Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Maybelle In Stitches: A Blog Tour and Book Review

About The Book:

Maybelle Kazinzki can’t sew. She was after all, the only girl in the seventh grade Home Economics class to sew the zipper in the neck hole of the A-Line dress they were supposed to make. But when she finds an unfinished quilt in the attic of her mother’s house she gets the crazy idea to finish it—somehow, come heck or high water. She thinks it will help fill the lonely nights while her husband, Holden, is serving overseas during World War II.
Her recently departed mother’s quilt is made from scraps of material Maybelle traces back to her mother’s childhood, her grandmother’s childhood and her own childhood. She tries to add one of Holden’s stripes to it but the sewing is not going well and neither is her life. After receiving some harsh news, Maybelle’s faith falters and she puts the quilt away and stops trusting God. But God is faithful- no matter what. And it’ll take a group of neighborhood women armed with quilting needles to help Maybelle believe that.
About The Author:
Joyce Magnin is the author of the Bright’s Pond novels, including the award-winning The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow. A member of the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Fellowship, Joyce is a frequent workshop leader and the organizer of the StoryCrafters fiction group. She lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
My Review:
Book #16 in the Quilts of Love series was fantastic! With a great plot, super fun characters and a writing style that catches your attention and keeps it throughout the book, Maybelle in Stitches will bring you back to life during WWII. 
While this book is part of a series, its equally a stand alone novel. The series is written by separate authors and you will not get lost reading this book first. In fact, after reading this one, you will be scrambling to read the others. The book is not a fast pasted book but has enough twists and turns to keep you intrigued and loving all the emotions and life experiences that presented themselves in the book. It was a great read that reminded me that God always provides for our needs, even when we don't realize we need something.
I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!
BUY IT: You can purchase Maybelle in Stitches through Christian Book, as well as through your favorite local bookseller.
***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***

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Queen's Handmaid: A Book Review

About The Book: 

From the servant halls of Cleopatra’s Egyptian palace to the courts of Herod the Great, Lydia will serve two queens to see prophecy fulfilled.
Alexandria, Egypt 39 BC
Orphaned at birth, Lydia was raised as a servant in Cleopatra’s palace, working hard to please while keeping everyone at arm’s length. She’s been rejected and left with a broken heart too many times in her short life.
But then her dying mentor entrusts her with secret writings of the prophet Daniel and charges her to deliver this vital information to those watching for the promised King of Israel. Lydia must leave the nearest thing she’s had to a family and flee to Jerusalem. Once in the Holy City, she attaches herself to the newly appointed king, Herod the Great, as handmaid to Queen Mariamme.
Trapped among the scheming women of Herod’s political family—his sister, his wife, and their mothers—and forced to serve in the palace to protect her treasure, Lydia must deliver the scrolls before dark forces warring against the truth destroy all hope of the coming Messiah.
About The Author:
Tracy L. Higley started her first novel at age eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. She has authored many novels, including "Garden of Madness" and "So Shines the Night." Tracy is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Ancient History and has traveled through Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Italy, researching her novels and falling into adventures. See her travel journals and more at tracyhigley.com
My Review:
The Queen's Handmaid was a thoroughly enjoyable book that kept my attention throughout the entire time I read. The book is full of political action and real historical figures and storylines that will keep you up late into the night reading. With the descriptive writing with which Higley writes, I felt that I was experiencing each scene with the glorious characters. This was a passionate and well-rounded book that I loved and look forward to reading more from this author. This is an ideal read for those over 17 years of age, as well a  great book for book club study. 
This was a fantastic historical book that I highly recommend.
BUY IT: You can purchase The Queen's Handmaid online through Amazon. It is also available through your local book retailer from Thomas Nelson
***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of LitFuse Publicity Group and Thomas Nelson, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Happy Wives Club: A Book Review

About The Book:

