Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Plans We Made by Kathryn Cushman and Lauren Beccue

A complimentary copy of the book was provided to enable this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. 

When I first heard of the new book from Kathryn Cushman and Lauren Beccue called The Plans We Made, this quote came to mind:

"The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry." -- Robert Burns

I was immediately intrigued by the title and wondered what type of an adventure we might be in for. I decided it was a book that I must read.

Suffice to say, I was quickly drawn in to the story and as is often the case, found myself wanting to read just a little more before putting it down. It translated to a couple of later nights and a few lunch hours where I was reluctant to get back to work.

I enjoyed getting to know the two (although not called out I think there were actually three) main characters. I was so disappointed in Caroline's fiance and his assumption that she would simply follow him wherever he went regardless of her own dreams and desires and when this perspective didn't change even after a broken engagement, I was not only mad at him but frustrated with her willingness to consider accepting less than what she deserved. It was good though to witness the growth that she had and watch as Caroline came to learn more about herself and her value. Linda was a strong character who recognized that she had to be stronger and vulnerable to do the right things and open up about the secrets that she had kept from absolutely everyone. What a tough spot, the relief she could finally feel by sharing something that no one else has known about her was well offset by the ripples that revealing it caused in her family and community. Chris was the third main character in the story. I loved the foil that he provided to Caroline. They simply were fun together, even though they were on opposite sides with their respecitve employers in the battle for a historic home, there was a nice balance in how they each pushed the other to be better and to be courageous in taking the next steps that each faced as they grew and put their faith in God.

Despite things not turning out the way you might expect, it is refreshing to know that things can still turn out in a way that works.

Many plans are in a man's mind, But it is the LORD'S purpose for him that will stand (be carried out). -- Proverbs 19:21

If you are looking for a story that brings together love, loss and growth with a warm and endearing group of individuals, this is one book that is definitely worth checking out.
About the Book
When past secrets hold the only key to hope for the future… Caroline Chapman is reeling from a broken engagement. Determined to start again, she moves cross-country for her dream job of planning events in the historical mansions of Newport, Rhode Island. Just as her life is getting back on track, she gets an email that shakes her very foundations.

Linda Riley’s life looks picture perfect - a wonderful husband, two great kids, involved in church and the community. Then comes the diagnosis that shatters the facade. In order to save her son’s life, she must reveal secrets that can rip everything apart.

Connected by more than painful circumstances, these two women discover a sacred bond. In this beautiful story of love, loss, and the fight for life, Caroline and Linda experience the reality that life doesn’t always go according to The Plans We Made.

About the Authors
Kathryn Cushman graduated with a degree in pharmacy from Samford University. After hanging up her lab coat, she shifted her focus toward writing. Her previous works have received multiple nominations for both the Carol Award and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. The Plans We Made is her tenth published novel. Learn more at Follow Kathryn on Facebook (@authorkathryncushman) and Instagram (katiecushman1).

Lauren Beccue graduated from Holy Cross with a BA in English and now lives with her family in Santa Barbara. She writes about faith and family, with an emphasis on agricultural passages of the Bible. This is her first novel. Learn more at Follow Lauren on Facebook (@beccue.lauren) and Instagram (@lauren_beccue).

You can check out the trailer for the book here: Enter to win your own copy of the book here:a Rafflecopter giveaway If you pick up a copy on your own online or your local book store, be sure to participate in the author's giveaway:
MAKE YOUR PLANS IN PENCIL! Now, go buy your copy of The Plans We Made online or at a local bookstore, then be sure to head to Lauren’s website to claim your bonus freebie! THREE CUSTOM PENCILS: Make Your Plans in Pencil The Plans We Made Proverbs 19:21 Just contact Lauren with your name, address, and where you purchased the book, and she’ll send you a set. That's it! (US only and get 'em while they last.)
A complimentary copy of the book was provided to enable this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. 

210 Days - A Habit Times 10?

Back in the spring, we things started to shut down, I was concerned that I needed some routine in my life. I was unemployed and soon my kids were going to be home all day, every day for at least a while. (It turned out they were home for the rest of the school year but even when they started 'school' online there was little routine to what they were doing.) The reality of Schmursday was about to be very real for us. Family dinners each night (in spite of crazy schedules for other meals), semi-standard bedtimes (maybe not normal but at least consistent) and a daily walk were my best stab at having routine.

Little did I know when I started my plan to walk at least 30 minutes a day that I would be sitting here in the fall, having completed my 210th day in a row yesterday. It feels good. I have always heard it takes 21 days of repition to make a habit and I can tell you that having walked that many days consistently, I don't want to not walk. Even when it would be easier to just chill and not worry about it, I still recognize that I need to find a time to get out there. I would hate for a silly reason to be the reason that my streak comes to an end...that is serious motivation.

I would say that over 95% of my walks have been over the same space, around my neighborhood. I have 'met' many other people that live in my neighborhood and although I haven't had an extended conversation with them, they are a friendly and familiar face when we cross paths on our individual journeys or while they are working in their yards. I have come to meet most of the neighborhood dogs and know which ones are a little too yippy, which ones don't like people walking near their yards and which ones are so well behaved, patient and kind. I have watched the flowers, tress and bushes through three seasons. There are some really pretty plants that I will consider next time I update my landscaping.

The few not around my nieghborhood were to the ice cream shop with my husband; twice around the pool while my daughter was at practice; once around a park with my brother, his wife and our girls and once with his wife near their house; twice around the car dealership while my car was being serviced for a warranty issue; and once around the hotel while traveling for a night.

Most of the time, my weather has been good. Sure, I have adapted to morning, afternoon or evening to hit the 'best' weather for the time of year or on a daily basis. I had one walk where there were a few pop up showers and I had to pause under a tree for a while (timer paused) and then continued my journey tree to tree to maximize my walk time and to keep reasonably dry. I had one wear I simply didn't have enough time and had to finish the last 5 minutes walking a loop around my first floor.

My committment was at least 30 minutes and I have walked anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour, with the majority around 45-50 minutes.

I am glad that I made the committment and have stuck with it. It really does feel good. I know that it has been a huge help mentally - a chance to get away from things and decompress. I know that each day, I am walking hills and getting my heart rate elevated and helping to keep myself healthy. When my friends joke about the Covid 20, I know that my walking consistently has offset my less than stellar eating and drinking habits over the past seven plus months. I know that working remote I simply don't get the steps I would at the office - to/from car, to/from coffee pot, to/from meetings, and so on. It used to be that on a typical day I would get 10K at the office without a walk and now, I'm not always able to get that many even with a walk. My hope is that I will keep up the walking even as other parts of life return to normal and I can couple improved eating, a more active day and my walks to help me lose weight too.

This is one habit that I hope I can keep up for the long term. What new habits do you have?