July 29, 2014

top ten tuesday: authors i own the most books from

The blog has been silent lately, mainly because I just got back from a week in Indiana, where my sister married the love of her life. (Trust me, a post is forthcoming.) While on said "vacation," I read a total of 1-1/2 books. That's it! It was nice to have a break, and now I'm ready to jump back into my normal insane reading schedule :-) I'll have a slew of reviews in the next several weeks, but for now, I thought it would be fun to do something different.

I've never done one of these weekly memes before, but several bloggers I follow have started doing Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke & The Bookish, and I thought it looked like fun! I'm sure I won't be doing these all the time, but if a Top Ten Tuesday catches my eye, then I'll jump in.

This week's topic is Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From. Since I didn't really feel like going through my bookshelves and Kindle to count everything, this is just an estimate. I'm very confident in the top five, but the rest are guesses :-) I thought it might be fun to give you a glimpse at my bookshelves as we go along. (If the pictures are too small, click on them, and they'll get bigger.)

This is just the 1st shelf—the shelf below
is about half full of Kingsbury books!
1. Karen Kingsbury—There was a time when I bought each and every Kingsbury book as soon as it released. That all ended with Loving, the last book in the Bailey Flanigan series. I began reading, then I flipped to the end to find out who Bailey chose in the end: Cody or Brandon. The result was what I feared. I put the book down and haven't read another Kingsbury book since. I know it's ridiculous, but I spent so much time (and money) invested in Bailey's journey, and I just can't get over the way it ended. (Full disclosure: At one point in the series, I wanted Kingsbury to end it exactly as she did, but then things changed, and I felt betrayed as a reader.) I do have two Kingsbury books that I haven't read yet, including Coming Home, which wraps up the Baxter series. I should really read them ... someday.

I just counted, and I have 44 Karen Kingsbury books. Goodness!

Lori Wick & Dee Henderson. For
a while, I kept all my Wick books.
Recently, though, I decided to just
keep my favorites and try to sell
the rest. So if you're in the market for
cheap Lori Wick books, check out
my half.com shop!
2. Lori Wick—From 7th grade until I discovered Karen Kingsbury in college, Lori Wick was my favorite author. I loaned out Sophie's Heart so many times that it's practically falling apart, and I've still read it more times than any other book. Fun fact: Wick is the only author on this list that I've seen in person. Her son attended the same college as I did, and one Sunday morning I turned around in church and saw her about six rows back!

3. Susan May Warren—I liked the first few Warren books I read, but I didn't love them. Then I read Sons of Thunder. I was hooked, and now I read everything she writes. I just finished When I Fall in Love, and I absolutely could not put it down. (Review coming next week.) I can't wait for the next in the series!

It doesn't look like many books, but
The Chronicles of Narnia and The
Essential C.S. Lewis
 both contain
several books.
4. C.S. Lewis—Lewis is the only author on the list whose fiction and non-fiction I own. Of course The Chronicles of Narnia is a favorite; I also love Mere Christianity and Till We Have Faces.

I've loaned out several Dekker books. They go
(of course) where the gaps are. If you're interested
in the book flowers, you can see how I
made them here.

5. Ted Dekker—My friend Jodi gave me Green, my first Ted Dekker novel, about 10 years ago. After devouring the Circle trilogy (now a quartet), I moved on to his other novels. Some I loved (Skin, Immanuel's Veins), some I loathed (Boneman's Daughters). I haven't read any of his newer novels ... or even all of the novels that are on this shelf!

The end of Susan May Warren &
most of my Robin Jones Gunn.
6. Robin Jones Gunn—What Christian teenage girl in the 90's didn't love the Christy Miller series? I got into the game a bit late—Book 8, Starry Night, is the first book I read in the series. Then in high school, I started reading the Glenbrooke series, and I own all eight books. Most recently, I read the Katie Weldon series and was surprised at how much I liked Katie, as I didn't really enjoy her in the Christy Miller series. I also have a couple Robin Jones Gunn books on my to be read shelf.

I have two types of bookshelves:
those that hold books I want to
display, and those that hold books
I keep for sentimental reasons. This
shelf holds the latter.
7. Lisa T. Bergren—I first came across Lisa T. Bergren in high school. My high school library had the Full Circle series, and reading Refuge made me really, really want to visit Montana! I didn't read any more of her books for a long time, but I recently reviewed the Grand Tour series and loved it. I also have a few books from her River of Time series on my Kindle ... must make time to read them! (Hello, it's YA and time travel. Of course I'm going to love it!)

The end of Karen Kingsbury, a few Denise Hunter,
and the beginning of Susan May Warren. I've
loaned out a ton of my Hunter and Warren books.
8. Denise Hunter—Hunter is, hands down, my favorite romance writer. I got started with her Nantucket series, and I've read practically everything she's written since. The Convenient Groom is one of my all-time favorite books, but I haven't reviewed it. I should probably read it again and remedy that!