One woman undertakes a worldwide search to learn the secrets of a great marriage—and finds one foundational truth that could change everything.
Fawn Weaver was a happily married woman running a successful business—and then something happened. Maybe it was divorce rate reports on the evening news, The Real Housewives of Orange County, or any daytime talk show where husbands and wives dramatically reveal their betrayals. Everywhere she looked, Fawn saw negative portrayals of marriage dominating the airwaves and dooming everyone to failure.
 Looking at Keith, the love of her life, she knew that wasn’t true. She was determined to find and connect with women just like her—happy and optimistic about marriage, deeply in love with her spouse, and committed to building a strong marriage that stands the test of time.
 On a whim, she started the blog HappyWivesClub.com and sent the link to a few of new friends. What started as a casual invitation to five women exploded into an international online club with 150,000 members in more than 100 countries.
 Happy Wives Club is Fawn’s journey across the world to meet her friends and discover what makes their marriages great. Join her on this exciting, exotic trip across six continents and through more than eighteen cities. Walk the streets of Mauritius, the historic ruins in Italy, and the vistas of New Zealand and Australia. Go from Cape Town to London, Manila to Buenos Aires, Winnipeg to Zagreb.
 Along the way, you will meet everyday women whose marriage secrets span cultures. You will hear their stories, witness their love, and be inspired by the proof that happy, healthy marriages do exist—and yours can be one of them!
 It turns out great marriages are all around us—when we look for them. Go on a trip with Fawn and learn the best marriage secrets the world has to offer.
You can read an excerpt of the book here, in PDF format

About The Author:

Fawn Weaver is the founder of the Happy Wives Club, a community of more than 150,000 women in more than 100 countries. HappyWivesClub.com is an upbeat blog dedicated to positively changing the tone about marriage. It has attracted more than 1,000,000 visitors and was named #1 marriage website by About.com. Her debut book, Happy Wives Club, is a journey to 12 countries and 6 continents in search of the universal secrets to a happy marriage.

My Review:

What a fun read! To see how women from around the world view marriage was a delight, and the way that author, Fawn Weaver did so, was superb.

You will follow the lives of a number of different couples and the author unpacks their lives and offers ideas and tips of how to make marriage work not better, but differently, to be as successful as possible. This was a welcome difference than many of the how-to books on marriage that saturate the book marriage for the genre. It is inspiring, funny, heartwarming and will encourage marriages of all ages and stages. Whether you have been married for 2 months or 40 years, you will find something to relate to in this book.

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

BUY IT: You can purchase the Happy Wives Club book online through Amazon

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Thomas Nelson and 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***

Friday, April 11, 2014

Wildwood Creek: A Book Review

About The Book:

With love and loss tangled together, how was she to know where her life would lead?
Allie Kirkland has always heard the call of her father's unfinished destiny. When she's offered a production assistant's job on a docudrama filming in the hills near Moses Lake, Texas, the dream of following in her director-father's footsteps suddenly seems within reach. The reenactment of the legendary frontier settlement of Wildwood is a first step into the film industry. A summer on set in the wilderness is a small price to pay for a dream. 

But in 1861, the real Wildwood held dangerous realities. Town founder Harland Delavan held helpless residents, including young Irish schoolteacher Bonnie Rose, in an iron grip. Mysterious disappearances led to myths and legends still retold in the region's folk songs. Eventually, the entire site was found abandoned.
When filming begins, strange connections surface between Allie and the teacher who disappeared over a century ago, and everyone in Wildwood--including Blake Fulton, Allie's handsome neighbor on the film set--seems to be hiding secrets. Allie doesn't know whom she can trust. If she can't find the answers in time, history may repeat itself...with the most unthinkable results

You can read an excerpt of Wildwood Creek here, in PDF format

You can access discussion questions perfect for book clubs, here, in PDF format

About The Author:

Lisa Wingate is a popular inspirational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books, including Tending Roses, Talk of the Town, Blue Moon Bay, andLarkspur Cove, which won the 2011 Carol Award for Women's Fiction. Lisa and her family live in central Texas. Visit www.lisawingate.com

My Review:

The Moses Lake series has been a series that I have absolutely loved by Lisa Wingate. It drew me in from the first pages of book one, and now with book four it continues to capture my attention in ways only Wingate does. I was NOT disappointed with this book at all!

