GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Help us get to Project Dance Detroit


In June my girls, my son and I travel to Detroit, MI for Project Dance Detroit at which they’ll be performing with their Dance Company, Illuminate.  This is a time to show the love of Christ through dance and music to the city of Detroit, and any others who come out. If you’ve read my blog, you’ll know that I became a widow in December and I’m still a homemaker trying to make ends meet on a meager survivor benefit pay out. The hotel for our stay is around $800 that does not include gas or meals. I’ve set up a gofundme campaign, if you’re led to give, please do so – I’m only asking for enough to cover our hotel, anything over that will go towards gas, meals and dance related fees. Please know gofundme does take a portion of the donations, good for them, bad for us – but any little (or big) donation helps. Thank you for considering donating to get my girls to Detroit!

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Join the Odyssey Adventure Club for a ‘Buck’ (Plus a Summer Challenge)


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Memorial Day is just around the corner, which means school will be out for the summer! Parents, does that fill you with dread, knowing all you’ll hear for the next few months is, “I’m bored!”? Keep reading because we have a deal for you—one that will only cost you a buck and that will keep your kids safe online while allowing them to have fun and to grow in their relationship with Jesus.

Buck Oliver is back in the latest Adventures in Odyssey album, and to celebrate, you can try the Odyssey Adventure Club for just a buck for your first month. Sign up before May 31st using the promo code BUCK! *This deal only applies to first-time accounts and is good the first month only.

Members receive:

—24/7 streaming access to more than 750 Adventures in Odyssey episodes (a $1500 retail value).

—A new, members-only Adventures in Odyssey episode every month.

—A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine.

—A web quest of video stories and online activities reflecting the biblical theme of that month’s episode.

—On-the-go access with the OAClub mobile iOS app.

—Growing access to Odyssey books, a daily devotion, access to select Radio Theatre dramas and more.

Additionally, a portion of each Odyssey Adventure Club membership benefits Focus on the Family partner organizations, such as Carry the Cure and Mission Aviation Fellowship, providing parents with an opportunity to teach children about the value of serving others. The Odyssey Adventure Club hopes to spend another 25 years hand-in-hand with parents seeking to teach biblical truth to their children while inspiring the theater of their imagination.

OAC-May-Offer

Your favorite Adventures in Odyssey characters are also Taking the Plunge in Album 59 and now you can, too! This summer, dive into your faith and grow closer to God by joining the Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine Taking The Plunge Summer Challenge. It includes these simple things:

  • Learn 5 memory verses
  • Get active with 5 family activities together
  • Share God’s love and your faith in 5 different ways

When you commit to the Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine Taking The Plunge Summer Challenge, you’ll receive:

  • A promo code for an exclusive Odyssey Adventure Club first month offer (for new members only)
  • Adventures in Odyssey special studio message
  • “Strange Journey Back” book excerpt
  • “Jones and Parker Mysteries” book excerpt

To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit www.oaclub.org, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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Litfuse Publicity: When Grace Sings (The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy, Book 2) by Kim Vogel Sawyer


About the Book:

When trouble roars into quiet Arborville, Alexa and Anna-Grace find themselves the target for discord and exposed secrets. Can they continue to seek the God of all grace amidst the fog of confusion?

Alexa Zimmerman wonders if the Old Order Mennonite community in Arborville, Kansas will ever fully accept her. Her family roots here aren’t what anyone thought when she first arrived, but she is hopeful that her culinary and hospitality skills will win the skeptics over. The bed-and-breakfast she’s operating needs to succeed so Alexa agrees to allow Briley Forrester, the hotshot reporter from Chicago, to stay as a long-term boarder not knowing his real motives for being amongst the Plain folk.

But when Alexa agrees to host her cousin Anna-Grace Braun, the presence of extended family brings out Alexa’s insecurities and sets Briley on the trail to uncovering a web of hidden truths.

Plans for a secure future and the sweetness of young romance hang in the balance when Alexa and Anna-Grace have to face that their secrets are interconnected, binding the two in ways they could not have imagined. They must trust in a loving, heavenly Father and His plan for their futures.

You can purchase your own copy here.

