Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

MamaBuzz tour: Bark Off/Crazy Critters **review and giveaway**

Crazy Critters is the stuffing free pet toy your dog will love

The Crazy Critter is a new, safe way for dogs to play.  With no stuffing there is no risk of the toy ripping sending stuffing everywhere or for the dog to choke on.   Our dog is a 17 year old boston terrier/pit bull mix and he’s not as active as he once was but when he did play tug-o-war with it the seems were reinforced enough not to rip.  If you know anything about pit bulls jaws, they lock and are extremely strong, so for a toy to withstand the rigors of a pit bulls jaws is definitely something worth looking into. 

A dog of any size can play with these toys, from a miniature dog, medium pit/boston terrier to big mastiffs, all dogs would enjoy playing with these toys.  There are pet safe squeekers in both ends and come in fox and raccoon – both animals that they would love to chase in nature!  Right now you can get both for $10.00 plus shipping and handling – this is normally a $40.00 offer.

BarkOff, makes eyglasses instantly clean and fog and smudge free

The Bark Off is a great way to get dogs to quit barking without their humans having to listen to or invest in expensive training.  I have to be honest in that I wasn’t able to fully test this product – as you’ve seen above our dog is 17 years old.  The Bark Off did nothing to curb his barking at the post man or the person walking down the street, however I do not fault Bark Off for this, I now believe our dog is deaf.  I can see this being a great product if your dog can hear, which we truthfully thought our dog could until testing this for review purposes. 

It is portable or you can mount it on a wall or near a door, wherever your dog is sure to be barking.  It is ultrasonic which is used to interrupt your dog’s barking without you being able to hear it.  Bark Off is only $10.00 plus shipping plus if you order here  you’ll get another Bark Off to give or keep for just another $6.99 shipping and handling fee.  With Christmas coming quickly this could be a great gift for the pet lover in your life!

Now for the contest!  Please make sure to leave a way to contact you for each entry.

  1. Follow me on Google Friend Connect and leave me a comment telling me.
  2. Visit Bark Off and tell me one thing you learned.
  3. Visit Crazy Critter and tell me one thing you learned.

That’s it!  Open to U.S. residents only!  Make sure to leave a way to contact you – if I can’t contact you then you can’t get your prize.  One person will win a Bark Off and one will a Crazy Critter – you’ll tell me when you win which one you want.  Ends August 6th at Noon EST.

**I was provided Bark Off and Crazy Critter from TeleBrands in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given.

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FIRST tour: Online with God, A 90 Day Devotional by Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:


Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton


and the book:

Online with God, A 90 Day Devotional

Zonderkidz (April 9, 2010)

***Special thanks to Pam Mettler of Zondervan for sending me a review copy.***


Laurie’s first published work was a note passed to a boy in elementary school. You would have thought that this most embarrassing moment would have stopped her writing career. But instead, Laurie is the author of thirty five books and author/illustrator of two more. Laurie lives in rural Ohio with her husband and two daughters.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (April 9, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310716152
ISBN-13: 978-0310716150

Press the browse button to view the first chapter:


My daughter’s Opinion (she is the one who actually read it):

I really enjoyed it however I didn’t agree with the part about there having to be heartbreak in regards to boy and girl ‘crushes’.  I enjoyed the Bible verses that were included during the daily devotionals.

My Opinion:

I thought this was a neat idea for girls of this technological age to be able to relate more to a devotional.  My daughter is a mature 8 years old so I didn’t have any reservations about letting her read this on her own, until she brought up the part about heartbreak – although this did open the door to speak about courtship and there not having to be heartbreak involved in boy and girl friendships/relationships.  I really like that Scripture is included so that helps in reading and studying the Bible

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FIRST tour: The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: John: Get to Know the Living Savior by Warren Wiersbe

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:


Warren Wiersbe


and the book:

The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: John: Get to Know the Living Savior

David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, for The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


A man who has given his life to a deep examination of the Word of God, Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher, former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago and the author of more than 150 books. For over thirty years, millions have come to rely on the timeless wisdom of Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s “Be” Commentary series. Dr. Wiersbe’s commentary and insights on Scripture have helped readers understand and apply God’s Word with the goal of life transformation. Dubbed by many as the “pastor’s pastor,” Dr. Wiersbe skillfully weaves Scripture with historical explanations and thought-provoking questions, communicating the Word in such a way that the masses grasp its relevance for today.

