Mastering Golf’s Mental Game by Dr. Michael T. Lardon with Matthew Rudy | Book Review

Y’all. I can’t believe I’m going to type the next sentence, but here we go:

I actually kinda sorta like golf.

I mean WHAT?! I don’t know what happened, but I’ll just blame my Dad. I am 100% my father’s daughter and he’s taken to golf over the past decade, so I shouldn’t be shocked my interest appeared. Except, you know, my Dad is RETIRED. I, on the other hand, am not.

I also blame TopGolf. I love that place and can actually make shots. So that’s why today we find this book up on the blog. My life sometimes…

Perfect your mental approach to your game
To be a golfer is to tinker—with everything from equipment to grip to swing. But one thing most players don’t give enough attention to is the mental game. Psychologists aren’t a new phenomenon in golf, but Dr. Michael Lardon is a different breed of performance coach. Instead of sending his players into a losing battle against emotion, indecision, and fear on the golf course, he shows them how to organize their thoughts and use them for maximum performance. His step-by-step Pre-Shot Pyramid provides any player with the ideal blueprint for shot setup. And his revolutionary Mental Scorecard will give you the tools to accurately measure what you really do on the golf course and how to make real, permanent improvements.

You will learn the same techniques that Dr. Lardon shares with Phil Mickelson and dozens of other tour players, including the tools that helped Mickelson right himself after the 2012 U.S. Open to win the British Open a month later with a historic final round. Mastering Golf’s Mental Game will change the way you think about golf, and is a must-read for any player serious about shooting better scores and getting more enjoyment out of the game.


I have to say the concepts in this book go beyond just the game of golf. I get why it’s such a good book for golf, but it really can be applied to any sport or business, etc. One aspect Dr. Lardon discusses in depth is the Pre-Shot Pyramid. It consists of his six components of mental excellence: attitude, motivation, control, optimization, concentration and planning. See? I can use that for lots of things besides my golf game ;). Lardon, though, also provides helpful and insightful ways to apply this to golf and takes it further with ways to track with his scorecard and even “homework.”

It’s a quick read with tons of stories, so it’s enjoyable as well. And while the focus is obviously on the mental golf game, I left with some pointers for other aspects of my life. A pleasant surprise. Will it make you the next greatest golf player? Who knows right? ;) But I think it’ll help you focus, which is sometimes just what you need.

What are some ways you get yourself focused?

(Thank you to Blogging for Books for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Where to Buy: Amazon |

…who do I think I am?…

“Why would God create more than 350,000,000,000 galaxies (and this is a conservative estimate) that generations of people never saw or even knew existed? Do you think maybe it was to make us say, “Wow, God is unfathomably, bit?” Or perhaps God wanted us to see these pictures so that our response would be, “Who do I think I am?”
Crazy Love by Francis Chan


Whoa, I just realized it’s been a while since I’ve had a book quote up! Time seems to fly and I tend to request way too many books for review, but I’m getting better at time management :). Anyway, back to the quote. It’s a simple reminder of how big God is and that’s a good thing if you ask me. Why spend a life worshiping what you can fathom or understand right? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

P.S. This book was a game changer for me, so I definitely recommend it!

Charlotte Beer: A History of Brewing in the Queen City by Daniel Anthony Hartis | Book Review

While perusing the world wide web, I came across The History Press and was instantly hooked because they produce books written by locals on all kinds of topics. I mean all kinds! It’s fabulous and I felt like a kid in a candy shop. My history professors would be so proud. I connected with them and am excited to share with you the first book I reviewed from their American Palate Series.

Y’all. Food. Books. History. AND Beverages.

Don’t have to ask me twice.

Charlotte has entered a golden age of craft brewing, and while this fermented frenzy may feel altogether new, it evokes a forgotten heritage that dates back to colonial days. Beginning with Captain James Jack, whose tavern was a Patriot haven burned by the British during the Revolution, local beer writer Daniel Hartis follows a frothy trail through the highs and lows of this sudsy story. Grab a pint and discover how Prohibition took hold of Charlotteans. Ruminate over odes to beer by the Brew Pub Poets Society, and sample the personality and spirit on tap today around the Queen City.


