Review of David C Cook’s Family Devotionals

 

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As the mother of four, I have always been on the lookout for devotionals for our family.  So when I had the opportunity to review three devotionals from David C Cook, I was thrilled.  These three devotionals include: Knowing The Holy Spirit, Knowing Jesus, and Knowing God the Father.  The three devotionals are available as individual titles or as a set.

David C Cook, a nonprofit organization dedicated to publishing and distributing leadership and discipleship resources,  offers a variety of products for all ages and for Christians all over the world.  These resources are designed to help Christians grow their faith so they can pass it on to the next generation.  The company was established in Chicago in 1875 by David Caleb Cook.  Since then, they have published numerous bestselling books including Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  They offer over ten lines of Sunday School materials along with praise and worship songs through Integrity Music, the music division.

Simplified doctrine with easy-to-understand language characterizes these devotionals to ensure children will be engaged and will be able to follow along.  The theological level of these devotions will strengthen parents’ faith while providing an enriching experience for children and parents together.

Each devotion includes a topic or questions designed to start a conversation regarding spiritual matters, while growing the children’s faith.  A simple closing prayer is provided as well.  Illustrations highlighting key concepts help parents and children to treasure the time  spent going through these devotions together while growing closer to God and to each other.

Like all materials our family has used from David C Cook, these devotionals truly impressed our family.  Each devotional contains 52 devotionals for your family to go through.  One of my favorite things about these devotionals results from the length of the material.  It is short enough for even the youngest family members to enjoy, but lends itself to going as in depth as your family wants to go with the study.  These devotionals would be perfect springboards for deeper study – especially if you have older and younger children in your family.

So if you are looking for a single devotional for your family or a set of devotionals, check out these devotionals for yourself.  You can purchase them at the following links:

Knowing God the Father

Knowing The Holy Spirit

Knowing Jesus

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Review for “Renewed” by Leigh Powers

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*****This post is also being posted today on my blog Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy as part of a Celebrate Lit book tour.

MY THOUGHTS:


Leigh Powers provides an insightful and realistic view into what is like to be a preacher’s wife.  Roughly twenty-six years ago, my husband became an ordained Primitive Baptist Elder (preacher), and I became a preacher’s wife.  As I read through this 40-day devotional, I found myself nodding my head in agreement with what she says.  Even though we have been away from our home church since 2008, I still consider myself to be a preacher’s wife because the calling on my husband did not stop just because he went full-time in the Army Reserves.

Her complete title, Renewed: A 40-Day Devotional for Healing from Church Hurt and for Loving Well in Ministry resonated with my soul.  She captures the challenges and difficulties pastors and their wives face in the church.  I found the opening line for day 11 to be truthful, “Loving your enemies seems easy until you have one.  And now, God – this?  I’m supposed to forgive this!”  As a Christian, these words come across as both honest and heartfelt.  Forgiving is much easier said than done. We know it is the right thing to do, but that does not make it easy.

Being a Christian often means being hurt by other Christians.  Healing from that hurt challenges us in ways that make releasing the hurt hard.  Leigh Powers does an excellent job addressing these facts.  She offers inisghtful glances at how to move forward and truly love others well as a Christian.

This book suits both pastor wives, those in ministry roles and those who have been hurt by the church.  While serving is typically a calling, something someone feels led to do, it often winds up being an experience of unrealistic expectations, judgemental church members and more make ministry hard.  Leigh Powers captures all those facts in a truthful and insightful view.  As a preacher’s wife, I definitely recommend this book.

So check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

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Review of Reload Love

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Reload Love – Transforming Bullet To Beauty ad Battlegrounds to Playgrounds, by Lenya Heitzig captures the struggle of being called to make a difference in our world and having the persistence to follow through to see it happen.
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Lenya Heitzig’s desire is to provide tangible acts of love to hurting people.  She founded Reload Love, which a ministry that touches the lives of children affected by terrorism.  She also serves at the executive director of she Ministries at Calvary Church whose pastor is her husband Skip.
When confronted with acts of atrocity, one has two choices – either look away and do nothing or keep looking and do something.  Lenya Heitzig chose to do the later.  When faced with children being affected by terrorism, she decided to take a stand and make a difference.
I have to say I found this book one worth reading and that challenged my “status quo” lifestyle.  Here in the United States, I live a relatively shelterd and privileged life and I know it.  I also recognize there are many people in the world who are not so fortunate.  I would love to be able to take a stand and make a difference the way Lenya did.
I read the book and imagine the things she saw and did and wonder if I would have the determination and drive to do the same.  Yet I know Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (KJV).  I realize it is through God and not ourselves that even the weakest have been able to make a difference.  Coming to one of the later chapters in the book, I love the title – “Let Your Legacy Be Love”.  This is my heart’s desire.  This book inspires me and challenges me and makes me desire to make a difference.
So check this book out for yourself.  and let me know what you think.
Fill out the form below if you would like to win your own copy of Reload Love.
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Review of “Young Whit – The Traitor’s Treasure” by Phil Lollar & David Arnold

