GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

BookLook Review: Life Behind the Walll; Candy Bombers, Beetle Bunker, and Smuggler’s Treasure by Robert Elmer #grow4christ #bookreview


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About the Book:

Marking the 55th anniversary of the creation of the Berlin Wall, this epic tale extends across generations and unfolds against the backdrop of a dangerous Cold War Berlin. This historically accurate, action-packed, 3-books-in-one features teens and their family’s struggle living in the shadow of the Berlin Wall, from its creation after WWII, to life behind the wall during the Cold War, to the Wall’s ultimate and final destruction.

Both educational and exciting, Life Behind the Wall is a great choice for middle readers at home or school.

 

You can purchase your copy at Zondervan or on Amazon.

 

 

My Opinion:

 

I wasn’t really sure what to think when I requested this book, as sometimes books geared towards older children that are based in history seem to have a lot of things lacking – such as historical accuracy among other issues – and I’m happy to say that that wasn’t the case in this 3-in-1 book.  My oldest daughter has a fascination about the culture and history of WWII and so that was my main impetus to request Life Behind the Wall – because I knew it’d be something that she would more than likely enjoy reading and now that I’ve read it I know she will if she can hang on through the first couple of chapters.  I say that because it took me the first few chapters of Candy Bombers to get really into the book, at first it was a little boring but as the reason for the title emerged things really began picking up – while I knew that most people in Europe really didn’t care for the Americans I didn’t know how deeply that was felt nor did I realize how divided Berlin was.  This book gave a startling look into how life was for those in Berlin after the War and then as the Wall went up and then came down again – having family trapped on side and not being able to see them unless you went through an extensive border crossing process, that made me nervous just reading about the one the characters had to go through.

 

At the end of each book there are some historical facts, such as what was really true – the author wove the fictional characters into the story while keeping with historical accuracy and not trying to make things worse (of course I’m not sure how things could have gotten much worse) or seem better than they were.  I don’t want to give too much away but the story of the candy bombs, which were little parachutes tied to candy, which American pilots would then drop so that the children below could have a little taste of something sweet.  The stories follow on family over the course of the years Erich’s mother marries an American pilot against the advice of her mother in law of her 1st, killed, husband and then anger and hatred tears the family apart.  Beetle Bunker, follows Sabine, Erich’s (who is now trying to become a Dr in Communist Berlin) half sister, who wants to help with the escapes that seem to be happening but no one wants to talk about since your neighbor could turn you in.  Finally, in Smuggler’s Treasure, Liesl who is Sabine’s daughter, helps in smuggling Bibles across the border to her uncle Erich but then as startling information comes to light as she writes a paper for school she finds something about her family.

 

As the stories carry on and flow together it’s like watching one time in history flow seemlessly into the other – which is what I liked about this book and I didn’t have to wait for the next one to come out while I forget how each character is related to the other.  With the historical facts also comes discussion questions which can lead to not just more digging and researching into history (great for the homeschool student) but also the use of Scripture will have the reader who goes through the questions delving in Scripture as well.  This was an eye opening read – as in school I learned about the Berlin Wall but not much more and I’ve even seen a piece of it at our local Air Force Museum, but to read about what really went on – the persecution of Christians, the starvation, the horrible medical care and more – makes it all come alive and the author, Robert Elmer, did so with skill.

 

 

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

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Birthday boy in the house!!!! #grow4christ


 

Another year has passed and my son is now 8 years old!  Where have the years gone?  They’ve flown by – most new parents hate when people tell them, “enjoy it they’ll be gone soon” and that they will.  While it’s a cringe worth saying, it’s also so true – enjoy it because before you know it, you’ll be seeing your baby turn into an 8 year old (I’m not thinking about him being any older than that right now).  He’s such a boy!  He likes to be loud!  I’m not sure if his voice is changing yet but his seems to be very screech-y especially when he screams.  He’s a character.  I can only pray that he turns into a godly man one day, and for that I can only give credit to the Lord, because some days He is the only one who gets me through being a mom of a boy.

 

Son with my dad – at his baby dedication. Proud Grandpa.

 

My oldest giving her brother a big kiss.

 

A group shot!

 

Today, he and his cousin playing in the drinking fountain.

