Tag #80: “What’s On Your Heart Tag”

February - What's On Your Heart Tag

PHOTO BY FREESTOCKS.ORG ON UNSPLASH

Thank you to Stuart, author of Something To Stu Over, for tagging me!

I realize now that I should have done this tag in February, but better late than never, right?

Here’s the link to Stuart’s post, where I was tagged:


Here are the rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you to participate.
  • Link back to the original post (Purple Rose’s & Dollfaced Writer’s)
  • Attach an image that inspires you regarding the month’s theme (or use the original).
  • Talk about what this month’s theme means to you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Nominate 3 people to participate.
  • Enjoy the rest of your month 🙂

What’s On My Heart

  • How blessed I am! I’ve been wrestling with a significant financial burden recently, but I feel like I have some direction now. I trust God to lead me in the right direction. He knows everything!

Here are the questions for this month’s tag:

1. Do you believe in love at first sight?

  • Yes, definitely. ❤

2. Do you believe in soulmates?

  • I do now. I truly believe Al is my soulmate, and so many amazing things happened to bring us together.

3. What’s the first thing you notice about a person?

  • Their eyes, and their personality.

4. What’s your ideal date?

  • A wonderful meal together, and either a movie out or a movie at home. Al and I have had, and continue to do so now, dates like this, and all of them have been great.

5. What traits do you look for in a friend / significant others?

  • Honesty, humor, treating others with respect, willingness to discuss things deeply, and enjoying time with me.

6. What are your thoughts on being friends with an ex?

  • I’m Facebook friends with the first two guys I dated in high school. We’re not as close anymore, but that’s fine with me. One is happily married. The other is in an amazing relationship, and I hope they do get married someday. In a way, I’m actually closer to their parents, since we all met through church years ago.
  • However, there’s a significant difference when comes to the long-term relationship ex, and an ex-friend / acquaintance. The long-term relationship ex wanted to remain friends with me, but I said absolutely not due to the abuse and manipulation I went through from 2007 through 2010.
  • The ex-friend / acquaintance was a male friend and classmate of mine in college, and we developed an online friendship in 2014. I failed to recognize so many warning signs and red flags. He wanted me to chat with him on Facebook all day and all night, so much so that I was reprimanded once at my job, which was incredibly mortifying. In addition, he wanted more from me, although we were both in committed relationships during that period of nearly two years. He eventually told his girlfriend everything he wanted from me – Kissing me, and hints of more than that – and both of them ended up blocking me on Facebook in 2016. It’s been so much better since then! I now realize how toxic the entire thing was, and I’m still healing from it today.

7. If you’re a believer, when did you give your heart to the Lord? If not, what in life keeps a bounce in your step?

  • I truly gave my heart to God in sixth grade, at my first-ever youth retreat. I’ve been raised United Methodist my whole life, but I truly accepted Christ at age 12.
  • I was actually baptized / christened twice. Once in New York, where we were living at the time, and then in Florida at my grandparents’ church.
  • I continue to attend New Creation United Methodist Church – The church I grew up in. It will always be Aldersgate to me, since the name change happened when I was in high school. We became members in 1993, and my parents are dynamic members, for lack of a better term. I’ve scaled back my involvement significantly, but it will always be “home.” We’re excited to be celebrating the church’s 50th Anniversary in October!
  • I lost my faith a bit in college. I realize now this was mainly due to the manipulation of my ex-boyfriend, John, who didn’t want to be involved with the United Methodist Church as much, and he led me away in the process. It makes me sad occasionally, but I know things happen for a reason. After four long years, I finally recognized I was not happy, that I was a different person, and needed to leave. I ended the relationship on July 17, 2010, and I truly felt freedom. After ending it, I immediately prayed to God, and asked for forgiveness. I found out later he was planning to propose to me on August 8th, roughly three weeks later. We were seniors in college, attending the same university, but he wisely chose to keep his distance from me, despite being on a small campus.
  • Fun fact: Al and I were asked to be Mary and Joseph in the church Christmas celebration in 2010, about three months after we started dating. Everyone got a huge kick out of it. We were pretty embarrassed, but we went along with it.
  • I became involved with New Creation again after my college graduation, and I’m so happy I have continued the relationship. I help my dad with the blood drives at the church, serve on the media team, and serve on the Communications Team. It’s a great balance of service and involvement.
  • Al and I married in New Creation’s sanctuary on November 14, 2015.
  • Although Al does not participate in worship services or other church activities, aside from donating blood regularly at the church, he’s 100 percent supportive of my involvement and my service. He always has been, and that’s a HUGE deal for me.