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For as long as I can remember, our family has been fans of Adventures in Odyssey and of John Avery Whitaker. So when I found out I had the opportunity to read about the life of the young John Avery Whitaker, I was thrilled.  You can find a description of the book and the opporunity to purchase it here.
This book is set during the time of the Great Depression and opens with John Avery Whitaker’s mother dying.  The impact this has on the young John Avery is substantial.  The first chapter picks up with John, his father Harold, his stepmother Fiona and half-sister Charli moving to a new town.  Even growing up, John Avery Whitaker demonstrated the love for science and discovering things for himself that would become the backbone of the radio drama Adventures in Odyssey.
I truly wanted to love this book from the first page, however, I must say it took me a little while to get into the book.  But once I did, I was hooked.  The tension between John Avery Whitaker and another student named Wilson, along with Wilson’s friends, creates quite the drama.  I think one of my favorite scenes involves John demonstrating his skills at karate in order to avoid a fight with Wilson.
Fiona, his stepmother, is one of my favorite characters.  she demonstrates wisdom and love for John throughout the book.  We are not given too many details about how she came into Harold and John’s lives, but it definitely was to their benefit.
Ben Huck, the school custodian, captured my attention as well.  The relationship between John and Ben helped establish momentum in the story.  The mysterious circumstances of relatives of both John and Ben created a situation I could not resist finding out about in the end.
Morever, as a girl growing up, one of my best friends in high school was a young man, so the relationship between John and Emmy.  The two become friends and cohorts in mischief.  Emmy refuses to give into peer pressure to disassociate herself from John Avery Whitaker.  I loved how Emmy helped give John Avery Whitaker the nickname of “Whit”.  So whether you have been a long-time fan of Adventures of Odyssey or not, check out this book for yourself.  I have to caution you though, the ending is a cliff-hanger to help ensure you want to read the next book in the series.  I know I will be reading it.
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Review of Seeing Green by Tilly Dillehay with a Giveaway

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Seeing Green – Don’t Let Envy Color Your Joy by Tilly Dillehay caught my eye just by the title.  Growing up, we moved around a lot and after I married my husband and we had our four children, he went active duty in the military our family moved a lot as well.  I knew this book was one I had to read, and I have to say it did not disappoint.

Tilly Dillehay holds a degree in journalism from Lipscomb University and has served as the editor of a weekly newspaper as well as a lifestyle magazine. She now occupies her time being a homemaker and the mother to two little girls. She still writes at http://www.justinandtilly.com while also contributing t The Gospel Coalition. Her husband Justin is the pastor at a church in a small town east of Nashville. Tilly Dillehay also serves as the host of The Green Workshop, an event for women on the subject of envy, which is held in local churches.

Her book Seeing Green: Don’t Let Envy Color Your Joy caught my attention because of the title. It spoke to me. As a human, a wife, and a mother, envy has a way of seeping into every area of my life. There are times it is hard to face the fact that the not so little “green monster” has invaded my thoughts and heart.

This book is the perfect companion for such feelings. The author does an excellent job of allowing for conviction while also providing ideas on how to overcome the envy factor. As I read the book, I found myself being able to visualize myself in the situation being described while be ready to hear how to overcome this monster.

I was delighted and impressed by this book and if given the opportunity to read something else by her or to be able to meet her in person would be incredible.  One of my favorite passages from the book discusses the goal of the book.  Here is an picture I took of it.

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Growing up, my father was a draftsman and designer who moved our family frequently.  He was always on the hunt for the new “best” job.  I always felt like my grandparents compared me to their siblings’ children and found us lacking.  It was a real blow to my self-esteem at times.  Yet, I am able to recognize now how God gave me certain gifts and talents and I need to take ownership of how I use them.  This book helped to reaffirm those feelings.

Here are some other quotes I found inspiring from the book.