 

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

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New playground and a Free Little Library #grow4christ


We’ve had some great weather this July – very cool like in the mid 70’s – usually we are in the high 90’s to low 100’s with high humidity but so far it’s been a mild summer and I’m loving it!  As are my children.  Recently a civic group in our city installed brand new playground equipment at a local park (this park used to be beautiful but it’s become run down in the last few years) as a way to encourage both handicapped and non-handicapped children to interact with each other and also clean up the area.  I must admit I do miss the concrete train that I used to play on in this park but it is and has been time to clean up the park and try to bring it back to what it once was – a great place in the city for families to come and get the drugs and other illegal behaviors out!

 

It’s usually fairly crowded so I told the children if we go early it won’t be busy and we can enjoy ourselves.  Sure enough, the only people there were the volunteers who were finishing up some landscaping stuff – of course we got there around 8:30a.m. so we were the only crazies there!  It was fun though, as they had the run of the park and I didn’t have to worry.  I should have taken pictures of the beautiful flower/plant gardens the civic group installed – very pretty.  They will be adding in a splash pad which mine are excited about – since cities around us have them but we haven’t and the city pool is very expensive it’s not something families can readily afford – this has been an area of contention in our city since they built the new pool and removed it to the country instead of inside city limits.

 

The rare picture of the oldest.

 

Going up the slide – since we were the only ones there I allowed it.

 

My son, posing.

 

A view of the park. Lots of shade.

 

 

Another great addition to the park is that of a Free Little Library, we’ve been eager to actually get one in the city and we were there when they installed it – it pays to be early birds!  When I realized what it was I was on cloud nine and we rushed home to get some our donate books we had set aside for Goodwill to go put in the box.

 

My son, standing in front of the Free Little Library – the sun was right in his eyes.

 

I love the theme!

 

Putting some books in and choosing a book – they also organized the library as all the books that were there when we got back were thrown in haphazardly :(

 

We visited another Free Little Library the other day in another county and were so excited, until we pulled up – it was falling apart and the books were all water damaged and smelled of mildew.  That was quite a downer.  My oldest wants to now use this idea for our American Heritage Girls troop, she’d like her and the other Pi/Pas to help build two FLL and put them in two other villages in our county – and then our troop will do the upkeep, making sure the books aren’t getting watered damages, making sure the FLL stays in good repair, removing trash, etc.  It’s a great idea and I’m hoping we can run with that!

 

 

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

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Super Stitches Sewing: A Complete Guide to Machine-Sewing and Hand-Stitching Techniques by Nicole Vasbinder #grow4christ #bookreview


About the Book:

Does your sewing machine come with lots of fancy stitches that you’ve never thought to try? This essential guide to machine and hand stitches will teach you how to use any and every stitch for professional-looking seams, hems, gathers, darts, and more. Unlock your full sewing potential with 57 machine stitches, 18 hand stitches, and tips to choose the correct needles, threads, and sewing machine accessories, complete with detailed step-by-step tutorials and illustrations.

This comprehensive stitch dictionary is a must-have companion for any sewer, whether you just bought your first sewing machine or you’re a seasoned expert looking to polish your skills. If your passion is dressmaking, tailoring, or simply mending your own clothes, Super Stitches Sewing gives you all of the information you need to make every project a success.

 

You can look inside the book and purchase it at Random House.

 

My Opinion:

 

I’m not a great seamtress – I’ve sewn a couple shirts, with a lot of help from a friend, and I sew on karate and American Heritage Girl patches – but I long to improve on my sewing skills so my mom bought me a lovely computerized sewing machine about 1 1/2 years ago and it has a TON of stitches on it, that I don’t know how to use.  So when I saw the book, Super Stitches Sewing, I thought this could be the book that tells me how to make more use out of my machine as well as some hand sewing techniques.  The author herself has been sewing for 30 years and teaches classes so she knows a thing or two about sewing and how different machines work, this book is like having a really great sewing friend sitting next to you as you work on your newest sewing creation – whether it’s a pillow, a quilt or a shirt – there are stitches for every type of fabric, or so it seems.  The book is divided into three sections, the first covering 50 stitches for the sewing machine, the second devotes it’s time to 18 hand stitches and section three is all about the tools of the trade such as hand needles, machine needles, feet and also the different machines.

