GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

100 Bible Stories 100 Bible Songs created by Stephen Elkins


100 Bible Stories 100 Bible Songs was created by Stephen Elkins and illustrated by Tim O’Connor and published by Thomas Nelson. A wonderful book for driving home Biblical stories and having children remember them for years to come.
It has been proven before that children learn faster when the things they are supposed to be learning are put to song. So, why is it, that when we teach our children Bible stories we tend to make it too dry for them to comprehend and remember? I realize not every child learns better when stories are put to music but most do, so it’s great to have this resource, all three of my children from the 7 year old down to my soon to be 3 years old enjoyed it.
There are 100 Bible songs to go along with the 100 Bible stories. The songs are professionally recorded with children singing the songs. Some songs are familiar Sunday school favorites while other ones are not so familiar but are fun and easy to sing along to. There is over 2 hours worth of music on the two included Cd’s. Some of the songs are In the Beginning, Noah’s Arky Arky, When the Saints Go Marching In, Who Did Swallow Jonah, What A Mighty Friend We Have In Jesus, J-E-S-U-S, Deep and Wide and many, many more.
The book is a hardcover but has soft, puffy feeling to it, which I think serves to help protect the Cd’s which can be stored in the book. The stories are short which is good for little ones who have short attention spans. Each story is accompanied with the Scripture verse that it is taken from, so that the story can be elaborated on for the older child who needs more details. The illustrations are beautiful, in a child sense, they are colorful and not to cartoon looking but enough that a child won’t loose interest while looking at them.
This is a wonderful book for families who want their children to learn Bible stories at a young age and continue to grown in the Word. Also, any Christian denomination could use this without fear of it contradicting their church’s teaching – just basic straight forward Bible stories. Older children can read it to younger children and it allows bonding time for families as they indulge in God’s Word.
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A Dream to Call My Own by Tracie Peterson


There are some series when you know that it’s going to end but you don’t want it to because the characters have become friends. This is the case in the Brides of Gallatin County book 3 entitled A Dream To Call My Own by Tracie Peterson and published by Bethany House. What a great series it has been and it was great meeting the Gallatin sisters.

This book is the story of Lacy Gallatin, the third and youngest of the Gallatin sisters. She is strong willed and not at all like women of her day and she has a mission – to find her father’s killer. Dave Shepard has been one to tell Lacy how unfeminine she is and it drives Lacy crazy – to the point where she and the deputy sheriff for Gallatin crossing bicker and fight. Neither are prepared for their feelings and are even more unprepared for what happens later.

This story is one of suspense, as the unsavory characters want to ruin Gallatin Crossing and have plans to take over the town for their own immoral and illegal happenings, regardless of who gets hurt – or killed. The characters become even more real as they have grown in the past two books in their faith in God and realize they must rely on Him and Him only for them to survive. The suspense is woven throughout the entire book, making it one that is hard to put down, at the same time though you don’t want to leave the characters.

A Dream to Call My Own is also a love story, one of imperfectness, as all love is. A story of learning, truthfulness and communication. The characters realize that failure to learn can mean that they won’t grow, either in their Faith or in their own personal lives such as becoming a lady. The characters emerge strong and it isn’t your usual sappy love story – although I will say the kissing scenes would be inappropriate for a unmarried, young lady to read since the two kissing are not married – but the characters know when to say when because not only do they fear for their own reputations but they worry more about what God would think – much more important.

Kudos go out to Tracie Peterson for once again weaving another wonderful story! I’d love to see an addition telling her readers what happens to the Gallatin sisters, their town, children and husbands. Wouldn’t it be nice to drop in again and see your friends to see what they have been up to?

My reviews for the first two books can be found at this post.

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E-Homeschooling: Embracing the E-book Revolution


Have you wondered what all the hype is about e-book?  Wonder how to organize and decide what to keep and what to let go?  I know I do and I am addicted to e-books!  E-books have been gaining in popularity especially in the homeschooling arena because of the simplicity and not having to take up room on our already crowded bookshelves.  When there are a surplus of free and cheap e-books for curriculums, literature, lapbooks, notebooking pages it’s easy to have a e-book overload.  This is where  The Old Schoolhouse has come to the rescue yet again. 

There is a new e-book titled E-Homeschooling: Embracing the E-book Revolution put out by The Old Schoolhouse.  It is definitely worth it to buy this if you want to figure out how to read, organize, use and all the other uses that you can do with e-books.  I am the first one who would admit I would much rather have a book in my hands, the smell of a new book, feeling the pages in my hand, but e-books especially when it come to homeschooling does have a specific niche to fill.