While I love the idea that our first response should be joy, I know it is not always the way I want to react.  When I read the title of the last chapter, “Happiness Is the Best Revenge?”, I found myself agreeing with the author.  I am the youngest of two and never felt I measured up to the talents and gifts my olders sister had been given.  But as the years progressed I realized, she squandered those gifts in many ways.  I, on the other hand, found God’s blessings and love in my marriage and our three sons and a daughter.  So truly, happiness is the best revenge in a lot of ways in my eyes.

So do you find yourself suffering from envy or jealousy?  If so, check out, Seeing Green – Don’t Let Envy Color Your Joy by Tilly Dillehay.

If you would like the chance to win your own copy of this book, fill out the form below.

To receive SEEINGGREEN25 – for 25% off Seeing Green, from August 20 – September 30, 2018. It can be purchased at this link.

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Review of “fat and faithful: learning to love our bodies,our neighbors, and ourselves” by J. Nicole Morgan

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This is my review of fat and faithful: learning to love our bodies, our neighbors, and ourselves by J. Nicole Morgan.

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I loved the idea of this book and accepting people for who we are. And I agree with the idea that we should love everyone regardless of their shape, size or ability. I also agree we should demonstrate Christ-like behavior at all times. I also agree the church is full of sinners and none of us are perfect. I believe shape, size, age and other characteristics do not prevent God from loving us. I believe that He desires all to come into a relationship with Him. I agree that our approach and opinions about body image can damage those who do not meet what society indicates a person should look like. I also agree with the idea that body size or shape should not determine what people think of others. There should not be shame or ridicule associated with size. Instead, we should walk alongside one another in love.

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When I read the title of this book and was offered a copy to read for my fair and honest review, I wanted to love the book, However, as a conservative Christian, there were parts I could not agree with at all. I agree with the idea we should show Christ-like love; however, I can’t agree with the idea of loving the sin and the sinner both. Christ demonstrated over and over again that we are supposed to love the person, but not accept or encourage sinful behavior. After all, we see the best example of this with the adulterous woman whom Christ told to go and sin no more. So while I love the concepts of this book, I found it was a little to liberal in some of the theological aspects for me.

So you may want to check this book out for yourself.

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Click here to enter to win your own copy of Fat and Faithful.

 

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Review of “Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve” by Ken Shigematsu

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*****This post was originally created for and posted on my other blog – Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy.

As a person who loves to read, I enjoy having the opportunity to help authors by being part of their book launch teams.  I recently had the opportunity to participate in the book launch team for Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish Spiritually in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve by Ken Shigematsu.  I have to say this book lived up to my expectations.

Ken Shigematsu is the senior pastor of the Tenth Church in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Prior to entering the ministry, he worked for the Sony Corporation in Tokyo, Japan.  His grueling work schedule at Sony caused him to investigate personal disciplines to help bring order to his life from those of his samurai ancestors to St. Benedict’s rule Christian communities.

Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish Spiritually in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve is Ken’s second book.  His first book, God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God was published in 2013.  This latest book examines what prevents us from flourishing in our spiritual lives in order to accomplish more in the eyes of society.

I love how he discusses the  Striving Adam versus the Soulful Adam – referring back to Adam of Adam and Eve.  The Striving Adam is that part of us that wants to accomplish more and more.  It is the part of us that is driven to accomplish lofty dreams and ambitions regardless of what it might cost.  The Soulful Adam is that part of us that desires a connection to God and wants to draw closer to Him.

Ken Shigematsu draws on a variety of sources including Scripture, church history, psychology, and neuroscience, as well as a rich variety of stories from his own life in order to demonstrate how the gospel redeems our desires and reorders our lives.

This book is perfect for anyone who desires a closer walk and relationship with God, especially in the midst of the pressures of daily living.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is found on page 49 of the book:

Spiritual exercises attune us

This book truly captured my attention and kept me focused on the message.  I wanted to read more.  This book truly caused me to think about the ramifications of a driven life versus a life lived at drawing closer to Jesus Christ and God.  The message is clear.  The style is engaging.  The words are powerful.  So if you are looking for a book about how to have a closer relationship with Jesus Christ is the midst of a world that believes power and success in the workplace are more important, this is the book for you.  I definitely recommend you check it out for yourself.

