GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

A Helping Hand


Imagine, hating the grocery store.  Hating the looks you’ll know you’ll get.  Hating the snide comments from those behind you.  The cold glares.  The change in demeanor once they see your debit card isn’t really a debit card.

“She has too many children”

“Maybe if she didn’t have that expensive purse, nice shoes, etc”

“She should just get a job”

and on it goes.

I NEVER thought I’d be on the receiving end of these comments.  Confession:  We used to use WIC – briefly – I was told by a cashier when I had a few extra dollars and bought a cross stitch magazine that I shouldn’t be allowed to buy stuff like that if I had to use WIC.

WIC is totally different than what I face now.

I purposely seek out stores that have self check out or chose a line that looks like I can get in and out quickly.

I’ve had a cashier be so friendly then when I bring out our food assistance card, commonly called Food Stamps, she then ignored me and began a conversation with a bagger, letting me know I was no longer worth her time.

I’ve seen many a meme going around about how terrible it is that we abuse the system, there should be drug testing because all food assistance people are using drugs or selling their benefits for drugs, or what have you.

I understand there are many who do use the system, who abuse it and who may use drugs and so on.  I am not that person, not all of us are.

I’ve been asked by fellow Christians, “doesn’t your church help you?” or put another way “Christians shouldn’t use food stamps, go to your church.”  Really?  I love our church – they are great, godly people but we are also small – very small and most are elderly and on fixed incomes, how is my church to provide food for 4 people, 3 of those VERY hungry children who eat a lot?  I agree churches should do as the Bible (and God) says to help the widows and fatherless.  Our church has and is supporting us but they simply can’t support us financially – I don’t see where in the Bible that the Lord said it had to be financially.

That said – and I’m going to be honest here, we get a measly $169 a month in food benefits.  4 people – $169 a month.  I get the same amount of food benefits as a single person with no children.  We spend that a WEEK.  My son alone could probably eat that much a week on his own, if I let him, and never gain a pound!  Trust me we are not rolling in the money here with what we get in food assistance.  I will not divulge what I get in survivors benefits – I will tell you our yearly income has been cut in half, maybe even more if I took the time to figure it what hubby used to bring home to what we get in benefits.

Out of our monthly survivor benefits I have to pay our utilities, clothing, shoes, curricula, needed repairs, gas for the car, vehicle repairs, and anything else that comes up and food.

The donations that were given to us are being kept safe and not being used unless I absolutely need them.  If you feel led to donate there are instructions on how to do so on the right side of my blog, and thank you if you do donate.  I know there will be months that something comes up and there is zero money left.  I’m so appreciative of the friends and family who have given generously to us – it will help in these months of trying to figure everything out.

Now to answer some of those comments I mentioned above:

1.  I have three children.  3.  That isn’t 10 or 20. 3.  I cannot have anymore children because I no longer have a husband, to infer that the reason I’m on food assistance because I have too many children is ridiculous and hurtful.  If Don was still here we’d welcome more children, but I’m not one of those women who is on food assistance because my children’s dad has walked out and abandoned us, I’m not on F.A. because I’m having more children just to get benefits.  Unfortunately, many cashiers and the people in line behind me only see a woman with three (too many) children using food stamps, which they mistakenly believe I’ve never worked.

2.   Something else people don’t consider is that maybe that purse I got for free by simply holding a Thirty-One party and I paid $0.  Maybe my nice shoes were a gift from my mom.  My clothes are nice because they were bought before hubby passed and I’m not hard on them.  Just because what is on my body doesn’t mean I’m abusing the system.  Should I and my children, because I’m on food assistance, be wearing dirty, ragged clothing?  Then there will be those who claim I can’t care for my children and should therefor not be allowed to have them anymore.  it’s a vicious cycle, one that I can’t win.

3.   I do have a job – it’s called being a homemaker.  I worked, I had several jobs ever since I could work, I’ve worked.  I’ve paid into the system everyone wants to say I haven’t.  My husband worked and paid into the system.  My job right now is to be a mom to my children and continue to educate them at home, as my husband told me was his desire should anything ever happen to him.  By the way, for those who may want to still further say something – I’m an United States Navy veteran – yep at one time I was protecting you and your ‘right’ to say these things about my children and I.

