Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

To everything there is a season……..

This is my season to be very busy – I’m not complaining mind you, I don’t mind being busy, beats sitting around and listening to the children fight or eating out of pure boredom – but I do have days where I’d just like to sit at home, stay in my PJs, ignore the phone and just veg out.  I wrote about our trip to the American Girl store on October 6th the following week we took a field trip a television station (no pictures, unfortunately).  My daughter, who is 10, had to visit a television station for one of her Let’s Talk badge requirements for American Heritage Girls and what better way than to turn it into a field trip for several homeschool families.

The following week on Monday we had another field trip (one I didn’t have to plan) to a ministry called Bearing Precious Seeds.  I wish they were closer as it’s a great ministry, and are supported from donations from churches allowing them to print Bibles to send overseas.  You can find them on Facebook and Twitter as well.

One of the machines that prints and uses HUGE rolls of paper. My son was excited to see all the paper.

Another large machine that printed on huge sheets of paper.

Burmese Bibles.

If I remember correctly these were the Russian ones.

The original printing press – this was in a closet in a church and was where it all began – the story is on their website. I can’t imagine printing so many Bibles in different languages on this old style press in a closet!

A fellow mom kindly took a family picture – hubby doesn’t get much time to go on field trips with us so it is a valued picture. I’m glad he went as it was a long drive.

We had another ‘field trip’ that same week as well to a fire station, this time for a friend’s and I daughters who are Pi/Pas in AHG.  I’ll write about that another day.  As I said it’s been busy – that same week we also began piano lessons for our 10 and 8 year old daughter and son.  That is of course on top of the dance, martial arts, cub scouts, AHG and school!  WHEW!

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

Comments Off on To everything there is a season……..

Litfuse Publicity: Citizen by Rob Peabody

About the Book:

For Rob Peabody, the young pastor at a mega-church in southern USA, the realization that his faith had little real connection with the world around him meant that something had to change. He redirected his church towards the poor on their doorstep and then took the larger step of moving to the UK to establish the missional fellowship ‘Awaken’.

In Citizen he outlines the Kingdom-centered identity that is given to followers of Jesus. It’s a wake-up call to the church in the West. Jesus’ death and resurrection initiates and invites people into a life of so much more than the status quo. God is re-building, re-newing, and re-creating that which is broken and marred by sin, and he is doing this — setting things right in the world — through Jesus. As citizens of the Kingdom, we have been saved and set apart for this work. We have a new allegiance, a changed identity, and a new mission as we seek to establish the rule of God on earth as it is in Heaven.

Purchase a copy at the Awaken website and get a FREE study guide. Bundle discounts also available.

About the Author:

Previously the lead campus pastor at an American mega-church, Rob Peabody is now director of the Awaken Movement who left his church in the Texan Bible-belt to start and lead a Fresh Expression of church seeking to engage unreached 20’s and 30’s in northeast London.

You can find Rob on his website, Facebook and Twitter.

My Opinion:

One thing today that I think a lot of Christians fail to do is to step out of our comfort zones, yes I include myself in this too, and really get down to doing work for the Kingdom.  As a busy mom, I know right now that my ministry is in my home – educating, raising, caring for my husband, children and house and also being hospitable to those who may come into my house.  We want to get in and out of the store, we drive by the homeless on the street without a second glance because we have to get home and put dinner on the table, we fail to stop and further the Kingdom because we are busy, we are comfortable and none of us want to be uncomfortable – we’re humans.  Rob Peabody is putting a call out for Christians to take up their role in what he calls the “Alternative Kingdom”, looking at historical and modern ways of being citizens to our country, state, churches and to the bigger picture, the one that actually matters being a citizen in Christ’s Kingdom.

I’ve long struggled with pledging my allegiance to America, even to pledging myself to the Christian flag – I really enjoyed Rob’s look into our allegiances.  As citizens of Christ’s Kingdom, our allegiance should be first and foremost to Christ and His Kingdom alone.  Truly, this world is not our home – if we were to visit another country and stay would we pledge our allegiance to them knowing that country wasn’t our home?  More than likely the answer is no.  Rob takes a hard hitting look at what we should be doing in we are calling ourselves Christians, he knows not everyone is going to sell everything and move to another country, but there are things we can do now, in our homes, in our communities to further the Kingdom of Christ – that doesn’t mean some feel good Christianity that is so popular right now – but it is about loving the person, bringing them to you and ultimately showing them Christ so that others can have that Saving relationship with Him.