About the Author:

Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of twenty-nine novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women’s fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and nine grandchildren

You can also find Kim on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

My Opinion:

I hadn’t read the first book in this series, When Mercy Rains, but after I received When Grace Sings, I ran to the library and grabbed the first and began it that day and finished it the next! As soon as I finished it, I began When Grace Sings and finished it the next day, that is how wrapped I got into this well written story with well formed characters. That is a quality of Kim Vogel Sawyer I enjoy so much – the fact that her characters are so well formed and they seem so real, like they could leap right out of the pages and begin visiting with you. In this book we pick up where Book 1 left off with Alexa Zimmerman staying behind with her Grandmother to run a bed and breakfast out of her Grandma’s house – but trouble comes along and all are unsure of how things are going to proceed.

With a reporter coming to stay long term in order to dig up dirt on the Plain people and the real daughter of Alexa’s mom staying as well in preparation for her upcoming wedding things seem to go from bad to worse – and that is what kept me turning the pages long after I should have been in bed, asleep. The suspense was well done and didn’t seem forced or fakes, which is sometimes hard to do and the conflict between family members seemed as real as family conflicts are in the real world. Even as real as it all seemed, it provided a nice escape from what was going on around me as I read the book and I’m very much looking forward to the next one so I can find out what is going on with Alexa and her Old Order Mennonite family.

If you’d like to read what other bloggers thought please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Family Christian: Amy Grant’s newest CD: Be Still and Know (review and giveaway)


I grew up listening to Amy Grant – I even got a couple of her cassettes for one of my birthdays, back when I was given a HUGE boom box. I made complete dances (**GASP** – yes I was a church going, dancing child) to her music in my family’s driveway in the summer and in my room during inclement weather.

I still enjoy those songs like El Shaddai, which Amy Grant has re-made and it’s still as beautiful, even if I’m partial to the one I grew up listening to in the late 80’s, early 90’s. The new album Be Still and Know; Hymns and Faith is a great addition to my CD collection as I drive my children from place to place – every day.

I can still hear the songs, Every Heartbeat and Baby Baby playing over the loud speakers at summer camp for our Church of God district. No dancing though. I’m a hymn person at heart and while I like CCM I knew I needed Amy’s newest CD because it had several of my favorite hymns on it such as:

  • Power in the Blood
  • Rock of Ages
  • What a Friend We have in Jesus/Old Rugged Cross/How Great Thou Art
  • Softly and Tenderly

and these are just a few of what is on this CD of 15 tracks, she also has some guest vocalists like Vince Gill, Sheryl Crow and Eric Paslay.

I feel like I’m passing on the touch, my children can enjoy the music that is faith filled through a woman I used to listen to when I was young. It feels good to know that there are songs that stand the test of time and instill faith in our life as we go about our daily lives. The music is relaxing, but no so relaxing that you can’t listen while driving and while it’s upbeat, it’s not so upbeat that you can’t listen at night in bed to unwind. I will enjoy the music on the CD for years to come and while maybe not choreographing dances anymore – definitely singing along!

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

Giveaway!!!

Use this link to enter to win this CD through a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Armstrong Air and Space Museum part duex


We first visited the Armstrong Air and Space Museum back in 2011 – that time my husband was with us, so it was one of those hard firsts. My husband really enjoyed this museum, especially the end with the Star Trek figures at the end. My mom went with us this time and overall it was a good time.

My mom, seeing if she’d make it as an astronaut.

 

Then there is me – don’t I look thrilled?

 

And my son – always making some kind of weird face!

And the middle daughter (oldest refused and I pick my battles).

The ultimate reason we went to the Air and Space museum was because the oldest was working on completing her Living and Working in Space, American Heritage Girl badge and one of the requirements was to make a glove box.  I prefer other methods of learning other than making a very confusing glove box (the handbook is not written for girls or their families who homeschool and travel a lot) and I knew this museum had one.

Trying out the glove box.

Inside a lunar module simulator. My husband’s favorite part.

 

After we finished, we headed outside, if you look at the post from our first visit you’ll find a similar picture as to the one below.  I thought it was neat to see how the children have grown!

All three.

So that is it.  I’m working on updating the blog from some of the stuff we’ve been doing – it’s hard to write anymore as finding the time needed is not what it used to be as I’ve become much more busy.  If you’re still reading my blog I appreciate you hanging around and waiting for content, if my reviews aren’t your thing, again thank you.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Litfuse Publicity: Heart Sisters by Natalie Chambers Snapp


About the Book:

Heart Sisters is for women who want to both be and have better friends and want a helpful guide to take them through the process.