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Review of “Always Enough, Never Too Much”

 

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Note:  This post is also appearing on my blog “Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy” as well.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

We’ve all been there. We know that sneaking, small voice in our heads all too well—you’re too loud. Too quiet. Too young. Too old. Too unimportant. Too ugly. Too silly. Too serious. You’re not as successful as she is—look at her perfect family, look at her high-powered job, look at her great hair and size 4 skinny jeans. Why can’t you be more like her—be more in general? Why do you expect so much from everyone? Why can’t you take up less space? Ask for less? Be less? The lies track well-worn paths in our minds and our hearts, wearing us down and making us question our role in God’s kingdom.

Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan, bestselling authors of Wild and Free will help you replace those lies with God’s truth. This devotional flip-book is designed for you, the woman who feels like she can be both too much and not enough—sometimes in the same day. When you banish lies and insecurities and find your identity in Jesus, you can embrace these truths: You are always enough. You are never too much.

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MY REVIEW:

This hardback flip book contains 100 devotions. With the book facing one way, you can read devotionals based on the idea of “Always Enough”. Flip the book over and you can read devotionals about “Never Too Much”. There are fifty devotionals for each half of the book.

The devotionals for “Always Enough” address the idea of not comparing ourselves to others and to “start living wild and free” according to the opening of the book. Each devotional includes a passage of Scripture and then a relatively short devotional passage that ties into the Scripture.

Then on the flip side of the book is for “Never Too Much”. Again, each devotional has a passage of Scripture and then a short passage that relates to the Scripture and to real life.

I personally love devotionals like this. It does not have to be read daily or chronologically. I can just pick it up and read it whenever the mood strikes me or I need to deal with the topics covered by the book.

I love how the book clearly lets the reader know which one of the authors wrote each devotional. As someone who has questioned my worth of whether I am enough for God or not, I found this book touched my heart. The devotional entitled, “Even When You Don’t Have Enough Friends” by Hayley really spoke to me. Growing up, our family constantly moved from either one house to another or from one state to another. This made finding and keeping friends difficult. Now as a military wife who has moved three times since 2008 and one of those moves being from Pennsylvania to Texas, I can say this devotion was one I really needed to read. I love how the related Scripture passage is Proverbs 18:24.

Here are some photographs of some of my favorite devotions.

And some more photographs:

If you woulld like the opporunity to win a copy of Always Enough, Never Too Much, click here or on the gaphic below.

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CelebrateLit Book Review for Minding the Light

My Review:

I love reading books that involve history and Minding the Light did not disappoint.  This is the second book in the Nantucket Legacy Book series.  I admit Minding the Light is my first time with this series.  For the most part Suzanne Woods Fisher kept me interested from the moment I started reading.  Now if you are someone who does not like reading language common to the period, this may not be the book for you.  The main characters draw you into their lives and all that is going on with them.

Captain Reynolds Macy represents the quintessential seafaring man who also loves his family and wants the best for them.  He returns to Nantucket after a six year absence searching for whale oil.  Daphne Coffin is Captain Macy’s sister-in-law and is a strong-minded woman who is dedicated to her sister and her family.

Unfortunately, Daphne’s sister dies early in the story and the rest of the book examines the trials, tests and adventures that Daphne, her nephew and niece and Captain Macy endure.  Two characters did not intrigue or inspire me – Captain Macy’s cousin, partner, and best friend – Tristan, along with Daphne’s mother illustrate the worst part of human nature including greed, hatefulness and a need to destroy all that is good.

Suzanne Woods Fisher does an excellent job of integrating the racial tensions and issues that resulted during the time including slavery and what life was like for Quakers.  She also did an excellent job laying the foundation for the story by interweaving a story from an earlier time that is retold as Daphne reads the journal of a relative.

Daphne also strives to help Reynolds return to his Quaker roots and truly “mind the light” by finidng solace and strength in God’s love.  If you want to read a remarkable book that intertwines history, drama, love, mystery and more, check this book out for yourself.

About the Book

 

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Book Title: Minding the Light

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: July 3, 2018

Six long years ago, Captain Reynolds Macy sailed away from his bride, looking forward to the day when he would return to Nantucket Island with a ship’s hold full of whale oil. But when that momentous day finally arrives, Ren soon discovers that everything has changed in his absence. Everything. “Is nothing on this island as it appears to be?” he whispers in despair.

Unlike most islanders, bold and spirited Daphne Coffin doesn’t defer to Ren as an authoritative whalemaster, but sees through his aloofness to the aching heart beneath. She encourages him to return to his Quaker roots and “mind the Light,” finding solace in God and community. As Ren becomes the man she believes him to be–honorable, wise, faithful–she finds herself falling in love with him.