I still have two more chapters to finish in the book, it’s not a fast read (although I was hoping it would be so I could get this review written on time) it’s a book that is meaty although short, one that you need to read and ponder and really ask yourself is the life you’re living really advancing the Kingdom of God?  Right now, at this point in my life, I’m a full time mom – I know that for me to advance the Kingdom my place is in teaching my children at home – we aim to do what we can, when we can to further the Kingdom, some may feel we don’t do enough, or some may feel that I could do more if my children were in school or that we are doing too much and not enough school.  I cannot please everyone and right now, furthering the Kingdom is doing what I’m doing regardless of what others may think or feel – there will come a time when my children are older and we can leave more of our comfort zones and really get into Kingdom work.  It was refreshing to read a book about furthering Christ’s Kingdom without feeling overwhelmed and not feeling like I wasn’t doing enough.  I do recommend this book if you want to get out of your comfort area and begin working for Christ – not in a man made perspective (I’ve heard from some that only Pastors can teach the Bible, you have to have degree in theology) but in a Biblical, Christ honoring way.

If you’d like to see what other bloggers had to say about this book please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

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

Comments Off on Litfuse Publicity: Citizen by Rob Peabody

Handlebar Review: Their Name is Today by Johann Christoph Arnold

About the Book:

There’s hope for childhood. Despite a perfect storm of hostile forces that are robbing children of a healthy childhood, courageous parents and teachers who know what’s best for children are turning the tide.

Johann Christoph Arnold, whose books on education, parenting, and relationships have helped more than a million readers through life’s challenges, draws on the stories and voices of parents and educators on the ground, and a wealth of personal experience. He surveys the drastic changes in the lives of children, but also the groundswell of grassroots advocacy and action that he believes will lead to the triumph of common sense and time-tested wisdom.

Their Name Is Today takes on technology, standardized testing, overstimulation, academic pressure, marketing to children, over-diagnosis and much more, calling on everyone who loves children to combat these threats to childhood and find creative ways to help children flourish. Every parent, teacher, and childcare provider has the power to make a difference, by giving children time to play, access to nature, and personal attention, and most of all, by defending their right to remain children.

You can purchase a copy at Plough.

About the Author:

People have come to expect sound advice from Johann Christoph Arnold, an award-winning author with over a million copies of his books in print, in more than twenty languages. A noted speaker and writer on marriage, parenting, education, and end-of-life issues, Arnold is a senior pastor of the Bruderhof, a movement of Christian communities. With his wife, Verena, he has counseled thousands of individuals and families over the last forty years, as well as serving as an advisor at several innovative private schools.

Together with paralyzed police officer Steven McDonald, Arnold started the Breaking the Cycle program, which brings the positive answer of nonviolent conflict resolution and forgiveness to schools, to counteract the fear of school shootings, as well as gang violence and bullying that affects children, teachers, and parents. Promoting reconciliation, he has spoken with students at hundreds of public schools. This work has also brought him to conflict zones from Northern Ireland to Rwanda to the Middle East. Closer to home, he serves as chaplain for the local sheriff’s department.

Arnold’s message has been shaped by encounters with great peacemakers such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, César Chavez, and John Paul II.

Born in Great Britain in 1940 to German refugees, Arnold spent his boyhood years in South America, where his parents found asylum during the war; he immigrated to the United States in 1955. He and his wife have eight children, forty-four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. They live in upstate New York.

My Opinion:

I wanted to really like this book – after all I do believe all children are precious, although there are some that I would rather not be around or have my children around – but yes, they are all precious and should be respected for the individuals they are.  I read this book through a Christian, homeschool viewpoint so reading this book which touted teachers as great beings in our children’s lives was hard to read.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying teachers aren’t great, because I had a few good teachers during my time in public and private school but a quote from a teacher, “These are the parents who worry me the most – parents who won’t let their child learn.  You see, teachers don’t just teach reading, writing, and arithmetic.  We teach responsibility, organization, manners, restraint and foresight”.  So in essence teachers teach the things that parents are supposed to – in all my years in a brick and mortar school not one of my teachers, even the good ones, taught anything but the subjects they were required to teach, because it was the parents job to teach the other stuff, thankfully I had parents who did teach my siblings and I those things and cared, not every child gets that.

Mr. Arnold also calls for no screen time, admitting his own children didn’t learn typing until they were in middle school and then they still had to rely on the library for their sources when writing papers – the internet wasn’t allowed.  Televisions are also a no-no as are electronic reading devices, tablets, video games and so on – in our house the television is not just used for entertainment it is used also as an educational tool for watching documentaries on periods of history that we are studying, active video games are used for physical fitness when the weather here doesn’t permit a lot of time outside.  I’m all for limiting access to technology – the T.V. is off for the greater part of our days and we don’t plan our schedules around it and my children know how to interact with all ages.  I’m sure that for some families the television and ‘screen time’ as it’s called in the book are bad things for some children and in my experience that is usually the children who are enrolled in a brick and mortar school, it is not so much true for those who have chosen to home educate.