The e-book is divided into sections ranging from why buy e-books, unique benefits of e-books, how to read them, virutal bookshelves, storing e-books, publishing and other topics.  One drawback to ebooks is the fact of sitting in front of your computer and reading it, this is addressed in the e-book, but there are many ways that you do not have to sit for hours in front of the screen.  Reading devices are becoming more available (if you have the money, most homeschoolers I know do not) and can be used to hold in your hand while reading.  Printing off just what you need is also an option.  Many ideas and issues about e-books are addressed and can put your fears to rest about using e-books.

I will say using e-books has saved me from spending a lot of money on homeschooling supplies, so I am very happy with e-books but I think I would have started using them sooner had I read this e-book first.  This e-book really does contain tons of information regarding frequently asked or thought questions about e-books and is well worth it’s cost in the amount of information included.  If you have never bought an e-book before I suggest you start with this one and then once you put your fears and questions to rest start slowly.  Check it out, but I will warn you – e-books can become addicting!  

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Helping Those Who Hurt by Barbara M. Roberts


I had a chance to read the book Helping Those Who Hurt by Barbara M. Roberts through NavPress’s Blogger Review Program. I am going to tell you about the book, the author and then give you my opinion on it.
About the Book:
Life’s struggles affect everyone at some time. Whether you’re a friend of someone who hurts, a layperson in ministry, or a professional counselor, you need guidance and practical advice during the pain of a crisis. Get the wisdom and direction you’re looking for in Helping Those Who Hurt.
Barbara Roberts offers lists, step-by-step directions, Scripture, and dozens of tips from her own experience as the director of a large Caring Ministry department. Written in a practical, conversational manner, this book lends support for the crises your encounter.
About the Author:
Barbara M. Roberts has directed the Caring Ministry department for Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Englewood, Colorado, for more than twenty years, helping many families and individuals through grief and loss, death, suicide, addiction, and all other life crises discussed in Helping Those Who Hurt. She is a conference speaker and teacher on these and other Caring Ministries subjects.
**The author and book information is taken from the back of the book entitled Helping Those Who Hurt**
My opinion:
I have a heart for people and selected this book based on this and my education in Social Work. I wasn’t prepared for the depth of this book, it is a heavy read and does take some time to work through. While it is done in an easy style it can be hard to digest everything in one reading. I would suggest if you are reading this to minister to others that you read through it once and then as each crisis arises then flip to the section you need. It would be impossible to remember all the great and relevant information by reading it only one time.
There are many sections, such as, illness and hospital visitation, crisis, aging, death (within death it includes suicide, SIDS, miscarriage, infertility, violent death, among others), grief, troubled marriages and divorce, addiction (gaming, pornography, chemical addictions, eating, etc), domestic violence, rape, and most important forgiveness. There is also an additional section on resources so that additional books with more information on what is covered in Helping Those Who Hurt can be obtained.
I would say this book would be great for someone who has a total heart for helping those in crisis whether on a full time basis or even just for the friend or family member who wants to help out one another. Anyone within a pastoral setting would also benefit from this, I have seen pastors try to help but sometimes fall short or make a situation worse without realizing it and I think this book can be an effective to learn fast how to deal with crises that happen in people’s lives.
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Bic Soleil Bella a BzzAgent review


**For those who commented I only have one email, please leave me another comment with an email.**

I am a BzzAgent and recieved a three pack of Bic Soleil Bella razors. I was very excited since I usually just use whatever triple blade I can find at the store that are cheap. I don’t have anything against the cheap ones but these Bella’s were very nice.

The first thing I noticed and really liked are the colors! I love color, the feminine the better and these were definitely that! They are tropical colored but in a shade of blue, green and light green – they are very pretty. The next thing I noticed is the wider than usual handle, this made it easy to control the razor and not have to worry about slipping and sliding all over my leg.

The other advantages of the Bic Soleil (French for ‘sun’) Bella (Italian for ‘beautiful’) are:

  • Four blades, gives a closer, smoother shave with less effort
  • “e-z rinse” technology, water goes over and under the blades for easier cleaning
  • Flex and pivot, flexible blades and a pivoting head glides over legs
  • Soothing strip, enriched with coconut oil
  • Curvy, comfy grip – enough said.

I also used these on my under arms and that was a mistake. Whether these were made for underarms or not I am not sure but these gave me severe razor burn – to the point it burned terribly to wear deodorant for two days and instead opted for corn starch. I do not recommend these razors for your underarms – no matter how thick your shaving cream is.

