Dear Baby, Today I got to hear your heartbeat for the first time. I never imagined what a complete feeling of joy I would feel because honestly, I didn't know that today would be the day I would experience it. Your daddy was in the room with me and ...

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"Southern Sassy Things" - 5 new articles

  1. Dear Baby...
  2. Pregnancy - Would I Ever Do This Again?!
  3. Hold On...Change is Comin'!
  4. 20 Things You Might Not Know About Me
  5. Book Review: The Caregiver by Shelley Shepard Gray - 4 Stars
  6. More Recent Articles

Dear Baby...

Dear Baby,

Today I got to hear your heartbeat for the first time.  I never imagined what a complete feeling of joy I would feel because honestly, I didn't know that today would be the day I would experience it.  Your daddy was in the room with me and heard you at the same time.  When he did, the same goofy look of joy on my face was mirrored on his.  In that moment, an unbelievable rush of love for you filled my heart.  It seems as though the day when your daddy and I can see you for the first time is so far away, but January will be here in just six short months, and God will fully entrust us with you at that time.

We have waited a long time to bring you into this world.  While many of our friends have one, two, or even more kids, your daddy and I have waited until the time was right.  At times, that makes us feel like we're on the outside looking in because it's difficult to relate to people that are parents while our nest has been empty.  We don't know what schedules filled with school, soccer practice, music lessons, or birthday parties are like, but we will soon, and that thought excites me because I can't wait to see what you will experience.

But there is one thing that saddens me.

I am saddened at the thought that you will enter into a sinful world, more sinful than the world I grew up in.  America is quickly turning away from God, and our society is paying the price.  It is my heartfelt prayer that your daddy and I can raise you with Biblical truths that you can carry with you the rest of your life.  It is our prayer that you will trust Jesus as your Savior, and that your life will be a living, breathing example of his overwhelming love for you.  He loves you more than we ever could, and we already love you so much even though we haven't met you yet.

Stay safe in my womb, little one.  I will protect you as much as I can while you are growing and forming inside me (Psalm 139:14).  Let the heartbeat I heard today continue to beat strong because I can't wait to hear it again.

With love,

Your mommy


 
    

Pregnancy - Would I Ever Do This Again?!

Once in a while, I'll be sharing some pregnancy related posts just so I can have something to look back on, and wonder, "What was being pregnant really like?"  I'm already noticing that I have a touch of pregnancy brain, and I've been wanting to keep a "diary" of sorts that I can read when I need a laugh or to remember a special time.  This will help me not forget.  :)

***

So, I can say with absolute certainty that I've always looked forward to the day that hubby and I would expand our little family.  Now that I'm here, though......  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  Seriously, I had this naive thinking that everything would be rainbows and butterflies, super happy feelings all the time, and just a blissful 9 months.

Er...  no.

Number one - complete exhaustion all the time.  I have never slept/wanted to sleep more in my LIFE.  And when I finally get to sleep, it lasts maybe 3 to 4 hours.  Then I'm up tossing and turning for who knows how long until I can finally get back to sleep.  I know this is my body's way of preparing me for late nights, interrupted sleep and so on, but geez, I just want to SLEEP!!!  And right now, the best place to get any sleep seems to be the couch.  I had a friend tell me that before this 9 months was over that I would've found my way to every sleeping surface in the house until I found a place that was comfortable.  Truer words have never been spoken.

Number two - eating.  I've always been under the impression that pregnant women eat all the time.  Let me tell you, it's true, but probably not in the way you think.  I'm a three square meals a day kind of girl...breakfast, lunch, and dinner like clockwork.  Now, it's breakfast, then second breakfast, lunch, second lunch...you get the idea.  I'm eating all the time, but I can only eat small amounts.  It's like this baby has carved out a piece of my stomach, and said, "Nope, this belongs to me!"  My lunches have been reduced to the size of kid's meals.  :(

Number three - gas.  This one is probably the most un-glamorous of them all, and it sounds worse than it is...really.  (I promise our house does not stink!)  No, it's mostly just air that feels like it's trapped in my esophagus all day long.  It makes me burp all the time.  I read that it should subside once I reach the second trimester.  Is it over yet?  No.  What makes it so miserable is that it causes this tightness in my chest that just won't go away.  It literally feels like trapped air, and it hurts.  :(

Number four - "morning" sickness.  So, here's one area that I've actually been fortunate to (almost) escape.  I've been sick 3 times in 14 weeks, and I'd say that's a pretty good record at this point.  :)  But morning sickness as a title is so deceiving, and truly, if I was getting sick first thing in the morning every day, I'd have to just quit everything.  I'm so not a morning person.

