Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Stitch in Crime: A Blog Tour and Book Review

About The Book:

Thea’s first quilt show is coming apart at the seams!
Thea James has accepted an assignment as co‑chairperson for Larkindale’s first quilt show extravaganza. Juggling the new assignment with running her antique business, she’s already feeling frayed when things start to unravel.
Mary‑Alice Wentworth, a much‑loved town matriarch, respected quilt judge, and Thea’s dear friend, is covertly conked on the head during the kick‑off Quilt Show Soiree, throwing suspicion on her guests. It also appears that a valuable diamond brooch has been stolen during the attack. The family is furious. But is it because of their mugged mother or the missing diamonds?
When a renowned textile expert goes MIA and the famous Wentworth heritage quilt disappears, Larkindale’s reputation as a tourist haven is at risk. Thea attempts to piece the mystery together and save the town’s investment in the quilt show before Mary‑Alice is attacked again . . . with far worse results.
You can read an excerpt of A Stitch in Crime online here, in PDF format
About The Author:
Author and speaker Cathy Elliot nourishes her night‑owl habit by creating cozy mysteries and more on her trusty laptop in Anderson, California. Like the protagonist in her new mystery, Cathy is an avid quilter. Besides collecting (too much) cool fabric, she also enjoys hunting for antique treasures.
My Review:
The one thing that I have absolutely adored about the Quilts of Love series is reading books by so many different authors and their specific genres. The books in the series don't follow all the same style of writing or genre, so its great for those of us that like a variety in our Christian fiction reading. I also love that each book revolves around the story of a quilt. As a crafter, I know the hard work that comes with making memories and I love that the authors of this series build each story around a quilt. 
Now to A Stitch in Crime. It is a fast-paced, who-dun-it that will have you reading late into the night! It was fun, with likeable characters and a story line that flowed nicely. I read the story in only a few hours on a Saturday night, and it was the perfect book for that! I look forward to reading more from this author, as well as more from this series. 
I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up.
BUY IT: You can purchase A Stitch in Crime online through Amazon, as well it is available at your favorite local retailer of Christian fiction.
***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of LitFuse Publicity Group, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Diabetes Solution: A Book Review

About The Book:

An authoritative guide to preventing, reversing, and managing prediabetes and diabetes, featuring a comprehensive and holistic diet, fitness, and lifestyle plan, along with 100 recipes, from the authors of The Acid Reflux Solution. 

Control Diabetes and Reverse Prediabetes
Proper management of diabetes from the earliest stages is essential. If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, this authoritative guide to preventing, reversing, and managing the disease provides the help you need right now.

In The Diabetes Solution, Dr. Jorge Rodriguez and dietitian nutritionist Susan Wyler tell you everything you need to know about this increasingly common disease—from diagnosis to treatment—including the difference between prediabetes and diabetes, ways to prevent serious complications, and the most effective medications and when to start taking them.

Many studies prove that a minor weight loss of 5 to 7 percent can make a huge difference in blood sugar levels and diabetic status—an easily achievable goal with The Diabetes Solution’s simple diet plan based on the latest scientifically validated information. The Blood Sugar Budget, a point-based program developed specifically for controlling blood sugar, tells you exactly what to eat and when, and features recipes for 100 tasty dishes that control carb consumption, limit calories, and encourage weight loss.

This comprehensive yet accessible guide will show you how to diminish stress, exercise smart, and eat surprisingly well while reducing permanent damage and eliminating future complications. Whether you’re newly diagnosed or have been told you’re at risk, The Diabetes Solution will help you take control of your health and thrive.


You can read an excerpt of the book here.

About The Author:

Jorge E. Rodriguez, MD, is a board-certified intern­ist and gastroenterologist who received his medical degree from the University of Miami. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Tulane Medical School in New Orleans, and his fellowship in gastroenterology at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. Dr. Rodriguez has established himself as a leader in HIV treatment and intestinal diseases. He has appeared as an expert medical commentator on CNN NewsGood Morning America HealthThe Doctors, and The View. He is an MDVIP-affiliated physician and has had an internal medicine practice in Newport Beach, California, since 1988

My Review:

This is a fantastic resource for any one who is deals with diabetes on a daily basis, has prediabetes or a family history of diabetes. The book explains in everyday language, the importance of truly understanding the seriousness of a disease that is rampant in today's society. The book is very well organized and includes a very easy to follow eating plan, easy to make recipes that all will enjoy and so much encouragement for those of us, like myself, that live with Diabetes on a daily basis. 

A great read that I highly recommend

BUY IT: You can purchase The Diabetes Solution here through Random House

***I received a complimentary electronic copy of this book, courtesy of the Blogging for Books program, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: A Book Review

About The Book:

In the age of fingertip access to answers and a limitless supply of ambitions, where do we find the God who was birthed in dirt and straw? Sara Hagerty found him when life stopped working for her. She found him when she was a young adult mired in spiritual busyness and when she was a new bride with doubts about whether her fledgling marriage would survive. She found him alone in the night as she cradled her longing for babies who did not come. She found him as she kissed the faces of children on another continent who had lived years without a mommy’s touch.

In Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet, Hagerty masterfully draws from the narrative of her life to craft a mosaic of a God who leans into broken stories. Here readers see a God who is present in every changing circumstance. Most significantly, they see a God who is present in every unchanging circumstance as well.

Whatever lost expectations readers are facing—in family, career, singleness, or marriage—Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet will bring them closer to a God who longs for them to know him more. What does it look like to know God’s nearness when life breaks? What does it mean to receive his life when earthly life remains barren? How can God turn the bitterness of unmet desire into new flavors of joy?

With exquisite storytelling and reflection, Hagerty brings readers back to hope, back to healing, back to a place that God is holding for them alone—a place where the unseen is more real than what the eye can perceive. A place where every bitter thing is sweet.

About The Author:

 Sara Hagerty is a wife to Nate and a mother of five whose arms stretched wide across the ocean to Africa. After almost a decade of Christian life she was introduced to pain and perplexity and, ultimately, intimacy with Jesus. God met her and moved her when life stopped working for her. His Word and His whisper took on new shape and form to her in the dark. Sara writes regularly about life-delays, finding God in the unlikely, motherhood, marriage and adoption at http://EveryBitterThingisSweet.com.

My Review:

This last year was one that should have caused me to become bitter. Losing four loved ones to death in a seven month period was just a tad more than one should have to deal with. It really was an incredibly difficult year in 2014, but yet I am not bitter. Why is that? Well, perfectly simple, it's only because of Him that I can go through the grief process without giving into bitterness. And that is one of the things that author Sara Hagerty has discussed in her new book, Every Bitter Thing is Sweet. 

Hagerty is completely honest, humble, open and unabashed when discussing her life journey through infertility and marriage crisis'. Her writing reminds me much of Ann Voskamp, Sarah Bessey and Jennie Allen. The book is well written and flowed wonderfully from beginning to end and is that cover not the best ever! I related to the author in many ways including having journeyed through infertility myself. I could have chosen to become bitter than, and through my own marriage crisis but I am so glad that even through I journeyed through other emotions, I was able to give them all to God who gave me hope in despair.

I loved the "For Your Continued Pursuit" section at the end of each chapter, which contained scripture verses for the reader to dig deeper into on their own, as they relate to our own journey and stage of life. This is a perfect reminder that even in the hard, oft dark times, of life God is there, always and extends His hand to us always. We just have to let go and let Him. 

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

 
BUY IT: You can purchase Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet at your favorite retailer of Christian books, as well as online through Amazon.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of BookLook Bloggers, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are mine and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Girl at the End of the World: A Book Review

About The Book:

I was raised in a homegrown, fundamentalist Christian group—which is just a shorthand way of saying I’m classically trained in apocalyptic stockpiling, street preaching, and the King James Version of the Bible. I know hundreds of obscure nineteenth-century hymns by heart and have such razor sharp “modesty vision” that I can spot a miniskirt a mile away.

Verily, verily I say unto thee, none of these highly specialized skills ever got me a job, but at least I’m all set for the end of the world. Selah.

A story of mind control, the Apocalypse, and modest attire.
 Elizabeth Esther grew up in love with Jesus but in fear of daily spankings (to “break her will”). Trained in her family-run church to confess sins real and imagined, she knew her parents loved her and God probably hated her. Not until she was grown and married did she find the courage to attempt the unthinkable. 

To leave.

In her memoir, readers will recognize questions every believer faces: When is spiritual zeal a gift, and when is it a trap? What happens when a pastor holds unchecked sway over his followers? And how can we leave behind the harm inflicted in the name of God without losing God in the process?
By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Girl at the End of the World is a story of the lingering effects of spiritual abuse and the growing hope that God can still be good when His people fail. 

Includes reading group discussion guide and interview with the author

You can read an excerpt here.

About The Author:

 Elizabeth Esther is a popular blogger and advocate who has appeared on shows such as Fox News and Anderson Cooper Live. Elizabeth and her husband, Matthew, live with their five children in Santa Ana, California.

My Review:

 I have been reading Elizabeth Esther's blog for some time now, and she always writes something that makes me think.  So when the opportunity arose to read her debut book, Girl at the End of the World, I knew it would be a worthwhile read. I was right.

Elizabeth always writes with honesty and with a rawness that is so genuine. She writes from the heart, both in this book and on her blog. I may not always agree with everything she writes (mostly because we are coming from two different theological backgrounds), and I don't need to. The journey that she shares is one of heartache, survival, renewal, redemption and grace. Making the choice to leave behind all you know, because you know it's wrong, is something that would be difficult for most people. Elizabeth shares her struggle and does not mince words. My heart broke for her as she shared the journey of cult living, abuse, leaving, forgiveness and ultimately dealing, and living with PTSD. Her story gives hope to so many and it is my prayer that this book will be placed in the hands and lives who need it the most...those who have left fundamentalist cults and feel as if they have no hope for the future. They do and Elizabeth is a great example of rising above and speaking out against abuse in the church. 

The book was a great read, while difficult at times. I did need to read it in sections due to the emotions that I found myself experiencing as I read, but that shows just how raw this read was. It is a book that most will enjoy. It is well written, easy to read and engaging overall.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Girl At The End of The World online through Amazon

***I received a complimentary electronic copy of this book, courtesy of Blogging For Books Blogger Program and Crown Publishing Group, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Evergreen: A Book Review

About The Book:

An empty nest has Ingrid Christiansen dreading the upcoming holidays, but her husband, John, couldn’t be more excited about this new season of life. He even has a surprise trip abroad planned. He’s sure she’ll love it. What’s more romantic than Christmas in Paris?

Before he can stop her, however, Ingrid agrees to spearhead a major church project. Then their faithful dog, Butterscotch, needs emergency surgery, draining their savings. And then—because disasters strike in threes—an unexpected guest arrives, dredging up old hurts.

As a beautiful blanket of snow transforms the north woods into a winter wonderland, a deep chill settles over John and Ingrid’s marriage. With the holidays fast approaching, their only hope of keeping their love evergreen depends on turning the page on the past and embracing a new chapter of their future.


You can read an excerpt of this book, here, in PDF format
 
About The Author:

Susan May Warren is the bestselling, Christy and RITA Award-winning author of more than fourty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She spent eight years as a missionary in Russia with her husband and four children before returning to Minnesota's north shore to write full-time. Visit her page at www.susanmaywarren.com
 
My Review:

Once again Susan May Warren has brought the delightful Christiansen family to life in Evergreen. It is a short book, at only 185 pages, but it sure packed a punch. It was a very quick read, but I fell in love with the characters from the very first chapter. The book is full of discouraging times as the matriarch and patriarch of the family come to a crossroads of sorts in their marriage. Yet the book is one that is also so full of hope and that is ultimately what made this a fantastic read. If you have read they journey's of the Christiansen family in previous Warren books, you will absolutely want to pick up this gem. You will read it fast, and you will not be disappointed in the least. The biggest theme I got out of the book was that struggles and trials are okay, they are what make us who we are, and they make us stronger, and ultimately better. We all have seasons that we travel through, we have to in order to grow, and it was delightful to see the journey that the family travelled in this book. Just a note, if you are not familiar with the other members of the Christiansen family, it may be better to read those books first, so you do in fact become familiar since they are alluded to throughout the book.
 
BUY IT: You can purchase a copy of Evergreen at your favorite bookseller from Tyndale Fiction. It is also available online through Amazon.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, as a member of Susan May Warren's book launch team, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner**

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Chasing God: A Book Review

About The Book:

Maybe you’ve never asked the question out loud, but you’ve wondered. You do the things that look good on paper: read your Bible, pray, attend study groups and go to church on Sundays.

But you aren’t convinced you really know Him.

Angie Smith understands, because she had run circles around the same paths searching for Him, frustrated at her lack of progress. And she probably would have continued to do so had it not been for one realization that changed everything.

She wasn’t following God; she was trying to catch up with Him. 

And without realizing it, you may be as well.

It’s a distinction that affects every aspect of our lives with Christ, and it begins with learning where we’ve relied more on man’s explanation of God than God Himself.

So many requirements, so many rules, and so much guilt where there is supposed to be freedom. It’s the reason you wonder if you’ve measured up, and the nagging voice that tells you you’re a failure as a Christian.

Three simple words changed everything for Angie, and she believes they can do the same for you.

Stop chasing God.

About The Author:

 Angie Smith is the wife of Todd Smith (lead singer of Dove Award-winning group Selah) and author of Chasing God, I Will Carry You, What Women Fear, and Mended. She also has written two children’s books, For Such A Time As This and Audrey Bunny. Along with being an accomplished writer, Angie speaks to and encourages thousands of women each year. She lives with her husband and daughters in Nashville, TN.

My Review:

Oh this book had a HUGE impact on my heart.

 I read it at a time when I was trying to think about what my focus for my life should be in 2015. I had played through various themes that I wanted but nothing resonated until after reading Chasing God. My word for 2015 is Intentional, and that was a theme that I felt Angie Smith was writing about in her book.  I especially loved the points that she made about being intentional about quiet time and really getting to know God again. Angie Smith did a wonderful job at encouraging us, and showing us, how to stop chasing and start following God.

It was a great book, easy to read, and I loved the conversational manner in which the author wrote.

Here are a few quotes that especially impacted me:

-As God reveals Himesel, we can't help but see who we are in light of Him (p.63)

- God came to us wrapped in flesh, choosing humility from the stable to the cross, and it is humility that ushers us into His holiness and beckons us to follow the well-worn path traveled by the saints before us. (p. 70)

-Salvation isn’t about sets of words. It’s an attitude of the heart. The words have no power in and of themselves; it’s not a formula we have to perfect in order to be accepted.

- The true understanding of our own depravity isn’t a punishment—it’s an opportunity to understand the value of the gift

- What He has chosen not to reveal to me is inconsequential when compared to what He has promised me.

This was a great read, that I am sure to pick up and read again in the future!

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Chasing God at your favorite bookseller from B&H Publishing Group

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of B & H Publishing, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Growing Up Social: A Book Review and GIVEAWAY!!!

About The Book:

Is technology bringing your family closer together or driving you farther apart?

Children today are no longer playing hide-and-seek outside or curling up with a good book - instead they've been introduced to a world of constand digital entertainment through television, video games, and mobile devices. And while technology has the potential to add value to our lives and families, it can also erode a sense of togetherness and hinder a child's emotional and social development.

In Growing Up Social, Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane will empower you with the necessary tools to make positive changes...starting today. Through stories, wit, and wisdom, you'll discover how to take back your home from an overdependence on screens. Plus, you'll learn to teach the five A+ skills that every healthy child needs to master: affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention.

  • Equip your child to be relationally rich in a digital world
  • Replace mindless screen time with meaningful family time
  • Establish simple boundaries that make a huge difference
  • Discover what's working for families that have become screen savvy
  • Learn healthy ways to occupy your child while you get things done
Now is the time to equip your child to live with screen time, not for screen time. No phone, tablet, or gaming device can teach your child how to have healthy relationships - only you can.

About The Authors:

Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to a Happy Husband and 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife. She has been a featured guest on Fox & Friends, The Today Show, The Better Show, TLC’s Home Made Simple, The 700 Club, Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah and Family Life Today radio. 

 Gary Chapman, PhD, is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The 5 Love Languages. With over 30 years of counseling experience, he has the uncanny ability to hold a mirror up to human behavior, showing readers not just where they are wrong, but how to grow and move forward.

My Review:

Growing Up Social was seriously eye-opening about the impact that electronics and the clear addiction to them has on society, and in particular on our kids in today's world. The digital world is a whole new ball game when it comes to parenting. It's such a different world now, then when I was even a kid and teen. Actually, in many ways I am scared for the kids of today, and how easy it is for them to get into serious trouble, and all that they seem to be missing out on when they are always involved with technology in it's many forms.

Throughout the book, the authors share some very startling facts about how much our kids and teens are using electronics and technology. Here are just a few:
  •  High school girls average 4,300 texts a month, while boys trail behind at 2,600 texts a month.
  • The average American child and teenager spends 53 hours a week with media and technology, far more time in front of screens than interacting with parents and people. 
  • 90% of parents allow their children younger than 2 years to watch some form of electronic media
  • 39% of families with infants and young children have their television on at least six hours a day
These are just a few of the numbers that Chapman and Pellicane give in the book, of course attributed to studies done in the last 7-10 years. As an early childhood educator, these numbers don't surprise me. I have seen the interests that many of the children in my care have. Most are related to one form of media or electronics or another. Whether its a favorite tv show or video game, even some of the four-to-six year olds I have worked with are already obsessed with time with electronics.

Growing Up Social gives parents and educators some great ideas for changing the way we use technology but first they explain the A+ skills that children need to master, and how technology has impacted the gaining of these skills. The book has made me aware of tips to use with both my own children, and the children I teach but also it was a massive reminder of how I use technology and how I have to remember that one of my jobs as a parent is to model appropriate use of technology. I am guilty of abusing it and this book has called me on it. Plain and simple.

We already implement a number of screen time ideas from the book, including a 30 minute time limit for tablets/ipods and tv time for the girls, but was very convicted in how I use screen time as well, and will be implementing a few changes myself. 

Added bonuses found in the book include the link to the Five Love Languages website, and how technology can impact our development of our language, a list of social development seen in children (skills impacted by too much technology use) and a fantastic quiz to use to find out if your child has too much screen time. As well, there is a wonderful study guide at the back of the book, perfect for both individual and small group study.

Overall, the book was very well written, interactive, encouraging and well organized. 

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Growing Up Social online via Amazon

WIN IT: 
One (1) Reader 
will win
 a
copy
 of 
Growing Up Social

MANDATORY ENTRY: Tell me one way you monitor electronic time in your home

EXTRA ENTRIES: (mandatory entry must be done for extra entries to count; please make a separate comment for each extra entry)

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GIVEAWAY OPEN TO US and CANADIAN RESIDENTS ONLY

GIVEAWAY ENDS JANUARY 31, 2015

GOOD LUCK TO ALL!

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Side Door Communications, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

The Identical: A Movie Review AND GIVEAWAY!!!


The Identical, starring Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Seth Green, and Blake Rayne is a redemptive movie about a young man, the son of a preacher, who rejects his father's desire for him to join the ministry and instead embarks on a career as a rock singer. As he struggles to pursue his dream and rise to stardom, he finds love, pain, success, failure and ultimately uncovers a hidden family secret that reveals who he really is. The Identical is a captivating story about a family restored and a life discovered that lifts your soul and warms your heart.

The DVD also has over 85 minutes of bonus content including, "Making The Identical," Behind the scenes, and deleted scenes.



My Review:

The Identical was a great movie to watch for a date night, and yet is also one that I would have been okay to watch with my children if they were a little bit older (there are topics in the movie beyond their understanding at only six and eight years old), and not be embarassed to watch with my parents either. The movie is suitable for those 12+, and is rated PG. running about 102 minutes.


The actors did a fantastic job of drawing you into the story from the very start of the movie, and it's the plot and characters that kept my attention, as well as the absolutely fantastic music. Seriously, as good as the acting was, the music made this movie. There is everything from Gospel to pop to rock to country and everything in between. Sure, it's a "typical" faith based movie and has the typical cheesiness seen in such movies, but this movie was one that will stay a part of my movie collection for a long time to come. The themes of being true to one's self, following God's call on our live despite what other's may want for us, and God's redemption are strong throughout the movie as well. The movie was filled with great moments, where you will laugh, cry and be cheering on all the characters as they journey through life's choices. 

I highly recommend this DVD and give it a thumbs up.

BUY IT: You can purchase The Identical at your favorite retailer of Christian DVD's as well as online through Amazon

WIN IT: 
One (1) reader
 will win
 a copy 
of
 The Identical 
on
 DVD

MANDATORY ENTRY: Leave a comment telling me your favorite movie

EXTRA ENTRY: (mandatory entry must be completed, and each extra entry needs to be a separate comment)

1. Follow A Mom After God's Own Heart via GFC (on the side bar)

2. Like A Mom After God's Own Heart on Facebook

3. Follow me on Twitter

4. Follow me on Pinterest

5. Follow me on Instagram

6. Pin this giveaway on Pinterest (and leave the link)

7. Tweet this giveaway on Twitter (and leave the link in the comments)

OPEN TO U.S. AND CANADIANS ONLY

GIVEAWAY ENDS JANUARY 24, 2015

GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF YOU!

***Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising"): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LCC for proving this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post***

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Burning Questions: A DVD Review






About The DVD:


There are Burning Questions, the answers to which have profound implications because they effect so amny other areas of life: for instance, whether or not life has meaning, purpose or hope. Yet, too often, attempts to talk about these questions area marred by a clash of fundamentalisms, by extremists (religious or secular) simply yelling or trying to outsmart each other.

Is there a better way to have discourse on these questions that really do matter? Join Dr. Andy Bannister as he tried to do just that - journeying across three countries - talking to a wide range of experts - people of all faiths and none - in search of some clarity. Whether you're a skeptic or a seeker, a doubter or a discipline, Burning Questions will encourage you to listen well, think deeply and to follow the evidence where it leads.

Rather than providing pat answers, in the documentary series, Dr. Bannister interviews credible global experts from a wide range of backgrounds – leading atheists, passionate Muslims and convinced Buddhists – on these questions that transcend culture.

Questions addressed include:
• Is there a God?
• If so … why is there evil and suffering?
• Has science eliminated religion?
• There are thousands of different religions: which one is true?
• Can we take the Bible seriously, or is it just a myth?
• Who was Jesus of Nazareth and does it matter?

For more information, check out www.burningquestions.ca

You can download a FREE study guide for Burning Questions here.


About Dr. Andy Bannister:
 
Dr. Andy Bannister is the Director and Lead Apologist for RZIM Canada. He speaks and teaches regularly throughout Canada, the USA, Europe and the wider world. From churches to universities, business forums to TV and radio, Andy regularly addresses audience of both Christians and those of all faiths and none on issues relating to faith, culture, politics and society. He can be found online at: @andygbannister. More information on Ravi Zacharias International Ministries Canada is available at: rzim.ca.

My Review:

 I have been a Christian for most of my life, having grown up in a Christian home, going to church and even Bible College as a young adult. I made a personal decision to follow Christ back when I was 13 and was baptized upon confession of my faith when I was 21. However, it was only once I was an adult that I really began to make my faith my own. Now, as a 41 year old wife, mom and Christian woman, I have been trying to dig deeper and understand why I believe what I do. 

The DVD series, Burning Questions has been a wonderful tool to help me on this journey. It offers insight from so many amazing intellectuals, brilliant people from many walks of life and many different stages. This was so amazing and appealing to me. I loved that people of all different beliefs and thoughts came together to discuss similar topics in a way that made it very easy to understand and that has allowed me to go now on my own and dig deeper into scripture.

My favorite episode was three: The Problem of Evil. I liked this one the most because of the evil going on the world today. It helped me to understand a little bit more, which was great.

I highly recommend this DVD series and know it would be great for any small groups, adult sunday school or independent study time.


BUY IT: You can purchase a copy of Burning Questions online here for Canadian orders, and here, for American orders

***I received a complimentary copy of this DVD, courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications, Inc., for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Monday, January 12, 2015

I Need Some Help Here!: A Book Review

About The Book:

For every overwhelmed mom - there is help and hope.

It's easy to feel worried and anxious as a parent. There are so many areas of your child's life that can go wrong along the way. What's a mom to do?

With wit and wisdom, Kathi Lipp meets you in your moments of panic or despair and offers the most powerful tools you have - prayer and practical steps - for both your kid and yourself. She covers the stages of your child's life from toddler to teenager and tackles the most common issues that cause you stress and anxiety, sharing


  • practical wisdom when your child makes poor choices
  • how to pray when your child is running away from God
  • comforting words for when your child feels left out
  • "been there, done that" advice for when your child is different than other kids
Whether you are at the end of your rope or simply need a little extra support as you walk the parenting road, you'll cherish Kathi's heart and her humor.

About The Author:

Kathi Lipp is the author of Praying God's Word for your Husband and Praying God's Word for your Life. She and her husband have four children and live in California. Learn more at www.kathilipp.com.

My Review:

Kathi Lipp is one of my very favorite authors from the last couple of years. She has been such a huge encouragement to my life as a Christian woman, wife and mother. I have not only had the privilege of reading her books but also recently connected via Facebook and even had a personal phone call with her. She has definitely become a mentor to me when it comes to organization and being a Christian mom.

I Need Some Help Here was a fantastic read and covers chapters including:

1. When My Child is Different
2. When My Child is Overwhelmed
3. When My Child is Troubled
4. When My Child is Sick or Injured
5. When My Child Makes Poor Choices
6. When My Child is Running Away from God
7. When My Child is Lacking Character
8. When My Child is Struggling
9. When My Child is Left Out

Kathi uses her gift of humor and combines it with scripture reference and oozes with encouragement. 

One of my favorite parts of the book occurs early one, when Kathi reminds us that we have a lot to learn from Moses. She says this:

"Like Moses, we have to:

1. Listen to God. He has already give us wisdom in his Word
2. Trust God to win the battle, even when things look dire
3. Pray fiercely
4. Do what God says, even if it seems like it won't help
5. Surround ourselves with people who will provide comfort and strength as we go through the battle
6. Have patience and allow God to work

Wow. This was so impacting to me. Not that it was new to hear, because most of it, I have heard in the past. However, in the season I am in with a six and eight year old these six tips have resonated more now than ever.

Here are a few more quotes from the book:

"When you are broken-hearted, you are broken open for other people to see into you and see what they need. When you are brokenhearted, God can do so much more with you than with the one who thinks they have this whole parenting thing down. You are are teachable. You are humbled. You are attentive to the workings of God in your life and the lifes of your kids. And this, my friend, is a priceless gift." (p. 26)

"When I put my trust in my kids, I parent out of shame. When I put my trust in God, there's hope"

"I was not a perfect mom, but I was the mom God chose for them. I was the perfect mom for them"

"It is my actions, rather than my feelings that qualify me as a good mother"  

"Instead of worrying about what you did or didn't do, put your hope in the only one who loves your kids more than you do"

Aren't these quotes incredible? If you are dealing with some difficult situations as a mom, or know someone who is, read this book and get a copy for your friend. It will change the way you look at that the hard times of being a mom! It really will. 

While you can certainly read this book cover to cover (as I did for the review) it is perfect set up to read only the parts that pertain to your life circumstance. Read

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase I Need Some Help Here online here.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of the author, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: A Book Review


About The Book:

Rosaria, by the standards of many, was living a very good life. She had a tenured position at a large university in a field for which she cared deeply. She owned two homes with her partner, in which they provided hospitality to students and activists that were looking to make a difference in the world. In the community, Rosaria was involved in volunteer work. At the university, she was a respected advisor of students and her department's curriculum. Then, in her late 30's, Rosaria encountered something that turned her world upside down - the idea that Christianity, a religion she had regarded as problematic and sometimes downright damaging, might be right about who God was. That idea seemed to fly in the face of the people and causes that she most loved. What follows is a story of what she describes as a train wreck at the hand of the supernatural. These are her secret thoughts about those events, written as only a reflective English professor could

Click here to use the Study Guide for this book.

About The Author:

Rosaria is a former tenured professor of English at Syracuse University. After her conversion to Christianity in 1999, she developed a ministry to college students. She has taught and ministered at Geneva College and is a full-time mother and pastor’s wife, part-time author, and occasional speaker.

My Review:

What an absolutely eye-opening read this book was. To read through the conversion journey of the author, and her overall journey within Christianity was absolutely amazing. The author does a remarkable job of sharing her story and how, even when she so desperately tried to push Christianity away, God grasps onto her with His love and grace and showered her with it. Rosaria writes with a definite passion, rawness and honesty that served this book well. She shares how, we as Christians need to not only reach out and make disciples of Christ, but how we need to also build strong relationships with these new disciples. It challenge me so much to see how I relate to non-Christians and how I look at the world around me.

A great read that I highly recommend.

BUY IT: You can purchase The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert online here, through Amazon

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of the author, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Jesus Feminist: A Book Review

About The Book:

What if the title Jesus Feminist didn’t raise eyebrows sky-high in the Church?

Written with poetic rhythm, a prophetic voice, and a deeply biblical foundation, this loving yet fearless book urges today’s church to move beyond man-made restrictions and fully welcome women’s diverse voices and experiences.
For centuries, the role of women in the church has been a subdued one, with many limitations. The time has come, argues Sarah Bessey—called an “accidental grassroots voice for postmodern and progressive evangelical women”—to take a new look at Scripture and challenge old assumptions.
In Jesus Feminist, Bessey shares her spiritual journey, which ranged from growing up in a post-gender-debate home to learning about the worldwide struggles of women and the obstacles even a well-meaning church can pose. Through disarmingly intimate storytelling, she tells how she grew to understand the story of God and the vastness of his work through women. Never one to shy away from the hard questions, Bessey engages critically with Scripture and church practices that are often used against full equality and shares how following Jesus made a feminist out of her.

Filled with beauty, hard truth, and brave vulnerability, Jesus Feminist urges the church to stop asking “man or woman” as a qualification for ministry and to start helping everyone find freedom in the fullness, hope, glory, and work of Christ.

About The Author:

Sarah Bessey is a writer and an award-winning blogger at www.sarahbessey.com. She lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada with her husband, Brian, and their three tinies: Anne, Joesph, and Evelynn.

My Review:

With honesty and rawness that is so necessary when talking about feminism (which seems to be a dirty word to some, but really isn't) Sarah Bessey does a remarkable job at directing the reader (primarily intended to be women) to really dig deep into their Bible and see what role God truly wants for women.

 Sarah combines a number of personal stories, scripture, and theology to remind us that God uses both men and women to complete His mission here on Earth. The book is nicely written, flows nicely and was a quick read. 

Here are a few quotes that resonated with me:

"Just like men, women need redemption. We all need the Cross of Jesus Christ, and we all need to follow him in the way of life everlasting. In the works and actions of Christ as recorded in scripture, we see what, "neither male, nor femal, Jew or Gentile, slave nor free" looks like in real, walking around life. (p. 18)

"women aren't simply or only blessed by giving birth to greatness; no, we are all blessed when we heart the Word of God - Jesus - and put it into practice. We don't rely on secondhand blessings in Jesus (p. 21)

"You cannot be full to the brinm with Christ's love and peace without spilling over into the lives of others. You learn how to love by being loved. You yearn to heal once you are healed. We receive goodness and bread, and then, of course, of course, we want to point every other hungry beggar on the road to the source." (p. 53)


"really, theology is simply what we think about God and then living that truth out in our right-now life" (p. 56)

"if a woman is held back, minimized, pushed down, or downplayed, she is not walking in the fullness God intended for her as his impage bearer, as His ezer warrior. If we minimize our gifts, hush our voice, and stay small in a misguided attempt to fit a weak and culturally conditioned standard of femininity, we cannot give our brothers the partner they require in God's mission for the world" (p. 80)

"That's the thing when we say yes to God - it's not about that one yes. Our one yes keeps resounding and spreading, like ripples in a pond after a pebble is thrown into it, until the yes of God and the yes of our hearts and the yes of Jesus' love and the yes of us all sweep over the world" (p. 149)

Aren't these quotes fantastic? I have read through the book once for review and have notes like crazy. However now I am planning to go through the book, along with the discussion questions that are included in the back of the book, in order to dig deeper into this topic. 

If you would like to dig deeper and see how Jesus can make a feminist out of you, I truly encourage you to pick up this book! 

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Jesus Feminist online through Amazon.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Howard Books, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

The Cure for the "Perfect" Life: A Book Review

About The Book:

Are you crumbling under the burden of perfection?

You know the expectations are unreasonable  - even unreachable. And when everyone else seems more together than you, where do you turn for help?

Meet Kathi, a disguised perfectionist always looking to put everyone else's needs above her own, and Cheri, a formerly confused and exhausted poster girl for playing it safe. They've struggled just like you - and found the cure. With unabashed empathy and humor, they invite you to take part of their rebellion against perfection. Step-by-step they'll teach you how to challenge and change unhealthy beliefs. As they free you from always seeking more or needing the approval of others, you'll discover a new, braver way of living. At last, you'll exchange outdated views of who you should be for a clear vision of who you are in Christ.

The truth is you don't have to be perfect. You just have to be brave enough to read this book.

You can read an excerpt of The Cure for the "Perfect" Life here, in PDF format


About The Author:

Kathi Lipp is a busy conferences and retreat speaker and the author of several books, including The Husband Project and The Get Yourself Organized Project. She and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four young adults.

Cheri Gregory spends her weekdays teaching teens and weekends speaking at women's retreats. She's been married to her college sweetheart, Daniel, for 25 years. The Gregorys and their college-age kids, Annemarie and Jonathon, live in California.

My Review:

Kathi Lipp has been a true treasure to my life in the last couple of years. Not only have I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing most of her books, but we have also had the opportunity to connect on a more personal level via Facebook. She loves women and loves to help them get out of the rat race of perfection and into the world of being who God wants them to be. Free of perfection and full of His love and approval.

Recently, I had the chance to read the book Kathi and Cheri co-wrote together, The Cure for the "Perfect" Life. It was a very important book for me to read in 2014. I will fully admit, I often seek approval from others instead of God, and I am always trying to be perfect, or at the very least make it look like things are perfect. When often, life is so far from that. This book was truly inspiring, encouraging and very much a challenge. And not in a bad way.

I read the book several months ago, and was part of the launch team. However, before writing my review I really needed to let the book reach my soul, to allow God to truly move through the authors and cause big changes in my life. And He so did.

The book is very well written and organized. You will be drawn in from the very first pages. There is a ton of personal stories shared from the authors, done with humor and honesty that is so refreshing. Each chapter includes sections "Tiny Acts of Rebellion" (ways to rebel against perfections) and " Tips for Each Rebel Type". Speaking of types, the authors will go through what they call "Rebel Types" at the beginning of the book: Expressive, Analytic, Driver and Amiable. Without using spoilers, I will leave it up to you to read the book and do the quiz that is included to figure out your type. It was truly enlightening for me to do the quiz and the result was spot on with my personality. When I did the online test to determine my Rebel Type, I came out as a "Driver Rebel". You can do the test in the book, as well as online here.

There are so many wonderful resources, encouragement and challenge within this book that any woman that wants to let go of perfectionism and head towards braver living NEEDS to read this book!

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase The Cure for the "Perfect" Life, here from Amazon.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of the authors, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Masterpiece Marriage: A Blog Tour and Book Review

About The Book:

He wants to save his business. She wants to be a professor. But are they asking for more than they can really have?

After a flood damages the looms at Zenus Dane’s Philadelphia textile mill and the bank demands loan payment, Zenus turns to his aunt for help repurposing his textiles. Trouble is . . . his aunt has already been hired by the lovely yet secretive Englishwoman Mary Varrs.

Eager to acquire his aunt’s quilt patterns, Zenus attends the summer Quilting Bee, a social event his aunt has uniquely designed with the secret purpose of finding Zenus a wife. However Zenus only has eyes for Mary, but Mary has no such desire for him.

Though his aunt is determined to design a masterpiece marriage, both Zenus and Mary will have to overcome their stubborn ways. Can he realize that love requires stepping out of his routine? And will she recognize that following her heart doesn’t mean sacrificing her ambition?

About The Author:

 Gina Welborn is the author of several novels and novellas, including "The Heiress’s Courtship." She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers; the president of Faith, Hope and Love; and a founding member of InkwellInspirations.com. She lives in Cache, Oklahoma, with her pastor husband and their five children. Visit her online at GinaWelborn.com.

My Review:

The Quilts of Love series of books have been one of my favorite series to read over the last several years and 2015 begins with another great book in the series. Masterpiece Marriage is the perfect novel to pick up to kick start your 2015 reading.

It is an engaging read, with delightful, well-rounded characters and a story line that will have you reading until all hours of the night. It is a quick read, and perfect to curl up with a cozy blanket and cup of tea on a cool evening or weekend afternoon. I love that the book interweaves a little romance with mystery and of course, the story revolves around a quilt. The characters of Mary and Zenus were fantastic and I loved how they developed throughout the story.

While Masterpiece Marriage is part of a series, it is very much a stand alone book. I look very forward to reading more of this series and from this author.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Masterpiece Marriage here!

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of LitFuse Publicity Group, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***