Dr. Warren Wiersbe’s commentaries and his world-renowned knowledge of God’s Word can now be enjoyed in a format that allows everyone to enjoy spending time getting to know the Savior. David C Cook plans to release additional volumes in the Wiersbe Bible Study Series over the next few years.

Product Details:

List Price: $8.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434765075
ISBN-13: 978-1434765079


Lesson 1

God in the Flesh

(JOHN 1—2)

Before you begin …

• Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and wisdom as you go through this lesson.

• Read John 1—2. This lesson references chapters 1–2 in Be Alive. It will be helpful for you to have your Bible and a copy of the commentary available as you work through this lesson.

Getting Started

From the Commentary

Much as our words reveal to others our hearts and minds, so Jesus Christ is God’s “Word” to reveal His heart and mind to us. “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). A word is composed of letters, and Jesus Christ is “Alpha and Omega” (Rev. 1:11), the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. According to Hebrews 1:1–3, Jesus Christ is God’s last Word to mankind, for He is the climax of divine revelation.

—Be Alive, page 20

1. As you read John 1:1–2, what stands out to you about the description of

“the Word”? What does it mean that the Word was “with” God? That the

Word “was” God? How does this opening contrast with that of the other

three gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, and Luke)? What does this tell us

about John, the writer of this gospel?

More to Consider: Why do you think John refers to Jesus as “the Son

of God” so many times in his gospel? (See John 1:34, 49; 3:18; 5:25;

10:36; 11:4, 27; 19:7; 20:31.)

2. Choose one verse or phrase from John 1—2 that stands out to you.

This could be something you’re intrigued by, something that makes you

uncomfortable, something that puzzles you, something that resonates with

you, or just something you want to examine further. Write that here.

Going Deeper

From the Commentary

Life is a key theme in John’s gospel; it is used thirty-six times. What are the essentials for human life? There are at least four: light (if the sun went out, everything would die), air, water, and food. Jesus is all of these! He is the Light of Life and the Light of the World (John 8:12). He is the “Sun of righteousness” (Mal. 4:2). By His Holy Spirit, He gives us the “breath of life” (John 3:8; 20:22), as well as the Water of Life (John 4:10, 13–14; 7:37–39). Finally, Jesus is the Living Bread of Life that came down from heaven (John 6:35ff.). He not only has life and gives life, but He is life (John 14:6).

—Be Alive, page 22

3. As you go through the gospel of John, underline the references to “life.” Why do you think John’s gospel touches on this theme so frequently? How do the themes of “light” and “life” relate to one another in John 1?

From the Commentary

John the Baptist is one of the most important persons in the New Testament. He is mentioned at least eighty-nine times. John had the special privilege of introducing Jesus to the nation of Israel. He also had the difficult task of preparing the nation to receive its Messiah. He called them to repent of their sins and to prove that repentance by being baptized and then living changed lives. John summarized what John the Baptist had to say about Jesus Christ (John 1:15–18).

—Be Alive, page 24

4. What is significant about the gospel writer’s mention of John the Baptist (John 1:6–28)? Why would this have been important to the early believers?

From Today’s World

Although the skepticism of the modern age has diminished their impact, self-proclaimed modern “prophets” continue to speak about the end of the world (or other events) as if they have exclusive insight into “insider information” from a source they often claim is God Himself. Some gain a following as people clamor for wisdom about why the world is in its current state. Whether out of fear or frustration, they look to the so-called prophets for answers.

5. Why are people so fascinated (whether they agree or disagree) with modern prophets? Do you agree that people today are more skeptical about prophets and their reliability? Why or why not? How does today’s culture compare to the culture in which John the Baptist appeared? What does this suggest about the role of prophecy in modern Christianity?

From the Commentary

The people of Israel were familiar with lambs for the sacrifices. At Passover, each family had to have a lamb, and during the year, two lambs a day were sacrificed at the temple altar, plus all the other lambs brought for personal sacrifices. Those lambs were brought by people to people, but here is God’s Lamb, given by God to humankind! Those lambs could not take away sin, but the Lamb of God can take away sin. Those lambs were for Israel alone, but this Lamb would shed His blood for the whole world!

—Be Alive, pages 27–28

6. How might John’s Jewish followers have responded when he announced Jesus as the “Lamb of God”? Why is John the Baptist’s testimony important? How does John’s description of the “Spirit” compare to the coming of the Holy Spirit as recorded in the book of Acts? What does this teach us about the Holy Spirit?