But how can she, when her heart is spoken for? Tristram Macy is Ren’s business partner, cousin, and best friend–and Daphne’s fiancé. Love always comes at a cost, but when is the price too high?

Suzanne Woods Fisher welcomes readers back to the Quaker community on Nantucket Island for this riveting love story, full of unexpected moments.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Carol-award winner Suzanne Woods Fisher writes untold stories about inspiring people. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction, ranging from Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World to the historical novel Anna’s Crossing.

Guest Post from Suzanne

8 Curious Facts you Probably Didn’t Know about Nantucket Island

This beautiful island, thirty miles off Cape Cod, is steeped in history. Here are just a few interesting reasons to add a visit to Nantucket to your bucket list.

1) During the first half of the nineteenth century, Nantucket was considered to be the wealthiest port in the world…all because of whale oil.

2) Petticoat Row is a 19th century nickname for a portion of Centre Street between Main Street and Broad Street. Many shops on Nantucket were run by women while the men were off to sea in whaling ships for years at a time. Quakerism, with its emphasis on equality, provided working women with community respect, value and esteem. The next time you’re visiting Nantucket, be sure to stop by the Petticoat Row Bakery for a morning glory muffin.

3) The use of laudanum (opium) was described by a visiting French as prevalent among the women of Nantucket. Loyal Nantucketers vehemently denied his claim. However, in the 1980s, construction workers digging to Nantucket’s sewer lines found heaps of opium bottles buried in the ground.

For centuries, laudanum was considered to be not only harmless but beneficial. Its very name in Latin is landare, which means to praise. Other names for it: Mother’s Helper (to sedate children), Sea Calm (for seasickness). It was used for all kinds of ailments, from sleeplessness to menstrual cramps to treatment of chronic pain, and available without prescription up until the twentieth century, when it was found to be highly addictive.

4) Nantucket Cent Schools were a carryover from England and the cost was exactly what the name implied. In New England they were kept by refined, thrifty women who often taught their own or their neighbors’ children until they were old enough to enter schools of a higher grade. I came across a story of a boy whose mother stuck a penny in his mouth each day so that he would remember to pay the teacher.

5) Moby Dick, written by Herman Melville in 1851, was based on a true-life event that occurred in 1820 to the Nantucket whaleship Essex and her crew. You can find out more about this ill-fated voyage if you visit Nantucket’s awesome whaling museum.

6) Speaking of…the whaling museum on Nantucket Island is called the Peter Foulger Whaling Museum. Peter Foulger was one of the early settlers to the island, and could be considered a Renaissance Man: inventor, surveyor, teacher, missionary to the Wampanoag Indians. And his grandson was none other than Benjamin Franklin.

7) Nantucketers were, for the most part, related to each other in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. The prosperous island was settled by a small group of families, with less than a dozen surnames: Coffin, Macy, Starbuck, Bunker, Hussey, Gardner, Mayhew, Swain, Barnard, Coleman, Worth, Mitchell. Those names are still common on the island.

8) There’s a good reason those surnames sound familiar to you—many of those early settlers had descendants who started business empires. Recognize these? Macy (retailer) and Folger (coffee).

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, July 3

Livin Lit, July 3

midnightbookaholic, July 3

The Avid Reader, July 4

Margaret Kazmierczak, July 4

The Power of Words, July 4

A Baker’s Perspective, July 5

Blossoms and Blessings, July 5

A Reader’s Brain, July 5

Just the Write Escape, July 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 6

Bibliophile Reviews, July 7

Mary Hake, July 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 7

Texas Book-aholic, July 8

Simple Harvest Reads, July 8 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Janices book reviews, July 9

Captive Dreams Window, July 9

Book by Book, July 9

Back Porch Reads, July 10

Reading Is My SuperPower, July 10

Splashes of Joy, July 10

The Morning Chapter, July 11

Vicky Sluiter, July 11

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 11

Among the Reads, July 12

proud to be an autism mom, July 12

Two Points of Interest, July 12

Abbas Prayer Warrior Princess, July 13

Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 13

Blogging With Carol, July 13

Truth and Grace Writing and Life Coaching, July 14

Maureen’s Musings, July 14

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 14

Godly Book Reviews, July 15

Inklings and notions, July 15

Bigreadersite, July 15

Connie’s History Classroom , July 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 16

Pause for Tales, July 16

Have A Wonderful Day, July 16

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a $10 Starbucks gift card to five winners!!

Be sure to leave a comment on one of the blog stops for 9 extra entries into the giveaway. Click here to enter.

 

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.