It seems that Mr. Arnold has a more liberal view on raising children, he advocates discipline and consequences but then also goes on to say that parents should never use a negative attitude toward children.  If a child does something wrong we should not say that we are disappointed in their choice or show any sort of negative reaction because then said child may begin to act out – the child should feel only love, “happiness and security, generosity and optimism” – to me that is not correct as the child is going to become an adult at some point and not everyone is going love them, make them happy, provide security so shouldn’t within reason children learn to deal with these feelings with their parents?  “After parents, the relationship of greatest influence is often that of child and teacher”, and then he quotes Carl Jung (quite a few of the quotes are from those who were liberal in their views) – shouldn’t the single most greatest influence be us, the parents?  I understand, unfortunately, not all children are born into families where they are wanted or loved or educated, but in a perfect world the greatest influence should be the parents and of course the Lord.  Mr. Arnold though, as I have learned lives within a closed community called the Bruderhof and all children go to the community’s school – so I’m sure the teachers there are lovingly and carefully picked, but that type of setting is not replicated within the outside societies schools.

I’m sad to say that I really didn’t find anything that I totally agreed with in his book, I don’t believe that teacher’s are somehow above the parents (although the government would love us to believe that, and some have), I don’t believe taking away all screen time is valuable or conducive in today’s world (if so my oldest would have missed out on writing her first novel) – although I do agree with him that there are children who are unloved, left alone, scared and floundering in the world – but they also flounder just as much in schools (ask me how I know) as they are left behind in a system that has failed them both in school and at home.  This book may be a great one for those whose children are in school for 9+ hours a day, for a teacher who works in a brick and mortar school, but for this mom who loves her children, corrects them as needed, brings them up in knowing the Lord and also educates them this book just rubbed this mom the wrong way.

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

handlebar publishing member

Comments Off on Handlebar Review: Their Name is Today by Johann Christoph Arnold

CWA Review: Sue Hooley’s 2015 Daily Planner

About the planner:

List Price: $13.99 with free shipping on three or more|
Format: 6×9 Spiral bound|
Order at:  Homemaker’s Friend

This easy-to-use Daily Planner is designed especially for homemakers.

As a mother of six, Sue has learned that her day can seldom be scheduled the same as the previous day. She can’t fit every task of her day into the time slots offered in other planners. Her 2015 Daily Planner is versatile and it helps a homemaker to organize her days and duties effectively.

Features include:

  • Two-page Weekly layout with menu planning and to-do list
  • Two-page Month layout
  • Year Calendars with place for notations
  • Perforated shopping lists
  • Task Lists and Projects & Events Sections
  • Information Section

My Opinion:

My life is busy!  I should have taken a picture of my daily planner for you all – seriously there is something almost every…single…day. Monday is pretty much my only free day – in the past I’ve tried to rely on just my memory, but lets face it I’m not getting younger and I’ve tried to rely solely on my online planner but if I don’t have access to wi-fi then well I can’t access the calendar.  I do still use the online planner for my reviews at this point but for daily things such as twice weekly karate lessons, 7 weekly dance classes, twice a month Dance company, American Heritage Girls, Cub Scouts and field trips – I need something I can just flip to quickly.  Sue Hooley’s Daily Planner is perfect for my needs and then some – right now I’ve only been using the monthly calendar areas (in my 2014 version) but beginning with my 2015 which I’m currently filling in I’ll be using the weekly pages to write down reviews as they become scheduled so I don’t forget as I’ve been prone to do.

Another thing I usually forget are birthdays, yes, that is sad but with the 2015 Dates to Remember page and the year at a glance I can quickly see who has a birthday and how fast it’s coming up so I can, maybe, get those cards out on time. The monthly pages have an area for notes, as well as the preceding and following months – I prefer to write in pencil on these pages in case and appointment gets changed or we have to miss a dance class or something, beats messing up the page with white out. I haven’t really thought of what to do with the projects, tasks and info pages as I usually don’t have many projects going on like I used to and I keep a separate address book for friends and family information. The perforated shopping lists are great to keep a running tab of what is needed at the store and just pull it out when you need to the next shopping trip – and it’s not only for the grocery but for the home improvement store, craft store, etc.

