GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Edify Media: Let God DVD #grow4christ #review


Cover image from Christianbook.com

Press release about the movie:

Nashville, TN – (January 15, 2014) –Word Films is set to release Breckenridge Film Festival’s 2013 “Best Feature” and “Best Actress” winner “Let God” on DVD on February 25. The faith-based film follows the story of young housewife, Amelia, who heads west with her husband during the 19th century gold rush and is left alone without resources in the harsh wilderness when her husband is killed in a savage attack. Battling winter, hunger and the unknown, Amelia must take life into her own hands as she struggles with a loss of faith and battles for her survival.

“There’s a gap between ritual and faith, and we explore that,” said “Let God” writer/director/producer William Parker. “The character of Amelia is very ritual oriented – she goes to church, she read the Bible…but through the movie she kind of gives up on it. Amelia struggles with loss of faith, feeling she’s been abandoned by God and is completely on her own.” “In the end, she realizes that not only does she actually find her faith, she actually really believes, genuinely, ‘This is what I was looking for,’” adds Jasmin Jandreau who plays Amelia. “She realizes, through another connection in the film that comes along, that God was with her the whole time, and God was communicating with her the whole time.”

In addition to winning both “Best Feature” and “Best Actress” honors at the 2013 Breckenridge Film Festival, “Let God” was also an official selection at the 2013 Gideon Film Festival and has earned the Dove “Family-Approved” Seal for any age. “This is a terrific Story!” said the Dove Foundation. “The writer/director and leading actress Jasmine Jandreau, as Amelia, somehow manage to make this story of survival a powerful movie about trials and a faith that overcomes all odds…You will enjoy watching this one. Don’t miss it!”

For further information about the 91-minute DVD “Let God” and to view the trailer please visit wordfilms.com.

About Word Entertainment: A leader in the music industry for over 60 years, Word Entertainment, a Warner/Curb company, is a unique, comprehensive entertainment company comprised of multi-faceted artist service departments including publishing, merchandising, booking, and online initiatives. Word Entertainment represents some of the top names and brands in music, including Meredith Andrews, Chris August, Francesca Battistelli, Big Daddy Weave, Jason Castro, Patrick Ryan Clark, Everfound, for KING & COUNTRY, Group 1 Crew, Love & The Outcome, Dara Maclean, NEEDTOBREATHE, Point Of Grace, Sidewalk Prophets, Skillet, Switchfoot and We As Human and is home to 25 Entertainment, Word Distribution (representing Curb Records and Big Idea/VeggieTales among others), Word Music Publications & Church Resources, Word Films, Word Music Publishing and Word Label Group’s Word Records, Word Worship and Fervent Records.

 

You can purchase a copy at Christianbook.com or other retailers.

 

 

 

My Opinion:

 

Have you ever asked God for a sign and then walk right by it or ignore it only to have Him time and again show you that sign?  I wasn’t sure what to think about the movie Let God – there is very little talking or dialogue in the movie as it starts with showing Amelia, alone, having just buried her husband trying to figure out what to do and where to go in the wilderness.  Not only does she fear wild animals and the Native American tribes who are violent toward settlers she also has to battle her own demons – she didn’t want to go West.  There are flash backs we get of her remembering her husband when he first told her they would go West in search of gold, then when they left the wagon train and again when it shows her leaving her house as she glimpses the curtains she more than likely made herself left hanging in the window – until she finds (or did he find her?) a small Indian boy that she talks to.

 

Despite the lack of talking in the movie, the actress Jasmin Jandreau, portrays the fear, the grief, the loss and ultimately the hope in letting God take care of us.  Towards the end of the movie, after having seen several dead people, she creates a rough cross leans it against a tree, tells the picture of her husband she’ll see him soon and lays down in the hopes that she to will die so she can leave all the hurt behind.  She wakes the next morning.  The Indian boy is still with her, having created his own cross.  Only the Lord knows how they survived sleeping in the open with no fire or way to keep warm.  She determines to go on.  I think the lack of talking in the movie showed more than having words could have – the lack of talking made me think of how often times the quietude can lead us to do things we normally wouldn’t or think of us being stronger than we are – and it also showed the loneliness of Amelia.  My husband watched the last half with me and even he was telling me that he needs to watch it from the beginning, he really liked it.  I will say while the ending was meant to surprise it didn’t do that to me – if you’ve encountered an angel it won’t surprise you either but I do recommend this movie – I even let my 7, 9 and 12 year old children watch it with me.

