Book Club Mermaid Style

Fire of the Sea book club familybringsjoy.comBook club where I live is kind of a big deal. Each month it’s hosted at a book club member’s home. The majority of the time, hostesses will decorate according to the book we will be discussing. It’s not mandatory, we just have a lot of creative homemakers in our group. I was excited to host last month. Not only was I able to host, but we read a fantasy book I suggested Fire of the Sea. This is an extra special book as it was written by a dear friend of mine, Lyndsay Johnson. The main character, Aeva, is a mermaid.

Let me take you on a tour through our home.

Imagine you are swimming the seas around Iceland.

Do you hear the ocean sounds?

Do you smell the ocean breeze?

Good. :) (Door mat from Target)

Fire of the Sea book club

Here, I took an old grapevine wreath I’ve used countless times and added some fishing net (Michaels.) I gently placed the sign (Hobby Lobby) inside the branches. No need to hot glue.

Fire of the Sea book club

Come on in!

Fire of the Sea book club

Everything you see here, I already had. I heart coastal decor, so truly I didn’t buy too much decor for this event. I typed up one of my favorite quotes from the book, printed it and put it in a frame. Lyndsay sent me some of her graphic work for the book. I printed it and framed it as well.

Fire of the Sea book club

Above, I added more of the book graphics onto this framed chicken wire (Michaels.) The map shows where Aeva’s adventures occur. The second graphic the family history tree of the Norse Gods. I put Lyndsay’s very cute bookmarks and buttons in this cute fish dish (Target.) I made the glass filled sand and shells several years ago.

Fire of the Sea book club

Here in the dining room I used wrapping paper (Michaels) as my base runner. I then added a fish net (Dollar Tree,) shells (Dollar Tree) and sea glass (Michaels.)

Fire of the Sea book club

Fire of the Sea book club

I filled the sugar mold (found at a vintage show) with blue glass beads (Dollar Tree.)

Fire of the Sea book club to show my china cabinet filled with my lovely Chloe + Isabel jewelry. It’s in there left over from a Pop Up I held in my home.

Let’s head to the kitchen

Fire of the Sea book club

Fire of the Sea book club

Lobster dish towels & mermaid found at Marshall’s.

Fire of the Sea book club these awesome plates also at Marshall’s.

Fire of the Sea book club bought some Scandinavian cookies & Swedish Fish from Ikea…as close to Iceland as I could get. Blue icing cupcakes were bought at Market Street.

Fire of the Sea book club the lunch menu was clam chowder in bread bowls. Of course we needed some oyster crackers to go in our soup. Shrimp was the perfect appetizer.

Fire of the Sea book club

To drink I served ocean water: Lemonade, Gingerale and Blue Hawiian Punch. We all liked it.

Fire of the Sea book club

At the kitchen table I also used the wrapping paper, fish net and glass beads. I added one of our Conch shells to the middle.

Fire of the Sea book club

Inside the Conch shell held some of the runes spoken of in the book. (Lyndsay let me borrow those.)

Fire of the Sea book club

Below are the first three beautiful women to arrive.

Fire of the Sea book club

Fire of the Sea book club

Now come into my living room.

Fire of the Sea book club

Fire of the Sea book club

Usually the boat is in our bedroom (bought it several years ago from Hobby Lobby.) I already had the old window and type drawer (bought at an antique barn several years ago.)

Fire of the Sea book club

I found these letter tags at Michaels for 50% off and couldn’t refuse.

Fire of the Sea book club

I was thrilled to find this beautiful mermaid statue at Hobby Lobby. I used my 40% off coupon from the Hobby Lobby app. (You need that app on your phone if you shop at Hobby Lobby a lot.) Again I typed & printed a quote from the book. I added it to this cute frame (Michael’s.)

Fire of the Sea book club

Again, I pulled that jar of green shells out of my bedroom and added Aeva’s arm band Lyndsay loaned me. I fell in love with those big, block “scrabble” letters (Michael’s.)

Fire of the Sea book club

Many of the shells I added to this type face drawer are ones we have collected at beaches we have been to over the years. I will keep this up all summer long. Lyndsay had the brilliant idea to add sea glass (Michael’s) as well. I love the contrast, depth and color it brings to the piece.