I’m writing this, not to point fingers at any one person, I’ve been there.  I’ve been the cashier looking down on that mom in my line.  I’ve been the person behind her (or him) thinking well if only they………  Just remember as you stand behind that mom or that dad – you don’t know their story.  Take your thoughts captive.

Maybe that mom, like me, has lost the love of her life and is trying to keep things as normal as possible.  Remember she isn’t getting $1,000’s a month, she’s still finding it hard to make ends meet.  Maybe she needs a smile, instead of your glare or ire, maybe she needs to know that it’s okay she’s asked for help, even if it’s from the government.  If she’s a Christian like me, she doesn’t need condemnation from the church, she needs prayer, she needs support.  Maybe if we weren’t all treated like trash, criminals, drug users then maybe we could hold our heads up in the store like the rest of the world, instead of fearing that check out lane, we’d be treated like everyone else.

Again, because I know someone will forget what I’ve said – I know there are exceptions, I’m not blind, I know there are those on assistance that are abusing the system and yes there should be ways to weed those out but again, not everyone on assistance is like that or desires to be like that.

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

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Book Crash Review: Bible Study for Busy Mamas Thirty Days in 1 Corinthians 13 by Pam Forster


About the Book:

1 Corinthians 13 is a full-blown description of love – not a sentimental or romantic feel-good love, but a practical, where-the-rubber-meets-the road, perfect love – the kind of love only Jesus has fully accomplished.

This study won’t just tell you to try harder at loving. As you spend time studying God’s Word, you’ll encounter love personified — the perfect love Jesus embodies — and knowing His love for you will motivate you to love others like He does.

Busy Mamas studies take a simple but deep approach to Bible study, divided into bite-size portions that will leave you encouraged and excited as you discover that you do have time for meaningful Bible study.

By giving you short study assignments, five to ten minutes per day for thirty days, this book will help you make time to thoroughly study 1 Corinthians 13 and learn about true, Christ-like love.

View sample pages and find ways to purchase at Doorposts.

 

My Opinion:

I had the chance to review this Bible study by Pam Forster based upon I Corinthians 13 AKA the Love Chapter, because it tells us what love is – patient, kind, and what love is not – boastful, envious.  It’s geared to be a 30 day study, just like the other one I reviewed here.  While most studies that are supposed to be for ‘busy mamas’ usually turn out to not be for busy moms – this one is different, it doesn’t have to be done at a set time, the study assignments are relatively short between 5 to 15 minutes if I had to give a time of course this depends on how deep you get into it.  If you have a lot of time one can easily delve more deeply into the study but if you don’t even just doing the the basic assignment will give you enough study information to go on – just getting into God’s Word is what matters.

My ESV journal Bible – the first entries I made. Hearts around the words love and charity and other colorings/decorations. Very relaxing.

The only supplies you’ll need are your Bible (you can use any translation you like), although you’ll want to have either online access for Blue Letter Bible, or have an exhaustive concordance and various other translations of Bibles for the word studies.  I like the online way as I don’t have a lot of table space but Pam also recognizes not everyone will have online access or even like it so she does tell you how to do the study without the online portions.  Also needed are some colored pencils, high lighters (if you’d like to make in your Bible otherwise you can do it on your paper), something to write with and paper.  This study is really just a guide, you can use it as you need to in your life without feeling like you’re doing something wrong, like me I’m not doing it every single day but more like every other or every two because I’m soaking up the information from the other days.

Another feature that this one has is a complimentary children’s study – they’ll be studying the same chapter you are, I Corinthians 13, but doing it with you (as a family, just you and the children, or you can omit it entirely) with their own assignments.  It is great for both the little children and older ones and ideas are given for both so no one needs to feel left out or behind.  I have not personally included my children in this one but since I enjoy it so much I will more than likely go back and try to do just the children’s part with them after I finish the study.  It’s a great way to include the children and get them growing in God’s Word and since everyone does the same chapter you’ll all be on the same chapter, no need for each child to have their own guides or for a teacher’s guide.  This is a fantastic Bible Study for busy mamas!

 

 

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

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I have HOPE


I have hope.

I didn’t think that I would be able to ever say or think that again back in December of 2014.

I knew then and I know now that God is there – He is for me and with me BUT in the midst of grief, caring for my children, planning a funeral – one doesn’t recognize that all the time – all you can personally feel, see, touch, taste is the grief.

Overwhelming grief.

