Book Review for Erin Odom’s Book “You Can Stay Home with Your Kids”

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I was thrilled to be invited to be on the launch team for this book. I received an advanced copy in exchange for my fair and honest review. Erin Odom’s book gives wonderful advice and tips on how you can stay home with your kids. From ideas to save money to making money, this book covers it all, the conversational nature of the book makes it one worth reading. The practical advice and tone make you feel as though you are sitting around a table with Erin listening to her wonderful advice. It is the perfect follow-up to her book “More Than Just Making It”. This book is definitely worth reading.

Roughly sixteen years ago, I was put in the position of having to stay home with my children because we were pregnant with our fourth child.  I wish this book had been around then.  Her tips are practical and useful.  She does an excellent job of expressing easy to follow steps that will help you stay at home with your children.  As a homeschooling family, we recognize the importance of finances and managing our money and our time wisely.  Erin Odom does an excellent job of giving helpful and useful tips and ideas that suit any family.

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As part of the launch team for her book “More Than Just Making It”, I have to say both books go hand in hand together to show how you can stay at home with your kids while doing more than just making it.  You can check out my review of “More Than Just Making It here.

So check it out for yourself.

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Review of For the Kingdom CD/Audio Download

I received a copy of the “FOR YOUR KINGDOM” CD for my fair and honest review,  Higher Vision Church created this audio CD. The church is filled with nearly 3,000 people every Friday night.  This church is 12-years-old and is multigenerational congregation located outside of Los Angeles. The diversity of this church takes center stage on Higher Vision Worship’s debut album, For Your Kingdom” 

The songs range from high-energized songs that lean towards the rock end of the musical spectrum.  On the other end, there are songs that tug at the heart-strings.  I wanted to love this CD and was really looking forward to receiving it.  I found several of the songs were more contemporary than I liked as far as the musical numbers.

The words of all the songs, however, touched my soul and caused me to want to worship God.  The CD contains thirteen songs and takes one hour and eight minutes to listen to in its entirety.  Songs range from 3:41 minutes to 8:29 minutes long.  My favorite songs were “Near the Broken” and “Broke the Chains”.

You can view a music video from the CD at Youtube at the following link on Youtube.  If you like music that ranges from high-energy to heart-tugging, you should check this CD out for yourself.  You can purchase the CD or downloads at the following link, so check it out for yourself.

I wish I could say I loved this CD, but I did not, Too much of the music had more of a rock feel rather than the feeling of worship music. Many songs made me think of a rock concert atmosphere rather than wanting to worship the Lord.

Review of The Prayer Bible

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I received a copy of the pink version of The Prayer Bible for my fair and honest review.  I was very pleased with the product we received.This truly is a Bible designed for children to interact and engage with on their own.  It is designed for children ages 6-10 years old.  Many of these children are able to read on their own and often have a desire to have a Bible designed for them.  The cover seems sturdy and meant for a child’s hands to embrace and tenderly carry with them anywhere they go and especially to take to church.

The Prayer Bible for Children encourages children to develop a heart for prayer and to learn the Bible through the popular ICB translation, a simple translation that children can read and understand.  There are special pages throughout the text highlight some of the most famous and beloved prayers featured in the Bible. For example, Abraham’s prayers to the Lord as well as Jesus praying before his crucifixion and even the way Paul prayed for the churches he planted are all included.  This Bible allows young readers to learn about a God who loves to hear from His children and loves answering prayers. This Bible even includes a pocket with a prayer journal for children to record their own prayers.

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This Bible has many special features.  For example, there are 160 pages of prayer articles throughout the book.  Also, there are 64 four-color pages that feature poem prayers, Scripture prayers, and Questions and Answers to engage the children.  The full-page prayer articles are designed to help children learn how to pray rather than fearing prayer.  It also allows the children to see into the Word how and when God’s people prayed.  The decorative and colorful pages are designed to be kid-friendly and engaging to them.  This Bible also comes with a separate prayer journal with a handy pocket on the back of the Bible so the children can record their own prayers and how God answers those prayers for them.