From the Commentary

“We have found the Messiah!” was the witness Andrew gave to Simon. Messiah is a Hebrew word that means “anointed,” and the Greek equivalent is “Christ.” To the Jews, it was the same as “Son of God” (see Matt. 26:63–64; Mark 14:61–62; Luke 22:67–70). In the Old Testament, prophets, priests, and kings were anointed and thereby set apart for special service. Kings were especially called “God’s anointed” (1 Sam. 26:11; Ps. 89:20); so, when the Jews spoke about their Messiah, they were thinking of the king who would come to deliver them and establish the kingdom. There was some confusion among the Jewish teachers as to what the Messiah would do. Some saw Him as a suffering sacrifice (as in Isa. 53), while others saw a splendid king (as in Isa. 9 and 11). Jesus had to explain even to His own followers that the cross had to come before the crown, that He must suffer before He could enter into His glory (Luke 24:13–35).

—Be Alive, page 29

7. Why were the Jews expecting the Messiah to appear as a king? What does this tell us about the culture and circumstance of the Jews at the time? How might the Jewish leaders have received the pronouncement of Jesus as the Messiah? There had been others who claimed messiahship prior to Jesus’ arrival. What argument does John make in chapter 1 to support the fact that Jesus is the One they’ve been waiting for?

From the Commentary

“The third day” means three days after the call of Nathanael (John 1:45–51). Since that was the fourth day

of the week recorded in John (John 1:19, 29, 35, 43), the wedding took place on “the seventh day” of this “new creation week.” Throughout his gospel, John makes it clear that Jesus was on a divine schedule, obeying the will of the Father. Jewish tradition required that virgins be married on a Wednesday, while widows were married on a Thursday. Being the “seventh day” of John’s special week, Jesus would be expected to rest, just as God rested on the seventh day (Gen. 2:1–3). But sin had interrupted God’s Sabbath rest, and it was necessary for both the Father and the Son to work (John 5:17; 9:4). In fact, John recorded two specific miracles that Jesus deliberately performed on Sabbath days (John 5; 9). At this wedding, we see Jesus in three different roles: the Guest, the Son, and the Host.

—Be Alive, pages 35–36

8. Read John 2:1–11. Why do you think the Scriptures record this as Jesus’ first miracle? What is the significance of turning water into wine? Of the timing of the miracle?

More to Consider: Moses’ first miracle was a plague—turning water into blood (Ex. 7:19ff.), which speaks of judgment. How does Jesus’ first miracle speak of grace?

From the Commentary

Jesus revealed His zeal for God first of all by cleansing the temple (John 2:13–17). The priests had established a lucrative business of exchanging foreign money for Jewish currency and also selling the animals needed for the sacrifices. No doubt, this “religious market” began as a convenience for the Jews who came long distances to worship in the temple, but in due time the “convenience” became a business, not a ministry. The tragedy is that this business was carried on in the court of the Gentiles in the temple, the place where the Jews should have been meeting the Gentiles and telling them about the one true God. Any Gentile searching for truth would not likely find it among the religious merchants in the temple.

—Be Alive, page 41

9. Why was Jesus so upset about the money changers? (See John 2:12–16.) What is significant about Jesus’ comment in verse 19? How does this foreshadowing help us to see God’s divine timetable for Jesus’ earthly work?

From the Commentary

While in Jerusalem for the Passover, Jesus performed miracles that are not given in detail in any of the Gospels. It must have been these signs that especially attracted Nicodemus (John 3:2). Because of the miracles, many people professed to believe in Him, but Jesus did not accept their profession. No matter what the people themselves said or others said about them. He did not accept human testimony.

—Be Alive, page 44

10. Why didn’t Jesus accept human testimony? What does John mean when he writes, “He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man” (2:25)? What does this say about Jesus’ feelings toward those who followed Him because of His miracles?

Looking Inward

Take a moment to reflect on all that you’ve explored thus far in this study of John 1—2. Review your notes and answers and think about how each of these things matters in your life today.

Tips for Small Groups: To get the most out of this section, form pairs or trios and have group members take turns answering these questions. Be honest and as open as you can in this discussion, but most of all, be encouraging and supportive of others. Be sensitive to those who are going through particularly difficult times and don’t press for people to speak if they’re uncomfortable doing so.

11. How do you respond to the different descriptions of Jesus in John 1 (the Word, the Lamb, the Son of God)? In what ways does the father/son imagery connect with you? Why is it important for you to know Jesus was God’s Son and not just a prophet sent to preach good news?