 

 

 

 

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Edify Media: Iesodo (Yay-Sa-Doe) DVD; Love and Faith #grow4christ #review


About the Love episodes:

“Birds of a Feather, Fish Together”– The wedding of Freddie and Fiona finch is headed for disaster! Iesodo steps in to calm everyone’s ruffled feathers and make the event a success.

“Love Your Enemies”– Zack, the tax collector, doesn’t play by the rules. Iesodo shows the flock that treating those who are mean to you with kindness really does make a big difference.

 

 

 

About the Faith episodes:

“Miracles are Everywhere”– A big event is happening! Thousands of birds from all over the world have gathered to meet Iesodo, but food is scarce and the flocks are getting hungry. Iesodo provides in a way no one could have expected.

“The Wind and the Rain”– The flock is soaring through the sky on their way back to the Cypress Tree when a sudden storm approaches out of nowhere! Trapped at sea and frightened, they learn that when you have faith, anything is possible.

 

Press release for Iesodo:

Los Angeles, California- Iesodo (YAY-sa-doe) is a highly acclaimed Telly and Accolade Award winning series featuring a cast of animated birds who live in a Cypress Tree on the shores of Galilee.  Presented with cutting edge imagery, Iesodo, which means “The way of Jesus”, is a wise and gentle dove that gives an allegory to the stories and messages of Jesus with “solid biblical teaching.” (American Family Journal). With each and every story, he and his lovable feathered friends “present the essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a winsome, compelling way” through music and adventure(MovieGuide.org).

 

Zaya Toonz and Rollman Entertainment, the animation companies behind Iesodo, assembled a collaboration of experts with experience in both the children’s and Christian markets.

 

“Children learn and sometimes even emulate the actions and personalities of loveable animated characters such as Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse, and we want them to do the same with Iesodo,” said executive producers Jared and Natalie Hankins. “The Iesodo character is a representation of Jesus, and the stories shared throughout each episode are based on Jesus’ teachings.  They are universal principles we hope all parents wants to instill in their children, such as loving one another, conquering fear, sharing and being kind.”

 

Directors for the series include Brian E. Ray whose credits consist of Muppet Babies, My Little Pony Tales and Ed, Ed, and Eddy, as well as Colin Brady, whose credits include Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and A Bug’s Life. Brady also served as the former animation supervisor for Pixar Animation Studios. Producer Eric S. Rollman, President/CEO of Rollman Entertainment, formerly served as President of Production for Fox Kids and Marvel, and writer/producer Rob Loos is an Emmy Nominee and writer/producer for McGee and Me! Christmas Lamb, Kids 10 Commandments and Touched by an Angel. The Iesodo series also features the voice of Erin Bethea (Fireproof, Amazing Love) as Maggie.

 

Capitol Christian Distribution, the market leader in Christian and Gospel music distribution, as well as chart topping Christian films and books, distributes the Iesodo DVD series, which can be purchased at Christian retail stores, Walmart and Amazon.com. For more information on Iesodo, visit http://www.iesodo.com.

 

 

 

My Opinion:

 

I’m always on the watch for quality, faith building movies and shows for my children and when I was contacted by Edify Media to recieve two copies of Iesodo DVDs for review I knew I had to get them for my 12, 9 and 7 year old children.  I was sent two DVDs, the Love episodes which include “Birds of a Feather, Fish Together” and “Love Your Enemies” as well as the Faith episodes which include “Miracles are Everywhere” and “The Wind and the Rain”.  Both have a running time of approximately 55 minutes and sell for $14.99 and can be found at brick and mortar retail stores as well as Amazon – making them easy to find and purchase.  Both DVDs come with several special features videos to the songs sung during the show, Bible verses, and the I-E-S-O-D-O music video which is great – my children found the music to be catchy and were singing it long after the show ended, of course I liked the fact that it was teaching Biblical concepts in a new way that kept their attention, even if my 12 year old was a bit old for them she said they were cute.

 

Early on my children picked up that Iesodo was supposed to represent Jesus in a bird-of-a-feather kind of way so it was great to see them pick up on that and while some may have an issue with representing Jesus as a bird it was a great way to bring home some of His truths in a way children can relate too, such as animals, singing and colorful cartoons.  I think these would be great to share with children who haven’t been exposed to church or to Jesus as a way to introduce Him to them especially with the added features of Bible verses and Biblical truths.  These will be DVDs that we keep on our shelf for a long, long time and I can see us buying some for gifts in the near future – and I think that they would be great for even young children who may not fully understand the entire message but it would be a great way to help parents who want to not only provide quality entertainment for their children but to also have faith based entertainment.

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

 

 

 

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Blogging Through the Alphabet: Y is for Yikes! #grow4christ #abcblogging


Read about what Y is for for me - Y is for Yikes!