I’ve lost before – all my Grandparents are gone.  I lost class mates in high school.  I’m no stranger to loss but I’ve never lost a spouse and that is a loss so different from losing a friend, a Grandparent – it rips a hole in your heart, your mind, your soul that feels like it will never mend.

Going to bed alone at night.

Reaching for a hand that isn’t there.

Wanting to make a phone call to a person who can’t answer.

In Ecclesiastes 3 we are told (not including the whole text here):

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Don’t get me wrong – I’m no where near acceptance but I’m finding it a little bit easier to find hope in the everyday.

I don’t dread going out into public like I did the first two months.

I can tell people easier, not without tears, but I’m not hysterical like I was in January had someone asked.

There is still a time to weep and we just did that on Sunday in church as a young lady sang a song about earthly and Heavenly dads.

There will be no dad to protect my girls from boys.  Their husbands will never know the man they are measured against.

So we are still weeping.

We are laughing – when we remember Don’s laugh or one of his many sayings:

“It builds character”

We can remember him with laughter and I find myself laughing at life.  Watching my son at a karate tournament, where even though he didn’t place, he was MUCH improved from the last one – Don would be happy.

Lately, I’ve been taking solace in journaling and Bible journaling – drawing, writing, painting, and stamping in my Bible gives me a relaxing way to get into God’s Word and soak it up.  Many verses have been speaking to me and one day I’ll have a keepsake my children and grandchildren and hopefully great grandchildren can treasure and see the legacy I’ve left for them.

March 9th was Don’s birthday.  He would have been 45.  On the 13th we marked the 3 month mark of his passing.

We put flowers and released balloons at the cemetery.  We laughed.  We laughed that he would have been upset that I spent good money, even if it was only $6.99 for crazy daises.  We laughed that he would complain I spent too much money on his casket.  We cried that he was gone.

We also agreed that on this birthday he didn’t have to go to work, he was not in ANY pain, he wasn’t stressed about bills.  We cried that he isn’t here, I know he’s with the Lord but he isn’t here and so we come back to the point where I’m not at acceptance.  Even three months later I’m still waiting for him to come through the door, although not as much as I was in December.

The sound of his laughter is fading.  The sound of his voice is fading.  The feel of his soft skin and beautiful hands is fading.  The only smell of him is what is left in his cologne bottle.  My son even told me the other day, I can’t remember what dad sounded like.

This post isn’t about tears though – it’s about hope and while I feel guilty for laughing, for living, I also know Don would not want me wallowing in sorrow.  He was never one to let the world get him down, oh he may have gotten sad, or mad but he wouldn’t stay down.  He would want me to have hope.

The sun has been out quite a bit lately and that helps.  It tells me spring is here, even if it’s still cold,

The Son gives me hope for where I’ll be when I pass – while the Bible tells us there will not be husband and wife, mother or father in Heaven, I think we’ll know each other and I’ll get to see Don in his glorified body.  I’d like to think he’ll be there waiting for me with our baby we lost, standing next to my Grandparents and Great Grandparents, welcoming me home and the Lord most of all and I pray to hear the words “well done, good and faithful servant”.

So I have hope – yes there are still days of tears and pain but there is also the days of laughter and joy.  Even as I finalized the order for our cemetery marker I felt a bit of hope – it wasn’t too fancy but honors who we are/were – husband and wife, son and daughter, and the parents of three wonderful, if sometimes trying, children.  It symbolizes our faith and will show the legacy we’ve left.

Hope, because sometimes that is all we have to hold to.

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

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Litfuse Publicity: How Many Time Do I Have To Tell You? by Rachael Carman


About the Book:

How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You? (Apologia Educational Ministries, September 2014)

You’ve probably said these things to your kids, but have you listened to what you’re saying?

“I remember the day you were born.”

“Turn down the music!”

“This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you.”

“Hold my hand.”

Your heavenly Father wants to tell you many of these same things. Rachael Carman knows how noisy it can be when you’re raising children—she has seven! But this lovely devotional book will help you to hear God’s still, small voice amid the chaos of carpools, cut fingers, and carpet crawlers. You’ll learn how to recognize God’s instructions for you, even as you seek to follow His example as a parent.

You can purchase your own copy at Amazon.

