October 13, 2014

A Beautiful Baby Shower...and an Unexpected Gift

A little over a week ago, my friends and family threw me the best possible baby shower a girl could ever imagine. Here are just a few pics from that beautiful night (I didn't have my camera, so I'm waiting on pics of me with people!).

The couch where I sat and opened gifts. The venue where the shower was held is owned
by one of my mom's dear friends, who put together much of the beautiful decor.
One of the many beautifully decorated tables.
Another table.
Nautical decor.
One of my friends found a bunch of nautical- and mommy-related quotes.
This one made me want to cry!

Drink station.
Only some of the delicious food. There was also a mashed potato bar, fruits, and veggies.
The day of the shower, I realized something. Something significant.

I was not going to have a single blood relative in attendance.

That struck me...because many showers are thrown by moms, aunts, grandmas, or cousins. Mine, however, was being thrown by my friends, my mother-in-law, and my stepmom.

And as I think about that, I realize how completely blessed I am. That these women did all of this for me, not out of some sort of obligation...but because they love me. They love this baby. They wanted to do this.

Of course, if I'd had blood relatives here in town, I know they would have done the same thing. I'm just super blessed that way.

You see, being pregnant and all that goes along with it has been wonderful. But it's also been hard.

It's been a huge reminder to me that my mom isn't here anymore. She died 10 years ago, so she wasn't here for my college graduation or my wedding either. But this...this feels different.

And I was feeling really sad about the fact that she wouldn't be at my shower.

Then, my friends and family did something amazing (on top of all the work they did throwing a beautiful shower). Something I didn't expect. But I should have, knowing how wonderful they are.

They made my mom a part of my shower. 

The first gift I opened for the night was a baby blanket. It was beautifully stitched with a sailboat and colors that matched our nursery. 

And sewn into the cloth were the words "Gramma Sandy." Sandy was my mom's name. My friends said they wanted to make her part of my special day and my baby's life. That every time my baby boy is wrapped in that blanket, it'll be the next best thing to having my mom hold him. 

Oh my. I completely lost it right then and there. Hysterical Lindsay. But...grateful Lindsay. 

Because as I looked around that room, I realized...my baby may not ever know his Grandma Sandy. But he'll know his Grandma Harrel and his Grandma Walker. He'll know his aunties...both my sisters by marriage and those precious friends who are like sisters to me. And of course, he'll know all of my loving relatives even though we're separated by distance.

God has taken what was lost, and though he has not given it back to me exactly, he has filled my life with mentors, family, and friends who I can count on. I am blessed. And I am grateful beyond belief.

To everyone who helped make this baby shower happen...and make it one of the most memorable, beautiful events of my life whether by attending or helping...thank you. You'll never know how much you touched me.

Your Turn: Have you ever received an unexpected gift?

October 6, 2014

Kept and the Modern Family: Guest Post by Sally Bradley {and a giveaway!}

Christian fiction is known by many as sweet and saccharine -- sure to induce happy, glowy feelings about God and family. And for many novels, that's the truth. But in today's world, there's more than that to Christian fiction (in fact, my friend Rachel McMillan just wrote this awesome article about that on Breakpoint.org).

My friend Sally Bradley just released a book called Kept, about a woman who lives everything BUT a sweet, saccharine life. But the difficult themes don't mean it isn't a "Christian" book. Sally does a great job of dealing with very real life in a very real way, with truth woven in -- truth we all need to hear. I asked Sally to give a little more insight into her book today. I hope you enjoy hearing from her. (Also, check out your chance to win a copy below!)

Sally, take it away...

As a teen growing up in the late eighties and early nineties, I remember hearing repeatedly that the family unit was under attack. Changes in society and our culture were out to destroy the family, they said, and I mentally rolled my eyes. Really. Destroy the family?

Like that could happen.

Here we are, twenty years later, and those words have proven true. Overall, the American family is a completely different entity from what it was back in the day. So many families are broken by betrayal and divorce, and other families never even got off the ground with parents who were together a brief time -- never married, never committed, never parenting their child together. Many children spend little time with one parent, and some have never even known their father.

Things really have changed, haven't they?

When I prepared to write Kept, this concept hit me and played a huge role in who Miska, my heroine, was. She's grown up in a single-parent home, with a mom who beat the odds and financially was a huge success. Miska's never known her dad, not that she remembers at least, and grew up with two womanizing older brothers who've taught her their version of love and relationships. Saving herelf for true love became a joke a good decade ago, and now she's just hoping for a relationship that's half as good as what she dreams about.

I bet we all know someone -- or many -- like her.

The cool thing is that, no matter what society throws at us, no matter how it tries to twist and destroy all the good that God created, our God is bigger than all of it. Way bigger. And far more powerful. As a pastor's wife, one of the things that excites me is that in our messed-up, promiscuous culture, God is still saving people, still bringing them to Him, and still giving them new hope and a new future.

That never gets old, does it?

People who've been where Miska's been still have struggles. There are still consequences from the past that follow them into their new life, and sometimes these new Christians struggle with where they fit into the church -- with God, with other Christians, with the possibility of a Christian family. That's why I wrote Kept -- to show that there is more than just forgiveness and salvation with God; there's also love, care, hope, and a future.

Society will always try to destroy what God created and called good. Always. But God will always be bigger than that. No matter where we've been, no matter what our culture is, no matter what our messed-up society has taught us, God still has the answers and can still reach those who long for truth.

He can still bring families from the ruin.

Your Turn: What issues do you like to read about in a novel? What issues are close to your heart?

Sally Bradley writes big-city fiction with real issues and real hope. A Chicagoan since age five, she now lives in the Kansas City area with her family, but they still get back to Chicago once in a while for important things -- like good pizza and a White Sox game. Fiction has been her passion since childhood, and she's thrilled now to be writing books that not only entertain, but point back to Christ. A freelance fiction editor, Sally can be found at www.sallybradley.com and on Facebook at Sally Bradley, Writer. Kept is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

Life has taught Miska Tomlinson that there are no honorable men. Her womanizing brothers, her absentee father, and Mark, the married baseball player who claims to love her -- all have proven undependable. But Miska has life under control. She runs her editing business from her luxury condo, stays fit with daily jogs along Chicago's lakefront, and in her free time blogs anonymously about life as a kept woman.

Enter new neighbor Dillan Foster. Between his unexpected friendship and her father's sudden reappearance, Miska loses control of her orderly life. Her relationship with Mark deteriorates, and Miska can't help comparing him to Dillan. His religious views are so foreign, yet the way he treats her is something she's longed for. But Dillan discovers exactly who she is and what she has done. Too late she finds herself longing for a man who is determined to never look her way again.

When her blog receives unexpected national press, Miska realizes that her anonymity was an illusion. Caught in a scandal about to break across the nation, Miska wonders if the God Dillan talks about would bother with a woman like her -- a woman who's gone too far and done too much.



See below for details on entering the giveaway for a digital copy of Sally's Kept. The giveaway is quick  this time -- it closes tonight at midnight! -- and is open to U.S. residents only.

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