I also highly appreciate the pockets in the back – this has been great for me when I need an address for a field trip to plug into my GPS or even for money that I’ve collected for field trips go into the pocket so it’s all in one place and easy to find. I also use it for important letters about piano lessons or for dance schedule changes. The size of this planner makes it fit easily in my purse so I can take it doctor appointments or to friend’s houses to make planning easy without a big, bulging household binder.  The spiral bound keeps pages neat and is easy to turn to where you need especially with the tabbed sections – I also use the little sticky tags to mark where I am in the monthly area. Scripture and beautiful, feminine details make the planner a delight to use every day to make sure I’m keeping my life in order and priorities straight.

If you’d like to see what other ladies thought about the Sue Hooley 2015 Daily Planner please visit The CWA Review Crew link up page.

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

The CWA Review Crew- Christian Women Reviewing

Comments Off on CWA Review: Sue Hooley’s 2015 Daily Planner

Belated Birthday Celebration

My middle daughter turned 10 last month, I can’t believe I only have one more child in single digits!  Seems crazy.  Anyway, my mom had to wait till the following week to celebrate with us so on October 6th she, the girls and I went to the American Girl store that opened last year.  I let our son spend some time with some friends of ours for our girls day out.  Oh, how I’ve always wanted an American Girl doll.  I never got one but my girls have 7 between them and two bitty babies.  I know there is much controversy surrounding AG but for us they are well made dolls and Grandma gives them as gifts – if you don’t agree that is fine.

After arriving our first stop was to get some hair fixed and some earrings done – so the girls had to pick the doll they wanted to have done.  The oldest chose to have Kaya’s hair brushed out and re-done in the original style, as she’s a historical doll.  We also found out why Kaya is not smiling like the rest of the dolls.  AG actually researched the Nez Perce tribe who agreed to let AG use their likeness and their dress as long as they agreed to make sure the doll isn’t smiling – smiling in their tribe is a sign of aggression.  This was a cool fact for me, as I’m a history buff but also neat for the oldest since she’s had Kaya for awhile, I tried to convince her to get her a new original outfit as the one she came in has fallen apart due to play and being in storage.

My mom is in the back and then the girls. Kaya is getting brushed and braided and Marie Grace is getting a new do as well. Since the store wasn’t busy they also did a brush out and put a ribbon in the oldest daughter’s other doll for no charge.

Isn’t this the coolest thing? It’s a doll hanger which is in the bathroom – you put the doll’s underarms over those hook things and she hangs there. No putting your $100 doll on the floor!

The birthday girl received an Isabelle doll – which is the Girl of the Year – and she’s also a dancer so of course both girls gravitate to her.  Unfortunately, none of their clothing fits my girls, which my oldest wants to remedy and actually wrote a letter asking AG to please make larger sizes.

Middle child posing with an Isabelle stand up and her Marie Grace doll.

My daughter had brought Kit’s purse for her other doll that had a small pen in it and she realized at some point she had dropped it.  We looked around on the floor and couldn’t find it so I told her I’d check at the desk – she didn’t think it would actually turn up or that anyone would notice it – but when I asked the clerk was like “we just found it and put it in the back, let me get it!” so this itty-bitty little pen was found and we were so happy.  After two hours in the store it was time for lunch……at the Cheesecake Factory.

The girls with two of their dolls – Kaya opted to stay in the car.

My mom and I ordered the Hibachi Steak – this was delicious and I really enjoyed the wasabi mashed potatoes (I need to find a cheat recipe for the whole meal), the oldest ordered a personal pepperoni pizza and salad while the birthday girl ordered macaroni and cheese – she was thrilled that they offered her more grated cheese.  My mom allowed us to order cheesecake – the three of them enjoyed a piece each and we ordered one to take home to my son – however I was excluded because they all had eggs in them.  Overall though it was a great lunch even if I didn’t get to eat any of the famous cheese cake.

The dolls are ready to eat!

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

Comments Off on Belated Birthday Celebration

Litfuse Publicity: Too Loved to be Lost by Deborah Coty

About the Book:

In Too Loved to Be Lost (Barbour Books, October 2014), you’ll find simple, practical steps for healing, refreshment, and revitalization of spirit, body, and faith. Whether you’re struggling with issues related to trust, depression, patience, relationships, hurts, or hopes. . .this humor-filled volume will deliver a much-needed smile and equip you with simple-to-implement tips for attaining the kind of guidance and belonging you crave—the kind that can only be found in the unconditional love of Papa God.

Find out more and purchase a copy at Debora’s website.

About the Author:

Debora M. Coty is a popular speaker, columnist, lifelong Bible student, internationally published freelance writer, and award-winning author of numerous books, including “Too Blessed to Be Stressed,” and “More Beauty, Less Beast.” She’s also an orthopedic occupational therapist, writing instructor, and tennis addict. Mother of two grown children, Debora lives and loves in central Florida with her husband, Chuck, and desperately wicked pooch, Fenway.

