Thursday, September 21, 2017

Waves of Gratitude | Our Wedding Day

A wedding is such a wild, wonderful thing.

Leading up to the event, there are so many questions to answer and choices to make. So many little details that are somehow supposed to fall in place.

And somehow, they do. :)

Our wedding day was everything I hoped for, with waves upon waves of love and beauty and joy...


Getting ready with my bridesmaids and family was crazy, fun, and so sweet! My "something borrowed" was a pearl necklace that my grandpa gave to my grandma, which my mom let me wear for the occasion.



My bridesmaids, dad, and I trekked down four flights of stairs and across a parking lot to get to the ceremony location. This picture of my bridesmaids and I on the balcony, with my dad poking his head out of our hotel room, is one of my favorites. ;)


Josh's childhood pastor married us, which made the ceremony extra-special.


It was so surreal, preparing to walk into that room and exchange vows with the man I love.



And here we are at the start of our journey, our vows sealed with a kiss. ♥


The venue was simply gorgeous. Driftwood Shores took my dreams for the site and made them tangible. The colors, the lights, the decor, and of course the view...all were perfect for our little beach-themed wedding!


While I didn't taste nearly as much as I wanted to of these desserts, the cake and cupcakes lovingly crafted by The Frost Queen were delightful. :)


My dad and I love to dance, and we chose to dance to "Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Darin in memory of my grandparents and their love story.


I love this picture of Josh with his grandma. The reception was such a treat, to be able to visit with the family and friends who joined us on the coast.


The Holcomb family ♥



The Stokes family ♥



Josh with his great group of groomsmen. :)


I adore my husband's smile, more than words can say!


My beautiful sister was my maid of honor, and she gave the sweetest toast ever at our reception. 


It was a precious gift to have these dear friends by my side that day.




I blame it on Pinterest...but I really wanted to get in the waves and have our awesome photographers take some pictures. ;) 






Best of all, my darling husband patiently and sweetly joined me for a photo session on the beach. 








On this day, World Gratitude Day, I look back on July 15th with so much thankfulness in my heart for the people who gave so much of their time and support to make our wedding beautiful. And I'm so especially grateful to be the wife of Josh Holcomb, a man with adventure running through his veins, dedication and care showing in his work, and love overflowing from his heart. God is good and gives such good gifts. ♥

Photo credit (all photos): Leah Banick Photography

Friday, September 15, 2017

Fall in Love with Mr. Darcy | Join the Pride and Prejudice Read-Along!



Confession: I've never read Pride & Prejudice.

I know! It's terrible. I think it's about time I fix that, don't you?

And if you've also never read the book, or are simply looking for an excuse to re-read it, I invite you to join me for the Pride & Prejudice Read-Along during the month of October!

Here's what you can expect...
  • Reading two chapters per day (except for the last day, when we'll only read one chapter)
  • Discussing the book every Tuesday, for a total of five discussions (on the 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, and 31st)
  • Having lots of fun chatting with other Jane Austen fans 
  • Quite possibly falling in love with a fictional character ;)
Want to join? Feel free to take the button above to share on your blog or social media sites! You can also continue the conversation on Twitter using #InspiredByAusten
(For those who participated in the Persuasion read-along, I hope you don't mind I'm recycling that hashtag! Keeps things simple. :))
I can't wait to start another read-along with you! 

P.S. Explore past Jane Austen read-alongs at these links: Persuasion and Prayers Read-Along; Northanger Abbey Read-Along; Emma Read-Along

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dear Friends (A Letter to You)



Dear Friends,

I've missed you! Goodness, how the past year has flown by... (And I have precious few blog posts to show for it!) But it's been a very wonderful year. :)

I'm writing to you from Montana, where Josh (my new husband) and I have now settled. The picture I've included is of last night's sunset as seen from a bedroom window. I certainly can't complain about the view! While there aren't any crashing ocean waves nearby, I think I can come to love the rolling golden hills and the stunning mountains framing the land.

I hope to share more with you soon—perhaps some wedding photos and an update on what I plan to be working on over the coming months. 

But for now, I'd love to know how you've been! Did you go anywhere during the summer? Have any exciting life events happened while I've been away? What books did you discover this past year that are new favorites?

I hope to hear from you soon! 

Your Friend,
Amber

P.S. Do you have an Instagram account? If so, I'd love to connect with you there! You can find me @seasonshumility.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Clever Mix of Sweetness and Suspense | Review of Heart on the Line



About the Book

Witemeyer Returns with Her Trademark Blend of Adventure, Romance, and Humor

Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can't let the villain she believes responsible for her father's death release his wrath in Harper's Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she's ever known.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship—dare he believe, courtship?—has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

Available Now!

My Rating

Spring/Summer

My Review

While Grace and Amos take great risks in this story, I know it's not much of a risk to try a new Karen Witemeyer book—because I'm bound to enjoy it! I haven't read the first book in this series, but I found it easy to drop into Grace and Amos's world. Their romance is unique and sweet, as they can communicate in a way many others can't...and their hearts beat in a similar frequency too, with their quiet ways mixed with profound inner strength and life.

