Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Happy 9th Birthday to my Son

My son’s first happy meal – he was so funny!

This day nine years ago I was at the hospital early with my husband and our two girls, waiting for the pitocin to kick and walking the halls. My little man entered the world several hours later and captured my heart. Much like daughters do to their dads, this little man won me over – my worries over what to do with a boy gone. I had a son. You can read the birth story.

My son grocery shopping at a near by children’s science museum.

I cannot believe he’s 9! It’s been a rough few months – he is the one who found Don but thankfully he didn’t realize at first, he just thought dad was still asleep but had had an accident. It’s hard to be a mom who doesn’t know what it will be like to be a teen boy in a few years and all that comes along with it.  I know that the Lord will be with us, just as He got me through the potty training and getting used to having a son He’ll get me through being a widowed mom of a boy.

Yes, those are his shorts on his head. He still makes me laugh with his silly antics.

He laughs at farts and tells gross jokes – he reminds me of my husband in that way not to mention he looks like him too. He’s a yellow belt in karate and tests again on the 30th for his next belt, I think it’s an orange with white stripe. The dojo he’s been at now for about 4 years has become like an extended family. He took a boys hip hop class last year and really enjoyed it too, unfortunately it’s been discontinued.

With his umbrella he painted in a College for Kids summer class back in 2012.

As soon as his eyes open in the morning he is ready to go, go, go – while he still has a temper (comes by it honestly) he is also the sweetest little boy. If I’m feeling sick he makes me get well cards and draws me pictures. He still likes to watch Ben 10, even though it’s no longer ‘popular’. He enjoys going to Sunday School and Junior Church. He is doing better with reading and I can see him conquering it very soon! Some days are hard, as being a mom can be, but in the end when we’re snuggled on the couch or in the bed reading a book it’s so worth it. Happy 9th Birthday to my little guy, to my son.

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

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Blogging for Books: Effortless Healing 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself by Dr. Joseph Mercola

About the Book:

Do you have to tell your leg to heal from a scrape? Your lungs to take in air? Your body that it’s hungry? No. Your body does these things automatically, effortlessly. Vibrant health is your birthright and within your grasp; you just have to step out of the way. In Effortless Healing, online health pioneer, natural medicine advocate, and bestselling author Dr. Joseph Mercola reveals the nine simple secrets to a healthier, thinner you. The results are amazing and the steps can be as easy to implement as:

· Throwing ice cubes in your water to make it more “structured”
· Skipping breakfast, as it could be making you fat
· Eating up to 75 percent of your calories each day in fat for optimal health, reduction of heart disease, and cancer prevention
· Avoiding certain meat and fish, but enjoying butter
· Eating sauerkraut (and other fermented foods) to improve your immune system and your mood
· Walking barefoot outside to decrease system-wide inflammation (and because it just feels great)
· Enjoying a laugh: it’s as good for your blood vessels as fifteen minutes of exercise

Effortless Healing is the distillation of decades of Dr. Mercola’s experience and cutting-edge medical knowledge. With his wisdom and that of your body, you can optimize your health, your weight, and your life…effortlessly.

You can purchase a copy at Penguin Random House.

My Opinion:

I’m trying to get healthier and I know many rave about Dr. Mercola so having a chance to get this book for free to review piqued my interested. It was a very easy read – took maybe two days to fully read the book in it’s entirety and the concepts weren’t hard to grasp but it may take another reading and note taking to fully implement some of the ideas. I’ll admit some of the ideas I already knew such as low carb, good fats can aid in weight loss and health benefits, cutting out sugars and sodas and drinking water are all common knowledge. I don’t plan however to go out and purchase the reverse osmosis filters for my house or my shower – the expense I would occur is not in the budget of this widowed mom. Actually, I guess, now that I think about it almost everything in the book is common knowledge but Dr. Mercola explains why certain things have health aspects like why laughing for 15 minutes is a good exercise.

