A Simple Christmas Wish By Melody Carlson

One girl in need of a home. One woman in search of a home for her heart. One Christmas where it all seems possible.It felt strange to be out here in the middle of the night, still wearing the Amish dress--a dress that had belonged to Miri. Rachel's footsteps crunched in the snow, and halfway between the barn and the house, she paused to look up at the night sky, wondering if more snow was in store, but all she saw was velvety black and stars. Millions of twinkling stars. She had never seen stars like that before, so bright and so close, almost as if she could touch them with her hand.
Rachel Milligan never imagined that she and her seven-year-old niece would spend the week before Christmas on a quaint Amish farm in Ohio. But with so many unexpected occurrences of late, perhaps she shouldn't have been surprised.
With her young niece Holly in tow, Rachel anxiously makes her way from Chicago to Ohio's Amish country. As love begins to blossom, family secrets emerge, and old wounds are healed, Rachel realizes that she will do whatever it takes to ensure that Holly has the loving family she needs.
Join bestselling author Melody Carlson on an emotional journey into the heart of what family truly means at Christmastime.

I remember falling in love with Melody's writings last Christmas when my husband aka, the man who listens to NOTHING I say, (or so I thought), bought me Christmas At Harringtons (yeah, go read that one too!). I love the warm, dreamy feeling I get when I'm reading her Christmas novels. I can just picture the snow falling ever so lightly, the Christmas music in the air, the smell of homemade goodies! Anyways, back to the book. Melody combines two things I love most when it comes to books, the Amish, and Christmas! I love the values and lessons learned in this story, sometimes we all need someone to remind us to slow down and live simply. Live for God, not the world. I recommend you pick this one up for the Christmas lover on your list!!
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

God's Double Agent By Bob Fu

God's people are hiding in plain sight
Tens of millions of Christians live in China today, leading double lives to hide from a government that relentlessly persecutes them.

By day, Bob Fu was a teacher in a communist school; by night, he was a preacher in an underground house church network. This edge-of-your-seat book tells the true story of Fu's conversion to Christianity, his arrest and imprisonment for starting an illegal house church, his harrowing escape, and his subsequent rise to prominence in the United States as an advocate for his oppressed brethren.

God's Double Agent will inspire you to boldly proclaim and live out your faith in a world that is at times indifferent, and at other times murderously hostile, to those who spread the gospel.
Ok, first of all, I had NO CLUE we were living in such freedom in Canada! I mean, yes, I know that people fought and died for our freedom but I don't think the citizens of this country realize how free we really are! I mean, I can go to church, worship God freely, without fear of persecution. I am free to watch, read, listen to whatever I choose. I am free to believe what I want, but in China, it's a whole different Ballgame. I remember my Mom talking Politics and about Communism but I never truly took the time to listen (let's be honest, politics bore me to no end), until now. I did not realize the persecution and fear people faced daily, just to practice their faith alone! Bob Fu shows am amazing demonstration of God's Love and his Faith in the almighty! Bob's story is truly one of Faith in the unknown and trust that whatever God brings him to, He will bring him through. I could not put this book down!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 
Available at your favourite bookseller from BakerBooks, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

A Million Little Ways By Emily P. Freeman

Do you desperately fear you have nothing to offer the world but secretly hope you're wrong?
You were born to make art. You were made to live art. You might not see yourself as an artist, but you are--in so many unexpected ways. In what you create, whether poetry or pie, sculpture or sand castle, calligraphy or conversation. It's time to uncover the shape of your soul, turn down the voice of the inner critic, and move into the world with the courage to be who you most deeply are.
Creating a life of meaning is not about finding that one great thing you were made to do, it's about knowing the one great God you were made to glorify--in a million little ways.
I'm not sure what drawn me to this book or what kept me reading. Maybe it's because I don't feel I am super great at just one thing or maybe I don't feel like I have a lot to offer God, either way this book made me realize I may not have one great big talent, but several little ones! I always thought I couldn't make a difference, maybe not on a large scale, but my kind words, listening ears, simple writings, charity to those in need, and may others! God sees all those little things, He wants us to do all those little things, for these are the things that lead to great big things!
Never wonder if what you do really matters, because what we do for God, matters the most!

I actually passed it on to my Best Friend because I believe there's a lesson here for all of us :)
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Top 10 Blogger Gift from Ten Thousand Villages

Imagine this...
 A day where anything can go wrong, does.
Anyone that can be mean to you, is.
Anything that can break, falls apart...
 Here I am holding back tears, trying to keep my positive attitude on the forefront because we never know what someone else is facing and I'm always trying to be a light for God.
But then, Imagine my surprise!
 I wasn't expecting mail, yet I receive a parcel card in my mailbox. Hmm, what could it be? A package from Graaf-Martin Communications? I don't remember requesting any review materials?
 I open it up,
Inside was a beautiful celebration gift from Ten Thousand Villages!
 Before I even opened up the box, I admired the packaging and read the card. They were thanking me for being one of the top 10 bloggers, so touching! Just those kind words alone made me think back to a few weeks before when I thought "Is all this blogging and reviewing making an impact, making a difference for the better?" Then I opened it up to find a beautiful, colorful Viscose Stole that took my breath away! I don't think I've ever owned something so beautiful in my life!! It's so thick and heavy and nothing like anything I've ever laid my eyes on. After the bad day I was having, I was ecstatic to see some sweet, rich, creamy fair trade chocolate with Hazelnuts by Camino! I definitely will not soon forget the kindness they have shown and has since been picking out Christmas gifts from their website. I think I have realized the dire importance of buying fair trade and supporting the skilled craftspeople in their work. Check them out at the link below. I'm sure there is something for everyone on your list!

