Monthly Archives: September 2010

Book Review: The Falling Away by T.L. Hines

2 Stars

I chose The Falling Away because the other reviews talked about how riveting, spell binding and suspenseful the T.L. Hines’s previous novels have been. I was excited for a “Christian” fiction book that I could sink my teeth into.

Unfortunately, this was not it.

This is the story of Dylan Runs Ahead’s misadventures after returning home from Iraq, and Quinn, a young woman who overcame homelessness and self mutilation to graduate from high school and join The Falling Away.

After a drug-deal-gone-wrong, Dylan, a “chosen” is on the run, pursued by Quinn, through the snow covered tundra of Montana. He thinks Quinn is a bounty hunter, in reality, she is an elite exorcist.

Told through a series of flash backs spliced into present-time accounts, the book is well paced. T.L. Hines does a wonderful job describing his scenes in such a detail that you can feel them unfold in front of you. The dialogue, however, often feels forced and choppy, especially when talking about spiritual matters. Leaving the story to unfold naturally would have made the book shorter, but a much more exciting read.

Product Review: Gorgeous Core DVD

Suzanne Bowen’s Gorgeous Core with Suzanne Bowen
 DVD does not disappoint.  With 4 12 minute sessions, 1-5 minute session and 1 7 minute session, you can pick and choose the combination that best fits your schedule, or for a serious challenge, take on the whole DVD.

Segments are: Lean, Long and Strong; Classic Abwork, Sleek Physique, Metabolism Bootcamp, ABsolute Challenge & Total Core Fast Blast.  The 12 minute segments combine elements of classic fitness moves, Pilates, planks and cardio and are not for beginners.  Fast paced and challenging, it’s the type of work out that makes you feel great when your done, and the next day your abs will remind you what you did.  With all of the static holds, it’s also the type of workout that looks much easier than it is.

Although the moves are broken up with easier alternatives, even the easy is quite  challenging, so this is not a DVD for beginners.  It is very important that participants heed Suzanne’s warnings to listen to their own bodies and not try to push themselves to the point of causing injury.  Also, if you do the whole DVD straight through the segments aren’t exact in their timing, so make sure you have at least 65-70 minutes to complete the entire series.

Overall, I think this is an excellent video from an experienced instructor and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for an alternative to classic Pilates or aerobics abdominal exercises.


Do you subscribe to Design*Sponge yet?

If not, you must. If for no other reason than to learn how to make adorable vases from old light fixtures.

I will warn you- the blog is updated often. Like, several times a day often. So sometimes it can feel overwhelming.

But fear not- no one will hunt you down if you choose to skip over a post without reading it. Sometimes, I just look at the pictures and smile.

First Day Jitters

I had a terrible morning today but quite a nice evening and night. I taught a wonderful couple a very fun Pilates lesson, and was told that my lessons have helped lesson the need for chiropractic care! Then I came home and played with my kids, put them to bed, and painted. After sitting down with a glass of wine and a bowl of perfectly browned popcorn to read, an idea for a children’s book hit me. I raced to my computer and shot out the first draft. Very excited to look at it tomorrow and see if I still like it.

I’m on a creative high right now, and would love to stay up, watch The Rachel Zoe Project or Project Runway, and make a bunch of new jewelry. But, I must fight the urge, because tomorrow is my first day of school. I am enrolled in The Writer’s Loft at MTSU and could not be more excited. This is the first big step I’ve taken in my writing since college, and the first time ever I’ve invested real money it in (besides buying this computer.) I’m like a 5 year old the day before kindergarten- I want to sleep in my clothes I’m so excited!

**Photo from Design*Sponge. Click here to make your own notebooks!

Work Smarter

Some version of “Don’t work harder, just work smarter” has been coming at me from all sides this week: triathlon training newsletters, marathon training newsletters, blogs, books, magazines, you name it.

I wonder if God is trying to tell me something.

Nah…must be a coincidence.

Or not.


I have not been waking up in the mornings to run, mostly because I haven’t been going to sleep at night. Yesterday my new FiveFingers came, and I was quite excited to try them out.

This adorable little girl was my running companion. We ran the entire length of our street!

These are my new shoes:

I’m not entirely sure yet how I feel about them. They did feel really good to run in, but the seam where the fabric meets the shoe on the right side rubbed a great big terrible hole in my foot. Not even a blister- a hole. It hurts. Bad. But I did run better- I stood straighter, knew immediately every time my form started to suffer, and I ran faster than I usually do. It was only 2 miles. We’ll see how they do when I up the mileage. But, in the interest of saving my big toe, I don’t think I’ll be wearing them for the half marathon on the 25th.

