But Where’s the Love? (a book review)


Love Lives Here: Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You WantLove Lives Here: Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You Want by Maria Goff

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

At first I thought this was just going to be a collection of nice anecdotes to make us feel warm and fuzzy. It is so much more than that. The examples and stories are lovely, but they’re also real, personal, vulnerable, and challenging. Goff writes in such a comfortable way, so very full of love. She writes as a good friend would to encourage and edify our lives by sharing the details of her own. I am surprised at how much I have read new ways to be challenged without feeling lectured to. So much love lives with her, indeed, and there is much freedom in her stories from her life – freedom to accept love from Christ as we are, freedom to trust and let go – knowing Christ is completely dependable. And then freedom to pour out love on others – because love lives here with me too, no matter how messy my life gets!

I received an Advanced Readers Copy from the publisher. This is an honest review.

You can get your own copy!


Check it out from Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Lives-Here-Finding-Telling/dp/1433648911/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488812849&sr=8-1&keywords=love+lives+here

Or from Barnes and Noble here: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/love-lives-here-maria-goff/1124075579?ean=9781433648915

Or from Lifeway here: http://m.lifeway.com/Product/love-lives-here-P005790538?carid=mwiley

Or from CBD here: https://www.christianbook.com/lives-finding-need-world-telling-want/maria-goff/9781433648915/pd/648910?event=ESRCG

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Prioritizing Time in the Word Together

Originally posted on the Prayers for Girls blog, which can be found here.

I love clocks. Really, I have one in every room and am kinda obsessed with knowing what time it is.

​We live and we die by time, and we must not commit the sin of turning our back on time. — Tom Hanks, Castaway

Okay, that’s probably quite a bit more intense than I actually am, but I share it to illustrate just how much being on time is important to me. I abhor being late, and wasting time? Well, I think it’s necessary sometimes, and I can be REALLY good at it, but that doesn’t mean I’ve embraced it without major guilt.

We have a morning routine to get me and my two girls out the door and on the way to school so we’re there by 7:30. We technically have until 7:40 a.m. before the bell rings, but I’m so much about being early, I don’t even know when the last tardy bell actually is. However, as most mothers know, having kids means all kinds of unexpectedness and crazy behavior so to many things, we’re often late. But NEVER LATE TO SCHOOL.

The final part of our morning routine is reading from a devotional geared towards elementary-aged girls. It’s a great tool for guiding our prayers to be more effective and concentrating on what a girl like my Naomi needs. We’ve had many quick morning conversations that get us thinking and praying in the right direction.

Recently we had a crazy morning …

My three-year-old was out of sorts. I burned the waffles at breakfast and had to make more. Naomi was huffy because things weren’t going smoothly.

We were officially behind not because of those things though, but because I’d pressed the snooze button WAY too many times.

Which was, of course, why my three-year-old Noelle was moody—I was rushing.

Probably why I burned the waffles—rushing and not paying attention.

Definitely why Naomi had angst—rushing.

Looking at the clock, I realized we had about three minutes before we needed to leave and I was still wrestling clothes on my octopus {I mean, three-year-old}. Naomi came in and said, “Well, are we going to brush teeth or read our book?” Never being one to let bad breath leave the house, I called out, “Brush, hurry!!” She did, but while pulling on her shoes, she said, “I guess we don’t have time for our devotional.”

My mind was spinning with excuses.We could read our devotion in the afternoon after school or that night before bed. We could read it the next day and double up. Missing one day, I mean, that’s not the end of the world, we’ve missed other days, it’s FINE.

But the Spirit whispered as it does, and nudged me to ignore the clock, and read the our kid devotional. And what word awaited me?

We can’t afford to waste a minute… Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about! — Romans 13:13-14 MSG

The devotion covered not just the dangers of procrastination but also of loving sleep and laziness a bit too much. Those cute vegetable characters were speaking right to me.

“Mommy,” Naomi said, “maybe next time you should get up when the alarm first goes off.”

Yep, she busted me.

But in the best way. She used Scripture to address my lack of timeliness that morning.

We still got to school before the tardy bell (barely), but weren’t as early as usual so traffic was a little heavier while I did my errands after school drop off. But that really didn’t matter. We both learned a good lesson that morning. And it made my heart soar that my daughter was able to connect with me through the Word, something I’d always been hoping and praying for.

