Archive for the ‘Books’ Category


am often asked what homeschool curriculum I use, so since I a working on planning for the new school year,  I thought I’d write a series of what we have found to work for our family. We have been homeschooling for over 19 years now, with five of our children having graduated from homeschooling!  We still have the other half to go!  However, this year begins an ending . . .  my youngest is starting school!  So, this first post is on phonics and reading.
Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.I am not endorsing any specific place to get them from, though I do have links below where I have purchased some of them and as I have done research, the cheapest places.  I still ALWAYS check eBay for books and have gotten many FREE school books through  I list my “wish books” at least a year ahead of time, so I can be on some long waiting lists and hope to get them in time.
If you are just starting out with homeschooling . . .  not sure what you are going to do or where to even being, I recommend getting just one book and gleaning a lot from it and then going from there.  Actually, for just starting out, this is ALL YOU NEED . . . the additional books listed below is added help and just helps with boredom!  But the book I recommend is How to Tutor by Samuel L. Blumenfeld.  It’s broken down into three main sections:  (1) how to teach systematic, intensive PHONICS and READING  (2)  CURSIVE HANDWRITING  (3) ARITHMETIC PROGRAM. The first book listed below is actually in the back of How to Tutor.  This book explains so much and really helps to lighten a mom’s load of doing the basics and developing from there.

Teaching Reading & Phonics ~ Alpha-Phonics: A Primer For Beginning Readers
For our family, this has hands down been the best program for teaching reading and learning phonics.  I’ve tried several others along the way, and we always come back to this.  It’s simple to use.  With our older children, we used just the Alpha-Phonics Workbook (plastic comb binding) sitting on the couch, going page by page.. It’s a workbook, but not actually writing in it – it’s mainly for reading through It builds on itself and within just a couple of pages, the child is reading.  There is no preparation, no lessons to plan . . . just the dedicated time of 15-30 minutes a day.
With our third child, we started using a computer program, PhonicsTutor, that corresponds with the workbook.  This child just was not grasping the ideas, and when we got the computer program, it clicked and he learned very quickly.  He was able to have more hands on, and it is very repetitive and keeps going over the same lesson until the child has gotten everything right. There are no graphics or games so my child could not get distracted as easily.  There’s also  I LOVE THIS PROGRAM! So the rest of my children have used a combination of both the workbook and the computer program, though you really only need one or the other.  Read here on all the details of this CD program rather than me typing it all out!  And with the way we have worn through this workbook several times, I have been blessed to find it for free on!!

So, there’s the option of using one or the other . . . OR,  you can download the workbook on your e-reader – Alpha-Phonics: e-version which is great for on the run homeschool families, especially for in doctor waiting rooms or long trips.

Along with the above teaching reading and phonics, we have also liked the hands on supplements with Explode the Code, which is a phonics reading and writing program that can be used from Kindergarten to approximately 8th grade.  For our family, we found that the girls loved to do workbooks (writing and coloring) while the boys wanted more of the computer stuff and just to get school over with.  Our girls loved Explode the Code workbooks which consist of matching, reading, spelling, writing, copying, and more!   For our youngest, since he likes “doing school” with his older siblings, I will be getting some of these for him, starting out with Get Ready for the Code – Book A which teaches consonant sounds b, f, k, m, r and t.  And then next is Get Set for the Code – Book B which teaches consonant sounds d, h, j, n, p and s.  After this is Go for The Code – Book C which teaches consonant sounds c, g, l, q,  v, w, y and z.
When these first three books are completed or if your child already knows the basics, you can begin with Explode the Code Book 1 which teaches short vowel sounds while, skip ahead to Explode the Code Book 3 teaches open syllables, silent-e, digraphs (sh, th, wh, ch, -ng, -ck, -tch), simple diphthongs (ee, ea, ai, ay, oa, ow).
Explode the Code work great along with the Alpha-Phonics.  And definitely watch for these books on  
Join me next week as I share about what we have liked for penmanship and math.

“The eternal perspective is the ability to see all of life

from God’s point of view and
have what you see affect how you live in the present.
Simply stated,
the eternal perspective is the ability to walk by faith
in God’s Word.”

by Catherine Martin
A Heart To See Forever:
Embrace the promise of the eternal perspective


ast week at a 17 year old’s funeral service,   we sang the well known song,  “It Is Well With My Soul“.  It seems like the right funeral song to sing . . . ingrained with such hope.  I have memories of singing it at several funerals. But what always comes to mind now is when a friend shared with me about a funeral she attended, also of a young boy and they sang this song, when they got to the verse below, the family jumped up from their seats, praising God, and so thankful for this hope:
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

This part sure is not one of sorrow but a jubilant one!   It needs an encore!  I wanted to jump up last week . . . but, I probably would have been the only one!  To have such hope . . . to know without a doubt that someday, what we do have faith in, what we cannot see, will become reality.  We will see Jesus face to face.  Tears will be wiped away.  There will be endless joys and awe with no more sorrows, pains . . . no more death.   And we do want this day hastened!  To be reunited with our loved ones . . .  to sit at Jesus’ feet.  

But for now, as the author writes above, we do walk in faith – so much of it unseen.   We cannot understand why His ways are not our ways . . . but someday, the puzzle pieces will fit together, and we will see from eternities perspective, how through our perseverance and glorifying God through our lives, it was worth it all.

Someday it will be forever jubilant!  
Someday my faith shall be sight!  
What hope!

Joining our hostess, Debbie, on her blog, Heart Choices for this week’s “In ‘Other’ Words, writing on the above quote AND writing on the word “JUBILANT” for  One Word at a Time Blog Carnival.


can’t pass up a good deal . . .  and want to share with my readers too!  This is an amazing  subscription price for Organic Gardening through Amazon – $5 for TWO years – a total of 12 issues!  That is 42 cents per issue – which seems to me, that is even less than the cost of shipping each one!

HURRY!  This deal ends June 24th!


will not be able to do this book review justice, with so much packed in the 325 pages and it being a very personal book that addresses “shame” that can attack any person from so many different angles. Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection will definitely be in my top five reads for this year.  It’s pierced my heart in a new way, even though it was actually difficult to read at times.  There’s questions after each chapter.  Many of them I just could not answer, because of the rawness and trying to “gunnysack” past pains, but after I read through the whole book and God pursuing and slowly working on things in my heart and soul, I find myself going back through it, and able to answer some of the questions a little easier.  

This paragraph from the author, Edward T. Welch,  summarizes this well:

Since shame is so painful, we could be tempted to race to the end of the story and hope to be done with it quickly.  But shame rarely responds to quick fixes.  Better to walk through the biblical story than run through it.  There is much to be learned from shame’s long history.  And this is where it first appears.  Here is the stuff of life crammed into one paragraph:  God, temptations, self-consciousness, and shame.
(page. 45)

I believe the subtitle of this book is just as important as the title. It’s not just about shame, but what shame does in our lives . . . including the worthlessness and rejection. I so appreciated the truth and theology of Jesus’ personalness towards us interwoven throughout the book.

‘You, like the Samaritan woman . . . don’t have to go into the details of your life’s shameful events either.  Before you can construct a strategy to cover them up, Jesus says, “I know what happened to you, ” or “I know what you have done.”  Immediately, you can tell He doesn’t reject you, expose you, or pull back to avoid being contaminated by you.  He just says, “Be sure to come back.” ‘

Having been questioned when I was young, when I failed and sinned, if I was really a Christian, put me in a tailspin for many years questioning my Christianity, and if once saved, always saved.  I, like many, went through numerous times, asking Jesus into my life, would fail, would doubt my Salvation and go through the “process” again.  I appreciated the way the author confirmed Salvation:

“Once washed always washed” is another way to put it.  Jesus said, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean” (John 13:10).  This is the bath version of the Samaritan woman’s living water.  Drink the living water and you will never thirst again.  Take one bath in the living water and receive the cleansing that comes with being identified with Jesus.  You are done! You still sin and need daily washing, but dirty feet do not nullify the enduring effects of the bath.”  (page 163)

There is SO much I could quote from this book, where it touched me, but that is where God was speaking to me, and each of us are being accused by the enemy in different ways.

Mike Wilkerson, Pastor and Director of Biblical Counseling at Mars Hill Church wrote on the publisher’s Facebook page (New Growth Press).

“Ed Welch finds us hiding in our shame and draws us out to be re-clothed by Christ. He surprises us again with the deep relevance of God’s Word—even Leviticus—to the secret fears that dominate our daily lives. This brutally honest book is for everyone.”
And I definitely believe it is for everyone.  Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection would be excellent in a small group for those that are struggling, or  for a counselor, coach or two friends to go personally through together.
I see God using Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection in amazing ways for healing that comes from Him.

The author, Edward T. Welch, M.Div., Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). He has counseled for thirty years and is the best-selling author of many books, including When People Are Big and God Is Small; Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave; Blame It on the Brain?; Depression: A Stubborn Darkness; Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Addiction; Running Scared: Fear, Worry and the God of Rest; and When I Am Afraid: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Fear and Anxiety. He and his wife Sheri have two daughters, two sons-in-law and four grandchildren.

I was provided a copy this book by
The B&B Media Group for my honest review.

As soon as I read Holly Gerth’s blog,
in conjunction with her newly released book,
You’re Already Amazing
(which I will be reviewing here soon),
take a moment and write blog post
as a love note to a woman I admire
and tell the world why she’s so amazing,
this dear friend came to mind immediately:


have known this dear gal for close to ten years. We have cried together, laughed together but most of all have loved each other.  We have seen each others worst moments and rejoiced over the best. She’s opened her door to me early in the morning when I felt like I was at the end of my rope and my words have not been Christ-like of others and I wanted to run away from it all.  We have both had a similar heartache – both having  “lost” a son in different ways: my son until we meet again for eternity; her son a prodigal we continue to pray for.  The day after our son died, she did not hear until she was at church, and immediately left the service and came to our house.  We were about to go to the funeral home, but it felt wrong to leave our children and suddenly Sue and her husband were at our door willing to help in anyway, including cleaning my home and reading books to our children.  She was at the hospital shortly after the birth of our youngest child, bringing our younger children to meet their new brother, through a snowstorm.  She’s helped me with several graduation parties and now with our daughter’s wedding.  We have shared special times over coffee, at a Chinese restaurant and even simple burritos warmed up in the microwave at her home!    We can be real with each other, share tears, fears and along with joys and praises.

Yes my dear friend, Sue, you’re already amazing!!  I so appreciate the “real you” even with the ups and downs of this crazy life and thank you for accepting the “real me”.  I ache with you, I love you and I am so thankful for our friendship.  You are indeed a beautiful, amazing woman and I am blessed to have you as my dear friend.


here is a wonderful devotional book to help you discover God’s unconditional love for YOU!   Embraced By God: Celebrating Who & Whose You Are is a 21 day devotional, broken down into seven different themes or promises with three devotions focusing on the each of the themes.  The promises are: God’s passion for you is unconditional, God’s picture of you is beautiful, God’s presence in you is perpetual, God’s provision for you is immeasurable, God’s plan for you is exceptional,  God’s power in you is accessible, and God’s promise in you is incomparable.  

In each chapter the author, Mrs. Babbie Mason, gives gives you four areas to contemplate by encouraging you to take personal action with. She asks you to “Think About His Love”, “Read About His Love”, “Pray About His Love” and to “Be About His Love”.  I found this book to be deep in someways because it touched my heart, yet like having a conversation with the author.  It’s one that any woman struggling about herself and if she is loved, especially by God, should absolutely read.  I highly recommend it!

I was given a complimentary copy plus one to give away of
Embraced By God: Celebrating Who & Whose You Are
from Litfuse Publicity

in exchange for posting my honest review and opinion.
and the additional information provided below: 

Enter Today and Save the Date-3/6!

About the book:

Have you ever wondered, “Does God really love me?
Do I really matter to him?”
As a matter of fact, God loves you just as much as he loves His own Son.
In the pages of this heartwarming, thoughtful and life-affirming 21-day journey, award-winning gospel singer, songwriter, and teacher Babbie Mason reminds you, when you know you are loved by God and that you are in His eternal plan, you’ll never again wonder if your life matters.
Click for more information
About Babbie Mason:  Babbie Mason is a Dove Award-winning and Grammy nominated gospel singer, songwriter, author, creator of the Embrace: A Worship Event for Women ministry, professor of songwriting at Atlanta Christian College and Lee University, and a television talk-show host. She was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame in 2010 and has appeared on numerous national television and radio programs. Babbie has been honored perform for Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Lady Margaret Thatcher, Colin Powell, Steve Forbes among many others. Babbie performs a holiday special at Carnegie Hall every year. Babbie lives near Atlanta on a farm with her husband Charles. 


ast week I wrote about the CEB Common English Thinline Bible and also had a giveaway of one.  Please look back at this blog post for the particulars on this Bible and you can also see who will be receiving the copy (a young man leaving for the Army in January). 

I would like to share some exciting things about the Common English Bible.  It is the bestselling translation in record time, being #10 on the CBA Bible Translation Best Seller list for the month of December, achieving this status after being in stores less than three months!!!  It was also named among the top ten religion stories of 2011!!!  I thought this was pretty neat to read, and kind of be a part of with receiving this and being able to share some with my readers here!

The one I am giving away is this pictured CEB Common English Thinline Bible which is a two tone, brick red and tan.  There are new editions of the Common English Bible that are available, including a Reference Bible and a Daily Companion Bible. Check out this web page to see the various Bibles available in this version, their style and features.  There are also Reference books for the Common English Bible such as a dictionary and an oversized map guide (with National Geographic maps).

What a great way to start the new year with reading God’s Word in an easy to understand language. Visit this webapge for free CEB downloads to get a feel of how this Bible reads.

The giveaway for this Bible has ended but a new one will be starting next  so please come back to sign up again.  The winner is announced in the comment section below.  Thanks!
Twitter @CommonEngBible (#CEBtour)
Facebook Group Page

I was given a complimentary copy of Common English Bible (CEB) from
The B & B Media Group, Inc.
in exchange for posting my honest review and opinion. 

GUEST POST: A Question We Often Ask When Bad Things Happen…Why?

“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” –Corrie Ten Boom

As we travel across the United States, we pray for divine appointments.  What I mean by a divine appointment is an encounter with another person that God puts in our path –  someone who either encourages us or that we encourage in some way spiritually.

Recently, as we were traveling, we stayed in an RV park.  And as we were getting ready to leave, I took a shower in their public showers.  I finished drying my hair, getting dressed and I was just about ready to leave when Teri walked in.  We started talking and one thing led to another and before I knew it, she was telling me her life story.

I asked her if I could pray for her right there and she agreed and let me pray for her.  As we talked more, I found out that Teri had layer upon layer of hurt and heartache in her life – wounds that were deep; issues that I will never understand.  She had been sexually abused by her father as a young child.  Not only that, her mother, who was addicted to prescription medications and drugs, gave her to her father to have sex with him.  As she would cry afterward because of the pain and while her mother was cleaning her up, her mom would say hurtful things to her.  These things left deep scars and deep wounds in her.

The amazing thing is that Teri wasn’t even supposed to be there at that time that day.  She was actually going to go to the bank and had several errands to run, but felt like God told her to come to the RV park.  I told her I believed it was a divine appointment.

We talked about forgiveness and how I will never understand this side of heaven why certain things happen.  One of those things that I won’t understand fully is why this type of abuse happened to her and many others around the world.

One day as I was struggling to understand the answers to some “why” questions in my own life, God gave me a powerful illustration.  He showed me that for me to try to understand “why” and figure out my life is like teaching a two year old physics and calculus.  No matter how much you try to explain these subjects to a two year old, they will not understand it.  Their brains are not developed to the point to fully comprehend these topics.

I believe in the same way, God has shown me that I’m like that two year old trying to understand why bad things happen to people in this world.  There are certain things that I believe I will not fully understand until I get to heaven.  Why?  Well, because I still have a human brain.  I am not God.  So, on that day, as Teri and I talked about how important forgiveness is – even though she has every excuse and every right in the world to not want to forgive her mother for what had happened – that forgiveness is truly what will set her free and allow her to begin healing from the inside out.

We prayed together again.  After we finished praying, Teri hugged me and I saw hope in her eyes.  Even though I don’t have all the answers, I do know the One who does.  He reminds me to bring my concerns, my questions, and the things I don’t understand to Him.  He is able to carry them.  Many times He does give us understanding and clarity this side of heaven, but when He doesn’t, like the quote I shared in the beginning of this post by Corrie ten Boom, “I want to sit still and trust the engineer.”

Shelley Hitz is the co-author of Forgiveness Formula: Finding Lasting Freedom, along with her husband, CJ.  In this book she talks more about this topic, “when bad things happen.”  Visit their book website to check out their full virtual book tour schedule and special gifts with purchase at:


f you are looking for a special last minute gift, I can give you an idea for one of the best ones you can give that would be at your local Christian book store.  How about a new Bible?  I like this Bible – a lot.  I was given the great privilege of receiving this CEB Common English Thinline Bible which is a  two tone with brick red on the upper part and tan on the bottom part.  It is a really nice size, yet very easy for me to read (with my trifocals).  Here are some of the specific features:

Measures: 5 3/8″ x 8 3/8″
Font: 9 point type
Pages: 1264
Ribbon marker
Double column format
Black letter text
Presentation page
In-text subject headings
Study and reading helps
Topical index
8 full-color maps by National Geographic

I like to know the background of a Bible translation, found this information very fascinating to read, including the fact that it took 120 biblical scholars and editors, 77 reading group leaders, and more than 500 average readers from around the world who joined together to clearly translate the Bible’s original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek languages into 21st century English.  In total, more than 700 people worked jointly until it’s completion.

I will be sharing more about this Common English Bible (CEB) next week.  In the meantime, I am hosting a giveaway of this Bible.  All you have to do is tell me you are interested in it either in the comment section here or on my FaceBook page with this post, and I will choose one winner next Friday (December 23 @ 11 pm EST) and one the following Friday (December 30 @ 11 pm EST) with my new blog post.  (GIVEAWAY CLOSED! WINNER IS MARKED IN COMMENTS . . . Look at current blog posts for newest giveaways.)

Be sure to join or follow:
Twitter @CommonEngBible (#CEBtour)
Facebook Group Page

I was given a complimentary copy of Common English Bible (CEB) from
The B & B Media Group, Inc.
in exchange for posting my honest review and opinion. 


re you looking for a way to start the new year, possibly with family devotions?      I just received The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments and I highly recommend it.  It is a nice, brightly colored hard-covered book, with over 300 pages.  It covers Genesis through Revelation in 158 stories and clearly presents God’s plan of Salvation.  Each story ends with “Let’s Talk About It” which includes three questions for discussion.

The stories are short enough to keep a child’s attention, yet detailed enough to give the accurate story from the Bible.  The stories ends with how it pertains to us now and the need for God’s salvation.  This book is also very much eye captivating! Each story page is a different glossy color and has modernistic type colorful drawings. I am very impressed with The Gospel Story Bible and believe it would be ideal for most homes and would make a great Christmas gift!

I was given a complimentary copy of The Gospel Story Bible 
from The B & B Media Group, Inc.
in exchange for
posting my honest review and opinion.
Below is more information provided by The B & B Media Group, Inc.

Marty Machowski’s new offering for families transforms hearts one story at a time

Sometimes it’s easy to forget Jesus in the midst of frantic schedules, family squabbles and conflicting priorities. For many Christians, God often becomes little more than an afterthought after days absorbed and depleted by the busyness of life. But the truth is that he is the hero of every story—including the mundane, ordinary ones we experience on a regular basis. That is why Marty Machowski beckons families to take time out from the daily grind to be transformed by the message of the Good News in his latest release, The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments(New Growth Press, November 2011).

Based on the ESV Bible, this uniquely illustrated Bible storybook uses 156 stories to present God’s plan of salvation in Christ from its opening narrative in Genesis to its finale in Revelation. This easy-to-read storybook written for children from preschool to high school introduces readers to many captivating people, places and events from the Bible’s Old and New Testaments. At the same time, Machowski skillfully connects the individual stories to the overall gospel narrative of how God redeemed a broken world through sending his son Jesus to save his people. Each story ends by connecting to Jesus and his gospel of grace. By sharing these Bible stories with each other, young and old will learn together the life-changing habit of recognizing the presence and workings of Christ in every moment of their day.

“The gospel is deep enough to keep the oldest and wisest parents learning and growing all their lives, yet simple enough to change the heart of the first grader who has just begun to read,” says Machowski. “That’s what makes The Gospel Story Bible ideal as a storybook for a preschooler, a devotional for a grade school student, a refresher for the adult believer or an introduction for the new one. Parents and children will learn together to read the whole Bible as one story, with one hero—Jesus Christ.”

Vibrant illustrations by A. E. Macha, child-friendly discussion questions and Scripture references accompany each story to help lead families in exploring the Bible. Parents and teachers will be delighted to discover how easily even a young child can understand the original text of a story that he or she has already come to love. A companion to the family devotional Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God and the soon-to-be-released Gospel Story Sunday school curriculum (February 2012), The Gospel Story Bibleis also a great resource for churches, Sunday school classes, home-schoolers and Christian schools who want to teach their children to apply the gospel to every situation and make Jesus the most important part of their everyday lives.

About the Author: Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church, a Sovereign Grace Ministries church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for twenty-three years. Marty leads Promise Kingdom, the children’s ministry of Covenant Fellowship. He is also the author of Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God and the forthcoming Gospel Story Sunday school curriculumHe and his wife Lois and their six children reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania.


ust in time for Christmas is this newly published book by Melody Carlson, The Christmas Shoppe.    It’s a quick, easy reading book that might just be the one to take along with you on Black Friday as you wait in those long lines!  The story is of a small town that keeps track of everybody, so when an unknown, older woman, Matilda Honeycutt, who doesn’t seem to fit into their culture, buys a local building through an auction, there are a lot of stirrings in the town.  The local councilman is one most upset by the transaction and encourages the negative rumors to spin through the town.  

Matilda continues with developing her thrift store, filling it with second hand items, and despite the rumors, she is the welcoming one to those around her.  Those who enter her shop are expecting to tear it apart, come out changed in unexpected ways.

The author, Melody Carlson, has written several Christmas books which I have enjoyed reading.  My older daughters love any books by Melody Carlson, and here is another dreamy book to read.  I appreciate that The Christmas Shoppe is not a “romantic” type book, but a fun, easy reading “fluff” book that was charming to read.

Read an excerpt here.

I was given a complimentary copy of The Christmas Shoppe from Revell,
a division of Baker Publishing Group
in exchange for
posting my honest review and opinion.


s a mom who loves to cook AND eat,  with having had a dozen kids, I can always find the right reason for making an additional meal or extra snacks with kids coming and going and many celebrations from birthdays to new jobs, engagements, getting a license, first deer, etc. I’ve gone on numerous diets through the years, and it’s funny, when I am really dedicated to it, I realize how much that I snack and “try” foods throughout the day.  I eat what the kids have leftover on their plates, I eat while I am making meals to sample it, I skip a meal, but am snacking on what I am making for the kid’s lunch, such as a spoonful of peanut butter or  munching on potato chips. I eat the brownie or cookie dough as I’m making a special treat, and eat late night snacks with my husband when we are finally alone.  I eat when I am stressed, especially chocolate.  And, I just plain like food.  I am slowly working on losing weight and have lost over 25 pounds in the last year, especially before my oldest son’s wedding. (My goal is as we marry off each child, I lose weight – gained it with each child, so sounds like the perfect reversal, huh?!?!).  Yeah, I guess I am a real mom who loves to eat!  

So, with our daughter’s upcoming spring wedding, more goals need to be set and more weight to be lost! What great timing with Beth Aldrich’s book, Real Moms Love to Eat, coming out January 3, 2012.  I know crash diets don’t work. I’ve lost . . .  and gained, lots more.  I need to add in more permanent changes which is what  this book shares, gradually making life-style changes that will last a life-time.  The book gives 21 days of meal ideas along with recipes to help towards this goal.  The author writes in a fun, conversational engaging way that keeps her readers attention.  Several chapters definitely caught my attention:   “Make Over Salt, Fat, and Sugar (Your Dysfunctional Friends)” and  “Tame the Food-cravings Dragon“.  I need something realistic that keeps me on track with goals and it looks like Real Moms Love to Eat will give great encouragement to help me with my love affair with food. 

And, since I am a blogger, and if you are too, we get even additional ADVANCE encouragement!  We can get a preview of Real Moms Love to Eat and spread the word about the author’s Beth Aldrich’s  “Food Affairiate” program for bloggers. And even if you are not a blogger, you can pre-order the book and enter for some special prizes.  Check it out!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Beth Aldrich – Real Moms Love to Eat blogging program, for a chance to get 3,000 My SocialMoms Rewards points. For more information on how you can participate, click here.” 


eing I am adopted and have a heart towards kids who are adopted, Reclaiming Lily was a book I really wanted to read.   When I was adopted in the early 1960’s adoption was for the most part, a “hush-hush” type thing.  There was no such thing as “open adoptions” or even open talk of it.  I have dark eyes and hair like my adoptive dad, so there was no need to explain to others that I was adopted.  I believe this was the case in many adoptions during this time which left more adopted kids wondering their past and the reason for why someone would give them up.  I believe adopted kids even with open adoptions and fully understanding the love of both sets of parents, still struggle.  And, I can only imagine the struggles adoptive parents go through in showing their unconditional love, fearing losing their child and the siblings desires to know their separated siblings.  So many of these emotions were portrayed throughout Reclaiming Lily.  I found this to be a hard-t0-put down book, quite emotional and heart stirring.  I highly recommend it!

I was given a complimentary copy of Reclaiming Lily from B & B Media Group in exchange for posting my honest review and opinion along with the information provided below:

About Reclaiming Lily:     A storm the size of Texas brews when Gloria Powell and Kai Chang meet in a Dallas hotel. They have come to discuss the future of Lily, the daughter Gloria adopted from China and the sister Kai hopes to reclaim. Kai is a doctor who had to give up her little sister during the Cultural Revolution and has since discovered that an inherited genetic defect may be waiting to fatally strike Lily.

Gloria’s relationship with her daughter is tattered and strained, and the arrival of Kai, despite the woman’s apparent good intentions, makes Gloria fearful. Gloria longs to restore her relationship with Lily, but in the wake of this potentially devastating diagnosis, is Kai an answer to prayer…or will her arrival force Gloria to sacrifice more than she ever imagined?

About the Author:Patti Lacy graduated from Baylor University in 1977 with a BS in education. She taught at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois, until she retired in 2006 to pursue writing full time. She and her husband, Alan, have two grown children. Visit Patti at

(see below for more info)


here’s just one thing I didn’t like about this book . . .  I have to wait for the next one to find out how the story ends!  I think one of the things I appreciated the most about  Along Wooded Paths is the way the author, Tricia Goyer, weaved the lives of both the “Englisch” and the Amish, and how the Mariana, the young Amish girl in the story, begins to look at what she believes and why, something we all need to do with our “religious” beliefs, convictions and our faith walk.   

Though this is the second book in a series, you can easily read this book without having had to read the first book, Beside Still Waters.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and definitely will be looking forward to reading the sequel

I was given a complimentary copy of Along Wooded Paths: A Big Sky Novel from B & B Media Group in exchange for posting my honest review and opinion along the provided information below:

About Along Wooded Paths:  All she wanted was a simple Amish life . . . But now Marianna Sommer finds herself depending on Englisch neighbors. Although proud of living apart from the world, she and her newly relocated Amish family have discovered that life in the remote mountains of Montana requires working together.

As Marianna begins helping those different from herself—and receiving their help—her heart contemplates two directions. She’s torn between the Amish man from Indiana whom she has long planned on marrying and the friendly Englischer who models a closer walk with God than she’s ever seen before.

Who should have young Marianna’s heart? What is God asking her to sacrifice? Her traditions? Her community? The answer is found along the wooded paths. Read an excerpt 

About the author:  Tricia Goyer is the author of thirty books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and Blue Like Play Dough: The Shape of Motherhood in the Grip of God. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference in 2003. Tricia’s book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.

For more about Tricia and her other books visit

Tricia is celebrating the release of Along Wooded Paths with a Fabulous Facebook party on October 18th. She’ll be giving away prizes and a sneak peak at the next book in the Big Sky series.

 Then during the second half of the party she’ll be hosting a LIVE AUTHOR CHAT on her website and announcing something BIG! CLICK the button (below) to RSVP for the party – then go here to sign up for the Live Author Chat.  

Along Wooded Paths Party


grew up hearing many “hell, fire and brimstone” type sermons. Now, hell seems like a word not mentioned often except for an expletive word.  I believe we can get comfortable in our Christian lives and forget the eternal consequences of those that do not believe.  We have heard in the news and recently published books, those that doubt if hell really exists.  Be prepared for, Hell Is Real (But I Hate to Admit It) to renew your concerns for those around you and their eternal where-abouts.  

The author, Brian Jones, even went through seminary, and spent four years as a pastor, not believing there was a hell.  I appreciate the way he shared when God gripped his heart and it landed him flat on his face, begging God, and later others for forgiveness.  He was surprised with some, including those in leadership, of their lack of response.  

Hell Is Real is an easy reading book, which is one that should be read by all, especially to set our hearts on fire to encourage Believers to be more concerned of the eternal destination of others. Brian Jones shares many stories throughout, along with a lot of Scripture. He writes that the lack of our care and urgency in sharing about hell, Christians “will inadvertently create the single greatest holocaust human civilization has ever seen.

I highly recommend this convicting book.

Watch the video trailer!

I was given a complimentary copy of
Hell Is Real
from B & B Media Group
in exchange for posting my honest review and opinion.