 

About the Author:

Rachael Carman is an author and speaker for Apologia Educational Ministries. The wife of Davis and the mother of seven children, Rachael challenges parents to live by reckless, obedient faith. As a direct reflection of her heart’s desire to encourage, inspire, and celebrate motherhood, Rachael also leads Real Refreshment Retreats, weekend events that energize and invigorate homeschooling mothers with meaningful worship and speakers plus practical encouragement for the homeschool journey.

 

You can find Rachael online at her website, Twitter and on Facebook.

 

My Opinion:

I must not have read the book description very well because I truly thought I was getting a book that would help me with all the sayings that I say each day and somehow improve my parenting.  I got something much better than a parenting book, I got a book that helped me with my walk with the Lord by using the sayings that I often say to my children, the Lord can use those same things to get our attention.  It’s amazing to me how the Lord has been speaking to me through His Word as I journal it and through books I’ve been reading lately.  Some of the chapters had me about ready to cry, like “Let’s Go For A Walk”:

“When he says, “Let’s go for a walk,” taking Him up on His offer is an act of trust on my part.

It’s saying yes to Him and His wisdom.  It’s choosing His perfect peace in the middle of the storm. 

It’s putting my relationship with Him first and not substituting a cheap imitation.” page 151-152

My life has had drastic changes in the last few months and I’ve noticed that God wants to take a walk with me, whether that walk consists of me actually getting out of bed when I don’t want to and walking down the stairs to get a coffee and spend some time in His Word or a real walk in nature – I can feel Him around me as I walk with Him.  This wasn’t the only chapter that spoke to me though, there were many, many others and I know it will take re-reading this book to really get all out of it that I can.  At the end of each chapter are “a moment of introspection” which asks a few couples that pertain to being a parent and also to our walk with the Lord, a great way to put into thought and action about what you’ve just read.

Rachael shares not only Scripture but also her stories, some are funny, some are painful and some are just real life and how God uses those things to speak to us.  Using sayings that are so cliche for parents to their children, Rachael speaks to the heart of every mom who has yelled, “turn down the music”, “take out the trash”, or “I’m the parent and that’s why”, and more.  It’s quick to read, whether you just commit to one chapter a day and it’s introspection questions or just sit and read it all the way through and then re-read it, I can say the Lord will and can speak to you through these stories that come from Mrs. Carman’s heart, from one mom to another this book will give you a bit of quiet to just listen for the Holy Spirit.

If you’d like to read what others 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

 

 

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Q & A a Day: 5-year journal by Potter Style (book review)


About the Book:

Do you ever stop to wonder how you got where you are? The Q&A a Day Journal shows you what was going through your head each day—for five years of your life. Simply turn to today’s date, answer the question at the top of the page, and when you finish the journal, start over. As you return to the daily questions again over the years, you’ll notice how your answers change (or don’t)! With questions that are sometimes provocative (“On a scale of one to ten, how happy are you?”), occasionally quirky (“What can you smell right now?”), and inevitably interesting (“If you could travel anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?”), this classically designed journal—embellished with beautiful details—is the perfect gift for anyone embarking on a new phase of life.

You may purchase a copy at Potter Style.

My Opinion:

I usually find it hard to journal, especially on a daily basis but when I saw this cute daily journal I was intrigued by it and wondered would I really journal in it everyday?  I can say, yes, I have been using it every evening before I go to bed and I’ve even gone back and filled in the days prior to me receiving the journal.  Whether you’re a die hard journal-er or one who could care less about chronicling your life – this journal is great for both and all those in between.  It’s small which means it’s easy to pack, take it from me as I packed it when we went on vacation which was the day after I got it in the mail, it is thick but it’s tiny so it could even fit in a larger sized purse.  Each year has four lines with which to answer the question of the day – sample questions are ‘today you lost ________’, ‘write down a problem you solved today’, ‘how many stamps are in your passport’, and many, many more.  Not every question pertains to me, like the passport one – I don’t even own a passport but just answer with a simple none.

The year is blank meaning it says 20__ and they you’ll fill in the ’15, ’16, ’17, ’18, and so on for whichever year you begin this journal, no worries about what day it is although they are numbered for January 1st, 2nd, etc.  There is enough space to accommodate my larger sized writing, which is great because usually the spaces are so small I feel like I’m cramming my words in. The beautiful gold edged pages as well as the high quality paper makes this a beautiful addition to my night stand and makes it fun to write in each night or morning depending on the question of the day.  One question was what phrase did I overuse that day, it was one that I waited till before bed to answer – my answer was “quit fighting” as it just so happened we were driving home from vacation that day.