Author Natalie Chambers Snapp uses her own and others’ stories of successes and failures to illustrate what she has learned about girlfriend relationships. Healthy boundaries, honesty, tact, sharing, and agape love all play a part in being and maintaining a circle of close confidants. She also deals with the inevitable challenges that face many relationships including how to handle conflict; life changes like a new baby, move or divorce; and when it is right to “break-up” with your friend.

Discussion questions, space to journal, photos, and quick interviews of healthy female friendships are included within each chapter.

You can purchase a copy at Abingdon Press.

About the Author:

Natalie Chambers Snapp is first and foremost a follower of Jesus, then wife to Jason, and mom to one spunky daughter and two spirited sons with a crazy amount of energy. Choosing to follow Jesus at 27, Natalie is passionate about sharing the grace, mercy, and truth of God’s love. She lives in the Midwest with her crew and tries to keep it simple by writing about the faith found in the everyday mundane. The outpourings of her heart can be found at Natalie Snapp in the fleeting moments between being a wife and mother.

You can find Natalie at her website, Facebook and Twitter.

My Opinion:

I have some wonderful friends, not only are they friends but they are the sisters I never have and I’m happy to call them friends and blessed to call them Sisters.  I love my friends but sometimes I feel as if I’m the one who is failing as a friend – I drop the ball on calling them back, or texting them back, or even getting together with them.  Enter the book, Heart Sisters by Natalie Chambers Snapp, I think we can all relate – and we go through seasons – the friends that we had in high school may not be our friends once we get married and begin a family, or maybe they are, we want to have friends – meaningful relationships because, if you’re married, you can attest to the fact your husband cannot be a girlfriend. Natalie touches on this in the first chapter about do we really need girlfriends, and I can relate, there were times I’d rely on my husband to be my girlfriend AND husband – one of those was a role he could and was not able to fill, rightly so.

While some of this book spoke to me, some of the issues discussed were are currently discussing in my Sunday School as well so it was nice to relate it to all of life, some of what is in this book is good not only for friends but also for interacting with others.  I’m so grateful that Natalie addresses the issue with men and women being close friends – especially if those men and women are married – this leads to dangerous ground, if not a physical affair then an emotional one. I think the one thing that should have been added is that heart sisters can correct their friends children, briefly mentioned is that heart sisters will love their friends children simply because they are their friend’s, however one thing that as my heart sisters and I agree on is that if one of our children is doing wrong and we aren’t there to deal with it then we can correct that child. That is what heart sisters do, we aren’t there just for each other but we also support the training that they are giving their children, and the friends are okay with it.

This is definitely a good book to read that will inspire you not only to be a great friend or at least a better friend but also to make sure that those you’re surrounding yourself with are worth the time and effort of building a lasting friendship with. Filled with Scripture to back up her writing, this is especially great for the Christian woman who wants more than what the world says is friendship. With places to write your thoughts as well as discussion questions – it can be used during quiet time or in a group setting with other women who want to learn about being a heart sister. I also enjoyed hearing Natalie’s personal journey of her mistakes and her successes of being a friend and also the lessons learned from those who she thought were friends and turned out to not be.

To read what other bloggers thought about this book please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

Want to be a better friend and have better friends? Natalie Chambers Snapp wrote Heart Sisters just for you! She uses her own and others’ stories of successes and failures to illustrate what she has learned about girlfriend relationships. Discussion questions, space to journal, photos, and quick interviews of healthy female friendships are included within each chapter.

Help Natalie celebrate the release of her new book by entering to win goodies you’ll need for a girls’ night out with your heart sister!

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One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 17th. Winner will be announced May 18th on Natalie’s blog.

heart sisters-enterbanner

{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}

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Kregel Tour: Andrea Carter’s Tales from the Circle C Ranch by Susan K. Marlow


About the Book:

Join Andrea Carter for more adventures in nineteenth-century California!

The independent tomboy Andrea Carter and her beloved horse, Taffy, were first introduced in Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home in 2005. Since then, popular author Susan Marlow has penned five more books in the Circle C Adventures series, filled in Andi’s early years with the Circle C Beginnings series, and started a chronicle of Andrea’s teen years in Circle C Milestones.

Published to celebrate the tenth anniversary of this positive role model for girls, Andrea Carter’s Tales from the Circle C Ranch is a collection of short stories inspired by fan questions that fills in many of the gaps between Circle C Beginnings and Circle C Adventures. Taking place between 1873 and 1880, each story is prefaced by an explanatory note that pinpoints the action of the story in relation to events in the existing Andrea Carter books.

