Faith, Family, Love and Reviews


Yesterday.  December 18, 2014.  11a.m.

My husband’s funeral service began.  Up to yesterday I could ignore he wasn’t here.

I could ignore the fact that he hadn’t slept in bed with me since Thursday night.

I could ignore the fact that he hadn’t called to ask me if I needed something from the store.


His last car ride.

My last kiss.

I said “see you later” instead of good-bye.  Because I will see him later but until we do I have to be the best mom I can be – but my husband is gone.

No more calling him for help with a math question.  No more calling him when someone doesn’t want to do school.

No more loud, noisy car coming down the road at 5p.m. telling us to look busy because dad’s almost home.

Yesterday.  No more.

I looked around my bedroom last night at the pile of dirty clothes and socks that I haven’t washed.  I know that would have driven him nuts.

I looked at the dishes in the sink and knowing it would drive him nuts.

I did laundry this morning.  Some of his clothes were in the hamper.  I shed some tears.

We had a beautiful service.

Sang “How Great Thou Art” and the Pastor, knowing his love of all things music and his enjoyment of KISS, played “Beth”.

Pastor asked if I could speak.  No. No. No. If I had no one would have understood me anyway.  What do you say about the man you’d been married to almost 14 years in just a few short seconds?

Our middle daughter played the part of “Oh, Come All Ye Faithful” that she’d learned so far and she even read a poem she’d written.

Yesterday.  She was strong.  I was weak.

I left my hubby at the graveside.  It began to flurry – he’d have hated that, he hated snow!  I chuckled about that.

Yesterday made my widowhood official.  I can’t ignore it now.  My beautiful, handsome and loving husband is gone.  I kissed his forehead and left him a letter.

My head feels empty, yet it’s not.  No thoughts, then many.  Things to do – the utility companies still want their money.  Library books have to be returned.  At some point we force food into our bodies only because we know we have to, not because we want to.

Tomorrow I have to go to the cemetery to do more paperwork – I guess they think 2 days is long enough to pass between the burial and visiting.  Tomorrow will be 1 week.

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


My new title

**I started this post on Saturday night, late, late night so maybe technically Sunday morning.  I’ve debated if I should post it but I’m going to.  In less than two hours I take my children to the funeral home where we will see my husband for the first time since 12-13-14.  It may be rambling and I know it’s no Pulitzer writing, but I’m trying to get my feelings out.**

Unfortunately that doesn’t mean my blog……if only it were that simple.  We all go through life with titles – son, daughter, mom, dad, brother, sister, husband, wife.  Maybe our other titles are homemaker, lawyer, doctor, path coordinator…….  little do we ever think our title will someday turn to that of, what I’m now calling the “W” word.  You may be scrambling in your mind to figure out what the “W” word is – it’s not a bad word per se – unless you’re me.

A 36-year old mom of three children ages 12 (soon to be 13), 10 and 8.

I’m a widow.  A widow.  “Hi, I’m Mrs. Bailey.”   then the questions come; where is your husband, can I meet your husband, is he at work?

A pause.  “No, I’m sorry, my husband passed on”.  Hear those crickets?  Yep, I understand I wouldn’t know what to say either if one of my friend’s lost their husband.  Crickets.  Quick escape?  Quietness?  What does one say to a suddenly single mom of 3?  Words won’t make it better.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m so VERY, VERY appreciative and grateful for the kind words, the prayers, the offers of help to watch my children, of food, money, gas cards and oh, so much more.  What I really want – and what no one can give to me is my husband.  We had so much planned – so much to do – and I’m alone.  I’ve seen God working through our tragedy but I still would much rather prefer to have my husband back – find him sitting in the chair and it’s all a bad joke.

But it’s not.  I know he’s not in pain anymore – I also have the assurance that he knew Christ as his personal Savior and we will meet again.  But that doesn’t help me now.  Doesn’t help me alone in bed.  Doesn’t help me pay the bills.  Doesn’t help me raise our children.

No matter how much my husband annoyed me – with his weird and often times gross jokes, or his annoying habit of enjoying heavy metal music (thankfully we both agreed on Mozart) or Barry Manilow – he loved me.  He didn’t care that I wasn’t as skinny as I was when we married.  I’d be loading the dishwasher and he pat my behind.  I’d act annoyed.  Oh to have one more pat.  He made me feel beautiful even when I felt ugly – he built me up when I’d tear myself down.

It’s almost Christmas.  Christmas without a dad – fatherless.  Christmas without a husband – widow.  Widow.

It’s almost our anniversary.  Our 14th.  We beat the odds for 2nd marriages – statistics show we should have been divorced long ago, and we probably would have if it weren’t for God.  An anniversary without a husband.  Widow.  I initially was going to cancel the reservations we had – but I told the children I want to celebrate.  Will it be hard?  Yes, gut wrenchingly (not a word, oh well) hard.  I’ll probably be in the restroom more than eating my food but I will go, the children will go and we will remember their dad, my husband – a son, brother, son-in-law, brother-in-law.

A new title.


I guess I’ll get used to it.  I might even come to wear it with happiness because I know I was loved.  Even when I was angry, when I yelled at him and was far, far from the esteemed Proverbs 31 woman, I was loved.  Do I want to be a widow?  No.  I guess though if I had to be a widow of someone I’d definitely want it to be my husband, Donnis A.D. Bailey who passed peacefully on to his eternal reward on 12-13-14.  We weren’t rich.  We didn’t have iPads or smart phones.  He couldn’t buy me roses.  We had each other.

I’m still waiting to hear his car.  Hear the phone ring to have him ask me if I need anything at the store.  I’m still waiting for him to come through the door.  Someone told me I’m going to have 365 days of firsts – the first two have come and gone – I don’t know, except with the Lord, the support of my children, my friends and family how I’m going to get through 363 more days.  Soon his office will remove his voice greeting at work so I won’t be able to call to hear his voice. I want my 365 days of 14 – our 14th year of doing things together.

If you see me on the street – don’t ignore me – even if you have nothing to say – don’t ignore me.  I like crickets, I find their songs quite pleasant in the summer (although not so much the ones that find their way into my house).  Ask me about my husband.  I’ll share my memories.  I may cry, so offer me a tissue or two or three.  Don’t ignore my children – ask them about their daddy.  Give them a few tissues too.

I know everyone’s life will go on, go back to normal in a few days.  Ours has changed, forever.  I respect that and I understand it.  Just please don’t forget us.  Don’t act like we can’t talk about Don.  Don’t forget.

As I join the ranks of widowhood – I know heartache that I could have only imagined – how many times have I seen a widow but I don’t ask about her husband?  We don’t know what to say – but as I’m learning we need to remember – we need to talk and yes it may be incoherent at times but just listen.  Hand us a tissue and listen.

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


BookLook Review: 52 Little Lessons from Les Miserables by Bob Welch

About the Book:

Gold Medallion Award-winner Bob Welch crafts 52 nuggets of Bible-based wisdom from one of the most popular novels, musicals, and films of all time: Les Misérables.

In 52 Little Lessons from Les Misérables, Bob Welch walks readers through Hugo’s masterpiece, extracting dozens of uniquely spiritual reflections from this enduring portrait of poverty, social injustice, mercy, and redemption. Welch reminds us that Jean Valjean’s life provides the truest example of why real love is found in the grittiest places, and that hearts are made whole beneath the crush of mercy. Most important, though, Welch keeps returning to the intersections of faith and reality throughout Hugo’s writing—those places where mercy becomes an inroad to the heart, and where love is only truly received when it is given without condition.

Discover again why life’s purpose is found not in attending to personal needs and desires, but in responding to the hearts of others.

You can purchase your own copy at Faith Gateway.

My Opinion:

I still remember when I had my mom buy me a copy of Les Mis in middle school, the awe I felt as I cracked open the cover and began reading Hugo’s tome brought me in the history and lives of those living in France.  The story of Jean Valjean, Cosette, Fantine, Javert and many others enraptured me – and still does to this day – the story is one we can all relate to, we may not be physical prisoners in a cell but we can relate to being a prisoner of something, some sin that holds us, we know the pain of those who can despise us, and many know the love and forgiveness of a loving God.  Yes, Les Mis isn’t just a story about the French but about the bigger story in us all so when I saw 52 Little Lesson from Les Miserables I knew I had to read it.  Bob Welch gleans much from the pages of Hugo’s book and in doing such he relates the story of Valjean, Fantine, Cosette, the priest Myriel, Javert who ends his own life – to us all – who knew a novel so long ago written would still resonate with so many today?

My goal is to re-read Les Mis when I have some spare time and with it I’ll be re-reading 52 Little Lessons so that Les Mis becomes even more clear and even more life altering.  Even though Hugo was not a full out Christian there are many, many Christian values and morals and thoughts throughout the book and Bob Welch seeks to bring that out in his book – there is so much in Les Mis that so much can be overlooked and that is what I liked about 52 Little Lessons is that the little things that are missed he picks up and brings to the reader’s attention.  No worries, if you have never read or even seen a movie or theatrical version of Les Mis you’ll still be able to read this book – and it may just have you looking to read or watch a version of Les Mis.  From “context matters”, to “the conscience must not be ignored”, to “the law is not enough” 52 Little Lessons will have something that resonates with everyone – I know I can’t pick just one lesson that meant the most because they all spoke to me.

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

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Visit with a friend – fun times

My oldest has been writing to a pen pal for about 4 years now (I think it’s 4 years, I’m sure she’ll correct me if I’m wrong) and she’s been saving to go down to Georgia to visit her and her family but it hasn’t worked out to save as much as she needed so in October her pen pal’s mom emailed me and told me they were coming up to Ohio!  There were some very excited children to say the least.  We had many ideas that we could do with them while they were here.  One thing they wanted to do was to go to the children’s science museum – we no longer have a pass to it but another friend who knew of our plight gave me 3 free admission passes which enabled two of my children and myself to get in free and then my other child received 1/2 off with our other museum pass.  Thank you dear Friend!  My son quickly became friends with M’s brother as well.  Unfortunately, my middle child, felt a bit left out – I’m finding out that most middle children feel this way.

All of the children at the entrance of the children’s museum.

All but one playing at the water table.

Goofing off in the traveling exhibit.

Up close of my middle one – I have no idea what she is doing with her eyes.

My normally, VERY serious oldest messing around and letting me take the rare picture of her doing so.  Reminds me of an old Sherlock.

I thought this was poignant – H and M have been friends through some big events in their lives and they’ve become even stronger friends having meant in real life.

After a day at the science museum we left and came back to our city, H’s friend came home with us as she was going to go in and watch B and H take their mandatory ballet class for Illuminate.  After dance class we drove to a mall about 1/2 hour away.  This was quite a huge feat for me as I HATE (did I mention hate?) driving in the dark, even wearing my glasses doesn’t help so I was quite nervous as it was dark, highway driving and their family was following me.  We ate a dinner at the food court and then we all walked around – I was quite tired by the time we got home.

The next day we found out they were leaving a day early so we hurried to think of something we could do before they left, we met them at a park and as it was so wet and dewy I suggested we head to the local rock garden.  My GPS got us all turned around, it sits back in a rather unsavory neighborhood and one doesn’t want to get lost there, luckily H’s friend google mapped it for us and we were on our way.  I’ve posted about the rock garden here and here.

The girls.

All three girls.

Inside of the Nativity scene

My son tossing leaves – which after I encouraged him I realized it wasn’t so smart as they were wet! He enjoyed it.

Saying “see you later” because we will get to GA in the future and I’ll be dragging my daughter to all the GWTW sites 😀

It was a great but all together too short a visit.  Of course I know the girls would have been fine if they could have stayed forever.  My oldest is still saving to make it down to their turf one of these days, but since she’s saving for both Project Dance Detroit and her trip to GA it’s slow going.  We were so happy to meet this family who has blessed us with a wonderful friendship between our daughters and in other ways as well.

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

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FlyBy Promotions: Susie’s Hope DVD (and giveaway)

About the movie:

Based on the true story that successfully passed Susie’s Law in North Carolina, which seeks stricter punishment for animal abusers, Susie’s Hope brings to life the inspirational relationship between pit bull attack survivor Donna Lawrence and Susie, a pit bull-mix puppy found beaten, burned and left for dead. Recognizing reflect and abuse were to blame for the tragic attack that nearly claimed her life 10 months earlier, Donna resumes the battered animal and accepts her as family. Together, they learn to heal, love and forgive as they lead a historic effort to seek justice and protection, not only for Susie, but all animals. Starring Emmanuelle Vaguer (40 Days and 40 Nights), Burgess Jenkins (Remember The Titans) and Andrea Powell (Ender’s Game, The Twighlight: Breaking Dawn Saga: Part 2), Susie’s Hope is an incredible story of love, loss and redemption.

You can purchase your own copy on Amazon.

About Susie:

Susie was found nearly dead in Greenfield Park in Greensboro, North Carolina on August 20, 2009. Just a puppy, Susie had licked the face of her owner’s newborn baby. Her owner became violent—she was beaten so severely her jaw was broken. That wasn’t enough, though. She was then set on fire and left for dead. Incredibly and against all odds Susie survived. Donna Lawrence adopted her two months later. Susie is now a trained therapy dog and event won the American Humane Association’s American Hero Dog this year!

My Opinion:

My family loves animals so when I had the chance to receive this movie and my oldest was like, yes, I want to watch it I knew I’d like to review it.  That said, this is a great movie although it’s quite a tear-jerking movie so make sure you have tissues ready and if you have extra sensitive children then maybe watching first yourself would be a good idea.  The whole family watched this movie, including my almost 13 year old, 10 year old very sensitive child and 8 year old – we were pulled into the story as two friends know of a dog who is suspected of being abused.  One night, the friends go to check on the dog and find him left without food and out of reach of his empty water bowl – the dog appears friendly so Donna returns the next morning to give the dog more water and food.  Unfortunately, something has conditioned the dog at the sight of a water hose and he attacks Donna – this scene showed ‘blood’ and did show the dog bite Donna’s leg, she then stumbles down the street where her friend finds her and rushes her to the hospital.

I’m not going to give away the whole movie, I will say there are moments of heartbreak because of the dog attack Donna suffers massive injuries and complications, her husband blames her friend and becomes angry at everything.  When Donna and her friend find Susie her husband doesn’t understand why she’d want to help a pit bull mix in it’s healing.  There is also one brief scene where the husband and his friend is in the bar and shows them taking a sip of beer, I know I have some readers who would appreciate knowing that.  My children handled the whole movie very well, of course they can’t believe that there are people who would do what was done to Susie out there, even after the dogs we took in killed our guinea pigs, we did not beat them or abuse them.  We all enjoyed the outcome which was stricter laws in North Carolina in regards to animal neglect and abuse and Susie’s abuser was given jail time for his acts of cruelty but only because Susie was regarded as another person’s property.  Overall, a great movie and one we’ll more than likely watch a few more times when we need a heart tugging movie that also makes one feel good and want to help out.


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

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FlyBy Promotions: Lumo Project The Gospel of John

About the film:


A ground breaking, multi-language biblical film resource transforming the way we discover, study and engage with the life of Jesus through the four New Testament Gospels.

The Lumo Project is a ground breaking, multi-language biblical film resource transforming the way we discover, study and engage with the life of Jesus through the four New Testament Gospels: redefining the standard of visual Biblical media. The Lumo Project presents four films – one for each Gospel account – that will revolutionise the way we all experience the story of Jesus and the world of First Century Palestine in which he lived.


The Gospel of John takes the story of Jesus from John’s gospel with its own unique characteristics. For John, Jesus is the Word of God made human. John is clear that that when encounter Jesus, we encounter God.  The gospel writer points to the miracles (the ‘Signs’) and teachings as evidence of Jesus’ special relationship as the divine Son of God.

This full-length feature film about the life of Jesus takes the actual Gospel text as its script, word for word, unedited. Five years in the making, this epic production has been critically acclaimed by leading religious scholars as a unique and highly authentic telling of the Jesus story. Narrated by leading British actor David Harewood (‘Homeland’, ‘Blood Diamond’, ‘Merchant of Venice’) it is based on the latest theological, historical and archaeological research. With specially constructed sets and the extraordinarily authentic villages and countryside of rural Morocco, it immerses the viewer in the world of first century Palestine.

My Opinion:

The Lumo Project is onto something and it’s something great – bringing the Bible to life using the Bible and historic areas in Morocco to make it real as could possibly be.  Even though when I accepted this review I knew that the Bible was going to be used as the text and used word for word, I still wasn’t prepared for what I was going to see and hear as I began watching this film.  I could follow along in my own Bible or just chose to watch – I did follow along at some points just to make sure because I’m a bit OCD like that!  I can assure you that the NIV Bible I used and the narrator were word for word correct, I can’t wait to watch the King James Version as well.  Even my children, were wanting to watch but it was their bed time so I promised them we’d find it on Netflix to watch so we can all enjoy it.

I got the feeling of actually being there as John recounts the story of Christ in his own words – be there at the Wedding in Cana as Jesus changes the water into wine, be there as He calls His disciples, and continue on the journey all the way to the not so very end – I say that because it’s not the end, is it – until we get to our Heavenly reward.  What I appreciated as well was that the actors playing the parts weren’t drop-dead gorgeous celebrities, they were regular people and what I can envision Jesus, His family, His disciples, the Pharisee looking like back in that time.  The actors do speak but the narrator blocks their voices out except at a few moments where some of the actors languages break through, which makes for great symbolism and I liked it.  I will be urging others to watch The Gospel of John on Netflix and you can chose the KJV or the NIV which makes it great for those who want a more traditional sounding narration or a more modern English sounding one.

Please check out the Lumo Project on social media: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  Also, please watch on Netflix – let’s keep this streaming!

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

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ZonderKidz Review: Love Letters from God Bible Stories by Glenys Nellist

About the Book:

What child does not love to receive mail? What if that child could receive, open and read his or her own personal mail from God? The Love Letters from God will invite them to do just that! Accompanying each story in this unique children’s Bible is a very special and encouraging letter, each tucked away in its own lift-the-flap envelope, just for them. Written for children ages four to eight, the Love Letters from God includes eighteen of the most popular Bible stories—nine from the Old Testament and nine from the New Testament. Following each story the child will find his or her own letter from God. Children will love the excitement of opening the letters and parents will love how each letter elaborates on the Bible story being told. A very special Bible verse, entitled God’s Wonderful Words To You will accompany each story and letter. Much more than a mere memory verse, each carefully chosen promise will be God’s very own personal words of love, encouragement, and hope. This book will culminate in an invitation for the children to write their own RSVP to God.

You can purchase a copy of this book at Zondervan.

My Opinion:

I enjoy books that bring Bible stories to life and make them relate to children’s lives – they are a great way to start instilling Biblical truths into the very young so they can grow in the faith.  The idea behind this book is very cute – God is writing a letter to the child reading the book and relating back what is written in the story such as Jonah and the Big Fish, Daniel in the lion’s den, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection and others.  The lift the flap idea works with those children who need to do to learn as well as the child who likes to see as they learn, and the darling illustrations are cute and attention keeping.  The pages are quite thick and heavy duty which will help in the repeated flap lifting and page turning the young children often do, making this a book that should hold up to routine and constant use.  If I were to use this with a child I would read the Scripture given at bed the night before and then the next morning read the story book with letter so it is a continuation.

Like all Bible Story books this one is written in simplistic fashion to make it easy for young children to understand and with that does come a couple concerns.  In the Adam and Eve letter there is the following, “I will only remember how much I love you…because you are my precious child, and nothing you can do will ever stop me from loving you.”  While I know this is a simple child’s book, I do think that children need to understand that there are things that can cut them off from God forever such as not accepting Christ’s gift on the cross and denying God – God does love us but we can cut ourselves off from Him. There is also a name given to the boy who had the fishes and loaves when Jesus fed the 5,000 – while this may seem petty, I don’t like the idea of adding to Scriptures even if it is just an added name or like in the story of the Birth of Christ telling how “The pigeons cooed a chorus. The mice squeaked a melody.”

As I said I did think the overall idea of the book is a great one, and one could easily expound on ideas for their own children, such as the communion wine, as most churches I’ve gone to don’t use real wine and we don’t use leavened bread.  Even though this is a child’s book we still have to be careful what we teach our children are God, His Word and His Son – of course it also needs to be done age appropriately as well.  This is a cute, interactive book which will appeal to many Christians and it’s easy to tweak or subtract the ideas that don’t completely line up with the Bible 100% – if I were reading this aloud to a young child I would omit using the name Nathan in the feeding of the 5,000 but that is just me.  Check it out for yourself in a store before you buy.

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

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Book Review: 3 Carole P. Roman books

**This post does contain affiliate links, if you click and purchase using my links, I will receive a portion of the purchase**

I am combining these three books into one post as they are all by the same author and since I’m late getting them out I wanted to do this review in the fastest way.

About the Book:

Captain No Beard and his crew of loyal pirates heave anchor for another adventure, this time in the icy waters of the Arctic. Captain No Beard’s steering a course due north, sailing by the light of the North Star. Everyone on the crew wonders what the captain’s up to, especially as he gets embarrassed when they ask. When the captain finally admits his plan, the crew discovers he plans to steal the aurora borealis, the beautiful northern lights that brighten the arctic sky. They’re all shocked. They may be pirates, but even they know stealing is bad. Besides, how can anyone steal the lights from the sky? A charming, engaging tale about doing what’s right, Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis is the latest installment in Carole P. Roman’s award-winning pirate series. The first book, Captain No Beard-an Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life, received the Kirkus Reviews Best of 2012 award and the Star of Remarkable Achievement. The series presents real-life problems in an imaginary setting and encourages discussion with both parents and educators

My Opinion:

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time you’ll know that I’ve reviewed other Captain No Beard stories and when the newest, Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis arrived on my doorstep I was very excited.  Captain No Beard, AKA, Alexander once again sets sail with his mates, Hallie, Cayla and the other menagerie of excited animals on board the Flying Dragon ship.  The premise is that Captain No Beard wants to capture and bring back the Aurora Borealis to his own bedroom so he can see it again and again, but the whole crew gives him a lesson in why he can’t do this – because to take something that doesn’t belong to you is stealing and it’s wrong.  I’m not sure why his mom hasn’t taught him this lesson yet but at least his ‘crew’ knows right from wrong and helps to steer him right.

Full of imaginative details this is yet another fun book that teaches character lessons for children and it’s good for all children as it can be used by Christians as well as those who are not Christians as it has no religious leaning.  Once Captain No Beard and his crew moor back in his room, they use their imagination to create their own Aurora Borealis without stealing the real one.  Lesson learned.  While I do prefer to use character building books that also focus on our faith this is still a very good way to add to those lessons learned and my son likes that there is a boy in the story he can relate to and the bright illustrations keeps both the reader’s and the one being read to attention.

About the Book:

You’ll never guess what crazy dish the ancient Incan kings ate. But you can read all about it, and more, in If You Were Me and Lived in…Peru, the latest book in Carole P. Roman’s fun travel series for kids.

An exciting introduction to world cultures written for young readers ages three through eight, this new expedition takes kids to South America and gives them a colorful glimpse into what living in Peru is like. Highlighting a myriad of topics, including language, cuisine, climate, and history, this book teaches kids about diversity while also revealing to them the important truth that we are all connected.

Parents, grandparents, and teachers alike will love opening their children’s eyes to the world around them in a fun and easy way—and they’ll be happily surprised when they end up learning a few things themselves. Fair warning, parents: your kids will want to start celebrating a new February holiday after reading this book. But don’t worry. You can always tell them you’re making a certain special, royal Incan dish for dinner.

My Opinion:

It seems lately that I’ve been reading a lot about the people of Peru, so it sort of delighted me when I picked up this newest addition in Carole P. Roman’s series, If You Were Me and Lived in…Peru: A Child’s Introduction to Cultures Around the World.  Of course, it’s a child’s book so it’s not as definitive as the other books for adults I’ve read recently but I like the basic intro which is good for children of all ages – older children can use it more as a intro to lead them to more information.  While I do enjoy these books I must add that it claims that the people of Peru have lived there for “over ten thousands years”, this is just a bit of FYI for my readers, who like me, believe in a Biblical view of Creation and don’t see the world as being that old.  One other tidbit was that I cautioned my twelve year old as it mentions one of her favorite animals being used as food, this would upset her.  Otherwise, this is a great look into the life and culture of Peru and like Carole P. Roman’s other books in the series it give the pronunciations of words within the text and there is a glossary at the end as well.

About the Book:

It’s never too early to start teaching children about the world around them. In If You Were Me and Lived in…Greece , early learners get a taste of what their life would be like if they lived in Greece while being introduced to the birthplace of democracy. This book is the latest installment of the educational series about the cultures of the world that speaks to young children about the topics that interest them, such as the foods people eat, the names of boys and girls, and the activities that children their age living in a foreign land are likely to engage in. This exciting visit to Greece also introduces the important concept of democracy to children and highlights some of the other cultural contributions that Greece has made to Western civilization. Basic information is offered in a playful way that won’t overwhelm children.

My Opinion:

My mother-in-law’s family comes from Greece, there is a long story there but I won’t include it in this review for If You Were Me and Lived in…Greece: A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the Worldbut it was neat to read this with my children and learn a bit more about Greece especially on my 8 year old son’s level.  This book touches on the Olympics and how wars would literally stop so that the men could compete in the sporting events and watch, maybe we should have more Olympics?  I have to say that I’ve never heard of Greece being called “the cradle of western civilization” so I’ll have to do some more digging on that one since their are older civilizations who existed before Greece and I’ve always been told Mesopotamia has that distinction.  With the in text pronunciations and the glossary at the end, the reading is easy and the hard words are easily learned and said correctly – although the Greek language is a hard one to decipher.  The illustrations provide pictorial ideas of what is being presented and hold the attention of those gathered around the book.

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

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Book Review: Beyond the Attic Door by Tracy Del Campo

About the Book:

The year is 1925, and the nation is at odds as the “trial of the century” approaches. Mr. John Scopes, a schoolteacher, has been arrested for teaching evolution. Creationists and evolutionists are debating the existence of God and the authority of the Bible. Many believe religion may be doomed.

Meanwhile, eleven-year-old Lulu and her seven-year-old brother, Buddy, are visiting their grandmother in the Missouri countryside. On a dark and stormy night, they sneak into the attic workshop of their uncle, a brilliant scientist and inventor, and suddenly find themselves on a harrowing journey through time.

Join Lulu and Buddy on this incredible adventure filled with history, humor, and hair-raising excitement, as they discover the meaning of faith: Beyond the Attic Door.

You can purchase a copy at WestBow Press.

My Opinion:

This is a very short book at just 102 pages – I read it in the time I waited at my son’s Cub Scout Den meeting, so about 1 hour.  I really enjoyed the book, as it takes place leading up to the time of the Scopes trial – a time when those who firmly believed in the inerrant  Words of the Bible against those who wanted to toss God’s Word out the window.  Lulu and her brother, Buddy, have traveled to their Grandma’s house and as a time of simplicity leads to lots of outdoor time even during the hot temperatures of summer – time moves slower.  The author captures this ideal perfectly and the love the family has for each other, even though Lulu and Buddy don’t always get along – the love radiates from the pages – love for each other and love of the Lord and His Word.