The only thing I would change for this awesome journal would be an included bookmark – one of those attached satin ones that you often find in Bibles and other journals.  I’m left flipping through the pages to find the current day’s entry and while I can use one of my own bookmarks one that is attached to the journal would be great (it won’t fall out) and also a pretty silk one would add to the overall look and feel of the journal, as it is I’m thinking of an old time book that one might find on Sherlock’s desk as he solves a crime.  I can highly recommend this delightful journal and even my oldest said that she wants one of her own and that it would definitely keep her journaling each day.  There are several other versions as well such as one for moms, college students, for creatives, for kids and even one for two people to do together – not all are released yet and not all are five years long.

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

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Tossed upon the rock(s)


 

**I began this post before we left on vacation, as of now we are almost to 11 weeks.**

It has been eight weeks.  8 weeks since our lives changed forever.  8 weeks since my husband fell asleep and left us.  8 weeks since we were tossed upon the rocks that is our lives.  While I may not be physically hurtled on the rocks my body and my mind feel battered and beaten.  The wounds are not visible.

I can’t explain all the feelings and all the things that I’ve had to go through these past weeks, and even if I did tell you – everyone is different and so your loss isn’t the same and your feelings won’t be the same.  Having to fight to get the benefits that are due to us has put a huge strain on me and I’m hoping, now that I have the paperwork in hand I’m hoping I can lighten the stress and regain my health.

I’ve been clinging to my verse that I’ve claimed as my life verse before any of this happened – in fact it is engraved on the ring that my hubby bought for me for last mother’s day.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

I don’t know why the Lord gave me that verse, but He rightly knew that there would be something to happen in my life, something HUGE that would rock our world.  Now, don’t get me wrong I still ask Him, “why?” but I also try to rest that He knows what He is doing – I cannot, in my human-ness, in my sinful nature, in my frailty know what that is but I know He understands my questioning, my wondering.

As I’m tossed upon the rocks of the world and let myself be overcome, stressed, sick and tired I need to also realize there is another Rock.  I can cling to for safety, peace, health and rest.  Yes, easier said than done.  As humans we want to solve it all ourselves but when we realize we can’t we can turn to Psalm 18:1-3 (ESV):

I love you, O Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

I’m so glad, so thankful that as I finish this post after vacation that I can rest in the Lord.  My friend gave me rest when we visited her and the rest that comes from the Lord is so much sweeter.  It doesn’t take all the ache away.  It doesn’t stop the questions.  It doesn’t stop the tears.  But I can rest.  I can leave my questions at His feet.  I can put my worries on His shoulders.  He knows the heart ache when one loses a loved one.

While the world is throwing me against the rocks that are life I know I can find my refuge in another Rock.  I can sit on the Rock and give Him my all – all my ache, all my grief, all my worries, my fears, my hopes, my dreams and He will comfort me and the Rock will be my foundation on which I will continue building our new life.  The hard part?  Remembering that, especially on the really hard days.

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

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Litfuse Publicity: Becoming a Spriritually Healthy Family by Dr. Michelle Anthony


About the Book:
No one who starts a family plans on falling into patterns of dysfunction, but between the baggage of the past and the pressures of the world today, developing destructive parenting patterns is all too easy. Family ministry leader Dr. Michelle Anthony has now brought hope and practical help to parents in her new book, Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family: Avoiding the 6 Dysfunctional Parenting Styles.

Things such as good behavior, chore charts, and house rules often govern our families more than honest conversations, prayer, shared values, and faith adventures. Spiritually formed families live in a real world with real pressures, but they are choosing to be on journey together to live for something far greater than merely getting through another day.

You may purchase your own copy of the book at David C. Cook.

About the Author:

Michelle Anthony is the vice president of Learning Resources and Family Ministry Architect at David C Cook and the author of Spiritual Parenting, Dreaming of More for the Next Generation, A Theology of Family Ministry, and The Big God Story. Michelle has graduate degrees in Christian education, theology, and leadership and over twenty-five years of church ministry experience as a children’s and family pastor. She lives in Colorado Springs and loves a good book and a cup of coffee.

You can find out more about Michelle by visiting her website and on Facebook and Twitter.