To learn more visit the Ten Thousand Villages Website


Thanksgiving...Giving Thanks...Everyday!

You turned my wailing into dancing;
    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
    Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
Psalm 30: 11-12
    As I recently rededicated my life to the Lord, this Thanksgiving held so much more meaning for me. While I am thankful for my family, friends, awesome husband, wonderful son, good health, freedom (not particularly in that order) I am also even more thankful for Gods goodness, mercy and grace. What a loving God we serve!

    We must be mindful to Thank God and praise God in all circumstances, good times and bad. God reminds us to have an attitude of gratitude. I am reminded of Job, when he had lost everything, he still praised God. I want to be like Job. When things don't go how I had planned, when I don't get something I really wanted, when nothing is going my way I want to be able to say 'Thank you God, for you know what you are doing even when I do not".

    I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving and please keep that attitude of gratitude all year 'round!

The Long Awakening By Lindsey O'Connor

The riveting true story of a life-threatening coma, a miraculous awakening, and the long quest to regain what was lost.The day our baby came into the world was the day I left. A day that began all smiles and excitement and anticipation and joy ended with running and panic and blood and tears. And then coma.
I lay suspended in the deep, my newborn unknown. Nothingness. Layers where dark pulled from below, light called from above, and me, trapped in between, longing to break the surface.
To live.
Forty-seven days later when I first saw my husband's face leaning close to me, I knew where, and who, I was. But other things took much longer to know. Learning to restitch life--and love--when everything's changed, and finding who we are afterward, can be the longest journey of all.
I'm Lindsey O'Connor, and this is the story of my long awakening.

Imagine one of the best days of your life, the birth of your child, the happiness, the love. Now imagine that all being ripped away and waking up almost 2 months later, that's Lindsey O'Connor. I cried, I empathized I felt so much for the author as she told her story of hemmoraghing in child birth and then emergency surgery and then the medical induced coma and the missing pieces of her life. The reader can follow along as the writer discovers who she was and who she is all the while trying to fit back in within her own family whos changed so much since she's been absent.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Relentless Redemption By Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson

This book, Relentless Redemption is “for everyone who has ever felt discarded or disqualified….one woman’s inspiring story from devastation to destiny!”
About The Author:
Born to missionary parents in Kampala, Uganda, Laura-Lynn grew up knowing she wanted to make a difference for God. She decided very early on that she would serve Jesus for the rest of her life. After eight years in Uganda, in 1973, her father witnessed an army general murder their town mayor, one block from their home. Things had gone bad in the pearl of Africa.
Shortly thereafter, President Idi Amin Dada, the military dictator of Uganda at the time, deported her family. He eventually murdered about 500,000 of his own people. After this traumatic experience in losing the place she called home, Laura-Lynn moved with her family to Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories, where she lived for three years. "It was like going from the oven to the freezer.
Home then became Vancouver, BC and a series of personal crisis and brokenness brought her to her knees. She felt disqualified from the destiny she had felt was birthed inside her as a child. In God's loving and merciful way, He showed her that her identity had never been dependent on her performance, but rather on the righteousness of Jesus, Who had paid a high price to set her free. This revelation broke off a 3 year depression and she began to heal inside.
In 1999, God powerfully and supernaturally called her to television late one night as she was folding laundry. Still feeling unworthy and somewhat perplexed by this direction, she began an adventure that has become the ride of her life! Laura-Lynn has an often hilarious recounting of events, which led to her national television career. As she found out, the road to success is often paved with complete ineptness. Laura-Lynn did not let her quirky, eccentric, unconventional personality set her back. Instead she embraced all that God had created her to be and turned it into a talk show!
Her experiences have ranged from outrageous and exhilarating to heart breaking and life altering. Laura-Lynn brings her light-hearted yet profound, straight-to-the-point insight to her audience. In a dynamic and candid way she refuses to offer anything less than honest, gut-level truth. Having hit her own rock bottom, she is able to convey with certainty that there is hope beyond despair and life after seeming death.
Today, Laura-Lynn resides in Vancouver with her husband, their three children, a cat named Tiki and their mischievous dog, Tallula. Laura-Lynn also loves her extended family, high-risk youth, who come and live with them in their home. There is no greater joy than pouring out one s life to those who can never repay you. I am excited to see what God-sized adventures lay beyond my own mind s limitations. I press on towards the call to do my part to finish the course that destiny has laid before me. Laura-Lynn has discovered personally the truths she now fervently shares with her hearers. With a quick wit and fast paced humor, she is a delight to both youth and adult audiences. Laura-Lynn, a charismatic personality, comedic speaker and television host.