 

What I liked about this book is it’s not just a text it’s also very visual – so it’s great for all types of learning styles, I prefer to have someone next to me showing me how to do things – that’s just how I learn best especially with sewing (but when you’ve sewn through your thumb and have to have the medics come it does tend to make one fearful).  There are pictures as Nicole guides you step by step through using that stitch, complete with ideas if your machine doesn’t have the stitch she tells you what can be used in place of it or if there isn’t a replacement, what type of fabric is best to use, thread to use, needle type and more.  Some of the machines stitches covered are the automatic buttonhole, ric rac stitch, feather stitch, quilt stitch, honeycomb stitch and that is just the beginning.  As for hand stitching techniques she covers the back stitch, whip stitch, darning stitch, tailor’s tack and more – which gives a good overview of stitches you’ll need if you’d rather hand sew your project instead of machine sewing it.

 

If you’re like me your machine came with many stitches and the machine’s book just doesn’t do much in helping with understanding the stitches or even all the feet that came with the machine – so this book will help you make sense of all of that and have you sewing in no time!  I must say that even as I’ve read through this I’m still not sure what I’ll do with all 50 of these machine stitches or of the even more stitches that came on my machine – but it’s nice knowing how to use the stitch and what fabric to use, so if I ever become able to experiment I’ll be able to figure out how to use a different stitch besides the plain old straight stitch.  I’d have to say I do recommend this book for the sewer who isn’t in the know – Nicole does a great job in denoting what is a basic/beginner stitch and which are for the more advanced sewer – so it’s easy to know where one should start in their sewing journey.  I’ll definitely be keeping this one near my machine and I may not need to call a friend every 5 minutes while sewing!

 

 

 

(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


Three Things Thursday

Trying this again – the last time it took me almost a whole day to figure up what I wanted to write, but I also had three children who needed my attention and weather that was allowing me to go in and out to hang clothes on the line, that isn’t happening this week as there seems to be a chance of rain all this week – but at least the weather is cooler the next couple of days.

1.  I’ve been reading a lot!  I made my 2014 reading goal 200 books and I’m at 120 books right now on Goodreads (feel free to add me as a friend or follow my reviews).  I can’t help passing up good deals on books, like the other day when we went to a branch library and they had some paperbacks for sale: 6 for $1.00 or $0.25 a piece – well…….if you force me……I found the Four Seasons series (books 1-4) by Catherine Palmer and Gary Chapman, two Robin Jones Gunn books, 1 Linda Lee Chaikin book (there were two but I’d never read her before but I may go back and see if they still have the 2nd book – hey, it’s only a quarter!) , 1 Robin Lee Hatcher book, 4 Melody Carlson books plus a book on iguanas for my son = $2.50.  I also finished the Tyndale Summer Reading Program today, well as soon as my newest links are approved – then I can choose a free book!  I can keep reading and for every 5 books that I submit a review to in three places I can get a free reward book.  There is still time to join in just click on that link above in the last sentence.

The stack of books we found at the library (some are for my oldest DD to read)

 

2.  I’m going to begin planning a book swap with my daughters at one of the library’s we use, this will help them with service hours for American Heritage Girls as well as help us unload our old books and get some ‘new’ books into the house, not that we need help with that but these will be free.  We’re going to plan it on the same day that the village has their farmer’s market so hopefully we’ll get a good turn out – for every book a person brings in they’ll get to chose that many new books to take home.  Depending on the turn out we may have to limit the number people get to take but I’m hoping we’ll have enough that everyone will get a ‘new’ book for every one they bring in.  The girls will help set up the tables, which I hope to do by genre or maybe not!  As people come in the girls will count their books and hand them a slip of paper with that number written on it – so if they bring 5 their paper will say 5 – one daughter will man the door while the other daughter will put the books brought in on the tables.  Any books not swapped out at the end will be donated to the library for them to either shelf or to sell at their twice yearly Friends of the Library book sale.  I’m really hoping we’ll have a good turn out!

3.  My son is going to be turning 8 this weekend (won’t say too much as I’ll have a special post for him) and wow!  I still him as a baby but even though some days he can be a hand-full, he’s all boy, he has my heart.  He still loves to sit on my lap and be held, be read too, and he still gives some great, sticky kisses!  We’re really going to be focusing on reading with him this year – as I’d love to have him reading by the end of the year.  Our assessor said there may be some audio disconnect as he knows his letters, their sounds and can write his letters but reading – sounding out the word and putting it together is proving to be a frustrating concept to him.  She gave me some ideas to try so we’ll be trying those this school year, which starts on Monday.  I can’t believe that 8 years ago I never knew what I’d do with a boy and now I love being a mom to a son – he truly brings great joy into my life – even on those days that he cries over the injustices of a video game!