Find out more at her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

My Opinion:

Since I had read some other books by Deborah Coty I wanted to give this one a go and see how it was, you can read what I thought about Mom Needs Chocolate and More Beauty Less Beast.  This is a fairly short book sort of a devotional and self help book rolled into one, some of it I had a hard time relating to but other areas really hit home and I hope to put some of the actions into practice.  Like in her other books she does tend to favor The Message paraphrase of The Bible, so I’m not not particularly fond (or fond of calling the Lord, Papa, but I digress) of that version but I know it can make the flow of a book blend together with it’s more modern take on Scripture.  At the end of each chapter Deborah has 5 questions that relate back to the reading and have you evaluating your actions and whether you are truly behaving in a Christ-like manner – it doesn’t take long so even this busy mom can get through a chapter and it’s questions before the children wake up.

One thing I struggle with is memorizing Scripture, I’ve always been a bit jealous of those who claim they have memorized and can recite entire chapters and/or books of the Bible, because I’ve never really been able to do that.  I did memorize Psalm 23 when I was in school but that’s about the end of it – so when reading chapter 4 “Topping off my tank” in the first section, I knew it was written for me – and it’s one thing I’m going to set down and do beginning in November.  Deborah gives 24, what she calls “life savers”, and the thing is to sit down and on your calendar write 1 life saver verse a month – then when that month comes around write it on index cards and put them where you’re most likely to see them, on your bathroom mirror, car dashboard, computer desk, etc – mediate on that verse all month long and by the next you’ll have that one down (don’t forget to pull up the old verse from time to time to stay fresh) and begin a new one.  I don’t have to use hers, there are many verses that I’ve long to memorize, but her list gives a good start (I’ll be using my KJV or ESV over the MSG) and someplace to begin if you don’t know where to start.

If you’d like to see what other bloggers thought please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

In our world a woman’s acceptance so often seems contingent on her looks, behavior, or talents. This can lead to fearing loss of acceptance, trying to outperform one another, and a warped view God as a ruthless, judgmental, stern entity just waiting for us to crash and burn. Debora M. Coty‘s new book, Too Loved to Be Lost: Discovering God’s Intentional, Unconditional, Without-Limits Loveoffers women simple, practical steps for finding healing, security, and revitalization of spirit, body, and faith.

Celebrate being “Too Loved” by entering Debora Coty’s HDX giveaway and RSVPing to her Facebook party on November 6th.


One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle HDX
  • Too Loved to Be Lost by Debora Coty

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 6th. Winner will be announced at the Too Loved to Be Lost Facebook author event on 11/6. Join author Debora Coty for a humorous and encouraging evening centered around God’s unconditional love. Debora will be hosting a fun chat, giving away prizes, answering your questions, offering an exclusive peek at her next book, and much more!

So grab your copy of Too Loved to be Lost and join Debora and friends on the evening of November 6th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)


Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 6th!

Comments Off on Litfuse Publicity: Too Loved to be Lost by Deborah Coty

Litfuse Publicity: The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts

About the Book:

A young mother battling cancer invites readers to embrace grace in every season of life.

Kara Tippetts knows the mundane but rich days of mothering four kids, the joy of watching her children grow.and the devastating reality of stage-four cancer.

In The Hardest Peace, she invites readers to see the grace of the everyday in all seasons of life and to live well even when the living is hard. As the thousands of readers of her blog know, Tippetts explores the hardest questions of life with rare beauty and honesty. Most of all, she draws them back to the God who is present, in the ordinary and the suffering, and shapes every life into the best story of all.


You can purchase your own copy at Mundane Faithfulness.


About the Author:

Kara Tippetts and her husband, Jason, have four children and lead a church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Cancer is only part of Kara’s story. Her real fight is to truly live while facing a crushing reality.

You can connect with Kara on Facebook, Twitter and her website.


My Opinion:

I requested The Hardest Peace before I knew anything of Kara Tippetts or the story that hit the news about another sufferer of cancer who is choosing suicide as her out.  When I began reading it I was reading it after reading much news sources and blog posts regarding the controversy – I encourage anyone who is facing a fight with cancer, or has another “hard peace” to read this book – giving up through suicide or other avenues are not the answer to the issue plaguing us.  We all have had that place, and while Kara writes from hers being breast cancer that metastasized into her whole body, she recognizes other people’s hard places may be a failed marriage, another type of illness, a sick child, and other hard places.  Her call is about coming to the place where the only one we can lean on, to count on, is the Lord – no other human can be everything we need because they are human.