Here’s a few photos from our wedding day! You can read more here: Getting Personal #18: Best. Day. Ever.

Disclaimer: All photos in this post, unless otherwise stated, were taken by Amanda MacDiarmid, or her second shooter, Cathy. Amanda owns and operates Stellar Exposures.

All credit goes to them.

The sanctuary.

Beautiful shot.

Pastor Eric Song playing his guitar during the groomsmen entrance.

Married!!

Standing in front of the floor-to-ceiling stained glass piece.


Tag – You’re It!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #57: “Victory in the Valley”

Victory in the Valley

Image Credit: Amazon

I’m incredibly excited to say that Victory in the Valley is authored by someone I know and respect. Domeka Kelley is a courier at Riverside, and I love seeing his smiling face as often as possible. He is well-respected in the Riverside community, as well as our local communities here in Virginia. He is a pastor, and has left a lasting influence on everyone he meets.


Kelley has written a really good memoir. It’s part memoir, part testimony, and part Bible study. For this being his first book, it’s really a good effort. I respect his attention to detail, and including so many Bible verses. He has inspired me in so many ways with this book!

The main message he’s trying to get at is “valleys” are not bad things. Valleys are preparing you for climbing the mountains. What a powerful message!

Victory in the Valley is roughly 100 pages long, but I found myself taking my time to digest every single page. I love how he incorporated so many Bible verses throughout the book! It took me three full reading nights to finish the book, and I have a greater appreciation now for books that make me stop, pause, and think!

Like I mentioned, Kelley shares his powerful testimony. He gives glory to God, his wife, his children, and quite the amazing group of people who have encouraged him along his journey. He takes the time and effort to share multiple definitions of words, and connect the Bible to his own experiences. However, he remains humble in saying that his life experiences hardly compare/relate to the experiences that people in the Bible went through. How awesome is that!

With all the praise and positivity I wanted to proclaim, there were just a few places where I had issues/problems.

There were some continuity issues, but I think that’s only because I’m using to seeing memoirs that are more chronological. So, that’s not a major issue.

One big problem I did have was at the very end of the book, Kelley writes that he has a sequel in the works. That’s great! Woohoo! I did a happy dance!

However, I didn’t really appreciate the multiple mentions of the sequel at the very end. One mention at the very end of the book, like the very last page, separate from the text, would have been enough for me. It’s like he wanted to set up a cliffhanger, but made it come off as a drawn-out “To Be Continued …” moment, spread out among several pages. That didn’t make me feel so awesome at the very end.

I really don’t like giving a lot of criticism, but I try to make it as constructive as possible. I realize that writing a book, no matter how long, is NOT EASY. It isn’t! Kelley even admits toward the end that he struggled immensely with how to end the book, and it wrapped up beautifully (except for the multiple mentions of the sequel).

I’m all for self-promotion. Do it, don’t shy away from it. But, just don’t force it down your readers’ throats, that’s all. There’s a need for balance.

I’m eagerly looking forward to the sequel. I waited several weeks to get my copy of Victory in the Valley from Amazon in my hands – It was out of stock for quite a while (Not a bad thing!), so I’m hoping that when the sequel is released, I can get my hands on a copy a little bit faster!

I definitely recommend that everyone read Victory in the Valley. Even if you’re not religious, everyone can learn something from this book. But, if you are religious, it’s a powerful example of how God moves in someone’s life, and affects every aspect of their being. Kelley has had the opportunity to be a motivational speaker in several instances, and I believe that this is one of his callings, along with being a pastor.

He is incredibly inspiring, motivating, and just has a great story to tell. Reading his book has reaffirmed my faith, and motivated me to buckle down and finish writing my own books!

4 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