Suz's love for COWS + Allan's work with LASERS = one unique blog name! Welcome to our blog filled with race recaps, pictures of our labs, and everything else we share with blogland!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday Musings #4

Whew, what a week we had last week. In 72 hours Allan flew from Charleston to Charlotte to Phoenix to Houston to El Paso and then back from El Paso to Dallas to Huntsville. As many of you probably saw on Instagram or Facebook Allan lost one of his childhood best friends and it's been tough saying goodbye. It's hard putting into words how much it hurts losing a loved one especially at the young age of 30 when you feel like you have so many more years together. It makes me appreciate the long weekends we take to see family and friends and the sleep I sometimes lose staying up to talk or text with one of them. You can't get that time back and time is the most precious gift we can give the ones we love.

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On a happier note or maybe just a more positive note work has been going really well for me and this has been my busiest month in a looong time. Some nights it's all I can do to come home, eat, and crawl into bed and this week there's going to be a lot of those since I'm volunteering extra hours at the hospital for a special fundraising event we are hosting this week and my work calendar is pretty full as it is.

In the pet world things have been interesting. Rusty (the cat) captured his first snake today and I killed it. I'm almost certain that's the first snake I've killed and usually my response results in me running and screaming in the opposite direction instead of running toward the snake armed with a stick as a weapon. Thankfully it was a tiny one but I was worried that it might hurt Rusty or Sasha or Lucky since I wasn't sure what kind it was until I ran over to it. It was "only a garden snake" according to Allan but in my world the only good snake is a dead snake so I'm happy it's gone. Sasha and Lucky have both been spending a lot more time outside enjoying the cool mornings and nice spring days but with the cool temperatures we had over the weekend they were quick to cuddle in front of our last fire of the season.


Anyone else terrified of snakes?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Musings #3

Is it just me or is anyone else extremely excited for spring?! I drove down to Florida this weekend and the further south I drove the greener everything was and the warmer the temperatures were. When I left on Friday our Bradford pear trees were just starting to bud and today they were full of white blossoms. What a difference the weekend made!

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I can't wait for April so I can plant our flower bulbs and transplant my flowers from the farm. We may try our hand at a little gardening this year with a raised bed or at least a few pots of different things on the back deck. I'm excited to expand on the two areas of flowers that I moved to our backyard and get a little more color back there.

Are you planning to plant flowers and/or vegetables this year?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What I've Read Wednesday #5

At some point my voracious reading had to come to a halt and this week was it. I read A Heart's Disguise which was only 90 pages so it was a light and easy read yesterday afternoon. I posted a review about it so you can read more about that one if you'd like to in that post.

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The Scarlet Letter was tough and I didn't make it very far at all before I abandoned it. I'd still love to read it but perhaps at a time when I'm ready for something a bit more serious that takes a great deal of focus to follow along with. Our book club discussion about it was very interesting and with all the good things that were said I'm a little sad that I couldn't get into it right now and enjoy reading it. Another day perhaps!

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Today or tomorrow I plan to start reading our next book for the Romance Book Club which is Deep in the Valley by Robyn Carr. This is the first book in her three book Grace Valley series and I have yet to read this series so I'm excited to get started. As much as I love her books I wouldn't be surprised if I didn't read all three books in the series before book club in early April!

What have you been reading lately?

A Heart's Disguise by Colleeen Coble

If you are looking for a new series to get hooked on and you enjoy historical fiction this one might be the one for you! Even though this is a novella the author does a wonderful job of developing the beginning of what I believe is going to be a great series. The ideal aspect of a series of novellas is that you can take a couple hours one afternoon and read the entire novella. Hopefully this series will introduce more readers to Colleen Coble's work. I firmly believe that the more of her work I read, the more I enjoy her writing style and her ability to weave together intrigue and romance and produce a wonderful story as the end product.

In A Heart's Disguise your heart goes out to Sarah when you learn she's getting over the loss of her fiance who was killed in the Civil War. I felt an immediate distrust of Ben and I'm not sure what he's up to but I don't believe anything good will come from his schemes to marry Sarah. Sarah's selfless actions to marry Ben in order to fulfill her father's dying wish to see her settled and the love for her father that radiates off the pages makes her an ideal heroine. When Rand (Sarah's former fiance) returns it isn't quite the homecoming he'd hoped for since he assumed his family and Sarah had been receiving his letters but he soon learns the letters never made it to any of them and his death was a lie fabricated by someone he thought to be a friend. Colleen Coble leaves the reader on the edge of their seat with the final scene and I for one am anxiously awaiting the second novella in this series which should be arriving at my doorstep soon!



Book info

About the book:

A Heart's Disguise (Thomas Nelson, March 2015)

In the aftermath of the Civil War, a young woman searches for her lost love at the edge of the West.

The Civil War has destroyed Sarah Montgomery's marriage before it's even begun.

After Sarah receives word that her fiancé, Rand Campbell, has been killed fighting for the Union, her brothers and ailing father persuade her to pledge herself to Ben Croftner---despite her strong misgivings. But when Sarah finds out that Rand is in fact alive---and that Ben Croftner knew it---she indignantly breaks off the engagement and goes in search of Rand.