12. In what ways do you see your own life as a “light” to those around you? How have others been light to you? What are some ways you’ve struggled to be a light to others? How can the picture of Jesus as the light inspire you to be a light to others?

13. What sort of “Messiah” do you think you’d be hoping for if you were among the Jewish people before and during Jesus’ time? In what ways might you have been pleasantly surprised by the way the Messiah arrived? In what ways might you have been disappointed? How do you see the Messiah’s role in your life today? In what ways is Jesus’ role like that of a king? Of a servant?

Going Forward

14. Think of one or two things that you have learned that you’d like to work on in the coming week. Remember that this is all about quality, not quantity. It’s better to work on one specific area of life and do it well than to work on many and do poorly (or to be so overwhelmed that you simply don’t try). Do you want to know more about John’s description of Jesus as “the Word”? Do you want to better understand the Jews’ expectation about the Messiah? Be specific. Go back through John 1—2 and put a star next to the phrase or verse that is most encouraging to you. Consider memorizing this verse.

Real-Life Application Ideas: John the Baptist contrasts his method of baptism with Jesus’ in 1:26–34. How well do you know your church’s stance on water baptism? Learn what your church teaches on this

important topic. Consider what baptism has meant to you. Or, if you haven’t yet been baptized, consider talking with your pastor about being baptized.

Seeking Help

15. Write a prayer below (or simply pray one in silence), inviting God to work on your mind and heart in those areas you’ve previously noted. Be honest about your desires and fears.

Notes for Small Groups:

• Look for ways to put into practice the things you wrote in the Going Forward section. Talk with other group members about your ideas and commit to being accountable to one another.

• During the coming week, ask the Holy Spirit to continue to reveal truth to you from what you’ve read and studied.

• Before you start the next lesson, read John 3—4. For more in-depth lesson preparation, read chapters

3–4, “A Matter of Life and Death” and “The Bad Samaritan,” in Be Alive.


My Opinion:

These Bible studies that you can do alone or in a small group setting are an excellent addition to any Christian’s library.  I won’t say that I take everything that Mr. Wiersbe says as fact however his insights into Scripture seem very sound, as with anything though you need to check Scripture for yourself and pray over it so God can direct you to where He wants you to be. 

Since these aren’t lengthy, in the regards of lots of reading and homework, so they are easy for a busy homemaker to do in a spare 5 or 10 minutes. You don’t have to buy anything extra to go along with these inexpensive studies, unless you want his commentary but that is completely optional, so these are great in that you don’t need an expensive DVD set or an hour or two to devote to the study.


Canning and a little harvest – July 18th

Before the hail storm I was able to go out and do some weeding and do a little harvesting.  I got one bush cucumber (small cucumbers used for pickling) and one bell pepper – it’s supposed to be either one of my yellow or reds but it snapped off when I was looking at it so now it’s just a green bell pepper. 

I also did some canning, with some veggies we bought at the local farmer’s market and the grocery.  I would have preferred to make salsa using my own tomatoes and such but they aren’t ripe yet so I had to use store bought.  This is a sweeter salsa than we prefer so if anyone has a tried and true salsa recipe that is a mild (so the children will eat it) and I can can it please share it.  My oldest helped me with chopping the veggies and the other two watched and were enjoying the whole process – I got 4 jars, three of which I canned (my first time canning!) and the other which was ate right away.

Last but not least I’m making Kombucha, this is a fermented drink that has lots of health benefits and is naturally carbonated.  It smells and tastes like apple cider vinegar (IMO) and I’m hoping if I mix it with juice the children will partake in it as well.  My son, has been enjoying watching all this stuff I’ve been making in my kitchen.  If you’d like more information about Kombucha I’m following the directions from Keeping the Home’s blog.  Sorry for the poor lighting – I’ll more than likely be posting more pictures later – this is the day I made the tea mix and started the brewing/fermenting.

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Fun on the farm – July 16th

On July 16th we went with my Sister-in-Law (she’s a great SIL) to Young’s, a local dairy farm near us that has great ice cream and gelato!  It was an unusual day as we all were riding in her car since the van was in the shop and we had a little extra money for ice cream and a lunch out.  At Young’s they have some things the children can do (some do cost, others are free) for $0.10 you can get some goat feed and hand feed the goats.  We also got to see week old baby goats, month old baby goats and baby cows.  As well as chickens.  The children all ‘rode’ on the old tractors:

After feeding the goats (they provide hand sanitizer and outdoor sinks and soap) and playing around we ventured inside where the children all got cotton candy ice cream cones and I got a regular scoop of hazelnut gelato.  If you ever visit Young’s I want to warn you, one scoop is HUGE!  I will keep this in mind for a next time so I remember to get the child’s scoop – I couldn’t finish the gelato.  Afterwards we went to eat lunch at a cute little country restaurant in a near by town, then back home to relax after a nice day with my Sister-in-Law and their Aunt.