 

Son in our old backyard digging with a stick.

Leave me some comment love – what book are you reading this week?  Or what’s on your night stand?  I’m always looking for more great book recommendations!

 

 

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

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CWA Review: So Much the Better by Megan Means #grow4christ #cwareviewcrew


About the Book:

So Much The Better is a chapter book for upper elementary but has also touched the hearts of all ages. The feedback the author received on her book, inspired her to get this message out to the world. So, she took the challenge and created a website and social media links to help get the book’s message out to the world on-line. She also created a Curriculum Companion to the book which is offered for free on her website. It includes 21 lessons on character building that are taken directly from the book to help children become their best selves and inspire them to be great leaders.

The story is about a small lion named Ari. As a small cub, Ari’s life is secure and safe. He plays and rests in the warm sunshine wit h his pride. One day this peaceful existence changes abruptly. Ari is taken far away from the other lions finding he is alone in unfamiliar surroundings. Ari is lost and without hope until he encounters help from Eliezer, a golden eagle who befriends him. Together they begin the long journey back to his homeland with many challenges to overcome. Upon his return Ari thought his quest had come to an end, but he realizes now, it has only just begun.

 

You may purchase So Much the Better on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

 

 

 

About the Author:

Megan Means has a passion for children’s literacy and wants every child to have a love for books and reading. Megan desires to inspire children to become their best selves and to be leaders who make a positive difference in the lives of those around them. Megan’s fondest memories are of the years when she home-schooled her children and the many adventures they had along the way. Today, she continues to write and would like to create a sequel to her story So Much The Better.

Learn more about Megan at Smashwords, her website, Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

My Opinion:

 

Having read Megan Means’ first book, So Much the Better, has left me wanting more – this is a beautiful story filled with an allegorical story of being lost, going through the darkness and all that that entails, and then finding yourself in the light surrounded by love.  While not a story of Salvation, this story does lend itself to resisting evil temptations from those things that seek to devour us and to destroy us and this is a great way to show children how if they stay on the right path, with Christ, they too can find the light and that all things do eventually work out for the best.  This chapter book is short, just 80 pages, and after reading it myself I’d have to say I’d feel it was best for an older child who can look for the meanings behind the words, if I were to read this to my younger children I’d have to stop and do explaining as I read and I think then some of the story would be lost.  That being said the book isn’t distinctly Christian – but as a Christian I read the book through that lens and was able to see what lessons my children would gain from this book used beside the Bible to instill character that God wants from us all.

 

Megan has also created a character companion curricula to go along with the book, which is free on her website simply by signing up for it via your email – at this time I’m having trouble getting it to open on my Windows8 computer.  If you’d like to learn more about the curricula visit her website – the curricula does include Scripture verses for memorization, which is a great way to tie in the Bible to the book and I appreciate that.  The book could be used by any parent though, no matter their religious or non-religious preference, as I think we can all agree we want our children to grow up with strong character and be able to go out into the world and change it for the better – for me that includes making the Lord part of our lives.  The chapters are short, two to three pages at the most – which is great for both a strong reader and for the struggling reader – and since it’s short it won’t feel like it’s taking forever to finish, it took me about 2 hours and that includes frequent stops to the calls of “mom”.

 

As the story begins Ari is just a little lion cub still under the care of his mother and the lionesses when a storm comes blowing Ari into another area, far away, he meets friends along the way – an old badger, a colorful bird whose song is often stifled by the ‘bad’ birds, an eagle and others.  Eventually, making it back to his pride, he finds his mother gone and the pride a pitiful pack of skinny, fearful lions whose land is being overtaken by the leopards, until Ari finds his courage and strength and seeks to make an alliance with the leopards.  Filled with character through out the book including how much we all need relationships, children will enjoy the many animals that fill the book and while there are no illustrations even the youngest child should be able to make up pictures in their minds with the vivid details that Megan incorporates into the story.  This will be a book I’ll be using in conjunction with the curricula during our upcoming school year and beyond with all three of my children.