Wholesome fun, and with a clear Christian message throughout, Andrea Carter’s Tales from the Circle C Ranch is a must-read for fans of the series and a fun introduction for those who haven’t yet discovered these historical gems.

You can purchase your copy at Kregel.

My Opinion:

Even though we own all the Circle C Beginnings books I haven’t read them all, sadly, however this book was a fantastic read even if one hasn’t read the Beginnings or the Adventures series. Reading this book now has me wanting to go and read the other series because it was just that good, and even if you haven’t this book still flows and makes sense. Susan tells which book the story precedes, such as in Chapter 1 “Britches Are Not for Little Girls” she tells the reader that it is set in September 1873 which means this story takes place the autumn before Andi’s Pony Trouble. The book is divided into two parts – the early years and the in-between years, part one has four chapters and part two has seven chapters. Some of the stories are somewhat sad (like the one that gives us more of a glimpse of Andi’s dad before he passed away) and others are filled with adventure or just a great character lesson.

Short and a fast read, I read it in one afternoon this book kept my attention the whole time, which I rarely do when reading a child’s book as I have books of my own to read. I love Susan’s down to earth way of writing, simple enough for the youngest reader but yet intensive enough for the older girl who needs a bit more to her stories. Full of well developed characters from the other books, big on using God and how we should act in our lives as Christians, this book has many character lessons for the young and the young at heart. Whether you’re new to the Andrea Carter books or are an old fan this book will fit right in with your books on the shelf and curl up and enjoy a great story or two.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Kregel Tour: Thick as Thieves (Circle C Milestones Book 1) by Susan K. Marlow


About the Book:

Fourteen-year-old Andrea Carter would rather ride her beloved palomino, Taffy, than do anything else. But life on the Circle C ranch in 1882 is busy. Between school and chores, Andi is left with little time to prepare for Taffy’s first foaling. Then when the event finally arrives, it nearly ends in disaster.

Returning to school keeps Andi hard-pressed to find time for foal training. And she now has a new problem on her hands–Macy Walker, who has been assigned as Andi’s seatmate. The new girl’s crude manners and cruel behavior bring storm clouds into Andi’s life, as does the news that cattle rustlers have moved into the valley.

When the cattle rustlers turn to stealing horses and strike the Carter ranch, Andi’s only hope for recovering her precious colts lies with Macy. Can Andi trust this wild girl? Does she have a choice?

You can purchase a copy at Kregel.

My Opinion:

I’m so glad that Susan has written a new series with an older Andrea because this will appeal to older girls where the younger Andi wouldn’t. In this newest book and beginning of the Circle C Milestones series Andrea is 14 and she has matured, sort of, and is now facing troubles that a lot of 14 year old girls do – issues with friends and/or classmates, butting heads with family members and much more. I read this in one day, it wasn’t a long or terribly hard read and it was thoroughly enjoyable – the suspense also feels ‘older’ it keeps the reader on the edge of their seat without being too much. Andrea is still the girl that we love in the other books – she is quick to act and sometimes slow to think – but she almost always has someone else best interest at heart even if she might get in trouble later.

I will say I don’t have horse loving daughters and we live in the city so while my girls don’t really have much in common with Andrea Carter it’s still a book at least one of them will enjoy reading. Andrea isn’t allowed to get away with bad behavior and her mom and her older brothers keep her in line, and there is plenty of themes of relying on the Lord through the whole book. I like the character of Macy Walker, who is brought up by her rough brothers and told that God isn’t real – it was an eye opener I think for Andrea but as she and her family love on the ‘unlovable’ Macy we see the changes that only God can make. This is a fantastic addition and allows our daughters (and even sons) to follow Andrea from child hood to young woman-hood and only in a way that Susan Marlow could do!

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Bethany House Review: The Love Letters by Beverly Lewis


About the Book:

Marlena needed time to let things sink in. It was beyond her how all this could possibly work out–adding the care of an infant to her daily routine. Fortunately, it would just be until Luella returned home from the hospital and was stronger.
No more than a couple weeks, surely.

Marlena Wenger’s life takes an unexpected turn on the day she learns she must care for her estranged sister’s baby. Spending the summer in Brownstown, Pennsylvania, to assist her Mennonite grandmother, and miles from Marlena’s Old Order Amish beau, she feels out of her element in nearly every respect. Yet Marlena determines to do her best and stay focused on her future, even as those hopes become drastically altered.

You can purchase a copy at Baker Publishing Group.