Painting Marathon

I got behind while I was on vacation, but I’m almost all caught up now! Here are my latest creations!

This has been one of the best parts of my summer. More information on Creatively Fit and Whitney Ferre here.


I’ve had two great food victories this week:

First: Stuffed Eggplant. Husband and both kids ate it!

Tonight: Kettle Corn!

Stuffed Eggplant:

  • 1 Bulb Eggplant
  • 2tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic Bulb
  • 1/4 c Bread Crumbs
  • 1/4 c Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese


  1. Heat oven to 350
  2. Heat oil over medium high heat in skillet, add garlic and let it lightly brown
  3. Cut the top off the eggplant and clean the insides out (like a pumpkin)
  4. Grind the eggplant “meat” up in a food processor with the bread crumbs, tomato sauce and Parmesan.
  5. Add eggplant mixture to skillet, heat through.
  6. Scoop mixture into the eggplant shell
  7. Top with cheese
  8. Cook for 20 minutes at 350, then switch the oven to broil for 5 minutes to brown the cheese.
  9. Photograph, slice, and serve

Kettle Corn:

  • 1/4c Popcorn
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Honey


  1. Turn burner on to medium high (don’t preheat pan though)
  2. Put oil and popcorn into the pan
  3. If you have a whirly pop, stir the popcorn. If not, gently shake the pan until the first kernal pops.
  4. Add honey quickly and continue to shake or stir until popping stops

*Confession: I LOVE burnt popcorn, so the fact that this is just about the easiest recipe in the world to burn doesn’t bother me. That said, if you don’t like burnt popcorn, this one is going to take some practice.

Arabella Cobb

Arabella Cobb was born on May 18th at 7pm at just 22 weeks and four days. She weighed just one pound. She was given less than a 5% chance of surviving through the night. 114 days later, this inspiring, amazing little child is still here.

Born so early, her body was not ready for the world. She has battled problems with most of her major organ systems, including her skin. She has had surgery on both her heart and her eyes, and has made some great strides. She has been taken off the ventalator twice, to give her lungs a chance to work on their own. The last time she was able to sustain herself through eye surgery and was even on a simple nasal canula for a while (the same thing that many older folks walk around with all the time.) She’s now weighing in at just under 4 pounds!

On Tuesday, September 7 they had to put her back on the ventalator. Her lungs had collapsed, and she was unable to get enough air on her own. Yesterday her parents had to make the difficult decision to start her on an experimental treatment- another round of steroids- to try to help initiate lung tissue growth. Her lungs simply cannot keep up with her. The possible side effects of this treatment are stunted growth, mental retardation and infection. The other option was to do nothing, which would pretty much guarantee that Bella would never come off the vent.

I tell you all of this to ask for your prayers.
Prayer for tiny baby Bella: God has shown His power through this tiny child time and time again. It’s seemed hopeless and MIRACULOUSLY she has progressed. Please pray that the steroids will help her lungs without causing problems elsewhere.
Prayer for the doctors and nurses taking care of Bella: Wisdom, faith and confidence.
Prayer for Chris and Telisha, Bella’s parents: Strength, courage, sustaining faith.
Prayer for Dylan, Bella’s three year old brother: Understanding and hope.

You can read more about Bella and send her family notes of encouragement at

Thank you.

Book Review: Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado

Max Lucado’s new book, Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make A Difference, is a straight-forward, practical approach to making a difference. “No one can do everything, but every one can do something.” The early church of Acts used this philosophy to spread the news of Jesus throughout all of Asia. We can use this philosophy to show people that Jesus is still real, and still matters.

The problems of our current society are huge: hunger, poverty, wars, famines, civil rights abuses…the list goes on and on. Rather than become paralyzed by the enorminty of it all, each of us just needs to find small actions we can take: sponsor a child, volunteer, PRAY. He doesn’t advocate that we all sell all of our possesions and live in poverty until everyone has everything that they need. But maybe take some of that coffee budget and use it to create good for someone else.

Max’s writing is, as always, conversational and straightforward I don’t feel the hell fire and brimstone raining down from the pulpet, but I do feel the small voice inside of me challenging: what can I do? What will I say to my children and grandchildren when they ask how I helped?