Valentine's Babies

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Out of a Far Country - Another Book Review

I'm reviewing a book for WaterBrook Multnomah - a publisher providing me a complementary copy through a program called Blogging For Books. The book is called Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son's Journey to God. A Broken Mother's Search for Hope, by Christopher & Angela Yuan.

I read this book - and I'm not typically one to pick up and autobiographical book - but this was really good. It was a very easy book to read in a short time and kept my attention all the way through. 
The subject matter is touchy. It's a story told from the perspectives of a mother and her son who is struggling with homosexuality. Each chapter alternates perspective.

Both parties begin their journeys with disdain toward Christianity, however Christ reaches them in surprising ways throughout the years of struggle and uncertainty.

The Yuans tell an amazing story of redemption and love. It's an inspiring story of how God can use the most unlikely circumstances to lead us to Him. There's also a lot of examples of how prayer can truly change a seemingly lost situation. My views were challenged and my walk was encouraged while I read this book. I recommend it for anyone and give it five stars.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Baker's Wife - A Book Review

Main character, Audrey has a supernatural sense of other peoples’ pain. God gives her an ability to feel the distress of others and uses her to help heal them. As she helps her husband pick up the pieces, after unjustly losing his job as pastor of a small town church, she finds herself the suspect of a crime.

Early one morning, while driving in the fog, she hits an object. When she gets out of the car, she finds that she’s struck a motor scooter. Massive amounts of blood cover everything - but there’s no sign of a body.

Upon investigation, the blood and the scooter are found to be those of Julie Mansfield, the missing wife of Detective Jack Mansfield – the church board member who fired Audrey’s husband Goeff.

Mansfield is confident that Audrey and Goeff are lying and they know where to find his wife. His obsession in proving their guilt drives him out of control – to a point where he becomes dangerous.

As the mystery unfolds, the reader is held in a fantastic suspense, clinging to each word on the pages. Healy writes with amazing precision and takes the reader on a thrilling ride that makes it difficult to put the book down. 354 pages can be read pretty quickly when the plot is this riveting.

Though The Baker’s Wife is an entertaining and fascinating book, there’s a remarkable Christian message in the story. Forgiveness, obedience, reconciliation and God’s provision are themes repeated from beginning to end. 

I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher. However, I am not required to give a positive review.

Bible Stories for Preshchoolers - A Book Review

Let me just begin by saying that I've been looking for a good book for my three year old with Bible stories. We've found a few, here and there, but they seem to be either too difficult for her to understand or too simple to explain the full message.
When I was given the opportunity to review this book of Bible Stories for Preschoolers, from Tyndale publishers, I was eager to do it.
The book is about the size of a regular Bible - pretty thick and hard covered.  This, of course, delighted my daughter. She immediately said, "This is my Bible."
Upon reading the first few stories, I was just as "in love" as she was. The stories are written just for a preschooler. Language is easy to understand - there are built-in questions, like "do you see the boat Noah is building?" And the stories are accurate - not silly, rhyming words that don't mean much - but real stories, written for the average preschooler.
Obviously not all the stories of the Bible are included - just those that a preschooler can grasp.
The artwork is good and helpful too.
The other benefits are the end of the chapter discussion questions. They give parents good ideas on questions to ask or things to talk about right after the story.  There is also an optional craft or project idea to go along with each story - which would be great for a Sunday School class or homeschooling or a family craft.
I was blown away by the quality and readability of this book.
I recommend it for all parents and their preschoolers!
I was given a copy of this for review, from Tyndale Publishers - but I am not required to submit a positive review.

When God Created My Toes - Book Review

My three year old daughter and I really love this book. First of all, the artwork - including cover art - is absolutely amazing. Then the simple, rhyming story is lovely. The vocabulary is perfect for a toddler. It was good to introduce the word 'created' instead of just 'made' for my daughter.
The story, itself, is precious and there seems to be a lot of love represented in the pages. The parents in the story seem to love their child and there are lots of warm images of such.
I would recommend this book to any parent for a toddler - boy or girl.
The main character of the story is a girl - but the book could really go either way.
Five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, for review. However, I am not required to submit a positive review.