In spite of all that, I am in absolute awe of this tiny thing growing inside me.  And if I have to deal with no sleep, weird eating patterns, gas, and sickness, I'd say the trade off is going to be worth it all in about 6 more months.  :)  Are we anywhere close to being prepared?  No, but we're so blessed with a great support system already, and this sweet child will not lack for one second of complete love.

 
    

Hold On...Change is Comin'!

So, this is probably a surprise - geez, it's a surprise even to myself! :)  I've been itching to blog for weeks now, and after the longest period of time of feeling that I had absolutely NOTHING to say...  well, that's not the case anymore.  Lots of thoughts to share today, and some plans for the future!

First of all, our little family is about to change.  What used to be me, hubby, and our two fur babies is going to increase by one with a new addition in about 6 months!!  Yep, our first baby is on the way, due to arrive January 12th!  We are super excited, but obviously, super nervous, too.  Neither hubby or me have ever gone out of our way to interact with other people's babies, but I hear that when you have one that's your own, it's a totally different feeling.  And I tell ya, I've never read so much in my life!  All kinds of stuff about pregnancy and babies - holy cow, it's overwhelming.  From trying to figure out why a baby is crying to learning that babies should sleep with absolutely nothing in their crib so they don't choke...  Lord, help me please!

So, while we're understandably nervous, we have two great sets of grandparents sitting on "go" and ready to babysit at a moment's notice.  They have been full of great advice, and will be full of available time (all that we'll give them!) to give new daddy and me a rest when needed.

I've already decided on a couple of things that we'll be implementing once baby arrives.  The first is breastfeeding.  I'm still not totally on the up-and-up about supplementing from time to time with formula, but I'm reading as much about it as I can.  The second thing that I had decided on long ago is that we will be cloth diapering.  Research for this has been a little bit of a maze, but things are starting to make sense.  I haven't gone so far as to decide what we'll do as far as specific brands, but I imagine decisions on that will be made pretty soon.  I'm so thankful that there is a supplier for cloth diapers here in my area - I've already scoured every inch of her super helpful website!!

As if all that won't keep me busy enough, I've also been in the process of switching over my jewelry business from Etsy to my own stand-alone store.  I've wanted to do this for a long time as I feel like I've outgrown Etsy.  There are also some things happening there that I personally don't agree with, and I think it will be better in the long run to separate my store from their platform.  At this point, I'm allowing my Etsy listings to expire since I've already paid for them to appear there.  As they expire, I'll be moving them over to the new store.

I'm hoping to get back into reviewing a little bit, too.  Not too much, and probably not to the scale that I used to do, but I do miss it and the camaraderie that comes with it.  :)

So, busy doesn't even describe what's about to happen in our lives, but in this case, it's definitely a good thing.  I'll leave you today with a pic of our new baby love!



 
    

20 Things You Might Not Know About Me

Since I'm getting back into the swing of things with blogging, I wanted to go a little easy on myself for the next few days/weeks.  Would you believe I have blogger's block already?!

Hope you enjoy this particular post!

***

This blog post is a part of the ’20 Things You Might Not Know About Me’ Blog Tag started by April from Blacksburg Belle. She began this blog tag experiment to build community among creatives, help us bloggers to connect more and get to know each other better. This month’s topic is all about sharing just a little too much information about yourself. If you’d like to participate or want more info, check out the beginning post right here.

***

Question 1: How tall are you?

5'3"

Question 2: Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what?

Hidden???  Um, probably not, but one of the things that I'd like to think I can do better than my husband is painting.  I have serious ninja painting skills.  :)  (And not that hubby and I have contests against each other all the time...it's just that we sometimes revel take pride when we're really good at something.)

Question 3: What’s your biggest blog-related pet peeve?

A bad blog design/layout.

Question 4: What’s your biggest non-blog related pet peeve?

People that don't follow directions.

Question 5: What’s your favorite song?

Oy...that's a REALLY tricky one!  Asking a singer her favorite song is like asking a prolific reader about their favorite book - you cannot just choose one.

But...just so there IS an answer here, let me name my favorite country song - Whiskey Lullaby by Brad Paisley and Allison Strauss.

Question 6: What’s your favorite Etsy shop that isn’t yours?

ByJodi - I drool every time I come across one of her listings.  She is mega-talented!!!

Question 7: What’s your favorite way to spend your free time when you’re alone?

Usually reading or crafting something that isn't tied to my Etsy store.

Question 8: What’s your favorite junk food?

Oreos or Nutter Butters.

Question 9: Do you have a pet or pets? If so, what kind and what are their names?


Bella playing Peekaboo
Dasher sitting at my craft desk
Yes!  My pets are my babies (since I don't have actual *real* babies!)  Dasher is a Chinese Crested Powderpuff, and Bella is a Pug/Chihuahua mix so we call her a chug.  :)  They both have very distinct personalities, too.  Dasher is very protective of my hubby, but loves to play and chase his toys all over the house.  He'll also bark at any living creature on the tv, so hubby and I deal with growls and snarls on a regular basis.  Bella is the complete opposite - totally laid back and loves everyone.  Literally...she loves everyone.  :)

Question 10: What are you number one favorite fiction and non-fiction titles?

Lord, help me...I didn't even know this question was down here when I answered the song one... I don't really have a non-fiction title that I would consider my favorite.  I've read a lot of biographies that I'd consider as good, but none that really stand out as I'm typing this.

Favorite fiction title will probably always be Redeeming Love.

Question 11: What’s your favorite beauty product?

At this moment, I would probably be the 24/7 Velvet Eye Pencil by Urban Decay in Black.

Question 12: When were you last embarrassed? What happened?

When the fire department showed up at my house because we didn't punch the alarm code into the wall thingie to turn off the smoke alarm.  In all fairness, it was not the results of my cooking that set it off.

Question 13: If you could only drink one beverage (besides water) for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Sweet tea

Question 14: What’s your favorite movie?

Gone With the Wind

Question 15: What were you in high school: prom queen, nerd, cheerleader, jock, valedictorian, band geek, loner, artist, prep?

I was the nerd, salutatorian, singer, and resident loud mouth all rolled into one.  Thank God, I've mellowed out A LOT!!

Question 16: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

Somewhere tropical

Question 17: PC or Mac?

PC

Question 18: Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boy/girlfriend, spouse?

My hubby, the autograph collector, got me an autograph from my high school crush - Joe Lando from Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman - and it arrived in the mail this past weekend!  (That blog post will be coming soon!)

Question 19: Favorite celebrity?

David Boreanaz or Richard Armitage - got to meet the former at a Wizard Con event in Philly this past summer (fodder for a future blog post and/or series), and the latter is just total eye candy (and thanks to hubby, I have his autograph, too).

Question 20: What blogger do you secretly want be best friends with?

For this one, I'd have to say either Renee from Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot or Rissi from Dreaming Under the Same Moon.  I love both of these blogs equally, and while I'm "online" friends with these gals, I just think that if they lived right down the street from me, we'd be best friends.  :)

***

So, I think the next step is nominating.  Since I've been out of the blogging loop for so long, I myself don't even know who else is in it!  I know the two ladies in the paragraph above are still actively blogging, so they're definitely up for nomination.

Here are the rules:

1. Copy and paste the questions below and then answer and turn them into a blog post. Or, record a video answering these questions and upload it to your blog post.

2. At the bottom of your post, tag anywhere from 2-10 bloggers you want to see answer these questions. (I also suggest hitting up your tagged people via social media just to let them know you tagged them to do this tag challenge.)

3. Use the title: 20 Things You Might Not Know About Me Blog Tag. Once you’ve hit publish, leave a comment below with the link to your post.

4. Use the hashtag #20ThingsBlogTag when sharing on social media so we can all find your awesome posts!

Question 1: How tall are you?
Question 2: Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what?
Question 3: What’s your biggest blog-related pet peeve?
Question 4: What’s your biggest non-blog related pet peeve?
Question 5: What’s your favorite song?
Question 6: What’s your favorite Etsy shop that isn’t yours?
Question 7: What’s your favorite way to spend your free time when you’re alone?
Question 8: What’s your favorite junk food?
Question 9: Do you have a pet or pets? If so, what kind and what are their names?
Question 10: What are your number one favorite nonfiction and fiction books?
Question 11: What’s your favorite beauty product?
Question 12: When were you last embarrassed? What happened?
Question 13: If you could only drink one beverage (besides water) for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Question 14: What’s your favorite movie?
Question 15: What were you in high school: prom queen, nerd, cheerleader, jock, valedictorian, band geek, loner, artist, prep?
Question 16: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
Question 17: PC or Mac?
Question 18: Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boy/girlfriend, spouse?
Question 19: Favorite celebrity?
Question 20: What blogger do you secretly want be best friends with?

 ***

Enjoy!

    

Book Review: The Caregiver by Shelley Shepard Gray - 4 Stars

**Quick update before diving in to this review ---

Do y'all have any idea how much I've missed this?!?!  I haven't really written down my thoughts about any books in oh...  A WHOLE YEAR!!!  I'd just about given up that I'd ever have the time to do it again!  While I don't anticipate having nearly the time to devote to it as I used to, I plan to be here a little more frequently than I used to be.  :)  I hope y'all will forgive my plodding along as I get back in the swing of things.

I have stacks and stacks of books that I'd committed to reviewing, so I don't plan to accept any additional books for... maybe ever.  :)  I just have too much other stuff on my plate to heap more on top of it.  So, some of what I'll be posting will be books that were released a couple of years ago, and probably little to none that are brand new releases.  I'm ok with that if you are.  *wink*

***

About the book:

Two lives converge one stormy night on a train headed to Cleveland.

Lucy is traveling by herself via train to Jacob's Crossing to help care for her cousin Mattie, recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Trying to overcome the sudden death of her husband, she's glad to get away and focus on someone else for a while.

The only other Amish people on the train are Calvin Weaver and his little sister, Katie. When their train breaks down outside of Cleveland, Calvin and Lucy band together to face the outside world. But Calvin also carries the weight of past hurts. When an altercation brings both their wounds to light, they question whether they can trust each other.

Once in Jacob's Crossing, Lucy is occupied with caring for Mattie, while Calvin does his best to run his family's farm. But they can't stop thinking about those special hours spent together. Will the bond they formed last? And will Lucy and Calvin be able to put away the pain in their pasts to recognize the happiness that is suddenly in their grasp?

My review:

I had prepared myself early on to just read this one and be done with it.  I've been of the opinion that Shelley's books are good, but sometimes too rushed and lacking in substance and so I've struggled to really enjoy them.  After reading The Caregiver, my faith in her writing has been restored!

The Caregiver was such a touching novel, but also a difficult one to read because the author dealt with the very sensitive subject of physical abuse between a husband and a wife. It felt like my heart was literally aching when I read some of the scenes with Lucy and her husband. That was my first indication that this was going to be a fulfilling read...not because I take pleasure in reading about such a topic, but rather knowing that I wasn't going to be reading another book filled with warm fuzzies.

As the story progressed, I met Calvin, who was really the perfect person for Lucy after the death of her husband. (Don't worry...that last tidbit happens very early in the story, so I'm not spoiling anything for you. *wink*) Calvin had such a tender heart and concern toward Lucy that was like a balm to her soul.

As if there weren't enough emotions churning within me, there was also the addition of Lucy's cousin, Maddie, who was struggling from one day to the next with a cancer diagnosis. Since I just recently read a novel with cancer as the focus, I had a better idea of how excruciating this disease really is, and how the things that you think are the day-to-day norm suddenly become some of the hardest things to do.

There were enough secondary plots in The Caregiver to entice me to read the rest of this series, and I'm so happy that I didn't give up on Shelley's books!

4 Stars

**Many thanks to Avon Inspire for providing a copy for review.

Southern?  No
Sassy?  No

 Be sure to grab a copy of this book while it's 64% off the original cover price!!

 
    

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