Monday, January 31, 2011

Book Review: The Rhythm of Secrets (blog tour) and information on a Nook eReader giveaway

I grew up as a voracious reader, but as life took over, the amount of time I had to read for myself (as opposed to reading picture books to my little ones) diminished to very little.  Then I discovered blogging, and better yet, I began to meet people that blessed me with opportunities to review books.  It was the impetus I needed to begin leisurely reading again and I am so grateful that I am.  Once again, I am here as a stop on a blog tour for the litfuse group.  This time, I was fortunate to read The Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy.

Here is the publisher's description:
Since 1955, Sheila Franklin, a talented musician, has perfectly performed the role of devout pastor’s wife, locking away her past as Sheba Alexander and Sylvia Allen. Her carefully constructed façade crumbles with a single phone call from a young Marine named Samuel, the illegitimate son she secretly put up for adoption. Samuel begs Sheila to use her government contacts to get his fiancé, Mali, a Thai prostitute, into America. A dangerous mixture of love and guilt spurs her to help her only child even though it devastates her husband Edward and exposes her questionable past. After a quarrel with Edward, Sheila and Samuel board a C-130 for Thailand and then search Bangkok’s steamy streets for a Madonna-faced prostitute. The two whisk Mali from a brothel but are seized by a warlord who considers Mali his “number one girl.” In a teak “ghost house,” Sheila discovers God’s grace and gains the freedom she needs to find her own identity—Sheila, Sylvia, and Sheba. A framed story, this novel has roots in the bohemian 1940s New Orleans French Quarter and spans three decades, including the turbulent Vietnam era.

My take:
I thoroughly enjoy any good book that can paint a vivid picture of sex and violence without going into sordid details.  I also enjoy historical fiction and unexpected twists.  This book combined all of these things into one.  It also had something I do not typically enjoy, flashbacks that occur throughout the story.  However, in this instance the flashbacks are well done and do not leave you trying to figure out which setting you are in.  I also enjoyed the musical references sprinkled throughout the book and the role that music played in the novel.  While I personally have very little musical talent, I love being around those who have been blessed with musicality.

My recommendation:
I had a difficult time putting this book down.  I was drawn into each era that Sheila lived through, as well as into the lives of her loved ones.  When I finished reading the book, it took on all new meaning when I learned it was based on a real person.  If you enjoy historical fiction, stories about inner struggles, and unexpected surprises, you will love this book.

About the author:
Patti Lacy is a Baylor graduate, who taught community college humanities until God called her to span seas and secrets in her novels, An Irishwoman's Tale and What the Bayou Saw. She has two grown children and a dog named Laura. She and her husband can be seen jog-walking the streets of Normal, Illinois, an amazing place to live for a woman born in a car. For more information, visit Patti's website at, her blog at, and her Facebook daily Artbites

How you can enter to win a Nook eReader:

Patti and her publisher, Kregel, are giving away a NOOK prize package worth over $150 to one lucky winner!!!!

Enter the Nook eReader Giveaway and you could win:
* A brand new Nook eReader with Wi-Fi
* $25 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble
To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form/s, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest. Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on February 16th at Patti's Rhythm of Secrets Facebook Party.

But, wait there’s more! Come to the Rhythm of Secrets Facebook Party on February 16th!
Patti will be announcing the winner of The Rhythm of Secrets NOOK giveaway at her Party on FB February 16th! She’ll be hosting a book club discussion of The Rhythm of Secrets and giving away other fun prizes! (signed copies of her books and gift certificates to Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, & iTunes!). Don’t miss the fun at Patti’s FB Author Page on February 16th at 5pm PST ( 6 pm MST, 7 pm CST, & 8 pm EST)!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through the litfuse group in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Scripture Sundays, Proverbs 31:13

This week's scripture is Proverbs 31:13
 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh
willingly with her hands.

This tells me that a virtuous woman looks for good materials and does her work willingly, without complaint.  This week I plan to have a more cheerful attitude when doing my work around the house.  I am not sure how I plan to implement seeking good materials any differently than I already do, but because wool and flax are not typically useful in their original form, I believe this implies that the materials will be used to make things for the home.  I plan on working on my knitting this week, hopefully learning at least one new stitch this week.  