While you won’t find me ‘grounding’ anytime soon – with high arches, plantar fasciitis and heel spurs going barefoot for any length of time is enough to have my feet in pain the rest of the day. However, I’ve already eliminated using sunscreen on the children and I, although if we’re out say at the zoo I may opt for some once our skin starts to turn a bit pink. As I said most of the book is common knowledge, but I’d never heard of structured water before and not sure if I’ll ever get around to that, but I would like to find a way to make non-molding sauerkraut at home. The only part of the book that really bothered me is the part that talks about (briefly) the health benefits of sex, however it’s stressed as safe sex, not within the confines of being married or in a monogamous relationship – that was disappointing as quick hook ups have an emotional toll which can affect one physically. I think this book is a great idea started for those who need a quick way to get started on better health and maybe even weight loss and help with what may reverse some chronic health conditions.

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Litfuse Publicity: Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson

About the Book:

When Heather Toulson returns to her parents’ cottage in the English countryside, she uncovers long-hidden secrets about her family history and stumbles onto the truth about a sixty-year-old murder.

Libby, a free spirit who can’t be tamed by her parents, finds solace with her neighbor Oliver, the son of Lord Croft of Ladenbrooke Manor. Libby finds herself pregnant and alone when her father kicks her out and Oliver mysteriously drowns in a nearby river. Though theories spread across the English countryside, no one is ever held responsible for Oliver’s death.

Sixty years later, Heather Toulson, returning to her family’s cottage in the shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, is filled with mixed emotions. She’s mourning her father’s passing but can’t let go of the anger and resentment over their strained relationship. Adding to her confusion, Heather has an uneasy reunion with her first love, all while sorting through her family’s belongings left behind in the cottage. What she uncovers will change everything she thought she knew about her family’s history.

Award-winning author Melanie Dobson seamlessly weaves the past and present together, fluidly unraveling the decades-old mystery and reveals how the characters are connected in shocking ways.

Set in a charming world of thatched cottages, lush gardens, and lovely summer evenings, this romantic and historical mystery brings to light the secrets and heartaches that have divided a family for generations.

Find out how to buy your copy here.

About the Author:

Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of thirteen historical romance, suspense, and contemporary novels. Two of her novels won Carol Awards in 2011, and Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana won Best Novel of Indiana in 2010. Melanie lives with her husband Jon and two daughters near Portland, Oregon.

You can visit Melanie at her website, Facebook and Twitter.

My Opinion:

Not often does a book keep me up all night, however Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor did and it was well worth the lack of sleep that I had to go through the next day! I think I’ve seen this type of book referred to as a time slip book, meaning that at one moment the reader is in the year 1954 and then the next the reader is transported back to the present day (of course this isn’t the only book to use these feature), and thankfully it was quite easy to follow along and know when the switch was coming. There is a thread of generational sins when Libby’s mom becomes pregnant out of wedlock and then the same happens for Libby – I don’t want to give a lot away but the healing and reconciliation in the book is so inspiring as is the growing faith of all the characters involved.

When the book transported me to 1954 I could feel myself becoming one with the English sea side village and then the countryside, Melanie’s use of desciptors made me feel like I was there or could jump through the pages and be there. I could sense the fear, the animosity, and ultimately the love that wove themselves through the families in the story – while not everything works out with a positive ending for us in the real world – sometimes it’s nice to escape into one where it’s all neatly tied up in the end. What kept me up though at nice was the mystery that Melanie expertly wove into the story as well as the difficulties Libby’s parents experienced with what we would now associate with autism. It all wove perfectly together and created a beautiful story.

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

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Litfuse Publicity: Beyond the Ashes (Book 2 in The Golden Gate Chronicles) by Karen Barnett

About the Book:

“Tis better to have loved and lost…,” but can Ruby Marshall risk her heart a second time?

Where better to rebuild and face one’s fears than in 1906 San Francisco, a city rising from the ashes? Ruby Marshall, a young widow, is certain she’ll discover new purpose assisting her brother Robert with his cancer research, but she doesn’t anticipate finding new love.

Dr. Gerald Larkspur dreams of filling his empty home with family, but he’d always hoped it would be a wife and children. In the aftermath of the great earthquake, the rooms are overflowing with extended family and friends left homeless by the disaster. When Robert’s widowed sister arrives, the close quarters seem close indeed. Ruby and Gerald’s fledgling romance is put at risk when Gerald develops symptoms of the very disease they’re striving to cure. Together they must ask—is it worth a second chance at love when time might be short?

You can purchase your copy here.