With quotes from other authors and Scripture the book has much value, in both sharing Kara’s story as well as giving hope to others who are in a hard place and need that hope.  Through sharing her story, she not only leaves a legacy for her children and her husband, she gives hope to those who read her book – I would have loved to have read this last year as we faced my daughter’s major surgery and my husband’s multiple hospital stays (both of them we’d thought we would lose that year).  If you don’t want to cry in front of people, I highly suggest not reading this in front of others, I had a hard time hiding my tears from my son and husband as I read – and I read it in one day.  The book closes with Kara writing a letter to her children and one to her husband – she even expresses her hope that should he remarry how she desires her children to honor the new woman.  Her husband also writes a letter to her – the letters are by far the hardest part to read in the book, but the entire book is well worth the read.

A special feature of this tour is not only my thoughts on the book but we’re supposed to answer one of the questions that comes with Kara’s book, the end of each chapter features 5 questions to dig into your life and I chose this one:

How does your life look different from what you once expected? Are you okay with the differences? Why or why not? How would you describe the new story you are living?

As a teen I thought I’d be an attorney, a high profile attorney – you know the ones they are all over T.V. and I’d take some pro-bono work to make myself and my firm look good.  Yes, I read a few too many legal thrillers growing up!  Children never entered my mind, maybe I’d marry another attorney or a doctor and we’d travel the world.  Yep.  I didn’t know it then but the Lord had different plans, even when I had left Him in the dust and only wanted what I wanted – He was still working in my life.  I entered the U.S. Navy, after discharge I entered college first in the law enforcement area then switching to social work – I met hubby in my last year, we married, became pregnant, then sadly lost our first baby, one the day I graduated I also found out we were pregnant with who would be our oldest daughter, Hannah – two years later our second daughter followed and two years after her, our son.  I also became a homeschool mom and homemaker.  Quite a far cry from a high profile attorney.  If I think of the life I would be living had I followed my plans I know I’d be missing out on much – my life has been full of blessings – but also full of the hard.  Would I trade it?  No.

If you’d like to read what other bloggers thought please visit the Litfuse Landing Page or the Link-up.



Kara Tippetts‘ brave and touching book, The Hardest Peace is launching with a blogger challenge. Celebrate with Kara by joining the #HardestPeace conversation and share how you are finding grace in the midst of the everyday and in life’s hard moments.

The Hardest Peace, Kara Tippetts

Share your stories of everyday grace in the midst of life’s difficulties and enter to win a #HardestPeace prize pack:

  • A book club pack (10 copies of The Hardest Peace for you and your small group!)
  • A handcrafted candle
  • Journal
  • Custom Etsy The Hardest Peace print and coffee mug

To enter to win, simply blog about your #HardestPeace story and then submit the link to your post via the link-up (or see link in the Rafflecopter below). Plus stop by others’ stories to leave encouragement and offer prayers as we all travel the journey of life together and discover that the hardest peace is often the most fulfilling peace.

Then follow Kara online (via the Rafflcopter) for additional entries into the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 Comment »

BookLook Review: The NKJV Study Bible (Full-Color Edition) published by Thomas Nelson

About the Bible:

The NKJV Study Bible, the most comprehensive study Bible available, now in a full-color edition with added features! The acclaimed NKJV Study Bible is the most complete study system for all who desire accurate study in God’s Word. The Second Edition includes more features to make it the best all-purpose study Bible. Using the trusted New King James Version, The NKJV Study Bible has “the mind of a scholar and the heart of a pastor.” Nelson’s skilled team of scholars has produced the system to reach for when study in God’s Word is the goal.

Features include:

NEW attractive full-color page design
NEW stunning Bible-land photos and graphics
NEW in-text maps and charts
Full cross-references with textual notes
Word studies and indexes
Bible Times and Culture Notes
Book introductions, outlines, and timelines
Reader-friendly notes and articles ideal for extended study
Deluxe NKJV Concordance including proper names

You can purchase a copy at Thomas Nelson.  Regular price $49.99 but if you pre-order the sale price is $39.99

My Opinion:

I’ve wanted a full color study Bible for some time but with a hefty price tag it just isn’t in our budget so when I had the chance to review this one through the BookLook review program I knew this would be my chance and I wasn’t disappointed.  This is a study Bible, so isn’t one I’d carry with me to church on Sundays as it’s large and heavy, of course you can if you want but for me it serves me better by having it home to use to study.  The beautiful images of places the Bible talks about makes the whole experience lovely and come to life from the pages and make the history of what you’re studying seem more real than if it was just a black and white photo or no photo at all.  The book introductions and outline make it easy to understand the overall gist of what the book is about and the author, date written, historical setting, purpose as well as Christ in the Scriptures, and the timeline tells what is going on in certain years such as in the Book of Joel in 835 B.C. Joash becomes king of Judah.