The writing was easy to read and was the perfect book to sit down and cozy up with a cup of tea and quilt. The characters of this series are definitely one of the many drawing points for me. They are real, fallible and raw. All who read this book will relate to at least one character for certain. Bonnie Rose being my fave over all.

With two storylines I was pleasantly surprised at how well they intermingled and kept my attention at the same time. This is not always the case in novels, but was done remarkably in Wildwood Creek. A great mystery and love story and I cannot wait to see what is next for author Lisa Wingate.

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

BUY IT: You can purchase Wildwood Creek at your favorite book retailer from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and 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***

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Prepared for a Purpose: A Book Review

About The Book:

870 children waited in fear as their elementary school rushed into lockdown mode. As the nation faced yet another Sandy Hook story of tragedy, one woman rewrote the ending.

Yet the story doesn't start with those first steps Michael Hill took into that Atlanta elementary school. It starts with Antoinette Tuff, a woman who faced her own pain, hurt, and rejection, yet held onto grace, faith, and hope. A hope that anchored her in the most high-stakes moments, a grace that allowed her to empathize with a hurting young man, and a faith that gave her the courage to love him back from the brink.

This is more than just the amazing account of tragedy averted. It's the evidence of what we can do when we allow ourselves to be used by God. And it's a story of how God uses all of our life experiences--the good and the bad--to prepare us for our own moment of divine purpose.

You can read an excerpt of this book, here, in PDF format

About The Author:

Antoinette Tuff is a true picture of grace, courage, leadership, and heroism at its best. But before she made headlines and talked a school shooter back from the brink, she was a woman who faced--and overcame--her own pain and hurt. Publicly recognized by President Obama for her courageous act that saved a school from tragedy, she's also been nominated for the prestigious Carnegie Medal for civilian heroism. Today Antoinette speaks around the world, spreading hope and sharing her inspiring message of how our lives prepare us for our own moments of purpose. She has two children. Learn more at www.antoinettetuff.com.

My Review:

Prepared for a Purpose will take you back to the day the unthinkable happened - another school shooting on August 20, 2013 and how one woman's courage saved countless lives, and reminds of the importance of God's call on our own life. We will never know what causes tragedy's like mass shootings, such as this one, Sandy Hook or most recently (again), Fort Hood. But God knows and he brings people like author Antoinette Tuff out of their own chaos and misery to impact strangers and other people's life forever. 

The book itself was a great read, easy to read and quick to read but its the story of the author that absolutely floored me and had me reading late into the night. The book alternated between the authors life experiences and the day of the shooting, reminding us that all our life experiences come together to impact situations like that which occured at the school. To be brave and courageous inspite of real danger to put others ahead of one's self is a true act of bravery and I am so glad to have read Antoinette's story. I shed tears with each chapter read and am so glad God placed His hand on her life and guided her to that day.

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

BUY IT: You can purchase Prepared for a Purpose at your favorite book retailer from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and 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***

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dancing with Fireflies: A Blog Tour and Book Review

About The Book:

Jade returns home to Chapel Springs after years of protecting her fragile heart. Then along comes Daniel, making her long to dance again.
Creative and complicated, Jade McKinley felt like a weed in a rose garden growing up in Chapel Springs. When she left, she thought she’d never look back. But now, pregnant, alone, and broke, she has no other choice but to return.
The mayor of Chapel Springs, Daniel Dawson, has been an honorary member of the McKinley family for years. While his own home life was almost non-existent, Daniel fit right into the boisterous McKinley family. He’s loved Jade for years, but she always saw him as a big brother. Now that she’s back, his feelings are stronger than ever.
As Jade attempts to settle in, nothing feels right. God seems far away, she’s hiding secrets from her family, and she’s strangely attracted to the man who’s always called her “squirt.” Finding her way home may prove more difficult than she imagined.
You can read an excerpt of Dancing with Fireflies online here!
About The Author:
Denise Hunter is an internationally published best-selling author. Her books have won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader's Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and was a RITA finalist. In 1996, inspired by the death of her grandfather, Denise began her first book, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her husband says he inspires all of her romantic stories, but Denise insists a good imagination helps, too. When Denise isn't writing, she's busy raising three heroes-in-the-making with her husband.

