Monday, April 18, 2016


Do y’all remember me mentioning this book a few weeks back?
 Well, you know I love EVERYTHING Courtney’s written 
[starting with her scrapbook books – and the Sweet Haven Series] 
- and this sequel to Paper Hearts did not disappoint. 
 – It’s always so fun to have familiar characters when you’re getting to know new ones.  Courtney’s books deal with real-life situations from a believer’s perspective – and I love how she gives life to the struggles that many of us face in this ‘ole sinful world we live in. 
I love her writing style too, 
so I wanted to share some of my favorite parts / quotes from the book --
p. 139: "Outfit by outfit she went through her closet wondering where the real Evelyn had gone, wondering if she was so far away that she would never find herself again.
“I’m not strong enough for this,” she said aloud. “God, I can’t do this on my own.”
….struggling with thoughts of divorce – leaving or staying, husband not willing to change… p. 140: “Somehow she knew it wasn’t just Christopher’s choices 
that had led them to this point. It was hers too.”
Love the struggle our sweet Evelyn went through as she struggled with the end of her marriage – and, ultimately accepted some responsibility in her choices.
And that she couldn't do it on her own....
p. 163: Ursula: "I want you to know that you don’t have to stay with a man who cheats… 
you honored it, he didn’t. 
That makes him the failure. Not you."
Ursula: "You’ve got a choice, kid. 
Stay in the house, mope around, and become the crazy person the media says you are… [or] put on your big-girl panties and make some hard decisions."
I love Ursula – she’s strong, bold, & helpful. 
[Described as a big woman, she kind of reminds me of my Aunt Quida… 
or maybe myself?] 
LOVE how she speaks truth to a situation
 and I would love to have the resources to help like she does – 
But, you know what? I can in my own small ways 
Lord, open my eyes to see where I can help others in all different ways -
p. 164: "She’d done the right thing filing for divorce, even though it wasn’t something what happened to good Christians…She wondered if God would ever forgive her if she chose to walk away… And if He did, would she ever forgive herself?"
In the book, Evelyn’s friends show kindness – not judgement. 
And I kind of love that. 
There are so many times we can just be kind
I also see the struggle to forgive oneself as something 
that many of us deal with, even when we know a loving and forgiving God.
p. 184: "Silence hung between them. Since her life had started unraveling, Evelyn had started to realize all the ways she’d lost herself. She used to be a person with ambitions and dreams. She used to have convictions to stand by. She used to know who she was. But she’d spent so many years trying to please everyone else, she’d lost her way."
p. 185: "You don’t have to be embarrassed about who you are."
p. 186: "You can stay mad too… 
Or you can figure out what you want your next chapter to look like.
It’s time to dust yourself off and remember what you wanted to do in the first place.
He only wanted her to be her best self."
p.199: "I think you need to figure out who you are, 
not who everyone else wants you to be. 
And that has to be enough. 
It’s enough for The One who made you – why isn’t it enough for you?"
That last statement is one of my favorites –
And something I know people around the world need to hear over and over – 
You are who you are – 
It’s enough for The One who created us –
Let’s just rest in that and look to Him to be the best we can be!
p. 359: "Giving it over [to God] means letting it go.  
You found a way to hold on to it all this time. 
You never really gave this thing to God. 
[Retort:  – But no one even knew…] -
But you knew … and that’s the point.
… It might be time to surrender… 
Truly and completely surrender. 
You may’ve thought you did that, but unless you were willing to accept the answer 
might be no, you didn’t… 
You held on. You tried to stay in control. 
If you’d really surrendered, you would’ve accepted that the answer was no 
and moved on. 
It’s time to surrender now… Lay it down. 
Once and for all.
This last little bit is probably my very favorite part of the book – Courtney’s characters do such a great job talking about surrender. So many times we say we are surrendering our all to God, when we’re really holding on [sometimes in the tiniest ways] and trying to control things so that it goes our way… I can remember being in a Bible Study with women I trusted my heart with more than a few years ago [I STILL MISS THAT GROUP!!] and admitting that I didn'tt want to surrender 100% to God… my everything…  my boys’ lives… my health…. etc. It was a scary thought, because, omgoodness… WHAT MIGHT GOD ASK OF ME? But, you know what? We worked through it, God and I… and I think that’s when I finally kicked my bad friend, anxiety, to the curb. [Not that he doesn’t still try to visit on occasion…] 
What freedom there is in surrendering it all! 
So easy, yet so hard… 
Gotta love Ursula and how she ties it up nicely:
And then Ursula – 
"It’s not weak, you know. 
Takes a whole lot of strength to give the thing you want most over to God, 
not knowing whether He will give it back to you. 
And it takes a lot of faith to mean it.
And I hope I haven't shared so much to spoil the story for you!
It's such a great book - 
Go -- > read the book. It’s available here, and here, and here.
Thanks so much, Courtney for letting God use you books to speak His truth in my life!
Oh, and here's another fun teaser about the book -
The whole family is pretty talented!

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