My Opinion:

The main reason why I chose to review this book is because of the cover, yes, I’ll admit it – the woman in the upper right corner with her two children drew me in.  Why?  I got this book after my husband passed away and now that I’m a single mom to three children the image of the mom with two children pulled me in, then I read the description and knew I needed to read this book.  Most families will not come out and admit they are dysfunctional, because our dysfunction is our normal and so it doesn’t seem strange or weird or not normal, but dysfunction is dysfunction no matter how ‘normal’ it is to us.  The book covers six types of dysfunctional parenting: the double-minded parent, the I-can’t-say-no parent, driver parents, micro-managing parent, the criticizing parent and the absentee parent.  I haven’t quite figured out which one I am yet, even as I think of life before death hit our home I can’t really nail down which one I am, I see myself as a mixture of several.

Each chapter gives examples of the type of dysfunctional parent, hopefully making it easy to figure out which one you are, then goes into how this affects not only our children but our relationships with them and ultimately, Christ.  Filled with Scripture and Biblical thoughts and worldview this book will guide you in how to deal with the dysfunction and deal with it in a Biblical and Christian way.  Each chapter ends with a “reflect and respond” section which has a few questions that help you to reflect on what you just read in light of your family and God’s Word to help you evaluate and maybe even change the way you respond to your family’s situation.  There are extra resources in the back such as how to write a mission statement for your family and why each family should have one – I have done this one yet.  This book doesn’t hold all the answers, none done, but it can help you get started in making your home a more spiritually healthy one and as the author states God has to be in control 100%.

If you’d like to read what other bloggers thought of 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

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Kregel Tour: The First Principle by Marissa Shrock


About the book:

In the not-too-distant future, the United Regions of America has formed. Governors hold territories instead of states, and while Washington, DC, is gone, the government has more control than ever before. For fifteen-year-old Vivica Wilkins, the daughter of a governor, this is life as usual. High school seems pretty much the same–until one day, that controlling power steps right through the door during study hall.

When Vivica speaks out to defend her pregnant friend against the harsh treatment of Population Management Officer Marina Ward, she has no idea she’s sowing the seeds of a revolution in her own life. But it isn’t long before she discovers her own illegal pregnancy. Now she has to decide whether to get the mandatory abortion–or follow her heart, try to keep the baby, and possibly ruin her mother’s chances at becoming president.

A rebel group called the Emancipation Warriors, who are fighting to restore freedoms once held unalienable, offer her asylum. Can Vivica trust these rebels to help her or will they bring everything crashing down around her? Accepting their help may come with consequences she isn’t ready to face.

Marissa Shrock’s debut novel crafts a chilling story of what may be to come if we allow the economic and moral crises currently facing our country to change the foundations on which we built our independence–and of the difference one person can make when they choose to trust God’s lead.

My Opinion:

Imagine the United State of America as we know it is no longer as we know it – divided into regions and there is no such thing as thinking for oneself because the government tells you what to do, how to do it and even when to do it.  Farmers forced to give parts of their crops to the government before they can use anything for their families, forced vaccinations for all diseases and even pregnancy – but that one isn’t working so great.  Teens are becoming pregnant even with the forced vaccine for this – so the Population Management comes and takes away the girls to be forced to undergo an abortion.  Some fight back. This book was a real page turner for me, I read it in two days and it was fast paced and there was much in it that showed how God’s Word and His people will never be silenced even when powers that be desire for it to be so. As Vivica begins to understand that her unborn child is a child and not just a clump of cells she knows she must protect the baby at all costs.

Even as much as I enjoyed it, it’s a young adult novel and dystopian books are quite popular right now so this may be a good one to add to your library if you have a young adult who likes these futuristic books. There were two times that sex was mentioned in how the girls came to be pregnant and I would not mind my oldest daughter reading this book, although she refused as she said, “the cover makes me not interested”, so I won’t force the issue.  I’d definitely read more of this book and I’d love to read more about what Vivica does after she gives birth and makes a choice born out of love and sacrifice and how the ‘rebels’ work to restore the United Regions of America back to the United States of America.  Eerily a lot of the issues in this book have already come to fruition such as forced health care, beginning to see more forced vaccination politicians as well as revising history to make it say what the government wants.  So maybe it’s not all fiction?

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Kregel Tour: The Abbot’s Agreement (Hugh de Singleton chronicles) by Mel Starr


About the Book:

Master Hugh de Singleton is making his way toward Oxford when he discovers the corpse of a young Benedictine not half a mile from the nearby abbey.

