Don’t Go to Bed Angry: Stay Up and Fight

DGTBA

click on the graphic above for the giveaway!

http://litfusegroup.com/author/ddearmond

Don’t Go to Bed Angry: Stay Up and Fight (Abingdon Press, June 2016)

A practical handbook on how to fight better—together—for your marriage.

In every marriage, there is conflict. And with every conflict, there is a choice for resolution. Will you ignore the issue until it seemingly goes away? Or will you work together  find peace?

In Don’t Go to Bed Angry, Deb and Ron DeArmond give you permission to fight. Conflict isn’t the problem, after all; the real issue is how we deal with the conflict. Deb and Ron demonstrate how communication through conflict can safeguard—and even strengthen—your relationship. Immensely practical features including worksheets and discussion questions make this a definitive go-to resource to help you start fighting—together—for your marriage.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/29tWUTj

My Review

as I read this book, I realized just how close to home it really was. This was a very hard read for me with all the problems we are having. from lack of communication, to the problem of communicating the wrong way, boy we have it all wrapped up in one big needy, horrible package. 

However, I learned a lot from the DeArmands; like the listening skills. while I had never really thought that much about it, God has gone before us and carved out a pathway of nonresistance for us we just have to take those first steps down that road, of being there in the moment for each other

some of the things I thought about were the following

 a)when you are with your spouse in what is deemed a relational moment – lose the screens (phones, TVs, tablets, computers etc) There is nothing more important other than a family emergency than that person right in front of you. There is nothing more disrespectful than to be with your spouse or significant other, yet not be there because you are so fixated on a screen. I mean, the LOVE of your LIFE is talking to you! Get Excited!

b) Lead into the conversation with prayer;preferably from the male spouse if he will; if he won’t, this is a great time to pray for him to become the leader of your home in all things.

c) always use respect. No name calling , no throwing in past actions and above all, if you have ever told them you forgive them over something, that should never be mentioned again

 

About the authors:

Deb DeArmond is an author, speaker, and coach with a focus on communication, relationships, and conflict resolution. Her writing explores marriage, parenting, in-law and extended family relationships. She is the author of Related By Chance, Family By Choice and I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last. Deb is the founder of Living-Write, where she coaches aspiring authors. She’s monthly columnist and feature writer for Lifeway’s Mature Living Magazine, and has published more than 120 articles online and in print publications.

Ron DeArmond has a hunArmandgry heart for the Word, and has studied the Bible for 45+ years. Ron’s call to serve men is evident in his previous ministry positions with Christian Men’s Network under Dr. Edwin Lewis Cole and Faithful Men Ministry. Ron is currently the Associate Pastor of men’s ministry at Catch the Fire/ DFW and has ministered around the world. The DeArmonds live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

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Kissed by a Cowboy by Debra Clopton

:::spoilers:::

Can Cassidy find a home and a cowboy to steal her heart? Find out in Debra Clopton’s Kissed by a Cowboy, book three in the A Four of Hearts Ranch Romance series. Rancher Jarrod sets his mind to breaking down the walls around Cassidy’s stubborn heart. How can he show her that a cowboy’s kiss lasts forever? For the good folks of Wishing Springs, falling in love has never been so much fun to witness.

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Cassidy was looking for a home and a place to belong . . . not for a cowboy to steal her heart.

Having lived through her parents’ endless string of “matrimonial bliss gone wrong,” Cassidy Starr knows when the odds are not in her favor. Divorced and humiliated, her faith on rocky ground, Cassidy is through with love. She’s been bucked off that horse far too many times. Instead, she returns to Wishing Springs, Texas, and the rundown farm she’s inherited from her great aunt Roxie. She’ll reopen the strawberry farm and a bed & breakfast and follow in her aunt’s footsteps, remaining forever-independent, happy . . . and single.

Rancher Jarrod Monahan’s hands are full running the ranch, looking after his ailing grandfather, and chasing down a group of rustlers on the loose. He’s pushed his longing for a family to the bottom of his list of priorities. Besides, he was in love once but ran scared and lost his shot at happiness. But suddenly, the biggest regret of his life has moved in next door with a wounded heart, determined to become a spinster . . . and that’s a challenge that Jarrod can’t pass up.

Jarrod sets his mind to breaking down the walls around Cassidy’s stubborn heart. How can he show her that a cowboy’s kiss lasts forever? For the good folks of Wishing Springs, falling in love has never been so much fun to witness.

Learn more and purchase a copy.


My Review

In book 3 of the Four Of Hearts Ranch Romance Series, We find that Aunt Roxie’s Great Niece, Cassidy comes home to Wishing Springs, Texas, after her divorce from Jack.  What she comes home too, is a house and barn full of clutter, a farm full of over ran fields and a garden full of weeds.  She knows this will take everything she has to rebuild and clean up the place.  Cassidy is okay with that.  After the passing of Aunt Roxie and her divorce, she needs something to keep her mind occupied and she has great expectations for the farm.  Cassidy has no plans to fall in love.  She has no plans to make herself a part of the community and no plans to get involved in anything but raising a Strawberry Farm.

God has many other plans for her.

While the Four of Heart Ranch is next door and Jarrod Monahan’s is busy running the ranch and taking care of pops; his two brothers are busy with their lives.  When Jarrod realizes that Cassidy has moved in next door.  He remembers how much he loved her before he left town. 

Cassidy remembers how much he hurt her before he left town.  Jarrod promised he would come back when he leaves for college but never does.  He gets hung up in a snow storm and that was before the days of cell phones and emails.  So Cassidy marries the first man who says he loves her.  That man, is everything wrong for her.

After God places them in each other’s way and the family helps them find each other again, they end up hurting each other again, only to realize that they are each other’s one true love

This book is NOT a stand alone book.  You could read it alone, but it would make a LOT more sense if you read it after reading the other two.  I dislike that in the book  As well as the fact that it is predictable.  It is the typical, boy meets girl, boy loves girl, boy loses girl, blah, blah.  You get the picture.  However, for me, there are just days you need to lose yourself in those kinds of books just for the entertainment value alone.  Escapism is a real reason to read any book!  As long as you come back:)

As all of Clopton’s books, I really liked this book.   While it was predictable, it was good!


 

{More About Debra Clopton} 

Debra CloptonDebra Clopton is a multi-award winning novelist and has written more than 22 novels. Along with writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. Debra’s goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words.

You can keep up with Debra at the following links http://debraclopton.com.

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Come Empty: Pour Out Life’s Hurts and Receive God’s Healing Love

The question is not if you will get an invitation. The question is, will you come? Don’t miss Come Empty, a devotional for women by Saundra Dalton-Smith. The devotional guides you through fifty days of experiencing the fullness of God’s love and His ability to overcome life’s hurts. Each day, you will receive assurance of God’s presence in your difficult situations. Each devotion gives new vision and perspective when you’re hindered by emotional blind spots, and leads you to experience God’s peace and wholeness. When His invitation is accepted, He will set your captive mind and heart free to live fully by His grace.

 

You’re invited to take part in the five-day Come Empty challenge. Click the graphic below for details on the challenge and a prize pack giveaway Saundra is hosting.

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When a water vessel is filled with dirt and stones, it cannot be used to quench a thirst.

But, when this vessel is emptied, there is an opportunity to fill it until it overflows with fresh, cool, life-giving water. Come-Empty-242x384Water that quenches. Refreshes. Soothes.

Our souls are the same: filled with fear, doubt, and disappointment. Running over with unanswered prayers and lingering questions. When we empty the mess of our lives in the presence of God, we’re offered an invitation to come. An invitation that allows us to come empty – so that we can be filled until we overflow.

Come Empty: Pour Out Life’s Hurts and Receive God’s Healing Love guides you through fifty days of experiencing the fullness of God’s love and His ability to overcome life’s hurts. Each day, you will receive assurance of God’s presence in your difficult situations. Each devotion gives new vision and perspective when you’re hindered by emotional blind spots, and leads you to experience God’s peace and wholeness. When His invitation is accepted, He will set your captive mind and heart free to live fully by His grace. The question is not if you will get an invitation. The question is, will you come?

Learn more and purchase a copy.


 

My Review

Goodness

Where to start!

as I started this book, I will admit, I was thinking, oh wow, another, run of the mill devotional, saying the same old things, with the same old verses, using the same old context.  blah, blah, blah.

Boy was I in for a surprise! Dr Smith just totally knocks this one outta the park for me.  Having so many chronic conditions this devotional just fit right there for me.

The very first chapter, Dr. Saundra Dalton Smith speaks of how pain directly alters our life.  our daily walk literally and figuratively.  Our mood, our emotions, our mind, everything.

If you feel bad, you look bad, you are bad.  So you will be bad.

Therefore I am bad.

That vicious cycle you get in when you

1) not only have constant pain,

2) are depressed,

3)are just having a super rotten day

Smith gives you several ideas to cope with your daily walk with pain as well as coping with topical indexes of different issues you might feel on any given day like Difficult People, Fear, Envy, Regret, Stress, Suicide and Surgery and So many more topics.

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Go check out more about Come Empty here http://litfusegroup.com/author/sdaltonsmith


{More About Saundra Dalton-Smith}

 

Saundra Dalton-Smith

Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith is a Board Certified internal medicine physician. She shares with audiences nationwide on the topics of eliminating limiting emotions, finding grace in difficult places, and experiencing personal renewal by drawing near to God. Dr. Dalton-Smith is a national and international media resource on the mind, body, spirit connection and has been featured in Women’s Day, Redbook, and First For Women magazine. She is the founder of I Choose My Best Life. Her other books include award-winning “Set Free to Live Free: Breaking Through the 7 Lies Women Tell Themselves.”

You can keep up with Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith at the following links

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Keeper of the Stars by Robin Lee Hatcher | Blog Tour and Giveaway

Love at first sight isn’t always the case—especially in Robin Lee Hatcher’s new book, Keeper of the Stars, in A King’s Meadow Romance series. Still feeling the pain of Brad’s death, Penny and Trevor must learn that forgiveness is the only thing that can heal their hearts. And if they do forgive, something beautiful may rise from the ashes of heartbreak.

Celebrate the release of Keeper of the Stars with Robin by entering to win a Kindle Fire HD! Click the graphic below to enter. The winner will be announced on February 16 on Robin’s blog and social media. keeper of the stars - 400

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{More about Keeper of the Stars}

Keeper-of-the-Stars-smBecause it’s not always love at first sight!

When her mother died from pneumonia, Penny Cartwright was heartbroken. But now, after burying her younger brother just 12 years later, she is devastated. Anger, guilt, and sorrow cloud Penny’s mind, and the last thing she wants is to be reminded of her pain—but that’s exactly what happens when a stranger comes to town.

Trevor Reynolds has been chasing fame for more than a dozen years, but his musical career can’t get off the ground. While on the road, an accident kills his young drummer, Brad Cartwright. Trevor wasn’t behind the wheel, but he still blames himself… and so does Brad’s sister, Penny. Now Trevor finds himself in Kings Meadow, determined to follow through on his last promise to his friend.

Still feeling the pain of Brad’s death, Penny and Trevor must learn that forgiveness is the only thing that can heal their hearts. And if they do forgive, something beautiful may rise from the ashes of heartbreak.

Learn more and buy a copy. Plus read a sample chapter!


My Review

as I started reading this book, I knew I could relate to Penny’s anger.  That was what jumped out to me first.  There was no getting over that.  I saw myself, every time she would get angry over the funniest things.  I had a bunch of reflecting going on during this great read by Robin Hatcher!

Keeper of the Stars is about a family who lost their son, and brother Brad.  Brad was a musician by trade.  A drummer.  He was a great student, loved God and loved his father and his sister.

His father loved Brad and Penny.

When Brad left to follow his dream of playing in Nashville they all had some lost communications and some hurt feelings.  The band that Brad started playing for was Trevor Reynolds.

See how the Cartwright’s handle Trevor’s landing in their hometown of Kings Meadows after all the tragedy they have faced.  Can they use their faith and face everything or will the enemy win?  I know this book made me go back to my Bible several times to reread and just do a lot of reflecting about anger, trust and how God uses us in many ways even though we may not even realize it.

check out Keeper of the Stars at http://litfusegroup.com/campaigns/keeper-stars-robin-lee-hatcher


 

{More About Robin Lee Hatcher}

Robin Lee Hatcher

Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heart-warming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, two RT Career Achievement Awards, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over sixty novels.

“Hatcher is able to unravel emotions within her characters so brilliantly that we sense the transformation taking place within ourselves.” —RT Book Reviews

“Hatcher fans will be left smiling and eagerly awaiting her next novel.” —CBA’s Retailers and Resources

You cann keep up with Hatcher at the following links

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Beyond the Silence by Tracie Peterson

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Lillian is a young adult of wealth, from a family that gave her everything and she had servants that did everything for her.  So when she started making her dream of moving to California a reality, her grandfather rejected her completely.  

Little did she know what she was getting into.  When Lillian accepted the job as a nanny in CA, she never dreamed she would walk into a life where people hated her boss, her grandfather never wanted to see her again.  

Little Jimmy, who was her charge as a nanny  was traumatized so severely by the murder of his mother that he had been silenced for a year now. Lillian worked miracles with him, as well as his Dad, Woodward Colton.  Both had been so filled with trauma from the murder of Colton’s wife Rebecca.  Jimmy saw everything when the murder happened.

Lillian relies on her faith to get her through the months following her arrival in California.  With Jimmy and with Colton and trying to help them heal.

When Lillian meets everyone in town and they hate her by association because they think her boss is a murder, she speaks her mind, something she has never done before.  She also meets a young man named Harry, who just happens to be the murderer’s brother.  

Harry and his brother are living in a mine near Harry and Lillian and Darwin (the murderer has gold stashed on Colton’s property).  He does more damage to everyone as he tries to find his gold.

See if he is captured when you read Beyond the Silence by Tracie Peterson.

Beyond the Silence is a very well written, historical faith-based romance mystery.  

 


 

About the Author 

PetersonWoodhouse-347Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana. **||** Kimberley Woodhouse is a multipublished author of fiction and nonfiction. A popular speaker/teacher, she’s shared her theme of Joy Through Trials with over 150,000 people at more than a thousand venues across the country. She lives, writes, and homeschools with her husband of twenty-plus years and their two awesome teens live in Colorado

 

Find out more about Tracie Peterson at

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Sherri Burgess’s Kindle Fire HD 6 Giveaway

 

Bronner Sherri Burgess

Can God use pain and suffering in our lives to teach and refine us? Journey with Sherri Burgess in her new book, Bronner, to discover the purpose behind pain through the powerful story of her son Bronner’s earthly death. An empowering resource for book-club discussion or small-group Bible study, this is much more than simply a retelling of an inspiring story. It is a call to action beckoning us to know our Holy God like never before.

Join Sherri in celebrating the release of her new book, Bronner, with a blog tour and a Kindle Fire giveaway!

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One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of Bronner

  • A Kindle Fire HD 6

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on February 12th. The winner will be announced February 15th on the Litfuse blog.

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My Review

When I signed up to review Bronner, I thought to myself, will I be able to get through this book?

 

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As the sibling of a brother and sister that have passed away, this was very near and dear to my heart.

The book Bronner was so easy to handle for me and I was so amazed at Sherri and Rick’s faith and level of faith, it so reminded me of my mother.  Not once did her faith ever waiver.  NEVER.  At any given time you could hear her singing worship songs to our Savior, Find her reading her Bible, or just in deep thoughts and prayers to God.  Although, I don’t know exactly her thoughts, she never once showed us a bad side of the deaths of two children. 

Used With Permission from Sherri Burgess http://www.burgessministries.com/book-2/#

Used With Permission from Sherri Burgess

http://www.burgessministries.com/book-2/

That kind of faith is the same faith I see in Sherri and Rick Burgess.  Having a beautiful life up until the day Bronner drowned, the shock and emotions would be enough to hurt the strongest person.  now I’m not saying that every day was ideal with the Burgess’ nor with my mom.  There were days I’m sure my mom wanted to throw the towel in, and cry all day.  However, those days didn’t stay.  Just like with the Burgess family, my parents used my sibling’s passing to better their world as did the Burgess family and to help people understand that God needed my siblings as well as Bronner more.

I mean our children aren’t ours to begin with.  God gives them to us on loan, to take care of for Him.  When He determines that He needs them more – then His will must be done.

Sherri, started speaking to groups about the way God uses pain and suffering to help people.  Sometimes you may never know why He did something He did, however, trusting Him, will assure that He is with you and me always, through our agony.

Bronner was not Sherri’s way of just retelling the painful story of the death of her child, it is the Journey one can take when you understand the why behind God’s actions.

Even though our faith should be that we never question, I know for me, there would be no way, I could lose a child and never question why?

Sherri’s story about this journey has been used so many ways to help so many people.  Through just the sheer volume of people who hear her speak and let her know they know what she went through, or they lost a child also,  or just that they are praying for her as she speaks truth about God’s love for us.

Used With Permission from Sherri Burgess http://www.burgessministries.com/book-2/

I highly recommend this book, not just for someone who has lost a child, but to anyone who wants to understand that Jesus Christ is ours, all we must do is ask.  Then He can lead us through our lives, with no matter what troubles we face.

You can buy Bronner here.

http://litfusegroup.com/author/sburgess


 

More About The Author


Sherri Burgess

Sherri Burgess’ life is a beckoning for you to know a Holy God like you have never known Him before. The wife of Rick Burgess of The Rick and Bubba Show, a nationally syndicated talk radio show, Sherri is someone who now passionately pursues holiness and inspires others to do the same. A seasoned Bible teacher, writer and blogger, she has in recent years answered God’s call as a women’s ministry speaker. This mother of five stays active with her family in Birmingham, Alabama.

Find out more about Sherri at http://sherriburgess.blogspot.com.

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Thin Ice

I love this series!

Men Of Valor 

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Irene Hannon knocks it out of the park, every single time! This book has brother Lance, as a FBI agent, and his friend Christy is stalked and someone has disrupted her entire life. without giving you spoilers, just know this book has the ever-present Hannon mystery, and romance as well as some twists and turns that keeps you turning the pages.

I loved this book and will continue with the series. This is a stand alone book, however, if you want to know more about the characters, I would read the first book, and get to know the characters first.

Go check out this book from Irene Hannon and be thrilled just like I was!

You can keep up with Hannon at the following links.

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and you can find out more about Irene Hannon here

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Bill Gaither’s Best of Homecoming 2016 #FCBlogger

I LOVE the Gaithers.  When they come together with their friends, it is truly a Homecoming!

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Every song on this CD is here for a reason.

My favorite, and the one that I will discuss the most is “We Shall Behold Them”.  This version is sung by David Phelps and there just isn’t a way to describe it.  So here it is

While this is full on David Phelps, it is presented by The Gaithers!  It doesn’t get better than this with these lyrics.

The sky shall unfold Preparing His entrance.
The stars shall applaud Him, With thunders of praise.
The sweet light in His eyes, shall enhance those awaiting
And we shall behold Him, then face to face.
We shall behold Him, we shall behold Him Face to face
In all of His glory.
We shall behold Him, yes we shall behold Him Face to face,
Our Savior and Lord.
The angel will sound, the shout of His coming.
And the sleeping shall rise, from there slumbering place.
And those who remaining, shall be changed in a moment.
And we shall behold him, then face to face.
We shall behold Him, we shall behold Him!
Face to face in all of His glory.
We shall behold Him, yes we shall behold Him!
Face to face, our Savior and Lord.
And we shall behold Him, our Savior and Lord Savior and Lord!

That song, those words, We shall behold HIM, Our Savior and Lord!  It doesn’t get better than that!  Then I listened to the rest of the CD

Here is the entire Track List and those that sing on the CD.  Oh My!  When you hear Jimmy Fortune sing Precious Memories, or the Gaithers singing Little Drummer Boy.  I have played these tracks over and over!  I love that they have the people singing the songs that usually do them at a Homecoming Gathering.

The Sweetest Song I Know – Goodman Revival
Farther Along – Oak Ridge Boys
Precious Memories – Jimmy Fortune
Love Is Like A River – Gaither Vocal Band
Touch Of The Masters Hand – Booth Brothers
Ghost Town – David Phelps
What A Friend We Have In Jesus – Lynda Randle
I Hold A Clear Title To A Mansion – Goodman Revival
In The Sweet By And By – Oak Ridge Boys
We Shall Behold Him – David Phelps
Faith Keeps Walking – Booth Brothers
Little Drummer Boy – Gaither Vocal Band

There isn’t better than old hymns, a little christmas music thrown in and the fantastic voices that you will hear belt out these amazing songs.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love new worship music.  Give me a Chris Tomlin, or Tree 63 or some Sidewalk Prophets any day.  I know my heart and mind is taken back to a simpler time though when I hear these old, beautiful hymns.  Sang by the people I used to sit around and listen to on Saturday night Singing at home with my parents.

What great memories that this CD brought back for me. You can buy CD’s like this one and many more at Family Christian Stores.

Check out all the Gaithers’ CDs at Family Christian Stores

Meet My Best Friend #FCBlogger

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In Meet My Best Friend by Sheila Walsh and illustrator Sarah Horne, Walsh takes her story with twins, Liam and Emma, and the pets Charlie and Wilson, all the way to Scotland!  Their mom explains that they have new neighbors with a daughter their age, named Abby.

Abby comes to visit the twins!  The twins have a wonderful treehouse in their back yard.

When they get to the treehouse, Abby recalls that she had a treehouse, and she used to play there with her best friend, and that she missed her so much.  So the twins ask Abby if she would like to meet their best friend. Then they lead Abby on a treasure hunt, going through several places like the treehouse, their bedrooms, running down the hallway, the bathroom.  All the time, Liam and Emma, keep telling her whether she is hot or cold with finding their best friend!   Abby never can figure out where the best friend is.  So she gives up.

Liam and Emma finally take her to their best friend!  

While I have problems with the outcome of this book, kids from 4-10, the ages that the book is written for are just finding out new and important things about the Bible. So for the book to call the Bible their Best Friend, for their ages, is a good thing, but for me, I believe Jesus is my all in all. He is everywhere and he should be considered as our best friend. That’s just me and I’m over thinking it I’m sure. The Bible as a best friend, while I understand what they are intending, to tell a 4-year-old that, that believes everything that their parents say usually, leads me to a bigger question of should we be telling this to kids. It isn’t something that I would say, however, opens up a very huge, dynamic path, to why Jesus is your best friend. Anything that starts and keeps the lines of communication open about Jesus, the Bible, and that Jesus is Lord of Lords, everywhere, and Savior of all, is a really good thing

Go check out this great book by Sheila Walsh and find out who Liam and Emma’s best friend is.  You can purchase it and many other children’s books at Family Christian® Stores.  Meet My Best Friend is part of The Bible Is my Best Friend Series.

 

At the back of the book is a part called Parent Connect. In this part of the book, there are questions for kids, questions for adults as well as verses from the Bible and points just to get you talking as a family

The books are written for ages 4-10 and I LOVE the illustrations.

The series has the hardback book, kindle book a flipboard book and a devotional book, all of them can be found at Family Christian® Stores.  There are many other kids books that you can also find at Family Christian like these

If you have kids this age, (and even if you don’t) this book is adorable and leads children back to why The Bible is your best friend! Go check it out here.

You can find out more about Family Christian at the following links.

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Author – Sheila Walsh
Sheila Walsh is an author, speaker and Bible teacher who has sold over 4 million books. Her heart isSheila Walsh to show what happens when your real life meets the Word of God. She is the author of the #1 best-selling line of Christian books for little girls, “Gigi, God’s Little Princess.” Sheila is the creator of Children of Faith and the Gnoo Zoo, a ministry to children that communicates God’s love for them. She is the author of several books for women including “Honestly,” “Gifts for Your Soul,” “Living Fearlessly,” and “The Best Devotions of Sheila Walsh”, “The Shelter of God’s Promises” and her latest book, “God Loves Broken People and those who pretend they’re not.” As an accomplished musician, Sheila has recently released the CD “Beauty From Ashes.” Sheila, her husband, Barry and their son, Christian live in Dallas, Texas.
You can keep up with Sheila at the following links

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Mornings With Jesus #FCBlogger

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As I was looking through this book when I first received it, I was thinking to myself, how on earth will I write 200 words on a devotional that I don’t want to read ahead because it is a devotional for all of 2016.  It goes by months, then it’s broken down by day.

Each Day you get 366 Devotionals (2016 is a Leap Year) Each day is broken down by a scripture verse,  the devotional, which is each author’s personal reflection, then with a Faith Step.

The devotionals are written by 10 amazing authors:

Susanna Foth Aughtmon
Gwen Ford Faulkenberry
Grace Fox
Tricia Goyer
Sharon Hinck
Rebecca Barlow Jordan
Erin Keeley Marshall
Dianne Neal Matthews
Cynthia Ruchti
Suzanne Davenport Tietjen

So I thought that I would take each month, read the first day, the middle and the end.  I was so surprised at the depth that one author could go, with one day and one page.  Jesus promise is very clear:  Peace I leave with you:  my peace I give you.  I do not ive to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  (John 14:27 NIV) isn’t that an incredible promise?

Each devotionals that I have read so far, has that promise in it.  These have me so encouraged to read through the devotional through next year..

This devotional can be purchased at Family Christian® Storesas well as many other Devotionals.  You can check those out here Family Christian Stores Daily Devotionals

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Vendetta #FCBlogger

Check out this book at Family Christian

 

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 Nikki Boyd goes through her life as a Tennessee Missing Person Task Force member, she always has her history in the back of her mind.  That history is that Sarah is abducted and no one ever found her body.

People encouraged Nikki not to go in law enforcement because of  emotions that tie Nikki to this latest kidnapping.  Nikki was shopping instead of picking Sarah up.  Nikki soon finds that this latest kidnapper of Bridget, wants Sarah involved in many ways, and wants Nikki to be tied to all of it.

Through the years, the time, the guilt, and everything that goes with this.  Nikki never forgave herself and vowed that she would find Sarah’s kidnapper.

So when 16-year-old Bridget goes missing,  everything comes flooding back to her, the memories, the guilt, everything.

as well as dealing with this, she was also dealing with the loss of her best friend.  On the day Bridget goes missing, Nikki and Tyler, Katie’s widow were celebrating the life of their best friend Katie.  

Now Katie realizes that through all of this, she is falling in love with Tyler. Something she never expected to happen.

Lisa Harris takes us down all sorts of twists and turns and surprises.  Vendetta is a clean read and for that, I was so excited.

This book will give you all the mystery, intrigue, suspense, who dunnits, all while staying true to faithful reading!

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Go check out Vendetta at Family Christian® Stores and you can find other books just like Vendetta and thousand’s of other mystery books here.

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Lisa Harris

More about the Author

I’m a wife, mom, teacher, author, dreamer, photographer, world explorer, but most importantly a follower of Christ Jesus.Lz3DZGLs

I currently live with my husband near the Indian Ocean in Mozambique where we work as church-planting missionaries. We’ve started the empty next stage with two
children spread around the globe and a third—thankfully—still at home.
As a homeschooling mom, life is busy, but I see my writing as an extension of my ministry which also includes running a non-profit organization.
The ECHO Project works in southern Africa promoting Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way for us to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” (Proverbs 31:8)
When I’m not working l love hanging out with my family at the beach, playing games, cooking different ethnic dishes, and heading into the African bush on safari.
You can keep up with Lisa at the following links

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The Maze of Medical Care When No One Listens

I have been ill for about three months now,

But for the sake of this article let me back up a bit.  In 2006 I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, pulmonary hypertension,  I already was diagnosed with diabetes, asthma, COPD and emphysema.

The illnesses in 2006 came so fast that I ended up on disability with a medical retirement and probably will never work again,

Usually every fall, I end up getting very ill because of the allergens in the air, the people burning their leaves, and many other environmental factors like changing climates and weather, dampness in the air etc, etc

So when I got sick this time, I thought okay, do the same things and treat it like always, breathing treatments, fluid pills, allergy medications and many doctors appts.  So imagine my surprise when I couldn’t get better.  I kept getting worse and worse.  Dr appt after Dr appt and an ER visit and I keep hearing the same thing, it’s not your heart.  You are fine, there’s nothing we can do for you.

Then why do I have 45 extra lbs of fluid on me, I have blisters on my legs from the edema and a wonderful insurance company (said tongue in cheek) that is fighting me at every step of the way.

I have an insurance company called Care Improvement Plus.  If you live in the state of TX and you are under the age of Medicare Retirement age,.  You cannot get a traditional Medicare supplement.  You have to get what is called a Medicare Replacement Plan.  Let me just say this.  They are some of the worst insurance policies I have ever had to work with.  When I was in the workforce my job was to process and administer, prior authorizations and referrals for a huge regional hospital in our area and one of the clinics that they had as well as Worker’s Comp.

I was good at what I did  I was a go to person for the hospital and if someone couldn’t get an auth or referral, I usually could.  I worked with many insurance companies as well as worker’s comp and Tertiaries that had affiliates with attorneys and car insurance companies and those kinds of things.  I NEVER came across an insurance company that worked so hard to NOT pay something as my insurance company that I have now.   Not even Worker’s Comp.  They were a breeze compared to what I deal with now.

I must give you a disclaimer of this thought:  No matter how horrible that they are, i am thankful that I do have insurance.  The majority of my medications are paid and I will give them that. For that I am eternally grateful.

this maze I struggle with every day in my insurance company is getting to be a joke.  I just got out of the hospital and have been under great scrutiny by my insurance company, by doctors, nurses and every part of my being is that “what part of this is right?” Health care is a privilege though, NOT a right  and while I know this, I still struggle with the fact that every single thing that happens with my body is nothing new to me.  Each doctor I meet, each nurse I meet has to be told the entire story every single time.  When does it change that the patient’s rights do come before the hospitals, the insurance company and everything that goes with it.  So,  I have a bit to say about what has happened, and what didn’t happen.  In the mean time, I’m fine for now.  I get to look at all of my EOB(s) and decide what can happen from here.  

My goal with this article, first is to let you know that 

  1. Become an informed patient

  2. Know your medications, know your diagnoses

  3. Become familiar with Medical Terminology

  4. Ask Questions

  5. Do not take no for an answer

I don’t understand why they have so many rules and regulations and fight patients as each step of the way.

How does a suit over 2000 miles away from me, can make decisions about my health care,

So now that I am out of the hospital, I need to weave this maze of insurance and find the very best insurance being disabled in America, in Texas will let me choose.

Pray for me now.

 

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Thankfulness and 10 Ways to Be Thankful

I’m sure that some of you have done the 30 days of Thanksgiving at some point in your life.  While I believe in bringing things back to focus, however I also believe that in your life, you need to be thankful for things, good and bad, every single day of the year, while you may not broadcast it every single day as in the 30 days things, always remember that God gives us things we need.  Whether it is something good or something hard.  And in doing that, we need to thank Him graciously for every single thing every single day.

That being said

1. Pray. There really is no explanation needed here.

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2.  Believe in God. Without him, you have nothing!! He is everything. He is my all in all. I know that I can do anything as long as I have Him on my side. God is amazing and awesome and well everythingBlue Believe

3.  Love fiercely. Everyone gives you the reference of 1 Corinthians 13 when it comes to love, however, my favorite verse about love is this John 3:16. That is the grandest love story in the Bible in my opinion.41bc7080e426fbcc10d8db534e0fa6c9

4.  Keep your relationships healthy, those you value are extremely precious. I’m not talking love relationships, I’m talking about relationships with the people you love, that should come naturally. I’m talking about relationships in general. “BE healthy” in relationships with businesses, with organizations. In the corporate world, the most important people in that business are not the CEO and the Corporate Board. They are the Janitor and the Cleaning Staff. Important relationships I can think of it my life, without family in the mix, my trash guys, my mailman, the manager of the Sonic I go to everyday and the girls HIPAA_ancillary_staff_bigthat bring me my tea. The person that answers the phone at my doctor’s office. Those kinds of relationships are the ones I’m talking about. Those relationships will serve you well, very well in life. Value them.

5. Apologize when necessary. Saying “I’m sorry” are two words that can heal generations. I am serious here. There are words you can say that will help, these two words are mighty. However, they can be overused. Saying I’m sorry without changing isn’t going to gain you any favors. What it is going to do, is make people not trust yotumblr_static_i_m_sorryu, make people not care about your sorry’s. They won’t believe it.

6. Always say I’m sorry” first. Never be too proud to stand up and say, Hey, I shouldn’t have said, done, or acted that way. I’m very so rry and I make no excuses. I’m sorry, can you forgive me. If they say no, accept it and know in your heart, if you are serious, you’ve done all you can do.

7. JUST because someone else does it, doesn’t make it right. Tit for Tat is ook-i-admit-it-he-did-itne of the most incredulous, and selfish things you can do in a relationship. It is also harmful. If another person is trying to tell you about their day, yours doesn’t need to be better, or worse. Maybe they need you just to listen.

 

8.  When you make mistakes, be humble. VERY humble. Making a mistake isn’t failure. It means you really are human!! Every single day we are setting yourself up for failure if you live a life of trying to be perfect. Perfectionism, is a flaw. A very dubious personality flaw. I’m a very good example.Humbled-Verse

 I do not try to be a perfectionist at everything. However, there are somethings that I want to be perfect at. I’m not, I get that. I know that. I still try, and in doing so, I jeopardize relationships. Perfectionism is MY character flaw, and my life to live, how dare I ever put that on someone else.  

9.Give back. No one likes someone who is selfish. That doesn’t mean go broke giving, or to give all of your time. You must have time for yourself also that’s not selfish. It’s survival at its finest. Even as a parent, you giving-back_largemust take time for yourself. If you are not givingback_newsize-756x425rested, mentally, physically, and spiritually, how do you expect your child to be if you have children?

 

10.  Have some semblance of organization. This is CERTAINLY not last on the list but is one of the most important. Go here and you can find some of the ways I orgabbd8e42551665fc31b0b8fa7ad1b8817nize our life. Even organize chaos is better than no organization at all.  Even the most  disorganized person in the world (that would be me) can have some semblance of organization. 

Now you are probably thinking to yourself, how on earth does this have to do with Thankfulness.

Well, a long time ago, I used to be this person that thrived on chaos and being angry and disorganization and just being a real hot-mess.  As I have gotten stronger in my faith, I have realized that there is absolutely NOTHING I can do about anything, because God has it all in His hands.  Now with that comes huge responsibility though.  God doesn’t just want us walking willy nilly through our lives and saying well God has it so I can just sit back and do whatever I want because He has it under control and if I don’t want too I don’t have too.

That is so far from wrong!  God may have it under control, but He gives us very complete, and concise instructions for our lives.

Take care of your body, take care of HIS resources, take care of the things he loans you, take care of your heart, take care of your prayer life, take care of your home life, your financial life.

Everything!  So this is why I am so thankful.  I am thankful I have a God that tells me how to act, how to live, how to be, how to encourage, how to admonish, how to learn, how to love, how to do everything.  Without His guidance, as in my years past I know I would fail miserably.  Proof is in the pudding because I know for ME, in MY life, without these things above, there would be unhappiness and depression and living a life that just existed because of the total chaos.

God’s Word gives us these rules and being thankful that He does is the last part of this

11.  Read your Bible.  Not only is it God’s word and your life book.  It is just down right good stuff.  If you don’t know where to start, Read it like you would any other book from cover to cover.  If nothing else, the history lesson you get is amazing.

Or you can start with the good stuff Luke, When Jesus was born, or in John, it tells about his crucifixion.  Or John 3:16, that greatest Love story ever told!  So many stories to read, and dig into!  Be grateful, I mean downright grateful for who you are, the family you have, the things you have.  The life you lead.  God allows us to borrow it all for a while and puts us directly in the pathway he chooses for us.  

Isn’t that just incredible!  How HE knows, just KNOWS exactly what we need, when we need it!

That to me is something to be eternally grateful about.

Now this 30 day of Thanksgiving thing.  Am I going to do it?  Nah,, I never did.  Gratefulness every single day is the better choice.  Being Grateful, Choosing Joy.  Now about Choosing Joy, I have LOTS to come about this soon.  please be watching for it!  

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Love And Everything With it

My Advice for you and those you love

This all comes from 52 years of learning the hard way  Let my bumps, bruises, trials and failures be your lessons of what works and what doesn’t work in my opinion.

God has blessed me with an incredible way of saying I love you.  That comes with saying I’m sorry.

Below you will find a few things that I have learned and try to live by  I am a work in progress.

I am not a bad person, God says I am a valued child of His.

I have to apologize,  I have to be humble, I have to respect no matter what, and when I fail in these things, then well, I have to make it up to that person, whether I talk to them in person, write them a letter, or if I tell God *(which sometimes you have to do)

Matthew 6:14-15 ESV For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Ephesians 1:7  ESV  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,-

This is me, in several “so-called relationships now.
I don’t hold grudges. I just don’t have time for selfish petty people any more.
Yes I make mistakes, I defend my place, I CAN be proven wrong and I will apologize.

These things make me human. These things make me caring. These things make me vulnerable.
Just because I disagree with you doesn’t mean I will shut you out.
However when you start playing petty games and acting like a two-year old? That’s when I start shutting you out.  
Sorry not sorry that people can’t just act like adults (that goes for me too) and then be an adult and apologize.
Life is way to short for toxic people or situations.
Here’s ten life rules to follow that help make my life so much easier:

1. Pray. There really is no explanation needed here.
2. Believe in God. Without him, you have nothing!! He is everything. He is my all in all. I know that I can do anything as long as I have Him on my side. God is amazing and awesome and well everything!!
3. Love fiercely. Everyone gives you the reference of 1 Corinthians 13 when it comes to love, however, my favorite verse about love is this John 3:16. That is the grandest love story in the Bible in my opinion
4. Keep your relationships healthy, those you value are extremely precious. I’m not talking about relationships with the people you love, that should come naturally. I’m talking about relationships in general. “BE healthy” in relationships with businesses, with organizations. In the corporate world, the most important people in that business are not the CEO and the Corporate Board. They are the Janitor and the Cleaning Staff. Important relationships I can think of in my life, without family in the mix, my trash guys, my mailman, the manager of the Sonic I go to everyday. The person that answers the phone at my doctor’s office. Those kinds of relationships are the ones I’m talking about. Those relationships will serve you well, very well in life. Value them.
5. Apologize when necessary. Saying “I’m sorry” are two words that can heal generations. I am serious here. There are words you can say that will help, these two words are mighty. However, they can be overused. Saying I’m sorry without changing isn’t going to gain you any favors. What it is going to do, is make people not trust you, make people not care about your sorry’s . They won’t believe it.
6. Always say I’m sorry” first. Never be too proud to stand up and say, Hey, I shouldn’t have said, done, or acted that way. I’m very sorry and I make no excuses. I’m sorry, can you forgive me. If they say no, accept it and know in your heart, if you are serious, you’ve done all you can do.
7. JUST because someone else does it, doesn’t make it right. Tit for Tat is one of the most incredulous, and selfish things you can do in a relationship. It is also harmful. If another person is trying to tell you about their day, yours doesn’t need to be better, or worse. Maybe they need you just to listen.
8. When you make mistakes, be humble. VERY humble. Making a mistake isn’t failure. It means you really are human!! Every single day I/you/me/we are setting yourself up for failure if you live a life of trying to be perfect. Perfectionism, is a flaw. A very dubious personality flaw. I’m a very good example. I do not try to be a perfectionist at everything. However, there are somethings that I want to be perfect at. I’m not, I get that. I know that. I still try, and in doing so, I jeopardize relationships. Perfectionism is MY character flaw, and my life to live (because of that particular character flaw I have), how dare I ever put that on someone else.
9. Give back. No one likes someone who is selfish. That doesn’t mean go broke giving, or to give all of your time. You must have time for yourself also that’s not selfish. That’s survival at its finest. Even as a parent, you must take time for yourself. If you are not rested, mentally, physically, and spiritually, how do you expect your child to be?
10. Have some semblance of organization. This is CERTAINLY not last on the list but is one of the most important. Go here and you can find some of the ways I organize our life. Even organize chaos is better than no organization at all.  You can read my thoughts on organization here

and a bonus, Be Thankful for EVERYTHING, good and bad, no matter what.  You can read my feelings on that here.

 

 

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HixCrew Organizing Hacks

LifeHacks

I have three pieces of organizational software I use  I will explain about them in this post.

Use a calendar. No matter whether it’s an app or a paper copy, use a calendar. Put EVERYTHING on it.

  1. My husband and I use Gmail calendar,  this is a pretty simplified calendar that my husband and I use across multiple platforms

  2.  my extended family uses Cozi  this is a program that my extended family uses across 3 homes, 9 kids and 5 school systems.

  3. Evernote  this is an incredibly powerful notetaking-webclipping-pdf saving and so much more app.

Here are somethings I use my Gmail calendar for.
Of course schedules, mine, my husbands, my grandkids (sports teams etc)

here is a tutorial on how to set up your calendar

Every bill I have due, goes on the calendar 2 weeks before it’s due. That allows for budgeting, reminds you to actually pay the bill, leaves a paper trail that isn’t huge stack of stuff.
Days I open accounts
Dr’s appts. I am separating this one, because this is how I do it
Dr Joe Blow/Mary Someone (dr’s name and the person who scheduled it – sometimes that is very important, for when they have no record of said appt or it gets rescheduled or whatever, without notifications. I do this for any appt I have, whether it be a Dr or any other service provider
101 What Street (what if you are so sick you can’t tell someone)
Wherever, Wherever
999-999-9999
Friday, October 9, 2015
11:00 AM (I also put it on my calendar 30 minutes early)
Notes: 3 mth xyz check up with fasting labs
(I use an app, so I always send an invitation to my husband The big things like surgeries etc., I send to my son also because he holds my medical power of attorney
Whether you use an app or paper, I do put all this information

Gmail Calendar will also import Facebook events, birthdays and events from your email.  to be a simple run of the mill calendar it is a powerful calendar

Now the Cozi Calendar.  If you have never used this app, please check it out.  It is great.  We are networked across three homes, 9 kids, 5 adults and 5 different school systems.  It works so great, so that all kids schedules, school functions, etc. get put on it and the family has access to it at a glance.  Then you can also sort each “team and get a team lineup” you can sort by person (each person has its own color to add each apt)  Notifications can be sent to only adults, or each person that is involved with the appointment or everyone on the system.  The paid version will let you add birthdays, shopping list, to do list, meal planners and it will even import that Gmail Calendar that I talked about earlier.

here is a short video that helps explain Cozi

I use Evernote that syncs across mine and my husbands as well as the older grandkids tablets/phones.
We use a central grocery list, a central to do list (for days off)
This software package is one of the most productive and necessary apps I have ever used. I do use the paid version, and it has reminders, passwords, and you organize things by “notebooks” it is an amazing, easy but powerful piece of software that my family couldn’t do without. I also use it for my blog to help organize things.

Here is a video overview of Evernote

Imagine a row of notebooks lined up on a shelf, and in those notebooks each little note that is pertinent to that “notebook”  Some of our notebooks are Hix Family passwords, Recipes, Hix Family Manuals (it clips pdf files from the web); His Personal Notebook, Laura’s Personal Notebook; Paul’s Personal Notebook.

In mine (Laura’s Personal Notebook, we are going to use it as an example, so the binder is Memaw Personal.  Inside are all my little “notes” Anything Kids (not schedules) Blog Stuff, Book Reviews, Devotionals, FMF Encouragement, Laura Notes to Check, Scans, WebClip’s

Okay, I know this is overkill on the organizational stuff but it takes that to keep a family as large as ours organized with all the kid schedules etc..
As a grandparent, I do try to get to at least some of every child’s activities.

I always, and I mean always write dates on groceries of when I buy them. I keep a sharpie in the cabinet and before I put them up, I just write the mthdateyear on the package.

Just some random things:

Other things, I use tubs for games, every piece goes in the tub, Each child has an activity box at my house.  Puzzles go in ziplock bags.  I have one huge crayon box, but then each child has a Journaling Bag for trips.  It has a journal, pens, pencils and a few crayons.

On my computer, I use simple file names. If it is something for the kids, I am very pragmatic about it, say Nattie’s basketball schedule, that is exactly what I use for the file name. I don’t fancy them up, nor let the computer decide, I dumb it down as much as I can so that I have no problem finding them. When I clean out my phones, or my desktop on my computer, I use Phone10012015 (the date I clean it) or Desktop10012015 (the date I clean it)
Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Since it is ONLY my husband and I at home, I streamlined our kitchen, 6 plates, 6 bowls, 6 cups, etc. Less to clean, less to take care of and I also bought smaller. I purchased 7” plates, instead of standard dinner plates, so that we would eat less. 

I do a LOT of crockpot cooking (even for us two) I make our dogs food and will soon start making his treats when we run out of what we have.
We are not only getting our organizational skills up to par, but are also getting healthy at the same time.

and my bonus that helps me with the grandkids

make a calendar for your kids; I am talking about a rotation calendar.  Whatever the rotation is for, is up to your family and what works for your family, but for our family, it is a shortened calendar that stays in my car, and has one child’s name on it for every day. (these are the kids I have on a routine basis) whoever;s day it is, gets several privileges as well as tasks.  That person is #1 for the day.  It doesn’t mean they are the best or whatever, it just means for that day, they usually get the most “extra things” and have some extra tasks so it’s not all pretty.

some of these things are  (we have three kids now so, here’s some of our things) My kids are older, so remember this as you are reading

Kid #1 gets to sit up front (I must use my front seat because of lack of seats, so don’t even go there with me) they also get the privilege of holding the money if the kids get to go to the store, they also get to “pay” at the grocery, gas station.  They get to choose first through snacks I bring from home if there are different ones however, I try to do all the same.  If they were staying at home with me that day, they also take their shower first, must help wash the dishes.  they get the trash out of the car (everyone is responsible for getting their own trash to them) so it’s not all good stuff and it’s not all bad stuff

#2 usually doesn’t have that many activities assigned they get a free day basically except they help me because I am disabled, with my things and oxygen etc.

#3 holds the door anywhere we go.  they are responsible for putting all the car buckets up (will explain these in a minute)  

So the person that has the day, is the go to person for the day.  This helps me avoid arguments from the kids of who sits “shotgun”   Sorry look at the calendar.

The rotation continues no matter what, we do, no hold days. Whatever day you are in my car, That calendar day stands.
Way back when I had grandkids staying with me all the time, I started this. I took the arguments out of the equation
(these things MUST be set up and in stone first) and I had them help me do this.

Other things, we have in place already, are
Winner cleans up the game,
Everyone gets their dishes to the sink. Even the littles. If they can’t reach the sink, they put it on the floor. I’m good with that, because it gets it all in one place.
The littles are NOT too little to carry their belongings or pick up their belongs.  If they can stand and play with toys they can put things up and take responsibility for their things.  That doesn’t mean they have to solely be responsible because they are too little.  But if they can take a toy out of a backpack, they can put it back in.

Also in my car, every child has a bucket that has 4 pockets and a handle. This holds their personal belongings in the car for long trips, as well as if we stop and get food they have a place to hold their food.  Kinda like these, and then they decorated them up

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I also have made sure everyone has a cup holder because my van is conveniently unequipped with them. LOL
We have church rules that are already in place, as well as general rules that I expect them to follow everywhere, house rules, and trip rules and we adjust appropriately.  One of the biggest is “hands on car”

When I had the older set of granddaughters staying with me, I had a runner.  We opened the doors, she took off running.  So the rule was implemented, your feet touch the ground, your hands go on the car, until I say go.  If the car is too hot you “pretend to touch it”  This keeps the kids from running and keeps them all together.  Being disabled, you keep your “ducks in a row” where you can LOL
But these are set in stone, and each child knows them and it’s kind of like a “manual for the Hix Crew”

With 9 grandchildren, there is organized chaos. I get more compliments on trips etc, because they know ahead of time what is expected, Just had one start going with us on overnight trips, so he has been added to the rotation and got to get a crash course on the rules. He was the best one on the last two trips!!! Maybe refresher courses are needed. However, the kids wrote the rules to begin with, when this was first implemented, so they take ownership in it.  It works for our family and I can stop the “I wanna go first” or I don’t wanna pick up the game, or all the other little things that kids can find to argue about!

But it’s worked out where first is not always best, last is not always worst, and in between doesn’t get left out.

Everyone has a task and when you have this many people at one time sometimes in a hotel room/car etc, it is necessary

Being organized is a cohesive lifestyle. You may not have to be “this” organized, and you may have to be even more organized.

I am NOT an organized person  I am very unorganized.  I have ADD.  I cannot focus on any one project for any given length of time

Some of this maybe duplicated, and some is overkill, however, when you are as chronically UN organized as I am, this keeps me on track and focused.  After the first setups with each one, it’s as easy as just typing a small note and hitting save.  I have used Gmail Calendar for a few years now as well as Cozi and just found Evernote and started with it.  

However, these three apps are my lifesavers.  

One thing I also do, is I make a print copy (for backup) of each month.  I don’t do it every time something changes, because they each have their own internal “cloud” to back up to. Just a few things that work for our family to give us some sense of order in our huge family organized chaos.

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Another Way Home

Have your plans ever gone awry, only for you to realize what happened was God’s plan—and much better than what you had planned for yourself? You’ll want to read Deborah Raney’s Another Way Home, the third Chicory Inn novel. Danae and her husband, Dallas Brooks, have tried for years with no baby in sight. Danae is finally learning to live her life with gratitude, but then heart-wrenching events on Thanksgiving weekend threaten to pull the entire Whitman clan into turmoil—and leave them all forever changed.
###

Another Road Home
{More about Another Way Home}Another Way Home (Abingdon Press, October 2015)Sometimes God’s ways are not at all what we expect . . . and exactly what we need.Grant and Audrey are adding grandchildren to their family left and right, but middle daughter, Danae, and her husband, Dallas Brooks, have tried for years with no baby in sight.Though Danae is ready to consider adoption, Dallas will not even discuss it. Despairing of ever having a family of her own, Danae decides to pour her passion and energies into volunteer work with a newly opened women’s shelter in town. Looking for a good cause to fill her lonely days, she never expects to give her heart to the hurting women she meets there. She’s finally learning to live her life with gratitude, but then heart-wrenching events on Thanksgiving weekend threaten to pull the entire Whitman clan into turmoil—and leave them all forever changed

My Review

Another Way Home brings us back to catch up with Grant and Audrey from the Chicory Inn Novels,  by Deborah Raney.

Misty and her son Austin are in the shelter because she was abused.  Her husband is a violent man who attacked her and this is where Misty landed.  Danae, in the role of her job takes a vested interest in Misty. 

Danae and Dallas soon find that meeting Misty and Austin was  God thing and God thins are happening in their life.

then only to have it squashed by a relative that comes forward to Misty..

Will Austin’s life stop being so wishy-washy, will Denae and Dallas Brooks have a life that includes children?  Will Danae ever stop being  jealous of her sisters are having children?

When circumstances give Danae and Dallas everything they have dreamed of they must decide as a family, will love be enough, or will God’s Call be enough.  Go check out this part of the Chickory Inn Series to see what happens and if Danae, Dallas and the Whitman Family do over Thanksgiving and the next few months to assure that happiness will be had from all the family.

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{More About Deborah Raney}Deborah RaneyDeborah Raney’s books have won numerous awards, including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, and the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband, Ken, recently traded small-town life in Kansas—the setting of many of Deborah’s novels—for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita, where they enjoy gardening, antiquing, movies, and traveling to visit four children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away.

 

 

Find out more about Deborah at http://deborahraney.com.

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An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti | Blog Tour and Holiday Cheer Giveaway

 

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!

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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.

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    ###

    An Endless Christmas

    {More about An Endless Christmas}

    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 from 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 entire family. But things go very wrong when she says, “not now.” 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.

    Learn more and purchase a copy.

    My Review

    Cynthia Ruchti has a person’s heart in mind when she writes.  The writing that she does is some of the very best when you want blank space reading.  When I say blank space reading, what I mean is just a fun, easy read that makes you leave your world and enter into the world of the author you are reading!

    I needed this book, right when I read it.  God has a great way of doing that!  Isn’t He amazing when He does things like that!  When Katie and Micah go home for Christmas and Micah proposes to Katie as soon as he gets in his grandparents home, Katie turns him down.  Flat out. Only to learn that when Micah meant Endless Christmas, he didn’t mean that the holiday goes on forever, what he meant, in my opinion is that when you look at the Christmas spirit and live that spirit every single day, then Christmas is in your eart all the time, every single moment.

    Add in that nothing can stand in the way of your happiness with all of your family, no matter how big, or how small, no matter, if the silly Uncle Paul, keeps getting his jokes out there, or Grandma Dodie tells you exactly how she feels, without saying anything at all.

    A week in the home of a family that loves each other without any question, and you tend to forget about all the things that were wrong in your life.  Katie’s family life was horrible.  Never remembered a Christmas that was good and then meets Micah, the man who changes her life forever.

    After Grandpa’s health scare, and realizing, just what family is, Katie knows what she must do.  Go check out Cynthia Ruchti’s new book

    Endless  Christmas to see what happens with the Binder family.

    {More About Cynthia Ruchti}

    Cynthia Ruchti

    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.
    Find out more about Cynthia at http://www.cynthiaruchti.com.
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    Family Christian® Celebrates New Path Forward


    Store and product improvements create unique shopping experience

    Following a 12-month operational reorganization, along with a complete store and product overhaul, Family Christian® announced today it is on the path to becoming a stronger retailer and supporter of faith-based causes.

    As part of the reorganization, Family Christian have upgraded and expanded their product choice to include a new compelling assortment of home decor, apparel, and books.

    “It’s not just about the new merchandise, though,” said Steve Biondo, Family Christian Spokesperson. “We’ve also implemented a new Service Promise throughout the organization, focused on loving and caring for our customers, to guarantee a shopping experience like no other.”

    The most important element of the organization’s restructuring is an even deeper focus on maximizing its ministry impact. Purchases at Family Christian support the non-profit’s efforts to unite with ministries that are helping children and families in need stateside and worldwide.

    “While our business goal is to be a first-class retailer, the heart of this organization is firmly grounded in ministry,” said Biondo. “We will be developing even stronger ministry partnerships to continue and increase our support of hands-on widow and orphan work worldwide, and sharing God’s word through Bible donations and mission trip support.”

    To find the nearest Family Christian store, visit Family Christian Stores 

    About Family Christian
    Located in the United States, Family Christian is the world’s largest Christian-focused retailer. The nonprofit organization has about 255 stores in 36 states. The organization offers a variety of Christian-themed merchandise, including Bibles, home decor, art, gifts, DVD’s, kids products, books, and music. In addition to its physical stores Family Christian provides consumers with access to all these resources through www.familychristian.com, its e-Commerce platform. All earnings will be donated to Christian ministries serving families, orphans and widows in distress. Learn more at http://www.familychristian.com/about.

    You can keep up with  Family Christian Stores at any of the following links

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    This entry was first posted in Industry Highlights and tagged restructuring, family christian updates, family christian news, news on November 19, 2015 by Family Christian and reblogged with permission.

     


     

     

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    Little Words Matter #FCBlogger

      20151114_004122-1_Modified

    When I agreed to review Little Words Matter Bible Storybook I was hoping that it wasn’t just another little kids Bible Story book.  Like all the rest.

    It certainly isn’t!  I LOVE this book.  So little, so sweet.  Just a simple board book.  Easy for little hands to hold and read.

    The stories in the book, aren’t just the simple verses of the popular stories in the Bible.  The author Tama Fortner, gives this little book a personality and separates it from the other Bible Storytime books.  The illustrations by Holli Conger add so much to these beautiful little stories

    Each story -there are 19 of them, start out with simple word statements.  Fortner goes on to tell us the story in easy, small kids words.  

    Most children that read this can remember those sentences.  19 stories from the Bible. Isn’t that what we, as parents, grandparents and/or teachers or ministry leaders want?  Words that not only teach these children, beautiful stories from God’s Word, but anything that will help them to remember them.

    We will take the story of Jesus on the Cross.

    Bible

    from Luke 23, John 19:17-42

    Jesus was arrested!  He was laughed at, spit on, and beaten.  Then He was put on the cross.  But even on the cross, Jesus loved everyone

    “Father, forgive them,” He said, Jesus dies and was placed in a tomb.  A giant stone covered it

    Jesus died to take away the sins of the world

    What a great way to sum up the story of Jesus on the cross, just so the littles can understand!  I LOVE this book and am so grateful to have reviewed it to be introduced to the series,  With Christmas coming, and a lot of littles in my family, this will make the perfect gift to put in their stocking or under the tree!

    you can find this book and many others at Family Christian Stores.  Check out all the great things you can get for Christmas presents for your kiddoes.

     

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    About the Author Tama Fortner

    My name is Tama. I love God, my family and friends, and coffee with extra cream. I live a crazy life that is all-at-once wonderful, messy, and filled with love.Untitled_Modified

    In the midst of the craziness of carpools and crockpots, I am also a Bible teacher and a freelance writer and editor. My most recent book, God Is Always Good, was published this fall. I’ve collaborated on a number of titles, including the bestselling Jesus Calling for Kids and Grace for the Moment for Kids. My home is in the hilly suburbs of Tennessee, with my husband, two kids, a dog, and a cat aptly named Trouble.

    My prayer is that all I do, all I say, all I write and teach will bring glory to Him, because . . .

    He brought me out into a spacious place;
        He rescued me because He delighted in me.

    -Psalm 18:19
    You can keep up with Tama at her blog at http://www.tamafortner.com or the following links

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    About The Illustrator Holli Conger


    Holli’s artistic talent and creativity has been evident from a very early age. Although she excelled in many areas of school, art projects were always her favorite. In third grade, Holli’s art teacher presented her with a big green pencil case (which she still has today) for having the best drawing in the class.

    Today she is a digital and dimensional illustrator who illustrates in a whimsical style suitable for any application of illustration. From magazine, greeting cards and advertising, to CD covers, packaging and children’s books, Holli approaches each project with whimsy and creativity guaranteed to put a smile on any child’s (and parent’s) face.

    With a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design and Advertising, Holli has the knowledge and experience of working with
    art directors, designers, copywriters and other creative types to collaborate on projects. A Nashville native, she currently lives in Winston-Salem, NC, where her husband, their daughter and son give her plenty of inspiration.

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    Tears of Dark Water #FCBlogger

    296636

    I received this book from Family Christian to review. I really wanted to like the book, but I actually didn’t like it at all.  I didn’t believe it was a true Christian Fiction book.

    As well as, the storyline bounced around from one place to another, another every part of the story was mixed up in the explanations not the storyline to me.

    This is one of the first books I didn’t finish and did not eventually go back too.  It just wasn’t that book for me.

    I really wish that the book had been better for me.

    When Washington, D.C., power broker Daniel Parker and his family embark on a round-the-world sailing trip, they’re sure they’ll survive the dangers of the open ocean–until they’re captured by Somali pirate Ismail Adan Ibrahim. FBI negotiator Paul Derrick is dispatched to handle the crisis. As their paths converge, will the seeds of justice and reconciliation grow? – copied

    If you like fiction that has several storylines going on at the same time, this book is for you. If you are looking for a straight up Christian Fiction book.  This is not the book for you.  You can find so many more books at Family Christian Stores and I know they will have just the book for you!  As you can see, Family Christian has a vast array of books for all different types of readers, 

    I’m only giving it two stars because I did not like the way the book was put together. 

    you can keep up with Family Christian at the following Links

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    More About the Author

    Web-Bio-Pic

    Corban Addison is the author of three international bestselling novels, A Walk Across the Sun, The Garden of Burning Sand, and The Tears of Dark Water, which address some of today’s most pressing human rights issues. An

    attorney, activist, and world traveler, he is a supporter of numerous humanitarian causes, including the abolition of modern slavery, gender-based violence, and HIV/AIDS. He lives with his wife and children in Virginia.

    you can connect with the author at the following links

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    Easy Beef Enchiladas

    I LOVE enchiladas, so much that I have spent years trying to find a perfect recipe

    I finally found it by accident sort of!?!

    I volunteered to make lunch for some wonderful volunteers from our church that were helping to put up our lights in the auditorium of our church for our annual Festival Of Lights at Christmas time.  50,000  twinking lights synchronized to music.  at the top of a 30 foot cathedral ceiling, but that’s for another post.  Here is a sneak peak of what we festival do though!

    FOL

    Festival of Lights

    Those men and women were HUNGRY.

    However, I have been quite ill lately and I needed this recipe to be quick and easy.

    My friend Patti told me about some recipes on her Pinterest account, so I went hunting!!!  I found several easy beef enchilada casseroles when I put that search factor in.  there were several that I liked the look of, however when I finished search and combining and done, this is what I ended up with.

    Easy Beef Enchiladas

    2 LBS hamburger (I use 93/7%) browned and drained, then put back in skillet
    1 regular size onion chopped and diced small (you can use white or yellow) purple will not taste good. It’s too sweet
    1 can Rotel® mild
    1 can Red Enchilada Sauce
    1 small can green chili diced
    1 small can cream of mushroom soup
    1 small can cream of chicken soup
    About 20-30 corn tortillas cut in either one inch cubes or in long strips about an inch wide the length of the tortilla. (either way is fine) – This can vary depending on how many you want on it,
    Chili powder to taste: I like it spicy so use a lot (remember though you also have 
    Rotel®  and red enchilada sauce to help with the heat)  Be careful!
    Morton’s Natures Seasoning® to taste (you can substitute plain salt and pepper for this, I just like the blend) 
    I also add ground salt and pepper about 1/4 tsp each
    Garlic powder to taste – I use lots.
    Fresh Ground Salt and Pepper to taste (remember that your Morton’s Natures Seasoning ® as salt and pepper so use sparingly, you can always go back and add more
    You can add red pepper flakes if you want. I don’t like them, so don’t!
    2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

    A hint: you can do this on the stove or the oven, either way is good; also you can use the crockpot. I tell you in the instructions where to switch

    Instructions:
    In a big bowl, mix all of your cans of stuff together. Then stir it up and set it aside. (you have 5 cans)

    wi

    all the wet ingredients combined in a bowl

    Cook the hamburger well and drain it Then put it back to the skillet or this would be a good time to switch it over to a crock pot. (I will tell you about that soon)Add all the spices and blend it really well

    Seasonings

    Seasonings

    hamburger

    Meat and Onions

    Once you have it all blended and mixed and heated throughout, add all the wet ingredients that you set aside earlier.

    Cook this for about 10 minutes on top of the stove or about an hour in the crockpot on high. All you are doing is blending the flavors,

    After you cook the mix.

    Oven:
    13×9 inch pan that is full size on the sides.
    Dip up enough, JUST to cover the bottom
    Sprinkle the top of that layer with tortilla pieces being careful not to layer the tortilla pieces
    Sprinkle the top of the tortillas with shredded cheese
    Then repeat.
    Once it’s done, cook covered with foil for about 25/30 minutes, Uncovering the last few minutes to “cook the cheese through”

    Crockpot
    At this point, you want to definitely use your tortillas cut into one inch square pieces. If you have made strips, go ahead and slice them into squares. Mix about one cup of shredded cheese into the mixture. Set the other cup aside until it is almost done.
    When it is almost done, sprinkle the top of the casserole with cheese and finish it out.

    finished

    Hints and Tricks
    In place of the tortillas, in a pinch, use bagged tortilla chips

    You can add cumin for that “Mexican food” Flavor if you want
    Also you can add a little onion powder if you like a lot of onion flavor
    Serve with sour cream, cheese, black olives, Pico de Gallo, salsa or whatever floats your boat
    These are a very quick response to rolling your own enchiladas. We loved this recipe, as did all the people helping us!
    This is a single recipe. You can double it and use two cake pans. If you double and use a crockpot, please make sure it is a big crockpot. The mix alone is 8 cups when doubled.

    Nuttrition Info

    Based on a 2000 Calorie Diet

     

     

     

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    A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love

    Murder-mystery and Gothic literature fans will love the newest addition to Dorothy Love’s lineup, A Respectable Actress. Accused of the shooting death of her leading man on the stage of Savannah’s Southern Palace theater, famed actress India Hartley is sequestered at Indigo Point, the St Simons Island home of her defense attorney Philip Sinclair. As Philip works to clear her name India discovers that he is hiding a startling secret of his own. One that may well hold the key to her freedom.

    ###

    A Respectable Actress

    {More about A Respectable Actress}

    A Respectable Actress (Thomas Nelson, October 2015)

    When India Hartley is accused of murder, she must uncover the deceptions of others to save herself.

    India Hartley, a famous and beautiful actress, is now alone after her father’s death and embarks upon a tour of theaters across the South. Her first stop is Savannah’s Southern Palace. On the eve of the second night’s performance, something goes horribly wrong. Her co-star, Arthur Sterling, shot dead on stage in front of a packed house, and India, arrested and accused of the crime.

    A benefactor hires Philip Sinclair, the best—and handsomest—lawyer in Savannah to defend India. A widower, Philip is struggling to reinvent his worn-out plantation on St. Simons Island. He needs to increase his income from his law practice to restore Indigo Point, and hardly anything will bring him more new clients than successfully defending a famous actress on a murder charge.

    Because India can’t go anywhere in town without being mobbed, Philip persuades the judge handling her case to let him take her to Indigo Point until her trial date. India is charmed by the beauty of the Georgia low country and is increasingly drawn to Philip. But a locked room that appears to be a shrine to Philip’s dead wife and the unsolved disappearance of a former slave girl raise troubling questions. Piecing together clues in an abandoned boat and a burned-out chapel, India discovers a trail of dark secrets that lead back to Philip, secrets that ultimately may hold the key to her freedom. If only he will believe her.

    Learn more and buy a copy.

    My Review

    When India takes the stage that one fateful night, her life changes forever.  Little does she know just how her life will change.

    Her part was to pick up a prop gun and shoot her costar.  Of course a prop gun is all fake, has no firing pin, the ammo isn’t real, the costar doesn;t really die.  tonight though, the firing pin IS real, the ammo is real and the costar, Mr. Arthur Sterling, is wounded and then passes away soon after.  India is held in custody until a dashing young attorney, Phillip Sinclair, hired by Mrs. Celia Makay comes to whisk her away and prepare her case.

    India finds so much more!  She finds true friendship after meeting Phillip’s sister Amelia and the woman who is holding grudges that India soon finds out that have haunted Philip for a few years. 

    love-pin

    A Respectable Actress, filled with lots of intrigue, mystery, action, secrets becomes a great read to keep you moving from the very first page, to the very last word.

    I don’t normally like historical fiction, especially when you through some romance in there, however, this book was written so well, that it made me feel like I was really there at times!

    I often found myself lingering wondering what the days and nights were like.  What it was really like to have to wait days for responses to handwritten letters!  So many other things took me back!  A Respectable Actress was well written and well researched.

    Dorothy Love has crafted a fun, exciting piece of work with  A Respectable Actress, based on the real-life actress Frances Anne (Fannie) Kemble.  This is the second book of Love’s that I have fallen in love with, thinking that I wouldn’t like from the moment I picked it up

    http://litfusegroup.com/campaigns/a-respectable-actress-dorothy-love

    {More About Dorothy Love}

    A native of west Tennessee, Dorothy Love makes her home in the Texas hill country with heDLove-26r husband and their golden retriever. An award-winning author of many young adult novels, Dorothy made her adult debut with the Hickory Ridge novels. When she isn’t busy writing or researching her next book, Love enjoys hiking, traveling, and hanging out with her husband Ron and their rambunctious golden retriever. The Loves make their home in the Texas hill country.

    Find out more about Dorothy at http://dorothylovebooks.com

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    Miracle Drug by Richard Mabry | Blog Tour

     

    Miracle Drug by Richard Mabry | Blog Tour 

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    Richard Mabry’s new fast-paced medical drama, Miracle Drug, will keep you turning pages until you find out if the experimental drug can cure the fatal disease the former President of the United States has contracted. The situation goes from bad to worse when Rachel Moore, a nurse Dr. Josh Pearson is falling in love with, falls ill. With the nation’s eyes on him, Josh must pull off a miracle to save a man who holds a good deal of power and the woman who holds his heart.

    Miracle-Drug

    {More about Miracle Drug}

    Miracle Drug (Abingdon, September 2015)

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

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

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

    Learn more and purchase a copy.

    My Review

    Rachel and the former president of the United States are on a trip overseas. Little do they know, that trip will change their lives forever.

    The former President;s personal physician is murdered, Rachel  (a practicing nurse) and David Madison (the former president) are poisoned.  Josh Pearson is the new physician that must save them both.

    Josh must figure out what they were poisoned with and then fight the poison for Mr. Madison and the woman he is falling in love with, Rachel.  In doing so he also must fight the killers and a thief.

    Mr. Mabry brings it once again to this medical thriller.  Packed full of intrigue, mystery and the faith that can move mountains.  Or save lives.

    Check out Mabry’s newest book at the following page.

    http://litfusegroup.com/campaigns/miracle-drug-by-richard-mabry

    Richard Mabry

    {More About Richard Mabry}

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

    Find out more about Richard at http://www.rmabry.com.

    You can keep up with Dr Mabry at the following links
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    Richard Smallwood #FCBlogger Family Christian

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    I am not a fan of Motown music.  I love just about all music you could ever listen to.  However, Rap, Motown, Headbanging, and Heavy Metal.  I just do not have a feel for.

    I have never been able to put my finger on why, but I just knew I didn’t like it.  When I got Richard Smallwood’s The Millennium Collection from Family Christian to review.  I really had to pray long and hard before I listened to it.  For God to send me the words out of the music that He wanted me to hear, to not listen to the musicality  while listening to the CD but hear the words, and boy did I hear some words!!

    With songs like

    1 We Magnify Your Name (Live)  2  What He’s Done For Me  3 In The Shelter  4 Center Of My Joy (Live)  5 Great Is Thy Faithfulness  6 He’s Able (Live)  7 Great Is The Lord (Psalm 48)  8 Wonderful Counselor  9 His Mercy Endureth Forever (Psalm 118)  10 The Lord’s Prayer (Live)

    I am going to look at # 9 His Mercy Endureth Forever.  Which happens to be one of my all time favorite songs

    This song, taken from Psalm 118  and oh what a lesson it teaches you.

    (everything in italics is from me.)

    Oh give thanks unto the Lord
    For He is Good,  For He is Good   Have you ever just sat and thought about just HOW good God is?  HE IS GOOD.  I mean seriously GOOD.  There is no way to describe the Good that comes from the Lord,, there aren’t enough words
    For His mercy endureth for ever and ever  His MERCY endures forever, infinite, eternal, everlasting,   can you even begin to think that long

    Thy art my God and I will Praise you  Yes Lord, just because you are my God, I will praise you!!

    The Lord is my strength and my song  What strength we find in the Lord  When we are weak and down to our nothing ness, my STRENGTH is in you Lord!
    He has become my salvation, my salvation
    I will praise you oh Lord, PRAISING THE LORD for the salvation he has given me that last eternal and forever, and infinite, everlasting,,,  What a gynormous promise the Lord has given us here in these three lines!!
    You have become my salvation, my salvation

    For this is the day that the Lord hath made
    I will rejoice and be glad in it   You choose to rejoice in each day, no matter what comes your way, REJOICE IN HIM!!!

    Oh Give thanks unto the Lord  – how can you NOT give thanks to the Lord  – When I think of the things that the Lord has done for me, I mean HE GAVE HIS SON.  to die on the cross, so that I might live forever, infinite, everlasting… 

    He gives me everything I need, right when I need it  What JOY we see when we look upon His face

    Now wrap all of this up into the soulful voice of Richard Smallwood and his choir and just listen to these words.

    Does the meaning change?  No.  But the song I know, is sang so fast that there are words that run together and while it’s a great song, you are singing a beat that is tremendous.  Mr. Smallwood slows it down and you hang on every world he says.  “HIS LOVE FOREVER”

    Smallwood’s career spans many, many years, with many awards, many albums!  He says on Instagram, this is all he has ever wanted to do!

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    Now does it even GET any better than that?  I can’t possibly think of a better way to sing these words from the gospel!  Each song is a song from the heart and soul of each person that is singing with Mr Smallwood.  This album compiles his greatest hits into this Millennium Collection. and you can buy it at Family Christian Stores online now for 5.00 as well as the digital download for 5.99.  what a great Christmas or birthday present this would make for someone!

    here is the video of Mr. Smallwood Singing His Mercy Endureth Forever from The Millennium Collection

    You can read Psalm 118 here 

    You can keep up with Mr Smallwood at the following links

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    Just Show Up’ by Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn (Plus a Tried & True Friendship Giveaway)

    What does friendship look like in the midst of changing life seasons, loads of laundry, —and even cancer? Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn teamed up to write Just Show Up, a story of their close friendship and walk through Kara’s battle with terminal cancer. Whether you are eager to be present to someone going through a difficult time or simply want inspiration for pursuing friends in a new way, this eloquent and practical book explores the gift of silence, the art of receiving, and what it means to just show up.

    Celebrate the gift of friendship with a Tried & True Friendship giveaway—a prize for you and for a friend!

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    One grand prize winner will receive:

    Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 23rd. The winner will be announced October 26th on Jill’s blog.

    Is one of your friends going through a tough time—maybe you need some encouragement? Stop by Kara and Jill’s author page, click on the reviews bar, and read through some bloggers’ stories of how their friends got them through suffering.

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    About the Authors

    Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn

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

    Learn more about the life of Kara Tippetts at http://www.mundanefaithfulness.com or follow the site on

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

    Find out more about Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn at http://jill-lynn.com. and the following links,

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    Bestselling author Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn answer those questions in the new book Just Show Up: the Dance of Walking Through Suffering Together (David C Cook/ October 1, 2015/ISBN: 978-1434709530/$15.99). With grace and practical advice, the friends wrote about what relationships look like in the midst of changing life seasons, loads of laundry and even Tippetts’ battle with cancer, which she tragically lost on March 22, 2015.

    As Tippetts walked the road of cancer, learning to receive offers of help from friends — and the vulnerability that comes along with it — was sometimes an uncomfortable journey for everyone involved. Yet, she discovered an astounding depth of relationship with women who wanted to walk with her and her family, including Buteyn, who became one of her closest friends. “We all have tough times, but there’s a beauty that comes in doing the really hard stuff together,” Buteyn reveals. “When I look back on my time with Kara, I see a lot of tears, prayers and pain, but I also see grace and even peace. It was beautiful to walk with her, even though it hurt so much. It still hurts. But I would choose her all over again.”

    Buteyn faced her own challenges as she reached out to Tippetts and her family. Maintaining friendships can be difficult even on the best of days, and troubles compound relational challenges. For Buteyn, it was hard at times to know what to say or do, and there were moments when her words sounded awkward and hollow. Along the way, though, Tippetts and Buteyn both discovered ways to meet each other in the “hard.” The book offers insightful chapters full of wisdom about the gift of silence, the art of receiving and the beauty of just showing up.

    “Presence is so important in suffering because sometimes that’s really all we have to offer,” Buteyn admits. “We don’t have the right words or there isn’t anything we can do to help. Sometimes it is just about being there.” In addition to sage advice born from experience, Just Show Up offers practical tips, such as what clichés to avoid, why it’s important to be specific in your offers of help and how to avoid making your friend’s pain all about you.

    Whether readers want to be present with someone going through a difficult time or find inspiration for pursuing friendship in a new way, this eloquent book reveals the power found in being present during the everyday as well as the terribly hard — and reaching out to others, no matter what.


    “Kara Tippetts changed my life and thousands of others’ lives because she was a rare, singular voice who, when facing the end of her life here, had street cred to speak about what really matters. Open these rich, radical pages and give yourself the gift of friendship like you’ve always wanted and community like you’ve only hoped for—before it’s too late to just show up.

    —Ann Voskamp, New York Times bestselling author of One Thousand Gifts

    My Review

    Have you ever had a friend that you just know is there for you no matter what, no matter when, no matter what, no matter where.  They will Just Show Up.  That kind of friendship is rare  There are very few people who sacrifice their everything for you.  That being said, that friendship is usually a once in a lifetime friend.  It could be your spouse, your childhood friend that you have had for life, or it maybe the person you met a couple of days ago and you just haven’t needed them to Just Show Up yet.  Or them you.

    When you do find that person, you will know it.  The instinct to call them about everything and anything.  Whether your day is going great and you want to share.  Whether you want to get their kids and have a play date.  The person you took for your spouse because you know, no matter what, it is forever, for life, in sickness or in health, for better or worse  

    You also know that no matter what you say or do with that person they are always going to be there.  You are always going to be there for them.  

    In Kara and Jill’s book “Just Show Up” Kara faces the battle of her life.  Cancer.  Jill and Kara had that relationship  Both gave, both received, but the one thing in common was they were all in    One of the statements made in the book said Showing up in suffering benefits both sides, and iit has to be entered in from both sides  Had either pushed or pulled the other, there is no way it would have worked.  

    This book is that journey.  Their struggle through the hard and in that struggle, God meets you right there,  both of you, all of you, everyone involved and all that being said, you have  a completely different form of worship.  

    This book became that form of worship to me also.  Because I am a blogger in the Christian Women’s  genre, I heard about Kara and her beautiful life.  I had read her story before and actually followed her for a while.  Going into this book was like visiting that trusted friend.

    I love the way that Jill and Kara used Jill’s unpublished thoughts as lead-ins for Kars’s thoughts.  In what I believe has every chance of  becoming (in my opinion) one of the best books on being a caregiver to someone who is seriously or terminally ill  I pray that it finds its way into Therapist and Counselor libraries everywhere.  That Cancer patients have it as a choice to put into their arsenal of how to fight and win,  How to deal with the emotions  and even more so, how to ask when they need it.   “Just Show Up”  needs to be considered as one of those books that is kinda like the Dummies Series not only for friendships everywhere, but then also for anyone who is ill, who is a caregiver, who is a friend, who is a spouse.  This is how struggling through the hard with a friend or set of friends needs to bec

    Walking this path will give you such a great experience in how to meet someone.

    You can find this book here and learn a lot more about Kara, Jill and “Just Show Up”

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    Ninja and Changing Lifestyles

    I have this great little machine in my kitchen,

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    called a Ninja.  It is amazing!

     

    I have started cooking things from scratch.  Doing it all.

    I have made soups, stews, cakes a lot of things literally.

    but the very best, funnest thing I made came a couple of nights ago

    Something extremely simple,  but oh so sweet (literally)

    I made powdered sugar!!

    It was so surreal to be able
    to use a simple machine, save money and make something I needed in my kitchen without making a run to the grocery store, and spending money I didn’t want to spend.

    Scratch cooking, means using what you have on hand, and making a great meal from it as well as adding nothing processed.  Nothing in a box, bag, wrapper, nothing frozen, nothing canned.  While some things you can’t avoid, for reasons that are monetary (we have no freezer for one) and well, I can’t make gravy for crap, so I buy gravy in a bag and add water.  Nor can I make cornbread from scratch.  So I use the packages.

    I was able to make a treat for my husband last night.

    I made simple plain cinnamon roll but the frosting was OH SO fabulous.

    I used,

    1 box of cream cheese,

    1/4 cup butter,

    1 TBSP vanilla,

    1/2 cup powdered sugar

    to make the powdered sugar, I used one cup of regular granulated sugar.  (Now if you are going to store it, you need cornstarch.  I planned on using everything I made)

    I then put the sugar in the Ninja and blended it for about 1 minute and had a perfect cup of powdered sugar.

    So here is the frosting I made, and it was so delicious.

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    Now, this being said, I didn’t say we were going sugar-free, just healthier and no processed foods, (or trying).

    Those of you that no me, don’t throw up my sweet tea to me, or my insatiable cravings for cheese sticks LOL

    these too will pass eventually.  But now, they aren’t.

    All of this to say in the long run, for us, eating healthier has been cheaper.  It is NOT as you first start out.  i give you that.

    But in the long run, it is so much cheaper, so much better for you and I am back in love with cooking.  Now maybe I can get my kitchen remodeled the way I want.

    Keep up with me at the following sites

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    #Stolen by Jessica Fralin | Instagram Contest and $100 Cash Card Giveaway

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    Author: Jessica Fralin

    Is social media stealing your identity? We need an #IdentityRevolution! Take part by reading Jessica Fralin’s debut book, #Stolen! In #Stolen, author Jessica Fralin uncovers our deep desire to be affirmed, valued, and loved and then points to the only place where that desire can be filled: in Christ not social media.

    Join Jessica and Abingdon Press on Instagram for the chance to win a $100 cash card!

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    One grand prize winner will receive:

    A $100 cash card

    A copy of #Stolen

     

     

    Enter today by following the instructions below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 30th. The winner will be announced November 2nd on the Litfuse blog.

    Here’s how to enter the contest:

    1. Take a no-filter selfie of you either holding up a copy of the book (if you have one) or holding up a sign that says, “I will not be #Stolen!”
    2. Caption the photo with the following (just copy/paste this on your mobile device): “I’m participating in an #IdentityRevolution with @JessicaFralin’s new book, #Stolen! Learn how to be affirmed, valued, and loved through Christ, not social media. #contest”
    3. Follow @JessicaFralin on Instagram.

    Rules: Open to the U.S. only. Entries will be tracked by using the hashtags #Stolen and #IdentityRevolution. Entries must be submitted by 10/30/15 at 11:59 PDT. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on 11/2.

    Per Instagram rules, this promotion is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm that they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use. Void where prohibited by law.

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    {More about #Stolen}

    #Stolen: Is Social Media Stealing Your Identity? (Abingdon, August 2015)

    Take back what social media has stolen.

    How many hours do we spend scrolling Facebook newsfeeds, retweeting something on Twitter, or posing for the perfect selfie on Instagram, hoping what we post will get likes and comments from our friends and followers? To get those likes, we post what is—according to social media standards—pretty, popular, and acceptable. We hide the messy parts of life, play up the fun times, and even twist the truth a bit so we look a little better, smarter, and funnier. But what happens when people start holding us up to these unrealistic standards? What happens when you realize that who you are on social media isn’t who you really are? Have we let social media steal our identity?

    In #Stolen, author Jessica Fralin uncovers our deep desire to be affirmed, valued, and loved and then points to the only place where that desire can be filled: in Christ not social media. She offers creative #FunFact, #GiveItATry, and #WhatDoYouThink callouts containing fun notes, activities, and ideas to discuss with your youth group and friends. As she tackles the issues and insecurities like popularity, body image, and cyberbullying, Jessica shows you how to find your identity in the one voice that really matters, not the million of voices online.

    Learn more and purchase a copy.

    Jessica Fralin

    {More About Jessica Fralin}

    Jessica Fralin is an author & blogger in Nashville, Tennessee. Whether speaking from a platform or typing away on jessicafralin.com, her heart is to convey the message of love, acceptance, and worth that can only be found in the gospel. On any given day, you can find her holding a book or a latte and passionately teaching others who they are―and why it matters―when it comes to social media.

    Find out more about Jessica at http://jessicafralin.com.
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    Copied from Litfuse Blogger Base to promote the book Stolen by Jessica Fralin

    Finishing School

    The Finishing School by Valerie Woerner

    The Finishing School

    The Finishing School: How One Book Nerd Began Living What She Learned (Nyree Press, August 2015)

    Are you tired of waiting for change to happen in your life? Do you feel stuck, even though you want to live intentionally?

    In today’s world, our most precious pursuit of a life well lived gets squeezed out by the silliest of things, like binging on Netflix or ice cream, shopping trips for things we don’t need, bad habits we can’t seem to get a handle on, and so much more. Valerie has been there despite knowing what she wanted for her life. Actually do it? That’s the challenge.

    After gobbling up all the non-fiction and self-help books her donut-filled belly could handle, she decided it was time to put her knowledge to good use and start actually living it out. You will hear about her journey through victories and plenty of failures and find practical tips to apply to your own pursuit of holiness. You will find homework at the end of each chapter that includes a worksheet to put real change in motion for your own life as well as recommended books to further study those topics that really test you.

    Learn more and purchase a copy.

    The Story Behind The Finishing School

    Valerie Woerner

    You can check out the author’s website here

    and you can connect with Valerie at the following links.

     

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    Wedding At Orange Blossom Inn

     

    A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn by Shelley Shepard Gray | Blog Tour and Book Giveaway

     

    When widow Emma’s family opposes her new friendship with widower Jay, she begins to wonder if she’ll be alone forever. Don’t miss Shelley Shepard Gray’s third book, A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn, in the Amish Brides of Pinecraft series! A wedding brings together two young widowed parents, and once again, love has come to Pinecraft. But can these two parties of four become a happy, healthy family of eight?

    Enter to win a copy of A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn—five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced October 1 on Shelley’s blog!

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    A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn

     

    {More about A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn}

    A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn (Avon Inspire, September 2015)

    A wedding brings together two young widowed parents . . . and gives them a second chance at love.

    Emma Keim was heartbroken when her husband, Sanford, passed away, leaving her to raise three young daughters alone. Though several years have passed, her relatives have made it no secret that they expect Emma to remain a widow, mourning Sanford indefinitely. But when she meets Jay Hilty—a handsome widower with three young sons of his own—Emma is delighted to have a new friend who understands her struggles. Still, she is dismayed that her family is so opposed to their friendship—and the idea of it ever becoming anything more. She honors her husband’s memory every day, but is she destined to be alone forever?

    Emma’s gentleness with Jay’s boys stirs something in his heart that’s been quiet for far too long. But when his oldest son becomes engaged to a local woman, suddenly Jay, Emma, and their children are swept up in wedding preparations. Witnessing his son’s joy, Jay wonders if it’s time for him to move forward, too, and find happiness again.

    Once again, love has come to Pinecraft. But can these two parties of four become a happy, healthy family of eight?

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    Learn more and purchase a copy.

    My Review

    Brady Bunch Meets the Amish Country.
    Or something like that!
    Emma is a widow with three girls
    Jay a widower with three boys!. Between them they have so many friends and relatives that it is a full house all the time!!

    Oh and a precocious pup named Frankie!  Who was an escape artist and a food thief!!

    The thing they have most of is God and Love!  Who can ever have too much of either!

    As their courtship blossoms they learn fast and hard that with a family this big, a town as small as they live in.
    Everyone knows everything about everything.

    Frankie does his escape artistry one day during one if the biggest events of the year and Emma is devastated, embarrassed and unwilling to go back to the event because Frankie has ruined everything.

    Or has he.

    Go check out Wedding At Orange Blossom Inn and fi d out how Frankie’s catastrophes change Emma and Jay’s lives as well as the kids.

     

     

    Shelley Shepard Gray

    More About The Author

    Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

    Find out more about Shelley at http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com.

    You can link up with Shelley at the following links

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    Let’s Learn About The Lord’s Prayer

    61M6fIYNmaL._SL1500_This book is a sweet book about a four-year old little girl named Emma and it takes you on a special journey learning the Lord’s Prayer.  This series is for Preschoolers.

    Let’s Learn About The Lord’s Prayer is part of a new series called HeartSmart Series .

     

     

     

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    HeartSmart is a Scripture memory series designed to create opportunities for children to fill their hearts with God’s Word. HeartSmart combines key Scriptures with songs, giving parents a spiritual formation path for building a strong foundation of faith. In the first book, Let’s Learn about the Lord’s Prayer, just launched this fall, the entire Lord’s prayer is included along with a song.

    The book, while very sweet, has a very important lesson in it.  It teaches kids The Lord’s Prayer.  That part is a given, however, it also teaches kids about the facts that everything we have in the world is God’s.  Everything we do is for God’s glory.

    God is everything.  God is Big, God is all Powerful.  

    God is.

    Our Father, Who Are In Heaven,

    Hallowed be thy name.  

    They kingdom come, Thy will be done.  

    on earth as it is in heaven,

    Give us this day our daily bread,

    and forgive us our debts,

         as we also have forgiven our debtors.

    And lead us not into temptation,

    but deliver us from evil.

    For yours is the Kingdom,

    the power, and the glory forever.

    Amen.

    God is.

    Isn’t that beautiful?  To think we can teach that to our children, just as early as they can talk.

    I feel like these stories are going to be an incredible way to add scripture to early childhood teaching.  Whether it is in church or at home.

    You can buy the book here Heart Smart Series

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    More About The AuthorCDeVries-328
    Catherine DeVries has written twenty books for children, including the bestselling “The Adventure Bible Storybook.” As associate publisher of Children’s Resources at David C Cook, she leads product development for “The Action Bible: collection, which has sold over a million copies. Catherine lives with her husband, their three children, and their big furry dog in the Colorado forest.
    Find out more about Catherine at http://www.davidccook.com.

     

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    Great Little Book About Teaching Children About Anger

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    Teaching Christs Children about Feeling Angry is written from a child’s point of view, which makes it oh so much easier to be able to say “let’s read this”

    Hyman brings practical daily use, Bible Verses and an easy to read format to help children understand that being angry is okay, sinning while we are angry is not.

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    Teaching Christ’s Children about Feeling Angry, while the title implies it is for Christians only, gives extremely great common advice for anyone.  Not just Christians.  This is the only thing I do not like about the book.  To me, the title excludes some children.  Even though we are all children of God, someone who has never read the Bible could interpret this title to say “not me”

    I know that isn’t what Hyman wanted or is saying.  With great illustrations, and following a series of books by Hyman, I love the content of the book and think the title needs work!  

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    More about the Author

    CorineCorine Hyman is a clinical psychologist who has helped families for close to 10 years. Currently, she lives in Baltimore, MD where she has opened her home to children without families by becoming a foster parent. The idea for her first book, Why We Give Gifts at Christmas Time,  was placed in her heart many years ago and since its publishing Corine has published several other books including: What Is Love, My Journey with Jesus Christ, Jaden Goes to Foster Care, (see my review here) and Why I Give. With the exception of Jaden Goes to Foster Care, each book is designed to use the Bible to help both children and adults understand the biblical basis for why Christians do what they do. Look for her upcoming series on what the Bible has to say about feelings in August of 2015. To help design a character in her upcoming book, email her at booksbycorine@gmail.com.

    Or you can link up with her at the following links

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    Thanks for reading and you can link of with me on the following links.

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    Ray Vander Laan’s ‘Israel’s Mission’ Experience the Bible Giveaway

    Our task as Christians is to bring “lost sheep” back into the love and safety of His kingdom. How are you doing at welcoming the strangers and prodigals the Lord longs to embrace? Learn how to work on your task with Ray Vander Laan’s Israel’s Mission, volume thirteen in the That the World May Know® DVD series. Discover the mission that can give your life—and the lives of those around you—greater meaning than you ever imagined. Filmed on location in the Middle East and elsewhere, the series will transform your understanding of God and challenge you to be a true follower of Jesus.

    Celebrate the release of Israel’s Mission by entering to win the entire That the World May Know® series—perfect for working through with your family, Bible study, or Sunday school class!

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    One grand prize winner will receive:

    • All 13 DVDs in the That the World May Know® series

    Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 18th. Winner will be announced September 21st on the Litfuse blog.

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    My Review

    When Jesus was born, His ministry was to tell all about God the Father and the relationships that people have with God.  However, there was no way that Jesus was able to complete that mission. Before Jesus Ascension into Heaven, he commanded the disciples to complete this mission.  This is our great commission.  As HIS disciples. We were all given this command – share.  Share God.  Ray Vander Laan’s Israel’s Mission, Becoming a Kingdom of Priests in a Prodigal World gives us practical ideals and takes us back to the Bible for ways to do this 

    This DVD series starts with Sarah and Abraham and, and goes through Israel at Sinai, Jesus Renews the Mission, Seeking the Lost, The Lost Son  In a Far Country, The Seeking Father The Lost Son Returns.  All of these topics and going through each one of these subjects with great detail and great knowledge and Historical facts.  Imagine stepping back in time, and experiencing where Sarah and Abraham lived, and what their ministry had in store for the world during that time frame; Abraham experienced such a deep relationship with God and followed him unconditionally.  In the town where they lived Arad, Sarah and Abraham lived to serve others with everything they had.  They gave everything.  Abraham was so favored and trusted that by giving unconditionally, everything that they had to do God’s work, God provided everything that they needed.

    This DVD/Bible Study goes into detail for all of this and so much more While I am reviewing the Bible Study for #Litfuse, I am going to go back and redo the entire study so that I have more time to do lots of the research, and the details as well as being able to soak up such a detail oriented study!

    Designed for use with that the World May Know: Israel’s Mission Discovery Guide.

    Filmed on location at these biblically significant sites in Israel and Jordan:

    -Back to the Father’s House – Negev Desert
    -Show Them the Way – Timnah
    -Prodigal Sons and Daughters – Qatzrin
    -Return from the Far Off Country – Jerash
    -Welcome Home – Qatzrin

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     http://litfusegroup.com/author/RVanderLaan

    Like I said, I will be going back to redo the study in detail and to really study it.  I can’t wait actually.

    The study proves to be a very insightful, in-depth, study of God’s expectations for us!  What a great way to spend my time!  Studying God’s word, learning more about Him and just soaking in the knowledge that others have researched and brought to you in a DVD/Study!

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    MORE ABOUT RAY VANDER LAAN
    Ray Vander Laan is the founder of That the World May Know Ministries aRVanderLaan-325nd creator of the Faith Lessons video series with Focus on the Family. An ordained minister, he holds the chair of biblical cultural studies as a religion instructor at Holland Christian Schools in Holland, Michigan. He and his wife, Esther, have four children and fifteen grandchildren.
    Find out more about Ray at https://www.thattheworldmayknow.com

    you can keep up with the Ray at the following links as well as on his blog above

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    Until My Name Is Known

    I received this book, only 3 days ago and My review was to be posted by yesterday.  However this book, is a very hard read.  It has way to many characters, and for me, was just all over the place.  While I loved the premise of the story (Experience God through Israel’s Exodus from Egypt’s power through those who were there.)  (taken directly from Contreras website) found here .

    You can also find this you tube video on her website that helps to explain and discuss the book

    There is extreme research and historical facts in the book.  So much so your brain can get on overload, when you try to read it as fast as I did.  I will be going back and reading at my leisure and taking the time to soak all of this incredible knowledge in that Sonya Contreras brings to the table with Until My Name is Known.  The book includes maps and a very large glossary at the end as well as other research information

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    Until My Name is Known (Bull Head Press, July 2015)
    The Exodus of the Jews from Egypt is a love story between God and His people. God woos His people to Himself as He prepares them to leave. Before leaving, God must fight Pharaoh for possession of His people. See how God changes all people: some for the better, others not. None stay the same. How will He change you? Can you trust a God Who destroyed a nation before your eyes? Would you want Him as your Friend?
    See God free His people from Egypt’s bonds before a watching world. Trace His Finger in the lives He touches. The time: 2450 BC. The Place: Old Kingdom of Egypt where Pharaoh is god. His people worship him. Israel’s God arrives. He challenges Pharaoh. His power touches all people. They must change. Some do not concede. They suffer. Others yield. They find freedom.
    Until My Name Is Known brings all to see the one true God. Read it to see Him. Today’s historians and archaeologists puzzle over the fall of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, But the world at that time heard of God. The world knew that He is the Lord. His Name was proclaimed in all the earth.
    Learn more and purchase a copy.

    http://litfusegroup.com/author/scontreras

    Sonya Contreras

    Meet The Author

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    Debra Clopton’s New Book and Love at the Reins Giveaway

    A new tale of romance, family, and taking risks—don’t miss Debra Clopton’s Counting on a Cowboy! After losing everything she held dear, Abby never wants to love again. But a certain cowboy may just spur her to wonder if love might be worth

    the risk. As Abby throws herself into helping Bo navigate fatherhood, hope sparks between them, revealing that maybe, just maybe, they can navigate their dark pasts and emerge together into a future as bright as the Texas sun itself.

    Saddle up with Debra and her new book and enter to win her Love at the Reins prize pack!

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    One grand prize winner will receive:

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    Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 8th. The winner will be announced September 9th on Debra’s blog.

     

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    My Review 

    Ob how I love a good Cowboy!

    Novel…..  

    And this one was great!  Debra Clopton hits it out of the arena with Counting on a Cowboy!

    Abby is a woman in a distressed state of mind.  She had lost her husband in a car accident and was running from the past all to get a new start.  In doing so, has another car accident and it ends up being one of the best things that could happen to her.

    While she wasn’t hurt bad in the accident she becane traumatized by the memories.  Bo comes to the rescue and is there when the dust settles.

    After getting her settled in her hotel room after the accident, Abby and Bo can’t deny the electricity between them.


     
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    However, another “man” comes between them at first.  Levi comes to the ranch to stay and Bo and Abby are both taken aback.  Like every man though Levi comes with a whole set of issues.  It’s not every day a declared bachelor becomes a daddy!

    From a former relationship Levi is Bo’s and his mother has passed away so now Bo ask the impossible.  Help him.

    Can Bo Monahan get past his own heart to let love win again?  Can Abby do the same?  Go check out Counting on a Cowboy – A Four of Hearts Ranch Romance – mad find love again?  To find family?  The losses Abby have suffered, will they be destined to keep her from happiness?

    A Novel based on God’s redeeming power of forgiveness and Grace.  A good old-fashioned love story and just a really great book.  

    Go check out Debra Clopton’s Counting on a Cowboy today and enter in your chance to win some of these great prizes

    You can check all of it out here 

    http://litfusegroup.com/author/dclopton 

    Meet the Author

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    {MORE ABOUT DEBRA CLOPTON}
    Debra Clopton is a multi-award winning novelist and has written more than 22 novels. Along with writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. Debra’s goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words.
    Find out more about Debra at http://debraclopton.com.

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    #UPDATED REVIEW -The Perfect Moment #FCBlogger

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    #UPDATED REVIEW

    Having gone back and re-read the book a 4th time, there is one small statement in the book that I missed all three times before.  Andrews states “The true definition of perfection is an impossible standard to hold ourselves to and can often end up being an unhealthy practice,  So, for the purpose of this book, let’s settle on the definition of perfect as “the best something can possibly be.”  We are out to create moments that are as good as they can be, lives as good as they can be, and ourselves….,as good as they can be. – – 

    this being said, changes my review …completely..  I still hold to the fact, just like Andrews states, there are no perfect moments and that was what nbothered me the most – – Him, Not saying that, but he does.  So in that retrospect.  I retract my initial review and apologize to Mr. Andrews for not giving the book a 5 star review to begin with.

    Here is an updated review: (the first is below this)

    This book tells you exactly how God put us on this earth.  In HIS perfect world, living an imperfect life.  However, when you go through your days, the way you live it, is how you will see it.  

    PERSPECTIVE –  It is all in what you make it.  

    Life is, what you make it.  This is where we agreed.  If you choose joy, you have joy, if you choose to be sad, you have sad.  Even in the very hard times, you can still find happiness. In the death of a family member – all the great memories you have with them.  In a car accident – are you okay and are others okay.  In a financial disaster – working things out means you are a better stronger person and above all – do you still have family   (2nd disclaimer:  this is barring any medical complication like depression or anxiety) and we aren’t going there, That’s a completely different issue.

    So in true definition of the meaning of perfect, if you choose your perspective, your life will be so much happier because of it.  I am so guilty of living with perfection and seeing the disaster I create of my life every single day, I KNOW that I am not in control.

    Living Intentionally – oh wow.  LIVING INTENTIONALLY – choosing to get up to your family instead of for your family, choosing to see that vienna sausages and sardines with an ocean view is really surf and turf with an ocean view!! 

    Blessings, Gifts, good and bad.  They make us who we are, because of the life we live when we face each one. 

    Now, not mentioning God at all, or putting our focus back on the Bible and backing it up with verses would have completely solidified my acceptance of these statements BECAUSE of my faith.  However, in this book, because of the one statement above.  I think it’s abundantly clear Andrews’s meaning.  Even though I had to look up that he was a Christian based on this book.  

    I am going back and changing my review as soon as I can to five full stars, because I can now see the underlying intent of taking the lesson in this book THROUGH your faith is there.  I just didn’t see it.  I am so glad I went back to re-read the book a 4th time.  

    Andrews’s one statement that he makes that “ultimately the direction of your life is up to one person – – you”  still bothers me stated by itself.  looking at the big picture of the book and Andrew’s disclaimer of what perfection is on this book alone, I can see this as true statement the way it he said this for the book.  

    I have left my original review below so that some of this makes sense. Thank you for re-reading and coming back on this journey again!  Go check out Andrews book at Family Christian Stores here, where you can get this and so many other books on Spirituality and Religion and Faith.

     

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    #My Original Review

    Have you ever read a sentence that just sends you over the top and makes you think hard about your life?  Giving you the mindset to get to complete satisfaction in your life?

    The concept of the book was great and I will share this in a moment

    I didn’t find that this book aligns with Christian spirituality, as I know it. There were some conflicting phrasing that left me baffled

    Now all this being said, I know that the belief behind Andy Andrews’s words in The Perfect Moment, is because of his belief in Christ.  However, I didn’t know that until I was able to look it up.  For me, that makes the book a little jaded.  So remember this that the only thing Perfect in our life is God.  Perfect Moments, Perfect People, Perfect whatever, just doesn’t exist.

    I 100% believe that Andrews intentions were great with where he goes in this little book.

    Andy Andrews states  PERFECT, the best something can possibly be.  Stop waiting for contentment, comfort, and happiness.  The reality is that they are the ones waiting for you..

    Take a little time to think and reflect deeply about your “perfect moments”

    I love this.  This really hits home!  I try so hard to make moments perfect and to make that perfect memory, however, there aren’t any perfect memories.  I am a sinner and every moment I have is flawed.  My own skewed thinking is what gets me into trouble.  God gives me every perfect opportunity and I fail miserably because I am a sinner.

    This, THIS is perfect.  What is this?

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    It’s your day, it’s your life, and it’s your moment.  Whatever that moment is?  If you choose to let it be perfect.  Even with all the imperfections.  It can still be bliss!

    When you choose to be sad, unhappy, angry, whatever emotion you can pull out of a hat, then you will be sad, unhappy, and angry.

    God gives us a perfect world.  We are already here.  Our lives, in retrospect, aren’t ever perfect however, they are pretty close.  When you slow down and remember that your moments can only be as good as you let them be In spite of your emotions on any given day.

    Choose Joy, Choose Happiness, Choose to be content. Choose Jesus.

    Andrews gives you three questions to help you determine what those perfect moments in your life will be.

    What excites you more than anything else, what people do you particularly enjoy being around and If this were your last day, what would you do?

    After sitting down and thinking about these things.  It just solidified what I already knew, I had a long way to go. I was so far from having my life in order and I knew that.  I didn’t need a book to tell me, but oh the tears fell as I read this precious book this morning.

    What would you do if this were your last day? No, seriously, “What would you do if this were your last day?”

    How on earth do you answer that?  Get my hair done, go to the spa, and get a massage.  Eat a huge steak, and lobster?

    Or call your children, your grandchildren, spend time with your spouse?

    In MY honest opinion, this book didn’t go into enough detail though in how all of this relates back to Jesus Christ.  If I remember correctly, God is not even mentioned once.  However, being the strong Christian that I am, I know that there is no perfection without Him.

    In the book, there is a statement that says ultimately, the direction your life is up to one person you.

    I don’t believe that and will continue to believe that God is in charge of my life and only God.  Yes I choose to decide what I do with it, but ultimately without viewing my life, through the eyes of my Lord and Savior, I have failure and sin and messes and life is way too short to live in a hot mess all the time.

    So for me, the concept of the meaning of the book was great and I loved the way it worded some statements.  My faith leads me to believe that there is never a perfect moment.

    You can buy this and many other books at Family Christian

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    You can link up with Family Christian at the following links!

     

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    Among the Fair Magnolias

    Four best-selling novelists bring tales of four Southern women who face near impossible choices on their journeys in life and in love during the most turbulent decade of our nation’s history in Among the Fair Magnolias. Don’t miss this collection of stories from Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, and Elizabeth Musser.

    Did you ever feel so into a book that you feel like every time you open it you are snuggling down with a pice of your heart.

    This book, Among The Fair Magnolias did just that for me. This compilation of 4 novellas by Tamera Alexander, Shelly Gray, Dorothy Love and Elizabeth Musser did just that.

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    I mean look at that cover.  Isn’t that like a fairy tell setting?  Just somewhere to take your mind off everything.  You walk into each novella with your heart a little heavy and end up with your heart lightened and full of love

    The stories involve you from the beginning and never leave you hanging.  Having strong main characters and having led you back to the 1800’s is just great for those that want a book that you can meet these characters in their stories as if you were right there with them.  Never was I bored during reading these 4 novellas.

    I am finding that I love this historical period.  While I am still not “in love” with love stories.  The need to sometimes drown out the world and get lost in a book very quickly!

    My Favorite An Outlaws Heart is just that.  A book that keeps  you involved from the very first words to the end  Russell comes home after being gone for 7 years and finds his mother very ill.  While hanging around trying to help her, he runs into his old girlfriend who had run him off the last time she saw him.  Was it all because she didn’t love him anymore or because of love that’s why she asked him to leave.  Read An Outlaws Heart in Among The Fair Magnolias and you can get it here

    To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander – Savannah is so angry about the war  It killed her parent’s.  Left her with a family to raise even at her young age.  They also lost the family farm “Darby Farms” in the process.  Only to have it purchased by a Union Soldier.  Savannah is hired to be the seamstress on the Darby Farms remodel. she is ecstatic because that gets her back in the home.  Where she is in a race against the clock that will end her reasons to be in the home.  Does she keep looking for the mistake.

    Dorothy Love – Abigail must marry her distant cousin Charles.  She knows that she doesn’t want to and her heart belongs to another man.  Should she listen to her parents or realize she is destined to a life of unhappiness

    Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser – Emily is in love.  With a freedman.  He is taunted by the KKK.  The person that loves Emily is part of that KKK she soon find out.  What other secrets are there to be found.

    Check out each of these Novellas, in Among The Fair Magnolias by these 4 authors.  You can get this book at the following links

    http://litfusegroup.com/books/among-the-fair-magnolias

    Among the Fair Magnolias Authors

    Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of numerous books including “A Lasting Impression” and “The Inheritance.” Tamera is a two-time Christy Award winner, two-time RITA winner, and a recipient of the prestigious Library Journal Award. A native of west Tennessee,

    Dorothy Love makes her home in the Texas hill country with her husband and their golden retriever. An award-winning author of numerous young adult novels, Dorothy made her adult debut with the Hickory Ridge novels.

    Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), “The Protector,” recently made the New York Times best seller list.

    Elizabeth Musser, a native of Atlanta, Georgia now living in France, is a novelist who writes what she calls ‘entertainment with a soul.’ For over 25 years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in mission work with International Teams.

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    Pre-Order ‘Glory Days,’ Max Lucado’s New Book, and Receive Free Gifts

    Are you stuck in the wilderness known as midlife misery? Can you name the day you became a Christian but can’t remember the last time you defeated a temptation or experienced an answered prayer? Find encouragement in Max Lucado’s new book, Glory Days. With God’s help you can close the gap between the person you are and the person you want to be. Like Joshua and the Israelites, you can move from a wilderness existence into a promised inheritance.

    Now through August 31, 2015, pre-order Glory Days and receive free gifts!

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    There are two pre-order options:

    Option 1:

    Pre-order one copy of Glory Days (any format), and receive a free digital download of the abridged audio version of In the Grip of Grace by Max Lucado.

    After you’ve pre-ordered, please claim your free gift by submitting your email and proof of purchase at GloryDaysBook.com.

    Option 2:

    Pre-order one copy of Glory Days (any format) AND one copy of God is With You Every Day (Max’s brand-new, 365-day devotional—any format), and receive both the abridged audio version of In the Grip of Grace and a paperback copy of Traveling Light by Max Lucado (U.S. addresses only). 

    After you’ve preordered, please claim your free gift by submitting your email and proof of purchase at GloryDaysBook.com.

    Pre-order today and get your free gift by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the offer ends on August 31, 2015.

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    Have you ever been in that place where you are just floundering.  Never really gaining speed, never really losing ground, but you know that there has to be more.

    Could this be your “Wilderness”  

    Max Lucado gives so many reasons to move on up out of the wilderness with practical Biblical ways to get there. Lucado’s style is to take a Biblical story and give you those ways to get you into the thick of it through Bible Study but then also to get you into life learning through the same Bible Study.

    Glory Days does just that.  Quit floundering in a life of just existing and move into the Promised Land, Spiritually, Emotionally, Mentally and Physically.  While all of this is so much, there are many practical life stories and life examples in this Bible Study.

    My opinion of the study, was that I loved the topic and the way Lucado expresses himself.  He is always a pleaser.  The one thing I didn’t like and it’s probably just me on this, was that almost every verse he referenced, used a different version of the Bible.  Now there was some reuses of some obviously, but to me this is distracting and well surprising from Lucado.  However, on his website, he says the following

    What version of the Bible does Max use? The Bible was originally written in ancient Hebrew and Greek, with a few sections in Aramaic. Therefore, any English Bible is a translation. In his bible study, Max uses many different versions interchangeably. He is not a Greek scholar, so he leaves the translating work to the experts, and accepts these many versions prayerfully inviting God’s direction in his study.

    That being said, I get the jest of using so many versions of the Bible to study.  For Reference.  So for me that was the only thing I didn’t like.  But still all in all, this book is right up there with all the rest of his books, and kicks it out of the park!

    Watch Max Lucado’s Glory Day

    4 Week Scripture Memory Challenge

    To follow-up in stay in contact with Lucado you can reach him at the following links

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    More than 120 million readers have found comfort in the writings of Max Lucado. He ministers at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and a sweet but misbehaving mutt, Andy.

    https://maxlucado.com/

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    ‘A Heart’s Home’ and Conversations with Colleen Coble Giveaway

    A hidden pregnancy, a promise sure to break hearts, and a tragic loss at Fort Phil Kearny: Don’t miss the gripping conclusion in book six, A Heart’s Home, of Colleen Coble’s A Journey of the Heart series. With the Sioux Wars threatening outside the fort, Emmie’s solemn vow threatens her happiness from within. Will she honor a promise sure to break her heart—and Isaac’s? Or is there another way to find a home for her heart?

    Colleen is celebrating the last book release of her A Journey of the Heart series by giving away the entire series and the chance to host Colleen virtually at your book club, local library, or women’s group to talk about the series.

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    One grand prize winner will receive:

    • Books 1–6 of A Journey of the Heart series

    • A chat with Colleen via Skype or Google Hangout

    • A custom book-club kit PDF, featuring Colleen’s favorite recipes and group discussion questions

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    Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 31st. Winner will be announced September 1st on Colleen’s website.

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    Emmie is pregnant  Very few people know  The man she loves doesn’t know at all. She wants him to know. Emmie also has another secret  One that could destroy many lives forever.

    Promises made, heart’s broken and lives changed forever.

    Colleen Coble brings intrigue, mystery, true love, and love undesired to this fabulous book!  A Heart’s Home is the 6th in the Series of “A Journey Of The Heart”.  

    This book is not a stand alone book and that to me is it’s only downfall.

    I will miss the characters of this series.  

    While Coble does a great job of spreading this series into a these great Novellas, I think that one great book would have been a lot better.  but that’s why I write the blogs and she writes the books!!! 

    As the Sioux warriors are getting ready to fight, the fort is bustling with activity.  Good things and bad.  

    As the war is looming, Winter is looming, and everyone knows that they need help at the fort, so Isaac the love of Emmie’s life, that she could never marry, has to make it to the next fort over for reinforcements.  

    With Christmas time coming, and the impending birth of her baby, she knows she must tell Isaac.  

    But Sarah’s promise threatens to ruin their lives.

    What could be so serious that it would destroy her life forever?

    Go check this serious out to find out what happens in the end.  Does help come?  Does real love win?  Does the fort stand? 

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    You can check the series out here!

    http://litfusegroup.com/author/ccoble

    CCoble-110About the author:

    Colleen Coble has sold over 2 million novels worldwide. Seagrass Pier, the third installment in her acclaimed Hope Beach series, marks a new highpoint for emotion and complexity in Coble’s addictive brand of romantic suspense.

    you can check Coble out at the following links

    http://www.colleencoble.com

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    Sarah Sundin’s ‘Through Waters Deep’ and Anchors Aweigh Giveaway

    Dive into Sarah Sundin’s explosive new series, Waves of Freedom, with book one, Through Waters DeepWhen evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion.ugh With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them in the midst of their budding romance.

    Join Sarah in celebrating the release of Through Waters Deep by entering to win an Anchors Aweigh prize pack!

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    One grand prize winner will receive:

    • A copy of Through Waters Deep

    • A nautical tote bag

    • A set of compass rose notecards

    • A “Hope Anchors the Soul” journal

    • A Boston Tea Party earl grey tea set

    • Through Waters Deep apron

    • A set of nautical tea towels

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    Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 24th. The winner will be announced August 25th on Sarah’s blog.

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    My Review

    Okay, my son is in the Navy and that alone was my first interest in this book.  From the very first words, I was hooked.  Through Waters Deep – Waves of Freedom Book #1, is full of suspense, exciting Naval happenings, a lot of love, and a lot of being able to see God through the story of Jim and Mary.  Maybe not in some magnificent way, but just in the little things like Respect, Honor, Joy, Friendship.

    Jim and Mary are lifelong friends.  They know each other’s past.  When they meet up again by accident, their history has already entwined itself into each of their worlds.  After Mary finds evidence of sabotage on the Atwood, they work together to try to prove the sabotage.  In doing so, they go through so much together and while they both have their own reasons to be afraid of going forward with a relationship

    With misunderstandings running rampant in their relationship will they find each other and will the love they secretly share for each other, bring them closer together, or will their past push them further apart.

    The Author’s knowledge and research of Boston and the Shipyards is clear as soon as the book starts.  I loved just reading about the sights and sounds of Boston on my Bucket List.   Knowing that the research done was so efficient just makes this work even more interesting.

    Go check out Sarah Sundin’s new book Through Water’s Deep

    http://litfusegroup.com/author/ssundin

    Learn more and purchase a copy.
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    Sarah Sundin is the author of “With Every Letter,” “On Distant Shores,” “In Perfect Time,” and the Wings of Glory series. In 2014, “On Distant Shores” was a finalist for the Golden Scroll Awards from both AWSA and the Christian Authors Network. In 2011, Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.
    Find out more about Sarah at http://www.sarahsundin.com/.

    You can keep in touch with Sarah at the following links

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    Bible Journaling

    Well, I have always loved to draw and doodle as well as always journaled.  With my old Bible, I would do whatever I could with it because it was not a journaling Bible.

    I ordered this one http://www.familychristian.com/catalog/product/view/id/283156/ and it took a few mths to get here.  I studied Illustrated Faith/Bible Journaling.

    So after getting the Bible I prayed over it so much because I 1) am not creative and 2) am no artist!!
    Then I saw a page that dedicated that Bible to certain things.
    TOTALLY stole the ideas and this is what I did

    I vowed that perfection was NOT my need. (I am a perfectionist) and we’ll I needed to let that go.
    So I started with the most obvious John 3:16

    And then did some of my favorite verses.

    I only use twistable crayons at this point (that letting go thing there)
    As well as colored pencils.

    When you let go of the perfection then you see the worship…  for me that us the whole point I wanted!!
    Another way to worship!!

    I use Micron Pens, Twistable Crayons and map pencils as well as acid free felt tip markers, right now and that’s it so far as I’m not comfortable with myself yet,
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    First pic John 3:16

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    Hebrews 6:19

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    Galatians 3:26

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    My dedication page to Dedicate the Bible to God and Worship

    The next one dedicates that page to my best friend that is deployed and my Bible study partner

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    This page is to fix a mess uo

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    And this page my favorite if all is an idea I stole (totally) making me aware everything I open it that perfection is not allowed only worship
    And it by far is my favorite so far

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    I’ve had my Bible about a mth so far and this is all I have done but my old Bible looks like a Journaling Bomb went off in it.  But it’s not a journaling Bible.  The kids “told on me” all the time.  “Memaw wrote in and colored in her Bible!!!!”
    I showed them the jest of it on Pinterest and told them that it was okay to do this

    (The old Bible) a couple pages

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    A Bride At Last

    Can Silas and Kate overcome their rocky start and experience healing—and possibly love? Discover the answer in Melissa Jagears’ new book, A Bride at LastNeither Kate nor Silas is prepared for the secrets and past hurts that have yet to come to light as they attempt to prove nine-year-old Anthony’s paternity to the court. Can their wounded souls bind them together or will all that stands between them leave them lonely forever?

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    My Review

    when an orphan brings two people together, a range of emotions can come forward.  Anger, frustration, separation, togetherness and maybe even love

    While Anthony is a 9-year-old little boy who has so much in common with two wonderful people in his life.

     tragedy strikes and brings them all entwined together.  When Anthony’s mommy Lucinda passes away after having a long illness.

     Miss Dawson, the school teacher who has been Anthony’s caregiver while his mom’s illness would keep her from doing so.  Also Lucinda has asked Miss Dawson to take care of Anthony after she passed away.

    Then comes Silas, who says he was married to Lucinda 10 years ago and that he should be taking care of Anthony because…. well go check out the book and see what happens to the little boy Anthony.  

    As well as orphans Kate and Silas.  The three of them have so much in common than one would think.  Will their past destroy their future, or can they all three overcome and beat that past.

    This book is a great feel good book!  To go from a mail-order bride  and a compulsive runner and a man with a mail order bride that left him and an alcoholic to… well you will need to read the book to see where they go from here!!!

    A Bride At Last by Melissa Jagears,  even though it is part of a series, is a great stand-alone book. I cannot wait to read the rest of the series that have been in the series as well as those to come!

     http://litfusegroup.com/author/mjagears

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    Melissa Jagears, an ESL teacher by trade and the author of A Bride for Keeps and A Bride in Store, is a stay-at-home mother on a tinyKansas farm with a fixer-upper house. She’s a member of ACFW and CROWN fiction marketing, and her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly. Find her online at http://www.melissajagears.com.

    You can keep up with Melissa at thfollowing links

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    Tattered and Mended – #BookReview #litfuse

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    How can the wounds that keep us from living the life we want to live be mended and healed? In Tattered and Mended, Cynthia Ruchti walks readers through a gallery of reclaimed and restored art as well as broken and restored lives of those who have gone before us. With a gentle touch and personable wisdom, Cynthia shows how even the most threadbare soul can once again find healing and hope.

    I missed the blog tour of this book due to internet and hardware issues.  I apologize to the author for that and to Litfuse.  I am so bummed about not being able to share all the giveaways with you.   However, go on over to Cynthia Ruchiti’s website at the following link and read all about what’s been going on with the release of this book!  Check it out here

    I have to admit while reading this book, I have not been able to concentrate t red ate on it. BUT THAT THAT’S JUST ME.
    But that being said, I love Cynthia’s concept of our lives are just like art and when we will not treat ourselves with respect. We become Tattered and Mended.
    However,through God, we can always be made whole I’d we put the effort into it.
    The writer talked about an old oil painting and how it needed to be repaired
    As the artist was repairing it, they had to take goggles like a neurosurgeon might use to be able to get the finest aspects of the painting just right.
    Except the signature. They never touch the signature
    god’s salvation is like His signature. It can never be touched. However to live our lives in a repaired frame of mind, we are under constant repair.
    Our hearts, our minds, our bodies. They are God’s work and while he is only perfection. We choose to break his will and therefore become Tattered and Mended

     

    (this is not part of my review, but came directly from the book.  However, it is too good not to mention) I have read, reread and printed, placed in my Bible etc.  This is some good stuff right here.

    Tattered and Mended Notes and Conclusions

    view a trailer here of this book.


    You can keep up with Ruchti at the following areas.
    http://litfusegroup.com/author/cruchti

     

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    FitBit Revew #LOVEMYFITBIT

    The more I deal with FitBit as a company, the more and more I love them.  They have the BEST customer service of any company I have ever dealt with I do believe.

    I lost my charger for my One. I had sent an email, asking where I could buy one and hadn’t gone to the website because I wasn’t being able to browse at that time, but had their customer service email in my phone. I got an email today that says “your order is on its way” They have sent me a new one!!! JUST exactly the same thing happened when I lost the actual tracker. Fitbit has an amazing customer service policy. On neither issue, did I ask for a replacement. To me this is excellent customer Service.

    This little machine, packs a powerful punch. Not only does it track my steps like a pedometer, it links to MyFitnessPal, which also has a food diary, a water tracker and then it syncs with the iPhone Health Vault and Microsoft Health and then I can sync One Touch Verio Glucometer to the Microsoft Health Vault and all in all I have some pretty major medical records at the ready every single time I go to the doctor.

    I have been so impressed with my smart phone and the accessories that I have at my fingerprints, just in a few apps.

    It all starts with the FitBit One Tracker. Here it is in and out of the box and my tracker itself PART_1438135814375_PhotoGrid_1438132237954My Fitbit, usually lasts about 6 days on a charge. I love that it has the time on it. With the push of a button, I get the time, steps I have walked and then calories burned based on my steps and food diary.. When I sync my Tracker, on the dashboard, I get all the above as well as sleep patterns if I choose to record them, and any other information I would choose to record, like steps, weight, steps for a week, water intake, food intake, activity log, goals, and there are some other options to choose from on the dashboard.

    With my FitBit, there is a silent alarm that I can set that goes off at the same time every day. I have it set for 6 pm, because of the daylight savings time, I am very bad about not eating at the right times at night. Because it’s so light, I still think I have a long time to go before bedtime. This alarm, vibrates on my shoulder because I wear the Tracker clipped to my shirt all the time. When I feel that alarm go off, I know I need to go get something to eat. Because I am diabetic, I must eat at least 3-5 times a day depending on the meal. This alarm helps me to not forget to eat. There are so many other little things about this Tracker that I love, like its size and not having to wear it on my wrist. I have a FitBit finder on my phone (have used both IOS and Droid versions and both work wonderfully) and if I ever lose it, then I can usually find it within an hour or so. The finder syncs with the Tracker by Bluetooth. Now that being said, if the battery is dead, this won’t work. However, you can also find the last time it did sync on your dashboard and then between that and the other options you have a better chance of finding it. PART_1438135833596_PhotoGrid_1438131769643PART_1438135835235_PhotoGrid_1438131867893

    Things happen. But ideally, you don’t lose it!

    Not once has Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, Microsoft Health or any of the other companies mentioned in this blog post asked me to write anything. I chose to write this review based on my experience with my Tracker.

    You can keep in touch with Fitbit at the following sites

    http://fitbit.com or any of these social media outlets

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    Where The Light Is #CDReview #FCBloggers

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    I was given the privilege to listen and review a CD by Dan Bremnes.  When I was told I was accepted to this, I had never heard of him before.  I like music though.  So I knew as long as it wasn’t head banging, I could handle it!  Boy was I right!

    Dan has always known he wanted to be a singer/songwriter.  At age 10 he started singing in his church.  That being said.  He loved opportunities that he received to lead worship and follow his faith.

    After a 6 month mission trip with YWAM he knew exactly what his calling was.

    In doing so, he has toured all over New Zealand and Australia racking up many accolades and #1s.  Being from Canada, he also knew he had to take a leap of faith, move his family to Nashville where the music industry revolves and with the release of his song “Beautiful”

    he steps into a whole new world.  When Dan wrote the song, he based it on 2 Corinthians 5:17 –  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[b] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

    Beautiful is part of the CD Where The Light Is.  As I started listening to the cd from the beginning.  I knew this was going to be someone who I WANTED to listen to.  A LOT!  The songs have meaning, passion.  They tell a story.  From the very first words of Where The Light Is –

    This is me / Grew up in church / Raised on the gospel trained in the word / Had a faith so fearless thought it was all I needed / But life hit me hard / More than I planned / It knocked me down / Like an avalanche / On the edge of hopeless I called you from the darkness // God, come quickly / Only You can save me / Will You lead me where the light is /

    How many of us ask that same question on a daily basis when we face trials and tragedy like Dan was when a car accident killed his mom.  We fall on our knees, asking God please come quickly.

    Dan’s songs on this CD lead me through so many emotions and words reaffirm my faith, like “He knows every pain every tear you’ve cried / Every single part of you / He knows every doubt, every fear that you fight / The battles you’ve been going through / And when it feels like you’re holding the world on your shoulders / Just let go and trust Him, ‘cause He knows /

    How much more affirmation do you need in your faith in God?  To hear this with the music that is sometimes slow, sometimes really upbeat.  But always beautiful!  These words spoke to me so much and I knew I had to share this CD with my best friend. 

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    She is deploying this Saturday for a year.  She’s my hero.  However she is leaving 4 beautiful babies home and while this is her 4th deployment and she knows this is her career.  It’s never easy for a soldier on deployment.  So being able to give her music to carry with her, that will give her any boost in her spirits or help her keep her faith during a term of being surrounded by war and strife.  Thank you Lord for blessing me with this CD at just the right time.  She’s my hero and I pray so much for her and her family.  While her life isn’t walking parallel to Dan’s when he wrote this song, everyone’s struggles are different.

    Putting lyrics to paper like he has for this CD is a God thing and being able to be introduced to someone who can sing with talent that lets you feel their heart, is a blessing that comes so few and far between.

    You can stay in touch with Dan at his website Dan Bremnes  Or at the following links

    You can find this and other great music at Family Christian Stores and Website

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    Laurie Coombs’ ‘Letters from My Father’s Murderer’ Kindle Fire Giveaway #BookReview

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

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

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    One grand prize winner will receive:

    • A Kindle Fire HD 6

    • A copy of Letters from My Father’s Murderer

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

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    My Review

    Laurie and Anthony.  Two families.  Two friends.  Two people drawn together by one tragedy.  Although some will say two.

    When Laurie’s father was murdered because of a sin committed.  An eye for an eye.  However, that’s Old Testament law.  New Testament law says we forgive and then that’s the only way we move on with our lives.  How hard can that be?  In reality we say to ourselves, as a Christian I should be able to forgive anyone. As a human, will I be able to forgive anyone?

    God gave us the greatest gift in forgiveness,  by allowing Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.  So our roles as Christians is easy.  Forgive.

    Faith-to-be-REAL

    This book goes through Laurie and Anthony’s process of forgiving those that betrayed them. Those that hurt them, by the most unlikely of ways, correspondence with each other.

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    Through their letters, they find healing and a better relationship with themselves, but even more important a better relationship with God.

    I strongly urge you to check out this book and go through this process with them!  As the sister of someone who has completed a suicide.  While different, the act of forgiveness is the same.  From the simple hurt your feel when someone hurts your feelings, to the big things like suicide, murder, affairs.  God commands us to forgive.  Learn some very valuable resources, just in reading their words to each other and the process they go experience.

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    “I didn’t want my faith to be just a belief system. I wanted it to be real. I wanted it to impact my life. I wanted it to change the way I lived.” –– Letters from My Father’s Murderer 

    You can find discussion questions to use in your own Bible Study or a Book Group here

    {MORE ABOUT LAURIE COOMBS}
    Laurie A Coombs is a passionate writer and speaker on the issues of forgiveness, redemption, and the hope that is found in Jesus. Her story is featured in Billy Graham’s new film, “Heaven.” <

    She is a featured writer and blogger for iBelieve and Crosswalk. Laurie and her husband, Travis, make their home in Nevada along with their two daughters.
    Find out more about Laurie at http://lauriecoombs.org.

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    You can keep up with Laurie Coombs at the following links

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    This is a stand-alone book, a clean, read.  Very intense though.   

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    Picture Perfect Love #BookReview

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    Jenna Harrison is a photographer from Sweetwater, Washington. Her photography shop is Picture Perfect Love. While Jenna is a great wedding photographer. Her own wedding became a disaster when her fiancé of two years, Ash Vance, walked away from her at the altar. He stood up in front of everyone, asked for his grandmother’s ring back and then blamed her for something she didn’t do. This book follows her path after going two years without a word from Ash. See what happens next in Picture Perfect Love by Melissa McClone.

    So for two years, Jenna worked hard at bringing her photography business back to the way it was before Ash destroyed her life, left her with 1000’s of dollars in wedding deposits and bills to pay as well as send back all the gifts and deal with all the fallout from canceling a wedding last-minute.

    Had it not been for her brother Colton, Jenna really had no idea where she would be. That and the pastor and his wife at Sweetwater Community Church. She ran into the church one day trying to get out of a rainstorm and never looked back. Pastor Dan and his wife, Trish, taught Jenna about forgiveness, and second chances.

    Ash comes back into Jenna’s life when he is seeking forgiveness and a wedding photographer for his spoiled little sister Amber and Toby’s wedding. Amber’s photographer was placed on complete bed-rest, so she asked Ashton to ask Jenna to photograph Amber’s wedding. He apologized to Jenna and Jenna knew that because of her second chances, she had to accept, although, she was very leery. She agreed to the wedding on very specific terms. Help with a youth trust building outing at the church, double her fee and she would do the wedding;
    With the trust building activities in full swing Jenna learns a lot about herself and her total lack of trust. She knew she could go no further unless everyone vowed to be honest, put her first in everything and then go forward with her life.

    What happens next leaves you on your seat waiting for more. Will she ever fully trust Ashton and will he ever. fully give her the complete faith she expects? Read this sweet novella to find out what happens. Melissa McClone keeps you wanting more!
    Picture Perfect Love by Melissa McClone is book #7 in a yearlong series about weddings called A Year of Weddings.

     

     

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    The Wonder Of You – #Book Review

    51Q-RQ9AyVL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The Wonder of You
    by Susan May Warren
    Tyndale House Publishers
    Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

    Romance

    As Amelia settles back down into her hometown life after a failed try at a school in Europe, she realizes that she is not the same person that left for school.

    Her family and Amelia own an Inn in the woods just out-of-town, and since she has come home, she realizes that she must help the family business, which is a far cry from the photographer she dreams to be.

    In failed relationships also she realizes she is not that same woman.  While Amelia is looking to find who she is, as well as that one perfect shot.  She finds just who she is, what love really is, where she wants to be in her life and whether or not, she wants the home town boy that she has loved her entire life, or the playboy that came all the way here to show her how much he cares, but only with other motives!

    Through life, love, photography and  trials that test every last bit of faith she has.  Check out Amelia’s journey for the truth in every aspect of her life.

     

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    Now and Forever – #BookReview

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    Now and Forever
    by Connealy, Mary
    Bethany House
    Bethany House Publishers

    Christian, Romance

    After Shannon Wilde literally follows mountain man Matthew Tucker over a cliff, can they learn to live together–for better or worse?

    After going over the cliff, Shannon and Tucker get trapped in a cave after being swept down river.  After being together night and day for several days.  Having to deal with bugs, caves, no daylight, very little food, no shelter, other than the cave itself and all the things that go with this when strangers are stuck together, Shannon and Tucker face things that are deadly, beautiful, and scary, just among some of those things, like bears, a dark cave, and whether they can get out and “fireflies’

    After realizing that the fireflies they are seeing are twinkling stars above they realize that they have found a way out from being stuck in the cave forever

    Open being rescued however, they face a whole new set of stressful circumstances  What is going to get them safe from the troubles they face, safe from each other and safe with each other.

    Check this book out to see how they survive all the tests and trials that they go through.

    My opinions of Now and Forever

    For me, the book seemed very unrealistic but that is the entire nature of fiction.  So using your imagination and giving the author creative license, this book has so much of that creative licensing!  While it was a quick fast, fairly clean read, I just found it to be very over the top in what the reader was to believe.

    Now all that being said, for what it is, the book was good.  Now and Forever, by Mary Connealy will let you use your imagination and bring some very thoughtful moments to mind.

    Organizing with Washi Tape

    i am a very disorganized person.   I mean truly disorganized.

    So anything that helps me stay organized or makes my life simpler, I’m game.

    I have this obsession with Washi tape. Only I’m al cheap.   So I get to fulfil my obsession at Dollar Tree for two rolls of tape for $1.00!!

      
    My cheap Roll Of Tape!

    Then I get to organize my day planner that I LOVE (thank you to Mardel Christian Stores

     
    So how do I make my life simpler

    I take the tape and put it down at the bottom of the page on weeks that are complete like this 

     

    (This one is an example only!) 

    And on uncompleted weeks I leave it off, so at just the feel of my hand, I know exactly where I am.

    Something so incredibly simple, but has made my life even simpler!!

    Thanks Dollar Tree and Mardel!  And whoever makes this cheap tape.

     
    Voila, easy, breezy, way to keep a simple thing even simpler!!  For that I am all over it!!! 

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    Great-Grandparenting

    I have some news and it is fabulous. . 

    First,  I want to say that being a grandparent is a fabulous season in my life!

    I absolutely love all of my grandchildren so much it is truly a love like no other. .  I have no words. .  I would do anything for them (please do not tell them that as I still have to be around them
    Anyway,  Kourtlyn,  William (by proxy),  MaKayla,  Courtney, Jewel,  Jazzy,  Natalie,  Jaxson,  Anthony,  Jayden,  and Kaitlynn are the most amazing people ever! . Christian, beautiful and handsome,  smart, like scary smart!!,  funny,  talented,  hard workers,  ballers, fantastic sports players,  creative, artistic, one is a great homemaker, they all are very respectful, they love to play hard, they love to work hard, and they all are just amazing people (without being my grandchildren)

    I am so in awe of how much I love them more every single day!

    So all of that to say, I am going to be a GREAT –  Grandmother.  

    My child is going to be a grandfather!  I do not think I could even think this through to begin with, however, when I sat down and realized the impact, I became a blubbering baby.  Those feelings that I have felt all these years, he now gets to feel.  He will understand just how I love his children so much!

    So yeah, that’s our news, 

    We are going to be great grandparents and my beautiful granddaughter is going to be a mommy and she will be amazing.  She is so great with children and I admire her so much.

    I cannot wait to see her as a parent and begin this journey she is taking!  

    No pictures except this one, because of privacy, and respect for my grandkids (who are, mostly at that age, of please don’t post my picture because I look horrible) 

    BUT 

    here is this one!

    here’s my little peanut!!!

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    To say that we are over the moon with excitement is just the tip of the iceberg.

    I cannot thank God enough for entrusting our family with this new little one, and especially K&W  

    They are going to be amazing parents and I am so incredibly proud of them as a grandmother and cannot wait to see what God has stored up for them and this precious little peanut!

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