Thursday, October 4, 2012

Book Review: The Joy 'Fit Club by Joy Bauer #bookreview

From the Book: Joy Bauer, the long-time on-air diet and nutrition expert for the "Today" show, regularly tells the personal stories of people who have lost 100 pounds or more using her weight-loss plan. Joy's diet plan not only works, it "really" works. Now, you can take the Joy Fit challenge and use these delicious, bountiful recipes and meal plans at home to start losing weight today. "The Joy Fit Club" is the one tool you'll need to succeed Featuring more than 75 recipes, detailed meal plans, and motivational before-and-after photographs of real people, anyone who loves the Joy Fit Club and these inspiring stories of personal triumph will love this book.

Joy Fit Club: Cookbook, Diet Plan and InspirationJoy Fit Club: Cookbook, Diet Plan and Inspiration by Joy Bauer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My Review: This was a excellent inspirational book. As someone who needs to lose quite a bit of weight, it was inspiring to read stories from those who been there. Each "chapter" is a story about an individual who lost a significant amount of weight. There were tips to discuss what they did, what they would encourage others to do and they also included recipes for the reader to try. I'm looking forward trying a few myself. The before and after pictures were an even greater inspirational tool.

Reading this book made it click for me and I have successfully began my weight loss journey (without surgery!) I realize it's not eliminating the foods I love to eat, but managing portion sizes and adding healthier options as well as adding movement to my day.  In essence, I have to do what works for me! After two weeks I'm already feeling so much better and look forward to reaching my weight loss goals!! 

This book is available in hardcover or Kindle format can be purchased on Amazon:

I received this book from NetGalley for the purpose of review.  The opinions expressed are 100% my own. Please note that I am an Amazon Affiliate and I will receive compensation for purchases through the links I provide.

Love and Blessings Always,

Monday, September 3, 2012

Christian Book Review: Finding Our Way Home by Charlene Ann Baumbich

Finding Our Way Home: A NovelFinding Our Way Home: A Novel by Charlene Ann Baumbich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You work your life for one dream and in on moment it's gone forever. This is what happened to Sasha Davis when she was dropped during a premier performance. At age 38 the only career she has ever had is over and not only that, she can't even walk much less dance. She believes the "Lady of the Dance" from her snowglobe tried to warn her and this is her consequence for ignoring the warnings. Sasha has to give up everything she thought she wanted to find what it is that she needs.

Evelyn doesn't know why her parents are so mad! She's only postponing college not giving it up forever! And beside she's and adult... and ENGAGED adult at that! When the opportunity to be a live in assistant for Sasha Davis arises, it's the perfect answer to her problems. Moving out of her parents home, even temporarily, will give them all some breathing space, especially her father. Her relationship with her fiance hits some snags and Evelyn begins to wonder what exactly it is that she wants from life.

Sasha and Evelyn are the unlikeliest of pairs but yet they seem to complement each other. While they are complete opposites, they manage to work well enough together to help each other through some difficult times. I enjoyed the interaction between the two which was serious at times but also humorous at times. It added to the flow of the story to make it realistic and smooth.

From the extra characters, I loved Gramps and Donald the most. Gramps accepted Evelyn for who she was without judging her like her parents tended to do. Donald was a loving, devoted husband he felt shut out but persisted with his wife.

This is a Christian novel but I did not find it to be preachy. The references to faith are subtle and focus more on living a Christian Life rather than preaching to others about the Christian Life.

Overall I thought the book was wonderful and well-written.

Love and Blessings Always!

View all my reviews

Monday, August 13, 2012

Starring Me by Krista McGee #christianbookreview

Starring MeStarring Me by Krista McGee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from Booksneeze:

Kara McKormick is told she’s auditioning to star in a new teen variety show. But it’s what she isn’t told that could change her life.

The feisty New Yorker moves to sunny Orlando to participate in a month-long audition, where she’ll live with nine other contestants and an eccentric housemother. Kara knows that the show already has a big-time celebrity lined up for the co-host, but she doesn’t know who it is.

Chad Beacon quickly rose to fame after winning America’s Next Star, but he doesn’t want his entire career to be about singing. There is so much more he wants to do—like act. The new variety show sounds like the perfect next step for him, but his parents want him to have a co-star who shares his faith since they’ll be spending so much time together.

Acting is high on Kara’s priority list. But a relationship with God? Not so much. In fact, she’s tried to stay away from anything religious. But God is after Kara’s heart and He’s put people in her life who are showing her there’s far more to Christianity than rules and judgment.

And just when it seems that Kara’s going to have to give up her acting dream, God reveals that she may have a starring role after all—in a story so big only He could write it.

My review:

I really enjoyed this book as you can see by my rating. This book is target to the teen or young adult reader.  With that said, I think this book would be fine for an advanced reader of a younger age.  So many books targeting this age group are filled with vampires, werewolves or some other paranormal creature. It's tiring really and this book was refreshing in that it had none of that.

The lead character, Kara, was well written. I enjoyed her bold attitude even before she became a believer. I loved how the author used her friend Addy as a witness without her being overbearing. The subtle ways the author showed the love of Christ to Kara, was refreshing. Chad's character really helped to set the foundation for the book very well. He was a believable character as were his parents and his housekeeper Flora was hilarious but great! Again, it was refreshing to see such a great story without all the sleaze (and no vampires or werewolves!). While there were romantic relationships in the book, they were presented tastefully and clean.

The author did and excellent job of showing Kara's path to God. I thought the story she told was realistic in today's world of reality shows. The competition, the disregard for others by some of the characters was believable. The twist at the end with one of the house characters was kind of expected but was presented well.

I really didn't have complaints about this book. I would let my 11 yo read this book even though it involves high school age characters.

