GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Illuminate – Junior Dance Company….. #dance #grow4christ


 

 

My girls who have been dancing since they were both around 5 years old, have always wanted to do something BIG with their dancing – my oldest is waiting for the day she can join YWAM’s (Youth With A Mission) Performing Arts team so she can use dance to spread the Gospel.  My middle just wants to “do mission work” – so it seems she’ll go wherever there is a need.  That said – when we found out this year that the dance studio we’ve been going to these last several years were going to begin a junior dance company, both girls were ecstatic!   Saturday was the day – they woke bright and early to be at the studio by 8:50a.m. to try out until 11a.m. then the waiting began……

 

Saturday night…….

 

 

Sunday………..

 

Monday morning around 6:30a.m. I checked my email and hurried to wake the girls up……

 

 

They are part of the Illuminate – Junior Dance Company which will run through May 2015.  My son is now eager to try out next year – he’s going to be taking the boys hip-hop class on top of karate!!

 

 

I’ll be setting up some fundraising to help offset the cost of the fees, there will be performance fees for both girls, costume expenses, travel costs and such.  If you help during our fundraising please know you’ll be helping my girls in doing their part through the dance company to spread the love of Christ to those who watch them.

 

Our first fundraiser will be Scentsy!  You can find the event on Facebook or ForeverYoung (click on the drop down menu and select shop for Bailey Dance Fundraiser)

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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BookLook Review: Mary (Get to Know Series) by Nancy I. Sanders #grow4christ #bookreview


**This post may contain affiliate links**

 

About the Book:

Chosen by God, Mary was more than the mother of Jesus. She was a hero of the Bible. She said “Yes!” to God. Learn about Mary and her exciting place in history. Discover what it was like to grow up in Israel and be a part of Jesus’ life on earth. Mary – part of the Get to Know series – will teach you everything you need to know about this young woman whom God used to do great things!

You can purchase a copy at Zondervan or on Amazon.

 

My Opinion:

I’ve been enjoying reading and reviewing the new Get to Know series from Nancy I. Sanders, you can see my Jesus and my Apostle Paul reviews, and recently I received Mary as well.  Mary is probably one of the most well- known women in the Bible, she carried the Lord in her womb, is called blessed among women but yet much remains a mystery about the young girl who carried the Christ child.  How old was she really?  Some speculate 13 to a little younger to even a little older.  We don’t know.  What happened to Joseph, her earthly husband, after Jesus is found in the Temple?  Was she a widow?  Could Joseph be an invalid and no longer able to travel about.  Much speculation revolves around Mary – including how much we should or should not revere her.  Obviously, she was very blessed but she is not the way to Heaven or our Salvation or even our mediator – all these titles belong to Christ alone.  So I wanted to see what Nancy I. Sanders had to say about Mary and her life as a Jewish woman, who was betrothed to Joseph but found herself a virgin pregnant by the Holy Spirit carrying the Messiah BEFORE her official marriage!  Whew!  Not sure I could handle the stress but Mary is so sure, so seemingly calm that she is like okay, let’s do this!  I have to wonder did Mary know while still pregnant that in just a few short years what would happen to her Son?  As a mom, I’d have to think that God wouldn’t give that much detail to her, although it does seem that she recognizes how important this boy is.

 

Nancy begins by describing Mary’s familial line, that of the house of Jacob and goes up through Christ’s Resurrection and Ascension – all with beautiful, full colored illustrations that bring that time period to life. Most of us have been taught that the wise men appeared in the ‘barn’ where Jesus is freshly wrapped in linen and bring Him gifts – although if you read further in Scripture it states that Jesus was a child, probably old enough to walk, and thankfully that is what Nancy presents to her readers, an older Christ child when the wise men visit Him with their gifts.  I think the only real issue I had with the book is the mention of Jesus having brothers and sisters – whether He did or didn’t doesn’t negate His Salvation – but there is nothing in Scripture that supports the brothers or sisters mentioned as being biological siblings – my interpretation is that they are Brothers and Sisters in belief and why if He did have siblings why did He put Mary’s care into the hands of another man?  However, this doesn’t make or break the book – as the mom I was able to discuss our family’s personal belief in relation to what we read in Scripture – but again if Mary did have more children, I’m perfectly okay with that but we have to be careful when we start saying Scripture says she had more children – I think it’s quiet as to whether the brothers and sisters are biological or spiritual – it’s not something the Lord wants us hung up on.