 

If you’d like to read what other bloggers had to say please visit the CWA Review Crew Page.

 

 

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

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Litfuse Publicity: Penny Wise (Book 3 in the Windy City Neighbors series) by Neta and Dave Jackson #grow4christ #bookreview


**This post may contain affiliate links**

 

About the Book:

PENNY WISE (Book 3 in the Windy City Neighbors series) introduces us to yet another family in “the neighborhood”-the Jaspers, busy with demanding jobs, busy with church, busy volunteering, parents of three active teenagers, juggling sometimes crazy schedules. All good things. Until all those “good things” feed into a series of crises that affects the whole family. Something’s gotta change! PENNY WISE is a contemporary peek at an urban family wrestling with the spiritual and practical challenges of real life. The series employs the innovating storytelling technique of “parallel novels,” each with its own drama and story arc, but whose characters’ lives become intertwined with their neighbors and affect one another. Welcome to Beecham Street-a typical, isolated American neighborhood that is beginning to come out of its shell . . . for better or worse.

 

 

 

You can purchase a copy at Amazon or by visiting Dave and Neta’s site.

 

About the Authors:

 

Neta and Dave Jackson, husband and wife writing team, are the authors or coauthors of more than 120 books that have sold over 2.5 million copies. They are best known for Neta’s award-winning Yada Yada Prayer Group series and their forty-volume Trailblazer series. They live in the Chicago area, where this novel is set.

 

You can connect with them at their website and on Facebook.

 

My Opinion:

If there ever were authors that I’d recommend that doesn’t revolve around Amish fiction, Dave and Neta Jackson are who I’d tell you to read, seriously, they are that good.  I’ve read all the Yada Yada series, SouledOut Sisters (Stand By Me and Come To The Table), Lucy Come Home and The Windy City Neighbors series with that being said next to read is the Harry Bentley and the House of Hope series (as of this review I have also completed the Harry Bentley and the House of Hope series too).  The Jackson’s write what are called ‘parallel novels’ meaning that all the books interrelate to one another on some level so Yada Yada feeds into the House of Hope series and Harry Bentley (see their website for which order to read this in) – just like our real lives run parallel to others, at the same time you’re doing dishes another friend may be out feeding her goats while another is reading a book to a child – and at some point our lives intersect with one another.  Before I began Penny Wise, I ran to the library and grabbed books 1 and 2 that I hadn’t read yet and I’m glad I did, while they could stand alone it helped to read these in order – while these are Christian fiction books I will mention that there were two instances that I counted the use of the word p**sed, when one of the characters were angry, so just a warning.

 

I sort of knew what was going to happen before Michelle figured it out, what with the extreme fatigue, sensitivities to smells and aversion to food – anyone who has been pregnant before will be like DUH! you’re pregnant – but not Michelle, there is one scene that she and her husband are having marital relations and she uses her protection, so they are actively trying not to get pregnant.  Their lives are running full steam ahead and stress is the norm with both working different shifts, volunteer, school stuff for their children then summer activities, and church obligations so it’s just stress related, until Michelle goes to the dr.  This is the part of the book that angered me, Michelle, a volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center contemplates having an abortion, no one will know since she hasn’t told anyone!  I can understand the feelings of being overwhelmed, in her 40’s she and her husband are ships passing in the night and she has teenagers, but the thought of aborting your child.  These feelings may have been very strong for me right now as I’m struggling with figuring out why God would give someone a child who doesn’t want one but yet I’ve yet to have another after almost 8 years!

 

With that being said, the Jackson’s books aren’t ones that one can read and then put aside and forget, they make the reader think and they may even uncover some feelings that may not feel so good.  Like me, being angry with Michelle – of course when tragedy strikes their family she realizes then just how precious life is (even working as a post abortion group leader, doesn’t truly hit home) and she finally tells her husband who is shocked at first but happy.  I must say despite my feelings I really enjoyed this book and read it through in 2 days, would have been quicker but I wasn’t feeling good and I would definitely recommend it but be sure to read the series in order so you know what is going on!  I’m really looking forward to book 4, Pound Foolish, which is about a homeschool mom and her husband and two children.

 

If you want to read what others thought, please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

 

 

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

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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


**This post may contain affiliate links**

 

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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