About the Author:

Karen Barnett is the author of Mistaken and several articles that have been published by Guideposts and other national magazines. She lives in Albany, Oregon, with her husband, two children, and three cats.

You can find her on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

My Opinion:

I had the pleasure of reading the first book, Out of the Ruins, which was fantastic but I think I enjoyed Beyond the Ashes even more. Maybe because I could empathize with Ruby in the fact that she lost her husband, suddenly and unexpectedly, at a young age even though she had no children with him. She arrives to help her brother, who she doesn’t realize is engaged to Abby, the young woman from the last book, and thinks she should just go back home and life a life as the widow Marshall. Her brother and his partner convince her stay, even with the unfavorable living circumstances they are forced to live as the city rebuilds. Ruby is afraid, she wants a comfortable life with no unknowns so driving a car or even a street car is enough to send her running, I know that fear too – paying the bills for the first time, going on a long vacation with just myself and the children. Her life has expanded and opens up new experiences – and she struggles with the Lord in why the senseless loss of her husband.

The characters seem so real, even as they live their lives, we can feel their feelings – Abby’s elation over her impending nuptials, Ruby’s hesitancy to enter into a new relationship, As the book progresses we see Ruby develop from a woe-is-me widow into a woman who becomes her own woman, with or without a man in her life. Working as a nurse in the hospital with her brother and his partner and volunteering in the tent camps for those who lost everything but can’t afford to rebuild, she blossoms. She eventually realizes what the Lord has in store for her but only after she turns her whole life over to Him, which was one of her struggles when she first arrived in San Francisco, she didn’t want a God who would take a loved one, but she realizes there is much in store for her life than just being a widow. I do suggest you read the first book first so it all flows together and you’re in for a real treat when you read Beyond the Ashes.

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

Beyond the Ashes Karen Barnett

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Litfuse Publicity: Summer’s List by Anita Higman

About the Book:

A dying wish alters the course of a young woman’s life.

Life hadn’t been easy for Summer Snow. In acts of selflessness—caring for her ailing parents and running her grandmother’s bookstore—she had forfeited her youth and dreams for the needs of others. And the only tries she had at love . . . didn’t turn out. She had the bookstore, she had her beloved granny, but she was missing something—or someone.

Opportunity strikes when Granny sends Summer on an unexpected adventure with one Martin Langtree, a kind but gangly young man from Summer’s past. A childhood friendship is rekindled, a romance is sparked, and mysteries are solved in one magical Texas summer. Will Summer strike out on love again, or will things finally go her way?

Purchase a copy on Anita’s website.

About the Author:

Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.

You can also find Anita on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

My Opinion:

I’m not sure why I keep picking the sad books lately, maybe it’s because it’s where my heart is or because it gives me the freedom to cry without having to explain myself? Anyway, Summer’s List, was an awesome book – while I knew it would be a romance type book, it was the mushy, doe eyed romance that I’ve read in the past and I’m thankful for that. It was also a quick read, which was great for this busy mom who barely has time to read anymore. Summer Snow receives the news that her beloved Grandma is dying and it could be soon so Grandma gives her a list – a list so she can live, thrive but first she has to find Martin Langtree. Of course, Grandma has found him for her. There are adventures to be hard, mysteries to be solved and a love to be rekindled.

I admit I was worried at first that the whole story would just be a watered down, mushy romance but it far exceeded my expectations and I’m so glad that I read it because it was so real. The characters emotions were real, including Summer’s need for seclusion after her Grandma’s passing and her pushing those who wanted to help her away. I can sympathize. Normally, I don’t cry over a fictional book, but this book had me needing tissues because it was so real and I could feel Summer’s raw emotions coming off the page. The love of Martin also shines through and then reconciliation after a mystery had been solved also just jumped from the pages and shows how God weaves through each of our lives even when we aren’t aware.

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Litfuse Publicity: Called to be Amish by Marlene C. Miller

About the Book:

Fewer than one hundred outsiders have joined the Old-Order Amish—and stayed—since 1950. Marlene C. Miller is one of them. In this rare memoir, Marlene recounts her unhappy and abusive childhood, how she throws herself into cheerleading and marching band, and how she falls in love with Johnny, the gentle young Amish man who helps her lace her ice skates.