These razors retail for $6.00 at Wal-Mart, Target, CVS and others and while I am not sure if I would actually pay that much money (equals to $2.00 per razor) I would say I do think it’s worth it. They don’t seem to rust as fast as the typical razor giving you and extra shave or two out of them and the great shave on one pass is excellent (excpet on underarms).

Now I do have some coupons and the first 3 people to contact me by leaving a comment will get a $3.00 coupon off a purchase of a three pack of Bic Soleil Bella razors! I will enclose a BzzAgent chat card as well.

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What He Must Be….. by Voddie Baugham Jr.


Smell that? It’s a breath of fresh air, godly fresh air. I just finished reading
What He Must Be if he wants to marry my daughter by Voddie Baucham, Jr.
This book is definitely what all Christian parents need to read if they want their daughter’s to be married to godly men who will treasure them and do their Biblical duties and also what they need to train their sons to do as we prepare them for marriage. Truly this book is a breath of fresh air, in a culture full of feminism, gender neutrality and humanism.

At first I thought that the book review program at Crossway got things mixed up because at first glance I thought it was a book for me on what their daughter’s need in a marriageable husband – I was wrong! This is a book that both mother’s and father’s can get a lot out of. While I already had thoughts of courtship for my children, my husband isn’t convinced. I experienced severe personal heart ache in the leftovers of dating romances – which only time and God can heal and I don’t want my son or my daughter’s to enter their marriage with such heart ache.

Some will find this book archaic and backwards, especially in our culture who today says women can have a marriage, family and career – oftentimes finding that isn’t the case. Men who become stay at home dads – when this becomes Biblical please give me the Scripture reference. Men who love their wives and wives who submit to their husbands. Men who WANT and welcome children, who are the sold provider for their families, men who are the protector, and the priest in the home. This is not a popular view and Mr. Baucham recognizes that but thankfully he doesn’t back down from that either. He supports everything with Scripture. When he discusses Biblical submission this doesn’t mean allowing a man to beat on his wife or the wife has to be at his beck and call – this detracts from his being a protector, provider and priest. Husband’s have to submit to Christ and the wives are to show their husbands the same love and respect.

This is a refreshing wake up call to churches who are more and more finding themselves having to condone live in relationships before marriage, believers marrying non believers, young men and women swearing off marriage and children until they can afford it among other issues. This book will challenge your beliefs in marriage and raise the bar on what we expect of our sons and our future son in laws. As a mother this is what I want my children to look toward, in a world that my daughter’s are already being pushed to make career choices (they are only 7 and 4 1/2), it’s going to be hard to go against the grain and say, “no”. I am not saying that Mr. Baucham has all the answers, but he brings a lot of good points that are Biblically based and sound in what we need to be on the look for.

So if you are a Christian parent and don’t want to settle for a son in law just because he loves your daughter (is he a true Bible believing, God fearing Christian) or do you want someone who wants to emulate Christ and follow God’s Word? If the answer is yes, read this book and if the answer is no, GET THIS BOOK because if you are willing to settle for less than what God wants for your son and for you daughter’s then you will be sacrificing something that didn’t need to be sacrificed.

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How Sweet It Is by Alice J. Wisler


I have never read any of Alice J. Wisler and while I was worried this
book wouldn’t stand up to other Christian fiction books, I was pleasantly surprised. I will admit I am sometimes leery of branching out into new authors so I am glad that reviewing for Bethany House allows me the luxury of enjoying new authors.

Deena Livingston is a Southern girl who moves into her grandpa’s cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. Her plans are to be reclusive and start her own cake decorating business while recovering from a broken heart after her fiance leaves her in the dust. Her new family is one she wouldn’t expect to eventually love but she must per her Grandpa’s request – and she is happy she did. A classroom of middle school students, a social worker who works with the children and a plumber are all things that may or may not get Deena to enjoy life once again.

This book really spoke to me. Deena wants to trust in God but her human side makes her want to rely on herself. Healing from a relationship that God didn’t intend for her. Realistically it summed up what most women go through before growing up and maturing in their walk with God. We struggle just as Deena struggles and eventually though we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, we have to rely on God to get us through and He will – in His time. It’s hard to realize that in times of hardship though.

The other thing I like about this book is it has some recipes. I have already tried one and it’s yummy and has been requested at two of my children’s upcoming birthday parties! There is a recipe for peanut soup hidden in the pages of story, and while my family isn’t excited to try it, I would like to one day actually put it to the test. How great is it that you can feed your Faith with a story that includes Christ and at the end feed your stomach with a great tasting cake? I’d say that’s pretty awesome!

So I say get yourself a copy of How Sweet It Is sit back with some Southern Sweet Tea (in my life it’s sweetened with Stevia LOL) and enjoy a book that weaves together Faith, imperfect human love, food and God!

