GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Litfuse Publicity: Miracle Drug by Richard L. Mabry, M.D.


About the Book:

Overcoming these odds will take more than a miracle drug—it will take a miracle.

The infection wasn’t supposed to happen, but it did. The treatment was supposed to take care of it, but it didn’t. Then Dr. Josh Pearson discovers why—his patients, including the former President of the United States, have been dosed with a different strain of the original virus, one that is universally fatal. The only chance for survival is treatment with an experimental drug, but the manufacturer might already have discarded its supply.

As if treating the President of the United States isn’t stressful enough, the situation goes from bad to worse when Rachel Moore, a nurse Josh is falling in love with, falls ill. With the nation’s eyes on him, Josh must pull off a miracle to save a man who holds a good deal of power and the woman who holds his heart.

Purchase your copy at Abingdon Press.

About the Author:

Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician who writes “medical suspense with heart.” His novels have won multiple awards: a semifinalist for International Thriller Writers’ debut novel; finalists for the Carol Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and Romantic Times’ Reader’s Choice Award; and both finalist and winner of the Selah Award. “Miracle Drug” is his ninth published novel. He and his wife live in Frisco, Texas.

Find Richard online on Facebook, Twitter and his website.

My Opinion:

I really enjoy Richard Mabry’s writing and this one was no different, although this one did seem a bit slower than some of his others and took me a little longer to get in to, it proved worth it to stay with the book and keep reading. Maybe because I’m used to reading medical books and journals some of the terms and the constant explanations got on my nerves a little bit, but I also recognize not everyone will know or be familiar with some medical terminology. Again, like in his other books there is the criminal aspect but nothing is so gruesome that would be stomach turning and of course, because he lives up to the name of Christian fiction, no cussing or sex scenes. Dr. Josh Pearson is a widower trying to figure out life and how a new girlfriend fits into that without being unfaithful to his wife’s memory as well as being personal physician to a former President of the United States.

Like I said, the book was slow moving at first but I’m glad I kept with it as it really turned into a page turner and one that I’m glad I read – the whodunit aspect had me guessing until I had it all pieced together which was about the same time as the characters began putting it all together. The end is neatly wrapped up with justice being served and happily ever after – which at this point in my life I prefer as I have enough messy in my real life. If you enjoy suspense novels either from a medical viewpoint or not this is another great one from Mabry and if you’re just looking for a Christian fiction book and not having to wonder what you’ll encounter when you turn the page, this is the book for you.

To see what other bloggers thought please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

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Litfuse Publicity: Just Show Up by Kara Tippetts with Jill Lynn Buteyn


About the Book:

Kara Tippetts’s story was not a story of disease, although she lost her battle with terminal cancer.

It was not a story of saying goodbye, although she was intentional in her time with her husband and four children. Kara’s story was one of seeing God in the hard and in the good. It was one of finding grace in the everyday. And it was one of knowing “God with us” through fierce and beautiful friendship.

In Just Show Up, Kara and her close friend, Jill Lynn Buteyn, write about what friendship looks like in the midst of changing life seasons, loads of laundry, and even cancer. Whether you are eager to be present to someone going through a difficult time or simply want inspiration for pursuing friends in a new way, this eloquent and practical book explores the gift of silence, the art of receiving, and what it means to just show up.

You can purchase a copy here.

About the Authors:

The late Kara Tippetts was the author of “The Hardest Peace” and blogged faithfully at Mundane Faithfulness. Cancer was only a part of Kara’s story. Her real fight was to truly live while facing a crushing reality. Since her death in March 2015, her husband, Jason, is parenting their four children and leading the church they founded in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Read Kara’s blog.

Jill Lynn Buteyn is the author of “Falling for Texas,” an inspirational novel, and a recipient of the ACFW Genesis Award for her fiction work. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Bethel University. Jill lives near the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her husband and two children.

Connect with Jill on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

My Opinion:

Just. Show. Up. How does one do that with a loved one when they are going through a “hard”, as Kara calls it in her other book, The Hardest Peace. Showing up means your life is going to get messy and most of us don’t like messy, we like order, cleanliness, emotions that can be easily hidden – showing up is going to mean not having order, getting messy with someone’s life and raw emotions that can’t be hidden. Kara passed away in March, just a few months after I lost my husband, suddenly, unexpectedly in December of 2014 – I became a widow and her husband, a widower. The emotions in this book – both from the viewpoint of Jill, one of Kara’s friends and Kara herself are raw, real and honest. Maybe it wasn’t the best book for me to read right now – but I did – and it left me thinking of how I too can show up for someone. For the first month the children and I had people coming by, we had meals, financial donations and then it went away – our hard is still hard and it’s something that won’t go away.