Against the wishes of both sets of parents, Marlene and Johnny get married and begin a family. Follow the author on this unusual journey to find out how God’s love called her out of bitterness and depression and into the warm embrace of her new Amish community.

Accompany her as she dons an Amish dress and prayer covering and gets baptized. Learn how she endures the strain of ten children, a hundred-acre farm, and accidents and tragedy, and find out how she comes close to walking away from it all. Turning Amish has proven to be anything but plain and simple for this former majorette. But nearly fifty years later, Marlene is still living out God’s call as an Old Order Amish woman.

You may purchase a copy at Herald Press.

About the Author:

Marlene C. Miller joined the Amish as an adult and has been a member of the Old Order Amish for almost 50 years. She and her husband of 48 years live on a farm in Ohio surrounded by their nine children, more than 40 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

My Opinion:

There was a time that I tried convince my husband that we should become Amish, maybe not Old Order as the author of this book is, but at least New Order. He shot me down – told me he’d tried to grow a beard and couldn’t and he had no interest in being a farmer. So that was that, I never did become Amish and now while I still respect their beliefs I’m glad for it, the Lord has me where he wants me but I still enjoy reading about the Amish whether through works of fiction or in this case an autobiography. Marlene walks us through her growing up years, years in which she grew up very, very poor and abused at the hands of those who were supposed to love and care for her. She had some good times but she longed to get away from her home so she became heavily involved in marching band becoming the head majorette. Ice skating one winter is when she met and eventually married Johnny Miller, an young Amish man who was living in the English world.

Marlene’s books tells me I’d probably love to sit with her and chat, she seems very down to earth and realizes that the Lord doesn’t want everyone that follows Him to be Amish. Her ‘kitchen sink conversion’ was hers alone and the Lord led her and Johnny to join and return to the Amish community and be reconciled to his parents. Being an Amish farmer’s wife with many children wasn’t easy, especially when her husband had to take on other jobs to support their growing family, but as she says if she’d known what the Lord had in store she’d probably not have gone Amish. I agree with her – if I had known what the Lord had in store for me these last few months would I still wanted to have loved and been married? Her doubts are honest and her fears real, but she always goes back to the One who can comfort and calm and that is where she and I get our strength.

This was a fast read and even includes some pictures from Marlene’s child hood and teen years and some of her children before she and her husband became members of the Amish community. Her book reads like you’re sitting with her on the sofa and just chatting like old friends. She is honest about her feelings and her fears both as she strives for four years to be accepted and baptized Amish and even then after – her struggles of being a mom, farmer’s wife and so much more. If you want an honest glimpse of Amish life coming from one who used to be English then this book is a great one, with honesty and faith Marlene tells her story of a little girl lost and becoming a woman found.

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Leaving a Legacy

Excuse the hashtag, too lazy to go back and fix it #grow4christ

It’s been awhile since I last posted anything but a review and for that I apologize – we’ve had a busy summer. Both girls went to 4-H camp and then my son went to Webeloes camp, they’ve also had College for Kids, and we all traveled to Project Dance: Detroit. So it’s been hard to get all that needed done, and read and make up a non-review post. I’m actually feeling poorly again – my ears are in pain every time I swallow but I don’t have time to be sick so I’m keepin’ on keepin’ on.

A couple weeks ago, yes this post has been brewing in my head that long, a friend on Facebook asked something like, “what is your legacy?”

What is your legacy? gives five definitions of legacy but the one that pertains to this post is: anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.

This got me to thinking, what legacy am I leaving for my children? My grand children? Great Grandchildren? What am I passing down to them?

I have books.

I have multiple Bibles.

I have my Great Grandpa’s harmonica that my Grandpa gave to me.

I have a stuffed teddy bear made out of my Grandpa’s shirt.

I have pictures.


What is my legacy?

Am I passing down a legacy of anger?

of yelling?

of conditional love?

of struggle?

When I think about what I am passing down, what I will leave with my children when I’m gone I’m not solely thinking of the material things, those won’t matter in the grand scheme of things. As a Christian I know that the things here, my Great Grandpa’s harmonica, my books, my husband’s shirts those will all turn to dust eventually or rust and be destroyed. I don’t want my children looking back and telling their children, “oh, how Grandma could yell” or “Grandma got so mad when we’d interrupt her reading” or whatever else.

I know I’m going to fail – I’m human – I will struggle and become frustrated or angry or sad – but I don’t want to be remembered by these things and then I’m drawn to a verse in 2nd Timothy:

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois

and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 2 Timothy 1:5

Okay, some may say, well this was written from Paul to Timothy through our Lord and I’m taking it out of context – but I’m not. I’ve had many godly women and men in my life, my paternal Great Grandparents for one. I would hope, no it’s my prayer, that one day someone could say to my children, “hey, I knew your mom, she was a woman of great faith!”

I’m not saying this to boast or try to be prideful, but I’m honestly re-evaluating my life – am I going to leave a legacy where my children think it’s okay to yell at their children? Or am I passing on a legacy of love, patience and training? I’ll be honest right now – I think my children (and I know at least one will read this post) know I love them but will they see past all my failings as a mom to know that my legacy isn’t one of yelling, impatience, complaining and so on?

I want to pass on a legacy of faith – faith that when things are tough the Lord is there.

Faith that brings patience whether it’s a driver going to slow or when a child interrupts me.

Faith that when they are yelling and playing upstairs I am gracious enough to go up to them and tell them to calm down (that needs some work).

Faith that when they see me down – they see me turning to prayer, even if I’m not on my knees, that I’m spending time with the Lord, conversing, reading His Word.

Faith that when they see me happy – they see me conversing with the Lord and reading His Word.

When I’m gone I want to leave a legacy, not a material legacy although that can help as well, but one that will last beyond this earthly realm – one that will prayerfully pass down and when they see my picture they’ll see Christ coming through. There are many Scriptures relating to legacies – most relate to the Lord’s legacy first to the Israelite’s and then also to the Christ followers later. The Lord has given us an amazing legacy and I want to make sure that my legacy aspires my children to see the Lord’s legacy.

What is Your Legacy?

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

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Litfuse Publicity: Letters from My Father’s Murderer A Journey of Forgiveness by Laurie A. Coombs

About the Book:

If you asked anyone who knew Laurie A. Coombs, they would tell you what an incredibly strong person she was — the kind of person who can make it through anything. As Coombs details in her new memoir, Letters from My Father’s Murderer: A Journey of Forgiveness (Kregel/June 27, 2015), that outward veneer of strength masked a crumbling interior.

When her father was murdered, Laurie sought justice—and found it. His murderer now serves two life sentences with no possibility of parole. Yet, despite the swift punishment of the killer, Laurie found herself increasingly full of pain, bitterness, and anger she couldn’t control. After coming to faith, she realized she was being called to seek something infinitely more difficult than justice: forgiveness.

This is an extraordinary true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God to change lives. The reader is swept along with Laurie as she undergoes the life-changing transformation of becoming a Christian. As she studies Scripture, seeing God redeeming losses and healing deep wounds time and time again, she starts to understand that her own healing would require her to love her enemy in a real, practical way.

Using her incredible correspondence with the man who killed her father, Laurie reveals a compelling journey of transformation, not only in her life, but in the lives of those whom many would call irredeemable.

Letters from My Father’s Murderer is for any audience—Christian or secular—who craves freedom from the inability to forgive those who’ve caused them harm, wants to hear testimony of God’s power in our obedience, has experienced pain through other’s sin against them, and needs to know healing is always possible.

The real story here is not primarily about murder and its fallout, but rather about redemption and how far it can reach.

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

About the Author:

In 2010, Laurie Coombs was called to forgive the man who murdered her father. What happened as a result of that journey is now the subject of her new book, Letters from My Father’s Murderer (Kregel, 2015). Her story has also been featured in Billy Graham’s new film, Heaven, a part of the “My Hope with Billy Graham” national broadcast.

Coombs writes on her blog and is a regular writer for and She is a contributor to the NIV Bible for Women: Fresh Insights for Thriving in Today’s World (Zondervan, 2015), has been published in FullFill magazine and has appeared on the radio program Living Joyfully Free.

With a background in teaching, Coombs is a passionate speaker on the issues of forgiveness, redemption and the blessings associated with following Jesus. She and her husband, Travis, make their home in Nevada along with their two daughters, Ella and Avery. Together, they are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia.

You can visit Laurie at her website, on Facebook and on Twitter.

My Opinion:

The book sounded interesting but I’ll admit I wondered if I was ready for this book, was I ready to read about someone’s loss, their grief? Laurie lost her father to murder and with my husband’s passing still fresh in my head I began her story – I admit to feeling a great bit of anxiety as I began the pages of her story, she wrote with real emotion, holding nothing back. Granted my loss was different, it was my husband and he wasn’t murdered, but there are still similarities – both losses were unexpected and I also dealt with and still do deal with anger at both him and the Lord. Laurie had a case for righteous anger, one where her anger was justified according to Scripture however the bitterness she held on to wasn’t and she began to see how that was affecting her health and her life.

Reading Laurie’s story actually gave me some hope, seeing how she began to find her new normal without her dad – including her marriage and as she went on to have children, gives me hope that one day my children and I too will find a new normal. I so appreciated Laurie’s honest and raw writing – opening these wounds could not have been easy for her or for Anthony and both of their families. Her story is one of loss, hope, forgiveness and redemption – all of which are only available through the saving blood of the Lord Jesus. Laurie shows what it means to change as we allow the Lord to be the Lord of our lives, even when that change hurts and shows us who we really are – sinners saved by grace. As Christians we usually say we’d forgive those who wronged us but what if we really had to forgive – forgiving is easy when it’s someone who says a hurtful word or maybe even steals but what if someone took a life – a life that you loved? Laurie shows what it means for Christians to forgive.

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

Can God heal the deepest wounds and redeem what seems unredeemable? Laurie Coombs experiences God’s transforming and redemptive power in her new book, Letters from My Father’s Murderer. When her father was murdered, Laurie Coombs and her family sought justice―and found it. Yet, despite the swift punishment of the killer, Laurie found herself increasingly full of pain, bitterness, and anger she couldn’t control. It was the call to love and forgive her father’s murderer that set her, the murderer, and several other inmates on the journey that would truly change their lives forever.

Join Laurie in celebrating the release of Letters from My Father’s Murderer by entering to win a Kindle Fire!

letter from father's murderer - 400

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire HD 6
  • A copy of Letters from My Father’s Murderer

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 20th. The winner will be announced July 21st on Laurie’s site.

letter from father's murderer - enter banner

Litfuse Publicity: 7 Family Ministry Essentials by Michelle Anthony and Megan Marshman

About the Book:

With decades of experience in Christian education and church ministry, Michelle Anthony and Megan Marshman capture the guiding essentials to build a strategy for life-changing family ministry in this ultimate leadership resource. These seven essentials emphasize:

1. Empowering families to take spiritual leadership in the home
2. Forming life-time faith that transcends childhood beliefs
3. Teaching Scripture as the ultimate authority of truth
4. Understanding the role of the Holy Spirit’s power to teach and transform
5. Engaging every generation in the gospel of God’s redemptive story
6. Making God central in every biblical narrative and daily living
7. Participating in community with like-minded ministry leaders

Written for church leaders who have a passion to disciple kids and teens in partnership with the Holy Spirit and the family, 7 Family Ministry Essentials will energize and equip readers with the practical steps, inspirational stories, and biblical foundation they need to build a strategy.

You can purchase your copy here.

About Michelle Anthony:

Dr. Michelle Anthony is the vice president and publisher of learning resources at David C Cook and a popular speaker in the area of family ministry. She is the author of Spiritual Parenting, The Big God Story, and Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family. Michelle has graduate degrees in Christian education, Bible and theology as well as over twenty-five years of family ministry experience. Michelle and her husband, Michael are the parents of two adult children and live in Colorado.

You can visit on her the web at Facebook, Twitter and her website.

About Megan Marshman:

Megan Fate Marshman is the director of student resources and production for David C Cook and has lead and challenged thousands of students in their faith at Hume Lake Christian Camps. With a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Azusa Pacific University, Megan speaks nationally at churches, conferences, and university chapels. She and her husband, Randy, live in Long Beach, California.

You can visit her on the web at Facebook, Twitter and her website.