Monday, September 19, 2011

WOF conference review, a guest post by Kimber M.

This is a review for the Women of Faith Conference - in Anaheim. Kimber M. attended in my stead and wrote a review for this blog for me. . . . here it is:
On Friday, the first session was kind of an intro of all the speakers and a little sharing from them all. The main speaker that interested me was Andy Andrews. He was something else. He really touched my heart when he shared his story about becoming an adult orphan at age 18 or 19, can't remember which. He reminded me of how lost and ingnorant we can all be of our own circumstances and calling and why following a path that God has designed for us just makes sense. It was real.
Of course the other main speaker, Patsy was extremely funny and a breath of fresh air from seeing all these real together, perfect bodies floating around. She helped me see the not so perfect me that God can use anyway.
Then there was lunch... well let me put it to you this way, with the good comes the bad. Not that the lunch was bad, but getting to the lunch was what I would call scary. Just imagine, thousands of hungry, hormonal, middle aged+ women who skipped the restroom to beat the rush; swarming through a very tight hallway then spilling out to the parking lot to very unskillfully form into several single file lines to grab a box lunch then run back to their seat, deposit the lunch, and run to stand in the mile long line at the bathroom. Which, oops happens to be one of the men's restrooms that they changed to women's JUST FOR THIS CONFRENCE and it only has THREE STALLS!!! that I'm sitting here thinking about it, it was actually funny.
On Friday at the last session, me and my hopefully someday inlaw were just blown away at the speakers and the concert! IT WAS FABULOUS! Just what we both needed. I can't remember the main speaker's first name, but the last name was Warner. Her husband is in the NFL. She was adorable, a dynamic speaker and seeing someone who IS so perfect looking speak about things that brought her down to the rest of our level was just amazing. I can't remember the singer's name at the end of the night either (I'm bad with names) but she not only sang but gave a tremendous testamony that I'm sure many there could relate to. Needless to say, my guest and I both felt the tension and stress just melt off about a quarter way through the night and by the end we were dancing, singing, smiling and praising the Lord! Together! No not quite a miracle but definately a blessing.
On Saturday, my guest and I enjoyed every moment we were there. Oh and by the way, the seats were awesome. They were on the floor about five rows back. So we didn't miss a thing. There were more of the same speakers on Saturday, which were still phenominal...and we are women so we figured out how to beat the rush for the bathroom and lunches by the second day...LOL. We learned more about Patsy through her testamony and enjoyed more of Lisa from the 80's tv show The Facts of Life. I think the real treat of Saturday was Sandi Patty though. Her voice and the way she uses it is just amazing. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

unPlanned - a book & DVD review

Abby Johnson was the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas. She underwent two abortions herself and had counseled hundreds of women through the process.
There were always protesters outside her clinic. It wasn’t unusual for Abby to read hateful signs from the protesters, or be the target of verbal attacks or threats. But one group, from the Coalition for Life, A peaceful and truly Christian group began praying for Abby.
The peace with which the Coalition for Life members operated surprised Abby. One of the protesters and Abby even formed a friendship. Abby’s heart began to change, and one day – as she was assisting in an abortion, she realized that she couldn’t go on as the director of the clinic.
Abby’s decision, that day, changed everything. Her next steps, into the Coalition for Life office, made national news, as she went from her role at Planned Parenthood to being a leader in the right-to-life movement.
In unPlanned, Abby tells her story of courage and reformation. The book and DVD are both excellent and they give a view of abortion from both sides of the fence.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Blessing

I am writing this review for Thomas Nelson publishers - they sent me a copy of The Blessing, by John Trent, Ph.D. and Gary Smalley.
This book was written, originally, in 1986 and has been revised and updated a few times.  They just released it again and they've done an amazing job of updating it for the age of the internet. 
The message of the book is the same - basically an instructional guide on how to bless the people you love.  The book outlines the five ways to give a blessing: 
Appropriate meaningful touch
Spoken words
Attaching high value
Picturing a Special future
Genuine Commitment
The updated version also features a website where people can go to share with others about the concepts, read about ways to bless their children and learn more.  The authors have also partnered with Focus on the Family to initiate a challenge to individuals and churches to change the lives of one million children using The Blessing as a guide. 
Five stars for this one.
I love this book!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Knock em Dead 2011 - The Ultimate Search Guide: 25th Anniversary Edition By Martin Yate, CPC

This is another book review for Thomas Nelson Publishers. I received a free copy of this book - but I am not required to submit a positive review.
However . . . this book deserves a positive review. 
It is well written, very up to date and the most thorough job hunting book I've seen.
If you want to find a job, do a little searching for a different job, or would just like to know some tips on staying abreast on issues related to employment - get this book.
Well worth the cover price, and an easy to read guide to finding, landing and keeping the job you need, this book is a five star book and one I recommend.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Changed by Faith: Dare to Trust God with Your Broken Pieces . . . and Watch What Happens

Wow - this is another great book:  Changed by Faith: Dare to Trust God with Your Broken Pieces . . . and Watch What Happens, by Louis Palau.  I'm reviewing this book for Tyndale Publishers and - though I was given a free copy, I am not required to submit a positive review.  
Anyway . . . what a fantastic book!
I've read a LOT of Christian books lately.  And I am certain this is the best one I've read in a while.  This author has an amazing story and much of it filled my eyes with tears.  Palau illustrates that life is such an unsteady ride sometimes - and that Jesus gives us hope that no amount of riches, goods, praise or status can.  
While I read this book, I came to some good understandings about my own life, my current circumstances, and how I can live better and be better and serve better and love more fully.  
I probably sound pretty cheesy - recommending this book so intently.  But so be it.  I can't say enough good things about this book.  
Obviously - I'm giving it five stars.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Final Summit - A Book Review

This is another book review for Thomas Nelson Publishers.  As a disclaimer - I was given a free copy of the book, The Final Summit, by Andy Andrews from the publisher.  However, I am not required to submit a positive review.

I liked the book.  I read fiction books from time to time - but not all that often.  When I do read them - I sorta like to read a book about realistic events, not as much sci-fi or fantasy.  It is hard for me to let my mind wander that far, I guess.  (I'm not a Lord of the Rings fan).  The Final Summit has a lot of fantasy and sci-fi.  It is in the Christian Fiction genre - so the type of "fantasy" writing is focused on accounts with an angel and being taken to another sphere of reality.  There is an essence of time travel as well.  The plot is pretty complex, but the author does a good job of setting the scene to bring the reader into another dimension.  The Final Summit is a sequel to  The Traveler's Gift - but the reader does not need to have read the latter to enjoy The Final Summit.  Andrews sums up the needed information well, throughout the book.

All that to say . . . ordinarily, this isn't "my kind of book," but I found myself looking forward to reading it each day.  Andy Andrews has a way of writing that makes a reader think and process information, while being entertained and challenged. The book is fun and has a lot of interesting characters and turns of events.  Most people will find it a good read.

I recommend it.  Probably more for a person who likes fantasy type books - but even the most rigid of realists can enjoy it too.  I'm giving it five stars.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's He Really Thinking? -a book review

So I'm reviewing another book for the publisher, Thomas Nelson.  And - just a sidenote - you can sign up to review books too if you want.  Go to and check out the program.  Thomas Nelson publishers will send you free copies of books if you will take the time to review them.  You pay nothing and get to choose from a selection of titles. 

Okay  - on to my review of What's He Really Thinking:  How to be a Relational Genius with the Man in Your Life, by Paula Rinehart.

I really liked the book.  It is full of good information about men and how their brain works.  I have a fantastic husband, and books like these help me to further understand him and meet his needs better. 

The first thing that I liked about this book was the cover.  I know that's a bit silly - but every time I picked it up, I noticed (again) how well done the cover was.   I thought the way the author covered the subject matter was good.  She writes well and she expanded the audience to include women who wanted to relate better to their male bosses, brothers and friends - not just husbands and boyfriends.  There were also discussion starters, at the end.  And they weren't cheesy.  They were really cool questions to ask the man in your life - ways to get to know him better and deepen a relationship.

I rarely give five out of five stars.  But I'm doing it now.  Great book.  Five stars.

I was given a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson publishers.  However, I am - in no way - required to submit a positive review. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Another Tyndale Giveaway!

In honor of Tyndale launching its new book club enewsletter they’re running a 30 day giveaway on their website. The Book Club Hub Newsletter will be an email newsletter geared towards people who are in or are running book clubs. It will feature suggestions, discussion guides and great ideas for your book clubs. You can see a preview by clicking here.
To enter the giveaway you just need to visit the contest page and click on the book you’d like to sign up to win. You can even go back and sign up for both books. Each day is a new giveaway so you can return to the site each day and try to win. Every few days the books change, so check back!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Our Little Girl

A friend of ours was in town, over the weekend, and he took this nice little picture of Adam and I with our little Lily Ann.  She's growing up to be such a sweet little lady.  I am always so impressed at how she's handling the job of being a big sister.  All in all, she's just done really well.  She is so helpful with Miles.  She lets him play with almost all of her toys.  She loves on him, reads to him and tries to teach him to talk.  She's really starting to embrace her status as a big girl, rather than a baby.  It's just been a lot of fun watching her grow lately. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Pop Heart Valentine's Day 5x7 folded card
Modern greeting cards and party invitations by Shutterfly.
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Monday, February 7, 2011

Son of Hamas - a book review

Son of Hamas was written by Mosab Hassan Yousef, the oldest son of one of the founders of the Hamas Terror Organization.  The author shares his story as an eye-witness to the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and his voyage out of the terrorism and torment of his environment.  Yousef was groomed to follow in his father's footsteps in the Muslim faith and in the Hamas group.  Instead - he rejected the teachings of hate and violence in his family and community.  He also, eventually, came in contact with the teachings of Christ.  Once he learned about "loving your enemies and doing good to those who hate you" he fully embraced it.

I really can't describe this book well enough to do it justice.  It is so very well written and the quality of subject matter is really interesting.  It reads like an espionage thriller in many ways - but it's all true.  I didn't want it to end.  It isn't an anti-Muslim or anti-Israel or anti-Palestinian rant.  It isn't loaded with stereotypes or any hateful intolerance for the beliefs of others.  It is just a really good book that easily explains much of the original reasons for such unrest in Israel and it outlines some of the reasons that there is still no peace there.  The author also shares his struggles with the faith of his fathers and his conversion to Christianity.  I am giving it five stars and I recommend it to any adult looking for a good book.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishing Company.  I am not required to submit a positive review for any book.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The little ones

 Just thought I'd post a couple of recent pictures of my babies.  Lately, I've been having so much fun with them.  Lily Ann is saying some of the cutest things and Miles is starting to interact more and he also says "Ma Ma".  Melts my heart every time. 

Adam loves his new job, we all love our new home, and our family is making it work.  We have been cherishing our time as a family and praying together more.  God's blessings are ever-present and we have so much to thank Him for. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A New Blog . . and a GIVEAWAY!

Hi there!  Just wanted to let you all know that, in addition to this family weblog, I am now hosting a more public blog about cooking and food.  It should be fun - and loaded with cool recipes and whatnot.  This is a more public blog, so you won't see much of our kids faces - or details about our family life.  It's just about food. 

As a special "Grand Opening" for the new blog, I'm having a little giveaway.  Visit the blog and check it out.

See you there!

ps:  I will still be updating this family blog on a pretty regular basis too.

Merry Christmas!

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