TOS Blog Walk: Week 6: July 19 – 23, 2010

Week 6 Blog walk – seems like this has been going fast.  Actually all summer has been going fast.  Make sure to visit, visiting these blogs are not just for the TOS Crew, any and all can visit, follow and leave comments.

1. Deanna’s Corner
2. Light, Liberty, and Learning
3. Bunny Trails
4. Flowers N Plaid Homeschool
5. Gadow Ohana
6. His Wonderful Works
7. Expand
8. Confessions of a Homeschooler
9. The Sojourner
10. A Full Heart

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FIRST tour: "Gotta Have It!" by Gregg Jantz

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:


Gregg Jantz


and the book:

Gotta Have It!: Freedom from Wanting Everything Right Here, Right Now

David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Karen Davis of The B&B Media Groupfor sending me a review copy.***


Dr. Gregg Jantz is the founder of The Center—A Place of Hope and the best-selling author (with Ann McMurray) of 25 books including Hope, Help, and Healing for Eating Disorders. His center is a leading healthcare facility in the Seattle, Washington area and specializes in whole-person care serving clients internationally.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434766241
ISBN-13: 978-1434766243


A Toddler’s Tale

These are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the LORD’s instruction. (Isa. 30:9)

Who hasn’t viewed an irate toddler in a store, yelling at the top of his tiny lungs, demanding the object of his heart’s desire? In the mind of that boy, he needs the candy, the toy, the bag, the box, or whatever. In

his mind, what he wants is what he needs.

Recently, I found myself in the grocery store at the end of a long day, needing to pick up milk on my way home from work. I was tired, distracted, and just wanted to be home. It turns out I wasn’t the only unhappy person in that store. A couple of aisles over, a little girl began keening loudly. I admit, grocery stores are incubators of human nature that I find irresistible, so—milk temporarily forgotten—I walked over to observe.

Usually I’m most interested in how the adult in the situation deals with the child. Believe me, over the years I’ve seen a variety of styles—some that have made me smile and some that have made me cringe. This time, however, I was focused on the child. This two-year-old was gesturing desperately, fingers extended, at some object just out of reach. The important thing to me wasn’t what she was looking at, but rather how she was seeing it. In her mind, the object wasn’t a mere want—it had become a need. When her mother denied it to her, she became absolutely bereft, carrying on in a way only a despondent, denied toddler can.

As I made my way to the dairy section, through the checkout line, and back into my car, I kept thinking about how this kind of behavior is typical of small children. But I had to ask myself—do we ever really get over that?

Fast-forward into adulthood and you’ll find the same thing: wants masquerading as needs. When we were two, we cried out to a parent to fill our heartfelt desires; as adults we endeavor to fill them ourselves. Once a desire has been categorized as a need, we’re pretty resourceful at finding a way to fill it—even when our methods are addictive, damaging, or hurtful. In our current credit-card-toting, get-it-now-but-pay-for-it-later society, we’re about as happy with the words no and not now as that bawling two-year-old.

Add to that our concept of “rights.” Once we’ve identified a desire as a need, we tend to demand the right to fill that need. Deep down, we seem to acknowledge that a desire doesn’t quite meet the level of a basic need. Desires can be selfish, but a need is always a moral necessity. Once our desire gets translated into a need, it becomes a necessity in our lives; we’re pretty militant about getting that newly defined need met.

This leads me to a question: Are you ready to take a deep, hard look at your own self-identified needs? I’ve found generally people haven’t really done any sort of intentional, directed work in this area. Mainly, they have a vaguely articulated sense of what they consider needs in their lives. Sometimes the only true way to determine how you really look at a particular aspect of your life—as a desire or as a need—is through your behaviors and your willingness or unwillingness to change. We’re willing to change, postpone, modify, or even relinquish a desire; we tend to take an over-my-dead-body approach to anything we think is a need.