But Ben Croftner does not take rejection lightly---and a single woman with a sick father makes an easy target. When Sarah is abducted by her treacherous fiancé, Rand finally comes to her aid . . . only to reveal that he has been posted at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and intends to take her there as his wife.

But could Sarah leave her dying father's side for the love of her life? And what plans are forming in the jealous heart of Ben Croftner?
Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1b01Z1h 

About the author:

Colleen Coble
has sold over 2 million novels worldwide. Seagrass Pier, the third installment in her acclaimed Hope Beach series, marks a new highpoint for emotion and complexity in Coble's addictive brand of romantic suspense.

Find Colleen online: website, Twitter, Facebook

 Blog Tour Schedule

Please submit your 2-3 sentence snippet from your personal review via the website* (please make sure this does not include the book summary). Please note that your review MUST be submitted this way in order to be eligible to receive any additional titles.

*use the landing page link below, click on the "write a review" bar, fill in the needed information and click "submit review." Review will show up after approval.
Also, IF you liked the book, please post a review at Amazon.com, CBD.com, B&N, GoodReads, Novel Crossing and/or anywhere else you post reviews.
As always, don't forget about the new FTC regulation requiring bloggers to disclose whether or not they've been given free product/s in exchange for a review. 
Please include this link to the blog tour post in your review. 


In the midst of end-of-war celebrations, Sarah discovers her betrothed was keeping a devastating secret in Colleen Coble's A Heart's Disguise. Will Sarah leave her dying father’s side for the only man she’s ever loved? And what plans are forming in the jealous heart of Ben Croftner?

Celebrate book one in Colleen's A Journey of the Heart series by entering to win a Kindle Fire and RSVPing to her May 5th author chat party!

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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • A copy of A Heart's Disguise
  • A copy of A Heart's Obsession (blog tour coming in April)
  • A copy of The Inn at Ocean's Edge (blog tour coming in April)
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 7th. Winner will be announced May 8th on Colleen's website. Plus be sure to clear your calendar on the evening of May 5th because Colleen is hosting an author chat party on Facebook to celebrate her A Journey of the Heart series and the release of The Inn at Ocean's Edge! RSVP here!

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RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on May 5th!




I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What I've Read Wednesday #4

Well thanks to being stuck at home with sleet and then Allan getting stuck in Texas all weekend I had a bit more time on my hands for reading this last week, cleaning the house, and finally going through a crate of magazines I hadn't read. I finished One Wish by Robyn Carr and read Hot Mess by Lynn Raye Harris and both were good. One Wish felt like it ended a bit more abruptly than most of her books but I'm sure parts of the story will be continued in the next book in her Thunder Point series. Hot Mess was a novella so it was a bit shorter than Hot Pursuit. However, it still packed quite a punch with enough romantic suspense that I read the entire thing in one sitting!

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Tomorrow I have to start The Scarlet Letter because we are discussing that next week in book club. It's not one that I read in high school but I at least know the premise of the story so I won't be entirely lost. For this book club we are reading mostly classics this year. In January we tackled The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (which I didn't finish but plan to!) and in February we read Little Women.

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Assuming that it doesn't take me several days to read The Scarlet Letter I plan to read A Heart's Disguise by Colleen Coble. As some of you probably already know she is one of my favorite authors. This is the first novella in her new Journey of the Heart series and I'll be reviewing all of these (one per month for the next six months) so keep an eye out for that.

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In the off chance that I either abandon reading The Scarlet Letter or finish both of these I may start one of the new books that I added to my TBR book rack in our den. I'll try to remember to take a picture of that for next week's post!


Have you read The Scarlet Letter?
What have you been reading lately?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Food for Thought Friday #2

I'm going to stop bringing up the weather because we keep getting more winter storms. Yesterday I was iced in. Can you believe that?!

As promised in my first Food for Thought Friday post I'm going to talk about my Weight Watchers (WW) goals today. My first goal is to lose 10 lbs. which I should hit this next Monday. There's just something about losing double digits that makes you really feel like you've accomplished something. After I hit my goal to lose 10 lbs. I am shooting for losing 10%.

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I've thought a bit further ahead than that but for now I'm working towards these two goals. I'm continuously trying to drink more water and to add more fruits and vegetables into my diet and it's paying off. As Allan so nicely reminds me I also need to run more, strengthen my core, and do yoga and pilates more often. To start with I'm going to focus on doing at least one yoga sequence a day and I've decided to give planking a try. Wish me luck this week!


Any advice for a novice planker?
Are you a goal setter when it comes to health and fitness?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What I've Read Wednesday #3

Snow days mean more time for reading and that's just what I've been doing. Since last week I read (and reviewed) Betting on Hope by Debra Clopton, The Homecoming by Robyn Carr, The House on Olive Street by Robyn Carr, and Hot Pursuit by Lynn Raye Harris. Lynn Raye Harris was actually our guest at book club this week and she was very insightful about everything from the writing process to story ideas to self-publishing your own novels. She was also very generous and gave us all a goodie bag and book #2 in the HOT series. Hot Pursuit is book #1 and the series is based on a fictional special operations team with each novel telling a different member's story.