Do you need to be encouraged? Read this book. Do you need reassurance that God is still working even though you feel like he's left you? Read this book. Think you've had a bad day? Just wait til you read this book! Laura-Lynns story is a testimony of God's grace and mercy and goodness! Going from one extreme to the other and all the while trusting God for He knows what he's doing even when we question His plans. Laura tells her story of how God called her to Television late one night (yes he shows up even when we're folding the laundry) and how her comedic sense along with her compassion and obedience to God has brought here where she is today. Such a blessing to read how someone could go through so much and still come out trusting and believing in the one and only saviour. Definitely happy to add this to my growing collection of inspiration and hope!!

Learn more about Laura-Lynn on her website’s biography page. http://www.lauralynn.tv/pages/about-ll.php

The Message (Remix) Bible review

The Message is a reading Bible. It is not intended to replace the excellent study Bibles that are available. My intent here is simply to get people reading it who don’t know that the Bible is read-able at all, at least by them, and to get people who long ago lost interest in the Bible to read it again.”
This has become one of my favourite go to Bibles, especially when trying to explain something to a New Christian. It is written more like a novel, or pieces of several novels, but in wording we can understand. I sometimes cross reference it to the NIV Bible and it also helps me better understand certain passages of scripture better. It's a nice take along size and fits in my purse so I can read it on the go. Love the translation as it still contains the truth!

Compass Study Bible

I received this Bible from Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review. This is an absolutely beautiful but professional looking hardcover. Sturdy and sleek it has a great visual appeal, but that's not the most important, it's what's on the inside. The purpose of this study Bible is to find the truth in the scriptures and using that truth to help you navigate your life, your paths, where you are headed. It's great for a new Christian although I feel it is geared more toward a man, maybe it's the cool colors? or the navigational theme? But all in all, still a great source of information for someone seeking God's word

Welcome To Last Chance By Cathleen Armstrong

She's learned you can't count on anyone--but she didn't count on landing in Last Chance.
The red warning light on her car dashboard may have driven Lainie Davis to seek help in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico, but as she meets the people who make this one-horse town their home, it's her heart that is flashing bright red warning lights. These people are entirely too nice, too accommodating, and too interested in her personal life--especially since she's on the run and hoping to slip away unnoticed.

Yet in spite of herself, Lainie is increasingly drawn into the small-town dramas and to a handsome local guy with a secret of his own. Could Lainie actually make a life in this little town? Or will the past catch up to her even here in the middle of nowhere?

I felt like I was sitting in the diner many times while reading this novel, eavesdropping on Lainies conversations. I loved the plot and suspense this novel held. I felt it was a great piece of literature and will definitely keep an eye out for more of Armstrongs writings as I was entertained from beginning to end. There was many characters that crossed paths but all well developed I felt like I knew each one personally. Definitely recommend!

The Letters By Suzanne Woods Fisher

When widow Rose Schrock turns her Amish farmhouse into a bed and breakfast, she expects there might be problems. The reaction of her cantankerous mother-in-law for one. Disapproval from the church for another. But what she doesn't expect is that the guests at the Inn at Eagle Hill will spill their problems into her life and into her heart. She also never expects the kind of help and support she gets from Galen King, the quiet and rugged horse trainer next door. Love, Rose discovers, can bloom in the most unexpected ways.

With inspiration from a true story and her signature plot twists, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Stoney Ridge for a fresh story of simple pleasures and strong faith in a complex world.

 Such a great read!!! I love Suzanne's work. I feel transported to Stony Ridge and I get so into the story I forget the world around me. Such a great tale from a widow parent who finds love when she's not even searching. Also a tale of rekindled romances and how God works in mysterious ways. Can't wait for the 2nd in the series!

The Spiritual Danger Of Doing Good By Peter Greer

Charity and Service Have a Dark Side

You want to live out the Gospel by serving others, and you're willing to sacrifice your time, money, and perhaps even your safety. But do you realize the spiritual dangers you face as you serve? Peter Greer, the CEO of a Christian nonprofit, found that serving others and seeking justice actually did him harm. He shares how something that started with the noblest of intentions got off track--and how he got back on course. His story is a compassionate warning for anyone who works in ministry or charitable nonprofits, from CEOs to weekend volunteers.

As Christians it's easy for us to be used by people for our goodness or focusing so much on the good we forget to serve Christ. I believe this book was written for spiritual Leaders but it's also applicable on a personal level as well. We must shift our focus so that we are focused on God and what he wants us to accomplish all the while keeping him the center of our lives.
Great eye opener!

Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering

Introducing Drew Farthering
From The Tip of his black Homburg to the crease in his stylish cheviot trousers, he's the epitome of a stylish 1930s English gentleman. His only problem? The body he just discovered.

Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate.

With the help of beautiful and whip-smart Madeline Parker, a guest from America, Drew proposes to use the lessons he's learned reading his mysteries to solve the crime. Before long, he realizes this is no lark, and no one at Farthering Place is who he or she appears to be--not the butler nor blackmailer, the chauffeur nor embezzler. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer--and trying harder to impress Madeline--Drew must decide how far to take this dangerous game.