I love this month’s Prayers for Girls theme of praying the word with our girls! {Are you getting yours? If not, subscribe today!!} Two of the ways I’m connecting with my daughters through the Word are reading a devotion every morning and working on the memory verses they get each week in Sunday School.

What ways are you and your girls are getting in the word?

On the busiest mornings, prioritizing time in the Word together can make everyone feel less rushed. #prayersforgirlsCLICK TO TWEET

A Prayer for Connecting

Dear God, we are so very thankful for Scripture and how you speak right into the details of our lives through it. Help us to be more open and diligent with your Word, so our girls will be too. Helps us to connect with our girls as we build each other up. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Frizz-free curls at last! (Product review)

​I received a box from Influenster last fall with these three goodies:

I am pretty much a Pantene fan, love their products, but these products are even better. I was impressed at how my hair didn’t feel stripped, but still felt clean – that’s pretty rare. Usually there’s lots of build up or a weird, unclean feeling. The conditioner was great at detangling, though not as much as my Pantene, but I still really liked it. 

But the best part is the styling cream.

My word, that’s good stuff. It held my curls and rinsed off my hands quickly. Look:

This was a very rainy day. At the *end* of the day. I was so surprised that my curls not only were still defined, but still frizz free. They weren’t crunchy, no product was dripping down my neck, nothing but nice curls. A first for a rainy day! I used the cream-gel many times on very different weather days and was so happy each time with the outcome! 

This is the other side but post toddler climbing on my head. Um, still pretty great. My hair is not sticking out 2 feet from my head and that’s a bit rare. I usually have it up in a hair elastic by this time because it’s outta control.

I will say this though, they work best when used together. I ran out of the shampoo and conditioner (hence the grocery store pic), and using my cream after my Pantene is still good, but not as good.

A little frizz (this is when used after Pantene shampoo and conditioner), but it’s still nicer than other products I’ve used because there are no hard parts and it’s very light in my hair.

Happy fan here!

I received the product(s) complimentary to test.

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That Easy Kind of Talk (book review)

When I started Counting Grains of Sand, I got a little wary. This lovely author had so much grief, so many seemingly unanswered prayers that I could not identify with. Maybe I’d made a mistake in agreeing to read and review this book. But I decided to keep going because I had another book by her that I loved.

I was not disappointed. I was riveted. And not just by her journey to children, but her journey to some of the depths of God. She speaks like an old friend sitting on your couch with a cup of coffee, spilling out the bits of her pain. I flew through this book, marveling at God’s answers, his restoration, his miracles. I cried with her, I laughed with her, I was in awe of God with her.

As I witnessed this journey unfold, I realized that I could relate so well to everything she was saying. Yes, my circumstances were so different but I’d definitely been in the midst of pain, wondering where God was, wondering if it was time to throw away my dreams. 

 But I also realized just how much unbelief was in my heart. How many times did I feel far from God because I was in pain? This book, Counting Grains of Sand, helped me see what was going on in the depths of my own heart. It was like an impromptu best friends weekend. One where, in hearing my dear friend’s shattered heart, I learned more about the state of my own. How God isn’t far, He hasn’t called me to let go of my dreams, He can restore anything. 

Perhaps you’re wondering if God keeps His promises, if He cares about your big dreams, if He can be counted on. I’d highly recommend this to anyone who has had their life (or the life of someone they love) unraveled due to some form of loss or unrealized dream.

Available as a paperback or ebook from Amazon here!

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At first I was afraid, I was petrified.

​The notion of having a one word for the year seems to be getting more popular, and it’s very interesting to read what others are picking and why. Last year my word was “fearless” and man, that stretched me in all good ways. I learned there were many more fears in me than I was even aware of (and some I was getting really good at labeling ” being cautious and wise” when in fact, it was just plain ole fear). It was a little scary at first, but nothing compared to this year’s. Interestingly, as soon as I started thinking and praying about this year’s word, it was very clear what it should be.


Yeah I neededed a big coffee and a maniac face after that word hit me. Community. 

And that includes specifically my neighborhood – people I so rarely see and really don’t know. And that includes specifically the people I see regularly – like retail staff and car mechanics and librarians and oh man, those challenging employees I really don’t enjoy interacting with but won’t name here (some people came to your mind too).

And I’m not gonna lie, I tried to change my AND God’s mind.