About Beverly Lewis:

Beverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, is the New York Times bestselling author of more than ninety books. Her stories have been published in eleven languages worldwide. A keen interest in her mother’s Plain heritage has inspired Beverly to write many Amish-related novels, beginning with The Shunning, which has sold more than one million copies and was recently made into an Original Hallmark Channel movie. In 2007 The Brethren was honored with a Christy Award. She has been interviewed by both national and international media, including Time magazine, the Associated Press, and the BBC. Beverly lives with her husband, David, in Colorado. Visit her website at http://www.beverlylewis.com for more information.

My Opinion:

A search of my blog and reading lists will tell of how much I enjoy Beverly Lewis’ writing and reading her newest book The Love Letters, just renewed my enjoyment of her books.  This is a stand alone novel so if you don’t enjoy series this is a great one to read and it’s a fast read as you get swept up in the story. At first I was worried that Marlena would prove to be just another whining character but thankfully that wasn’t the case, yes there were times she felt sorry for herself, as we all do at times but then she got over it and goes on with her life. Like Marlena, our lives rarely go as we planned them and instead if we listen to the Lord we’ll see His will working in our lives – and that is what I learned from Marlena. While the book provided entertainment while passing the time waiting on the children at their activities, the book also provided some educational value as well or maybe I should say spiritual education.

This book also gave me a few tears as I read – the heartbreak over losing her sister, then her fiancee, and the prospect of losing her niece – Marlena goes through many emotions through out the book. What I also like was instead of just centering around Old Order Amish, this book also included a look into Old Order Mennonites, some of who drive cars and have electricity in their houses. The ending is happy and neatly wrapped up, and that is what I needed on the day I read this, while there are times I’d rather read of ongoing tension I needed a neat and tidy, happy ending and without giving spoilers, I’m so glad that Marlena got her happy ending. This book has many positive aspects to it and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a great stand alone book that can be read in a day or two.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Review: Economy for the Christian Home – A 12 Week Challenge for Wives to Increase Charitable Giving by Mrs. Sharon White


About the Book:

Bible study designed for individual or group use. . Includes 12 challenges, 12 homework assignments and 12 devotionals to inspire and motivate you. . . You will learn about a “Charity Box” for the home; how “New England Thrift” can help you save money; how “Prayer Directed Giving” can warm your heart; what it is like to “Live in Reduced Circumstances” and much more. . . At the end of the 3 month program, your house-account should be more efficient. You will have money in your savings account and your giving will increase in ways that will bless you and others as well. . .{Scripture quoted in this book is from the KJV Bible.}

You may purchase a copy on Amazon.

My Opinion:

I can’t remember how I met Mrs. Sharon White but I’m so glad I did as she has blessed me both through her blog posts at The Legacy of Home and through her other books, such as Early Morning Revival Challenge. Mrs. White has written Economy for the Christian Home which is geared to increase the home’s charitable giving, and in turn bless others as Christ wants us to do. For the last 4 months I’ve been on the receiving end of charitable giving and I’ve been so blessed by all the gifts that have come in and as I need to watch the money that flows out it’s hard for me to let go of much, however Mrs. White’s book has me wanting to do more. I love the idea of a “charity box” or a Tzedaka box and am thinking of ways that we can make our own and start implementing it, as Mrs. White says “It can start with a penny…just one penny.” In Mark 12:43 even Jesus admonishes His disciples that the widow who gave her last two copper coins, which equal a penny, gave more than the rich people – so being a widow with little funds does not excuse me from giving, to the church or to others.

Mrs. Sharon White writes with a simpleness that strikes to the heart of the matter and using much Scripture backs up all that she writes. Unlike, other books on giving, Mrs. White makes it seem doable because you’re not committing to hundreds of dollars, but even just a penny. That penny builds and builds and eventually the Lord will lead you who needs the gifting, whether it’s a family who needs food or medicine or your church’s food pantry. The discussion questions for each week are simple but in depth – you’ll study Scripture as well as what you just read in Mrs. White’s book and then the challenge will help you put both into practice – like week one, making a charity box or week nine’s challenge in learning a new skill (knitting, sewing, etc) that you can use to bless others. The book can be used either in group study or for individual study and comes with a financial journal (if doing this in a group, the journal is to be kept confidential) for each of the 12 weeks so you can track your expenses and giving. Economy for the Christian Home is a great resource for all Christian women who want to increase their family’s giving.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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