 

Like the other two in this series it’s a short and fast read, at 110 pages – I read it in about an hour – but it has quite a bit of information on the culture around Mary as she was living as a Jewish woman under Roman rule – which had to be fraught with some trepidation.  Good for a younger child, I’d say around 5 and up through adults (I learned some neat information too) would enjoy this book.  The illustrations keep the younger child’s attentions and it may have the older child or the adult seeking questions and finding their answers in the Bible.  This one is also aligned with the Common Core Standards – so it could be used for the public or private school child who needs to watch out for these things now.  As with all books written by man or woman as the case may be, weigh it against Scripture and you’ll know what is truth and what is chafe and be able to sift those apart – this is a great little book to introduce one of the important women in Jesus’ life and in the Bible.

 

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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For Love or Loyalty and For Love or Country (Books 1 and 2 in the #MacGregorLegacy series) by Jennifer Hudson Taylor #bookreview #grow4christ


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About the book:

For Love or Loyalty is the story of a highlander seeking revenge, but when the bargaining price becomes too great of a moral sacrifice, he must find a way to reverse his deeds and save the woman he loves.

Malcolm MacGregor vows to free his family and exact revenge against Duncan Campbell. When the opportunity arises, Malcolm decides to use Duncan’s daughter as the bargaining price. Lauren Campbell is the perfect answer, until she begins chipping away at the bitterness in Malcolm’s heart and changing everything. Her bold faith and forgiveness ignites guilt he would rather avoid and a love he doesn’t deserve.

Lauren Campbell never expected to discover such a caring and protective man behind the façade of Malcolm MacGregor’s fierce reputation. When they arrive in America, things turn against them, and Lauren finds herself in a fate worse than death. Now Malcolm has the dilemma of freeing the rest of his family or rescuing Lauren, but time is short and with little means, he needs a miracle.

 

You can buy the book on Amazon.

 

About the book:

At the height of the Revolutionary War, Tyra MacGregor is successful at thwarting the British Army with her colonial spy efforts. But her sleuthing ways come to a screeching halt when Captain Donahue “Hugh” Morgan puts her under house arrest.

Hugh is intrigued by this courageous spy the natives call “War Woman.” She’s more daring than most men and is intelligent in defending her convictions. Even more impressive to Hugh is the strength of Tyra’s unshakeable faith in God.

When Tyra saves his life during an attack, Hugh vows to return the favor. Before he can intervene, however, she is caught by his superior officer and imprisoned. Soon Hugh’s honor, faith, country, and love are all on the line. Can he risk it all to gain everything?

 

You can buy this book on Amazon.

 

About the Author:

Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award winning author of inspirational fiction set in historical Europe & the Carolinas. She provides keynotes and presentations on the publishing industry, the craft of writing, building an author platform & social media marketing.

Both her debut novel, Highland Blessings and Highland Sanctuary, received a 4 1/2 star review from RT Book Reviews. Highland Blessings won the Holt Medallion Award for Best First Book and she has had reviews appear in USA Today Book reviews. Jennifer’s work has appeared in national publications, such as Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, RT Book Reviews, and The Military Trader. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Communications/Journalism. When she isn’t writing, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, visiting historical sites, parasailing, horseback riding, cycling, long walks, genealogy and reading.

 

You can learn more about Jennifer and her books on her website, and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Goodreads.

 

My Opinion:

 

I’ve heard of  Jennifer Hudson Taylor and even have one of her books on my e-reader that was free awhile ago, but I’ve never read it, and I’m sad to admit that – especially now after having read For Love or Loyalty and For Love or Country.  At first I didn’t think  I would like For Love or Loyalty – it takes place after a raid on a small Irish village for tax collecting and some people are wounded or killed and the call for revenge goes out – I know I didn’t like Malcolm, a fiery, Irishman bent on revenge for his family and I definitely didn’t think I’d like rich, do-gooder Lauren even after she was kidnapped by Malcolm.  That is the job of a good author though, to make the reader either love or hate a character and then have them do a complete about face and realize that changing their idea of said character is okay and right.  As quickly as the story begins on land, we are quickly transported to a ship that is sailing for the New World, and the ship is faced with storm and sickness as well as many other quandaries like romance.  Malcolm and Lauren begin to have feelings for one another and while they still would try to deny it, no one who has two eyes and a brain could deny the love that emanates from these two unlikely traveling companions.

