Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

Rachel Hauck’s The Wedding Chapel $100 Giveaway

I'm so excited to bring you this review! I'm not really sure what I expected when I first started reading The Wedding Chapel, but I was blown away. I go to a LOT of weddings each year, since I photograph them. So I was prepared to be a bit critical when it came to this novel, and I was still wowed. This is a double timeline style book where you must navigate the stories of two different couples. One from 60 years before (this being the bride who the chapel was intended for in the first place) and a current couple, both being from the same small town in Tennessee. I felt emotionally torn at times, and very uplifted at others. This is a very well written, well executed piece.


Is sixty years too long to wait for love? Two stories of romance, one in 1949 and one in the modern day, meet in Rachel Hauck's The Wedding Chapel. When Taylor Branson takes an assignment in Heart’s Bend, the job does more than send her back to her hometown, but into a world of family secrets buried beneath the sands of time. When Taylor’s journey intersects with Jimmy “Coach” Westbrook's, they rediscover the heartbeat of their dreams and that the love they long to hold is right in front of them. And worth every waiting moment.

Join Rachel in celebrating the release of The Wedding Chapel by entering to win a copy and a $100 cash card—perfect for finishing up your Christmas gift shopping!

wedding chapel - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of The Wedding Chapel
  • A $100 cash card
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 31st. The winner will be announced January 4th on Rachel's blog.

wedding chapel - enter banner


*I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own.**

Post Christmas Blahs

Do you ever feel kind of...well...BLAH after Christmas? I sure do! I guess it's my recharging period before the new year starts in a few days!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Martian

WOW! Have you seen this movie yet?! OH MY! We bought it from Amazon Prime digital streaming whateveritiscalled and its FANTASTIC! I read somewhere that we have spent billions saving Matt Damon HAHA! Let me just say, Money WELL spent!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

MIA

Missing in Action: Winter 2015. If found, please return to the eastern half of the United States. Thank you, and God bless!

Odyssey Adventure Club

OAC-Gift-That-Lasts-All-Year-Facebook-Cover

Tired of the Christmas shopping, the baking and sugar overload, the Christmas festivities that keep you away from your family during the season? Take time special time to spend with your loved ones and invest in your community—with Focus on the Family's help!

You can download a fun gift to give to your friends, family, and community! Each Christmas stocking stuffer card directs you to a special place to hear an Adventures in Odyssey Christmas episode. Plus, you’ll be able to read a special excerpt from Imagination Station #12, “Danger on a Silent Night.” Sign up here to download the free cards.

Plus stop by this page for a slew of crafts, recipes, and stories to share with your family during this special time of year!

Christmas_2015_Cards_Banner 

If you're still looking for one last gift to give your kids this year, give the gift of the Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC). It offers safe and free content for everyone in your family, including an Advent calendar, a broadcast download with tips to create a memorable Christmas, AIO cutouts, and Christmas stocking stuffer cards. Membership to the OAC costs just $9.99 a month — or even less if parents make a six-month or one-year commitment. Enrollment provides more than enough content to keep kids engaged throughout the year:
  • Access to exclusive content and first looks at books and select Radio Theatre dramas.
  • On-the-go access to the OAC app for both iOS and Android users.
  • 24/7 streaming access to nearly 800 AIO episodes.
  • A new, members-only AIO episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine, and more.
To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit www.oaclub.org, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Shenandoah Family Christmas REVIEW




Hey everyone! I am so happy to bring you this review for A Shenandoah Family Christmas. I received this as an ebook, and once I started reading it I just couldn't put it down! It's a short read that took me about an hour or so to finish it. This novella is part of a series, but I did not find that I was lacking having not read anything prior to this one. Since this is such a short book, I was left feeling like I wanted more. There is so much potential for the development of the characters, I would LOVE for the author to flesh out each character's store more, perhaps in another series! There is a great focus on God and prayer, but I wish there was a little more in the way of Advent and maybe history. Then again, with it being a short novella, I love the plot and storyline, and the old fashioned charm just can't be beat! Overall: I loved it! 


A Shenandoah Family Christmas by Lisa Belcastro is an 88 page novella in the Christian historical fiction genre. It is published by Washashore Publishing and was released on November 17, 2015.  To purchase your own copy, click here 


”aBook Information: 
 Where is Christmas? Disease, freezing temperatures, and the Revolutionary War bring bitter reality to the Reed home in December 1777. Captain Benjamin Reed is ordered to sail a supply shipment south to General George Washington. Days before Shenandoah’s scheduled departure, Ben’s first mate succumbs to smallpox. Rebecca Reed had never feared the dreaded disease until her one-year-old daughter Felicity breaks out in the telltale rash. In the cold, dark days of Advent, Rebecca, Ben, and the Reed family wait in prayerful hope as Felicity fights for her life and they wonder who could be next. With the rest of the family at risk, they decide to obtain the forbidden cowpox vaccine. Ben’s brother Jonah, his uncle Isaiah, and Shenandoah’s cook Adam Greene venture off in search of the outlawed vaccine. A blizzard hits. A tree crashes. Jonah crumbles to the ground. A woman with the face of an angel aids Jonah, but is it too late? And where are Adam and Isaiah? As the death toll rises throughout the Colonies, the Reed family prays for more than one Christmas miracle. 

  About the Author 
 Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard.  She loves time with her family and friends, running, gardening, outdoor activities, cooking, chocolate, reading, traveling, a healthy dose of adventure, and her cat, Ben, who keeps her company while she creates fictional lives for the numerous characters living inside her head. Lisa runs as an ambassador for TEAM 413 (www.team413.org), and has completed a marathon (26.2 miles) in all fifty states. Lisa’s stories are set on the Vineyard amidst the magnificence of the ocean, the beauty of sandy beaches, rolling hills, and ancient cliffs, as well as the people and events that make the Island so very unique. When she’s not at her desk, Lisa is living in paradise, volunteering at her daughter’s school, serving in her church community, planting and weeding her numerous gardens, training to run the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge in January 2016, walking the beach looking for sea glass, or enjoying a great meal while she pens the cuisine column for Vineyard Style Magazine. 

 Enter Giveaway



**I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own.**




Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Couches GALORE!

Remember that couch I bought? The one I spent days agonizing over? Well, I still have it. Still love it. What's happening Saturday? ANOTHER couch! Long story....I'll post later! HAHA!

Monday, December 14, 2015

From the Adventures in Odyssey family to yours, here’s a free gift sure to make your Christmas merrier!

OAC-Gift-That-Lasts-All-Year-Facebook-Cover

Tired of the Christmas shopping, the baking and sugar overload, the Christmas festivities that keep you away from your family during the season? Take time special time to spend with your loved ones and invest in your community—with Focus on the Family's help!

You can download a fun gift to give to your friends, family, and community! Each Christmas stocking stuffer card directs you to a special place to hear an Adventures in Odyssey Christmas episode. Plus, you’ll be able to read a special excerpt from Imagination Station #12, “Danger on a Silent Night.” Sign up here to download the free cards.

Plus stop by this page for a slew of crafts, recipes, and stories to share with your family during this special time of year!

Christmas_2015_Cards_Banner 

If you're still looking for one last gift to give your kids this year, give the gift of the Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC). It offers safe and free content for everyone in your family, including an Advent calendar, a broadcast download with tips to create a memorable Christmas, AIO cutouts, and Christmas stocking stuffer cards. Membership to the OAC costs just $9.99 a month — or even less if parents make a six-month or one-year commitment. Enrollment provides more than enough content to keep kids engaged throughout the year:
  • Access to exclusive content and first looks at books and select Radio Theatre dramas.
  • On-the-go access to the OAC app for both iOS and Android users.
  • 24/7 streaming access to nearly 800 AIO episodes.
  • A new, members-only AIO episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine, and more.
To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit www.oaclub.org, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Rachel Hauck’s ‘The Wedding Chapel’ REVIEW and $100 Cash Card Giveaway

 Hey Readers! I'm so tickled to bring you this review of The Wedding Chapel! 









About the book: 

The Wedding Chapel (Zondervan, November 2015)

For sixty years, a wedding chapel sat silent, waiting for love. But times have changed and the hour has come when it just might be too late.

Retired hall-of-fame football coach Jimmy "Coach" Westbrook never imagined anything would come of his labor of love---the wedding chapel he built for Collette Greer, the 
woman he fell for back in '49. But now an offer has come to turn the chapel into what it was meant to be---a place for love---and Jimmy sees no reason to hang onto his dream any longer.

Photographer Taylor Branson is trying to make a life for herself in New York. Leaving her hometown of Heart's Bend, Tennessee, she put a lot of things behind her, including her family's abysmal marriage rate. But love surprises her when she falls head-over-heels for Jack Forester, a top ad man.Their whirlwind romance results in an elopement, and a mountain of doubt. Jack, while genuine in his love for Taylor, can never seem to overcome his own demons to find the words of his heart.

When Taylor takes an assignment in Heart's Bend, the job does more than send her back to her hometown, but into a world of family secrets buried beneath the sands of time.

When Taylor's journey intersects with Coach's, they rediscover the heartbeat of their dreams and that the love they long to hold is right in front of them. And worth every waiting moment.


Purchase a copy: 
http://bit.ly/1RlAvCm

About the author: 

Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, best selling author of critically acclaimed novels such as The Wedding Dress,Love Starts with Elle, and Once Upon A Prince. She also penned the Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. Booklist named their novel, Softly and Tenderly, one of 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals. She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and is a mentor and book therapist at My BookTherapy, and conference speaker. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pets.

Connect with Rachel: websiteTwitterFacebook

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Is sixty years too long to wait for love? Two stories of romance, one in 1949 and one in the modern day, meet in Rachel Hauck's The Wedding Chapel. When Taylor Branson takes an assignment in Heart’s Bend, the job does more than send her back to her hometown, but into a world of family secrets buried beneath the sands of time. When Taylor’s journey intersects with Jimmy “Coach” Westbrook's, they rediscover the heartbeat of their dreams and that the love they long to hold is right in front of them. And worth every waiting moment.

Join Rachel in celebrating the release of The Wedding Chapel by entering to win a copy and a $100 cash card—perfect for finishing up your Christmas gift shopping!

wedding chapel - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of The Wedding Chapel
  • A $100 cash card
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 31st. The winner will be announced January 4th on Rachel's blog.

wedding chapel - enter banner

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Like Father, Like Son REVIEW



Hey readers! I'm really happy to bring you this review of Like Father, Like Son written by Pete Alwinson. This book does a great job of showing men how God is their father, and how to live their life with this knowledge. It guides men in how to become "a man," and also guides them through being a father, and other life events and situations. Each chapter includes questions for more reflection and study. The book is fairly short, and can easily be read in just a couple of days. This would be a great addition to a men's retreat or a men's Bible study program. This is a great book to give to an expectant father, young father, any father or any man. I love how it really shows the importance of dads in their children's lives!



About the book: 

Like FatherLike Son: How Knowing God as Father Changes Men (New Growth Press, November 2015)

Beyond trying to be a "real" man

What do men need in the twenty-first century? There are so many opinions---some think the answer is a masculine to-do list. Others give detailed directions on how to become a "real" man. Those things can be helpful, but do they get to the core of the identity issues that men are facing today? You can't know who you are and who you are meant to be without knowing the love of your Father---that is, your Fatherin heaven. Without knowing the Father's love and acceptance, men are adrift looking for identity in imperfect relationships or cultural norms about manhood. But knowing God's fatherly love changes everything. A man who is forgiven and accepted by his heavenly Father is free to become like him. Living out of the love of God the Fatherchanges everything for his sons.

Instead of telling men how to recover and reclaim their masculinity, Pete Alwinson invites men to recover and reclaim an intimate, growing relationship with their heavenly Father and live out of that identity in their particular calling as sons, fathers, brothers, friends. Using personal stories and anecdotes from his many years of men's ministry, Pete shows men that the way forward in life and relationships is through their growing relationship with their heavenly Father.


Purchase a copy: 
http://bit.ly/1NleS5M
About the author: 

Pete Alwinson has been a youth pastor, solo pastor, church-planting pastor, and senior pastor for 30 years. He has also served as an adjunct professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, teaching Communication and Theology of Ministry, and has written and spoken nationally for Man in the Mirror and Key Life Network. He has been married to Caron for 34 years, has two married sons and one college-aged daughter.

Connect with Pete: websiteTwitterFacebook











**I received this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family. No other compensation was received.**

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving verse




When presented with the option to take part in a Bible verse blog share, I thought this verse was appropriate for the day. This is my first verse "meme." I'm quite proud of it! 

New blog graphic


Saturday, November 28, 2015

I'm Happy For You (Sort of...Not really) REVIEW!

 I was so blessed to receive a copy of "I'm Happy for You (Sort of...Not Really.)" I excitedly opened the package and not only did I find the book, but also a little thank you gift in the form of cute "M&M" like candies! Seriously, it's the little things like that that make this blogger smile! I truly appreciate it when authors and vendors express their gratitude! 