This Bible is one that will be great to have alongside personal Bible study allowing one to really dig into the Scriptures more with the footnotes, cultural notes and in text maps and charts.  The full color page spreads make studying the Bible interesting while the study features make it so it’s easy for both the trained clergy and the regular Christian who just wants to know more about the Word of their Lord and Savior.  I used it after I finished a book recently that used the story of Ezra to more fully understand who the man was and what happened surrounding his life and times.  This NKJV Study Bible really helped me delve even more into that historical fiction book and made it a bit easier to understand why the events that happened did happen, even if I didn’t agree with it at first (who can know God’s ultimate plan especially with a human heart and eyes).  This is definitely going to get a lot of use in this house as it makes studying the Scriptures really come to life and in easy to understand ways.

I review for BookLook Bloggers

1 Comment »

Litfuse Publicity: The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford

About the book:

Scotland, 1860.

Reverend Alexander Ferguson, naive and newly-ordained, takes up his new parish, a poor, isolated patch on the Hebridean island of Harris. His time on the island will irrevocably change the course of his life, but the white house on the edge of the dunes keeps its silence long after Alexander departs. It will be more than a century before the Sea House reluctantly gives up its secrets. Ruth and Michael buy the grand but dilapidated building and begin to turn it into a home for the family they hope to have. Their dreams are marred by a shocking discovery. The tiny bones of a baby are buried beneath the house; the child’s fragile legs are fused together — a mermaid child. Who buried the bones? And why? Ruth needs to solve the mystery of her new home — but the answers to her questions may lie in her own past.

Based on a real nineteenth-century letter to The Times in which a Scottish clergyman claimed to have seen a mermaid, The Sea House is an epic, sweeping tale of loss and love, hope and redemption, and how we heal ourselves with the stories we tell.

You can purchase a copy on Amazon.

About the Author:

Elisabeth Gifford grew up in a vicarage in the industrial Midlands. She studied French literature and world religions at Leeds University. She is the author of The House of Hope: A Story of God’s Love and Provision for the Abandoned Orphans of China and has written articles for The Times and the Independent and has a Diploma in Creative Writing from Oxford OUDCE and an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway College. She is married with three children. They live in Kingston on Thames but spend as much time as possible in the Hebrides.

You can learn more about Elisabeth at her website and on Facebook.

My Opinion:

It took me awhile to read this book because it wasn’t a feel good fiction book but dealt with much more of the human spirit so it took me a bit to get going with the book.  I have read The House of Hope by the same author but The Sea House is her debut fictional novel and it definitely is a great read – although I will say up front this is not a specifically Christian novel and there is one cuss words used twice – keep in mind the author lives in England and words that are bad here are not necessarily bad there and vice versa and England is a bit more liberal in what the churches believe.  I’ve never head of Selkies or Seal People although I have heard of mermaids and the tales of old have intrigued me and that is the main reason I wanted to read this book and share it with my readers – it’s also not something that is on my usual genre of books so I’ve branched out a bit.

Overall, I really enjoyed it – but I felt such compassion for Ruth, who is dealing with much from her childhood especially as she realizes she and her husband are expecting their first child.  She searches for some meaning – why would her mother leave her in such a horrible way, who is her dad and maybe the world would be better off without her too?  As I said it’s not a Christian novel, so Ruth isn’t searching for the answers in the Bible, through prayer or at church – she is looking at what she understands about evolution (this was actually the most frustrating part for me to read especially the 1800’s pastor who believes in Darwin’s theory of evolution) and who can help her now.  As I read this with my Christian worldview I know she’s looking in all the wrong places, but I won’t give away the whole story.

If you want to delve into a secular fiction novel, with characters that truly struggle and you don’t mind that struggle seeming real within the pages of the book, then this is a great read.  However, don’t expect to pick it up and read it in one day, I don’t see with the depth involved in this book how it could be – but maybe someone can surprise me and do it!  I really enjoyed the twists that come towards the end, but again, I won’t give away the whole story or the ending but just know the ending was a complete surprise to me, even when I thought I had figured the whole thing out – and that to me was a wonderful way to end the book.

If you’d like to read what other bloggers thought about this book please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

Don’t miss The Sea House, a stunning fiction debut from the UK. Set in a house on the windswept coast of the Outer Hebrides, Elisabeth Gifford‘s haunting tale effortlessly bridges a gap of more than a century. Adeptly interweaving two tales involving residents of the titular house, Gifford sets up an absorbing mystery revolving around local lore and myths about mermaids, selkies, and sealmen. Stretching seamlessly back and forth through time, layers upon layers of secrets are slowly and effectively peeled away in this evocative debut (Booklist).

