It was early 2008 and my daughter was graduating from US Air Force Basic Military Training. A kind friend secured buddy passes and booked the flight for me. My parents were on a different airline but we all made it safe and sound. We had a wonderful weekend celebrating Rachel’s graduation. All too soon, it was time to get back on the plane and fly home.

This is where the story goes awry.

I was flying home from San Antonio with a layover in Las Vegas. I’d never been to Vegas before so it was interesting to see the strip from both the air and from the airport terminal. Slot machines in the terminals were a novelty as well. When it was time to board my connecting flight, I was surprised to learn that the flight was oversold and my buddy pass had been bumped.

Okay, so just put me on another flight, right? Easier said than done. It became the odyssey that I thought would never end as I went from gate to gate trying to get on a flight…any flight…that was going east. Finally, 27 hours after arriving in Vegas, I was leaving.

So when I had the opportunity to review a book titled I’ve Never Been to Vegas but My Luggage Has, I jumped at the opportunity! I figured since I’d been to Vegas (while my luggage traveled home without me) and the author’s luggage had been to Vegas without her, it was a match made in heaven!

Written by Mandy Hale, I’ve Never Been to Vegas but My Luggage Has tells the story of how Mandy became known as The Single Woman. It is her story of accepting…no, embracing…this season of singleness.

When We Overthink

The subtitle of Mandy’s book is “Mishaps and Miracles on the Road to Happily Ever After” and I can relate to both the mishaps and the miracles. As Mandy transparently wrote about how the dream of being married overrode common sense at times, I was reminded of my own misadventures on the dating scene. You know the ones: dating the guys you would never marry so you didn’t have to sit at home alone, lowering your standards because no one is perfect anyway, or making decisions you never would have imagined you would make in order to stay in a relationship.

What makes this book so readable is that we’ve all had mishaps in life that weren’t dependent on our marital status. We’ve hurt people, made bad decisions, gotten ahead of God, or maybe walked off His path altogether. Mistakes in life are not simply the purview of the single.


This summer marks 20 years of singleness for me, after being married for 11 years. It is a stage of life that I railed against for years. I didn’t want to be single. There are times I’m not crazy about it even now, but I’ve made my peace.

Really I should say that God has grown peace within me. He has shown me how I am complete in Jesus. He sustained me through raising my children. He has given me meaningful work to do. He has blessed me with wonderful relationships. As Mandy found out and relates in her book, life can be very full and very satisfying regardless of your marital status! She writes,

And somewhere along the way, amidst all the loss, tears, triumph, tragedy, joy, pain, laughter, transformation, restoration, lessons, love, and life, you realize that the true meaning of it all isn’t to settle for merely a Happy Ending, but to hold out for a Happy Everything.

It doesn’t matter your age or life stage, your marital status, your profession, your background, your wealth or lack of, we all want the Happy Ending. Mandy’s lesson for all of us is to give it all to God, the hopes and dreams, the good and bad choices, the missteps and miscues, and then watch Him turn them into miracles. It sometimes takes gut-wrenching honesty and bravery. But as Mandy found out, when you are honest with yourself and God about the mishaps, He can use them to work those miracles. He can take you to places you never dreamed of, and even some of the ones you did.

So, what’s keeping you from achieving your Happy Everything?


Want to win your own copy of Mandy’s book? Leave a comment below and on Friday, May 23, I’ll choose a winner at random!







Harper Collins Christian Publishing, Inc. provided me a free copy of this book to review. All opinions expressed are my own. This post may contain affiliate links which help to support the site (disclosure).


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Holly Barrett

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