Win a Kindle HDX!
Dancing with Fireflies denise hunter
My Review:
If you are looking for a book that will have you up late into the night reading because you are cheering on the primary characters, this is the book for you! It is so well written and I LOVED every chapter and experience in it! Denise Hunter is one of my favorite authors of the last number of years and with each book of her's that I read, I become more and more impressed! Dancing with Fireflies was no exception! It is a second book in a series but also works well as a stand-alone novel as well (although, I do prefer to read a series in its order). I was taken in from the first pages and this book will definitely be on my top books of 2014 for certain!!! It truly was that good.
I highly recommend this book and give it a thumbs up!
BUY IT: You can purchase Dancing with Fireflies online through Amazon.com
***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***

Know Orphans: A Blog Tour and Book Review

About The Book:

The global orphan crisis is complex. The church’s response should be comprehensive, but is it? In this provocative follow-up toOrphanology, author Rick Morton provides the framework for families and churches to have a gospel-centered response to the growing global issue of orphan care.
KnowOrphans addresses three distinct areas associated with global orphanology. Delving deeper into the criticisms of the movement, the need for reform, and what families can expect, author Rick Morton helps shape realistic perceptions of the challenges and rewards adoptive parents face in transnational adoptions. Through illuminating the work internationally adoptive families can expect,KnowOrphans offers solutions for the church in remedying the ills and deficiencies surrounding the church’s role in equipping and supporting families before, during, and after the adoption process. Knowing that the church’s response and attitude should be one that goes beyond adoption, KnowOrphans also addresses the complexities of how Christians are to respond ethically, compassionately, and comprehensively to the biblical call to care for orphans.
KnowOrphans is the next step in conversation as this evangelically based movement of orphan care matures and begins to live out James 1:27 globally.
About The Author:
Rick Morton is the father of three transnational adopted children and coauthor of the popular book "Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel-Centered Adoption and Orphan Care." His dedication to the plight of orphans extends beyond his own family. The Mortons were cofounders of Promise 139, an international orphan-hosting ministry based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. An inspiring speaker for the gospel to be expressed by the church living out God’s heart for the fatherless, Rick presents at adoption and orphan-care conferences and pastor’s conferences. Rick and his family live in the Greater Memphis area.

Learn more about Rick Morton at www.rickmortononline.com

My Review:
 Adoption as a whole is a very important way to meet the needs of children who otherwise would not have a family to call their own, but Orphan Ministry is so much more than just adopting. Morton takes you on a journey through the international adoption of his two children, and shares with you the ups and downs that comes with that journey. It was very eye-opening to be sure. 
Through reading Know Orphans, I have a renewed appreciation for those in my life that are in various stages of adoption. Currently, I know eleven friends and family that are in various stages of the adoption process, be it just starting with coming up with the money necessary and filling out forms to being matched to transitioning at home with a new little person to call a son or daughter. It is definitely an emotional journey with many ups and downs. I am proof positive that adoption saves lives. I was the recipient of a domestic adoption 39 years ago and fully support adoption as a means to save lives and fullfill God's command to care for the widows and orphans of the world. 
Morton was raw honest about his family's journey, yet encourages you to find a way to support adoption, whether you adopt, pray for those in the process, or financially support friends and family who adopt, or financially support Adoption Organizations around the world. I loved that in his writing he never once made me feel guilty for not adopting at this point in our life, but challenged me to get more involved with Orphan Care as a Christian. 
If you are looking for a wonderful resource for your church, for those who are on the adoption journey or to read as a way to embrace this so necessary ministry as a Christ-follower, this is the book to read.
I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Know Orphans: Mobilizing the Church for Global Orphanology online 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***

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Storm Inside: A Book Review

About The Book:

No matter the storm, God knows, God cares, and He is always there. 
The chaos of life can be overwhelming, and women get a heavier dose than most. Each day comes with its own pressures, heartaches, and disappointments that slowly erode the joy, peace, and closeness to God every woman needs. Chaos always feels like the enemy as it rages around us and inside us. But there is hope!
In The Storm Inside, best-selling author and Women of Faith speaker Sheila Walsh invites you into ten life-changing, hope-filled transformations where hurt and heartache are divinely redeemed into joy and faith. With insightful biblical teaching, intimate stories of her own storms and the chaos other women have faced and overcome, Walsh shows how:
  • Heartbreak can become strength
  • Shame can lead to love
  • Unforgiveness can find freedom
  • Restoration can undo rage
  • Courage overcomes insignificance
  • And so much more
In The Storm Inside, you will find strength in the most profound truths—that you are always a child of God no matter how you feel. In these pages, you will learn to see yourself as God sees you, not as someone forever tossed by the waves but as a woman fully known, fully loved, and growing ever deeper in faith, hope, and love.
It is time as daughters of God to take the chaos of how we feel, lay it at the feet of God, and stand strong in who we are in Him. This simple teaching will be the difference between a life of joy and one of despair. Sheila powerfully reminds us that God offers no guarantee of a life without storms, but He does provide the strength and grace to make it through them.

About The Author:

Sheila Walsh is a powerful communicator, Bible teachers, and best-selling author with more than 4 million books sold. A featured speaker with Women of Faith, Sheila has reached more than 3.5 million women by artistically combining honesty, vulnerability, and humor with God's Word. 

You can find Sheila on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, and check out her website here.

Check out Session 1 of the The Storm Inside DVD Study:

My Review:

The Storm Inside by Sheila Walsh came into my life at the perfect time! It was definitely God that orchestrated the ability for me to be able to review this amazing and seriously LIFE CHANGING book. 

Storms seem to be very real and all-consuming in my life during the last six years. In these years, I have lost a grandfather (Opa) and two siblings to death, my own parents marriage dissolved, had a major marriage crisis in my own marriage and now am on the journey of losing both my Oma and my Mother-in-Law to cancer over the next few months. Just reading that makes my head spin to think about the chaos these life events have caused myself and my family. Yet despite these storms, God has walked along side me and my family and reminded us that He loves us, and will carry us through and out of the chaos to peace only found in Him.

It is these things that Walsh writes about in her book and I will be forever grateful to have read it. Walsh uses both personal experience, raw honesty and scripture to remind us that fear, struggle and even failure give us strength to overcome and that by standing on His Strength we will find hope again. My favorite part of the book was the reflection questions at the end of each chapter, titled "Standing Through Your Storm" as they really allowed me to see that good can (and did) come from the hardest times of my life. 

Here are a few quotes from the book that resonated deeply with me:

"Jesus does not promise you a perpetually happy life,  but He does promise you a depth of joy equal to His own...which is very great" (p. 120)

"When the storm inside seems ready to consume you, remember that the One who calms the storm is very much alive and very much with you:" (p. 121)

"while insecurity tells us we are not right, the righteousness of Christ makes us right" (p. 135)

Chapter Eight, A New Dawn Breaks (From Insignificance to Courage) was my favorite of the whole book, mostly because so discusses my favorite Bible character, Esther and how we can go from insignificance to courage when we learn to let go of the chaos and give it to God. On page 158, Walsh writes, "Our own "Esther Moments" will come, when the Lord will ask us to step out of what seems to be a place of insignificance and stead stand with courage for the King and His Kingdom" WOW, just WOW. 

This is a book that all women, no matter what chaos you have endured, need to read. You will not be disappointed. Also, the DVD study of the book is perfect both for individual study, but especially for small group or Bible study groups. (check out session one above)

A powerful read that I highly, highly recommend. 

BUY IT: You can purchase The Storm Inside online through Amazon. It is also available through your favorite local Christian Book Retailer from Thomas Nelson

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

Seven: A Book Review

About The Book:

American life can be excessive, to say the least. That’s what Jen Hatmaker had to admit after taking in hurricane victims who commented on the extravagance of her family’s upper middle class home. She once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual was born.

7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.

Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.