Celebrate with Elisabeth by entering her Kindle giveaway!

E.Gifford, The Sea House Giveaway

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 19th. Winner will be announced October 20th at Elisabeth’s Blog.


Watch the trailer:


Litfuse Publicity: Keepers of the Covenant (The Restoration Chronicles Book 2) by Lynn Austin

About the book:

In one life-changing moment, the lives of the Jewish exiles in Babylon are thrown into confusion and despair when a decree arrives from the king’s palace in Susa. It calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire on the thirteenth day of Adar, in less than one year. Ezra, a quiet Jewish scholar and teacher, is suddenly called upon to lead the community as they seek God for a reason for this catastrophe. When a second decree arrives, authorizing them to fight back, Ezra is thrust into the role of military leader as they defend themselves against their enemies.

When the battles come to an end, Ezra’s brother Jude is dead and Ezra is required by the Law he so diligently studies to marry Jude’s widow, Devorah, and provide an heir. Fatherhood changes Ezra, and he asks God to make a way for him and the other exiles to leave Babylon for good and return to Jerusalem. His prayers are answered and the exiles move to Judea to revitalize worship at the temple—but the fight to keep God’s Law is never easy. As more and more of his community are tempted, a new battle emerges . . . this one for the survival of God’s covenant and the souls of His chosen faithful.

You may purchase a copy at Lynn Austin’s website.



About the author:

Bestselling author Lynn Austin has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide. She is an eight-time Christy Award winner for her historical novels, as well as a popular speaker at retreats and conventions. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and live near Chicago.

You can find out more about Lynn and her books by visiting her on her website and on Facebook.



My Opinion:

I’ve read other of Lynn Austin’s books and all capture my attention right away, you can read my review of Return to Me, the first Restoration Chronicles book to see what I thought of the beginning of this series.  This book starts as the ruling from the King says that all Jews can be murdered on the 13th day of Adar, men, women, children, infants – all can be killed and their belongings plundered because of evil Haman.  I think most of us know what comes next Esther enters the King’s harem, becomes Queen and saves all her people from extinction – the Jews will be allowed to defend themselves against those intent on killing them.  I was not at all familiar with the book of Ezra in the Bible but this follows his story and had me looking up details in my Bible because I couldn’t help thinking, “really, that happened”.

I guess the part that was the hardest to wrap my mind around was Ezra’s ruling that all Jewish men had to divorce their pagan wives and cast out the children from those unions.  It was seen as sullying the Jewish heritage since the women were still worshiping their pagan gods and goddesses and were not keeping a good Jewish home.  Part of me thought that two wrongs don’t make a right but I know that the times and culture were different and that God was tired of the Jews not listening to His Laws and that was the reason for their long exile as it was.  I’m so glad that Lynn kept to the Bible for the facts of the story, only adding some dialogue where it was needed or throwing in an extra character like Reuben and his Edomite wife, Amina – I didn’t see them mentioned in Scripture but who knows there are many unnamed persons in the Bible so it could have happened.

There were some slow moments in the book, but if you keep at it the whole book really picks up especially once another Jewish remnant returns to Jerusalem to re-establish the Jewish culture there.  Overall, this book was enjoyable and what I appreciated is that it made me want to delve into Scripture that I wasn’t aware of and see what really happened and how it all leads to Christ’s legacy being fulfilled and leading up to His birth to be the Messiah.  I must say if you’d like a book based on Biblical truth, historical fact with a little fiction thrown in to fill in the pieces that aren’t covered in Scripture but that could have happened.


If you’d like to see what other bloggers thought of this book please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

Lynn Austin is back with the next book in The Restoration Chronicles series, Keepers of the Covenant. Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss. Here, the Old Testament comes to life, demonstrating the everlasting hope displayed in God’s unwavering love for His people.

Lynn is celebrating with a Kindle HDX giveaway and a live author chat webcast on October 21st.


One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle HDX
  • Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 21st. Winner will be announced at the Keepers of the Covenant LIVE webcast event on October 21st. Connect with Lynn for a fascinating evening centered around God’s unwavering love for His people. She’ll be hosting a Biblical fiction book club discussion, giving away prizes, answering your questions, offering an exclusive peek at the next book in The Restoration Chronicles, and much more!

So grab your copy of Keepers of the Covenant and join Lynn and friends on the evening of October 21st for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)


Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 21st!

Comments Off on Litfuse Publicity: Keepers of the Covenant (The Restoration Chronicles Book 2) by Lynn Austin

%d bloggers like this: