Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Q & A a Day: 5-year journal by Potter Style (book review)

About the Book:

Do you ever stop to wonder how you got where you are? The Q&A a Day Journal shows you what was going through your head each day—for five years of your life. Simply turn to today’s date, answer the question at the top of the page, and when you finish the journal, start over. As you return to the daily questions again over the years, you’ll notice how your answers change (or don’t)! With questions that are sometimes provocative (“On a scale of one to ten, how happy are you?”), occasionally quirky (“What can you smell right now?”), and inevitably interesting (“If you could travel anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?”), this classically designed journal—embellished with beautiful details—is the perfect gift for anyone embarking on a new phase of life.

You may purchase a copy at Potter Style.

My Opinion:

I usually find it hard to journal, especially on a daily basis but when I saw this cute daily journal I was intrigued by it and wondered would I really journal in it everyday?  I can say, yes, I have been using it every evening before I go to bed and I’ve even gone back and filled in the days prior to me receiving the journal.  Whether you’re a die hard journal-er or one who could care less about chronicling your life – this journal is great for both and all those in between.  It’s small which means it’s easy to pack, take it from me as I packed it when we went on vacation which was the day after I got it in the mail, it is thick but it’s tiny so it could even fit in a larger sized purse.  Each year has four lines with which to answer the question of the day – sample questions are ‘today you lost ________’, ‘write down a problem you solved today’, ‘how many stamps are in your passport’, and many, many more.  Not every question pertains to me, like the passport one – I don’t even own a passport but just answer with a simple none.

The year is blank meaning it says 20__ and they you’ll fill in the ’15, ’16, ’17, ’18, and so on for whichever year you begin this journal, no worries about what day it is although they are numbered for January 1st, 2nd, etc.  There is enough space to accommodate my larger sized writing, which is great because usually the spaces are so small I feel like I’m cramming my words in. The beautiful gold edged pages as well as the high quality paper makes this a beautiful addition to my night stand and makes it fun to write in each night or morning depending on the question of the day.  One question was what phrase did I overuse that day, it was one that I waited till before bed to answer – my answer was “quit fighting” as it just so happened we were driving home from vacation that day.

The only thing I would change for this awesome journal would be an included bookmark – one of those attached satin ones that you often find in Bibles and other journals.  I’m left flipping through the pages to find the current day’s entry and while I can use one of my own bookmarks one that is attached to the journal would be great (it won’t fall out) and also a pretty silk one would add to the overall look and feel of the journal, as it is I’m thinking of an old time book that one might find on Sherlock’s desk as he solves a crime.  I can highly recommend this delightful journal and even my oldest said that she wants one of her own and that it would definitely keep her journaling each day.  There are several other versions as well such as one for moms, college students, for creatives, for kids and even one for two people to do together – not all are released yet and not all are five years long.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Tossed upon the rock(s)


**I began this post before we left on vacation, as of now we are almost to 11 weeks.**

It has been eight weeks.  8 weeks since our lives changed forever.  8 weeks since my husband fell asleep and left us.  8 weeks since we were tossed upon the rocks that is our lives.  While I may not be physically hurtled on the rocks my body and my mind feel battered and beaten.  The wounds are not visible.

I can’t explain all the feelings and all the things that I’ve had to go through these past weeks, and even if I did tell you – everyone is different and so your loss isn’t the same and your feelings won’t be the same.  Having to fight to get the benefits that are due to us has put a huge strain on me and I’m hoping, now that I have the paperwork in hand I’m hoping I can lighten the stress and regain my health.

I’ve been clinging to my verse that I’ve claimed as my life verse before any of this happened – in fact it is engraved on the ring that my hubby bought for me for last mother’s day.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

I don’t know why the Lord gave me that verse, but He rightly knew that there would be something to happen in my life, something HUGE that would rock our world.  Now, don’t get me wrong I still ask Him, “why?” but I also try to rest that He knows what He is doing – I cannot, in my human-ness, in my sinful nature, in my frailty know what that is but I know He understands my questioning, my wondering.

As I’m tossed upon the rocks of the world and let myself be overcome, stressed, sick and tired I need to also realize there is another Rock.  I can cling to for safety, peace, health and rest.  Yes, easier said than done.  As humans we want to solve it all ourselves but when we realize we can’t we can turn to Psalm 18:1-3 (ESV):

I love you, O Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

I’m so glad, so thankful that as I finish this post after vacation that I can rest in the Lord.  My friend gave me rest when we visited her and the rest that comes from the Lord is so much sweeter.  It doesn’t take all the ache away.  It doesn’t stop the questions.  It doesn’t stop the tears.  But I can rest.  I can leave my questions at His feet.  I can put my worries on His shoulders.  He knows the heart ache when one loses a loved one.

While the world is throwing me against the rocks that are life I know I can find my refuge in another Rock.  I can sit on the Rock and give Him my all – all my ache, all my grief, all my worries, my fears, my hopes, my dreams and He will comfort me and the Rock will be my foundation on which I will continue building our new life.  The hard part?  Remembering that, especially on the really hard days.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Litfuse Publicity: Becoming a Spriritually Healthy Family by Dr. Michelle Anthony

About the Book:
No one who starts a family plans on falling into patterns of dysfunction, but between the baggage of the past and the pressures of the world today, developing destructive parenting patterns is all too easy. Family ministry leader Dr. Michelle Anthony has now brought hope and practical help to parents in her new book, Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family: Avoiding the 6 Dysfunctional Parenting Styles.

Things such as good behavior, chore charts, and house rules often govern our families more than honest conversations, prayer, shared values, and faith adventures. Spiritually formed families live in a real world with real pressures, but they are choosing to be on journey together to live for something far greater than merely getting through another day.

You may purchase your own copy of the book at David C. Cook.

About the Author:

Michelle Anthony is the vice president of Learning Resources and Family Ministry Architect at David C Cook and the author of Spiritual Parenting, Dreaming of More for the Next Generation, A Theology of Family Ministry, and The Big God Story. Michelle has graduate degrees in Christian education, theology, and leadership and over twenty-five years of church ministry experience as a children’s and family pastor. She lives in Colorado Springs and loves a good book and a cup of coffee.

You can find out more about Michelle by visiting her website and on Facebook and Twitter.

My Opinion:

The main reason why I chose to review this book is because of the cover, yes, I’ll admit it – the woman in the upper right corner with her two children drew me in.  Why?  I got this book after my husband passed away and now that I’m a single mom to three children the image of the mom with two children pulled me in, then I read the description and knew I needed to read this book.  Most families will not come out and admit they are dysfunctional, because our dysfunction is our normal and so it doesn’t seem strange or weird or not normal, but dysfunction is dysfunction no matter how ‘normal’ it is to us.  The book covers six types of dysfunctional parenting: the double-minded parent, the I-can’t-say-no parent, driver parents, micro-managing parent, the criticizing parent and the absentee parent.  I haven’t quite figured out which one I am yet, even as I think of life before death hit our home I can’t really nail down which one I am, I see myself as a mixture of several.

Each chapter gives examples of the type of dysfunctional parent, hopefully making it easy to figure out which one you are, then goes into how this affects not only our children but our relationships with them and ultimately, Christ.  Filled with Scripture and Biblical thoughts and worldview this book will guide you in how to deal with the dysfunction and deal with it in a Biblical and Christian way.  Each chapter ends with a “reflect and respond” section which has a few questions that help you to reflect on what you just read in light of your family and God’s Word to help you evaluate and maybe even change the way you respond to your family’s situation.  There are extra resources in the back such as how to write a mission statement for your family and why each family should have one – I have done this one yet.  This book doesn’t hold all the answers, none done, but it can help you get started in making your home a more spiritually healthy one and as the author states God has to be in control 100%.

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

 (c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Kregel Tour: The First Principle by Marissa Shrock

About the book:

In the not-too-distant future, the United Regions of America has formed. Governors hold territories instead of states, and while Washington, DC, is gone, the government has more control than ever before. For fifteen-year-old Vivica Wilkins, the daughter of a governor, this is life as usual. High school seems pretty much the same–until one day, that controlling power steps right through the door during study hall.

When Vivica speaks out to defend her pregnant friend against the harsh treatment of Population Management Officer Marina Ward, she has no idea she’s sowing the seeds of a revolution in her own life. But it isn’t long before she discovers her own illegal pregnancy. Now she has to decide whether to get the mandatory abortion–or follow her heart, try to keep the baby, and possibly ruin her mother’s chances at becoming president.

