Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Shepherding a Child’s Heart Book Club – Kick Off

I’m going to do my best to join in on the newest book club which will be on Shepherding A Child’s Heart, I’ve had this book for several years and have never read it and now’s my chance.  I missed the last two chapters of the last book – so I’m hoping to do better on this one.  Here is the information from the Pelser’s site if you want to join in as well:

Here’s the schedule again for reference: {These will be turned into links as we go along.}

  • April 2 – Intro and Ch. 1
  • April 9 – Ch. 2-3
  • April 16 – Ch. 4-5
  • April 23 – Ch. 6-7
  • April 30 – Ch. 8-9
  • May 7 – Ch. 10-11
  • May 14 – Ch. 12-13
  • May 21 – Ch. 14-15
  • May 28 – Ch. 16-17
  • June 4 – Ch. 18-19

Read the Intro and Ch. 1 for Monday, April 2.  Discuss throughout the week in the Facebook Group and on Twitter.  If you’re blogging with us, link up your post next Monday.

Don’t forget to grab buttons to share about the book club and read the simple link up guidelines.

Let us know that you’re joining the Shepherding a Child’s Heart Book Club by joining the link up below.

Please link up a blog post about the book club, your about page, Twitter page, or Facebook page.  Choose just one pease!

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Simon and the Easter Micracle: A Traditional Tale for Easter by Mary Joslin

About the book from the cover:

Simon was just an ordinary countryman, coming to Jerusalem to sell his produce.  But on the same day a man was being led to his crucifixion, and Simon was swept into the commotion.

A traditional folk tale that goes to the very heart of the Easter story.

My Opinion:

I was very happy to get this book and read it to my children as the most important part of Easter isn’t the baby chicks and bunnies but about the real reason we celebrate this solemn time – it’s about Christ’s death upon the cross and His rising from the death to defeat it, not for Him but for us!  Too many books focus on the secular points of this Holy day so when I get a chance to add a solid, Biblical look at Eater in book form I long to add it to my collection.  All three of my children enjoyed the story and it opened up discussion with my 7 year old who, last year, accepted Christ as her Saviour and other ideas about Easter.  The beautiful illustrations done by Anna Luraschi give the book an old time feel and while giving a good picture of what is happening in the story, isn’t cluttered or overwhelming for the child who has a hard time focusing.

I will say that while it’s a great story to read about Easter, while we do know that a man name Simon from Cyrene was commanded to carry the cross when the Lord dropped it, the brief conversation never actually says why Christ was being crucified and never once does it mention Christ by name.  My oldest and I thought that maybe we skipped a page as something seemed to be missing from the end –  but my younger two were completely fine with the ending – maybe I was expecting a bit more of a finish with the story ending with Christ’s resurrection but it mentions only that Simon, the farmer knew that a miracle had happened.

I really did like this book, it is great for the younger set who maybe do not need a graphic detailing of Christ’s death and the parents can use the ending to discuss about Christ’s coming back to life.  It’s not so much for older children who are better able to grasp the graphic and gruesome nature of His death and resurrection, however I’m very happy to have this as part of our Easter readings and of course whenever we need a gentle reminder of what Christ did for us.

ETA:  As I go back and read what I’ve just written, I must say after thinking over it and the book, I am a bit more upset by the fact that Christ wasn’t mentioned by name and just about anyone, as I said above the miracle appears more to be about chicken eggs than about the real miracle.

**I was provided a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

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Linky Follower blog Hop 3-28-12


Since GFC has gone away for us non-blogger blogs I’ve recently signed up for Linky Followers (you can too, it’s free and easy to use) and in light of having to rebuild my following I’m asking you to follow me using my Linky Followers (check the right side bar).



1. You MUST have the LINKY FOLLOWERS tool on your site to participate.

If you see that your link has been deleted you need to add the LINKY FOLLOWER tool to your site and then come back over and re-enter your link
{You can have both the LINKY FOLLOWERS & GFC on your site but you must have the LINKY FOLLOWERS tool to participate in this party hop.}

2. You MUST follow the person who has the party on their site as a thank you.

3. Just add your blog button to the LINKY PARTY below.

4.Then grab the BLOG HOP code

You will find the code right under the Linky Party where it says CLICK HERE TO ENTER

just under that it says: WHAT IS A BLOG HOP? GET THE CODE HERE

Click on GET THE CODE HERE and enter it into a post on your site.