 

I won’t give too much more away but I will say I was caught up in this book quickly and was so glad to have the second on hand to begin right after because I was dying to know what happened to the MacGregor family now that they were in America.  I will issue a small disclaimer about For Love or Loyalty, as most of you know I tend to disclose if I would let my 12 year old daughter read this, and I’d have to say no at least right now.  Someone (I won’t say which character) becomes an indentured servant and is later sold to a brothel, now no scenes are described but it is mentioned as an act of humiliating new women they are devoid of clothing, and there is violence against the new women.  That being said even with no detailed scenes I wouldn’t let my 12 year old read this.  I was not offended in reading it as it’s part of the unfortunate history of our country within indentured servant-hood and slavery – but it would be disturbing for a younger reader, no matter how mature she is.  So that brings me to say a few words about the second book, For Love or Country.

 

I’m honestly not sure which one I enjoyed more, although book 1 did seem to have more action, book 2 was still not without it’s own merits.  Set a few years after the first, we once again visit the MacGregor family as Malcolm and sons are home for a brief visit during their service in the American Revolution.  Tyra, does her own thing in regards to helping America win her freedom from the British, but not before a British officer is brought to her parent’s house, wounded, by an ambush of American Indians.  Both mother, daughter and son still at home, help him regain his health but he feels himself being pulled towards this young woman and her family but is torn between his duty to love and the duty he feels he owes his mother country.  Again, I don’t want to give too much away and give spoilers, but the twists and turns had me celebrating the victories and heartbroken at the losses – and I’m not just talking war here.

 

Alas, I must also give a word of caution because I also would not let my 12 year old read this one, it’s fairly easy to read this alone although it’d make more sense to read book 1 first, either.  While Lauren does disclose her sale to the brothel, it’s because her daughter was almost raped twice by British and she wanted to let Tyra know to never hide that kind of thing and should in no way feel guilty.  This one too was a fast read and I’ve enjoyed both of them and am eagerly awaiting book 3, For Love or Liberty which comes out November 2014 and I can only hope that it’s a continuation of Tyra and Hugh’s story and how everything eventually turns out – complete with the underlying current of faith, love and family.  If you enjoy historical fiction that shows the struggles that come with faith, love and every day living then these two books will be enjoyed.

 

 

 

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

 

 

 

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New Leaf Publishing: Questions God Asks by Israel Wayne #grow4christ #bookreview


About the Book:

UNDERSTANDING THE OMNIPOTENT GOD… WHO ASKS QUESTIONS OF US

Why would God ask anyone a question? We ask questions when we don’t understand. Yet, the Creator of the universe who spoke all that we see into being asks questions. Unimaginable power and wisdom are already His. As strange as it may seem to us, the Bible is filled with questions God asks. He is not the one who needs answers – these questions help us to understand both God and ourselves.

Delve into the answers found by Job, Adam, Cain, Moses, Joshua, Elijah, and others
Examine our fundamental assumptions about God, human nature, relationships, origins, and purpose
Learn about godly character and God’s transforming message

Find a powerful supplement for family worship, Bible study, and personal devotions in the Questions God Asks. Stop demanding answers from God and begin answering the questions He asks of us.

 

You can purchase at Master Books, a division of New Leaf  Publishing Group for $9.99.

 

 

About the author:

Israel Wayne is an author and conference speaker who has a passion for defending the Christian faith and promoting a Biblical worldview. The author of Homeschooling from a Biblical Worldview and Full-Time Parenting: A Guide to Family-Based Discipleship, Israel has written a regular column for the Home School Digest and Brush Arbor Revival Quarterly magazines and is the site editor for ChristianWorldview.net. He is a homeschool father of seven and his newest title, The Questions God Asks, is due out Spring 2014.

 

You can learn more about Israel and his ministry at his website, Family Renewal and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

My Opinion:

 

We ask God questions all the time, questions such as “why did so and so have to die”, “why did my house burn down”, or “why can’t I have more children” and on and on – but what if, as Israel Wayne, has done, God could question us?  What would His questions be?  Most of us are probably thinking, I don’t want to know what questions God would ask because then I’d be expected to give an answer!  Yep, coming up with an answer to God’s questions can be a scary prospect indeed.  Some may also be thinking, well how in the world can Israel Wayne think of things that God could ask, isn’t that like him playing God?  No, no it isn’t – because he isn’t answering for him and the questions that are discussed in the books are questions like Where Were You, Where is Your Brother, What Are You Doing Here, Is My Hand Too Short and more, there are in fact 19 chapters dealing with questions that God could technically ask us and then Israel goes on to give a topic such as Where Were You is Origins-Job and then Scripture to back up what he is going to begin to expound upon.