The Austen shrine.
9. Jane Austen—Is it OK to admit that the only Jane Austen book I've ever read is Pride & Prejudice, and even then, I skipped some in the middle? But I display the books prominently, right beside the film adaptations of her novels. (My favorite? The BBC production of Emma.)

10. Dee Henderson—Henderson's O'Malley series remains is one of my all-time favorites. I also read some of her True Devotion series and enjoyed them. I haven't read any of her recent novels—I've read some negative reviews, and I don't want to spend money on books I may not like.

So there's my list. What about you? Leave your top ten in the comments, or leave a link to your own top ten post.

July 15, 2014

july life update

I'm well overdue for another gluten free post, but there are so many other things to talk about, so I'm going to do a combo post—a life update, if you will. Hopefully the pictures will keep it interesting!

I celebrated two years with my cats at the beginning of July. When I got Isis, Hammond, and Skaara, I simply hoped they'd stay around for a few months—I didn't dare to hope I'd have them for years! Here are the before and after pictures I posted on Facebook.
Hammond & Skaara
Gluten Free
There's not really much to say here. I no longer have the extreme hunger or fatigue that I faced in the first couple weeks. I'm also not having the amazing digestive results that I had at the beginning. The angry bowels are back, folks. (TMI?) I'm not having the extreme reactions to some meals that I used to have (I didn't get sick once during Val's bachelorette weekend, where I ate out every meal—I'm very thankful for gluten free menus!), but I also wouldn't say that everything is "normal." Really, though, my digestion hasn't been normal for my entire life ... I'm beginning to wonder if the reduction in IBS symptoms has more to do with being more conscious of what I'm putting into my body and eating fewer processed foods than it does with cutting gluten. I haven't seen a single change in thyroid symptoms, but I'm going to keep plugging away with the gluten free diet, at least until I see my doctor again at the end of July or beginning of August. I want to know if cutting gluten has reduced my thyroid antibodies. (Because some people asked after my last update: I currently take Synthroid. I was on levothyroxine—generic for Synthroid—for about 12 years, and the ENT I saw in April recommended I take name brand Synthroid to see if that helped. I don't think it has, so I'm going to be requesting a switch back to the much cheaper levothyroxine ... or perhaps Armour. Most importantly, I now know what questions to ask. I know this means nothing to you non-thyroid people!)
Shoutout to my friend Sarah, who gave me this great stuff after she found out she didn't need to be gluten free! Keep her in your prayers—she's also dealing with some frustrating health stuff.

Essential Oils
A few weeks ago, I went to an essential oils party—this one was for Young Living oils. I love the concept, but man are these oils expensive! I almost signed up on the spot, but I decided to think about it for a while, and I'm glad I did. I ended up buying this Edens Garden set for $25 (including shipping) from Amazon. So far, I've only used the peppermint and lavender, and I'm very happy. I've mentioned before that I have terrible menstrual cramps—I normally take upwards of 30 ibuprofen pills per period (which is terrible, I know, but the cramps are so bad!). During my most recent period, I took six pills. SIX! Sure, I smelled like a walking peppermint the whole time, but I think it's a good trade off!

In the last few days, my dad has also smelled like a walking peppermint because we've been using several oils—and peppermint seems to overpower the others—to treat poison ivy. His results haven't been so amazing, so he's headed to the doctor this afternoon. You can't win them all, I guess!

(Note: If you're a Young Living/doTerra/any other oil company rep, I'm not interested in hearing why your product is so much better than Edens Garden. The oils work for me, I'm happy, and that's all I need to know right now. Also, the lack of an apostrophe in "Edens" really drives me nuts—but not nuts enough to avoid the products!)

Bachelorette Weekend
My sister is getting married ... in less than two weeks! At the end of June, several of us met outside Chicago to celebrate. It was so great to spend time with her, eat great food, and relax. I also had my first exposure to this shopping wonderland:
Oh, Ikea. How did I ever go 32 years without understanding how wonderful you are? I spent less than $75 and got some amazing stuff, including curtains for my bedroom and a new coffee table. Then I ordered some stuff when I got home, too, because I realized I really should have bought the matching end tables to go with the coffee table.

Painting Project
When I moved into my house, there was one thing I wished I could have done first: paint the guest room. But the desire to move in as soon as possible trumped the desire to paint, so I put it off. Over the 4th of July weekend, Blendy and I finally painted! Take a look at the before and after photos:
The room was very cute before, but only suitable for a child ... The room looks much more "adult" now. To top it off, I was able to hang my favorite painting on the wall:
I fell in love with Starry Night when I was in high school. The first time I remember seeing it was on a very special episode of Boy Meets World. Topanga is mad at Cory because he kissed another girl. She and Angela go to this art museum, and she meets an intriguing boy played by General Hospital's Lucky Spencer, Jonathan Jackson. They bond over Starry Night, go on a date, he kisses her, and then Cory and Topanga get back together. (I tried really hard to find you a clip, but this was all I could find. No Lucky. Sorry.) Anyway, Blendy found the print at Ross for $20 during Bachelorette weekend. Score!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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