Lest you think this book is only going to be about what you think or I think, I want to establish the overriding theme we’ll be using, which doesn’t come from you or me. The theme of this book comes from Jesus, speaking to a crowd of people very much like us, with desires and needs and a difficult time differentiating between the two. They were just as apt to run after desires masquerading as needs. In Matthew 6:31–33, Jesus said, “So do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Even if we don’t have a good handle on what our needs are, God does. And not only is He God, He’s also our Father. And as a father, He’s generous. He knows our needs, and He has a plan to supply them—and much more as well.

Background Noise

Have you ever experienced the sheer relief that silence brings? There are days, with two rambunctious boys in my house, when the noise reaches an incredible decibel. Now don’t get me wrong, I love to be

right there in the mix with them. But there’s something about the calm and serenity silence brings. There are times silence is just what my jangled senses need to be still and hear God.

In some ways, all of the excessities of life come with their own noise. They fill up our lives but leave no room for silence and contemplation, for rest and relief. God, when He fills us up, does so through a whisper, through the breath of the Spirit. A little of God goes a lot further than a great deal of anything else. King David put it this way in Psalm 84:10: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” When we feed on God, we diminish our compulsion to binge on anything else. Just as a toddler must trust a parent to know how to supply true needs, we, as children of God, must look to our heavenly Father to do the same. Our challenge is to approach God, our Father, with the faith and trust of a child.

The Bottom Line from Job

There is a story in the Old Testament book of Job about a man who faced this question of what is a desire and what is a need. This man, Job, is literally stripped of all of the things that made up his life. It is not an easy book to read or understand, but it’s very instructive in determining desires verses needs.

At the beginning of the book God and Satan have a discussion about Job, and God agrees to allow Satan to test Job’s commitment to God. In the first test, God allows Satan to take away all of Job’s possessions, including his children, but doesn’t allow him to harm Job physically. In the course of a single day, all of Job’s livestock, sheep, camels, servants, and children are killed or taken away from him. At the end of this single day, Job still praises God.

Not to be deterred, Satan comes again and this time asks to remove Job’s health from him. God agrees but says Satan may not take his life. Satan promptly strikes Job with painful boils from head to foot.

God establishes the bottom line with Satan where Job is concerned. Throughout the book of Job, no matter what else happens to him, Job has his physical needs met enough for him to continue to live. Job’s desires for understanding, vindication, relief, and restoration have to wait. With nearly everything taken away from him, it becomes clearer to see what constitutes a true need. In our own lives, we need that kind of clarity.

Unraveling Needs and Wants

It can be very difficult to determine what you consider a desire and a need in your life. When asked, you may give what you think should be the right answer instead of the truth. You may admit, reluctantly, that you don’t really need your morning coffee. However, when faced with the choice of being late to work because the line at the Starbucks is eight cars deep or going without your morning beverage … well … “It’s just work.” You may concede that your late-night snack of cookies and ice cream is not really a need, but you’ll leave your house at 9:47 at night with a coat over your pajamas to drive to the store in

order to replenish your Ben & Jerry’s.

Desires are things you want; you can do without them, but you still want them. Life goes on in their absence, but having them would certainly enhance it. Needs, however, have a greater sense of urgency.

A desire deferred is inconvenient, even uncomfortable, but a need denied is depravation. So, how can we trust that what we define as a need is really a need? And how can we be honest about what category our perceived needs actually fall into?

It’s difficult for us to put ourselves in Job’s position because of the extreme devastation of what Job initially experiences. So let’s go for something a little bit easier. I’d like you to take a moment and think about life on a desert island. I’m not really thinking of the Swiss Family Robinson type of island. If you’ve seen the movie Castaway with Tom Hanks, this is the picture I’m working toward. I want you to picture yourself stranded on a desert island, in the middle of nowhere, with very few resources. You need to survive—yes, survival is a bona fide need. So, what do you need to survive? (Because you’re on the planet, assume you’ve got something to breathe so you can move past that most primal need of life, oxygen.) Write down your top three needs:

What I would need in order to survive




If I were to answer this question myself, I’d say water, food, and shelter are my primary needs. Actually, these are pretty much what Jesus mentioned in the Matthew 6 passage. He put it as what to eat, what to drink, and what to wear. (Clothing is really a form of shelter, so I’m going to accept the similarity.) Those are pretty basic. In fact, outside of this prosperous nation of ours, a good deal of the human population spends a large portion of their time and energy searching after these basic needs. Go too long without water and you die of thirst. Go too long without food and you die of hunger. Go too long without shelter and you die of exposure. Needs can be determined by how essential they are to sustaining life.