 

This book is a relatively fast read,  however I do urge you to take your time as you read and really think about what you’re reading – because most of the chapters have some hard hitting Scriptural back up and may even make one squirm in their chair – think of it as the Holy Spirit is convicting you.  That being said I’m in no way elevating the author, nor is he, taking his word over the Word of God – no in fact there is so much Scripture that if you’re familiar with the Bible some of it will be rote to you – other times it’s Scripture with a dose of real life interpretation.  As with anything from man, make sure to search over the Scripture and pray over what you’re reading, so that no matter who it’s from or what it’s about, you will not be lead astray.  I think my most favorite chapter is the fourth which is the one titled Where is Your Brother which is sub-headed with Relationships-Cain, I think the am I my brother’s keeper quotes to be one of the most mis-quoted Bible reference – up there with the whole don’t judge thing.

 

Having been dealing with family stuff lately I think that is why this one is so hard hitting for me and I like the quote, “We must, of course, recognize that we can’t control or be responsible for the actions of others.  We can direct our own thoughts and actions, however, to ensure that they reflect the heart and character of our Savior.” (location 316 of 1502; Kindle e-book)  This isn’t even about me, but also in how my children treat their siblings, and also how we treat others in the public – whether they are Brothers and Sisters in Christ or not, we should always be representing our Savior.  Even though I say chapter four is one of my favorites, if you open up the book on my Fire you’ll see many highlighted areas because all of Questions God Asks had something to do with me, with my life, and how I respond to God and glorify Him – I know I’ll be re-reading this book from time to time.

 

 

To see what other bloggers thought please visit the New Leaf Publishing Group’s blog.

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

 

 

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History, Choo-choos, and family #grow4christ


 

My sister in law and my nephew were in town recently and so I invited them to go with us to Carillon which is a park with historical buildings and other historical artifacts, including choo-choos AKA trains.  My nephew is 3 and he is adorable – seeing his face light up at some of the sights was so awesome.  We met them down there on July 3rd, packed a lunch which we had to eat in our cars as it was raining off an on all day, and I didn’t want to lug our huge, no wheels cooler all the way to the back of the park to the covered picnic tables.  We gave my nephew his birthday gifts, which were late but at least we were able to give them to him in person, instead of mailing them.

 

My three with my nephew in front of the train engine. The highlight of my nephew’s trip….well maybe one of the highlights.

 

All of them sitting at the table in a caboose. I miss cabooses. Do you remember them at the end where the man in an engineer cap would wave?

 

One of the two bridges we crossed.

 

Remember how I said the train engine was one of my nephew’s favorite parts – well this had to be the next – him and my son playing in the drinking fountain.

 

This is the one house we’ve never gone to before – it’s the Shaker house.

 

The top floor in the Shaker house.

 

All of them on the carousel.

 

My nephew ringing the engine’s bell. He really liked this too.

 

My son with one of his tinker toy creations in the play area.

 

My SIL and middle DD posing.

 

Well I have more pictures but I’ll leave you with what I’ve posted – we had such a fun time with them – my children love their little cousin and their Aunt and spending time with them is a blessing to be valued.  Hopefully one of these days we’ll get to visit their turf – there is a living history museum where they are that I need to get my children to that I enjoyed as a child.  I hope you enjoyed sharing our visit that we had with our family.

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Green Egg Media: Power Bible Volumes 1(From Creation to the Story of Joseph) and 8 (the Light of Salvation) #grow4christ #bookreview #giveaway


About the book:

The Power Bible is a ten volume series that presents the Bible in a comic book format which appeals to all ages. From Genesis to Revelation, the Power Bible tells the truths of God’s Word in a fact-checked, fun-to-read format that kids will want to pick up again and again!

In the exciting first volume of the Power Bible series, From Creation to the Story of Joseph, read about how…
- Out of the darkness, God creates the heavens and the earth.
- He creates all living creatures, and creates man in His own image.
- Adam and Eve disobey God’s one rule to them and are driven out of the Garden of Eden.
- Meet Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Joseph and a host of other characters and read about how it all began.

 

You can purchase a copy for $14.99 at Green Egg Media.