With that said, I'm Happy for You (Sort of....Not Really) is a lovely book written by Kay Wills Wyma that brings to the forefront the culture of living our lives by comparing to others so that we can be content with what we have, not what we think we need to have in order to keep up with the Jones of the world. 



About the Book:


About I’m Happy For You (Sort Of…Not Really)
Our cultural obsession with comparison is undercutting relationships and sapping contentment. With disarming candor and humor, Kay Wills Wyma explores how to trade comparison for compassion and rediscover what life is all about.
It’s easy to get caught in the comparison games we play with our appearances, our kids, and our homes. Kay reminds exhausted families about tried and true remedies from the pressures ofcompetitive living.
In her warm, relatable style, Kay confronts the comparison epidemic raging in our homes, our neighborhoods, and our social-media feeds, offering remedies along the way.
With candor and humor, I’m Happy For You (Sort Of…Not Really) explores the troubling effects ofliving in an excessively competitive culture—and reveals simple yet effective ways to escape the comparison trap.

About the Author
Kay Wills Wyma is a blogger, mother of five, and the author of Cleaning House through which she has appeared on The TODAY Show, CNN, Glenn Beck, The New York Times, Focus on the Family, and more. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, she held positions at the White House, the Staubach Company, and Bank of America. Kay lives in the Dallas area with her husband, Jon, and their family.


🎁🎄🎁
This outreach is not for the faint at heart…we’re moving into The Holidays which probably only makes COMPARISON a harder topic, right?

That’s actually the timeliness of this opportunity.  Join Kay and her family as she’s started to #HydrateForTheHolidays on her blog posts to learn how to recapture contentment and joy, especially in Nov. & Dec.!!  She’ll be sharing thoughts throughout the season!

My Thoughts:

This book was really an eye opener for me. I saw just how much "comparison" living I was truly doing in my own life. Are my clothes as trendy as so and so? Is my home as posh as my neighbors'? Is my house as clean as that other stay-at-home mom? Is my kid as smart, or smarter? Is my car better? So many comparisons go through our heads daily, that we can get so caught up in trying to live for other people and not for ourselves. this book is great to point that out, and help us navigate our own lives/thoughts/emotions to break the comparison habit and feel comfortable living our own lives for God and ourselves.


a Rafflecopter giveaway






"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, LLC forproviding 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.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. Iyou have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

So I need a new couch. Mr. B's health issues have rendered my microfiber sectional to the level of -ICK. Meaning, it's bad. It's stained, ripped, etc. I NEED a new couch. The problem? I'm indecisive. I want something durable. I want something I know will last a long time. I thought about "Durablend" which is bonded leather, but I'm learning that's not a good choice since it easily fades/flakes/peels. What's the point of spending $700 on a couch if it's going to look all peelie gross in a year????

So now I'm stuck trying to justify spending  $$ I really don't have on leather. Or rather Leather Touch, meaning where you touch it there's leather. Seating, back, arms, etc. are all leather. The sides and back are a matching vinyl.

Suggestions and recommendations would be GREAT!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Old Schoolhouse BLUE RIBBON Award WINNERS!

AND THE WINNERS ARE!!!!!!!




So each year Schoolhouse Review Crew members are asked to do the impossible! We are asked to pick our FAVORITE products from the review year. It's nearly impossible to narrow it down, and I found myself doing a lot of coin flipping! First, I will link you to my personal favorites, then I will show you the whole 2015 list of Blue Ribbon Award winners!

Our top products of the year:

Reading/Literature: Progeny Press was our favorite here. I liked how well it flowed, the fact it was an eBook that I could easily print when needed, and the depth of the questions and work. 

Writing: Institute for Excellence in Writing. Does this even need explaining? It's just awesome. 

Vocabulary: Dynamic Literacy. I can't sing the praises of WordBuildOnline enough! The program is fun, fast, and the company truly has a heart for special needs and autism. They strive to make sure their products work and benefit kids with autism. 

Spelling: Institute for Excellence in Writing: Phonetic Zoo. We just LOVE this! It's fun, different, and great. 

Penmanship: CursiveLogic. Mr. B likes it because it is colorful. I like it because it just makes sense. 

History Curriculum: Homeschool in the Woods, hands down. THE BEST. It's hands on, fun, and just great. Our favorite supplement was Heirloom Audio. I can't decide between In Freedom's Cause and With Lee in Virginia. So I choose BOTH! 

Science: We love Digital Science Online. You get so much bang for you buck with them! I love it. I also really, REALLY like Critical Thinking Co. Surfing the Net: Science. 

Math: We reviewed a LOT of Math so it's impossible to just pick one. Unlock Math is great for Mr. B. He is able to follow the path so there's less prompting from me. A+ Math has fantastic printable worksheets and books, so I love it too. 


Favorite Foreign Language Curriculum: Middlebury Interactive Language-GO FRENCH!
Favorite Fine Arts Product: Maestro Classics, and it is the perfect time of year for it!
Favorite Christian Education Curriculum: Grapevine Studies:This is so fun. We are enjoying this a lot.
Favorite Christian Education Supplement: Firmly Planted. I loved this! 

Notable mentions: 

Koru Naturals. Just today I used my Honey and Propalis soap and my Skin Clear Cream. I love Koru Naturals, and my family will be loving them when they receive their products as gifts!

Homeschool Planet: I honestly use this every day. I schedule everything for everyone here!

SuperTeacherWorksheets.com: I can't stress my love for them enough. I have been a member for several years, and I hope to be a member for several more! 

Fishflix.com: The BEST DVDs!

USAopoly: These are great games, fun, educational, and fantastic for game night! We love Tapple and Wonky!


Here are the 2015 winners as voted by the Schoolhouse Review Crew!


Favorite Reading Curriculum: Reading Kingdom
Favorite Writing Curriculum: Institute for Excellence in Writing
Favorite Vocabulary Program: Dynamic Literacy
Favorite Spelling Program: Institute for Excellence in Writing: Phonetic Zoo
Favorite Grammar Program: Institute for Excellence in Writing: Fix-It gramar
Favorite Penmanship Program: CursiveLogic
Favorite Literature Curriculum: Progeny Press




Favorite History Curriculum: Home School in the Woods
Favorite History Supplement: Heirloom Audio Productions: In Freedom's Cause
Favorite Science Curriculum: Visual Learning Systems
Favorite Science Supplement: Ann McCallum Books: Eat Your Science Homework
Favorite Math Curriculum: CTC Math
Favorite Math Supplement: SimplyFun


Favorite Foreign Language Curriculum: Middlebury Interactive Language
Favorite Fine Arts Product: Maestro Classics
Favorite Elective Curriculum: Apologia Educational Ministries: Field Trip Journal
Favorite Christian Education Curriculum: Grapevine Studies
Favorite Christian Education Supplement: Brinkman Adventures




Favorite Preschool Product: La La Logic
Favorite Elementary Product: Star Toaster
Favorite Middle School Product: The Critical Thinking Co.
Favorite High School Product: Writing with Sharon Watson
Favorite College or College-Prep Product: Freedom Project Education
Favorite Parent Product: Koru Naturals
Favorite Planning Product: Apologia Educational Ministries: The Ultimate Homeschool Planner




Best Resource I Didn't Know I Needed: Homeschool Planet
Best Online Resource: Super Teacher Worksheets
Best e-Product: Home School in the Woods
Favorite Book, Novel or Audio Drama: Brinkman Adventures
Favorite Video: FishFlix.com
Just for Fun: USAopoly


Kids' Choice: La La Logic
Teens' Choice: YWAM Publishing
All Around Crew Favorite: Institute for Excellence in Writing


2015 Schoolhouse Review Crew Blue Ribbon Awards

Friday, November 20, 2015

ESV Men’s Devotional Bible Review AND Giveaway!


Hey everyone! I have a FANTASTIC Giveaway right now that is just in time for Christmas! I was blessed to receive an ESV Men's Devotional Bible for Mr. M to look at and review. I'm a KJV Bible person myself, but I found this particular Bible to be really nice. I would love to see a KJV version of it! I appreciated the additional educational pages (seen below) that are interspersed throughout to give the reader a contextual and historical basis for each book, as well as the author of each book. The font was nice, as was the size.....though I prefer a large print with Jesus' words in red. If you enjoy the ESV Bible translation, then I think the men in your lives would really enjoy this. Please take a moment to enter my giveaway for your chance to win one! 





About the ESV Men's Devotional Bible:

Our world presents daily distractions that can easily displace Christ as the center of a man's heart and life. The goal of the ESV Men's Devotional Bible is to strengthen and encourage men through the life-giving Word of God and sound devotional content aimed at nurturing godliness. With 365 theologically rich and gospel-centered devotions drawn directly from the Bible, this all-new resource was created under the editorial oversight of Dr. Sam Storms with contributions from over fifty Christian leaders. Introductions orient men to each book of the Bible, exploring its unique contribution to a man's walk with God. Thoughtful and instructive articles address the importance of sound doctrine, life in the local church, leadership, the heart, calling, and a host of other relevant issues for today. The Men's Devotional Bible will strengthen men in their walk with Christ, helping them apply the gospel and the truths of God's Word in their homes, churches, and workplaces.


Features:
- 365 brand-new devotions
- Brand new book introductions
- 14 brand-new articles
- Dictionary of key terms
- Ribbon marker
- Smyth-sewn binding
- Lifetime guarantee on TruTone edition
- Packaging: slipcase (TruTone), L-card (HC), permanent slipcase (Cloth over Board)


Retail Price: $34.99


About Crossway:
The purpose of Crossway has been, from its founding as a not-for-profit ministry in 1938, to publish gospel-centered, Bible-centered content that will honor our Savior and serve his Church. They seek to help people understand the massive implications of the gospel and the truth of God's Word, for all of life, for all eternity, and for the glory of God.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
"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, LLC for providing 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.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

An Endless Christmas REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY!!!!!


So I received this book to review, and I KNOW you aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover but....this is a BEAUTIFUL cover! When M opened the package, he even said, "Wow! This is a beautiful book! It even sparkles!" So, my first impression was instant WOW! Then I turned to the pages. And again, WOW! This is a really great book that shows the true meaning of love and family. Micah invites his girlfriend Katie to his family's annual Christmas gathering. He has chosen this time to propose to Katie, and she says NO! Ok first, can you imagine that?! He gets up the nerve to ask her, and she musters the courage to go against the norm of saying yes just because it is a public event and says no. Ok....let that sink in for a bit.....I'll wait.....still waiting....ready? Ok. So, she says no, but now she's stuck for a week with this family-her rejected boyfriend's family, after a very awkward moment. After getting to know the family, she realize this isn't the picture perfect family they appear to be on the surface, but instead a family who turns to faith to get through difficult times together, instead of apart. This is a light, easy read with a well developed plot and characters. There's depth, emotion, and faith. What more could you want?! 




http://litfusegroup.com/author/cruchti



About the book: 
An Endless Christmas
 (Worthy Inspired, October 2015)

Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster.

Christmas takes a very different turn when the guests of honor break up instead of announcing their engagement. Trapped with his family, they learn that love looks different than either imagined. Both in their eighties, Dodie and Wilson Binder celebrate every Christmas as if it were their last. This year, their grandson Micah is planning to ask his girlfriend, Katie, to marry him so they can celebrate with the whole family. But things go very wrong when she says, "no." Now they are stuck. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it's Christmas.

Purchase a copy: 
http://bit.ly/1PmF69N
About the author:
Drawing from 33 years of on-air radio ministry, Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels and novellas, nonfiction books and devotionals, and speaking for women's and writers' events. Her books have been recognized by Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Awards, Selah Awards, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Christian Retailing's BEST Awards, and Carol Award nominations, among other honors, including a Family Fiction Readers' Choice Award. She and her plot-tweaking husband live in Pittsville, Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.

Connect with Cynthia: websiteTwitter,Facebook


There's no getting out of Christmas now, despite Katie rejecting Micah's marriage proposal. Cozy up this holiday season with Cynthia Ruchti's new novella, An Endless Christmas. The Binder family celebrates every Christmas as if it were their last. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it’s Christmas.

Celebrate the holidays with Cynthia and An Endless Christmas by entering her $100 Target gift card giveaway!

endless christmas-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of An Endless Christmas
  • A $100 gift card to Target
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 30th. The winner will be announced December 1st on Cynthia's blog.

endless christmas-enterbanner



**I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own.**

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Five Times I Met Myself REVIEW

Have you ever found yourself thinking, "If only I could go back in time and tell myself XYZ, none of this would be happening right now" ?? I'm sure most of us have. That is the basis behind. Rubart's, The Five Times I met Myself. Brock, the main character, learns how to control his dreams after he has the same recurring dream. Thus, he is ultimately able to try and "fix" mistakes in the past to impact his present (and his future.) But he soon learns, sometimes the grass isn't greener on the other past side. Not a "dumbed down" book for sure !Thought provoking, and pretty great!



About the book:
The Five Times I Met Myself (Thomas Nelson, November 2015)

What if you met your twenty-three-year-old self in a dream? What would you say?

Brock Matthews' once promising life is unraveling. His coffee company. His marriage.

So when he discovers his vivid dreams---where he encounters his younger self---might let him change his past mistakes, he jumps at the chance. The results are astonishing, but also disturbing.

Because getting what Brock wants most in the world will force him to give up the one thing he doesn't know how to let go . . . and his greatest fear is that it's already too late.

About the author:


James L. Rubart is a professional marketer and speaker. He is the author of the best-selling novel Rooms as well as Book of Days, The Chair, Soul's Gate, Memory's Door, and Spirit Bridge. He lives with his wife and sons in the Pacific Northwest.
Connect with James: websiteTwitterFacebook

Overall:

Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable read. It is not a light read, but it is not a stiff, difficult read either. It is not your average fiction novel. It is a thought provoking, "have to use your brain" type book, and I really appreciated that. for me, this book really makes you think about your current situation and wonder if you had the chance to do a remake, or talk to your younger self....would you? Would you risk everything you have NOW for everything you thought you wanted then? That's a big question to ask. Just because we know our past, and we live in our present, we have no way of knowing what our future holds. Food for thought....



**I received this in exchange for my honest opinion through Litfuse. I was not required to write a positive review, nor compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own.**

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Just a few signs of Autism photo


I was doing an online search for signs of autism and I found this photo. And I thought, 
we always see posters or photos that tell us the signs of autism, but what does that even mean? "Inappropriate laughing or crying" what is that? Allow me to dissect this graphic and tell you what it means in our world. Keep in mind, if you know one child with autism, you know ONE child with autism. What these are in our world may be vastly different for yours. And please, if you are so inclined, go to the websites listed on this little image and let them know what an awesome chart they have! 

1.) Inappropriate Play with Toys: We had a Little Tykes play garden. This little garden had a yellow "gate" on it. Mr. B would open and close this gate over...and over...and over for hours on end. No less than 2 or more hours at any one time. He also had train tracks and the bases to mega block cars. He would take these wheeled bases and "drive" them over those train tracks over and over for over an hour at a time. Even now, at 10, he will take legos and build replicas of cityscapes to destroy them with tornadoes, or he takes train tracks (wooden) and builds highways and interstate splits. He's never actually ever played with a toy the way that toy was intended. 

2.) Inability to Relate to Others: If Mr. B feels it, he thinks everyone should feel it. If he likes something, then to him everyone likes it. He can't understand why I don't want to watch the Weather Channel for 12 hours a day. 

3.) Hyperactivity or Passiveness: We have the hyperactivity. He has been on ADHD meds since he was 4, and even then it's not enough at times to help him control his behavior. There are times he is on hyper drive and there's no stopping him. He can't be still, not even for a few seconds. He says his body feels like there's a charge going through it. 

4.) Inappropriate Laughing or Crying: Mr. B cried during the Lego Movie. If he gets in trouble, he laughs. He can't control it. He even takes his hands and pinches his jaws together to try and stop the laughing and smile, but he just can't.He knows it's not funny, but he can't control it. 

5.) Oversensitive or Undersensitive to Sound: Mr. B has to wear ear plugs when going to the movies. During a thunderstorm, he will put his fingers in his ears. He can hear things I can't even hear when it is pointed out to me. Blenders, vacuums, drills, saws, and sudden noises cause him pain, sometimes excruciating pain. 

6.) Strange Attachment to Objects: There have been many tears shed over trash. Trash that has been his favorite color for example. There was a few different packaging boxes that had sea green on them, and I had to keep them forever. I had to keep papers hanging on my walls for a couple of years. I've had to dig through restaurant trash for wooden blocks that had to be taken everywhere with us for over 5 years. It's a child's lovie on steroids. One child I know of had a meltdown over a clothes hanger. Right now, Mr. B takes a 30 sided die with him everywhere. 

7.) Poor Speech or Lack of Speech: Mr B. did not talk, for years. He was over 4 before he started speaking, and then it was stringing together just 2-4 word phrases, or repeating everything he heard. He'snow 10, and talks all the time, but he will still resort to echolalia. I have been hearing him say more and more random and his own words, and it's music to my ears! He also had a speech impediment for a long time. Apraxia and Echolalia are major factors in autism, but you CAN overcome them with a lot of hard work. 

8.) Difficulty Dealing with Changes in Routine: I once heard of a child who would ONLY get in the car on one side, and out on one side. When I heard this, I vowed then to now allow Mr. B to get caught up in a rigid routine. His cousin could not handle change, at all. So much so, that in school the teacher would rearrange the seating chart every month or so. Mr. B's cousin had to remain in the place because he couldn't handle the change. Mr. B has never had much of a problem with change. Any time I caught him developing a habitualized routine, I changed it right the. 

9.) Lack of Awareness of Danger: Running out into traffic. Running down the stairs as fast as he can. Wandering off. Jumping off tall objects. Running out onto a not so frozen pond. Hanging off things. Bouncing off glass doors. These are just a handful of the things Mr. B has done over the years. Thankfully, he's developing a sense of danger awareness now. 


These are just a few of the signs or characteristics of Autism. This list is by no means a comprehensive list! Feel free to comment below!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

After all these years....


After all these years, I still get so nervous when I send out a couple's wedding photos. I wait, sometimes even patiently, on pins and needles to hear what they think. And it's messages like the one I got tonight that make it so worth it. The bride loved her wedding photos so much she cried. Their exact words, "We love them so much. They are beautiful. The wife....she cried. Thank you so much!" They thank me....every time. That still blows my mind. I thank them. I appreciate them for giving me the blessing and the honor to be apart of their special day, and such an amazing moment in their lives....and they thank me. I still feel amazed and shocked every single time. I truly hope that feeling never leaves, for when it does it will be come a job. I don't want it to ever become a job.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Ology Book REVIEW

I am always on the hunt for Bible study products for Mr. B (and for myself) and The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever Now by Marty Machowski is a lovely addition to our growing collection.

 I liken this as a Bible Study disguised as a storybook. It is a lovely book that would be appropriate for bedtime reading, daytime read aloud, and as a Bible study. It uses "real world" analogies to make points, and is written in an easy to read, easy to understand manner.

The cover is a durable hardback, that is beautifully designed. It feels soft and smooth to the touch, yet is very durable and will hold up over time. The illustrations by Andy McGuire are amazing! I found myself just flipping through the pages, looking at the pictures!




About the book: 

The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New (New Growth Press, October 2015)

A page-turning storybook of theology for kids

In the cellar of the old stone cathedral, Carla and Timothy uncover a life-changing treasure, a carefully wrapped ancient book known as The Ology. What adults might describe as a beautifully illustrated storybook of systematic theology, the kids discover to be a story of adventure, mystery, and wonder that leads them to the truth about God, themselves, and the world around them.

Truth is for kids, not just for adults! So The Ology gives kids of all ages a beginner's theology book to help them understand who God is and how we, as his children, relate to him. Arranged within a traditional systematic theological framework, each truth in The Ology is also connected to the larger redemptive story of Scripture. The doctrine of God, for example, is presented in the larger framework of creation, where the attributes of God are more clearly on display. The Ology takes abstract theological concepts and makes them easier to understand with the use of creative examples, illustrations, and analogies. The goal is not to say everything that could be said about a theological topic, but rather to share the key thoughts behind a theological concept. The Ology is a starting point to learning theology and aims to create a hunger and desire in children to learn more as they grow older.

Designed for six-year-old through preteens, this flexible resource includes built-in adaptations for use with younger or older children, so that entire families can enjoy it together. Read The Ology to preschoolers, read it with grade-school kids, and let older kids discover the "hidden" truths by reading the corresponding Scripture passages for each section. However you read it, The Ology will give your children a gift that will last a lifetime---a solid foundation of life-changing biblical truth that will point them to the God who loves them and gave himself for them.



About the author:




Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on thepastoral staff for over twenty years. He is theauthor of the Gospel Story for Kids series, which includes The Gospel Story Bible, Long Story Short, Old Story New, and the Gospel Story Curriculum, as well as the Advent devotional and curriculum Prepare Him Room. He and his wife, Lois, and their six children reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Our Thoughts:

We found this to be a really nice book! It's a great starting point for a theology discussion. The illustrations are beautiful, and it also makes for a great "storybook" style book. It is well made, well written, beautifully illustrated, and a great book to pass down.

To read more reviews, please check out Litfuse.

**I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review with no other compensation. All opinions expressed are my own.**