Never judge a book by it's cover or maybe we should? This book never appealed to me visually but it seemed to have a great storyline, which unfortunately I never got into. I'm not into Agatha Christie type novels and perhaps I should have read a review before I picked this one up because that's exactly what it's like. I found I was not in the mindset to follow along, the 1930's England did not appeal to me, but maybe it will to you!


10 Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage

Finally, a Way to Connect Spiritually That You'll BOTH Enjoy!While juggling the kids, work, church, and community commitments, are you and your spouse finding time to connect? When was the last time you had a good talk about faith or did a devotional together?

To help you jump-start deeper connections, four marriage experts have come up with 10 creative date ideas, each centered on a spiritual theme, including
Appreciating your differences
Experiencing God together
Facing the storms of life
Connecting through prayer

With the planning taken care of--including flexible suggestions for before, during, and after the date--you and your spouse can simply enjoy the time sharing what's important in life.
Sigh. What can I say? Every couple, young or old, newly weds or long timers, perfect marriage or on the rocks, NEEDS to read this book. Somedays I feel so overwhelmed trying to juggle work, home, family, friends, plus the million other little things I have to do. Wait? Did I forget my husband? Where do I fit him into this mix? Gah! This book is a great couples devotional, to help you grow together, spiritually, which in let's everything else fall into place. I believe we need to be right with God and our partners so we can share the trials and struggles life throws at us. Great study for a couples group session!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".


Dangerous Passage By: Lisa Harris

When two Jane Does are killed on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, detective and behavioral specialist Avery North discovers they share something in common--a magnolia tattoo on their shoulders. Suspecting a serial killer, Avery joins forces with medical examiner Jackson Bryant to solve the crimes and prevent another murder. As they venture deep into a sinister criminal world, Avery and Jackson are taken to the very edge of their abilities--and their hearts.

Dangerous Passage exposes a fully realized and frightening world where every layer peeled back reveals more challenges ahead. You'll be hooked from the start.

What genre can we classify this novel? Suspense? Romance? Mystery? A tale of betrayl, healing, faith, love? There's so much going on! I have to admit, I skipped ahead and then went back because I had to know what happened. Harris tends to bring the reader to the brink and insert another twist to the plot, certainly keeps you turning the page. She's definitely on my authors to keep an eye out for list!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Parenting Your Powerful Child by: Dr. Kevin Leman

Don't let those cherublike faces fool you.
Your smart kids have an agenda--and they're workin' ya.
Powerful kids don't just happen. They're created, and their power comes in different packages. Whether loud and temperamental, quiet and sensitive, or stubborn and manipulative, powerful children can make living with them a challenge. But it doesn't have to be that way.

In Parenting Your Powerful Child, New York Times bestselling author Dr. Kevin Leman offers a practical action plan to redirect your child's power surges into positive traits that will prepare your child for a successful, happy, and productive adult life. With these simple but effective techniques, you can transform your home from a daily battle zone to a safe and peaceful place. All it takes is a little determination--and some small changes on your part--to make a huge difference in your family life.

Ready for the power struggle to end?

When it comes to winning at parenting, Leeman is the man! When I saw this book I knew I had to read it as I have a power hungry about-to-turn-3 year old who if you give an inch, takes a foot!
This book was more an eye opener for me and my parenting than about my son, made me realize he didn't just become that way, it's how I made him. Although some of the stuff he said I didn't want to hear (may be denial) I knew what he was saying was right. I sure hope to be able to apply these tactics to my everyday life and turn around the power struggle!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Trapped By: Irene Hannon

A runaway teen, a desperate sister, and an intrepid PI determined to discover the truth
When Laura Griffith's sixteen-year-old sister disappears on a frigid February day, leaving only a brief note behind, Laura resolves to do whatever it takes to track down the runaway teen. That includes recruiting ATF agent turned private investigator James Devlin to help. Dev knows time is of the essence with runaways--just forty-eight hours can mean the difference between recovery and ruin.

But the deeper he and Laura dig, the more Dev begins to suspect that something sinister is at work in the girl's disappearance. And in the icy winter weather, the trail is going cold . . .

In her latest thrilling read, queen of romantic suspense Irene Hannon outdoes herself with a fast-paced tale of fear, deception, and just the right dose of romance.

Not my first Hannon novel and surely not my last! Hannon starts the action right out of the gate and builds on the suspense but keeps you guessing right til the end! I've always found I need to make sure I have lots of time to read because I never want to put her books down once I start! Would definitely recommend if you love a good mystery novel with a bit of romance mixed in!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

This is our Love (Book & CD)

What does the Bible say about the Father’s heart for the poor? About justice and compassion in action? What does it actually mean to lay down our lives for the broken?
In this unique compilation, singers / songwriters from across Canada have come together to seek God’s heart in answering these challenging questions.
This new Worship CD features the worship music of 16 top Canadian artists and musicians. The companion 160 page devotional book, written by Dr Jody Cross, reveals the story and biblical truths behind each song.
This resource will inspire your heart, spark your thoughts, and propel you forward in your efforts to honour the Giver. May you be impacted and challenged to truly do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.
 This book will challenge you. Challenge you to stand up, to stand firm and to reach out in faith, believing. It's great that you don't have to read it all in one sitting. It's split up into short chapters so you can read a bit here and there, more like a devotional and there are songs to go along with it. I would suggest taking one chapter every couple days, listen to the lyrics of the song, let it challenge you to be the change you want to see in the world, be like Christ, for Christ.
I would definitely recommend it for a youth Bible study night. Definitely has some great truth that we could apply to our lives daily, old or young!

