Right Now I’m In-Between Places

Right now, I’m in-between places.

Wait. I’m always in-between places.

In my childhood, my in-between places happened from one birthday until the next.
 
As a teenager, it was between the time I got my driver’s permit until I got my license.
 
When I graduated from high school, it was between graduation night and the day I left for college.
 
As a young adult, it was between the job I took that I hated at age 22 because the world said I needed a job and the job I found at age 24 that lead to a meaningful career in higher education.
 
As a mom, it’s been the day I discovered I was pregnant until the day I got to meet each one of my little bundles of joy.
 
Right now, my in-between places look like the week between Christmas and the New Year.
 
It’s from the moment my eldest graduated from high school three ago until the youngest graduates this spring.
 
It’s from the ending of my marriage and the date stamped on the divorce decree until I marry again.
 
It’s from March of 2020 until whenever COVID is no longer a thing. 
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How Do You Dance?

DANCE?

Don’t you love it when a reminder of your youth enters your life 20 years later and reminds you of all the lessons learned from the original experience? Let’s go on a journey, shall we?

The year was 1989. I was approaching my senior year in high school and unlike most of my friends, I spent my Friday nights watching television shows that were part of the TGIF lineup on ABC.

One of those shows was Full House. And one of the stars of that show was Candace Cameron Bure. When the show began, I only knew her as Kirk Cameron’s (of Growing Pains fame) younger sister. What I appreciated was that she was close to my age in real life and her character of D.J. Tanner represented the quirky and trend setting parts of adolescence that many people hide from.

While D.J. Tanner was a great character, it was Candace who I was a fan of. She was grounded, her family was very involved in her acting career, she did not succumb to the pressures of drugs and alcohol, despite having to publicly deal with typical teen hormonal weight gain.

Many things have changed in my life since the late 80s, however imagine my surprise when I discovered that Candace, now a married mother of three, was going to appear in Season 18 of Dancing With the Stars.

I knew that she had gotten married and had kids about the same as mine, and I had read one of her earlier books, Reshaping It All. But her casting on Dancing With the Stars meant that she would be in my living room twice a week for a television season.

As a dancer, Candace did not disappoint. Her hard work paid off and she actually made it to the semi finals of the competition. While she didn’t take home the “Mirror Ball” trophy, she learned how to use opportunity to grow physically stronger while remaining (and being tested) in her faith.

In her latest book, Dancing Though Life, Candace writes about her experiences on the show, and more importantly, how those experiences enhanced her relationship with God. You see, while Candace was on the show, her faith was tested many times, and more often than not it became an issue.

From the dance costumes, to the sexy routines, to the bumps and bruises on her body, Candace was under attack. The overly religious accused her of not being Christian enough since she was on the show. The non-Christian audience called her a rude and thought she was making a big deal of out nothing when her faith was discussed.

And in the book, Candace outlines all of this and how she overcame the adversity while dancing on the show. Believe it or not though, this book has many lessons for those of us who are’t dancing in front of millions every week. Here are some of the things we can all take away from this book:

1. Keep Your Eyes Focused on the One Who Guides You
2. Always Give Everything You Have
3. Be True to Yourself
4. Enlist Prayer Warriors
5. Listen if There’s a Pause in Your Spirit
6. Submit to Leadership
7. Choose to be Known for Your Good Works
8. Attitude is Everything – Choose Joy
9. Use the Right Fuel (if we put garbage  in our bodies and our minds, garbage will come out)
10. Let Your Words Build Up, Not Tear Down
11. It’s Okay to Lean on the Arms of Others
12. Life is a Balance of Routine Laundry Moments and High Profile Red Carpet Moments

This book is definitely a must-read  as you wind down 2015 and prepare for 2016. One thing we can all be sure of is the fact that our faith will be tested  in the coming year and Candace Cameron-Bure has the best advice when it comes to dealing with it. After all, it’s how she dances through life.

As a Lifeway Blogger, I was given a free copy of Dancing Through Life in exchange for my honest opinion. If you are interested in reading the book, I am giving away a copy. To join the fun, enter your name and mailing address here. If you’d rather buy the book yourself, click on this *ad for the book here.

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Review: 2016 Toyota Sequoia

Review of 2016 Toyota Sequoia

I have  always had a special place in my heart for Toyota. Of the four cars that my mother has owned in her lifetime, three of them were from the Japanese automaker’s family. To me, Toyota’s have always been cute, reliable, a to a degree, fun.

And I could use those three words (cute, reliable, and fun) to describe the 2016 Toyota Sequoia. Except those aren’t the three best words to describe the car. Because it is a monster.

Yes. A Monster. A sexy monster, a user-friendly monster, a well-equipped monster, but a monster because of its size and command of the road. I feared nothing while driving this car, and even felt that other drivers were cautious when the Sequoia was on the road.

This car did not disappoint. The ride is clearly that of a luxury vehicle with smooth turns and soft glides when coming in contact with bumps on the road. With seating for 8, there was more than enough room for my family of four. And with one USB port, and four additional charging ports, it passed the test of the tween and teens in my life.

One mom reviews the 2016 Toyota Sequoia

The 2016 Toyota Sequoia passed the test of the tween and teens in my life.

So, what about the gas mileage? The Sequoia gets about 13 miles per gallon in the city and 17 on the highway. That is pretty standard for large SUVs. The Buick Enclave does boast a slightly better gas mileage but  with a smaller engine. This is after all, a V8. The benefit to driving a vehicle with a V8 engine is the smoother driving performance.

2016 Toyota Sequoia has a v8 engine

V8 equals power on this machine

As a mommy mobile, this car works. The center console next to the driver allows for 8″x11″ hanging file folders. The middle seat on the second row can fold down, giving the look and space of bucket seats to passengers. And my favorite was a small, pop down rear view mirror that allowed me to keep an eye on the kids while we were riding. (By keep an eye on, I actually mean look at them while trying to gain their attention above the music playing on their headphones.

The kids and I did feel a little strange at first climbing into the car. We did have to step up and mount the seat as if we entering an 18-wheeler. While that was different from the everyday feel of my Mazda minivan, it was not a nuisance. By Day 3 of our time with the car, we were jumping in and out with no problem.

And cargo space? There is enough room to accommodate luggage and extra travel bags with the third row intact while maintaining clear vision for the driver.

The 2016 Toyota Sequoia has more than adequate cargo space.

After closing the hatch and slightly adjusting some of the bags, I was able to see clearly while driving.

For the month of November, Toyota is giving $1,000 cash back on the purchase of a new 2016 Sequoia Special Edition.This offer may be regional and could vary by dealerships. For more information, and to find the closest participating dealer near you, visit www.toyota.com/sequoia or access the e-brochure here.

Disclosure: I was asked to drive this vehicle in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.