 

Having both sons and a daughter I love the option of either a pink or blue cover.

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You can download a free sample and get a discount code at this link at Faithgateway.  If you would like to purchase this Bible for yourself, click here for the Pink version and click here for the Blue version.

Also, you can enter a giveaway for this Bible in either the Blue version or the pink version by clicking here.  If you have children in your life, check out this Bible for yourself.

I would love to hear what you think.

 

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Review of “Hello Mornings” by Kat Lee

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I was privileged to be on the launch team for Kat Lee’s book, “hello mornings”.  A year or so ago, I first heard about the website for hello mornings.  I began to participate.  The general principle is to do three simple things first thing every morning.  The three things are to interact with God’s Word, planning your day, along with fitness.  The concept is simple and straight-forward.

When I read about Kat Lee writing a book about creating a morning routine that builds a person up spiritually, physically and gets them hydrated all at once.  I knew I wanted to be part of this book launch team.  I was thrilled to receive a copy to review.  I truly found this to be a book worth reading.  The chapters are easy to read and kept my interest and attention.

So if you are looking for a book to help get you started with a good morning routine (even if you are not a morning person), I recommend this book.

So what are you reading?  I would love to hear from you.

31 Days – Day 1

31 Days of Books and More

Over the past year and a half or so, I have been privileged to be on several different book launch teams.  While almost everyone has been different – certain things remain the same – the friendships made and the amazing authors and team members I have met.

One of my favorite books from this year came from Erin Odom.

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This book gives a realistic look into family, finances and living life in a way that is more than just making it.  During the course of our conversations, the topic of Hurricane Harvey came up.  At this point, the storm was just a tropical storm predicted to come in as a category 1 storm.  Another lady and I both commented on how we did not really have the resources to go anywhere.  Plus, our family had the added trouble of having nowhere really to go.  With the storm coming in the weekend before payday, our options were limited.   However, an amazing lady on the book launch team told both of us we were welcome to come to her home in the central part of the state if we needed somewhere to go.

We used to live in eastern North Carolina, so hurricanes are nothing new to us.  However, in eastern North Carolina we typically “hunkered down” with my husband’s parents usually.  But this time was different, we were buying our supplies and while we were out and about we heard the storm was predicted to come in at least as a category 4 storm.  In the early evening, a friend texted me to ask if we knew our city was under a mandatory evacuation order.  I replied we did not.  So immediately, I contacted the lady on the book launch team who said to bring our family to her home.  We spent the rest of the evening making preparations.

Friday morning, we left the house heading northwest with no idea of what we were going to come home to.  However, we knew we were receiving #kissesfromJesus since we had somewhere to go.  Plus, we were able to find gas to get there along our route and traffic was reasonable.

So “More Than Just Making It” will always hold a special place in my heart.  What book(s) hold a special place in your heart?  I would love to hear from you.

Book Review – “More Than Just Making It”

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I was really thrilled to be a part of the launch team for Erin Odom’s book – “More Than Just Making It”. This is one of those books I picked up and had a hard time putting back down.  This is a down-to-earth, heart-warming book that examines realistically finances, public assistance and more.

I love Erin Odom’s conversational style in the book.  I felt like I was sitting with her in one of her homes while having a real conversation.  This book touched my heart as well as provided inspiration and memories of what our lives where like when our children were younger.

And while I planned on writing today about this book.  I felt like I needed to talk more about my own #kissesfromJesus as a result of being part of this launch team.  About a year and a half ago, we moved from Pennsylvania to Texas thanks to the United States military.  We have no real family to speak of in the state.  So when Hurricane Harvey decided to come calling, we were in a dilemma about where to evacuate to for the storm.

Initially, we planned on hunkering down in our home.  But when the storm was upgraded to making landfall as a Category 3 “or higher”, I knew we needed to find somewhere to evacuate to for safety.  Somehow the topic of the storm came up on the book launch Facebook page.  A generous lady offered to open her home to our family in the event we needed to evacuate.  I filed the information away for future consideration.  Once we found out we were under a mandatory evacuation order, I sent a message to this amazing lady and asked if she was serious about allowing our family to evacuate to her home.  She quickly replied that we were more than welcome to come.  So that evening, I had our four children and my mother who all live with my husband and I pack in preparations to leave.

Another giant blessing was when we found out her husband was lactose-intolerant like our oldest son.  On Friday morning as Hurricane Harvey was preparing to making landfall in Texas, our family took to the highways to go to Dallas.  We were blessed with reasonable traffic and reasonably good weather for our travels.

Once in Dallas we were welcomed like honored guests.  Truly our family was blessed to meet Dominique and her husband.  She cooked amazing meals and had wonderful touches that made us feel incredibly welcomed.  We received #KissesfromJesus with this act of kindness.

So if you are looking for a new book to read, I recommend this book.  Trust me, if you read it, you will be blessed.

Review of #truth by Josh McDowell

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.  For many years I have been a subscriber of the YouVersion App and with four children – three of whom are still teenagers, I spend a lot of time looking for resources for them to get them into God’s Word.  Josh McDowell does an excellent job of filling that need.

This book includes 365 devotions for teenagers that connect life with faith.  The Scripture passages are relatively short and easy to read.  He then includes a short passage with some explanations or insight into the passage being read.  Each day also includes a section which begins with “Truth is….” where Josh McDowell offers additional facts and information. At the end of each day is a section entitled “My Prayer”, which gives the reader a chance to have an already made prayer.  I definitely recommend this book.

Review of “Amish Cooking Class: The Seekers” by Wanda E. Brunstetter

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I have always loved reading books about the Amish, and after was thrilled for the opportunity to review this book.  We spent several years in central Pennsylvania and frequented two different farms with Amish produce along with an Amish run store.  So everything about the Amish interests me.

This is the story of an Amish woman named Heidi Troyer who decides to teach a series of cooking classes to individuals in her home.  Heidi and her husband have been unable to have children so she believes teaching these classes will help her pass the time.  It is the first of a series of books by Wanda E. Brunstetter.

Several individuals sign up for the class including an Amish man named Eli Miller, whose wife died and who is friends with the Troyers.  Charlene Higgins, an engaged woman, wants to learn how to cook to hopefully improve relations with her future in-laws. Loretta Donnelly, a widowed mother, who wishes to simplify her life for her and her children.  Kendra Perkins, a pregnant teen, has been kicked out of her home by her parents due to the pregnancy.  She thinks learning to cook will be a way of passing time.  Finally, Ron Hensley, a Vietnam vet, parks his motor home on the Troyers’ property with nefarious intentions.

I love the character development in this book.  We get to know the characters and their families.  I felt drawn into the world and as though they were part of my own family.  The twists and turns of this book captivated my interest.  I also found myself laughing, crying and rooting for various characters in the book to achieve or find their heart’s desires.

The cooking classes definitely made me want to try the recipes.  Conveniently, the recipes are included in the back of the book.  I definitely plan on trying the recipes for myself.  I have a 16-year-old son who I described some of the recipes too and is looking forward to me fixing some for our family.

 

 

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Review of “My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island”

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I had the opportunity to receive a copy of “My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island” for review.  This book by Carrie Fancett Pagels captured my imagination from the moment I started reading.  The story centers around the Welling family and their extended family members who also live on the island.

The book opens with Maude, the daughter of the family, eagerly anticipating the return of her fiance to the island.  Unfortunately, he does not return from the island alone.  Instead, he returns to the island with a surprise – he is already married.  As Maude races away, she literally runs into Ben Steffan, who is on the island undercover for the newspaper he works for in Detroit.

This book contains intrigue, adventure, twists, turns and plot twists that definitely keep a person’s interest.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

Book Review of Chautona Havig’s None So Blind

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Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

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Book title: None So Blind

Author: Chautona Havig

Release date: September 29, 2013

Genre: Contemporary

Dani and Ella Weeks–two women who share one thing in common. The same life, the same family, and the same body.

When Dani wakes with no knowledge of who or where she is–no memories of her life at all–David and Dani Weeks discover that “til death do us part” takes on an entirely unexpected meaning. Practically speaking, Dani died. But she didn’t.

What’s a gal to do?

In a desperate attempt to separate the old life from the new, Dani insists on a new name, a twist of her old one–Ella.

Ella’s doctors can’t explain what happened. Her children can’t understand why she doesn’t know them. David, her husband, finds himself torn between admiration for the “new” version of his wife and missing the woman he’s known for over fifteen years.

Will Ella ever regain her memory? Why does their pastor suspect it’s one great hoax?

About the Author

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Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert with her husband and five of her nine children. Through her novels, she hopes to encourage Christians in their walk with Jesus.

Guest post from Chautona Havig

“Who are you, again?”

“I’m Joe’s, daughter. Vyonie.” My sister pointed to me. “This is Chautona.”

For some odd reason, the niece she spent the least amount of time with, Aunt Doris remembered—somewhat. But she didn’t remember Vyonie from what I could tell. She smiled at me, that amazing, sweet smile I’d never forget. She asked how I was. I always thought that Mrs. Sanderson—mother of John, Alicia, and Carl on the TV show, Little House on the Prairie—looked and sounded like Aunt Doris. Of course, that memory of me didn’t last. A minute or two later, she gave me a big smile and asked if she knew me.

It gave me a picture of what it must have been like for my character, Ella Weeks—to wake up every day with these children there—children who knew her, but she didn’t remember. The hurt she caused every time she had to struggle to admit she didn’t know something she probably should—again. So, I thought I’d ask her to tell us about it.

Ella: People often assume that the worst part of losing my memory are the memories that disappeared, too. But it’s not. A much as I’d love to remember my wedding day, my daughter’s first steps, my son’s first words, or that moment I realized I was pregnant with my third, those are blessings that I don’t think about often. No, what hurts most is seeing the pain in my children’s eyes when they need me to remember something and I can’t. For me, not remembering their first day of kindergarten is an inconvenience. For them, it’s a further reminder that if they didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t know them. That without them pushing themselves into my life, I wouldn’t care about them any more than any other human in my path. I do now, of course, but not at first. I hate that they heard David say once, “…she doesn’t know me. She doesn’t trust me. She doesn’t know our children. She tries, but she could walk out of our lives tomorrow and never miss us.”

Living so close to it every day, I missed those little bits of pain that I inflicted without meaning to, but when I went with our Bible study to a nursing home and visited with the residents, then I saw it. Women with tears running down their cheeks as loved ones patted their hands and tried to comfort. I heard one man offer to find a woman’s father. She squeezed him close and whispered, “It’s okay, Daddy. I love you. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

The man promised to try to find her father in the meantime.

Those people there—most of them didn’t realize they didn’t remember someone important. They didn’t struggle to remember this or that. Their dementia had gotten bad enough that their lives had gone from constant frustration to, by comparison, blissful oblivion.

And their families withered with each forgotten face, name, moment.

That’s what my “episode” did for my family. It caused them pain that just resurfaced every time something new happened. Pain that I didn’t know I inflicted. And since that visit, I have a greater compassion and awareness of just how amazing and powerful memories are.

I also have a greater appreciation for those beautiful words in Isaiah when the Lord promised… “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.”

You see, there’s a lifetime of the sins that Jesus died for buried somewhere in my brain—or, at least at one time there was. I know that those sins were in there, because the ones I committed yesterday are there today. The ones I’ve already confessed and been forgiven for—I beat myself up for the next morning. A week later. A month. But the Lord has wiped them clean. I just keep smearing them back out there again as if to say, “But You don’t get how BAD I was.” Yeah. The arrogance, right? Because an almighty, holy God can’t possibly understand how sinful a sinner that He had to DIE to save from those sins… is. The arrogance? That’s an understatement.