"Book has been provided courtesy of World Vision and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 
Available at


Angels In The Fire By Dann Stadler

There was no way Dann and Tracey Stadler could avoid the drunk driver speeding toward them. Moments later, with Tracey trapped in their burning car, a lone figure walked out of the nearby woods and saved her from certain death. Seconds later, he was gone. But the disappearance of this stranger was not the end of God's tangible intervention in their lives. 
As the Stadlers struggled through grueling recoveries and heartbreaking setbacks--even years after that fateful crash--the miracles and divine encounters continued. For the first time, the Stadlers share these incredible moments, offering an inspiring testimony to anyone enduring heartache and loss. 
If you are facing hard times--if you need assurance that God still ministers through His angels today--let this true story provide the hope and encouragement you need.

When I picked up this book I never anticipated that I would not be able to put it down! Everything stopped for me, dishes stayed in the sink, dust bunnies conjugated under my couch, and laundry screamed my name but it was drowned out by the book calling me to turn another page to see how these people could survive such an ordeal and one blow after another! Simply amazing! I've known God's grace, but this surpassed all understanding. The faithfulness of Dann & Tracey, after all they've been through, it seems they don;t heal from one blow, along comes another. Oh but the promises that God sent them! In the form of angels, the doves cry were so surreal I can only imagine how they felt! Such a great read, reccomend it to anyone!!!!
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

That Certain Summer By Irene Hannon

Two very different sisters . . . an unexpected homecoming . . . one unforgettable summer
Karen and Val are family--yet they're anything but close. Karen has carried the burden of responsibility for her aging mother ever since her sister left town years ago to pursue a career in theater. But Val had other reasons for moving away--as well as a secret to keep--and coming home has never been an option . . . until their mother suffers a stroke.
Reunited in their hometown, Karen and Val must grapple with past mistakes as they care for their ailing mother. When two handsome men enter the picture, the summer takes on a surprising new dimension. As their lives intersect, can each of them learn how to forgive, let go, and move on? And strengthened by the healing power of faith, might they also find the courage to love?
With her trademark compelling characters and heartwarming hope, award-winning author Irene Hannon pens an inspiring true-to-life tale of complex relationships, the search for forgiveness, and the life-changing process of finding love.

Not my first novel b Irene Hannon, but her other reads were more suspense and mystery, this is the perfect book to read outside, relaxing on a beautiful sunny day! It shows a great relationship between the characters and gives us lots of information about who's who. Most readers will be able to identify with the turmoulous relationship between sisters, caring for a loved one and their strive towards reconciliation. I certainly would recommend this book and it is certainly a nice change of pace for Hannon!!!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group". 

Deadly Devotion By Sandra Orchard

Research scientists Kate Adams and Daisy Leacock were on the brink of a breakthrough for treating depression with herbal medicine when Daisy was suddenly found dead. Kate knows that her mentor's death wasn't suicide or a careless accident--and she's determined to do whatever it takes to unearth the truth about what happened to the woman who changed her life.
Former FBI agent Tom Parker is finding it hard to adjust to life back in his hometown of Port Aster. Though an old buddy gave him a job as a detective on the local police force, not everyone approves. Tom's just trying to keep a low profile, so when Kate Adams demands he reopen the investigation into her friend's death, he knows his job is at stake. But despite his attraction to her, Tom thinks Kate may have something to hide.
As evidence mounts, a web of intrigue is woven around the sleepy town of Port Aster. Can Kate uncover the truth? Or will Tom stand in her way?

I could not put this book down! It seemed there was suspense and a question of "whodunit" with every turn of the page, you think you have the murderer pegged and then there's new evidence. I learned a lot about herbal research and medicine and dangers associated with natures seeds. I read the exerpt for the second book in the series and I can;t wait for it to be released, this series got me hooked and I can't wait to see what comes next!
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group". 

Fully Alive By Dr. Larry Crabb

Discover who you were truly meant to be and how you were truly meant to live.
Gender roles have been the subject of much debate and confusion over the last several decades. What is expected of a man? What is expected of a woman? And where do those expectations come from? But the Bible is clear--God created men and women to be unique and He did so for a purpose.
In Fully Alive, author and psychologist Dr. Larry Crabb offers a life-changing, biblically dependent understanding of gender uniqueness. He shows you how to appreciate and exhibit your God-given femininity or masculinity to reveal God's loving character to a world that is desperately in need of understanding.

I'm not certain I really got the point of this book, I seemed to drift off several times, like I was reading the words but wasn't absorbing anything I was reading. I believe the Bible and scriptures that a woman submit unto her husband but I think this book fell more away from that perspective and teaches us to follow God's plan for our lives. While this is all great teaching, I thought this book would be more along the lines of defining the sexes. It is still a great book!
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group."


The Two-Minute Drill to Manhood: A Proven Game Plan for Raising Sons By John Croyle

Written through the lens of football and faith, THE TWO-MINUTE DRILL TO MANHOOD: A Proven Game Plan for Raising Sons (B&H Publishing Group; May 1, 2013) offers insight in how to prepare sons for authentic manhood.
 Drawing on his own experience parenting more than 1,800 troubled, abused, and neglected children on the Big Oak Ranch – along with his two biological children, Croyle drills down into seven actionable life principles drawn from the word “manhood” itself: 
 M – Master A – Ask and Listen N – Never Compromise H – Handle Responsibility O – One Purpose O – One Body D – Don’t Ever, Ever, Ever Give Up

As the Mother of a young boy I certainly loved reading "The Two Minute Drill to Manhood". It encourages us as parents to raise up our sons according to scripture and to be Godly figures in todays world. It's easy to point fingers after the fact and ask "what happened?" but it's even easier to start now and show your son how to be a great man and raise him up in the way he should go so we don't have to point fingers or questions as to "why?". I've never heard of the Big Oak Ranch until this book but this program seems to certainly work for the ones that have went through the program for abused and neglected children. John has a lot of insight after seeing and parenting over 1800 children who have went through the program and came out to be very successful. I encourage you to check out the link above and read some more on the organization itself, oh and buy the book! It's a great read!!
"Book provided by Shelton Interactive in exchange for an honest review"

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are By Ann Voskamp

Aside from being a New York Times bestselling author and popular blogger, Ann is a homeschooling mother of six. She is no stranger to the difficulties of motherhood – and life.In the book and on her blog, Voskamp shares her own journey through hard, dark days and hidden fears as she seeks to answer one of life’s greatest riddles: how do you discover joy—right where you are?With Mother’s Day approaching, I wonder if you might consider doing a review and/or giveaway of the book – an encouragement for mothers to find joy and gratitude in the midst of the worn-ragged days by counting their 1,000 gifts.

I previously read "Selections from One Thousand Gifts" so I was pleasantly surprised when I get an email offering the full book! Ann Voskamp is a talented writer offering the reader a chance to see the good in everyday, situation or circumstance. I follow Ann on facebook and she offers everyone a chance to see beauty around them and Joy Dares which encourages you to find the good even in bad situations. There's a peace, calmness that enters the soul and encourages you to slow down and enjoy the book to it's full potential, soaking up everything Ann has to say. It's like a time of refreshing, and not meant to be rushed. I encourage you to read this book, you won't be sorry!
 "Book provided by Shelton Interactive in exchange for an honest review"


Jennifer By Dee Henderson

It's a summer of change for Jennifer O'Malley.
The busy physician has a pediatrics practice in Dallas, Texas, and meeting and falling in love with surgeon Tom Peterson is adding a rich layer to her life. She's sorting out how to introduce Tom to her family--she's the youngest of seven--and thinking about marriage.
She's falling in love with Jesus too, and knows God is good. But that faith is about to be tested, and in a way she didn't expect. The results will soon transform her entire family.

First off I must say, I absolutely love the size of this book. It fits quite nicely in your hands and hardcover? bonus!
I never read the O'Mally series, although now I think I may have to go search for them. This book tells how Jennifer found her faith in God, how she fell in love with Tom and how she came to terms with her illness.
I think this is more of a prequel to Jennifer & Toms relationship and how it all came about.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Revealing Jesus: A 365-Day Devotional By Darlene Zschech

Powerful Encounters With the Heart of Our Savior For Every Day
Do you long for more of God's presence? Do you ache to see Him at work in your life? Do you desire His peace and rest? Renowned worship leader Darlene Zschech invites you to gather with her around the Word of God. Born out of her own yearnings that she poured onto the pages of journals, these meditations and Scriptures reveal Jesus and speak of His finished work--how He tenderly cares for you and wants you to know Him.
Honest, raw, and beautifully written, these devotions will inspire your journey and encourage you in every season. Come, sit at the feet of our Lord, be strengthened in your weakness, embrace His love for you, and breathe in His peace.
I've used this devotional for about 10 days now, such great teachings! There is a Bible verse, a reflection on that verse and a prayer to help us through the day. The devotions are dated for each day of the year but I never followed it, I just started at the beginning. It can get confusing this way.
Darlene is a great songwriter with a beautiful voice. I am familiar with her song, Shout to the Lord and remember many, many nights worshipping in youth group to this song. Such powerful lyrics, I believe her devotions follow the same path.
Because the writings are short and concise I find it a lot easier to follow espcially having to chase around my 2 year old son. This would make a great gift for that special woman in your life!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Adoring Addie By Leslie Gould

Not Since Romeo and Juliet Has a Couple Faced Odds This Long
The Cramers and Mosiers have been angry with each other for as long as anyone can remember. Things had cooled to a simmer...until Addie Cramer and Jonathan Mosier fell head over heels for each other. Now old tensions are renewed, and Addie's parents insist she marry stolid and uninspiring Phillip Eicher.
Distraught at a future apart, the two decide their best hope is to reconcile the two families...but that means digging into the past to see what tore them apart. Will their love be enough to keep them together or will long-held secrets ruin their chance at happiness?