The abbey’s novice master confirms the boy’s identity; it is John, one of three novices. He had gone missing four days previous, and yet his corpse is fresh. There has been plague in the area, but this was not the cause of death-the lad has been stabbed in the back. To Hugh’s sinking heart, the abbot has a commission for him.

With realistic medical procedures of the period, droll medieval wit, and a consistent underlying sense of Christian compassion, the seventh in the chronicles of Hugh de Singleton will delight medieval history and crime fiction fans alike.

You may purchase your copy at Kregel’s store.

My Opinion:

As I sit and look at my bookshelves I see all the Bibles that I own, KJV, ESV, NKJV, NIV and so on so when Hugh’s latest chronicle starts it reminds it hasn’t always been so easy or inexpensive to own a Bible – as Hugh is setting out to buy at least a New Testament and if not that, then at least those written by Paul.  Of course, he and Arthur become side tracked with the sighting of birds overhead which tells Hugh that there is something dead, he sets off to find a young novice who has been murdered.  The Abbot makes a deal – find who did the murder and Hugh will get his Bible as payment.  I’ve read the others (not the 1st and 2nd, yet) in this series and I think this has been my favorite so far, it was truly a page turner and kept me up late reading, which kept my mind from other things.  The whodunit isn’t easily figured out, at least it wasn’t for me, and I enjoyed that – just when I thought Hugh and I had figured it out there was another twist to the plot that threw us both off course.

Of course I also enjoy the historical aspect of the story and the medical complexities that met Hugh as he traveled around trying to find a murderer.  Hugh is ahead of his time in things like letting wounds open to the air instead of keeping them covered for best healing.  Of course, there is the descriptions of food, which at times doesn’t add to the plot but I think makes the story much more realistic.The other part of the book I enjoyed was the discussion between the dying Abbot (who knew one could die from a broken hip) and Hugh about purgatory and why would we need that to cleanse us when Christ already completed the work?  This of course has the archdeacon labeling Hugh a heretic and he is arrested.  I won’t give away much more about the book because honestly if you enjoy medieval history, historical or just a good clean (meaning no cussing, s**, etc) mystery then this is a great book.

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

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Random Updates


I thought it might be nice for me to do a post about some things other than being a widow, because that hasn’t been the only thing going on in our lives.  We’ve had several good things happen lately and lest anyone think that all I’m doing is dwelling on my husband’s passing (yes, there are days like that too) we also have been living, or trying to.  I don’t have a lot of pictures to share but some things have been put aside just so I can enjoy my children and one of those is taking a lot of pictures, eventually I’ll take more but not right now.

  • Both my son and middle daughter took their P.R.A.Y. classes, they began last November and ran for several weeks.  My son’s was God and Me and he had to make a G.A.M.E box which stood for God And Me Exploring box.  My middle DD’s class was God and Family and she had to make a pizza.  They both completed their classes and have earned their respective awards – usually awarded at the church where they took the class – we are opting to have our Pastor give them their awards.

The start of her ‘pizza’

  • One thing Don and I discussed before his passing was to become members of the church we’ve been attending for awhile.  Both of us tired of church hopping.  The church is very Bible based in it’s teaching, homeschooling isn’t an issue, they use both hymns and contemporary, among others.  So on the 25th I became an official member of Trinity Missionary Church.  Bittersweet as I had to do it alone but I know that is what Don would have wanted.  Middle daughter will begin baptism classes soon and son is asking to as well.
  • We have started the testing for son – since I’ve been working with him for almost 2 years and still is not grasping the reading thing and since finding out our original optometrist gave him the wrong lenses and made his eyes worse we are doing some testing and seeing another optometrist who is hoping with his new lenses and exercises will make his eyes stronger.
  • The girls had their Let It Shine dance concert on the 25th (it was a busy day!).  Again another bittersweet moment because, my husband believed in always being at the children’s activities, he didn’t get to see their new Company dance, which was beautiful.  This was a fundraiser sort of concert to help get the girls who are going to Project Dance Detroit there.

We have a couple other good things coming up but I can’t post about those right now.  I’m trying to focus on the blessings in our lives.  We are surrounded by family, a great church, many friends and prayer warriors who are making this road a bit more bearable but by looking at our blessings it also helps me focus on what God is doing, even though I still wonder why Don needed to leave us too soon.

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

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