You can grab the party button code in the FOOTER at Its So Very Cheri

You can grab info from my post if it helps you with your post.

5. Then you follow other bloggers–(as many as you want)
–leave each one of the blogs that you follow a comment letting them know you are following them and ask them to follow you back.

If you want to add the BLOG HOP to your own site you will get lots of new followers(see rule #2)


Join in over at It’s so Very Cheri Blog Hop and don’t forget to follow me via my Linky Followers!

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FIRST Tour: Just Too Busy: Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical by Joanne Kraft

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:
Joanne Kraft
and the book:
Just Too Busy: Taking your Family on a Radical Sabbatical
Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City (June 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to
Susan Otis/Creative Resources for sending me a review copy.***


Joanne Kraft is a sought-after speaker who loves to encourage women. She has been published in Today’s Christian Woman, In Touch, ParentLife, Kyria and P31 Woman magazine. A leader of Inspire Christian Writers, she serves as a marriage study group leader, and works as a 911 dispatcher in Sacramento County, California. Kraft is married and has four children.

Visit the author’s website.


Just Too Busy is one mother’s story of getting off the merry-go-round of her family’s over-commitment. When everything their life seemed like a marathon race, Joanne Kraft and her husband decided to take a “radical sabbatical”—a year-long absence from any of their four children’s organized after-school activities. Memories made, new traditions started, lessons learned, and how their family’s legacy was enriched are shared, spiced with a liberal helping of light-hearted humor.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99

Paperback: 192 pages

Publisher: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City (June 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0834126095

ISBN-13: 978-0834126091

AND NOW…Click the LOOK INSIDE! Button to view the FIRST Chapter:

My Opinion:

This is a book that I read in one day, it had me laughing and even sometimes wanting to cry but I found it to be wonderfully enlightening on our culture today that says we must go, go, go and do,do, do.  That being said we are a busy family, thanks to my mom my son takes martial arts twice a week, my oldest is in dance once a week as is my other daughter and all go to Awana and they are all in 4H once a month as well.  Some would say, whew!  For us it doesn’t feel busy, I guess since we homeschool we don’t have to compete with school sports, homework, etc so we have more hours than a family who has to have a strict bed time and awake time.  My children do these activities because they want to, not because they are forced and they are early enough in the day that we are all home by 6:30 or 7 at the latest.  That said there are still things that rob our time – and that is what I thought was great about this book.

She has great ideas for family devotions (how many times have you thought I’m too busy to do devotions or I’m too busy to have a set prayer time?), and how to deal with other time thieves like Facebook, computers, game consoles, T.V., etc – it doesn’t have to be just about sports, dance, and other extra-curriculars anything that makes one “too busy” to attend to your family.  One thing I took issue with was when she was writing about the Enemy (AKA Satan) and how to have an abundant life and she mentions “Ask a person who is morbidly obese what he or she would pay for self control?” (page 89) – not everyone who is obese, morbidly or otherwise, lacks self control (my husband and I are both obese) even with portion control, carb counting, cutting out soda, etc we still can’t lose the weight.

Overall, this book was fantastic and it really has me motivated to cut back and start doing more – in fact just last night my oldest told me I spend too much time on the computer (she didn’t want to hear the fact that she spends way too much time on her iPod, but I digress) so it seems it’s a God thing that I had this book to read and review, as I’ve been convicted and we’ll see where life leads as far as the busyness that can often creep in when you least expect or think about it.

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Stand by Me (A SouledOut Sisters Novel) by Neta Jackson

About the book:

Sometimes the person you most need is the one least like you.

Kathryn Davies is a bright young woman from a prominent Phoenix family. But after making a leap of faith at a Christian music fest, dropping out of med school, and moving to inner city Chicago, her family all but disowns her.

When Kat discovers SouledOut Community Church, she longs to become a part of the multicultural church family. But her tendency to immediately say whatever she’s thinking steps on the toes of nearly everyone she meets—especially Avis Douglass.

Avis has a strong faith, is the principal of one of Chicago’s highest performing elementary schools, and is a founding member of SouledOut. But the country’s economic downturn has thrown both her and her husband’s jobs in question. And Avis hasn’t heard from her youngest daughter in months—an estrangement that gnaws at her every day. Where is God in this?

Kat’s flamboyant zeal for living a “radical” Christian life is a stark contrast to Avis’s more reserved faith. But in God’s timing, the two women discover they need each other in ways neither of them expected.

My Opinion:

I had the extreme pleasure of reading all the Yada Yada Prayer Group series and going through the ladies struggles and triumphs that would have broken others, they came through with their faith in the Lord and their friendships intact – so when I had the chance to read Stand By Me which is the newest series for Neta Jackson, that includes the ladies from Yada Yada and some new characters, I just had to get my hands on it!  This book did not disappoint, nor did Neta’s writing and well developed plot line and characters.  I felt myself being wrapped into a family when I got to visit with the Yada Yada Sisters again and seeing life from young college-aged eyes was a wonderful time.

I did find myself getting annoyed at Kat, with all her earth crunchiness, not eating red meat, saving everyone and dumpster diving – but then I realized that was me at one time.  I had stars in my eyes when I graduated college with a degree in social work – thought I would save all the poor children from their abusive parents – and then life hits, real life.  While Kat doesn’t lose her naive outlook she does some maturing as the book goes on and I look forward to reading more about her adventures and how things go on with her family as she follows the Lord.  I also found myself getting a little miffed by the whole black and white issue – but I also had to admit to myself that this still occurs, some white people don’t want to worship with blacks and vice versa.  I have to say though that I loved how it was handled by the characters in the book, while they don’t back down they also don’t take it lying down – and even Avis does some ‘growing up’ even though she is a middle aged woman.

I found myself laughing out loud but also crying – crying from the pain that the characters experienced, some that I myself have gone through in real life.  This book will have you facing your prejudices head on – whether it’s young people today coming to church in ripped pants or your viewpoint on another race or culture – it’ll make you think, even though it’s fiction there is much this book will have you thinking over even as you enjoy a book that I am not afraid to recommend to a friend and say it’s Christian.

**I was given an e-copy of this book through B and B media in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

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A Perfect Pet for Peyton by Rick Osborne and Gary Chapman (review and CLOSED giveaway)

About the Book:

This wonderfully imaginative children’s hardcover book by bestselling authors Gary Chapman and Rick Osborne, featuring four-color illustrations (with hidden details!) by Wilson Williams, Jr., will help children learn the importance of love. Based on Gary’s highly successful The 5 Love Languages®, A Perfect Pet for Peyton tells an entertaining and playful story of five children who each, with the help of Mr. Chapman and the unique pets at his special emporium, discover their own personal love language. Children and parents alike will experience firsthand the power of the love languages as they cuddle up and spend precious time together reading this book over and over again.

*Free interactive app with in-book experience COMING SOON to the Apple App Store.

My Opinion:

This is a really cute book, I never really gave any thoughts to the love languages that so many have talked about for so long, but after reading this book it made me think how I can better relate to my children.  The colorful illustrations and hide and seek activities through out kept even my 10 year old’s attention (she enjoys me reading aloud but something that would be perceived as a too young book isn’t always listened to).  The animals are of a wide variety and for the boy in my life the brief area about dinosaurs was an attention grabber.  I’d like to take more time to read through it again and do all the activities that are scattered throughout and my children enjoyed trying to guess what their love language was – I have one whose primary is gifts and secondary is quality time while I have two others whose primaries are physical touch and secondary is quality time.

**”Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Congratulations Kristi!

You will win a physical copy of this book to enjoy!

You must be 18 year or older.  A resident of the U.S.  One entry per household only.  Void where prohibited.  You must leave an email in your entry – if I cannot contact you I will chose another winner. Winner must respond to my email within 48 hours – or a new winner will be chosen. Winner will be randomly selected by a random process decided upon by me on Friday, April 13, 2012 at noon EST   The first entry is mandatory.

  1. Do you know your child’s or your grand child’s love language?  Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Physical Touch or Acts of Service?
  2. Follow Me using Linky Followers on my right side bar.
  3. Follow my blog on Facebook (right side bar)
  4. Follow my blog on Google+
  5. Follow my blog via BlogLovin’ (right side bar)
  6. Share this giveaway on Twitter, Facebook or other social media – leave me a link to the post or use the share buttons at the bottom of the post. (click on the time stamp for the permalink of your post)

Leave a comment for each way you enter w/a way to contact you.  Please read all other rules above.

This giveaway is linked up over at:


Giveaway Day

Guiding Light Homeschool


Fun with math

One of my favorite things in regards to children’s museums are the rotating exhibits.  Sometimes we don’t get to them but other months it’s a definite, must go to see exhibit.  The newest one is called Math Midway and it’s all about fun ways to integrate math.

Christian on the bike with square wheels. Once he got it going he was happy.

Christian again.

The girls on the bikes.

The girls again.


Christian using the high powered microscope to examine items found in the house.

Bethanne being a plumber in the water exhibit.


It was a fun trip, I got to meet a new lady, who I’m praying will be a great new friend.  Her 7 year old son got along very well with Christian.  Hannah was somewhat bored as this is the museum that she has outgrown – although the Math Midway did keep her interest.  You can read Hannah’s account of our trip at her blog, Hannah Rambles on

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Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings

About the Book:

She’s Finally Found a Place to Call Home… How Far Will She Go to Save It?

With nothing to their names, young widow Rosa Garner and her mother-in-law return to their Texas family ranch. Only now the county is demanding back taxes and the women have just three months to pay.

Though facing eviction, Rosa falls in love with the countryside and the wonderful extended family who want only her best. They welcome her vivacious spirit and try to help her navigate puzzling American customs. She can’t help but stand out, though, and her beauty captures attention. 

Where some offer help with dangerous strings attached, only one man seems honorable. But when Weston Garner, still grieving his own lost love, is unprepared to give his heart, Rosa must decide to what lengths she will go to save her future. Read an excerpt:
About the Author:
Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She has worked at The Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City with her husband and four children. Meet Regina here.

Learn more about Regina by visiting her website,

You can buy the book on Amazon.

My Opinion:

I’m still reading – but so far it’s been very good.
Win a Kindle Fire from @ReginaJennings in the Sixty Acres and a Bride Giveaway! RSVP for #Facebook Party on 3/27.

Celebrate with Regina by entering to win a Kindle Fire and coming to her Author Chat Party on 3/27!

One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/26/12. Winner will be announced at Regina’s Author Chat Facebook Party on 3/27. Regina will be hosting an evening of chat, fun trivia and more! She’ll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, and some beautiful silver jewerly!

So grab your copy of Sixty Acres and a Bride and join Regina and friends on the evening of March 27th for an evening of fun.

Don’t miss a moment of the fun. RSVP TODAY and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 27th!


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E is for Entertainment



Well at the risk of ruffling even more feathers my selection for E is Entertainment.  You may have seen my post regarding Discernment using Scripture which while I wasn’t specific regarding the book series’ I was thinking of, it wasn’t just about that – it was about all forms of entertainment that we take in on a daily basis.  It could be movies, books, music, games, whatever – not all forms of entertainment are good or edifying for the Christian or even worthy of our time.


Some Scripture I shared in my other post were these:


“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise think on these things.”  Philippians 4:8


“Let love be without dissimulation.  Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”  Romans 12:9


“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  Galatians 5:20-25


“I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes:  I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”  Psalm 101:3


As a Christian I have to set a higher standard for what I and what my children take in as entertainment – this isn’t saying that we are better than a Christian who would let their child read Harry Potter, but I think that we need to evaluate any form of entertainment in light of Scripture.  This isn’t always easy though – if your spouse feels that Snow White is okay for the children to watch but you don’t agree – then you’re going to have to commit it to prayer.  Pray that the Lord will protect your children from any exposure as well as to pray that the Lord will change your spouse’s heart (of course you may also need to realize that their heart may not change or that the Lord may have something else He needs to focus on in your spouse).


By setting a higher standard for myself  and my children, it means not partaking in things that the secular world has no qualms over.  The world may not see a problem with a movie about children killing children, or a song about violence against women, or a book that features magic (no matter how ‘white’ it is deemed) but as a Christian I should see a problem with it.  If I truly believe what God’s Word says and desire to follow Him then I’ll want to do what He wants – I’m not going to try to make something bad have a redeeming quality, ‘well they killed someone because it was them or their family’.


If it goes against God’s Word then it’s wrong.


If it goes against God’s Word then it’s sin.


If it’s sin then we shouldn’t be partaking in it.


I don’t believe there are different sins for different people or levels depending on where your walk with the Lord is.


Everyone, Christian and not, will be judged according to their sins at some point.


Murder is murder.  Extolling murder is sin – even if the one being killed is ‘bad’.


Witchcraft is wrong – no matter if it’s called white magic – God made no distinctions when it came to witchcraft and divination – it’s sin.


This isn’t just about secular entertainment though – this also includes ‘Christian’ entertainment.


Christian romance that has single people kissing or even having certain thoughts about one another?


Christian contemporary music that tells us it’s okay to dress or talk how we want because God loves us anyway?


It’s sad when a Christian can’t pick up a ‘Christian’ book or CD or movie because of what it may contain.


I’ve got several Christian fiction books to read as I’ve committed to reviewing them – but I’ve also come under conviction that I need to be much, much more selective in what I’m putting before my eyes.  I used to think as long as it says Christian it’s okay – and at one point in history that may have been true but now when ‘Christian’ books, music, movies say that:


God is the same as Allah.


You’re sick/poor/homeless/etc because you don’t have enough faith in God.


We can all go to Heaven as long as we’re good.


then the term Christian has become subjective.  Some may think I’m being legalistic, that’s okay – as I’ve said before, if being legalistic means that I’m following God’s Word then I’m okay.  Some are going to disagree, that’s fine, I’m only here to ask that you consider the Scriptures and look at your entertainment and see how it aligns with Scripture.  It’s between you and the Lord.


I’m not saying I’m a better Christian than you – I’ve got my own battles and demons that I have to confront on a daily basis and take them before the Lord – but I’m asking that you take a close look at the entertainment you allow before your eyes and ears and decide in the Truth if it’s something that if the Lord were sitting right there with you would He be:


jamming along to that song saying how great drugs are?


reading along with the book that extols murder?


watching the T.V. show where a child is abused?


reading a book where two unmarried people are kissing but it’s okay because they are getting married soon?


agreeing that the Father is on same footing with another god?


In a world that is slipping down a slippery slope of violence, persecution, mayhem, no morals – we need to realize that what goes in will eventually come out.  I know.




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The Homeschool Mother’s Journal

The Homeschool Mother's Journal


In my life this week…

I’m still dealing with the fractured foot – it started feeling better so I decided to leave it unwrapped and leave the CAM walker off – well I paid for that dearly as my whole foot and ankle swelled up.  So I’m back in it – it took it’s toll walking at the children’s museum we went to – it’s very tiring to walk in the boot.  I’ve also had to start putting laundry out on a makeshift clothes line as our dryer is going out and can only handle the small amount of unmentionables.  This is okay but it is time consuming and I also have to be sure to not get stung by the bees and wasps that seem to want to buzz over my head.

In our homeschool this week…

The girls only have about 20 lessons of math left so I’ve decided to let them do one lesson a day up until the week before we go on vacation when they’ll do two so we can be officially done with school before we go.  Hannah is finishing her last couple lessons for Writing Tales and Bethanne is plugging along with Latin.  We spent Friday at a children’s museum.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Monday we skipped Hannah’s CWDI class as she had a migraine, Tuesday was Bethanne’s ballet and Tuesday and Thursday was Christian’s martial arts, and Wednesday we finally made it back to AWANA.  Friday we met a new lady, who is such a sweet godly woman and her 7 year old son whom my son quickly took to and he took to Christian.

My favorite thing this week was…

Meeting a new friend and her son.

I’m reading…

Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings

Cursing the Church or Helping It?  Exposing the Spirit of Balaam by Anna M. Aquino

The Heart’s Frontier by Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith

Simple Secrets to a Happy Life by Luci Swindoll

No, We Can’t Radical Islam, Militant Secularism and the Myth of Coexistence by Robert Stearns

I’m grateful for…

I was blessed this past week with a surprise payment in my paypal – I was paid for doing some reviews – this allowed me to buy the math curriculum and the art curricula I needed for two of my children, I already have the other one.  Also I was able to purchase Mystery of History Volume 3 and the companion CD-ROM for our history next year.   This was such a blessing as we had to shell out money for DH’s car when the starter went out and I was worrying about how we were going to be able to get the curricula I needed for June.  God was definitely blessing us.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

An Agouti at the children's museum we went to on Friday.

An Agouti eating a piece of fruit. My oldest likes them as they resemble a guinea pig, however, they are not in the cavy family.



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