A great followup to Courting Cate. Addie is a young girl in love with a boy who is part of a rival family namesake. Her parents want her to have eyes for no one but the Bishops son. But together, the couple unearth sin and secrets long buried but not forgotten to bring both families to reconcilliation so the couple can enjoy their happily ever after. There is also brief appearances by Cate which allows the reader a glimpse into her current life and where she is now.
I'm anticipating the 3rd book to see how the storyline will fall as this one is compared to that of Romeo & Juliet. Will the author continue on the Shakespearian storylines? We shall see!!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

It's a journey....Embrace it!!

So you've finally made that decision to start eating better and moving more to have a healthier you. Congratulations! The first step is the hardest one to make, I won't say it's all uphill from here, you will face battles, with the scale and within yourself. You'll have great days and you'll have horrible, no good, very bad days! But I just want to list a few things that I hope will help you, as it's things I've realized on this journey of my own.

1. Focus on loving yourself now, not when you get to a certain weight. This is a lifestyle change, a journey. Enjoy the journey for what it is. This is not some simple diet fad to lose X amount of pounds in X amount of weeks. It's about fueling yourself with the good stuff, portion control, moderation and exercise and make the rest of your life the best of your life!

2. Live in the moment, but set small, realistic goals. I see too many posts on facebook or blogs saying that they 'can't wait to be such and such weight then they will finally be happy'. Be happy now, don't let a number on a scale define that happiness, trust me, being happy and positive and taking the bad with the good will help everything else fall into place. Tell yourself "I am going to get healthier! I am going to lose these extra pounds! I am going to do it one step at a time". 

3. Slow & Steady Freddy! "It took more than a day to put this weight on and it will take more than a day to take it off". I had to tell myself this so many times after weeks and weeks of down 1lb one week and up 2 lbs the next. It fet as though it was 1 step forward and 2 steps back so know what I did? I changed up my routine! Sometimes we're stuck in the same rut of doing the same exercises or eating the same amount of calories. One day I may only eat 1300 calories, another day I might eat 2500. It keeps my body guessing. This has worked for me so well, when I follow the same pattern of eating the same amount of calories I'm guaranteed to plateau. Also, if all you do is cardio, try adding some strength into the mix, your body will thank you.

4.Water, water, water. Get it in ya! There are many different sources to stay hydrated but I have to say, water is by far the best for you. I remember first when I started this journey I could never get in more than 6 glasses a day, now I drink 12-18 glasses a day! It's good for your skin, it's good for you all around! When you feel hungry, drink a glass of water. Most times it's our bodies telling us we're dehydrated. If you're still hungry, get a snack lol

5.Pat yourself on the back once in a while. Give yourself credit. You did an extra minute on the treadmill today? Good for you! You chose an apple dipped in peanut butter instead of potato chips and dip? Awesome! You drank 2 glasses of water with supper instead of pop! You go!!! It's all about choices. Choices we make everyday. But remember to give yourself some credit when you make those healthy, wise choices.

I hope these pointers help you out a bit and if you ever need some advice there are so many people out there willing to help, but you have to want this for yourself! You can do this!!!


The Guardian By Beverly Lewis

Come home to Hickory Hollow, Pennsylvania--the beloved setting where Beverly Lewis's celebrated Amish novels began--with new characters and new stories of drama, romance, and the ties that draw people together.
When Jodi Winfield comes to Lancaster to house-sit, the last thing she expects to find is a disheveled little girl alone on the side of the road. The young teacher is mystified when she learns there have been no reports of a missing child, and the girl herself is no help, since she can't speak English. It's as if the child appeared out of nowhere.
Then Jodi turns her attention to Hickory Hollow--and the cloistered world of the Old Order Amish--in search of answers.

Beverly Lewis just keeps getting better and better. With every chapter, every page, every line I just keep drinking it in wanting more and more. I am fascinated with Hickory Hollow and the Amish lifestyle to I'm always wanting to learn more through story. I loved the character development right from the beginning how a widowed Momma takes care of 4 kids with such grace and poise. The relationship with the Englischer and the bond they both form after an incident with one of the children just seems so real. I would definitely recommend this book along with it's predecessors!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Here's my story, what's yours?

**Just merging my 2 blogs in one. Some posts are about my weight loss, some books reviews, just all around positive, happy posts!!!  Originally posted on another blog 10/25/12

I started out on facebook, but decided to blog over here, just in case facebook ever becomes the next myspace...lol But here I am if you all wanna follow me over there! Candace's Journey to Healthier/Happier Living!

What's your story?
Why are you on this journey?
Who gave you that push?

For me it was an extra 8lb 4 1/2 ozs, my son changed my life before he even knew how. I ate healthier during my pregnancy than I ever did, so after my son was born, I kept it up and lost 25lbs in his first year.  Good job! Then comes October 2011, his 1st Birthday. I realized just how out of shape I still was (I never exercised, only ate a little healthier) and if I didn't do something drastic soon I wasn't gonna be able to celebrate too many more. I was out of breath, sweating, tired, naseous, you name it. I weighed a few days later after my son went to bed one night, and I was 300lbs (remember, I already lost 25lb by this point). I sat down and I cried, and cried, and cried some more.