Over the past two weeks, as I have begun to implement these changes, I have had a change in attitude toward my husband.  This is not to say that I have not always done these things, but I have not done them consciously.  As I have thought more about my husband on a daily basis, I am finding that I appreciate him more than ever.  Our marriage is far from perfect, but so am I and I am enjoying the changes I am seeing in both myself and my husband. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Scripture Sundays, Proverbs 31:12

Last week I began my study and application of Proverbs 31:10-31.  I continue this week with verse 12:
She will do him good and not evil 
all the days of her life.

This verse, like many of the ones in this section, is pretty straight forward.  It tells me that a virtuous woman will treat her husband well every day and not do anything bad to him.  I do not struggle so much with treating my husband bad, but I there are times where I struggle with treating my husband well, especially on days when I may be feeling frustrated with him.  So this week I plan to work on:

- I will try to do at least one thing each day to let my husband know that I love him.  On the days when I may be frustrated with him, I will do two good things for him.  This will be in addition to the everyday things I do anyway (cooking, cleaning, etc).

What are some of the ways you "do good" for your husband each day? 

Giveaway Winner: Big Cereal and Movie Cash

I was not feeling well last Sunday and Monday and then forgot to draw the winner when I did get back online.  However, when giving away prizes, I guess late is better than never :)

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2011-01-23 23:51:21 UTC
Comment 6 was:

Mami2jcn said...
I follow you in GFC.
Congratulations!  I have sent the winner an e-mail and she has 48 hours to get back to me or I will choose a new winner.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Simple Changes

 I am not a fan of resolutions because resolutions often get broken and forgotten.  However, I do like the idea of making simple changes in my life that help bring me closer to my goals.  In past years, I have tried to implement several changes all at once to cover a wide range of areas in my life (marriage, housework, diet, etc), but this year, I am going to choose to focus on 2-3 changes at a time.  I will still cover all the same areas, just not all at once.  I think this will be much more manageable.  So here are my changes for this year:

Financial:  We paid off all our credit cards last tax season and I could not feel better about that.  I want to continue to reduce our debt by paying off my student loan this year.  My current payments are $50 a month and I am planning to pay at least double that each month.  In order to do this, I need to increase my personal income so my current goal is to research various ways to do that.

Marriage:  While I try to stay happy all the time, my marriage is not perfect.  I realize however, that I cannot change my husband so I am working on accepting him as he is.

Health:  It is my long-term goal to lose quite a bit of weight.  My current goal is to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables I am eating each day and to fit some form of exercise in at least 5 days a week.

Spiritual:  I want to work on including personal scripture study in my daily life.  I will start by reading for 10 minutes every day.

Blogging: I have been pretty irregular in my blogging over the past few years.  My goal for this year is to get back to a blogging schedule and to start by blogging at least 3 times a week.

Children:  It is my goal to get back to parent/child date nights once a month so that we can build stronger personal relationships with our kids.

I am sure other goals will come to mind throughout the year, but these are the important ones to me right now.  It is my plan to work on the health and the blogging one right now and to fit the others in as I feel I can.  Happiness does not happen overnight and I expect these few simple goals will take some time as well.  I am up for the challenge though and look forward to what this year will bring me.  How about you?  What changes are you planning this year?

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Simply Orange® blogging program. If I am one of the first 65 blogs received by SocialsMoms, I will receive a $25 Target gift card and a gift pack that includes a Simply Orange® cooler bag and logoed fleece.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Scripture Sundays, Proverbs 31:10-11

I have generally kept religion off my blog and for the most part will continue to do so.  The reason for this is, not because I do not have religious beliefs or that I am ashamed of them, but because I have a reader base that covers a wide variety of lifestyles and beliefs.  However, I am planning to start something new on Sundays where I choose a section of scripture or other religious document and break it down precept upon precept and apply it to my life.  I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints, also known as the "Mormons", so I will be choosing from The Bible (Old and New Testaments), as well as the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and other church publications.  If this is not something you are interested in reading, that is fine, please just choose to ignore my Sunday posts.  Also, for those who may only be interested in the Biblical scriptures I use, I will put the scriptural reference in the title each week so that you will know ahead of time where I am working that week.  The rest of the week, I will continue to honor my beliefs, but not broadcast them.

Having said all that, I am planning to kick this off by starting with Proverbs 31:10-31, the virtuous women.  One of the goals I have set for myself this year is to become a more virtuous woman.  This week I am going to start with the first 2 verses of this section, verses 10 and 11:
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he 
shall have no need of spoil.

These words say to me that a virtuous woman is much more valuable than precious gems and that in order to be a virtuous woman, a wife must have her husband's trust.  If he trusts her, he will have no reason to stray.  The trust I am speaking of is deeper that just trusting her to stay loyal, but that he can trust her to keep his secrets as well.  My goal for this week is to work on being a more trustworthy wife.  Here is how I plan to do that:
- Be more aware of my interactions with other men, to ensure that nothing I am saying or doing can be misconstrued as flirting.
- Make sure that I am not speaking ill of my husband to others.  If we have a disagreement, that is between us and is not anyone else's business.  I will not run to my friends/sister/mother/facebook and air our dirty laundry.
- I will also keep my husband's business to myself.  If others want to know about his medical care or how he is handling school, they will have to ask him.  Of course, I will not be rude about it, but I will only speak positively and will not disclose personal information about my husband.

I am hoping to continue on next week with an update of how this week went as well as moving on to the next verse (12).  How do you interpret these verses?  How will you (or for my male readers, how can your wife) build up your husband's trust in you?,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Giveaway: Free movie from Big G Cereals and a giveaway

Right now, when you purchase specially marked boxes of Big G Cereals, including Honey Nut Cheerios® (17 oz.), Cinnamon Toast Crunch® (17 oz.), Lucky Charms® (16 oz.), Trix® (14.8 oz) and Reese’s Puffs® (18 oz.), you can receive a free Movie Cash certificate (good for 1 admission, up to $12 value.) Inside each specially marked box is a code. Once you have two codes, you can get one Movie Cash certificate, which you print at home so you can use it immediately. Unlike free movie passes, these Movie Cash certificates can be used on ANY movie at any participating theater (including IMAX!!) For a list of participating theaters visit:

General Mills and My Blog Spark kindly sent me a gift package which included 4 Movie Cash certificates and 2 boxes of Big G cereals (I got Reese's Puffs and Trix), which included codes that I redeemed for a 5th Movie Cash certificate. My husband and I used 2 tickets to go watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 on IMAX and we used the remaining tickets to take the girls to see Tangled. These were special treats for us because we rarely go to an indoor movie theater, just the drive-in in the summer.

I have a gift set of 2 boxes of Big G cereal and 4 Movie Cash certificates to give away to one of my readers. The winner will be chosen on January 16th (my daddy's birthday) and they will have 48 hours to get back to me or a new winner will be chosen. I will choose the winner at some point in the evening of the 16th and entries will be accepted up until the drawing. Here's how to enter:

*Mandatory Entry (must be done before extra entries will be counted)*
- Tell me how you make movie nights special for your family.

Extra ways to enter (leave a comment for each one you do):
- subscribe to The Happy Wife
- follow The Happy WIfe
- share this giveaway via your blog or other social networking site.
- Follow me on Twitter

General Mills provided me with this information, my own gift set and the giveaway items through My Blog Spark. As always, my opinion is my own.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Swagbucks code- Hurry! Expires at 11:30AM EST

If you are a Swagbucks member, there is a free code worth 5 Swagbucks in the swidget in the right column of this blog. Click on Get code and then enter it on Swagbucks. Hurry though because it is only good until 8:30AM (PST), that's 11:30AM for my EST friends. If you do not belong to Swagbucks, now is a great time to sign up. It is free and so easy to use. You use it as a search engine and earn great prizes, such as gift cards.