 

I know it’s not real deep and probably not even really inspirational but for my Blogging Through the Alphabet for letter Y I chose Yikes.  I’ve had a few yikes! moments the last few days weeks and thought what better way to remember them by writing a blog post and also because I just don’t want to try to figure out another Y word. 😀

 

So we’re still getting situated into our new house – there are boxes everywhere and so things are a little stressful, such as I’m missing a couple review books which I think are in a closet that is surrounded by boxes and cannot be accessed right now.  Yikes!  Not to mention I can’t find my USB cord for my camera so I can download our pictures from an Underground Railroad safe house field trip.  If you’ve never moved then you cannot understand this yikes moment – it is and can be totally overwhelming.

 

So is “yikes” really a word with a real definition?  I went to find out.  Mirriam-Webster online dictionary defines yikes as a way to express fear or astonishment and it’s more than likely an alteration of the work yoicks and was first known to be used in 1957.  Yoicks, in case you’re interested is used as a form or encouragement to foxhounds on a hunt and it’s first known use was in 1774.  So a bit of word history (I’m sure there is a technical term for that but I’m too tired to find out).

 

So anyway – some people might think yikes is slang or even derogatory but I’ve used it a lot lately – like when I was on the highway last night and my lane ended (speed limit was 45 since it was a construction area and I was the only one doing 45) and a semi wouldn’t let me over (even though state highway patrol was guarding the stretch not one seemed to care about little ol’ me with my mom and daughter in the car) I had to run up partially on a construction barrel, thankfully another driver took pity and stopped so I could get over (many thanks to him for risking his life too).  Yikes!  We took the back way home and avoided the highway on our return trip.

 

So while yikes can be used to express fear like it did for my two examples above it can also be used for astonishment like “yikes! our bed is finally here!”  trust me that is good thing since I haven’t had a bed in 5 or 6 years.  Or like when I found out some local history and the sadness that it will be torn down in the next year or so.  There are a lot worse words to use and so I chose yikes to show my astonishment when something surprises me – it’s not used as much today – people choosing to use the Lord’s name in vain or use cuss words to show their fear or surprise, which is sad.

 

Have you had a “yikes” moment lately?  I’d love to know.

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

 

Blogging Through the Alphabet

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Miss Brenda and the Loveladies by Brenda Spahn and Irene Zutell #grow4christ #review


About the book:

One woman’s fight to provide hope for the hopeless…
Seven ex-cons who changed her heart forever…

For Brenda Spahn, entrepreneur and businesswoman, wealth was a lifestyle—until a brush with the law threatened to send her to prison. In those dark moments, Brenda made a promise to God.

Spared incarceration, a renewed Brenda glimpsed into the lives of women serving time in one of the worst places in America—the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama.

What she saw prompted a God-inspired vision.

With a heart to help and a will that couldn’t be crushed, Brenda fought the system and overcame tremendous obstacles to take ex-cons into her own home and help them navigate the alien world of life on the outside.

This is the story of Brenda’s journey from rags to riches to redemption. It’s the story of the first unlikely year of her “Whole Way House” and of the extraordinary lives of the first seven women who came to call her “Miss Brenda.” It’s a story that testifies to the power of faith and how God changes hearts every day.

You can purchase a copy at Waterbrook Multnomah’s website.

 

About the Author:

Brenda Spahn is founder and executive director of the Lovelady Center, the largest and most successful nonprofit transitional center for women in the country. It serves 450 women and children every day, providing substance abuse counseling, drug rehabilitation, meals, childcare, career counseling, and job opportunities to women working to establish successful lives outside of prison walls. Brenda is married and has four adult children as well as one young child who lives at home.

 

My Opinion:

 

I have a long background in the nursing and social work fields – through my parents and also through my own education so reading the book, Miss Brenda and the Loveladies, really hit home for me and it only took me part of a day to read through the whole book because I was that engrossed in it.  Before I became a mom and wife, I was pursuing a degree in social work and the day I graduated I also found out I was pregnant again – what a gift – my heart was one for children in the foster system as well as those in the mental health field but I felt my calling was to be home so I didn’t pursue a career in either area.  I have a save-the-world mentality and like Brenda Spahn could see myself doing what she is doing and had done, although I still have young children at home who need me.  Reading the stories of the women that Brenda first helped was so heart wrenching, the women came from families who didn’t love them nor did some of them stop the abuse that was happening, sometimes even perpetuating it.  Most of the women had children who they never got to raise because of time in prison and Brenda wanted to help these women become more than just a prison inmate number, and she did.