Thank you Booksneeze for a copy of this book for the purpose of review.

Love and Blessings Always!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cute dolls on Zulily today!

I don't know if I mentioned it here but I am a doll collector!  It is such a relaxing hobby and I enjoy getting my "children" ready for the holidays and special occasions!  So whenever I see dollies at a good price, I just have to share! 

Check out these adorable dolls on Zulily (you need to be a member to see but it's free to sign up).  They are slightly larger than the American Girl dolls and not quite as expensive! The outfits are really cute and reasonable as far as doll clothes go! But it appears that these dolls can also fit the 18" doll clothes.  I love that each doll comes with a little book!

Bella is my favorite:

Take a look and tell me who your favorite is! 

I am not affiliated with Zulily, however if you join and make a purchase I will receive a credit (as will you when your friends join!).

Love and Blessings Always!

Friday, July 20, 2012


This morning I got up and I had a whole list of complaints:

The kids are fighting and calling each other names!
I still have a million things to do before they leave for leadership next week!
I can't have my yard sale because everyone bailed on me!
Why am I the only one here who can pick Dad up from the doctor!
Poor me, poor me, poor me...

When I look at the CNN blast on my phone, my perspective was shifted in an uncomfortable way:

14 dead, 50 wounded at an Aurora, Colorado movie theatre (later updated to 12 dead, 38 wounded)

Some mother is mourning her child, mine are just fighting.
Some father is wishing their child was getting ready for leadership training, instead of lying in the city morgue.
Some wife is wishing just was cleaning out her husband's clothes for a yard sale, instead of planning his funeral.
Some child woke up this morning asking their mom where their Daddy was, and she couldn't answer because of the tears. 

We don't realize how blessed we are until our paradigm shifts, until our perspective is changed.

My heart aches, my soul cries for all of the anger and evil in this world. However, Jesus warned us of this period of time in Matthew 24.  Yet, even it the midst, I know that there is HOPE.  Revelation 21:4 tells us:

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Joyce Meyer shared Psalm 62:5 on her page today and I think it is very appropriate:

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him." 

Today there are 12 souls who have departed this earth.  My hope is that they are now resting in the arms of our Heavenly Father.  I pray for the victims, the families of the victims and for the gunman.  As my soul aches for them, I am comforted by the knowledge that the Lord reigns for evermore and even in the midst of this tragedy, He is still on His throne.

Love and Blessings Always!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Great Deal on Backpacks! #backtoschool #backpack #zulily

It's almost time for back to school (can't believe how fast this summer is going!), so I'm on the hunt for great bargains on back to school supplies.  I was browsing over at my favorite bargain site Zulily today and I saw a great deal on backpacks, so I thought I would share it.  You have to be a member to see the backpacks but sign up is free. 

If  your children are anything like my daughter, they might not make it a full year with one backpack.  I plan to get her one to start the school year and a back up!!

Anyway, check them out here!  This one is my fave!

Disclaimer:  I am not affiliated with Zulily in any way.  However, I will receive a credit should you decide to make a purchase. 

Love and Blessings Always!

Book Review: The Keepers of the House #bookreview

The Keepers of the House

The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Keeper of the House is a book about the South After the Civil War but during the time of segregation. It covers the lives of the Howland Family, mostly William, Abigail and Margaret (William's Negro wife who was not officially recognized as a Howland). The Howlands and their eccentric ways (like ordering newspapers from the North and marrying foreigners) lead to some interesting situations. As the story is told by each of the three main characters, it covers the life of William and Margaret. Abigail, having had her fair share of difficulties, finishes the story as an adult.

My Thoughts on the Book
While I enjoyed the book, I only gave it three stars because there were a few things that bothered me.  For one thing, the chapters were really long.  When I'm reading, I need a place to rest my eyes and I didn't find that in this book. That made it much more difficult for me to concentrate and/or find a stopping point.
The style of writing was what I consider heavy in that I sometimes had to read a sentence several times before I could move on.  I considered this to be more literary and not a smooth flowing story.  It really wasn't my style of book.  Besides the heaviness, I thought the book was well written.  The characters were developed nicely and you really got a peek into their minds. It was actually like sitting by Grandpa, listening to him telling the stories of his youth.  He keeps talking and talking, barely taking a breath.

The relationship between William and Margaret was odd to say the least but it seemed to work for the story.  Abigail was eccentric in her own way before and after she left to go away to school.  I would have to say she was probably my favorite character, particularly at the end.

From a Christian perspective

There really isn't much to say from a Christian perspective.  This was not Christian fiction at all, there was very little mention of God, and when it was it was as an afterthought. There were implied instances of extramarital sex (I don't recall the book mentioning when the two characters were married but it turns out they were), however it was not graphic.  Towards the end there is a sad act of senseless violence but again it was not graphic. 

I would recommend this book for those who like Literary fiction.  It reads similar to those types of books.

Do you like Literary Fiction and does this seem like a book you would read?

I was provided a copy of this book through Netgalley for the purpose of review.  I was not required to provide a favorable review.

Love and Blessings Always!  

Monday, July 2, 2012

Christian Book Review: Exposed: Inexcusable Me... Irreplaceable Him by Shannon Deitz #christianbookreview

Exposed: Inexcusable Me...Irreplaceable Him

Exposed: Inexcusable Me...Irreplaceable Him by Shannon M. Deitz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shannon Deitz did not have a fairytale life. Although she had wonderful caring parents, two of her siblings turned to drugs and Shannon was well on her way to following them. In her book Exposed: Inexcusable Me... Irreplaceable Him she describes the challenges she faced as she grew up. Twice she was raped, several times she experienced spiritual warfare to the point where the demons took human form. Throughout her life she felt she was worthless, otherwise, why would these things keep happening to her?

Then one day she decided to stop fighting, to surrender her life. She completely submitted to God and gave up all control of her life. His will became her will. Even at this point, she did not understand how God could love someone like her, how He could forgive her for all of the things she had done, how He could make her clean. But He could, and He did.

I really enjoyed this book. I could see several parallels in my own life which allowed me to connect emotionally with her story. As she went through the horrors that she faced, she knew God was there.  She didn't want to face Him, but she knew He was there.  Many times in my life, I've allowed the negative thoughts to keep me from the truth like Shannon did.  Thankfully I too surrendered my life to Christ and I now try to let Him lead me each day.

I found it unusual that there were many, many references to faith but I don't recall a lot of scriptural references other than at the beginning of some of the chapters. This was a little disappointing because I know how important it is to be grounded in the Word, especially when you are facing spiritual battles.  However, I did appreciate the candid approach that the author took when describing the events of her life.  

Overall, I thought this was a good book for the Christian woman who struggles with feelings of unworthiness and negative thinking.  It's a wonderful example of someone who had been dragged down to the depths, but was lifted up by Christ when she turned her life over to Him.

You can find more about the author on her website

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from B&B media for the purpose of review.  I was not required to write a positive review. 

Love and Blessings Always!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Living Life, Loving Life

Sometimes you have a plan and it doesn't quite work out like you expected.  This week I had about 5 posts planned but didn't get the chance to write them!  Hubby went in for a minor surgery and ended up with pneumonia!  But fortunately he is on the mend!  God is so good!

I'm glad too because today is our 23rd anniversary!!!  There have been many challenges along the way but God has truly blessed our marriage and I am grateful.  Here we are on our wedding day:

While it was so many years ago, I still get butterflies in my tummy when I see him!  We still hold hands in public (much to my daughter's embarrassment!), we still tell each other "I Love You" each time we speak.  These are the things that get us through the difficult times, these are the things that remind us to have each other's backs!

So with that thought I'll share with you this youtube video of the song that was OUR song! Always by Atlantic Starr, ENJOY!!

 Love and Blessings Always! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

End of Blogathon!

Well that was fun!  I didn't get as much done as I would have liked to, but I did get a few important things done.  Thanks for following along and I'll be back with a book review soon!

Love and blessings always!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday Snapshot - June 23

My daughter was having a blast at my son's graduation this week, but not watching the graduation...  Here's what she did instead!!

A collage of Miss M!

Hmm, some very interesting angles!!

Love and Blessings Always!

Exciting Week for us!

Hello everyone,

Told you I would be blogging a lot this weekend!

On Wednesday June 20, it was an exciting day for us!  You see our middle son, Mr. B, graduated high school!  He will be going on to our local community college to study Psychology.  We are so proud of your Branford!!

Ready for graduation!

Highlights of our exciting night!

Did you have a graduate this year?  If so, leave a link below so we can 
congratulate you!

Sugar Crash by Elena Aitken

Sugar CrashSugar Crash by Elena Aitken
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I know in my life, I have a hard time asking for help, especially from people outside of the family. So I can empathize with the main character, Darci Johnson.
In Sugar Crash, Darci has it all under control. She is the perfect mother even though she is a single parent, and she is perfect at her job. She doesn't need help and she doesn't ask for it. One does not interfere with the other and that is all that is important. That is until tragedy strikes and her daughter gets sick. After her daughter Taylor's diagnosis, Darci realizes that she has friends that she can count on in the most unexpected places.  It's ok to ask for help and even more importantly, it's ok to accept help!  It is heartwarming to see how her and Taylor's friends step up to help in amazing ways.

The author's writing style is very comfortable with an easy flow.  Her character development is flawless, especially the Coach and Susanna, the mother of one of Taylor's best friends.  I thought the way she portrayed the disease and the various reactions to the disease was realistic.  The whole book was engaging and I sped through it, putting some of my other books aside.

From a Christian perspective:  There was not much mention of God in this book that I can recall. Even in her desperate state, Darci tended to rely on human support rather than support from God.  I wholeheartedly feel that human support is important, however, I would have loved to see her relying on God to carry her through the difficult time.  A prayer, a visit from a pastor, a scripture that she held on to.  As I read more and more Christian fiction, I'm coming to rely on things like that being part of the story.  Even with the absence of faith, there was none of the other mystical and negative imagery that is so rampant in young adult books.  This book is a clean read, other than a few kisses and a date, there was no foul language (that I can recall) and no sexual situations.

I recommend this book for any reader who enjoys a quick but meaningful read.

The author included her information in the back of the book so you can find more about her at 

You can also find this book on Sugar Crash

This is a book from my personal collection. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Love and Blessings Always!

Blogging weekend! #blogathon2

Hello everyone,

I just want you to know I've really been taking steps to clean up my blog and provide better content for you.  So this weekend I will be participating in the Biannual Blogathon Bash.  The Bash is set up with mini challenges that will help me improve my blog and make it a better experience for you the reader when you come visit.  The blogathon started yesterday, June 22, but we had severe thunderstorms so I'm just getting started today.

I will be around and blogging most of the day today.  My family is off for a day of fishing, Mom is staying home to do laundry, read and blog!  Some of the activities I will be doing for the blogathon are:

Learning to write a better book review
Learning to write better tweets
How to make photo collages
So much more!!

Tomorrow me and my daughter are taking in the movie Brave then off to church!  I'll be here in the afternoon though!  

I hope you'll check in periodically to see how I'm doing.  Or maybe you even want to join in!

Biannual Blogathon Bash 

So that's the deal and I hope to see you around this weekend!

Love and Blessings Always!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Too Good Not to Share: Righteous Ruth Rap by Liz Curtis Higgs #christian #christianrap

I got the tip on this up and coming Christian rap artist from the Blogging for Books team.  Enjoy!

Love and Blessings Always!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Christian Book Review: Wildflowers from Winter #christianbookreview

Wildflowers from Winter: A NovelWildflowers from Winter: A Novel by Katie Ganshert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bethany Quinn thinks she has it all with her fancy job in Chicago, her high profile boyfriend and staying as far away from Peaks as she can. That is until tragedy strikes and she's forced to face her fears that stem back to her childhood. Not only that, she's got Evan to deal with and she's not sure where he fits into her life. Follow Bethany's journey as she hooks up with old friends and faces old fears.

You can see the complete book description on Amazon: Wildflowers from Winter: A Novel
My Review:  
For me this book was just OK. I don't think I ever developed an emotional connection to it, it just felt like a story being told to me.  I like to feel like I am part of the story.

The major character were developed well.  I did gain an understanding of Bethany and Evan as well as the secondary characters of Robin, Dan and the other minor characters.  Robyn's mother was also developed very well.  

As for the storytelling, I think the story could have been developed better.  While the characters were described well, I didn't relate to them or get any sort of emotional response from their stories. This is important for me when reading a book, I have to be able to relate or at least have an emotional response.  I think the storyline is an overused one where the "heroine" really hates this guy then ends up dating him.  

This book received a three for several reasons.  One, the characters were not made out to be super-Christians.  They got mad at God when they faced tragedy, they called out to Him in moments of weakness.   Also, while there weren't scripture references, you got the sense that the characters spend a lot of time in the Word which is essential for a strong Faith.  Again, this made their faith more realistic.  Finally, everything wasn't tied up so neat and tidy.  People died, people got their feelings hurt, people had their eyes opened.  I really enjoyed those aspects of the story. 

Overall, this book would make a pleasant weekend read, but don't expect much depth as it is very predictable.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book as part of the Blogging for Books program.  I was not required to write a positive review, as such, opinions expressed are completely my own.

Love and Blessings Always!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) #bookreview

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ismae has lived a life of abuse, first her father and then her "husband" to be. Ismae is resigned to this life until she is rescued and sent to live with in the convent. This is no ordinary convent for they serve the gods of old, including the god of Death, Mortrain, for whom the convent is named. Ismae is extra special because she has the marks of the daughter. Ismae is trained in various arts until she is ready to perform her masters duties. This sits well with Ismae until she meets him, the one who changes everything for her!

This book follows Ismae from her life with her father to her arrival at the convent to her most important mission.  You can see the full description on Amazon: Grave Mercy (Book I): His Fair Assassin, Book I (His Fair Assassin Trilogy)

I have to say I was fascinated with this book. Even with the subject matter, it was one of the most well written books that I have read in a while. When I first started reading it, I immediately got chills.  I almost put it down 1) because of the subject matter and 2) because it really scared me, I thought I was going to have nightmares!

But I have this thing about reading books, once I start them I have to finish them.  So I pressed on and I'm glad I did.  As you know if you've read my other reviews, I am an emotional person.  Any book that evokes an emotion from me ranks high.  Like I said earlier, this book put fear in me right from the start.  I felt sorry for Ismae but then with the let's say fervor that she took to her new responsibilities, I no longer felt sorry.  I loved that she felt empowered but in the end went with her gut feelings of knowing right from wrong.  The change in her from the beginning of the book to the end of the book was so subtle that I still gasped at the end of the result.  But then when I thought back over the book, I realized it was leading to this point all the time.

I also enjoyed the writing style of this book.  It seemed to start off slow and I will admit, it did drag in some parts.  But I have to say overall, the story was told very well.  I had to keep reminding myself that this was fiction. I'm not sure if I will read the future books in the series but we'll see!

From a Christian perspective:  Well, this is obviously not a Christian book so if that makes you uncomfortable, then you don't want to read this book.

I think some people will be offended because it does seem the convent is modeled after the Catholic Church.  I don't say this is right or wrong, it just is.

I don't recall any foul language, but there is brutality and murder.  Surprisingly, for the main characters, there is no extramarital sex although it comes close a few times.  However, it is hinted at in other parts of the book.  There is also an encounter with Death at one point.

It seems weird to give this book a high rating given the subject matter.  But since I review all types of books, I feel that is a fair rating and I stand by it.

I'm curious, as a Christian Reader, would you read this book?  

Disclaimer: I received this book from NetGalley and as a condition of accepting it, I agree to review it.  I was not compensated other than a copy of the book and opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Love and Blessings Always!

View all my reviews

Power Outage! #christian

Yesterday I got the dreaded call at work.  My brother in law called to let me know that we had lost power in our home and they didn't know when it would be restored!  He was working to find a generator to keep our basement from flooding.  Of course, right after the call, it started raining in earnest.  Yes God, you DO have a sense of humor don't you?  Luckily, our neighbor had one we could borrow and we just swapped it back and forth.  Also of course (I know, not proper grammar!) I had just done some grocery shopping the day before.  Sigh...

So hubby arrived home just before I did and the kids had a leadership meeting.  We couldn't cook, we couldn't watch TV, so we had to keep each other company!  So hubby and I were sitting and chatting, and in walked the children... who were soaking wet from the rain... who decided their Momma need a hug... a soaking wet hug... and thought it was hilarious!  Oh how I LOVE those children!

My delightful children when they are NOT wet!