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Held Hostage by Ken Cooper



I was given an advance reading copy of Held Hostage by Ken Cooper and published by Chosen. This book is due for release in August 2009 and I would suggest this book be reading if you have a heart for prisoners or just to minister to the least of these like Christ told us to do and showed up from His life.

Held Hostage is about Ken Cooper’s double life, one of family man and the other a ‘gentleman bank robber’. It starts out with the robbery and backracks through getting married, having a child, robbing banks and up through his time spent in jail and prisons. He held a job as a publicity director for a Christian college all the while robbing banks, taking a hostage and then letting them go – unharmed.

There were moments in the book that had lots of shock value, Mr. Cooper does not gloss over prison life to spare the reader. I was appalled at the behavior described because surely while I am not as naiive to think that some of this stuff doesn’t go on but surely the gaurds would stop it. Not so. I cannot imagine men living like animals, and don’t forget their are plenty of women in prisons too who I am sure are not immune to this sort of behavior. After many years of his mother praying, he finally gives his life to God.

The changes that occur in him are testimonial to God’s great works. I am not saying that he is perfect, none of us are perfect, no not one but his life changes for the better and he is free even in prison. This book is one that will make Believer’s see Christ’s life changing power at work and will make a non-believer rethink what they thought they knew – or at least I pray it will. Truly this is a book that doesn’t come along often and should be a must read especially those who want to know how to help those in prisons – including the appalling parts, they too must be read so that the rest of Mr. Coopers transformation in Christ to be understood.

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TOS Summer Reading


Have you been by to visit Splish’s TOS Summer Reading blog?  If not please stop by, there are some wonderful, fun things going on over there and book giveaways!  My three children submitted their Splish coloring pages and Hannah was the winner for the 10 and under age group!  She is getting a prize pack of 5 books from  Sleeping Bear Press.  The pack includes the following titles:

  • A Girl Named Dan
  • B is For Big Ben
  • B is For Bookworm
  • J is For Jumpshot
  • D is For Democracy

Here is Hannah’s picture of Splish.  Can you tell she loves color, the more the better 😀  Hannah also has a blog, there isn’t much there yet but she is working on it, you can visit her at Fruits of the Spirit.

Here is Bethanne’s (she will be 5 at the end of September)

And last but not least is Christian’s (he will be 3 at the end of July)

 

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Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy


I was kind of leery when I first began reading Miserly Moms Living Well on Less in a Tough Economy by Jonni McCoy and published by Bethany House because I wasn’t sure if a family who has two children and who has a lot of other differences compared to our family would be able to help me with ideas on living frugally. I was proven wrong and again taught not to assume or judge a book or an author by it’s cover. This book is indeed a great help no matter the size of your family.

As gas prices go back up, food prices continue to climb and trying to make sure we have enough money for a house payment, one van payment, electricity, water, food, etc I try to find ways to cut corners. For my family, food is one way we look to cut corners and I have been already been doing a lot of scratch baking and freezing. It’s amazing how one can stretch a $1.55 (on ‘sale’ at Aldi’s) bag of flour! So that was one thing I concentrated on this book, the food. Also by cutting out cable and satellite *GASP* and not having a cell phone *GASP AGAIN** we don’t live like most Americans.

Jonni McCoy offers Eleven Miserly Guidelines that are easy to implement and keep with it. Some of these I had already been doing such as not shopping at the same store, making and freezing food, making meals from scratch, etc but she offers other ideas for taking it further. She gives idea for baby care including whether to use disposable or cloth diapers, making your own baby food (we save on this by my nursing for however long the baby wants and not starting solids until 7 or 8 months when the baby can generally some of the foods I make for everyone else). There is also a section for working moms, although she does advocate for mom’s who stay home she knows this isn’t always a possibility for all moms.

The section on clothing was the one section I disagreed with as she said she she figures out how many outfits her family needs each month or two and tries to find the best deals for the items needed. I couldn’t imagine being able to buy new clothing or even buying clothing at thrift stores every couple months – it’s not in our budget. So that to me was a bit much, but I don’t have an issue with my clothes not being the latest fashion either.

Overall, I was very impressed with the ideas in the book and she has included several recipes. I made the taco seasoning, I hate buying the store bought seasoning with all the MSG and other junk, so I made the recipe in her book and it was GREAT! My husband said he liked it better than the store bought as well. It had more taste and definitely more healthy and cost effective (it makes 12 servings). There are many more recipes and ideas for “pre-packaged” convenience foods to make at home – like baking mixes you can use for biscuits and pancakes. If you’d like to learn how to save money I would definitely suggest you get this book!

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