The line of danger and fear underscoring each page leading up to the epic finish definitely keeps the pace moving along. I confess I set this book aside often, but I think it had more to do with a lot of distractions in my personal life than a lack of interest. Once pieces were set in motion for the showdown, I was quite hooked!

The main setting of a women's colony adds a different element to a familiar Western flavor, and the occupation of the hero and heroine (along with their resourcefulness) make for some fun scenes and clever twists. Heart on the Line is as suspenseful and enjoyable as Witemeyer fans would expect.

I should also add that a secondary character took center stage now and then with her own storyline, and I love how her character grew on me. The lessons she learns about trust are quite powerful!

*With thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of the book.*

Other Karen Witemeyer Stories I've Reviewed...
A Tailor-Made Bride | Head in the Clouds | Short-Straw Bride | Stealing the Preacher | A Cowboy Unmatched | Love on the Mend | The Husband Maneuver

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Illusionary Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway!




Hello, friends! It's been ages since I've posted...and I was actually supposed to share this post at the beginning of today, not the very end. (My sincere apologies to the author and tour coordinator!) But here I am, peeking around the corner to share about a book I was eager to read. :) 

I hope you'll enjoy learning about this new release - and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post, which ends very soon!

About the Book

Dorothy got sucked into a tornado.

Alice fell down a hole.

Wendy flew to Neverland.

Kamryn? She tripped down the stairs.

Now, Kamryn Kensington finds herself in a strange new world. Within minutes of her arrival, she dodges an archer’s arrow and avoids getting sliced up by a cosplay reject holding a dagger to her throat. And that’s before the storyteller’s breath brings stories to life.

Home is the mission—to return to her family and pursue her life’s dream of art and travel. Yet the longer she’s in the Land of Ur, the harder it is not to feel for the people she meets. Even her artistic side can’t help but breathe in the beautiful wonder and magic of this new world. So when the Oracle hands her a different quest, she takes it on the condition he sends her home afterward.

No one thought to warn her of a jealous queen and her dragon minions. Or that, by helping her, the cute storyteller would go crazy. Or that her heart would rip in two when she left. Those would’ve been great facts to know ahead of time.

Considering that nothing in Ur is what it seems, the mission proves to be more than she ever imagined. But more than her own future will be in jeopardy if Kamryn doesn’t succeed.

Purchase the Book:
My Rating

Spring/Summer

My Review

Believing I was in for a treat because I enjoy this author's style and stories, I dove headfirst into Illusionary...and found myself on an intriguing adventure!

Kamryn is a relatable modern heroine, a girl who desires space to find herself and support to follow her dreams. But on the brink of her great escape, she falls, hits her head, and ends up in a completely different world.

The Land of Ur is home to some sweet characters, clever and bizarre situations, and even a few dangers. There's enough movement to keep the pages turning and the mind engaged.

But I think what really sealed the deal for me - what made this book not just an enjoyable read, but one that stands out - is how the ending comes together. And you know I can't tell you how it all goes down! Let's just say the conclusion adds a whole new level of meaning and a few extra twists for good measure.

The journey to get to the fabulous finish is a fun one, and I was especially satisfied with those last chapters. I appreciated Kamryn's character growth and the way her eyes open to a world beyond her own sphere. Illusionary is a great ride that will leave you happy for the heroine's promising future!

*With thanks to the author for providing me with an e-ARC of the book.*


About the Author

Desiree Williams is a dreamer by day and chocoholic by night. She lives in the beautiful state of Kentucky with her husband and daughter, where she juggles life as a wannabe supermom. Desiree is a lover of food and avoider of dirty dishes. She delights in making people laugh and strives to bring hope and love with her wherever she goes.



Giveaway!

Desiree has graciously offered to give away the following prizes: a “Make everyday an adventure” pillow, “Don’t Grow Up! It’s a Trap!” metal sign, book cozy, signed paperback of Illusionary, notebook with pens, sketch book with colored pencils, and an “Eat Cake for Breakfast” travel cup.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Litfuse Tour: Making Marriage Beautiful {Review}



About the Book

What kind of marriage do you want?

If you have been married longer than forty-eight hours, you know that you have bound yourself to an imperfect person who will have his or her own preferences, will disagree with your impeccable logic, and will cause you to confront your limitations. How you respond to this predicament shapes you and your marriage.

It's easier to focus on how your spouse needs to change, but to become a mature, joyful husband or wife with a flourishing marriage, you have to allow Christ to change you. Easy? No. Possible? Absolutely.