 

About the Book:

The Power Bible is a ten volume series that presents the Bible in a comic book format which appeals to all ages. From Genesis to Revelation, the Power Bible tells the truths of God’s Word in a fact-checked, fun-to-read format that kids will want to pick up again and again!
In the spell-binding eighth volume of the Power Bible series, The Light of Salvation, read about how…

- Jesus and His disciples continue their ministry as they travel through Judea performing God’s miracles and delivering His word.
- Many people are moved by the miracles and teachings of Jesus and come to follow Him as their Savior.
- The Jewish leaders begin to feel threatened by his popularity, and come up with a plan to kill Jesus.
- Jesus concludes His earthly ministry by sharing His last supper with the disciples and putting into motion God’s plan to save the world by giving His own life.

 

You can purchase a copy for $14.99 at Green Egg Media.

 

The inside of Volume 8, The Light of Salvation or better yet, Take a Peek

 

 

My Opinion:

 

I was contacted by Green Egg Media to see if I’d like to do a review of a copy of the Power Bible, having not heard of them or the Power Bible before I went to their website and looked around and then I called my children over and asked them if they’d like me to review a copy of this Bible.  When I showed them they all three said, most definitely yes, and when I emailed Green Egg Media back to let them know I’d like to review the 1st volume they also offered me a second – so wanting to make sure I got a bit of the Old Testament and the New Testament I also asked for Volume 8.  They’ve been given the Moms Choice Award, and I can see why these are easy to read – in fact if your child struggles with reading these may help them as the words are few and are simple for ease of use and the cartoon figures make it engaging and fun, they won’t even know they’re reading!  Volume 1 is 208 pages and measures 10 by 7.3 by 0.5 inches and Volume 8 is 196 pages and measures 10 by 7.2 by 0.1 inches.  Both volumes have thick paperback covers that can withstand many openings and closings and thick pages that are meant to stand up to children using them repeatedly.

 

I read through both of these Bibles in a matter of just a few hours, that is how easy of area they are so while even my oldest, fast reader will enjoy them (she likes the kind of cartoon art that is used to illustrate) as will my non-reader and my not so strong reader.  There is something for everyone in this Bible – whether adult, child or child at heart – this will have you reading the Bible in a way that is easy to understand but in no way takes away or add to the original Scripture.  Children aren’t only reading the words but they are experiencing it which means they will linger over the illustrations AND the words allowing them to learn more and really feel what the Scripture means for them.  The engaging form that the Power Bible uses is really a great way to instill Biblical truths, if you can’t be reading right then like if you’re driving, then the Power Bible can occupy a child(ren) in the backseat, even if they can’t read the pictures can speak to them.

 

Overall, I’m very impressed with the Power Bibles I received and I hope to add the others to the collection – the Old Testament sets which are Volumes 1-6 sell for $89.90 and the New Testament set which comprise Volume 7-10 sell for $59.90 – is a great deal especially if you’re looking for something that will have a life long impression and could be a wonderful gift for a birthday, holiday or even a baptism.  These are just really awesome and all three of my children ask to read them or have me read aloud to them as they gather around to look at the pictures – I need to have a copy for each of them so they don’t fight over the copies we do have!  I’m thankful to have had the chance to read and review these because it’s rare to find a Bible like these that impart God’s Word using His Word without diluting it and making it worthless, thank you Green Egg Media for making the Power Bible available.  Be sure to check the Family Fun tab on the website for free coloring pages, verses of the week, power packs and activity pages to have even more learning fun in God’s Word.

 

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws


 

Giveaway:

Please note you must be a United States resident age 18 or older and void where prohibited.  All entries will be verified and I will remove unverifiable and cheat entries.  Giveaway begins at 12:01a.m. EST on 7/14/14 and ends at 12:01a.m. EST on 7/25/14.  Winner will be randomly chosen by Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

or enter on my Facebook page under the giveaway tab

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BookLook Review: Apostle Paul (Get to Know series) by Nancy I. Sanders #grow4christ #bookreview


**This post may contain affiliate links**

 

About the Book:

Apostle Paul – part of the Get to Know series – is a unique biography about Paul. Focusing on the life and character of this Biblical hero, using color photographs, maps, and other visual resources to tell the whole story, young biography fans will come to learn more about this man of the God, his writings, his impact on the early church, and the role he plays in history. Featuring a bibliography and scriptural references throughout, this is sure to become a favorite for young readers and for first book reports.

 

You can purchase a copy on Amazon or at Zondervan.

 

 

My Opinion:

 

I recently introduced you to a book in this Get to Know series by Nancy I. Sanders that introduced children to Jesus, and so when I had the chance to get another book in the series I wanted to see what Apostle Paul’s book was like. This book is set up just like the Jesus version so it was another quick read for myself but I could see me taking a few days to read this aloud to my children as we went over all of the information and even look up the stories such as Paul’s missionary journeys and his accounts of being an eyewitness to many of the historical happenings.  A Bible sandal will give children information about a Bible hero, a picture of an eye denotes and eyewitness testimony from some such as Josephus, a jar lets you know that there is a fun fact about history, and a scroll gives an opportunity to learn some new words that may be unfamiliar to children.  These are great little tidbits of information, especially great for the old child who may want or need more information about what it is they are reading.

 

There are 12 short chapters which include beautiful full color illustrations, four color maps and of course a short writing about the boy who was named Saul, his persecution of the Christians, his conversion, missionary journeys and ultimately his death.  Also included is a timeline of Paul which includes what was going on in the world at the same as things were happening to and around Paul, a glossary of all the words covered through out the book, a bibliography, source notes and student resources.  All of these are great if you want to expand on something with your child or if like me, you’re thinking of how you could turn this into a unit study in your home school.  This book is 120 pages but even at the shortness of the book, it’s big on information and I can see children of multiple ages enjoying this.  Like, Jesus, this one also makes note of it’s alignment with the Common Core Standards so if you need to know that it’s there.

 

Overall, I think this book is great in introducing one of the Apostle who was so vocal in his conversion and faith in Jesus from one who was a Pharisee and looked for new ways to persecute and get rid of the early Christians.  We need to understand the facts around our faith and knowing those who went before us so that we could learn about God and His Son are pertinent.  So, for those wanting an in depth look into a man that was instrumental in spreading the Gospel message before there was even a Bible, as we know it, then pick up this book and begin a journey in what it took to spread Christ’s message so that it continues to burn bright today.

 

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

 
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B&B Media Review: Adventures Under the Mango Tree by Lillian Ann Klepp #grow4christ #bookreview


About the Book:

If you were to ask God how to best be of service in a troubled world and the answer you received was to “Sell all you have and give it to the poor”, could you – would you – do it? Could you really sell everything you own, leave your home and well-established life behind, and travel halfway around the world to live in a country best known for its civil wars and extreme poverty? Most of us, in all probability, could or would not. But that wasn’t the case for Dennis and Lillian Klepp, a Wisconsin couple who asked the question, received the answer and then stepped out in faith to do exactly what they felt God was asking them to do.

Their massive step of faith began in 1999, after Lillian heard a speaker talk about the plight of orphans and widows in Sudan. A short two years later, the couple said goodbye to friends and family and headed to the war-torn African nation to devote their lives to serving God. They have been there ever since, establishing orphanages, schools and health care centers and bringing hope to those who need it most. In her new book, Adventures Under the Mango Tree: A Story of Hope in War Torn Sudan, (Creative Enterprises Studio, June 2014) Lillian, or, as she is more affectionately known, Mama Lilly, chronicles the couple’s amazing story of faith, sacrifice and obedience as they endeavor to follow Christ­­­­­.

In sharing their story, Lillian explains not only the early motivation that prompted the couple to make such a massive life change, but also shares how their faith and trust was strengthened prior to the move by numerous situations in which they had nowhere­­ else to turn but God. Recalling one day in particular when one of their children was suffering from a severe asthma attack, Lillian details her thoughts and fears, writing, “I immediately prayed to God asking, ‘What do I do?’ I then proceeded to pray over Lance the words of Mark 10:14, ‘Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’ And while I read this, I realized in that moment that I needed to trust God for healing, medicine or no medicine. I needed to have full trust in the Lord.”

It was during times such as those, Lillian writes, that she realized “God was working in our lives to help us come to trust and rely on Him for everything. And as it turned out, He was preparing us for what was to come.”

That complete trust has been repeatedly tested in the years since their move to Sudan. From Lillian’s initial fear of sleeping in a rat-infested room her first night in her new Sudanese home; to frantic moments spent trying to keep the orphans in their care quiet during the wee hours of the night as war raged around them; and fear that the flight needed to take Dennis back to America after suffering a heart attack might come too late, Lillian has placed her trust in her Heavenly Father repeatedly and, each time, that trust has seen them through. Together she and Dennis have worked tirelessly, building their non-profit Christ-based organization, Harvesters Reaching the Nations, from its humble beginnings to a burgeoning outreach serving more than 190 orphans in two locations in what is now South Sudan and providing a Christian education to over 500 students including more than 400 children from surrounding villages.

Lillian’s forthright, honest and often humorous accounting of their experience gives readers a firsthand look at what it takes to leave a life of relative ease behind and travel to the ends of the earth to spread the gospel. While it is a must read for every person contemplating work in the mission field, Adventures Under the Mango Tree offers all readers an insightful glimpse into a world few can even fathom. More importantly, through Lillian’s humbling and unique story, we are shown the extraordinary power of a loving God who enables his faithful servants to shine a light in one of the darkest corners of the world.

For more information about Pastor Dennis and Mama Lilly Klepp and Harvesters Reaching the Nations, the Christ-centered organization the couple began in 2001 to provide discipleship, education and health care to vulnerable women and children living in remote regions of the world, please visit their website at http://www.hrtn.org.

 

You can find out how to purchase by going to the website.

 

My Opinion:

Sometimes there are books that change the way you think and feel and that is what I’d say about Adventures Under the Mango Tree – I’ve stated here before that I enjoy reading books that are written about and by missionaries, especially those that deal with children and Lillian Ann Klepp pulled me in right away to her story.  She starts by giving some background information on her and her husband’s family and their early years of marriage, the first chapter spans the years of 1954 to 1980 – and gave me a glimpse of what they were like before they were Christians.  This is the story of missionaries but also a testimony of how God does and will work in those lives that turn themselves over to Him and His Lordship, that is what makes this so powerful, I believe.  When you’ve grown up in a Christian in name only or even in a non-Christian home, your past likely contains skeletons that you want to hide and will think that makes you unwanted by God, but He chases you and He will forgive and He will do a good work through even the most depraved of sinners if given the chance.  I know I was there too.

 

As Lillian dedicates time to fasting and prayer, the Lord begins to call her to mission work and she eventually tells her husband, Dennis, they need to go to the Sudan – he of course is slightly shocked and needed time to also let the Lord speak to him.  He eventually agrees and the Klepps set out to go to the Sudan – even against the words of friends who insist they should go with an established ministry but the Lord is telling Lillian and Dennis to start their own.  As they arrive they have nothing but as the Lord moves they eventually are able to set up a school, an orphanage, medical facilities in not one location but two!  It’s awesome how when the Lord calls and the person(s) He calls answers what can happen, even when it feels like things are falling apart – the Sudan isn’t very welcoming to outsiders.  In fact in order to adopt from the Sudan one must establish residency for three years prior to the adoption taking place!

 

I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy reading missionary stories or testimonies – as the back of the book says “What can one ordinary person do?  Read this astonishing memoir and you’ll see.  Then perhaps you, too, can step out in faith for the sake of the gospel.”  So if you aren’t sure if you can step out in faith and let the Lord lead you, this book will have your heart and mind wondering you can do – I know I lack in praying and I’ve never fasted but I wonder what blessings and callings I’ve missed out on by not being strong in these areas.  While many doubt that the Lord still moves through His Spirit either in miracles through protection or through the physical healing of ailments, this book can put these doubts to rest if you read it with an open mind and let the Spirit lead you.

 

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

 

 

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#3ThingsThursday (a link up) #grow4christ


 

I’m trying to think of three things to write up for Heidi’s link up – which is actually harder to do than one would think – especially when you’re trying to think of something to write.  So here goes:

 

1.  I sent our first ever homeschool notification in in August of 2008 that means I’ve been homeschooling for 7 years now!  In 2010 I added my middle daughter to our notification form and in 2012 I add our son.  We will begin our 2014-2015 school year on July 21st I wanted to make sure we got through the girls’ summer dance intensive, their junior dance company try outs and all three college 4 kids classes before beginning back up.  I’ve already done all the planning for their math, Teaching Textbooks, and each will finish in March and April, respectively.  We’ve been blessed to homeschool, my husband and I made the decision even before our oldest was born – in fact I was only a month pregnant when we made the decision.  I haven’t had to miss out on any milestones – including seeing them read their first books (well, we’re still working on that with our son! but I won’t miss out on his either.  It hasn’t been easy, and anyone who thinks homeschool is easy or that I’m some sort of super laid back, un-stressed, super mom, had better think again.  There are days when the yelling is so loud even I can’t stand myself.  I have threatened to send one or all to a ‘regular’ school.  Would I?  No.  I love having my children with me – I couldn’t stand the thought of sending them to daycare, preschool and then to school almost all day – is every day peaceful?  Definitely not but it’s allowed up to travel when it’s less busy and when the heat isn’t horribly oppressive so I can enjoy vacation.  It’s allowed us to take many field trips to places they would have had to wait till crowded weekends or even not all because it’s not on the school’s budget or time line.  This year I’ll be having a 8th grade 12 year old (yes, she is a ‘year ahead’ even though we don’t go by the school’s schedule), a 5th grade almost 10 year old and a 3rd grade almost 8 year old!

 

My three a couple years ago.

 

2.  Our country just celebrated it’s birthday – July 4th – and while it’s a time to be celebrated, for me it’s also bittersweet as it was my Grandpa’s birthday.  All of my grandparents are gone – both maternal and paternal.  My husband still has one set of his grandparents which is great for him.  I really miss knowing that I have grandparents and while I wasn’t close to my mom’s parents I still miss them as well.  My Grandpa and I had a close bond so when holidays come up it’s especially hard, although it’s gotten easier over the years.  This fourth our weather was so nice and unseasonably cool for July so I took the children and went to the cook out my dad and step-mom have and watched as my dad, two of my Aunts and my Uncle (my paternal grandparents have 5 children – one Aunt lives out of state) toast my Grandpa’s memory with one of his favorite beers.  Unfortunately, all the pictures I had of my maternal Grandpa on my camera at one time were deleted when our computer crashed years ago.  I have more of all my Grandparents but I’d have to scan them in.  So, anyway the fourth of July, while remembered as the birthday of our country will remain first and foremost the birthday of a Grandpa who was there when I needed him.

 

My Grandpa, Charles, with my middle daughter

 

3.  I enjoy hanging our clothes out on our line.  It gives me great satisfaction to see my clothing hanging on the clothes line in our back yard – I guess knowing that I’m saving money (it has literally cut our bill in half, almost) and also that fresh scent without harsh chemicals just gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.  I’ve had some say what about allergies, and yes, we do have allergies in our house but it seems there are more skin issues when I dry by machine or use fabric sheets.  We shake the clothes out thoroughly to dislodge any wasps or bees (a HUGE issue since hubby and I are deathly allergic to one or both) or other insects.  The only items that get too stiff are the towels and hubby’s jeans – which is solved when we have a really windy day (on the days where there is no wind they are very stiff).  My only worry is someone stealing our clothing off the line, an alley runs behind our house and even though there is a privacy fence, there is a gap between it and the neighbors fence so anyone could slip in and take down the clothes.

 

My clothes line – right now it’s only two but hubby said he’ll try to fix the middle line so I can hang even more out :D

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Carole P. Roman: Whaley’s Big Adventure Illustrated by Alexander Luke and presented by Carole P. Roman #grow4christ #bookreview


About the Book:

 

Join Whaley on his big adventure in the ocean as he meets Whales of all different sizes. Written and illustrated by 5 year old Alexander Luke, and presented by his grandmother, award-winning children’s author Carole P. Roman, this oceanic adventure of whale-sized proportions will teach youngsters about the different whales that live in the oceans.

 

You can purchase a copy on Amazon in both e-book and paperback format.

 

 

My Opinion:

 

I’ll be honest when I read that this was written and illustrated by a 5 year old – I had big doubts – because even though my children are gifted in their story telling abilities I know that at 5 they wouldn’t have been able to write a book.  That said I’m thinking Carole’s grandson may have dictated the elements he wanted included, like a playful blue whale who meets other whales and wants them to come home and play – but some of the more detailed facts, such as there are 40 different types of whales in the oceans today – were put int by Carole herself.  I may be wrong but knowing 5 years old as I do they wouldn’t have been this technical in some details – although there are exceptions to every rule and every child.  The illustrations did  remind me of 5 year old, child-like drawings although more like drawings painted in watercolors.

 

Overall, I enjoyed this children’s book and I think it would be a good introductory read to young children probably in the age range of 3 to 6, the pictures are interesting enough to hold their attention and are child friendly.  The short facts make it a short and easy read for children with short attention spans and without the ability to retain a lot of information.  Whaley’s Big Adventure has much going for it, including making more adventures since only six types of whales are visited this time maybe Whaley could visit some more and give us more facts about the other types.  I’d recommend this to someone with little children who want to introduce ocean life to them and give them some factual details about some of the more well known whales that live in it’s depths.

 

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

 

 

 

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