So much has resonated with me in this book – even now we get asked “let me know if you need anything”, this is one of the worst thing to say to someone – whether it’s an illness, a death, or an injury – I can honestly say when I was told this I’d stare blankly back. I could barely think about what needed done for my children let alone what a friend could do – as Jill says this is easily dismissed by the person going through their hard because it’s too broad. Then there was this one (location 1190 Chapter 6 in my Kindle version) “Some people who have lost loved ones quickly – without a word, kiss, hug, or shared last moment would give anything for these days we’re having with Kara even though they are hard.” I think Jill crawled inside my head – I admit to thinking that when I heard of Kara’s passing – thinking well at least her friends, her children, her husband got to hold her, kiss her as she was ushered before the Lord.

Whether you’re going through hard or just want to know how to show up for someone close to you or not close to you (Jill met Kara shortly before the cancer so it was a very new friendship) this book will give you and honest look at what it means to show up. If it’s not your gift to bring dinners, don’t – find your gift, is it to just sit quietly, just sit and listen, help car pool children to and from activities? Your showing up isn’t going to be the same as mine or anyone else, that is why the Lord gave us all different gifts. It’s raw – there were several times I had to stop reading because of the emotions that came up – and even some bitterness which made me look at myself because my friends couldn’t come around for months and months – so it had me taking a long hard look at me. The reflection questions at the end of each chapter can help evaluate how to show up and what that will look like for us and it’s based on Scripture, which makes it even better. I cannot recommend this book enough and it’s a quick read but so worth reading through a couple of times.

To read what other bloggers thought please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

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Family Christian: A Reluctant Bride (An Amish of Birch Creek Novel) by Kathleen Fuller (review and giveaway)


I have read other books written by Kathleen Fuller and have always enjoyed them, this one was no different. Sadie’s story pulls you right in – from the time she was accosted when out running a business errand for her parents up until she realizes she needs to be loved and be able to love. A Reluctant Bride was a fast read for me because of it’s page turning qualities and enjoyment factors as well as the well portrayed characters that fill it’s pages.

As Sadie deals with the repercussions of a drunk driver’s negligence in killing her parents and severely injuring one of her sisters – she finds that she does need to rely on help, both from the Lord and also from those within her community – even if it means marrying a man she thinks she can’t and won’t love. As I said this is a page turner, it kept me up at night because I just had to know what was going to happen next and oh, how I felt for Sadie – in the midst of grief she must carry so much burden and I could tell early on there was something sinister about their community’s Bishop.

Through it all the characters grow and mature and are stretched in their faith as we all are in real life – it strikes to the heart of what forgiveness is and what happens when bitterness and hate does when it’s allowed to take root and grow. I don’t want to give spoilers but at the end of the book my heart was rejoicing over Sadie and Aden’s ‘happy’ ending, although there is more heart ache in store as they deal with the other issues that are going to surround them, I hope there will be another book to follow their story as they continue to grow in their marriage. Thankfully it wasn’t your typical Amish romance – and I enjoyed it for that as well – I needed a down to earth Amish fiction book and that is what I got when I received this book to review.

Giveaway!!!

Enter the giveaway for 1 copy of The Reluctant Bride by Kathleen Fuller – ends 10/30/15 – US Residents ONLY.

Winner has 48 hours to respond with their mailing address from the time I contact them in EST – if no response another randomly chosen winner will be contacted.

(Right click and open in a new tab – you’ll have to leave a comment on this post to enter) a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Going back to school


I graduate high school in 1997, went into the United States Navy, and then graduated college with my Associates in Social Work in 2001 – the same morning I found out I was expecting our 2nd baby but the first to be born. I tried to go to an online college after that but it proved disastrous with a newborn baby – so I decided I didn’t need anymore college. I love to read, I love to learn – so studying was never hard and most subjects, excluding math, came easy for me, but my husband and I had decided I’d stay home and we’d be homeschooling so really a BSW (Bachelor’s in Social Work) wasn’t really a need. The online college I was pursuing a paralegal degree.