Through grounded faith, disarming candor, and the real-life stories of eight diverse couples, Dorothy Greco equips you to
  • create an honest and intimate marriage
  • acknowledge and resolve your hurts and disappointments
  • discover how family and cultural expectations affect your marriage
  • exchange unproductive relational patterns for healthy alternatives
  • become an agent of healing for your spouse
  • learn how to love sacrificially and faithfully
Making Marriage Beautiful provides wisdom, encouragement, and hope, regardless of whether you have been married four weeks or forty years.

Includes "Going Deeper" sections for individuals or couples


My Review

I greatly appreciate how this book reminds me I have no strength apart from Jesus to be the person my husband-to-be needs...but it doesn't let me off the hook from doing the hard work of turning to God again and again to help me love well.

I believe my favorite chapter in terms of how insightful and convicting I found it to be is "Unmasking Counterfeits: How Disordered Attachments and Addictions Thwart True Desire." Not exactly a lovey-dovey topic! But so important to address. This chapter discusses different kinds of addictions, noting that we all have the propensity to become addicted to something, and outlines the stages in a very clear, eye-opening way. But this section is not without hope, as the author balances compassion with a real look at the cost of sin.

I'd say that word—balance—is something that stood out to me about this book as a whole. It doesn't ask us to deny our own needs or identity; yet it also doesn't back down from asking us to be willing to change, grow, and open our own hearts.

Some other chapters I especially liked are found in the first half of the book, ones that discuss the expectations we bring to marriage and how we should handle our disappointments. I found myself underlining different quotes and lines throughout the book. Lots of great food for thought, and lots of great examples from Christian couples!

In some ways I think Making Marriage Beautiful could be a bit more readable in terms of word choice, and there are so many big topics addressed that it feels a little overwhelming. But I know the truth is that marriage really is a big commitment, and it would be worrisome if doing it right didn't feel a little overwhelming. ;) The author's analogy at the end brings it all together as she encourages readers to persevere in the hard but worthwhile endeavor of allowing God to work through us and our spouses to make something beautiful.

*With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion, to be shared during the Litfuse Publicity blog tour.*


About the Author

Dorothy Greco and her husband, Christopher, have spent their entire twenty-five-year marriage helping men and women create and sustain healthy marriages. They have served numerous churches in the Greater Boston area for thirty years. Dorothy's writing has been featured in Relevant magazine, Christianity Today, Sojourners, and Her.meneutics. She is a regular contributor for Gifted for Leadership, Today's Christian Woman, and Start Marriage Right. The Grecos have three sons and live near Boston.

Litfuse Tour Page: click HERE

Monday, February 13, 2017

Lena Goldfinch’s Sweetheart Blog Tour + Giveaway!


Celebrate Valentine’s Day with some sweet historical romances!

I’m excited to share about the latest book release and an awesome ebook deal from my author friend Lena Goldfinch. :) And don’t miss the fun giveaway at the end of the post!

THE BRIDES SERIES

A former tomboy resolves to be the perfect lady for her new husband. A mute struggles to break through the silence to win her rescuer’s heart. A shy advice columnist develops a secret crush on her most devoted correspondent. The Old West holds challenges galore for these brides…but true love is a worthy reward.

Book 1 | The Unexpected Bride {Buy Now}
Book 2 | Sleigh Bells & Mistletoe {Buy Now}
Book 3 | The Bartered Bride {Buy Now}
Book 4 | Only the Heart Knows {Buy Now}


NEW: ONLY THE HEART KNOWS

(Too Tall) Mandy MacKenna is secretly the voice behind Ask Mack, an advice column for men, addressing all matters ranching-related. And she’s secretly in love with “Banks,” one of her most devoted correspondents. But whenever she’s around him, she can barely bring herself to make eye contact with the man.

Adam Booker is a banker-turned-rancher who’s struggling to make his way after he inherits his uncle’s place. If not for Ask Mack, he would have surely floundered by now. But the ranch is only one of his problems, because the woman he has a romantic interest in—a natural beauty by the name of Mandy MacKenna, daughter of the region’s wealthiest rancher—seems less than interested in him. 

A sweet but convoluted romance of secrets and revelations ensues...

Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Google Play | Paperback {You can read a cute excerpt on Amazon!}


SWEET DEAL: THE UNEXPECTED BRIDE

For a limited time, get book 1 in the series for only $.99 in ebook format! Sale ends 2/20.

Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Google Play


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lena Goldfinch writes sweet historical western romance / inspirational romance and books for teens. She’s always been a sucker for a good old-fashioned romance, whether it’s a novel or short story, young adult or adult, fantasy or realistic, contemporary or historical. Lena has been a finalist in several national writing contests, including the RWA Golden Heart and ACFW Genesis contests. She enjoys life in a quiet, small town with her husband, two kids, and two very spoiled Black Labs. 

Amazon | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Twitter | Website

GIVEAWAY

Indulge your love of books with a $25 gift card to Amazon.com OR Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice!) and all four ebooks in The Brides Series. (If you already have the series, you can surprise a friend by gifting the ebooks to them!) To enter for a chance to win, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway