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!

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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

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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,

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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!

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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!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Review: Not This Time by Vicki Hinze #christianbook

Not This Time: A NovelNot This Time: A Novel by Vicki Hinze
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not This Time: A Novel (Crossroads Crisis Center) is the third book in the Crisis Crossroads Center series. I read the first one Forget Me Not: A Novel (Crossroads Crisis Center) , but I did not read the second one, Deadly Ties: A Novel (Crossroads Crisis Center) .

In Not This Time, Sara and Beth are the two main characters. They have built a multimillion dollar company and are successful in their own right. When an act of terrorism occurs at a local wedding, the questions start. Who is behind this act and why? Who can they trust and who is the traitor? Beth is sure it has something to do with Sara's husband Robert but then he is kidnapped and presumably murdered, so she has no idea who to trust.  Even Sara, her best friend, is lying to her!  Beth puts everything she has into finding the truth about the attack and about Sara.  The more she finds out, the more danger surrounds Beth, Sara and the other residents of Seagrove Village.

My Review:
The author, Vicki Hinze, does a wonderful job of weaving the story. As you progress through the book, the author lures you into a false sense of "I have this all figured out" when BOOM! another twist comes. Your are kept guessing until the end chapters. 

I also thought the author did a great job of developing the characters, particularly Sara and Beth. The NINA team fit their roles so well as did the "good guys." How she managed to seamlessly weave in romances, I do not know but she did and did it well!  I found myself with emotional connections to the characters even though the were fictional.

It's been a while since I read the first book and I did feel like I was missing some of the nuances. There were some refreshers in there but not enough to make me remember the characters and players in this series. Even though this works as a standalone book, having read the first one, I knew I was missing some important tie-ins from the second book. For that reason, I would recommend reading this series from start to finish. I'm tempted to go back and read the first and second books.

While this is a Christian thriller, it's not slap you in the face religion. The characters faith, or lack, is subtly woven in throughout the story. Reliance on God is evident and comforting. I really love how this author was able to make the story exciting and fluid without having to remove the presence of God in the character's lives.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and look forward to more from this author. Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for allowing me to review this book as part of the blogging for books program.

If you want a sneak peek, go here to read the first chapter!

Love and Blessings Always!

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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Book Review: Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs #christianbook

Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn from ThemBad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn from Them by Liz Curtis Higgs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bad Girls is a collection of relatively short stories about women in the bible. You meet each one first through a modern day story which helps you relate to the character. Then Ms. Higgs begins to talk about the biblical character using scriptures and humor to support the lesson. In the book she helps us to understand the motivations of these women and where they came from.

I've had this on my to read list for quite some time and I'm glad I finally read it. I treated as a devotional reading it a little bit each day for a six week period. I really got a lot out of this book!

I loved the format of using the modern day story followed by the biblical story. The former was important to helping you relate to the women in these stories. While they were fictional, they really could be any woman that you meet on the street today. The biblical stories were supported by the scripture that told about these women. They brought out points that you wouldn't normally think about when reading these stories in the Bible. I really appreciated that!

Overall, I thought the book was well written. It did drag out a bit at points but it wasn't too bad. The author's writing style is refreshing and educational at the same time!  Her questions at the end of the chapter really helped bring the lessons home. As a Christian woman, I am always looking for enriching devotionals and this definitely fit the bill. 

This is a book from my personal collection.  You can find it here:  Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn From Them

Love and Blessings Always!

“I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to” 

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Are YOU Waving? #christian

Hosea 6:3 Let us acknowledge the Lord;
    let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
    he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
    like the spring rains that water the earth.

Everyday I drove by and I didn't know if she saw me or not but I would wave anyway. Sometimes she would wave, but I wasn't sure if she was waving at me.

I didn't think she could see me because I was in the dark.  Well, not really in the dark, but I was driving past in my car and sometimes the sun reflects and makes it look dark inside the car.  So I didn't know if she could see me waving.

But I waved anyway.

This reminds me a lot of how God waves at me


He doesn't care if I'm watching that day, or if I'm going to wave back, He waves anyway.

Sometimes it's dark and rainy, and I can't see Him that well, He waves anyway.

Sometimes it's a clear, bright day, and He waves... and I choose not to wave back.  He waves anyway.

Thank you Lord, for waving at me every day, trying to get my attention, trying to get me to wave back.  I love you Lord and I'm sorry for not waving back!  I can't promise that I will do it every time, but I will wave Lord.

Will you wave back too?  Will you wave when he waves at you?

Love and Blessings Always!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Book Review: Church Missing Black Men - Women Going Alone: Get Saved Man! by Lydia Paul #christianbook

Get Saved Man! by Lydia Paul
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sorry I don't have a picture of the book cover for this one.

The premise of this Christian book is to show Christian women that there are many of us who have husbands who do not attend church regularly. What I was expecting was guidance in prayer and conduct for Christian women who want their husbands to attend, but not be overbearing or nagging. What I got was a book that described various situations the author faced with her husband who is not a church attender.

The book certainly had some golden nuggets. I love how she said nagging will not work, instead choose prayer and fasting. She gave some great advice on setting an example of godliness rather than using manipulative measures. I had to shake the pan to get rid of the dirt to find the gold nuggets, but the search was worth it when I found them! 

What I didn't like what that there was a LOT of information, but it was disorganized.  For example, there are a lot of links and references to books on Amazon in this book. That was very distracting to me, I would rather see traditional bibliography or footnote. In physical books, I rarely see a link unless it's directly related to the subject, not a reference document.  It seemed like the author got tired of researching the subject and just referenced other people's work. I really didn't connect at all even though I'm in a similar situation. This was certainly disappointing.

As a Christian book reviewer, I think the book needs a bit more work, maybe a review by a professional editor would have addressed my concerns. It definitely has potential and could be a good resource for women in this position. As a Christian reader, I would like to see a shorter version of this book that just sticks to the challenges of having a Christian husband who does not attend church and how she coped
with it.

Love and Blessings Always!

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