Ahhhh, there’s the dilemma, isn’t it? When we consider what is essential to life, we aren’t always talking about physical life, are we? We have an emotional, relational, and spiritual life to go with this physical one. So, go back and relabel your needs list as “My Physical Needs.”

Now, I want you to come up with at least three needs under each of the other categories.

My Emotional Needs:




My Relational Needs:




My Spiritual Needs:




Under emotional needs, you might have such things as optimism, hope, joy. Relational needs might include things like acceptance, affirmation, forgiveness. And for spiritual needs, perhaps you listed things like faith, trust, praise. I share these with you not to say that these are definitive answers, but to give you an idea of the types of things you could choose. Again, I find that many people have never done this type of inventory, let alone put intentional thought into dealing with these types of questions.

Going back to our desert-island exercise, we’ve already established what our physical needs are, but, as Jesus said in Luke 4:4, referencing Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man does not live on bread alone.” So, let’s say you’ve got your physical needs taken care of. You’ve got food to eat, water to drink, and shelter from the elements. What other three things would you personally want (or desire) to survive on that island?

What I would want in order to survive:




After thinking about it myself, here’s what I’d want: a Bible, a purpose, and a chance of escape. Even though we’ve categorized these as wants (or desires), they’re still pretty important. I doubt any of you

would seriously put lattes and ice cream on this list. When reduced to choices of these kinds, those behaviors are pretty easy to label.

Short of being stranded on a desert island or experiencing a Jobtype catastrophe, it can be difficult to stop long enough to make sense of our busy lives. That’s what this book is designed to help you do. In the next chapter, we’re going to start by looking at the most common ways I’ve seen over my twenty-five years in counseling that people try to fill themselves up. These ways all have a similar “if some is good, more is better” deception, leading to compulsive, impulsive behavior.

Next, we’re going to begin to identify our real needs because every person who engages in excessive behavior has a true need at the core of that behavior. By discovering what those core needs are, we can detach the power of the need from the excess of the behavior and begin meeting the need in a positive, healing way. Finally, we’ll look at the gifts God gives us to meet our true needs. We’ll bring the words of Jesus from Matthew 6 full circle and learn how to live with our needs fulfilled as we seek His kingdom and His righteousness.


My Opinion:

I don’t know what I was expecting from this book but I have a mixture of emotions – indignation and relief – but I can see where it’s a book that America and most of the rest of the world needs today.  We have too much stuff, the author calls it excessity, this can be electronics, coffee, anything that gets in our way.  I found myself mostly agreeing with the author but there were times that I was disagreeing – I’m not one who has to have several cups of coffee a day to get through, one is just fine. 

Maybe I was having my conscious aware of what was going on in my life, I don’t know but this is a book I’ll be suggesting as either a group study for my church or for the Ladies Bible study.  Anything that can help us clear our lives so that we can gain better communion with the Lord is good, even if you think “oh, that’s not me”, almost all of us have something in our life that is an excessity – eating beyond being full to fill an empty spot?  If you just want to work through some issues I suggest this book, and going through it as a group may give you more support if you think you’ll need it.

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TOS Review Crew: Travel Kits ebook by Donna Rees

Vendor Name:  The Old Schoolhouse

Vendor Contact Information:

Name of Product:  “Travel Kits: A Simple Way to Bless Others” by Donna Rees

Price of Product:  $12.45

Age Range:  Older teens, Adults

Other products available: WeE-books, Download and Go, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, and more! 

**I was provided a copy of this ebook for the purpose of my honest review/opinion, no other compensation was given.

My Opinion:

I’ve been hearing about travel kits in the home school arena but wasn’t really sure what they were except that it’s something you’d take with you when you traveled.  I had no idea how wonderful an idea travel kits really are, either to my own children or other children, and they don’t have to be homeschooled to benefit from travel kits.  Donna made this a fun book to read and it seemed like I was sitting in a homeschool meeting or conference in how she wrote this book – straight forward and relaxed.

I know of a friend who will be taking vacation in the near future and I’m thinking of talking it over with my husband to make a travel kit for the whole family.  I’ve got plenty of ideas for travel kits for my children and others – this ebook definitely got the creative juices flowing and I’m excited to have read this.  Donna does have ideas for including library books in a travel kit, however I wouldn’t do this unless it was for my own children, since the risk of them getting lost while on a trip would be too great.