That said – now that I’m widow I know I have to start planning for the future, both my children’s and my own – the survivor benefits will decrease once my children are no longer eligible, even though I’ll continue to get mine for the rest of my life – there may be some rules about that but I can’t remember them all. However, once my children’s go away I’ll be living on next to nothing so I need to plan. With that said I’m going back to college to earn my BSW.

I applied to a well known, at least in my area, Christian university however they had absolutely no help for widows, which struck me as ironic for being a Christian university. They also weren’t real happy with me refusing to take loans or wanting to do the majority of my general ed classes online. One woman told me I should just focus on “being the best mom I could be”, yes, that is what I’m doing, why do you think I want to take online classes. So after much prayer and discussions with trusted advisers I decided that University wasn’t the one.

It used to be that the state of Ohio, or at least that is what I was told, would not recognize a social work degree that was completed online but on the off chance I contacted Liberty University Online (LUO). I spoke with several people who assured me of their regional accreditation and that they did indeed have a BSW program. Okay Lord? Well then things really started falling in place – they were actually excited that I didn’t want to use student loans and then I was told I qualify for the military discount pricing! Okay Lord I’m getting it. I can do the whole program online, from the comfort of my home except for my practicum which I knew before hand.

I’m already registered for my first four classes, which makes me a full time student right away but I’m so excited! My goal is to become a Path Coordinator (although I’m sure the title will change as it often did for my husband) with our local Board of DD. There are many things to consider though such as I would need to work 30 years more to receive retirement through our state’s system – they don’t pay into SS – which means I could be in my 70’s when I would retire and I want to enjoy my grand-babies so I may have to look into whether I pursue private employment, but I have time to wait on that. I may even pursue my Masters in Counseling after my BSW, I’ll see where the Lord leads.

Right now I’m waiting on my financial aid to be received and processed so I can find out exactly what I’ll be getting, but the estimate seems like it would pay for almost all my classes each semester. I know I’ll still have some out of pocket expenses, which is fine but not what it would have been like had I gone to the other University where my financial aid wouldn’t have covered even 1 full semester. My desire is to do this debt free, to honor the Lord and also to stay out of debt that my husband got us out of and having paid off my ASW earlier this year with the life insurance.

I want to note if you feel led to donate to my educational expenses donations can be made to the Bailey Family Fund at any Huntington National Bank (100% will come to me), there is also a GoFundMe page (they do take a percent), and my friend is hosting a fundraiser for anyone who purchases from her site or her Currclick page – search Shari Crooks (you don’t have to be a homeschooler to use her products). Any helps is immensely appreciated and will go towards my education – books, supplies, gas once I begin my practicum (internship in other fields), etc.

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

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Kregel Tour: Bible Stories Gone Crazy by Josh Edwards


About the Book:

Eight Bible stories are depicted in bright color and comic, cartoony illustrations. There is a sentence or two explaining the scene at the top, and then details to spot, mistakes to find, and questions to answer along the sides of the picture, such as, “Did Noah’s workmen REALLY have power tools?” and “How many rabbits are in the picture?” Children will love scouring the illustrations to find the answers and spot more amusing details in the busy artwork of Emiliano Migliardo.

The stories are Noah and His Great Ark, Moses Crossing the Red Sea, Joshua and the Fall of Jericho, David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lions, Jonah and the Big Fish, Feeding the 5,000, and Man Through the Roof.

You can purchase a copy at Kregel Publications.

My Opinion:

I enjoy interesting ways of presenting Biblical truths to my children and when Bible Stories Gone Crazy popped up to be reviewed I knew I wanted a copy for my home. The overall goal is to get children interested in learning more about the Bible and the history inside, so Scripture references are given so that children and adults can easily find the real account of what is going on in the pictures. There are also many mistakes in Emiliano’s drawings, and while some may take offense of some characters that resemble KISS in a book on the Bible, for us it was humorous because my husband enjoyed KISS. There are questions around the picture such as “Did a rock band really play when the walls fell down?”, obviously for the adults the answer is no, but the goal is to get children digging into the Word, and for non-churched children this book will have a way of resonating with them.

Children should also be on the look out for all the teddy bears hidden through out the book – an answer guide in the back will tell how many bears are to be found in which story. The heavy laminated pages are durable and can withstand some heavy use and are very smooth, which may be appealing to children who have sensory issues. The hardcover book lays flat when opened to allow full viewing of all the pages and their illustrations, which is great for children who may get frustrated at not being able to see the whole picture. All three of my children, ages 13, 11 and 9 enjoy looking at this book and it kept two of them busy in the back seat on our eight hour drive to vacation. I definitely recommend this book to really get children of all ages engaged with the Bible and all the history of the Christian and Jewish faith that is contained within.

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

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Litfuse Publicity: Pass It On by Jim Burns and Jeremy Lee


About the Book:

Parents often experience a “freak out” moment when they realize their children’s view of God will primarily come from what they learn at home.
Most parents spend more time helping their kids succeed at academics or athletics than infusing shared spiritual experiences into the rhythm of everyday family life.

While the idea of strategically passing down our faith can seem intimidating, the annual Rites of Passage Experiences contained in Pass It On make it easy for your family to celebrate milestones from kindergarten through high school graduation. Forever change the direction of your family’s spiritual legacy . . . starting now!

Purchase your own copy at David C. Cook.

 

 

About the Authors:

Jim Burns is president of HomeWord and executive director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. He has more than 1.5 million resources in print and a radio broadcast heard on 800 stations a day. Jim resides in Southern California with his wife Cathy and their three daughters.

Connect with Jim on his website, Twitter, and Facebook.

Jeremy Lee is the founder of ParentMinistry.Net, a subscription-based service for children and youth ministry workers. He was on the writing team for the Simple Truth Bible from Group Publishing and the Ignite Study Bible from Thomas Nelson Publishers. Jeremy lives in Nashville with his wife and children.

Connect with Jeremy at his website, Twitter, and Facebook.

My Opinion:

One of my worries in regards to being a widowed mom is am I going to be able to pass on my husband and I’s faith single-handily. When Pass It On came up for review especially with the secondary title of “building a legacy of faith for your children through practical and memorable experiences”, I knew it was a book that I needed to read. I’ve always thought, even though we aren’t Jewish, that rites of passage for children are something that Christians should do – to recognize who their children are as they grow in their faith. Mr. Burns and Lee give parents the tools they need to be able to bless their children at whatever stage they are at and make it meaningful – even if the child rolls their eyes or deny wanting anything to do with a ceremony. My only issue with the book was the use of grade levels to determine where a child is at – as a home school family – my children don’t fit into the typical grades like if they were in school so one may be above, another below or another in between. The good thing is this book is flexible and if your ‘kindergarten’ aged child is more mature and seems to fit in the ‘first grade’ then use that.

So each grade has a different spiritual aspect attached to it, so second grade is “an invitation to the Bible”, the authors walk through what is going on in this child’s life and how it affects their faith, then they describe what a rite of passage could look like for that child (these passages don’t have to be huge to-do’s just gather the immediate family) and some ideas for gifts ranging from the cheap to the more expensive as well as Scripture. The authors then list what the average second grade child is like physically, emotionally, relational and spiritually – this will help parents better gauge where their child fits especially if the family doesn’t assign grade levels. I know it comes in handy for myself such as my 9 year old son who isn’t reading yet (not for lack of trying though) but is working at a fourth grade level in all other subjects.

Overall, I think this is a fantastic book and I know my oldest who is 13 will more than likely find it cheesy but I’d love to try to fit these into our lives especially as I try to strive to make our faith more strong and real in light of our new lives. The rites of passage aren’t bound in stone and each family can tweak as they need to for their family or for their child – but the authors do say if you do it for this child and the other children see it be prepared to do it for the next child and so on. I often find it hard to have one on one time with the children as we’re so busy and I’m only one person but the other positive about a rite of passage is letting the child know they are loved and cherished by both the Lord and myself even if the one on one attention is lacking. I will be referring back to this in the coming months and try to figure out how to implement this in our lives.

To see what other bloggers are saying visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

 

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Happy (Very Belated) 11th Birthday


My middle daughter – asked me if I was going to do my usual special blog post that I do for their birthdays – I said sure, well we were also on vacation AKA running away for her birthday. Now that we’re home I have time to sit and write her special 11th birthday post, although admittedly it is VERY late – her birthday is September 29th.

She was a bald, beautiful baby!

Here she is with her Great-Grandpa.

All three of them – she had a bit of a crying spell before the photo session.

She could and still does manage to fall asleep in weird places and positions.

Helping to churn butter at a living history event.

Her first day of school when we were using FIAR and studying Madeline.