Reading about the women’s first outing to Walmart was funny yet also sad – most had never seen a mega-store let alone set foot in one so for them it was eye opening and even the meanest woman wouldn’t leave Brenda’s side because of fear.  With the funny was also the sad – their stories of how they came to be what they were but not who they were to become – had me tearing up at times – the abuse, the degradation the total humiliation along with lack of education and the prevalent poverty that most of the women lived in.  Before I make you think Brenda has a 100% success rate, she doesn’t – one of her Loveladies had to go back to prison when she violated her conditions of early release – it was heartbreaking to read and I can only imagine how Brenda and the other Loveladies felt when they knew the woman wouldn’t be returning – although there is a happy ending to that but I won’t give you a spoiler.

Overall, this was a great book – one of a woman’s strength and passion to do what is right and even a huge amount of forgiveness, but again that would take me spoiling part of the book and I don’t want to do that.  Due to the fact that this book deals with women who have had a rough life there is some language, some is ‘bleeped’ out whereas other words, that I consider swear words but other don’t, are left in.  Regardless, this is a book that I think we all need to read – a heart to serve and one of compassion is what we are called to as Christians, not just to those who we think deserve our service and compassion but to all those who need help in getting back to life – Brenda’s non-judgemental and non-preachy way reached out to even the hardest of hearts and most of the women gave their hearts to Jesus Christ through her mentoring and quiet spirit.

 

Please take a moment to rate my review on the Blogging for Books website.  Thank you!

 

 

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Litfuse Publicity: It Had to be You by Susan May Warren #grow4christ


About the Book:

A Christiansen Family Novel.

Eden Christiansen never imagined her role as her younger brother Owen’s cheerleader would keep her on the sidelines of her own life. Sure, it feels good to be needed, but looking after the reckless NHL rookie leaves little time for Eden to focus on her own career. She dreamed of making a name for herself as a reporter, but is stuck writing obits—and starting to fear she doesn’t have the chops to land a major story. If only someone would step up to mentor Owen . . . but she knows better than to expect help from team veteran and bad-boy enforcer Jace Jacobsen.

Jace has built his career on the infamous reputation of his aggressive behavior—on and off the ice. Now at a crossroads about his future in hockey, that reputation has him trapped. And the guilt-trip he’s getting from Eden Christiansen isn’t making things any easier. But when Owen’s carelessness leads to a career-threatening injury and Eden stumbles upon a story that could be her big break, she and Jace are thrown together . . . and begin to wonder if they belong on the same team after all.

Learn more and purchase a copy at Susan’s website.

About the Author:

Susan May Warren is the bestselling, RITA Award-winning author of more than forty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women’s events about God’s amazing grace in our lives. She also runs a writing community for authors. Visit MyBookTherapy.com to learn more.

Learn more about Susan May Warren at her website.

My Opinion:

A search of my blog will clue you into the fact that I’m a big fan of Susan May Warren’s books so when I had the chance to recieve a copy of It Had to be You I jumped on it because I so enjoy her style of writing and I wanted to see what was going on in the Christiansen family. I was pulled into the story of Owen and Eden, although it’s more about Eden than Owen, but she’s his self-proclaimed cheerleader, care taker and all around door mat for her younger brother – everything else takes a back seat to her brother and his career in the NHL.  I felt bad and could also relate to Eden – I know how it feels to be the one who feels they must keep an eye on all things and try so hard to keep the family together or at least one member from failing or falling – I also know the feeling of letting go and just letting God.  Eden wants her own life – to become a reporter now just an obit writer, to feel loved and wanted – but she doesn’t want her brother to fail – when an accident happens she realizes she can’t be everything to her brother.

As I said this book pulled me in from the side story of Sam and his daughter Maddy, who desperately needs another heart transplant to the other characters in the Christiansen family – there was a lot of other happenings that made it seem real, like in all our lives, it’s more than just one thing at a time.  The mystery of a John Doe patient who Eden and Jace help track down his family so they can help out the patient, leads to more than just closure for his family.  Through it all Eden struggles with what God wants from her as does her romantic interest, Jace – that said there is a bit of romance and there is some passionate kissing between Eden and Jace – I was a little put off by this but I skipped it when I could tell it was coming up, it was not a huge part of the story (the passionate kissing – the romance was) so skipping it did not detract from the overall story.

If you’ve read Susan May Warren’s books before then you won’t be disappointed in this one, though it’s a tad bit longer than her others I’ve read but that made it all the more delightful.  There is also the series prequel which is the story that started it all – of how John and Ingrid (Owen and Eden’s mom and dad) met and began the Christiansen family, which is a nice touch as I know many readers love the background story of elder characters that helped shape who the younger characters came to be.  If you haven’t read any of Susan’s books I highly suggest and recommend the Christiansen family novels (there are only 2 so far) the writing is great and the characters are well rounded and seemingly real.

 

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

 

 
Susan May Warren is celebrating the release of her newest Christiansen Family novel, It Had To Be You, with a $100 Visa cash card giveaway and offering readers a free book club kit.

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One winner will receive:

  • $100 Visa cash card
  • Take a Chance on Me and It Had to Be You by Susan May Warren

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 29th. Winner will be announced April 1st on Susan’s blog. Also, visit her website to learn more about the It Had To Be You backstory and Susan’s free book club kit.

 

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Susan’s blog on April 1st to see if you won.

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FlyBy Promotions Review: The Sparkle Egg by Jill Hardie #grow4christ #ShareAMoment


About the book:
Easter is coming, and Sam loves Easter! But this year, he is upset about a lie he told his parents. Even though he apologized and they forgave him, Sam can’t shake the feeling that he is a bad kid for what he did. Meanwhile, his parents help him make a special Easter craft
called a Sparkle Egg. His mom tells him to write anything he feels sorry about or ashamed of on a piece of paper and put it inside his Sparkle Egg.

On Easter morning, when he opens his Sparkle Egg expecting a surprise, Sam finds that it is empty! His parents explain that because Jesus died and rose again, we are forgiven. Like the tomb that first Easter Day, Sam’s egg is empty—and Sam’s wrongdoing is completely forgiven. Once he accepts this forgiveness fully, Sam realizes a truth: we can sparkle and shine with God’s light when we let God’s gift of grace into our hearts. This touching story will strike a deep chord with readers of all ages, and the Sparkle Egg tradition will help readers and their families grasp the totality of God’s perfect grace.

You can purchase your copy at Ideals Publications for $13.59.

About the author:   Jill Hardie’s first book, The Sparkle Box, ignited a new Christmas tradition that helps center Christmas in the true joy of the season. Now Jill is hoping to touch lives with a new Easter tradition with The Sparkle Egg. She lives in North Canton, Ohio.

About the illustrator:  Christine Kornacki illustrated the highly acclaimed The Sparkle Box. She has a love for painting and a knack for bringing stories to life. Christine received a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford and spends most days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming café in New Haven, Connecticut.

My Opinion:

I read this the other night with my two youngest children and we all were caught up in the story of Sam who after getting his spelling test at school and seeing all the red marks (remember how those made us feel in school, small and insignificant?), he goes home only to lie to his mom.  While my children can’t relate to the school setting or the red marks – they can relate to the fleshly desire to lie to me in order to get out of trouble, which of course once the lie is found out always results in more trouble.  Sam struggles with his feelings of guilt and shame even after his parents find out and forgive him – isn’t that the way with us, even as adults, we know we’ve sinned, we know God has forgiven and yet we still feel that shame and guilt.  This book has a message for both the children and the adults who read it and I even want to make my own sparkle egg, if only as a reminder that God has and will forgive me as I repent of my sins.

Only 32 pages this book is a short read with a big message – including what Easter is all about – whether you celebrate Easter or prefer to call it Resurrection Sunday this book will hit home with the message of Christ dying on the cross for us to forgive us and to honor Him we should not hang onto the guilt and shame that He has already taken.  Of course, adults will realize that Satan is the deceiver and he is the one continuing to make us feel shameful but children aren’t always in tune to that and knowing that God has forgiven them goes a long way in teaching them what is the basic of knowing the Gospel and eventually they’ll get the rest of the plan.  Beautiful illustrations bring home the story with it’s bright colors and realistic images – my 9 year old daughter kept exclaiming she couldn’t believe how real the pictures looked!  We are going to be making our own sparkle eggs as part of our Resurrection Sunday activities and we’ll empty our eggs in honor of the Lord who forgives all if we only ask.

Giveaway!

Use the link below to enter using the Rafflecopter form – if you have won this book on another blog you are ineligible to win again.  Open to US and Canada only.  18 years old and over.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Blogging Through the Alphabet: W and X are for….. #grow4christ #abcblogging


I apologize for once again getting behind – it’s been a long couple of weeks.  We are finally moving into our new house, we still have some stuff to get to my mom’s new place and some stuff to get out of our old place but we are moving along.  I’ve had a friend help me strip the wallpaper off the ‘dining room’ walls so I can paint and put my bookshelves up.  My husband spent some more time in the hospital and we gave up our dogs after walking in our house to find that one or both of them (not sure which) had killed my daughter’s guinea pigs.  So I’m behind…..again……but I’m here to bring you both W and X (and I thought Q was hard!)

W is for Worthy…..

In the King James Bible the word worthy appears 68 times in 66 verses – and don’t we all at times feel unworthy?  I think we get so caught up in what the world thinks that we forget what God thinks, and that He is the one who considers us worthy, He loves us and He wants us to belong to Him.

Even John the Baptist felt unworthy – because Jesus was following and He would be the Lamb – it’s not a sin to feel unworthy.  None of us were worthy of such a significant gift that God gave – the death and resurrection of His Son – but He loved us so much that before we were born He made a way that we could seek Him and become worthy, we can accept His gift of life and call on His Son and be worthy.

In Matthew 8 we read of a Centurion who felt he was unworthy, “The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.” (Matthew 8:8)  But Jesus’ didn’t seen him as unworthy – He healed the Centurion’s servant because he had faith to ask.

Am I worthy of Heaven?  No, not in my own power – not by my works.  If I tried to be worthy of Heaven by my own self, I would fall short, very, very short but I have hope, I have faith.  Do I fall short everyday?  Yes, I’m human but again I have hope, I have faith.  Some would tell me it’s vain or pride (which can be a sin) that I can know that I’m worthy of Heaven, that I’m worthy of God’s love versus His wrath – but no,

When I called upon Jesus to save me – I made a conscious choice to be redeemed, to become worthy of all that He gave – His life, His death, His resurrection and His love.

The only thing I was worthy of before was death and suffering – now I have the hope, I have the faith that when I die I will be found worthy – even with my shortcomings that I strive to repent and die to daily – that I will and am worthy of Jesus’ sacrifice and that makes life worth living.

And, now I change course a bit…..

X is for Xenial (yes, I didn’t know that word existed either until I found a site called, Phrontistery)

Xenial means having hospitality towards guests.  There is a city near me named Xenia and they derived their name from the Greek word for hospitality or Xenial – which is an interesting side note.

Even the Bible has some to say about hospitality (a lover of hospitality is philoxenos and given to hospitality is philoxenia) a bishop is encouraged to be hospitable.  The body of Christ is to also to be hospitable (Romans 12:13).  We should do it without grudge (I Peter 4:9).

This is one area of the Christian life I’ve lacked in – I always felt our old house was unworthy of hospitality, it was too small, too much was wrong with it, and on and on….now that I’m moving into a bigger house I look forward to showing hospitality to others and my husband is even thinking of having a small Christmas gathering and it’s only March!  I guess I should get to work.  My new house is much better suited to entertaining and hosting others – I’ll have more room to welcome others and while it’s not thoroughly cleaned just yet it is in much better shape than our old house.

My children will be able to have sleep overs with their friends and we’ll even be able to have birthday parties for them in our own house versus having to rent a place with space large enough to accommodate!  I’m so very excited.  While my house will never be totally cleaned (we live in it after all) I know that I am called to be Xenial to others, whether they be family, friends or even people who come knocking from other religions and wish to tell me about it – maybe, my hospitality to them will open their hearts to the Truth and love that Jesus so wants me (and all Christians) to extend to others through hospitality.

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Worthy Publishing: Water Walker by Ted Dekker #grow4christ #WaterWalker


About the book:

Second in the new series from Ted Dekker, master of suspense, whose books have sold 9 million copies. Humming with intensity, Water Walker is a raw adrenaline rush from first page to last.

“My name is Alice Ringwald, but the man who kidnapped me says that’s a lie.” Thirteen year old orphan Alice Ringwald has no memory beyond six months ago. The only life she knows is the new one she’s creating one day at a time with the loving couple that recently adopted her and gave her new hope. That hope, however, is shattered one night when she is abducted by a strange man. In a frantic FBI manhunt, he vanishes. So begins Water Walker, a modern day parable that examines the staggering power of forgiveness, and reminds us that it’s possible to live free of the hurt that keeps our souls in chains.

You can purchase a copy at Worthy Publishing.

About the author:

Ted Dekker is a New York Times best-selling author of over thirty novels. Heralded as a “master of suspense” by Library Journal, Dekker has sold millions worldwide, establishing himself as one of the most widely recognized author brands. Dekker was born to missionaries and grew up among cannibals of Indonesia, and his peculiar upbringing gives him a unique perspective outside the cultural bubble, allowing him the freedom to share provocative insights in his fiction. He resides in Austin, Texas with his wife and children. You can find him at Teddekker.com and Facebook.

My Opinion:

If you read my review of Eyes Wide Open you’ll know that I enjoy Ted Dekker’s style of writing as well as this genre of suspenseful Christian fiction – and that carries over into the 2nd installment of The Outlaw Chronicles, Water Walker.  In the first book we meet Christy and in this newest one we meet Alice or as she’s later know, Eden whose mom, long thought dead, goes to great lengths to regain custody of her daughter under the cunning of a cult leader named Zeke.  From the first page the book draws you in, as most of Ted Dekker’s books do, and keeps you flipping to the last page and then you’re thinking “I need more”.  Olivia, the FBI agent with a past, seeks to find Eden/Alice as the case goes cold after five years the Outlaw reaches out to both and helps Eden to be free.

A look at what it means to be free – which isn’t what we usually think of as being free – forgiving those who hurt or abuse us enables us to forgive and eventually, hopefully love them as Jesus loves them.  I think that is the only far fetched part of the story is how fast Eden forgives her mother but then again she is ‘special’ and has a spiritual understanding that most of us only wish we had.  Overall, this book was a great and fast read – even with moving I had to take time to read it because it drew me in and kept me involved in the story.  There are a couple of cuss words used by ‘bad’ people in the book but otherwise this was a clean read that I would be fine in letting my 12 year old daughter read.


(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Litfuse Publicity: The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffey #grow4christ


About the Book:

For the three people tortured by their secret complicity in a young man’s untimely death, redemption is what they most long for . . . and the last thing they expect to receive.

It has been twenty years since Philip McBride’s body was found along the riverbank in the dark woods known as Happy Hollow. His death was ruled a suicide. But three people have carried the truth ever since—Philip didn’t kill himself that day. He was murdered.

Each of the three have wilted in the shadow of their sins. Jake Barnett is Mattingly’s sheriff, where he spends his days polishing the fragile shell of the man he pretends to be. His wife, Kate, has convinced herself the good she does for the poor will someday wash the blood from her hands. And high in the mountains, Taylor Hathcock lives in seclusion and fear, fueled by madness and hatred.

Yet what cannot be laid to rest is bound to rise again. Philip McBride has haunted Jake’s dreams for weeks, warning that he is coming back for them all. When Taylor finds mysterious footprints leading from the Hollow, he believes his redemption has come. His actions will plunge the quiet town of Mattingly into darkness. These three will be drawn together for a final confrontation between life and death . . . Between truth and lies.

Find out how to get your copy by visiting Billy Coffey’s website.

About the Author:

Billy Coffey’s critically-acclaimed books combine rural Southern charm with a vision far beyond the ordinary. He is a regular contributor to several publications, where he writes about faith and life. Billy lives with his wife and two children in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

You can learn more about Billy Coffey and his books at his website, Billy Coffey or find him on Facebook or Twitter.

My Opinion:

I’ve never heard of Billy Coffey but the book’s description had me thinking this would be a great read, unfortunately I started it while we were/are in the middle of moving so it took me longer to read it but it was a also a ‘heavier’ than usual fiction read so I couldn’t just keep flipping pages and get the book, but had to savor it to really get it.  At first I was thinking what did I get myself into because it wasn’t my usual genre and had a much more supernatural bent, I’m not sure how I feel about that at this point, but the book did end up pulling me into the story and kept me reading because I had to know what happened to cause Philip’s death and how Jake, Kate and Taylor responded to the years of guilt.  As I said this was a deeper book and so it took a little to draw me in and I now appreciate that slow draw in because it forced me to savor the story and get to know the characters and the town of Mattingly that I don’t think I would have done had I been reading it faster.

As I said there is a bit of a supernatural bent, which seemed to be Christian in thought but it wasn’t totally spelled out – although the idea of forgiveness and acceptance are a big part of the story and that really shines through in the story and I think regardless of the supernatural aspect (I do believe the veil between Heaven and Earth can be thin at times) it was a great book about how guilt can destroy lives and that isn’t what God wants for us, although guilt can also serve as a spring board for repentance and gaining forgiveness.  After reading The Devil Walks in Mattingly I will be looking to read Billy Coffey’s other books and see how they stand up against this one.  I must issue one word of caution, the young girl character (her name is escaping me right now) does have intimate relations with young men and her dad finds evidence of that, so if you have a young adult I would caution you to read it first before handing it over to make sure you know what is discussed in the book.

See what other readers thought about this book by visiting the Litfuse Landing Page.

Billy Coffey is celebrating his new book, The Devil Walks in Mattingly, with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway.

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One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffey

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 5th. Winner will be announced April  7th on Billy’s blog. Watch Billy give the backstory of the book here.

 

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Billy’s blog on April 7th to see if you won.

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Litfuse Publicity: A Sky without Stars (Quilts of Love series) by Linda S. Clare #grow4christ


About the Quilts of Love series:

Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. The Quilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women’s fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.

About the Book:

In 1951, Frankie Chasing Bear is a Lakota caught between cultures. She wants to raise her son Harold to revere his Lakota heritage, but she knows he will need to become as a white man to succeed. After his father’s killed in a barroom brawl, Harold and Frankie move to Arizona, where she begins a Lakota Star pattern quilt for Harold with tribal wisdom sung, sewn and prayed into it.

She distrusts Christians, as her own parents were forced to convert at an Indian School, until she meets BIA agent Nick Vandergriff, a half-Lakota who’s also caught between cultures. Nick must convince Frankie that white men and Christians aren’t all bad as he tries to win her heart in order to put the stars back into her sky.

Learn more about this book, the Quilts of Love series and how to purchase by visiting the Quilts of Love website.

About the Author:

Linda S. Clare is an award-winning coauthor of three books, including Lost Boys and the Moms Who Love Them (with Melody Carlson and Heather Kopp), Revealed: Spiritual Reality in a Makeover World, and Making Peace with a Dangerous God (with Kristen Johnson Ingram). She is also the author of The Fence My Father Built. She has taught college-level creative writing classes for seven years, and edits and mentors writers. She also is a frequent writing conference presenter and church retreat leader. She and her husband of thirty-one years have four grown children, including a set of twins. They live in Eugene, Oregon, with their five wayward cats: Oliver, Xena the Warrior Kitty, Paladine, Melchior, and Mamma Mia!

Learn more about Linda and her books at her website, Linda S. Clare.

My Opinion:

If you search my blog for Quilts of Love you’ll see that I’ve gotten hooked on this series of books, it doesn’t matter what order you read them, you just jump in and with all types of genres from Amish fiction, Historical fiction and more they all have one theme in common – quilts.  I recently finished A Sky without Stars by Linda S. Clare – whom I have never read before – and I thoroughly enjoyed the book, finishing it in one day!  Having part Native American in my heritage I’ve always been fascinated by this culture of life that I’ve never actually experienced first hand so reading this book gave me a brief glimpse and I’m so glad I stepped outside of my usual genres and read this one.  Frankie Chasing Bear was a very interesting character, both weak and strong, she wants her 10 year old son to know and learn and cherish his Lakota heritage and so they move as part of the relocation program the government has set up – and what her husband was pursuing before he was murdered.  This takes place in 1951 so a lot of discrimination is still facing the Native Americans  and so I got a glimpse of the Indian schools that were designed to remove the Native American heritage from those children so they could be “productive citizens”.

I got pulled into the story immediately, the prologue got me hook, line and sinker and kept me turning the pages – the twists in the plot were like a fast paced movie but tame compared to what you’d actually see in a movie.  Frankie meets Nick Parker who is with the Bueaur of Indian Affairs and is himself a half Lakota and half white man – and they are both trying to find where they fit in a world who sees either all Indian or all white – and the Indian part isn’t respected.  Frankie meets others who talk of God but she cannot understand, even if her Grandma was the same way, how an Indian can follow and worship the God of the white man – with all that her people have gone through – but He reaches out to her time and again until…..well I don’t want to give too much of the story away, you’ll have to read it for yourself because it’s a wonderful story of grace, forgiveness and love.  With this book I will be seeking out more of Linda S. Clare’s books at the library because the style of writing kept my attention and I thoroughly enjoyed this one!

Please visit the Litfuse Landing Page to see what other readers thought about this book.

(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

Don’t miss this month’s Quilts of Love book, A Star Without Stars, by Linda S. Clare. Linda is celebrating the release with a Kindle HDX giveaway and joining her fellow Quilts of Love authors, Barbara Cameron and Joyce Magnin, for a Facebook “Spring Fling” party on April 1st.

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One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Scraps of Evidence by Barbara Cameron
  • A Sky Without Stars by Linda S. Clare
  • Maybelle in Stitches by Joyce Magnin

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 1st. Winner will be announced at the “Spring Fling” Facebook Party on April 1st. RSVP today and connect with the authors from the Quilts of Love series, Barbara Cameron, Linda S. Clare, and Joyce Magnin, for an evening of book chat, quilt trivia, prizes, and an exclusive look at the next Quilts of Love book!

 
So grab your copies of Scraps of EvidenceA Sky Without Stars, and Maybelle in Stitches and join Barbara, Linda, and Joyce on the evening of April 1st for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the books, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on April 1st!

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