Here is Session 2 from the DVD Study based on the book:

About The Author:

Jen Hatmaker and her family live in Austin, Texas, where the city motto is “Keep Austin Weird,” and they work hard to do their part. Jen’s eight previous books include Interrupted and A Modern Girl’s Guide to Bible Study. She and her husband planted Austin New Church in an economically and ethnically diverse, socially unique, urban area of the city in 2008. They are in the great- est adventure of their lives, (thrilled to find out where they have planted is known as the “church planters graveyard”) and have made some incredible new partnerships in ministry. They’ve seen their world turned upside down as they’ve considered what it means to ask God how to live and not just what to do. But it’s a good upside down, as part of that discovery will be the addition of two children from Ethiopia set to join the three they already have. Together they will keep Austin weird and seek to glorify God as they do.

My Review:

Seven is probably going to be the most personal review I do this year! It has truly changed me for the better! 

Back in December 2013, I discovered the blog written by author Jen Hatmaker, and consequently also discovered her book, Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess and I haven't looked back. After contacting the publisher, I was pleased to find out I could review the book. However, I took the review one step further and decided to do my own version of the seven month experiment. I will not provide any spoilers in this review, but want to list the seven areas of the experiment for those not familiar with this book and concept.

The seven areas mentioned in the book are:

1. Food
2. Clothes
3. Possessions
4. Media
5. Waste
6. Spending 
7. Stress

I loved the book! It is written in journal form and so it felt as though as was right in a coffee shop having one-on-one time with the author herself and it was raw, honest and surprising challenging! Not only did she step by step take you on her journey but she meets you were you are and allows you to really examine your life to see where you are living excessively (and we all are!) There were so many amazing quotes from the book, but here are few:

“Teaching by example, radical obedience, justice, mercy, activism, and sacrifice wholly inspires me. I'm at that place where "well done" trumps "well said." When I see kingdom work in the middle of brokenness, when mission transitions from the academic soil of the mind into the sacrificial work of someone's hands, I am utterly affected. Obedience inspires me. Servant leaders inspire me. Humility inspires me. Talking heads dissecting apologetics stopped inspiring me a few years ago.” 

“I suspect God is more glorified in a humble room of earnest worshipers than a massive production designed to sound "relevant" to the listeners but no longer relevant to God. When the worship of God turns into a "worship experience," we have derailed as the body of Christ.” 

“As Jesus explained, the right things have to die so the right things can live--we die to selfishness, greed, power, accumulation, prestige, and self-preservation, giving life to community, generosity, compassion, mercy, brotherhood, kindness, and love. The gospel will die in the toxic soil of self.” 

“Media has changed the way we interact with one another and what we spend our time doing. Our social norms have changed. 

The dangerous part of our social media and technologically saturated world is not its existence but what it distracts us from.” 

“We cannot carry the gospel to the poor and lowly while emulating the practices of the rich and powerful. We’ve been invited into a story that begins with humility and ends with glory; never the other way around.” 

Mind blowing...that is what my first reaction was to reading this book. Simply mind blowing. Then utter disbelief when I realized just how in excess my family (and so many others I know) and I are living. But that has begun to change. 

In February 2014 I began the 7 journey for myself. I chose to follow the same order of the experiment so spent the month eating only seven different foods (chicken, quinoa, avocado, eggs, apples, broccoli and sweet potatoes). While I found a ton of different ways to prepare these foods, I will be the first to admit, that was a very difficult month to be sure! I have a new appreciation for those who have limited foods and have been able to have many teachable moments as a result with my children. 

March was month two: Clothes! Spending the month only wearing seven different pieces of clothing was something I never thought I could do. Being in Canada, mid-winter, I made a few modifications to my list and did not include winter gear like boots, coats, mitts, etc as part of my seven. Instead, I used yoga pants, jeans, t-shirts and a couple pieces of dressier items for church on Sundays. Compared to food, it was WAY easier, but again showed me how much excess I had and actually prepared me for the current month I am in!

During this month, I am participating in Month three: Possessions. Disgarding 7 items per day for the month. Crazy as it sounds its not been difficult to think of seven things to trash, give away or sell. And I know that by the end of the month its going to feel so good to purge all the excess!

As the months continue I will be blogging my experiences but I am grateful that this book came into my life when it did! It has been life changing and I have also thoroughly enjoyed the DVD Study that complements the book. 

If you are looking for a challenge to do on your own, with a group of friends (as Jen did, and me too!) or with your family, Seven is the book for you to read and also experience!

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

BUY IT: You can purchase Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess online through Amazon. It is also available at your favorite local book retailer from B & H Publishing

***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***

Friday, April 4, 2014

Win a NEW Spring Wardrobe from @TheQuiltsofLove | “Maybelle in Stitches” Giveaway!

Don’t miss the newest Quilts of Love book, Maybelle in Stitches, by Joyce Magnin. Maybelle can’t sew. But when she finds an unfinished quilt in the attic of her mother’s house, she gets the crazy idea to complete it.
Joyce is celebrating the release with a $200 Modcloth giveaway. Enter today for a chance to spruce up your spring wardrobe!

  One winner will receive:
  • A $200 ModCloth.com gift card
  • Scraps of Evidence by Barbara Cameron
  • A Sky Without Stars by Linda S. Clare
  • Maybelle in Stitches by Joyce Magnin
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 19th. Winner will be announced on April 21st on the Quilts of Love blog!

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Enter to win a Kindle HDX from @TLHigley in THE QUEEN’S HANDMAID giveaway!

Tracy L. Higley is celebrating the release of The Queen's Handmaid with a fun giveaway.

Retailers + Resources gave it this glowing review: "Rich in historic detail, Higley’s vivid writing brings to life the plots and intrigues that swirled through the ancient world as alliances were built and broken on the calculated schemes of power-mad monarchs." 
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • The Queen's Handmaid by Tracy L. Higley
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 19th. Winner will be announced April 21st on Tracy's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Tracy's blog on April 21st to see if you won.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Dream Dress: A Book Review

About The Book:

Big dreams take big leaps of faith . . . but what if you trip on the way?
A lowly seamstress at a swanky bridal boutique, Gabi Delgado dreams of doing more than ripping out seams and fitting dresses to doe-eyed brides. She wants to see her own original dress designs gracing the young women of Texas. But when Jordan Singer, reporter for Texas Bride magazine, visits the shop to do a feature, Gabi is humbled in his influential--and unnervingly handsome--presence. 

Convinced she'll never get her dreams off the ground now, Gabi needs lots of encouragement--especially from her friend Bella Neeley--to take a chance and start her business. And as she gets to know Jordan, she discovers that she may have to take a chance on love as well.

About The Author:

Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author and screenwriter. An expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into, Thompson offers an inside look at the wedding business, drawing on her own experiences as a wedding planner. She is the author of the Weddings by Bella series and the Backstage Pass series, as well as Picture Perfect and The Icing on the Cake. She lives in Texas. Visit www.janiceathompson.com for more.

My Review:

Reading Janice Thompson's book always make me laugh, smile, and allow me to live vicariously through her super fantastic characters! I have had the pleasure to read The Weddings by Bella series and Backstage Pass series both and they were fantastic. Weddings by Design is the third wedding themed series from the author, and The Dream Dress is book three in the series. 

The Dream Dress is a fantastic combination of new characters and favorites from both Weddings by Bella and Backstage Pass series. And although there are previous characters in this book, do not be concerned you will be lost. There is no need to have read the previous books to understand these adorable and fun-loving characters, although after reading The Dream Dress you will be reading them I am certain! It is a clean, fun and quick (i read it in about three hours!)  read with many funny interactions and I felt like I was part of each scene as I read. The previous books in this series are Picture Perfect and Icing on the Cake. Book Four: Bouquet of Love is coming soon (I can't wait!). Also, though part of a series, The Dream Dress is a great stand-alone novel as well!

The story line is fun, not serious and takes you into the world of wedding planning and design. There is a little bit of everyone for all who read it and I would say it is appropriate for teens and older!

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

BUY IT: You can purchase The Dream Dress at your favorite book retailer from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Revell Reads Blogger Program, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not compensated in any manner***