She and her older sister at Praise Him in the Park in September 2014 – she loves to dance and praise the Lord.

She and her brother receiving their religious awards through American Heritage Girls from our Pastor (it was completed at another church but our Pastor gave them their medal). This was on 2-22-15.

She is my funny girl, she loves to tell jokes no matter how horrible they really are and we all laugh – this is a trait she got from her dad. Right now I have a drum set sitting in my computer room that we have no idea where to put it because she begins drum lessons tomorrow, I agreed to this if I could find someone we could afford (thankfully the Lord put a woman who is blessing us with a weekly 45 minute lesson in her home) and if she continued with piano as well. The house is about to get louder. She is turning into lovely young lady who gave her testimony and was baptized this spring in our church – her desire is to serve the Lord through missions and dance and one day be a wife and mom to many. I love my middle daughter.

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

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Litfuse Publicity: God Made all of Me by Justin S. Holcomb and Lindsey A. Holcomb


About the Book:

“God made every part of you!”

It’s easy to convey the message to children that their bodies—or particular parts of their bodies—are shameful. This misconception fuels confusion, embarrassment, and secrecy, and often prevents children from recognizing or reporting sexual abuse.
God Made All of Me is a simply-told, beautifully-illustrated story to help families talk about these sensitive issues with two- to eight-year-old children. Because the private parts of our bodies are private, the home is the ideal environment where a child should learn about his or her body and how it should be treated by others.

God Made All of Me starts from the fundamental truth that God created everything and applies that truth—the doctrine of creation—to kids and their bodies. It equips parents to talk with both boys and girls about their bodies and to help them understand the difference between the appropriate and inappropriate touch of others. God Made All of Me allows families to build a first line of defense against sexual abuse in the safety of their own homes.

God Made All of Me is the first children’s book written by Rid of My Disgrace authors Justin and Lindsey Holcomb. Parents of young children themselves, the Holcombs regularly counsel victims of sexual abuse and are profoundly aware of the dangers kids face. Their simple and relatable story, designed to help children protect their bodies, will be an important resource for every family with young children.

You can purchase a copy at New Growth Press.

About the Authors:

Justin Holcomb, PhD, is an Episcopal priest and professor of theology and Christian thought at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary. He is the author of On the Grace of God, Know the Heretics, and Know the Creeds and Councils, as well as the coauthor of Is It My Fault? and Rid of My Disgrace. He also serves on the boards for REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade) and GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environments).

Connect with Justin on his website, Facebook and Twitter.

Lindsey Holcomb, MPH, counsels victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and is the cofounder of REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade). Lindsey has provided crisis intervention to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and conducted a variety of training seminars to service providers. She is also the coauthor of Is It My Fault? and Rid of My Disgrace.

Connect with Lindsey on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

My Opinion:

Not often does a book come along that allows parents to help their children in understanding, on their level, what it means to protect their bodies especially from a Christian worldview. God Made All Of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies is that book. It is shocking to read the figures of child sexual abuse in our world today and most of those are under the age of 12, it is a very real threat to our children today – I experienced inappropriate touch in middle school from boys and teachers a like, it tormented me every day and I was so glad to leave school when everyone else was sad that they’d be leaving behind friends. Beginning with Genesis 1:31 the authors begin with a mom and dad discussing with their son and daughter how God made everything and using other Scriptures like Psalm 139:14 and Psalm 28:7 back up the book with God’s Word. The book teaches the difference between “bad” touching and touching that helps like when a parent needs to help with bathing or a doctor has to do an exam and also deals with if a child doesn’t want to be hugged or kissed by a relative.

The illustrations done by Trish Mahoney are cute, but not so cute as to distract from the importance of the overall subject matter but enough so that children remain engaged. Children are warned when not to keep secrets and what surprises are – one should not keep a secret even if there is a threat of harm to their loved ones. They do use the correct terms for body parts, which I know makes some people uncomfortable but they need to know, there is no slang terms used. There is an area in the book where parents can help their children come up with a list of safe people that they can get help or tell if someone touches them – even if it’s just an arm or a leg. The authors also include 9 ways to protect your child from sexual abuse along with websites where parents can obtain more tip sheets to help them in these subjects. I gave this to my then 10 year old to read and she thought it was really well written, but didn’t tell her anything she didn’t know, as we talk about this often. I know I’ll be reading this to my son very soon.

To see what other bloggers thought, please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

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