That said, I wanted more – it was very simple, so it would be a good read aloud for younger children and a quick entertaining read for the older child.  I would have liked to have more detail about what all Lulu and Buddy experienced before their dad and uncle came through to grab them back.  I won’t give too many spoilers, as I hate that in a review, but the whole time machine idea intrigues me or maybe I’ve watched too many BBC shows, it would be great to go back in time – see the world as God creates it by speaking, the Flood, and even Christ as He works His earthly ministry.  I hope that Tracy writes more books along these lines because I know my family and I will be reading them!

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

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Book Review: The Feather Chase (A Cousins Mystery Book) by Shannon L. Brown

About the Book:

Twelve-year-old cousins Sophie and Jessica don’t have much in common. Sophie loves hiking and her small town. Jessica would rather be shopping in a city. The only mystery is how they’ll be able to spend the summer together.

Then they find a briefcase in the forest with a surprise inside. When they hear footsteps behind them and bad guys run after them, they have no choice but to work together to solve the mystery of The Feather Chase.

Visit Cousins Mystery to purchase your own copy today!

About the Author:

Award-winning journalist Shannon Brown had the idea for a mystery for kids—a briefcase full of feathers—pop into her mind while driving on a busy freeway.
The Feather Chase, the first book in the Crime-Solving Cousins Mystery series, was published in 2014. After writing more than 600 articles about almost every imaginable subject including opera, Daniel Boone, and her specialty of jewelry, Shannon switched her focus to marketing her book and writing the next book in the series. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, she now calls Nashville home.

If you’d like to connect with Shannon you may visit her website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

My Opinion:

Usually when I set out to read a book that is geared towards ages 8 to 12 I make sure not to set my hopes too high because usually they are written in such a simplistic manner that would honestly insult my 10 and 12 year old daughters.  That is not the case with Shannon L. Brown’s book, The Feather Chase, and I am so excited to be able to share this book with you because it is just fantastic!  At first I didn’t think I’d like the cousins as one seemed a bit too bossy and the other a bit whiny, but as I kept reading the cousins really grew on me and I think the reason for that is that they are respectful both to their parents, aunt and uncle as well as others around them.  That is hard to find in books for children today, as most of the children seem to act like their parents don’t know anything and treat others like they are dumb.

Since this is a children’s mystery book it isn’t as mysterious as an adult book would be but it definitely garners enough suspense to get one’s mind wondering what is going to happen next and the ultimate whodunit.  While I also only limit myself to only the Christian genres, this book in and of itself is not Christian, so it can be read by those who share my faith as well as those who don’t.  There is no ‘religion’ in this book, and even with that absence it was quite enjoyable and as I said the girls were enjoyable characters as they got along well even though Jessica doesn’t like nature and Sophie isn’t fond of make-up and primping.  One thing I will mention is that Jessica does have a bit of a crush on a boy her age named Tony, there is no hand holding or kissing, but it’s evident when Jessica ‘forgets’ how to talk or blushes when he is around.

The other aspect I liked about the book is that even the adults while maintaining their authority also respect the girls and help them as they seek to crack the mystery and solve the case.  While some may think this is only for girls since the main characters are girls, I can see boys liking it given the mysterious plot involved – it would make a great read aloud for the entire family.  I also want to mention if you visit Shannon L. Brown’s website you’ll find a need little download to keep track of the clues as you read and then you have to predict if they are real clues or a red herring – lends a little educational flair to the book.  Another exciting item to not is that she also offers a lapbook, for those who homeschool or who know me, we enjoy lapbooking in this house so I was very excited to see that offered to readers – it’s available as a PDF download for $7.00 on Shannon’s website.

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


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