A rebel group called the Emancipation Warriors, who are fighting to restore freedoms once held unalienable, offer her asylum. Can Vivica trust these rebels to help her or will they bring everything crashing down around her? Accepting their help may come with consequences she isn’t ready to face.

Marissa Shrock’s debut novel crafts a chilling story of what may be to come if we allow the economic and moral crises currently facing our country to change the foundations on which we built our independence–and of the difference one person can make when they choose to trust God’s lead.

My Opinion:

Imagine the United State of America as we know it is no longer as we know it – divided into regions and there is no such thing as thinking for oneself because the government tells you what to do, how to do it and even when to do it.  Farmers forced to give parts of their crops to the government before they can use anything for their families, forced vaccinations for all diseases and even pregnancy – but that one isn’t working so great.  Teens are becoming pregnant even with the forced vaccine for this – so the Population Management comes and takes away the girls to be forced to undergo an abortion.  Some fight back. This book was a real page turner for me, I read it in two days and it was fast paced and there was much in it that showed how God’s Word and His people will never be silenced even when powers that be desire for it to be so. As Vivica begins to understand that her unborn child is a child and not just a clump of cells she knows she must protect the baby at all costs.

Even as much as I enjoyed it, it’s a young adult novel and dystopian books are quite popular right now so this may be a good one to add to your library if you have a young adult who likes these futuristic books. There were two times that sex was mentioned in how the girls came to be pregnant and I would not mind my oldest daughter reading this book, although she refused as she said, “the cover makes me not interested”, so I won’t force the issue.  I’d definitely read more of this book and I’d love to read more about what Vivica does after she gives birth and makes a choice born out of love and sacrifice and how the ‘rebels’ work to restore the United Regions of America back to the United States of America.  Eerily a lot of the issues in this book have already come to fruition such as forced health care, beginning to see more forced vaccination politicians as well as revising history to make it say what the government wants.  So maybe it’s not all fiction?

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Kregel Tour: The Abbot’s Agreement (Hugh de Singleton chronicles) by Mel Starr

About the Book:

Master Hugh de Singleton is making his way toward Oxford when he discovers the corpse of a young Benedictine not half a mile from the nearby abbey.

The abbey’s novice master confirms the boy’s identity; it is John, one of three novices. He had gone missing four days previous, and yet his corpse is fresh. There has been plague in the area, but this was not the cause of death-the lad has been stabbed in the back. To Hugh’s sinking heart, the abbot has a commission for him.

With realistic medical procedures of the period, droll medieval wit, and a consistent underlying sense of Christian compassion, the seventh in the chronicles of Hugh de Singleton will delight medieval history and crime fiction fans alike.

You may purchase your copy at Kregel’s store.

My Opinion:

As I sit and look at my bookshelves I see all the Bibles that I own, KJV, ESV, NKJV, NIV and so on so when Hugh’s latest chronicle starts it reminds it hasn’t always been so easy or inexpensive to own a Bible – as Hugh is setting out to buy at least a New Testament and if not that, then at least those written by Paul.  Of course, he and Arthur become side tracked with the sighting of birds overhead which tells Hugh that there is something dead, he sets off to find a young novice who has been murdered.  The Abbot makes a deal – find who did the murder and Hugh will get his Bible as payment.  I’ve read the others (not the 1st and 2nd, yet) in this series and I think this has been my favorite so far, it was truly a page turner and kept me up late reading, which kept my mind from other things.  The whodunit isn’t easily figured out, at least it wasn’t for me, and I enjoyed that – just when I thought Hugh and I had figured it out there was another twist to the plot that threw us both off course.

Of course I also enjoy the historical aspect of the story and the medical complexities that met Hugh as he traveled around trying to find a murderer.  Hugh is ahead of his time in things like letting wounds open to the air instead of keeping them covered for best healing.  Of course, there is the descriptions of food, which at times doesn’t add to the plot but I think makes the story much more realistic.The other part of the book I enjoyed was the discussion between the dying Abbot (who knew one could die from a broken hip) and Hugh about purgatory and why would we need that to cleanse us when Christ already completed the work?  This of course has the archdeacon labeling Hugh a heretic and he is arrested.  I won’t give away much more about the book because honestly if you enjoy medieval history, historical or just a good clean (meaning no cussing, s**, etc) mystery then this is a great book.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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