Thursday, August 25, 2011

We all judge a book by its COVER!

I enjoy writing, and I pray that God will one day soon use my talents to inspire others and share the stories He has laid on my heart. I have had Secrets written for a while - it is a story that I am very much in love with and that means a lot to me - but I have lacked the confidence needed to get it printed. I am slowly making strides to get to that point; in fact, I shared this with you in May of this year. If you missed it, you can check it out here: Secrets preview
Now, I need your help with a cover! My dear friend Jessica Cruz designed the two covers below. I am in awe of her talent and in love with both options, so I need my readers to help out. I have included the "back of the book" information for you to read before voting...

Sometimes you have to run away from everything you know to find out what matters…

Victoria Ryan has spent the past five years filling her portfolio full of regrets.
At 18, she ran away from her Christian heritage in search of love and lost herself in lust.
Now, with her luggage neatly packed in the back of her sports car, she flees California in search of something better.

A single sign announcing “Room for Rent” catches Victoria’s eye,
and before she knows it, she’s searching for answers on a ranch in Texas.
Trying to deal with the past and figure out the future, 
Victoria soon realizes that she’s not the only one who has secrets.

Dean McAllister has lived on his Texas ranch his entire life and doesn’t seem
to care about anything else.
While Victoria is trying to deal with her shameful past and hidden sins, 
she realizes that Dean is dealing with his own demons.

Can Victoria find redemption or is the past too much to be forgiven?
Will she ever find out the truth about Dean or will she leave the ranch never really knowing the man she has learned to care about?
And will either of them reveal their secrets and learn that
God is the only one who can make them whole again?

A story of redemption and forgiveness, Secrets reminds of us that God is loving 
and merciful in the times we deserve it least.

For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:13-14

Now that you know a little about the book - check out the two beautiful cover designs below. (And, yes, I realize that I am still Renee Johnson - the name change is simply in anticipation for the upcoming wedding and release of the book)

Comment on here or post on facebook whether you like 1 (fence and cowboy boots) or 2 (black, white, and pink) better. Feel free to tell me why you chose the one you did! Happy voting :)



Stay tuned to hear more about the book - and learn how you can get copy.
Interested in being on the waiting list to receive one of the first signed copies?
Let me know! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Home Inspiration!

In anticipation of having and decorating a home, I have been excited to explore different ways to decorate. I have found much inspiration in Google and Better Homes & Gardens. Here are some ideas for the different rooms in our home... I just hope that I can be creative and resourceful enough to make our rooms look and feel half as good as their inspiration.

Living Room  - Cream, Brown, Green

Master Bedroom - Black, White


Master Bath - Blues, cream

Guest Bath - Cream, Brown, Green

Kitchen - coffee, cream, red

Laundry Room/Mud Room

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Birthdays. Weddings. Things that involve me as the center of attention...

I'll be honest...

I like the presents.

I like the time with my family.

I like Facebook "Happy Birthdays".

But I don't really like my birthday so much. Or maybe I just don't see the big deal. I don't like people singing to me. I don't like cake. I don't like people expecting me to know what I want to do. I don't like being the center of attention.I grew up having and enjoying birthday parties - so it's not tied to a terrible memory from childhood. It just is what it is.

Plus, I didn't do anything to get here. I owe my parents for that. I had no say so in it. I didn't have to do much work. I just arrived - after much pain and preparation. And then they took care of me for 20 years. I think I owe my parents on my birthday - not vice versa (although I am very excited about and thankful for my new clothes and giftcards).

I am excited to be Derrick's wife.

I love my dress.

I'm looking forward to spending time with my friends.

And I am so grateful for all of the support of our wonderful family and friends.

But sometimes my wedding seems a little like my birthday. I don't want to be the center of attention. A quiet affair of celebration sounds just as nice. Just a simple promise of forever. Not dealing with and obsessing over the details. Not being expected to know exactly what I want and passionately care about getting it perfect. Not walking out in front of hundreds of people. That seems a little daunting.

Just like with my birthday...I am thankful. Sometimes I am nothing but excited. Sometimes not so much...I like the simple moments. The hidden whispers. The unexpected things that make you laugh. The little things that you don't know why you always remember and hold close to your heart. Birthday shopping with my mom. Sitting next to Derrick on the couch while we discuss Storage Wars. Remembering amazing times with my best friends over a free hotel breakfast. Those things matter more than having the perfect birthday celebration or a glamorous wedding.

God has blessed me so absolutely beyond what I deserve. I realize that - and I try to enjoy and memorize every moment. To never take anything for granted. To find joy in the simplest of things.I know I'll enjoy my wedding day. It will be amazing. But so will the nights watching television on the couch and laughing until we cry as we throw whispers into the dark.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Less than 60 days...

Time until the wedding used to be this big wide open space. We had plenty of time. No worries.

I realized this morning that I now see the time between now and the wedding as a series of weekends. 8 weekends to be exact. 8 Saturdays to get things accomplished. 8 Sunday afternoons wishing we were married. 8 more weeks living at home. 8 more weeks with my last name. Only 8 (this is written with every emotion possible).

And I can easily spout off what the theme of each weekend is:

August 5-6: Beach with my best girl friends in celebration of my marriage!
August 13: 23 Birthday!
August 21: Wedding Shower with Derrick's Family
August 28: Wedding Shower with my Family (sidenote: people giving me showers makes me feel both excited and extremely selfish).
September 3-4: Free, probably house-related duties
September 10: ROTC Visitation and CAS Tailgating Cookout
September 17: Visitation Day
September 24-25: Celebrating my Dad's birthday, wedding/house details

Looking at that calendar of events August makes me excited. September makes me nervous. Will everything fall into place? What am I forgetting? Will we have time to do everything we need to do? Am I planning enough, doing enough? There's not enough time anymore for everything I wanted to do...

God is faithful. He has blessed me so much. And I know that it will all work out. I just need to enjoy every moment. This only happens once :)