After their loving greeting (NOT!!!), we sat and ate pizza (the one good thing about no power is you HAVE TO ORDER OUT!!!), then we started telling "ghost" stories.  It was HYSTERICAL!!  Then we did a round robin story where each of us would do one sentence of the story.  It got sillier and sillier the whole time!! We ended up having some great family time (and we ate a LOT of ice cream! To keep it from going to waste of course!).  It's not often we are all sitting in the same room!  It took a power outage to remind us how much fun we have as a family with our silly antics and games. Even my Mom (whom I called for a pity party) got into the fun.  She reminded me that Emma Yoder from the Half-Stitch Amish Quilting Club manage quite well without electricity.  Remind me to never lend my mom any more books! (Just kidding Mom!).

But this whole situation reminds me of another;

Does it take a "power outage to get you to spend time with your Father?  

Do you realize, that when you are experiencing a temporary loss of power, that all you have to do to "plug in" is pray?  Jesus tells us in John 14:13-14 (NIV):

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. 

He even tells us WHAT to pray in Matthew 6:9-13:

After this manner therefore pray ye: 
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, 
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
 Give us this day our daily bread.
 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: 
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Wait a minute, do I see the word POWER!!  Yes, He is our power and to put that power to work we just need to ask him!  We don't even need to wait until there is a full power outage.  Even if it's just a "brown out" or a partial loss of power, we can be recharged by just seeking Him, asking Him. 

It didn't take long for our power to be restored, much earlier than they said it would be thank God!  But when it did, my son went to his room, my daughter went to get ready for a school trip, hubby flicked on the TV.   In other words, we left each others presence.  

You see where I'm going with this right?  Just because your power is restored, be careful that you don't leave HIS presence.  We still NEED HIM! He is our constant power supply.  It's only when we step away, no matter how brief, that we experience that power outage.  Stay close and stay charged!

I hope this has blessed you in some way.  If it did, leave a comment telling about recent power outages in your life and how you recharged. 

Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway for My Big Bottom Blessing by Teasi  Cannon here.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by the Holy Spirit.  The only compensation I received was the blessing of being able to share this.  Scripture share belongs 100% to God!  

Love and Blessings Always!

Monday, June 11, 2012

CLOSED: Christian Book Review: My Big Bottom Blessing by Teasi Cannon #christianbook #giveaway

Faith Hope Cherrytea!!!

My Big Bottom Blessing: How Hating My Body Led to Loving My Life by Teasi Cannon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My Big Bottom Blessing is a nonfiction book about well... Teasi Cannon's big bottom! It's a delightful, humorous and fulfilling book regarding our "broken" views of body images. If you are looking for a diet book, this is not the book for you! However, if you are looking for an inspirational, God-honoring, love yourself as you are book, then you've chosen well!

I really loved the format of this book. There was the reading or what I like to refer to as the "testimony" part with scriptural references/reinforcement, then there was the self evaluation part, thoughtful questions that really allowed me to examine why I respond the way I do, and finally the "pep talk." Combined, these different approaches all helped to reinforce the reading.

Another thing I enjoyed about this book was it felt like I was sitting and chatting with a friend. Very emotional at times but also very cleansing! With that said, this book is not for the "perfect" Christian woman.  This book is for the Christian woman who knows that she is broken, who knows that she is nothing without Jesus and who is learning that when God made her, he used his best mold to make sure that she was fearfully and wonderfully made. 

About the Author

Teasi Cannon Teasi (pronounced Tee See) is married to her best friend, Bill Cannon, and
they have three awesome children: Carli, Ben, and Sam. Teasi has a master’s degree in
pastoral counseling from Liberty Theological Seminary, and is a sought-after speaker who
loves to help women remember who they are in Christ.

I'm attaching this interview as well.  If you aren't sure you need to read this book, listen to this interview, and you will KNOW you need to read it!

Still not convinced?  Take a look at this sample chapter to get a feel for the book.

 I don't often give out 5 stars, but I couldn't give this book anything less!

I was blessed to be able to offer my readers one copy of this book! I can only ship in the Continental US,  and you must be 18 years old to enter. Contest ends midnight (ET) on June 18.   A winner will be picked using Random.or

To enter, please be a follower of this blog and leave a comment below to let me know, what is it about you that YOU see as a blessing from God?

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of review.  I also received a free copy to give away to my readers.  No other compensation was received and I was not required to write a positive review. 

View all my reviews

Love and Blessings Always!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Book Review: Hope Springs by Kim Cash Tate #christianbookreview

Hope SpringsHope Springs by Kim Cash Tate
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From Thomas Nelson:

In a small Southern community where everyone is holding tight to something, the biggest challenge may be learning to let go.

Hope Springs, North Carolina, is the epitome of small town life—a place filled with quiet streets where families have been friends for generations, a place where there’s not a lot of change. Until three women suddenly find themselves planted there for a season.

Janelle Evans hasn’t gone back to Hope Springs for family reunions since losing her husband. But when she arrives for Christmas and learns that her grandmother is gravely ill, she decides to extend the stay.

Becca Anderson is finally on the trajectory she’s longed for. Having been in the ministry trenches for years, she’s been recruited as the newest speaker of a large Christian women’s conference. But her husband feels called to become the pastor of his late father’s church in Hope Springs. Will small town living affect her big ministry dreams?

And Stephanie London has the ideal life—married to a doctor in St. Louis with absolutely nothing she has to do. When her cousin Janelle volunteers to stay in Hope Springs and care for their grandmother, she feels strangely compelled to do the same. It’s a decision that will forever change her.

As these women come together, facing disappointments both public and private, they soon recognize that healing is needed in their hearts, their families, and their churches that have long been divided along racial lines. God's plan for them in Hope Springs—and for Hope Springs itself—is bigger than they ever imagined.

My Review:

Can I just say WOW! This book has it all! Faith, family, friendship, romance, even race relations!

The book starts off with a family reunion and ends with a funeral. Kim Cash Tate weaves a story like none I have read in recent times. It will make you laugh, weep and want to go all out for Jesus!

The author of this book captures her characters perfectly. To be able to weave so many people together seamlessly is truly a gift. There are about 6 or 7 different stories going on but they work and I like that. Her characters touched me emotionally with the similarities to people in my life and family. Each is carefully developed without drawing away from anyone else in the story.
I feel like Janelle, Stephanie, Becca, and Libby were like my long lost cousins!

Emotionally the book took me on a rollercoaster. One minute I was laughing, the next I was weeping, the next I was ready to worship. LOL! It really was like that! I loved the flow of the book and didn't really find any disconnects where I lost what was going on. The incorporation of race relations wasn't subtle but it because such an integral part of the story that it would not have been complete without it. It's a true picture of a small town whether it's in the north, south, east or west.

Oh and Kim Cash Tate, if you read this, thanks for the shout out to Monmouth County, NJ!

From a Christian perspective, this is a wonderful book. The characters are frequently stepping out on faith. The pastors of the two town churches are integral to the story and work to unite the town. While there are references to infidelity and extramarital sex, it's not in a derogatory way. It's used to describe characters who have been redeemed or a on their way to accepting the redemption of Jesus. There is no foul language and nothing out of place in a Christian novel.

I HIGHLY recommend this novel. It's not often that I give 5 stars but this was that good!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of review as part of the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze program. I was not required to post a positive review, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Love and Blessings Always!

View all my reviews

Thursday, May 31, 2012

ARE YOU A SELL-OUT? #Jesus #God #bible

Well are you?  Sold out for Jesus?

I've been doing a lot of bible study recently and it seems all of my lessons are pointing to being sold out for Jesus, not holding anything back.  But I have a confession to make...

I have serious trust issues. It's hard for me to let people see my heart, it's easier to let them judge me on my outward appearance. And because of the human experiences I have had, it has taken me a LONG time to trust Jesus with everything.  In other words, I'm a CONTROL FREAK!

Through my reading and studies, I'm learning that Jesus, was not concerned with outward experiences.  He was not looking for perfection, because he knows there is no perfection here in this world.  Jesus looks at my (your) heart:

1 Sam 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

No matter what has been done to you in the past, no matter what you have done in the past, once I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, once YOU accept  Him as your Savior, it's all new.  None of those things matter.  But try telling your feelings that!

When you have been
  • bullied
  • abused 
  • rejected 
  • betrayed 
by those here in this world,  your feelings tell you that there is no one who cares.  It's hard to accept that there is One who will never bully you, never abuse you, never reject you, never betray you.

But Jesus gave us His WORD that he would never leave us comfortless:

John 14:16-18 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

So what I'm learning is that I can trust Jesus with everything.  I don't have to worry that one day He will leave me, I don't have to worry at all because He will take care of my every need, he will give me the desires of my heart, but most importantly I can rest in the JOY that I find in Him.

I'm ready to be a Sell-Out, how about you? Are you ready to take that next step of faith?  

If you'd like to know what I've been using for study, check out these books on Amazon:

Hope Springs by Kim Cash Tate - This is a fiction but has great examples of being sold out for Christ.  It releases in June 2012

You're Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be by Holley Gerth - Holley Walks you through being your amazing self that God created you to be, giving you questions to help you understand more about your unique skills and talents.  Review will be posted soon!

My Big Bottom Blessing: How Hating My Body Led to Loving My Life by Teasi Cannon - I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book so far.  The writing is very simple and there are questions at the end of each chapter to help you dig deeper.  Review is coming soon!

And on that note, I leave you with this song by Matthew West!
Love and Blessings Always! 

Book Review: The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club #bookreview #christianbookreview

The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting ClubThe Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club by Wanda E. Brunstetter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fantastic read!

Emma Yoder decided that after the death of her beloved Ivan, she was NOT going to depend on her children for support, even though that is the Amish way. Since she had the room in her home and the skill, she decided she would start teaching quilting lessons. What Emma didn't expect was, the response that she received and that she was going to be teaching a lot more than quilting!

My Review:

Emma's first quilting class attracted a unique group who didn't only bring their desire to quilt, but also their emotional baggage. A pastor's wife, a biker, a rocker, a widower and a married couple all join together to make this a wonderful rollercoaster of a book. 

I love books that encourage an emotional connection with the characters. Each character in this book appeals to a different reader, yet appeals to all if that makes any sense! They are knit together into a seamless story.  My favorite character was the biker, he was just full of contradictions but each made him more wonderful and more human. Emma is not without her own struggles with makes her all the more endearing. The interactions between her and her potential suitor are amusing but realistic.  In fact, the interplay between all of the characters is very well done.  

There was one scene in the book towards the end that seemed too obvious, it was something I had suspected from about the midpoint in the book.  That it turned out to be true kind of annoyed me (HA HA), I wanted to be surprised!  But other than that, I thought the conclusion was wonderful. Overall I can say I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This is my first time reading something from this author, however I can just about guarantee it won't be the last!

From a Christian perspective:
The love and grace of God is apparent throughout this Christian fiction book. It's presented in such a way that really touched my heart but I didn't feel like I was being preached at. Very safe, clean and wonderful read.

Disclaimer: I received and ARC of this book for the purpose of review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Love and Blessings Always!

View all my reviews

Friday, May 25, 2012

Book Review: Need You Now by Beth Wiseman #christianbook #bookreview

Need You NowNeed You Now by Beth Wiseman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What would you do if you felt your child was in danger?

After their son Chad made some poor choices, Brad and Darlene Henderson made the the tough decision to move their family from Houston to the small town of Round Top, Texas. Chad and his sisters, Ansley and Grace, each had their own difficulties with the move, especially Grace. While the pace is much slower, the challenges are still there, just in a different form.

Need You Now takes you through the struggles of a family who faces challenges and finds the only way through is by trusting in God.

Beth Wiseman does an fantastic job of telling this story. The main characters of the Henderson family each have their own personality that you can relate to as a reader. The tone of the book and the language makes it easy to imagine the characters interacting. The supporting characters like Tristan, Myrna, David, Cara and especially Layla, are there for a reason, not just to fluff up the book. I love the realistic situations and the fact that the author was not afraid to address a current problem facing our young women. She did it tastefully and with great sensitivity. While the ending was incredibly sad, it only served to add more depth to the story.

Overall, I thought this Christian fiction was well written, with a well developed story line. The story makes you stop and think about what you would do if you were in those challenging situations. Would you trust in God or would you fall apart? There were a variety of responses in this book and I learned something from each. The overriding theme is that even when we don't trust ourselves, when we don't trust the people around us, we need to trust God.

This was my first Beth Wiseman book but I'm looking forward to reading more of her books.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me through the Booksneeze program, for the purpose of review. I was not asked to nor required to provide a positive review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Love and Blessings Always!
Margaret Rogers

View all my reviews

Book Review: Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Whitson #bookreview

Sixteen BridesSixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Amazon:

Sixteen Civil War widows living in St. Louis respond to a series of meetings conducted by a land speculator who lures them west by promising "prime homesteads" in a "booming community." Unbeknownst to them, the speculator's true motive is to find an excuse to bring women to the fledging community of Plum Grove, Nebraska, in hopes they will accept marriage proposals shortly after their arrival!

Sparks fly when these unsuspecting widows meet the men who are waiting for them. These women are going to need all the courage and faith they can muster to survive these unwanted circumstances--especially when they begin to discover that none of them is exactly who she appears to be.

My review:

I really enjoyed this book! The characters were developed well and the author did a great job of drawing the reader into the story. Each woman was an individual, yet part of the larger story. As each story begins to develop, you can't help be gain a sense of admiration for these women. I loved the character of Caroline Jamison most. She just had such a deep determination to succeed in what she came west to do, all while remaining the lady that she was. In some ways, this helped her to be successful, but in other ways it stood in the way. Ellen and her mama, as well as Ruth and Hettie, were fun, lovable characters.

It was so interesting to see how these women relied on faith, inner strength and intelligence to accomplish their goals. It was only then that we began to see the different romances that were brewing. The author did a great job of weaving all of the elements of the story together.

From a Christian perspective, this is a nice clean read, something I would let my 11 year old read. There is no violence (other than from nature), no sexual situations and no profanity.  It is an example of trusting God when it seems things are hopeless!

Love and Blessings Always,

View all my reviews

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book Review: Sweet Tea and Jesus Shoes #bookreview

Sweet Tea and Jesus ShoesSweet Tea and Jesus Shoes by Deborah Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Amazon:
Sweet Tea and Jesus Shoes
Come sit on the porch a spell. Let's talk about times gone by and folks we remember, about slow summer evenings and lightning bugs in a jar. Listen to the music of a creaky swing and hand-cranked ice cream and cicadas chorusing in the sultry night air. Let's talk about how things used to be in the South--and for some of us, they way they still are.

Welcome to the world of Sweet Tea and Jesus Shoes, where award winning authors Deborah Smith, Sandra Chastain, Virginia Ellis, Debra Dixon, Donna Ball and Nancy Knight come together for the first time to create this poignant, humorous collection of nostalgic tales. Here life's lessons are handed down--liberally sprinkled with hilarity--from eccentric relatives, outrageous pets and unrepentant neighbors, and served up with a generous dollop of that most valued of all Southern commodities: good old fashioned storytelling. From Mississippi to Georgia, from Florida to Tennessee, these daughters of the South will take you on a lush tour of the times and places they know best, each voice as refreshing and inviting as a glass of cold sweet tea on a hot afternoon.

So come. Let us take you back. Let us take you home.

My review:

I really enjoyed this book! Being a Yankee myself, it was fun to get a peek in the the way of the Southern Woman. The stories were short and humorous. Even though I'm from the North, I could relate to so much of these stories because when you come down to it, no matter where you grew up, it's all about family!

These ladies share hilarious events from their personal histories which makes it all the more precious. Truly an enjoyable book. So grab cup of coffee I mean Sweet Tea, and this book and have a nice read!

This was a free download I found on Amazon. I received no compensation for this review.

Love and Blessings Always!

View all my reviews

Music Review: a place to belong - circle of friends #christianmusic

Inspirational music & message from
Circle of Friends President Lisa Troyer
Every woman needs acceptance, love and a place to belong. That’s the underlying theme of the new music CD, A Place to Belong (Lifeway Worship) from singer/songwriter Lisa Troyer, president of Circle of Friends Ministries. Refreshingly authentic and dynamic, the companion worship CD to Troyer’s recently released book, A Place to Belong: Out of Our Comfort Zone and into God’s Adventure (Barbour Publishing), tenderly draws women into a place of true freedom and belonging in the very heart of God.
In her book,Troyer shares her own journey to acceptance as well as the story of a group of dynamic “women helping women” who call themselves the Circle of Friends. Troyer encourages readers to form their own circle of friends, a safe place of truth and love where women can develop lasting relationships and discover together the purposes of God for their lives.
Obviously noticeable in both the book and CD is Troyer’s passion to lead others into the bottomless love of God. This fierce desire compelled her to plunge deeply into the heart of the issues all women face, but most keep to themselves. With tendencies toward depression, anxiety attacks and an eating disorder, Troyer knows firsthand the bondage of secrecy and shame. “Living with a secret,” Troyer admits, “doesn’t make it go away. It doesn’t change your heart. As well hidden as your secret is, that is how deeply lonely you will be. I’ve been there. I know it’s true.”
The newly released companion CD reinforces her book’s admonition that there is complete freedom and acceptance to be found in the Father. “This CD was birthed out of the knowledge that music is so often used by God to solidify a written and/or spoken message,” says Troyer. “Dawn Yoder and I have been blessed by the friendship and songwriting partnership God’s given us, and songs like ‘Let Us Bow Down,’ ‘Lifting My Praise Up’ and ‘I Found Grace’ (Circle of Friends theme song) are reflective of how, by finding a place to belong, we are inspired to share encouragement, while keeping our focusing on worshipping in ‘Spirit and in truth.’”
A Place to Belong has the potential of changing the way women think about themselves, about others and about doing God’s work in this world. In both her book and worship CD, Troyer challenges women to connect to one another, comfort each other and affirm each other in using the gifts God has given them. Ultimately, A Place to Belong offers a healing dose of real hope that life can be rich, life can have purpose and no woman need ever be alone.
The new Circle of Friends CD is available online at and iTunes. It can also be purchased through your local Christian retailer.
My Review: 

I've been enjoying this CD in my car as a travel to and from work over the last week or so.  I love the songs even though this is the first time I've heard this particular artist.  She starts off with soothing songs that bring me to a place of worship.  I just zone in on her voice and her words and before I know it, I'm at my destination feeling refreshed like I normally do after a time of worship.  Her style leans more towards traditional rather than contemporary and sometimes that is just what I need.  As mentioned in the release above, Lisa Troyer also has a companion book with the same name.  Hopefully I will get to read that soon as well as continuing to listen to the CD. I highly recommend this CD!

Have you heard this CD or read Lisa Troyer's book?  If so, I would love to know your thoughts!

Disclaimer: I received the CD from The B&B Media Group for the purpose of review.  No other compensation was received.  I was not requested or required to write a positive review. 

Love and Blessings Always!

Dolly and Me at Zulily #zulily #doll #dollclothes

I've loved dolls for as long as I can remember.  I started collecting again in my 30's and I so enjoy being around my "babies." (Hee Hee, no I'm not nuts!)   My kids are getting older and more independent so at least I have some company! (Well maybe a little nuts!)

Anyway, on of my favorite sites for clothing is Zulily.  I wish they had been around when my daughter was small, they have such adorable outfits!! They always have such high quality merchandise for such LOW prices!

Today they have Dolly & Me and she would have loved it!  She used to love dressing like the dollies!  I just love this little romper for the patriotic holidays that are coming up:

Picture courtesy of Zulily
There are lots of other cute outfits too! Check out all of the goods at Zulily and tell me which one is your favorite!!

Disclaimer: When you click the links provided  and make a subsequent purchase, I will get credit for a referral and receive Zulily credits. 

Love and Blessings Always!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Book Review: Amish Prayers: Heartfelt Expressions of Humility, Gratitude and Devotion #christianbook

Amish Prayers: Heartfelt Expressions of Humility, Gratitude, and DevotionAmish Prayers: Heartfelt Expressions of Humility, Gratitude, and Devotion by Beverly Lewis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Amish Prayers is a book of common prayers used by the Amish. They are heartfelt, prayers and a nice guide to use when you don't know exactly what to pray. They tend to be on the formal side but that does not take away from the content!

Overall I gained much from the forthrightness and humility of these prayers. This is a book I will keep on my phone/kindle for reference.

This was a free download from Barnes and Noble, part of my personal collection.

Love and Blessings Always,

View all my reviews

Monday, May 14, 2012

CLOSED: More Cheerios for Me! #myblogspark #giveaway

Do you love Cheerios as much as I do?  

If you love Cheerios as much as I do, then you know MORE is BETTER!  That's why I'm so excited to share with you the new packaging from Cheerios.

Package Benefits for You

Smarter than your average box, the Cheerios® new 2 box package format now contains two individual boxes of Cheerios® cereal, making them easier to store and easier to pour. By reducing the amount of air in each individual bag, these enhanced containers fit 10% more cereal than before and use less packaging.


I often shop at Costco or Sam's Wholesale (also available at BJ's) to stock up on items that my family goes through quickly.  Cereal is one of the things we go through quickly which is why bulk shoppers like me prefer to buy the bigger packages of cereal to prevent more trips to the store. The new Cheerios packaging not only saves me time, but it saves me money too!   Now it's easy for me to leave one box at home and take one box to keep at work. 

If a more convenient design isn't enough, the iconic yellow box has gone green, environmentally that is! The new 2 box Cheerios® 40.7oz package is better for the environment than the previous 37oz item as it uses:
  • Less air – the new 2 compact boxes combined fit more cereal than the previous package!
  • Less material – packaging material has been reduced by over 200,000 lbs of paperboard, and saves 1,000 trees per year!
  • Fewer trucks –more boxes fit on each truck, which takes 130 trucks off the road each year and reduces CO2 emissions!

Lower shipping costs + lower packaging cost + more volume = savings for us!

Are you a Cheerios family too?  Would you like to win a Prize Pack from General Mills & Myblogspark?

Leave a comment below telling me how the new two box packaging will benefit you and your family and you could win the prize pack pictured above!  Only entries from followers of this blog will be accepted.

Ends on Monday 5/21.

"Disclosure:  Cheerios® cereal, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark."

Love and Blessings Always!