This past year I’ve visited a handful of breweries and each one has been different in their philosophy and how they brew. So I wasn’t surprised that Charlotte has such a colorful history of breweries. I wasn’t aware that there was a boom of breweries not too long ago and then a bust where many ended up closing. I enjoyed reading about them (and kept thinking, “oh! I’ll want to go visit that one!” only to read it closed like 10 years ago. A day late and a dollar short).

My favorite part of the book was when Hartis started discussing the breweries that still exist in Charlotte. Learning their histories, influences and the types of beer they brew were intriguing and not only do the beers sound tasty to try, the locations of each of the breweries and designs seem to be pretty awesome as well.

Another aspect I like about these books is they aren’t overwhelming or un-readable. You know those history books that are the size of a small country with a font size of 2? Yeah, you won’t find that here. This kind of read like a conversation with a friend who loves history and beer.

If you’re a home brewer (or know someone), a fan of beer, love interesting history, the Carolinas or just learning, you’ll appreciate this look into a piece of Charlotte. Because doesn’t a Brew Pub Poets Society sound so much fun?! I definitely look forward to visiting places like The Olde Mucklenberg Brewery, Triple C, Bird Song and other Charlotte Breweries if I ever find myself in North Carolina again!

Are you a fan of local history?

(Thank you to The History Press for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Where to Buy: Amazon | | The History Press

Christmas is Coming! Here’s 5 Books to Give (and Change the World)

I’m so excited we’re entering the Christmas season! I’ve started my Christmas shopping and always try to give gifts I know the person will love and are meaningful. There’s already plenty of book related ideas around the internet and you can find plenty from my Fun Finds series, but today’s list is for the reader in your life and combines two things I’m passionate about, books and justice (you can read more on the Change the World!).

These are books I’ve read or have come highly recommended (thus waiting in my TBR pile) and I know will have a lasting impact on the reader.

Books-andBeverages-Christmas-Book List

Since some of these are a bit more serious, just sandwich them between two fiction novels to balance it out :) I have plenty of ideas if you need and one can never have too many books!

Non-Fiction Reads

Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just by Timothy Keller

It is commonly thought in secular society that the Bible is one of the greatest hindrances to doing justice. Isn’t it full of regressive views? Didn’t it condone slavery? Why look to the Bible for guidance on how to have a more just society? But Timothy Keller challenges these preconceived beliefs and presents the Bible as a fundamental source for promoting justice and compassion for those in need. In Generous Justice, he explores a life of justice empowered by an experience of grace: a generous, gracious justice. This book offers readers a new understanding of modern justice and human rights that will resonate with both the faithful and the skeptical.

Timothy Keller is an incredible voice in Christianity and anything he writes leaves a lasting impression, so a book about justice will not only be encouraging, but inspiring as well.

Where to Buy: Amazon | | CBD

Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery. An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel. A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream. A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.

It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana . . . and an East Texas honky-tonk . . . and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda . . . an upscale New York gallery . . . a downtown dumpster . . . a Texas ranch.

Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.

What can I say? This book changed my life.

Where to Buy: Amazon | | CBD

Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale: A Memoir by Rachel Lloyd

“Powerfully raw, deeply moving, and utterly authentic. Rachel Lloyd has turned a personal atrocity into triumph and is nothing less than a true hero. . . . Never again will you look at young girls on the street as one of ‘those’ women—you will only see little girls that are girls just like us.” —Demi Moore, actress and activist

With the power and verity of First They Killed My Father and A Long Way Gone, Rachel Lloyd’s riveting survivor story is the true tale of her hard-won escape from the commercial sex industry and her bold founding of GEMS, New York City’s Girls Education and Mentoring Service, to help countless other young girls escape “the life.” Lloyd’s unflinchingly honest memoir is a powerful and unforgettable story of inhuman abuse, enduring hope, and the promise of redemption.

I’ve had a couple of friends read this (and it is high on my list) and I’ve heard fabulous feedback. It’s not an easy read, but don’t let that deter you!

Where to buy: Amazon |


Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund

High-Stakes Drama Meets High-Tension Romance

In 1883 Michigan, Lily Young is on a mission to save her lost sister, or die trying. Heedless of the danger, her searches of logging camps lead her to Harrison and into the sights of Connell McCormick, a man doing his best to add to the hard-earned fortunes of his lumber baron father.

Posing during the day as a photographer’s assistant, Lily can’t understand why any God-fearing citizen would allow evil to persist and why men like Connell McCormick turn a blind eye to the crime rampant in the town. But Connell is boss-man of three of his father’s lumber camps in the area, and like most of the other men, he’s interested in clearing the pine and earning a profit. He figures as long as he’s living an upright life, that’s what matters.

Lily challenges everything he thought he knew, and together they work not only to save her sister but to put an end to the corruption that’s dominated Harrison for so long.

As readers of my blog know, Jody is one of my favorite authors. You can read the full review of this book here, but if you know historical fiction fans, this one is for them! Oh and part of the proceeds went to A21 (which fights against trafficking) – how awesome is that?!

Where to Buy: Amazon | | CBD

Stocking Stuffers

Breaking Out of A Broken System by the Bolt Brothers (#1Book1Life)

Not only is this a fun (the design is awesome!) and extremely helpful book (check out my thoughts here and Chandler’s 4 Questions here), when you buy one it goes directly to the Palmetto Medical Initiative. You can tell people that for Christmas you helped them save a life. That’s a win!

Where to Buy: Amazon

How about you readers – what are some books you would add or ones that are on your Christmas list this year?

I’ll leave you with one of my all-time favorite Benedictions:


Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs | Book Review

Let’s start off with a random fun fact. I like jumping out of a planes (I highly recommend it as a way to celebrate any year of birth), am always up for an adventure and even move states away, but I don’t feel so brave in other parts of life. Sometimes it’s the little things that are the hardest for me to be brave about. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but all that to say, I think that no matter what you like to do or what you’re willing (or not so willing) to try, there’s something in each of our lives where we could all use a little more bravery.

Annie Downs admits she’s not exactly the bravest girl in the world. She still cries sometimes when she leaves her parents’ home in Georgia, she’s never jumped out of a plane, and she only rides roller coasters to impress boys. But Annie knows that courage resides inside each and every one of us, and she’s on a mission to triumph over her own fears while encouraging the reader to do the same.

As a single young woman, writer, speaker, and blogger, Annie Downs shares her journey toward bravery with honesty and humor. Using wonderful stories from her own life, contemporary real-life examples, and fascinating historical and biblical references, Annie encourages readers to grab hold of the brave life that they desperately desire.

How often does fear hold us back from the very things we most want to taste, touch, and experience? The call to be brave isn’t just for one person—it’s for everyone. Let’s All Be Brave is more than a book, it’s a battle cry. Annie challenges us to live boldly, she calls us to step into those places that require courage, and she gives us the help to take the next step forward—even when it’s scary.

This non-fiction, essay-driven book opens the door to many different views of courage—nudging, encouraging, and inspiring readers to be brave whenever given the chance.

Let’s All Be Brave features:
• Funny/interesting stories that draw readers into each chapter
• God’s surprising answers to finding courage and boldness
• Challenging questions and advice to help readers make real-life changes to live fully and glorify God more every day.


“To believe in yourself means to believe that God made you and there is no one like you, that you have a unique call to courage, and that you can do the thing that is staring at you in the face.”

One of the biggest takeaways from this book was Downs’ honesty. She shared from her heart about things that aren’t so easy to share with the entire world and by her simply writing the book encouraged me to continue to be brave and stay faithful to the journey and path the Lord has me on. So Internet high five Annie!

“Courage is for every age.”

It’s a fun read as well, with stories and pieces of Annie’s life to encourage and inspire. I haven’t read Annie’s blog before this book, but I think I might have to add it to my list. So if you’re looking to be inspired by one woman’s story, go ahead and grab this book.

I’d love to hear from you! If you’re willing to share, where could you use more bravery or where have you recently been brave? I’d love to be encouraged by you!

(Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Where to Buy: Amazon | | Christian Books