to visit England... until now!


Her story would be interesting if it was any woman writing, but it's not - it's the daughter of a mega-church pastor and author, proving that anyone can struggle with our beliefs and faith. I know that God honors her story, and our stories, as we come to terms with His great love for us, even in our wanderings.


I would recommend this book for any person, young adult to older, solid in faith or wandering.



I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, May 1, 2017

On the (company) Move: Kick-Off and Close

Many of you have followed me through so many moves over the years, sometimes holding on trying to keep up with me. Sorry. I don't know how or why God has let this happen. As traumatic as our last move was (moving so far from so many of my grands) to the sheer joy and anticipation (and tears... yes, there have been tears this move) of closing on this house, ALL the emotions have been felt.

I generally don't change much in our decor when we move. Oh, I bought the cool Mediterranean mirrors for the dining room for the house in Fayetteville, AR, and the fun window/mirror to hang in the house in Owensboro, KY, but I don't think about it when I'm moving in. I've got enough throw pillows to fill a room and make it a wash of blue-greens. I won't buy a new couch because a home is more "country" or "traditional," and that's ok with me.

But paint. Ah. I dream of painting a new house and changing things up in little touches long before closing on a house. I want to change the front door with a new coat of paint, or texture walls to give it character and appeal. I envision new faucets and curtains hanging (I admit- I like a dark room to sleep in and love the splash of another color in the room!). I'm kind of a freak about privacy... it's my PTSD peeking out.

The moment we walked in to the Harrison House, we knew we would do different flooring (it was nasty, dirty, carpeting, and abused wood floors!), and I'd hoped we'd have a timeline to replace the kitchen appliances. We DID!! It happened just months before we moved!! Funny how we have no idea what God's timetable is in comparison to ours... another one of those "hindsight" moments.

With the encouragement of many friends around the globe (and mostly in the Midwest) I'm going to devote a little time to our renovation process on the home we will close on this week.

Here's a little back-story: As always, our Realtor in Alabama asked for our wish-list of what we'd like to see in our next home. I don't think we were too demanding, or unrealistic, and it included things like single-story, lake front or lake view, under a certain price (which was raised because of a shortage of homes on the market), a 2 car garage was a must and an extra out-building a bonus!

Well, we didn't come very close to our wish-list! There's just not much to pick from here. I'm a little disappointed on a few of the things we didn't get - like a single story house - because I know what pain this will cause Mark (he already has bad knees). BUT - I trust God has a plan, and even this morning I prayed "God, if this is not the house you want us to live in, please remove it from our plan." He can do anything, in any timing, and although it may bring a difficult season or disappointment in the short range, I have faith that He does things for our long range development. I can rest in that.

It's very strange, this house. It's sat on the edge of a hillside for over 20 years, precariously peering past the trees to view the serenity of Guntersville Lake. You can't really see the front door from the road, as it sits below the road on a steep driveway. The front door is far from the driveway, because of how the home sets. We have no yard to speak of, but a HUGE deck out back. Then there is the beige. A LOT of beige, inside and out. I'll share a few of the photos now, to give you an idea of what we're walking in to, but the official "before" pics will come out over the weekend, when the house is completely empty and not tainted with the cute red couches the previous owner has. My vision will not be changed by the red couches in this house, as cute as they are.

I hope that you'll stay with me through this process. God's got a plan for it, for sure, and there are some things I have no clue about yet, and there's a few things I've got plans for that I haven't shared with Mark yet ... hehe ... but he's mostly on board with me, and we are in prayer together for this. Our goal is not to make this a WOW home, but to make it a place that folks feel comfy, that His peaceful presence is felt by all, and that we can make good memories here, whether it's for 10 months or 10 years or....???

Are you on Pinterest? Follow my "Alabama Lake Life" board to see the ideas I'm collecting and to see what we are prayerfully considering, inside and out. Also follow me on Facebook at Marina's Kitchen Table, where I'll do live posts on shopping, working, and updating you on how things are turning out!

Here are a few of the beginning photos... how the home looked when we viewed it...  Please feel free to add comments in the section below, or on my Facebook or Pinterest pages...

The front door...

From the front entry towards the Living Room... 

From the front entry to the stairway...

Eat in Kitchen, with slider to the screened porch...


Main part of kitchen, from the eat in kitchen area...

The upstairs hallway... a blank canvas or ???
English Ivy has taken over everything, even this tree in the deck planter!


Have I mentioned the view?? (The deck is flat, but I used a panorama feature in this pic)