My Opinion:

I am not in the ministry but I do have a longing to reach children and their families and bring them to Christ, with a living and life long relationship. Most churches prefer to have families separated the moment they walk through the door – we don’t want babies to cry and distract us, we don’t want a bored child coloring on a piece of paper and we don’t want a teen who hasn’t been taught to be present in church falling asleep. What if it could look different with families engaged with one another and also engaged in Christ and being fully present together? Our churches would become more powerful and better equipped to reach those in our communities and our world if all are equipped and able to give a sound reason for their faith.

Now, I know that I’m in a unique position, in that I home-school so almost all our curricula is centered on Christ as the focal point – He is the focal point of our family, and at times we fail – but being the sole educator for my three children gives me the chance to really teach about Christ, both in action and words. Our history text weaves in Biblical history with what was and is going on in the world at the same time – it puts it all together, not like Sunday School curricula where children can’t and don’t see how history lines up with Daniel in the Lion’s Den or Christ’s birth. We need to start giving out more than just milk and expect the parents to do it at home without any direction. Even I wasn’t prepared and it’s taken years for me to become comfortable with teaching my children Biblical truths, so how much harder for those families that have to overcome public school mentality or who have never been to church?

This book isn’t just about ministry in the church but about making it in the home as well – there were several ideas that I’d like to implement in our home. One is writing prayer requests and hanging them for all to see and then as prayers are answered listing those praises. The church needs to recognize that they will be stronger when the family, as a whole, is included in the worship of our Lord and the learning about Him and His Word. I’d highly recommend this book to those who work with youth, whether in a youth program that seeks to lift up the Lord, those who work in their ministries at church and even just those who desire to create a more worshipful environment at home, this book has something for everyone so that the whole family can learn to love and serve the Lord and have a HUGE impact!

If you’d like to read what other bloggers thought 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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Litfuse Publicity: A Friend in Me by Pam Lau

About the Book:

Young women long for relational connection with women further ahead of them on the journey. Yet, without realizing it, many of us tend to distance ourselves from those in younger generations.

Can we really have close relationships with women who have different thoughts on church, different experiences with family, and different ways of talking about God? Where do we start?

In A Friend in Me, Pam Lau shows you how to be a safe place for the younger women in your life. She offers five patterns women need to internalize and practice for initiating relationships and talking about issues such as faith, forgiveness, sexuality, and vocation. Most significantly, she reminds you that there doesn’t need to be a divide between generations of women. Together, we can have a global impact—and experience a deeper faith than we’ve ever known.

If you’d like to purchase your own copy please visit Pam Lau.

About the Author:

Pam Lau is the author of Soul Strength and numerous articles for such publications as Christian Scholar’s Review and Christianity Today. She has taught writing at George Fox University and speaks around the country at conferences and retreats. A graduate of Liberty University and Colorado State University, Lau lives near Portland, Oregon, with her husband and three daughters.

You can find Pam online at her website and on Twitter.

My Opinion:

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Titus 2:3-5 ESV

As I begin this review, I want us to keep in mind that the older women are to teach or train those younger than us how to be godly women.  In a Friend in Me, Pam takes a look at what us women can do for each other – it seems there is a chasm in the church today between the older women and the younger, we don’t mingle or if we do it’s merely superficial. How are the younger ladies to learn if we don’t do more than scratch the surface? Pam gives readers ideas of how to really learn from one another, in some ways I’m the older woman, I can teach the younger ones how to have a godly marriage and refrain from making the mistakes I did but on the other hand I’m the younger woman too, navigating the roads of widowhood with young children. We need to come alongside each other and listen and teach and help.

There is a whole section on talking about sexuality with women, and honestly that isn’t something I’m comfortable talking about with a woman or I don’t know well – especially when things today are fraught with confusing messages that women can be men, men can be women, being homosexual isn’t a sin and so on. I also wouldn’t want another woman discussing these issues with my daughters, and that is why I leave lines of communication open at home so I can be the older woman teaching the younger. Overall though I really enjoyed this book and I think it would be great to lead a study on it for those in my church, there is much more that needs to be done for women in the church – especially when our society has become so adept at blurring those lines and A Friend in Me makes me want to be more available to the women in my church.

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

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

Comments Off on Litfuse Publicity: A Friend in Me by Pam Lau

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