As a huge introvert and Highly Sensitive Person (yes, it’s an actual thing), the last thing I wanted was a whole year’s focus being on people I am not already friends with or related to. And not just any people, but those people outside my house. The horror! I’m already overwhelmed and may need to lie down.

But last year’s word helped me see how much fear there is in the world, and fear just doesn’t magically appear out of thin air (even if it seems so), but is the direct product of hurts. And oh my word, there are more hurts in all of us than many of us realize. Some big, some small, all making an impact on our fear/anxiety level.

So… what? Who’s gonna help these hurts? Well, it’s not gonna be political leaders, it not going to be those yelling on social media*, it isn’t even solely going to be church leaders (they can’t do it all). People like me, with the dramatic todder with chocolate perpetually on her face. People like me, with a car that has a few parts being held together with duct tape. People like me that are tired, busy, and would just rather curl up under a blanket with a good book.

I have been the person thinking, “I wish someone would call**, write, drop me a line, just something to show they care.” There are so many of us out there wishing the same thing. So yes, it will push me out of my comfort zone, but it seems a small price to pay to show love to all these people that are near me and made in the image of God. Because sometimes people just need a smile, a quick note, a hug, a listening ear, a muffin.

Hey, I have all of those.

Do you have a word for the year you’d like to tell me about? If not, would you consider thinking and praying about one? You can find more info anywhere by searching “one word for the year” or going to OneWord365 or searching #oneword365 on Instagram. You’ll be inspired and let me tell you, you pick a word? You’ll be changed. If you need help picking a word, let me know in your comment and I’ll email you some tips to get you started! 2017 can be amazing!

*I am all about some social media. It has positively changed so many things about my life but I’m not ignorant to its potential problems. So, while sharing and reading things on Facebook etc., is great, it’s not a stopping point. Most of us need more. 

** If you know me at all, you saw “call” and instantly replaced it with “text” because I don’t talk on the phone if I can help it. I mean, just go ahead and delete that feature from my phone, thanks.

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Pampers Easy Ups Review

​Was given a free sample to review. These Pampers Easy Ups are soft, the elastic gives without chafing, and they’re adorable! And my daughter can pull them up and down herself! She got really excited to see Hello Kitty on the pull up… and Thomas the train – yup, she wore the boy’s pants too!

Now, if only Pampers could make the toilet more appealing to her…

Wanna try some? Get your $1.50 off coupon (and some other great Pampers coupons) here!

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You’re Welcome 

It’s so easy to assume why someone votes the way they do. Many people have assumed who I did vote for and many have assumed who I didn’t and all the reasons that go with it. But honestly, here’s all I really wanna say right now: You’re welcome.

If you voted for Clinton, Trump, someone else, didn’t vote, or couldn’t vote, you’re welcome.

If you’re black, white, brown, or any other shade or race, you’re welcome.

If you protested the results, think the protests are ludicrous, don’t know what I’m talking about, or don’t care, you’re welcome.

If you are Christian, Muslim, atheist, agnostic, or anything else, you’re welcome.

If you are male, female, or don’t know, you’re welcome.

If you are gay, straight, asexual, transexual, or anything else, you’re welcome.

If you’re American, Russian, Congolese, Taiwanese, or any other nationality, you’re welcome.

If you are legally here, illegal, working on it, or not, you’re welcome.

If we agree on everything, nothing, somewhere in between, you’re welcome.

If you have non working legs, eyes, fingers, kidneys, or something else that doesn’t work right, you’re welcome.

If you eat too much, drink too much, smoke too much, or anything else too much, you’re welcome. 

If you carry a gun, don’t carry a gun, are afraid of guns, or don’t care about guns, you’re welcome.

If you believe life begins at conception, birth, or some other time, you’re welcome.

If you’re a millionaire, penniless, on welfare, living paycheck to paycheck, or anything else, you’re welcome.

If you are an accountant, a stripper, a bus driver, jobless, living in your mom’s basement, or anything else, you’re welcome.

If we have argued, frowned at each other, had heated debates, only ever said sweet and shallow words, or anything else, you’re welcome.

If you say Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, I Hate December, or anything else, you’re welcome.

If you are Clinton, Trump, or anyone else, you’re welcome.

You are welcome at my dinner table, and in the seat next to me at my church. And I am committed to trying to live this every day. I am not perfect, but please know this is written deeply in my heart.


Photo by @GreengateImages

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