But all those years before that horrible morning… gone. Maybe I stole something. I don’t know. It was forgiven, wiped clean, and then wiped from my memory. I can’t rehash it with the Lord over and over. I can’t drag it back up like a wife who won’t let her husband forget the one time he forgot her birthday. I can’t use it as a whip to beat myself up with. And I think there’s something beautiful in that.

Do I wish I could stop hurting my family with my blank past? Of course. But am I also grateful for a living picture of the fresh start the Lord gives His people at salvation? Definitely. I hope I never take it for granted again.

 

My Review:

For quite a while I have been a fan of Chautona Havig’s books, and when the opportunity came up to be part of the Celebrate Lit tour for “None So Blind”, I was thrilled to be allowed to be part of the tour. The concept of waking up and not knowing who you are or being able to recognize your family hits close to home since my grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease before her death.

Although, questions arise about whether Dani/Ella is faking her memory loss or not intrigues me.  I can not fathom the idea of faking such a thing.  I can not imagine someone going to such drastic measures and being able to fool everybody around her.

When Dani wakes up and comes “home”, I have to admire the way her husband handles everything.  If Ella is faking because she so disliked what her life had become, I find that to be incredible.  Her children, although disoriented by their mother’s memory loss, show amazing resiliency and adaptability in dealing with the changes in their home and in their mother in general.

Another plot twist arises when Ella finds a large sum of money hidden in her garage.  This twist is mentioned briefly but is never resolved.  I am really interested to see if this situation is resolved in the coming book(s) in the series.

The reliance on their Christian faith clearly helps the family endure the changes the memory loss brings.  Also, I loved the contrast between Dani as a Christian before the memory loss to Ella after the memory loss.  Dani takes avid notes and almost in some ways seems selfish and self-centered, although she clearly loves her family.  Ella, on the other hand, appears to find other things to capture her attention and interest including improving her appearance.

The steps Dani/Ella’s husband is willing to go for her demonstrate true Christian love.  He gives her space and time she needs to come to terms with all that has happened and their relationship.  The guidance and counsel of their pastor and his wife again show true Christian values.

I truly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to my family and friends.

 

Blog Stops

June 15: Blogging With Carol

June 15: Genesis 5020

June 15: Lane Hill House

June 16: Red Headed Book Lady

June 16: The Scribbler

June 16: Moments Dipped in Ink

June 17: Back Porch Reads

June 17: The Power of Words

June 17: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

June 18: Carpe Diem

June 18: A Baker’s Perspective

June 19: Christian Bookaholic

June 19: Quiet Quilter

June 20: The Fizzy Pop Collection

June 20: Mommynificent

June 21: Seasons of Opportunities

June 21: Truth and Grace Writing and Life Coaching

June 22: Pursuing Stacie

June 22: Remembrancy

June 23: Pause for Tales

June 23: Avid Reader Book Reviews

June 23: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

June 24: Bigreadersite

June 24: CAFINATED READS

June 25: Lots of Helpers

June 25: Ashley’s Bookshelf

June 26: Blossoms and Blessings

June 26: A Reader’s Brain

June 27: Margaret Kazmierczak

June 27: His Grace is Sufficient

June 28: Just Jo’Anne

June 28: Henry Happens

June 28: Reader’s Cozy Corner

Giveaway

bf3041c3-aba6-432d-bade-2a2bc46cd775To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize that includes:

1 $25 Amazon Gift Card
1 Paperback Copy of None So Blind
1 Paperback Copy of Will Not See
1 Lampwork Necklace
1 Cool denim mini-backpack (to hold your stuff!)
1 Custom Travel Mug (with quote from book)
1 FREE eBook code to share with a friend!

Check out this cool video from Chautona: https://youtu.be/5K_cTjlg4S8

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!  Click to enter the Giveaway

 

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