Fire of the Sea book club

Of course I had to show Lyndsay’s book trailer video too. I shall share it with you now.

Books Bring Joy,

Life and Death Brings Full Circle (Book Review)

I feel as though I have come full circle here on this blog.

My very second blog post was written on August 17, 2008, over 7 years ago. Guess what it was about?  I titled it I CAN read fiction! (Click on title to read the post…it’s not long, very short.) In summary it was about me devouring the Twilight series. (No groaning allowed 😉 )

Spine of Life and Death FamilyBringsJoy.comStephenie Meyer released a 10 year anniversary edition of Twilight last week. Guess I was 3 years late finding it. I’m glad because I was able to read all the books in a row. It would have been very difficult to wait in between books to see what would happen next…especially between New Moon and Eclipse.

Anyway, included in the 10 year anniversary edition is a bonus book titled Life and Death, subtitled Twilight Reimagined. I had no idea what to think about this. Stephenie changed Bella into Beau and Edward into Edythe. It was a gender swap. However, it doesn’t mean all she did was change the names. Edythe and Beau are different personalities. I read some reviews the day it came out. Reviewers were bashing Stephenie saying all she did was change the names. This is not true. The beginning of Life and Death does start the same as Twilight, but there are changes to the story along the way. For example, Twilight is all about a love triangle between Edward, Jacob and Bella. There is no love triangle in Love and Death. Jacob’s character has a double in the reimagined version named Julie, but there is hardly a relationship between Julie and Beau. They are basically acquaintances. That is the only spoiler I will reveal. Except, hear me when I say this: THE ENDING IS NOT THE SAME AS TWILIGHT.

Life and Death familybringsjoy.comPersonally, I felt in a sense, it was ALMOST like I was reading Twilight for the first time again. I’m sure it helps that it’s been 7 years since I read it. However, again, the change of the genders does make it different. Interestingly enough, even though there is no relationship between Julie & Beau, there wasn’t as much exchange between Edythe and Beau as between Edward and Bella…not as sappy. I like sappy though. It was still good. I believe any true Twilight fan will appreciate this bonus book. I wasn’t expecting it, so I was pleasantly surprised.

I will forever be grateful for the imaginary world of Twilight. It has opened my world to fantasy fiction…an escape I love. Somehow, though, I’m not sure there will ever be another series like Twilight in my lifetime. I have yet to find one in the 7 years since reading it.

Thank You Stephenie Meyer,

Helpful Ways to Encourage Fitness

I’m running again!

It’s a good thing, because I can’t fit into any of my clothes. I can’t stand going shopping for new clothes if I have to go up a couple of sizes. Boo!  I don’t care how cute the outfit is, if I have bigger hips or thighs or whatever…it doesn’t look good on me.

Weight gain doesn’t usually make for the best of running circumstances. It’s harder to run pulling that extra weight along. But, I have some helpful strategies I’m using I thought I would share.

  1. Run when it’s cooler.  You might be thinking duh! Well, it makes a huge difference. It was in the 60’s this morning and it felt heavenly! The hotter it is, the more difficult the run…at least for me.
  2. MUSIC! I’m going to share a few of my Pandora stations I’ve been listening to lately that carry me through: Alternative Endurance Training Radio, Dance Cardio Radio & Summer Hits 2015 Road Trip Radio.
  3. NingXia Nitro fbj44 familybringsjoy.comYoung Living’s NingXia Nitro! This dietary supplement has become a staple in my home. Nitro contains naturally occurring caffeine and Bioenergy’s D-Ribose to support athletic performance and endurance. Bioenergy Ribose supports physical performance, recovery and increases overall energy reserves. (These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. Young Living products are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.) Speaking for myself, I know it has helped me with my running among other things, but for this post we are talking about running/exercising.
  4. Fitness fbj44 familybringsjoy.comYoung Living’s Fitness Oil. The INFUSED Fitness™ Inspired by Oola essential oil blend has been specially formulated to uplift, energize, and give you the inspiration to set and achieve your strength and fitness goals. I added a roller ball to this oil bottle. This way I can roll it on quickly before I leave the house to go to the gym or run outside. I’ve seen a difference when I use this oil.
  5. Have a mantra. Today’s mantra was “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Sometimes it might be “I think I can” repeated several times.  It’s good to have a mantra to recite when you feel like stopping. When I recite my mantra in my mind over and over while running, it helps me pull through times when I want to quit.

It’s difficult mentally when I remember how I used to be able to run many miles without stopping. Running is easier when you realize mind over body matters quite a bit. I was happy when I was able to run a certain path without stopping today. It’s good to celebrate small milestones along the way. I’m telling myself, if I could do it once, I can do it again. Good self talk and praise is very important to keep you going, not just today, but for many days of future physical fitness.

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to go to Young Living’s yearly convention. Something presented to me in that convention has changed my thinking about daily exercise.  A doctor, Olivier Wenker, asked:

Slide from YL convention

Yes, I was at the end of my chair wanting to know the answer:

30 minutes a day

Ta da! Isn’t that awesome?!  So on the days I’m not running much, when the majority of my exercise is walking, I don’t feel bad. I’m doing something very good for myself. Hubby always says, “some exercise is ALWAYS BETTER than no exercise.” So even if I’m not losing weight or inches, I am REDUCING Alzheimers, progression to diabetes, cancers, hip fractures, anxiety & depression (big one for me,) arthritis pain, and premature death.

Otherwise, I love the following graphic I found on pinterest:

no matter how slow you go you are still lapping everyone on the couch

P.S.: You can read all my posts about running by clicking on the category to the left sidebar (towards the top) called “Running Brings Joy.” 😉

P.S.S.: You can purchase Young Living products through me by going to or click here to be directed there.

Walking & Running Bring Joy,

Therapeutic Ramblings

I’m here.

I’ve come to the conclusion I may not have any more faithful readers.  I’ve been neglectful in my blog writing.  Mainly because life has been very full these days.  Full probably is an understatement.  It’s been busting at the seams and I can’t seem to catch up.  I’m not complaining, except that I miss writing/journaling.  I’ve pondered over how this blog began.  It was simply me writing about my life, my family and my interests.  I still do that…yet I feel like I can’t post something unless I have photos to accompany my post.  Pouring through photos, editing photos and then adding them to a post is the most time consuming [for me] with blogging.  I love photography.  I’m a visual person, so it seems nonsensical to NOT have photos.  Don’t get me wrong, the writing part does and can take up time.  Depending on the subject, sometimes it can take literally all day just to write one post.  I truly hate when that happens; because then I am too tired to go through the process of adding the photos.  Then I get upset with myself.  It begins a cycle of frustration.  I know why this happens.  My ADD brain causes this.  Even though I know why it happens, it doesn’t change how it makes me feel.

Over the last few months I’ve noticed a trend with some of my other blogger friends.  I’m not the only one who has neglected their blog writing.  As a matter of fact, I’ve noticed some have focused mainly on Instagram rather than blog.  I completely understand this.  It is way less time consuming to post photos on Instagram and add your thoughts than keep up a blog.

In my personal reflection of my blogging, I kind of feel like I need to chastise myself to some extent.  My blog was for me to share my thoughts and feelings.  It is mine.  I don’t need to do it a certain way.  I don’t blog primarily for monetary gain (although it would be nice) so I don’t need to follow certain rules to gain followers etc.  I have always and will always only want readers by way of organic means. {meaning I don’t pay to advertise my blog or any of my social media to gain readers}  However, for some reason, I entered the mindset that I needed to write about certain things in a certain way and order.  I don’t like that.  I don’t like my creativity, my flow of thoughts to be stifled.

I can’t remember the last time I looked at Google Analytics to see how many readers I have or what post was being read the most.  I think doing that also stifled my creativity.  I don’t want to feel as though I am in competition with anyone.  I just want to be me and if people want to read what I have to say, they are welcome.  It’s okay to have a post without photos.  It’s okay to just write.  I’m really trying to talk myself into this mindset…mainly the photo part. {I don’t think I’m a great writer too…please don’t check my grammar}

Last but not least, I think my other issue has been the name of my blog.  I worry people see the name of my blog and think I have a perfect family.  Or I worry they think I’m an expert at creating a joyful family.  Unfortunately, this is definitely NOT true.  About a year & a half ago our family almost dissolved.  My marriage was falling apart.  I had filed for divorce.  Without divulging details, it didn’t happen.  We are working on us.  It’s difficult, yet we are managing.  Life is rough.  Families and marriages are made up of individuals.  We don’t have control over those individuals.  We can influence and teach, but we don’t have control.  Anyway, during that tumultuous time in my life, several people asked me if I was going to change the name of my blog.  It really caught me off guard.  Why would I need to change the name of my blog?  I still believe family brings joy.  My own parents divorced, yet I still love my family…I have more family to love.

When I redesigned my blog several years back, I added and sometimes other emotions as a subtitle hoping to clarify, that just because you have a family, doesn’t mean you will live in a constant state of joy.  We all know that is not the case.  People/individuals in families can cause heartbreak, frustration and every other form of emotion possible.  Even so, I still believe the family is the basic unit of society.  I believe it is better for each individual of a family to stay in tact. {as long as there is not abuse being inflicted in any way}  I’m not going to site a study on family or give quotes.  This is my personal belief from my own experience in this life.  I also know that if a spouse dies it doesn’t mean the family is dissolved.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that I didn’t have any intention of changing the name of my blog when I thought I was going to be divorced.  Nevertheless, now I am reevaluating.  Should I change the name?  Is it misleading?

It would be a lot of work to change the name.  In the blogging world they call the name of your blog your “brand.”  So I have spent many years cultivating my brand.  What if a reader wanted to see what I was up to and they couldn’t find me anymore?  I really don’t want to change the name.  I also don’t want my integrity to be in question.  Yes, this is my blog.  If you have not met me in real life, then my blog is a reflection of who I am as a person.  It is my sincere desire for people to know I am authentic.  I am a highly sensitive person which makes me very conscientious of others feelings.  When I leave this life I want to leave a legacy my family will want to continue…one of integrity and love of all mankind, but most of all my love of family.  It is most precious.  And with constant nourishment it can survive into the eternities.

So whether anyone has read this post or not, the writing of it was beneficial to me.  And from here on out I pledge to write more regularly for me with or without pictures.  With that being said, I absolutely and positively love having readers…especially interacting with them.  You are welcome to come along on this journey.  All insights and comments are welcome…although I reserve the right to delete any contentious ones, as I would rather keep things on a positive and uplifting basis.  Life is rough enough as it is.  I don’t need anyone bringing me down…my own nature does that enough as it is.

Now I’m going to go take a walk/run.  I wish you a good day.

Writing brings joy,

Change Is Good

First Day of School Collage

Hey there!  It’s good to be back!  I’ve missed blogging.  We are somewhat settled into our new abode here in TX.  It feels good to be back in my home state and very close to where I grew up.  Today is the kids first day of school! (at least my 2 youngest ones.)  I enjoyed walking my daughter to school.  Yes, I did say walking.  Our town home is directly across the street from my 6th graders school.  It was THE best first day of school experience EVER!

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{I hope you overlooked the second who above, because I sure did! ugh! :( }

My 6th grader

Now that 2 of the 3 kids are back in school, I have time to blog again…yippee!  I’m looking forward to sharing more special features about our house in OK (which is still for sale…boo hiss.)  I will also be posting a really cool DIY craft tutorial I made for our new mantel here.  I hope this finds everyone safe and in good spirits.

See You SOON,

Inspiring Free Online Mom Conference

There is a wonderful FREE online conference for moms that begins today!  The following video introduces you to what the Mom’s Conference is:


Doesn’t that look cool!? Come join me!  Each day of the conference (beginning today,) a new set of 4 presentation videos will be made available on The Mom Conference site for a FREE 24-hour viewing/listening period.  The line up of speakers is phenomenal!

mom conference

What a great way to get re-energized at being the best mom you can be!  I’m especially excited about the meal preparation presentations.  Head on over now!  Click here.

Good moms bring joy,