The ebook is 93 pages in length and has full color illustrations along with being chock full of information like how to take in to consideration the vehicle the family is traveling in, what to pack for boys, girls and even mom and dad.  The other item I really enjoyed was how to package the kit – going to the beach? then grab a nice cooler and that way the family can take some cold drinks with them and stash the aloe vera.  How to distribute is another important part of the equation which Donna addresses in this guide to making a gift that will make time spent in the car (or plane) enjoyable and maybe even silence the age old “Are We There Yet?” question.

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MamaBuzz Tour: Snikiddy Snacks **Review and Giveaway**

Cheddar Cheese Fries

A healthy, tasty alternative to typical fried snacks like potato chips, making them a favorite for families seeking healthy snack options-

  • All Natural
  • Gluten-free
  • Wheat-free
  • No corn syrup
  • Peanut-free
  • No preservatives
  • No trans fats
  • No hydrogenated oils
  • 50% less fat than potato chips

My Opinion:

YUMMY!!!!  I was very uncertain of how these would taste since I’m a bread, sugar-y, wheat fan (okay anything with lots of starch and carbs), however I am learning to do more healthy cooking so I wanted to give them a try.  Wow!  I so enjoyed these and have been trying to find them where we shop (suggestion to Snikiddy, please try to get Aldi’s to sell these!)  with no success in my area.  A 4.5 oz bag is only a $1.79 which is inexpensive considering how healthy they actually are, if you’re a large family then you’ll definitely have to work out a system so they aren’t gone in one sitting.

Mac n’ Cheese Puffs

Even my husband who is a die hard potato chip kind of guy, couldn’t resist these, he is actually the one who sent me on the quest to area stores to try to find more.  My children enjoyed them as well – making a 1 ounce bag go between five people isn’t an easy feat for anyone.  There are several different flavors of the fries such as southwest cheddar, bold buffalo, cheddar cheese, classic ketchup, original and parmesan garlic.  They also have baked cheese puffs in five different flavors.  So if you’re looking for a healthy, tasty alternative to potato chips and other fried snacks find some Snikiddy Snacks and start munching.

**I was provided a 1 ounce sample size of Snikiddy Baked Fries in Cheddar Cheese by Snikiddy in exchange for my review, no other compensation was given.

Now for the giveaway!!!!  Open to U.S. residents only and for a 1 ounce sample sized bag.

Make sure to leave me a way to contact you, email, blog, etc if you win.

Mandatory Entry:  Visit Snikiddy and tell me what flavor of baked snack (fries or puffs) you would want to try.

Exta Entries:  (must do mandatory entry above before these).  If you’re already doing any of these let me know, leave any links (FB, Twitter, blog, etc) and a way to contact you.

  • write a blog post and leave me the link here
  • Follow me via Google Friend Connect (see right side bar) leave me a comment telling me you did this.
  • Follow  Snikiddy on Facebook and leave me a comment
  • Follow my blog on Networked Blogs (see right side bar) and leave me a comment
  • Follow me on Facebook and leave me a comment
  • Follow Snikiddy on Twitter and leave me a comment
  • Follow me on Twitter and leave me a comment
  • Twit about this contest using #SarahJoBailey and leave me a comment

Remember this contest is open to U.S. Residents only and will end Friday, July 30 at noon EST.

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FIRST tour: "The Gardener and The Vine" by Andrew McDonough

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:


Andrew McDonough


and the book:

The Gardener and the Vine

Zondervan (January 15, 2010)

***Special thanks to Pam Mettler of Zondervan for sending me a review copy.***


Andrew is the creator, writer, and illustrator of the Lost Sheep series. Way back in 1989 as a young Bible college student, Andrew was asked to give the dreaded “children’s talk” at a large church. Andrew possessed one talent: he could draw sheep. He bought some overheard projector sheets and drew up the story of Cecil and the Lost Sheep. The congregation loved it, so Andrew continued to draw stories to use with kids and adults. Other student, pastors, and teachers started borrowing the stories.

Product Details:

List Price: $4.99
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (January 15, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310719461
ISBN-13: 978-0310719465


My Opinion:

Being grafted in the family of God is something we should all aspire to and that parents should have as their target for their children.  This child’s book tells the story of the vine of the Scripture about how the Father is the gardener and  if anyone recieves Him then they will bear much fruit.   The little branch is scared at first when the gardener comes to cut him off the vine but he later realizes that he will have new life.

This book has simple but beautiful illustrations that will keep the child’s interest while being read the story.  While they listen though Biblical truths will sink in and eventually as they are older with much training the fruit they bear will be much.  All three of my children ages 8 to almost 4 really enjoyed listening and reading this book and I think it will be enjoyed for years to come.

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