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I'm looking forward to reading Hot Mess and finishing Robyn Carr's newest book, One Wish. It's the next one in the Thunder Point series and I'm already enjoying it! There's a good chance I'll finish both of those by the weekend so maybe I'll get around to tackling Between, Georgia or maybe it will keep sitting on the TBR pile and I'll start another book!

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What have you been reading lately?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday Musings #2

So I skipped Food for Thought last Friday because we had snow here and frankly I was being a small child and playing outside in it. That's a whole blog post in and of itself though! Stay tuned for our snow day!

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For today I wanted to talk about something that I posted to Instagram yesterday. I saw this in Cracker Barrel last week (Hey, you never know when you're going to see something that speaks to you!) and I couldn't get it off my mind. I've been really bothered lately by people who seem to choose to embrace everything negative in their life. They turn to social media to complain about things in their life that others would see as a blessing. It's hard not to be frustrated and I don't feel that it's my place to remind them of all they have to be grateful for. I struggle with praying for them and then letting it go.

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Probably should have bought this...

I believe we can choose each and every day whether or not we want to be happy. Some days are harder than others to do that and I'm not saying this isn't something that I struggle with but it is a choice each and every one of us can make. I truly believe if you focus on the positive and look for the lesson in the negative then being happy is a whole lot easier!

Do you choose to be happy?
I'd love to hear what you think about the idea of making up your mind to be happy!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Betting on Hope by Debra Clopton

Betting on Hope by Debra Clopton is a book that made me laugh, hope (no pun intended), and even cry for the characters and the life decisions they each struggled with. Being a country girl myself made it easy to fall in love with the small town of Wishing Springs, TX, and the unique personalities of each of its residents. I cannot wait to read Book 2 for Bo's story!

In this book the story centers around Tru Monahan and Maggie Hope who are thrown together in an impossible situation after a series of interesting events led Maggie to fill in for her friend Amanda in a TV interview with Tru. Maggie writes her Gotta Have Hope column and is not a reporter and doesn't have any desire to be in the spotlight. Tru is a champion horse trainer and repeat winner of the National Quarter Horse Finals and in order to keep his sponsors happy he's forced into the interview. What transpires when Maggie goes off script leads to a bet between herself and Tru that he can't turn her into a cutting horse rider in eight weeks. Between the media and his sponsors that bet becomes a reality and Maggie finds herself in Wishing Springs living at Four of Hearts Ranch and being trained by the Tru Monahan for two whole months.

What transpires between them leads each of them to question whether the secrets they keep are worth keeping if it means pushing the other one away. There's much more to both Tru and Maggie than what you see on the surface so you'll have to read the book to see what secrets they are hiding. As I said before the other characters in the story that reside in the town add so much to the story especially Jenna, a pregnant teen that Maggie meets outside of town after the initial interview. She gives her a ride to Over the Rainbow, a home for unwed teens, and that becomes the start of a wonderful relationship between the two that carries on throughout the book. If you want a feel-good, make you laugh, country romance then you'll love Betting on Hope!


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Book info

About the book:

Betting on Hope (Thomas Nelson, February 2015)

A bet gone wrong. A small town's meddling. And a cowboy intent on saving his ranch.

Maggie Hope is an advice columnist whose background leaves her with little advice to give . . . and it's beginning to show. When Maggie fills in at an interview with champion horse trainer Tru Monahan, the on-camera chemistry between them is undeniable. Maggie's bosses know this is the opportunity she's been looking for to launch her career---and their bank accounts. In order to save her column, Maggie takes Tru up on the bet that he can teach her to ride a quick-stepping cutting horse like any cowgirl, despite the fact that she has never been on a horse. And in the meantime, she can get the scoop on the man under the cowboy hat.

Tru has been on the competition circuit for longer than he'd like, but he knows it's the only way he can afford to keep the Four of Hearts Ranch that means so much to his ailing grandfather. So when his sponsors see the opportunity for Tru's fans to get to know the star on a more intimate level, he knows he must oblige. To his dismay, Maggie not only invades his small town of Wishing Springs, but she also invades his heart, and that is something he cannot let any woman do-for her own good.

In Wishing Springs, Maggie finds what she has always been looking for: a community and a home. But when her past catches up to her, it threatens everything, even the tender hope that this town holds all of her heart's desires.
Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1Lv6bBc  

About the author:

Debra Clopton
is a multi-award winning novelist and has written more than 22 novels. Along with writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. Debra's goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words.

Find Debra online: website, Facebook, Twitter

 Blog Tour Schedule



Saddle up for a new romance from novelist Debra CloptonBetting on HopeIn Wishing Springs, Maggie finds what she has always been looking for: a community and a home. But when her past catches up to her, it threatens everything, even the tender hope that this town holds all of her heart’s desires.

Enter to win a Kindle Fire HD 6 to celebrate the release of Betting on Hope

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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • A copy of Betting on Hope
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 8th. Winner will be announced March 9th on Debra's blog.

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{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}



I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.