This pic was from August 2011. Me & my inspiration. (300lbs)

Later that week a friend of mine texted and told me how she was losing weight by counting calories with a free app on her iphone called My Fitness Pal. (Little did I know how much this would change my life. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!)

My husband was out of town for a few weeks, so I decided now was as good a time as any to get started, I was certain I could do it (what's that? A bit of positivity? lol. I think I suprised myself). I didn't wait for a Monday, I didn't even wait for the next day, I started that afternoon, after already eating horrible all morning, chips, pop, cookies, candy (and that was just breakfast!). I started logging food with the app.

Hold on....
That cookie has HOW many calories??? & I shouldn't eat more than 1500 calories a day?? That's only 5 cookies a day and nothing else!!!

But.....I have to do this!!!

I wouldn't even weigh in the before pic, I could have been higher than 325, who knows? But this was a huge breaking point for me, down 45 lbs and finally started noticing a difference!
I started out with the Wii Fit and thought I would die! I was crying and sweating so much, 10 minutes was all I could handle. I cried and cried and cried some more, how did I let myself get this far? I was digging my own grave. I didn't know if I could do it. I went and ate some chips, a handful of cookies, drank a 2 liter pop straight from the bottle, then it was like someone screamed at me CANDACE WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO YOURSELF??? And I again thought about my son. That was all I needed to throw everything in the garbage and start again.

I kept thinking, all these people doing 30 minute workouts, how do they do it? I'll never make it!! But I kept on, I cried, I hurt, I was hungry at times but I wanted this more than anything. I was borderline diabetic and given many warnings by several doctors, I was on medication for high blood pressure that kept being increased. But Thank God I am now off that medication, no longer bordering on diabetis!

And now, 1 year later here I am at 102lbs lost! (and I still eat cookies, occasionaly andin moderation!!) Moderation is a great thing :)

Here are some things I've learned/noticed:
-I can run and not get out of breath
-I can workout for an hour no problem!
-I can get into positions I never thought possible, just ask my husband ;)
-I have more energy than I ever thought possible!
-I am off my blood pressure medication!!
-I can sleep at night without waking a million times (except for when I hear "Mommy!")
-I would rather eat something healthy and homemade, than fast food! Big thing for me since I felt like I could eat fast food every day of my life!
-I wear my son out instead of the other way around
-I love and appreciate everyone and everything around me a whole lot more. It's funny how your perspective changes!
-I am more positive, happy, and grateful for every big and little thing!
-I eat more fresh food rather than canned or packaged convenience food
-Water is my BEST FRIEND! I drink a ton of it everyday!!
-There is always some time to be active. 24 hours in a day, I can always find at least 20 minutes!

Currently at 223lbs and feeling better every day!!

These are just a few things, I'm sure there are many more I'm forgetting, but I wanna hear from you. What's your story?
You will :)


Jesus, the One & Only By Beth Moore

In her previous books, Beth Moore has introduced her readers to David and Paul. In Jesus, the One and Only, Beth introduces them to an intimate Savior as they get a close-up and personal portrait of the life of Jesus the Messiah.
But this is far more than just a work on the life of Christ. As He has done in the past, God uses Beth’s words to woo the reader into a romance with the One and Only. The reader comes to know Christ personally, watching and listening as He breaks up a funeral by raising the dead, confronts conniving religious leaders of His day, teaches on a Galilean hillside, or walks on the waves and calms the storm.

Beth Moore has a way of drawing the author into a deeper, personal relationship with Jesus, more of like a Husband. She tells of his life stories of walking on water and eating with sinners and it makes you feel as though you were there to experience it for yourself. 
This book would be great to do as a Bible Study or small group study for both men and women. Much better than any Harlequin romance ever written, Beth is a lady after God's own heart and she invites you on this journey with her.

What A Son Needs From His Mom By Cheri Fuller

Ever Feel Like Your Son Is From a Different Planet?Don't worry, Mom. There's a good reason why your son perplexes you. He's the OPPOSITE sex! Boys really do think, communicate, and process the world differently than girls. But no matter your son's age, he needs you, and he needs you in not-so-apparent ways.Drawing from her own experiences, as well as those from moms and sons from around the country, Cheri Fuller shares what makes boys and young men tick and how to become a more welcome influence at every stage in their lives. She answers all the top questions, including:"How can I help my son (and me!) deal with his emotions in a healthy way?""School is such a struggle. How can I help him?" "Our personalities are SO different. How can we get on the same page?""My son hardly says a thing. What can I do?""What are the best ways to instill good values?""How can I encourage a lasting faith in God?"With page after page of use-it-today advice and encouraging stories, this book will help you steer your son toward becoming a caring, confident young man.Includes Reflection Questions for Personal or Group Use

Well my son is only 2 1/2 but I sure hope to reflect back to this book when he gets older. There are some great tidbits of wisdom contained within on how to be the number 1 fan in their lives. Cheri Fuller reflects on her role as a Mom of 3 and tells stories related to her own experiences. This book reminded me to focus more on the future and focus less on the tantrums as they only last for a little while, but help him become a great man!

 "Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".