And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Friday, February 28, 2014

Blueberries, Chimes, and a Man in the Mountains

I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.


A Stillness of Chimes, what a lovely title! The cover caught my eye and when I saw that the author was Meg Moseley, I knew I wanted to read this new Christian fiction. I wasn't sure what to expect with such a title and the photo of blueberry stained hands but I wanted to find out what was between the covers. I've enjoyed Moseley's previous books like Gone South. Her book aren't typical Christian romance or even typical Christian mystery. This one is a lovely mixture of both with a dark edge to it.

The story is of Laura. Laura moved from her hometown of Prospect years ago but now she's come back to Georgia after her mother's passing to settle her affairs and sort through her belongings. As soon as Laura returns to town she finds herself face to face with her childhood best friend and high school sweetheart Sean. Sean has some interesting news for her. There are rumors in town that Laura's father has been spotted alive. He was thought to have drowned before Laura ever left Prospect. Have the imaginations of the locals just run wild or is there truth to the rumors?

As Laura sorts through her mother's belongings she seems to find more questions that answers. She isn't the only one back in town to struggle with family issues. Her other bff Cassie is also in Prospect to try to help her own mother and father. Will Laura and Sean reconcile? Will her father Elliot be found alive? Will all the mysteries be solved? For sure there is a dark twist to some of the story. I don't think you will be disappointed with the quick moving surprise ending. 

I was feeling badly yesterday and managed to read the book from start to finish in a couple of hours while I was resting. It definitely holds some intrigue and every plot twist and turn kept me turning the pages. I think you will enjoy A Stillness of Chimes too especially if you love a good mystery.

You can find Meg Moseley on Facebook and Twitter.

I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Trading Chaos


I just wanted to remind you one more time that The Storm Inside: Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are is now available. I am still being touched by this book even weeks after finishing it. 

Sheila Walsh has done 5 webcasts on topics from this book and all 5 are now available to view for free here: http://www.womenoffaith.com/thestorminside/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=TheStormInside-ep5&utm_term=email&utm_campaign=Webcast&utm_content=20140225#sthash.FtzOaRDr.dpbs. She is joined by some of her friends as they hash out these tough topics. 

I just finished watching the 5th one and Lisa Harper talks about women in addiction programs facing the same issues like shame as women living in high class neighborhoods carrying expensive handbags. Again God is just really opening my eyes to the fact that all the internal comparison we do is for naught. We are all facing the same struggles, maybe not at the exact same time or in the exact same scenario but we do all struggle.

The thing is that as a woman I know I'm going to have to re-train my brain. Just yesterday we pulled up to a store and as a woman in front of me exited her car I thought,"Wow she has great hair. It is so much nicer than mine. I wish my hair looked like that." And then I had to laugh at myself a little. I have enough good friends to know we all covet one another's hair. I have super thick hair that seems unruly most of the time, I wish I had straight hair. My friend with straight hair hates that hers is so fine and she longs for thick hair with some wave to it. Ahem. 

I'm also realizing that the constant toxic dialogue in my mind of worrying about what others are thinking about me is just ridiculous. #1 They probably aren't thinking that much about me at all. #2 Why would they care about all the little nit picky things I'm driving myself crazy about? #3 If they do, who cares??? Why do I care???

So....stop comparing! Let go of your shame. Listen to these free webcasts and see what truths God will whisper to your heart.

I received a free copy of The Storm Inside as a member of the launch team. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Fresh Garden



I've found another wonder Henkel family body wash to share with you. Tone Petal Soft Body Wash with Pink Peony and Rose Oil has a lovely flower scent and it lathers up so well in the shower! If you are looking for a little spa in your morning shower look no further.

 

My skin feels soft and I really do enjoy the light petal scent. Tone is not a brand I've used before but I have been so pleased with it. When I turned the bottle over and saw that it was in the Henkel family I understood. Tone also comes in a bar for you traditionalists. I'll be honest I use bar soap and body wash. They are both useful but my kids stick with body wash.



You can find Tone on Facebook for money saving coupons and make sure to enter their latest giveaway there.

I received a free bottle of Tone from BzzAgent for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Comparison




Do you ever compare yourself to someone else? She's a better mom. He's got a better job. Their kids are better behaved. They have a better house, car, television, smartphone. She's got it all together. He's happier than I am. She's skinnier than me. I'm sure I'm the only one who ever makes those silent comparisons, right? Right. How about thinking other people are rich? Do you ever say, "Man I'm broke/ poor/ spent/ only tumbleweeds in the old bank account!"


Andy Stanley wants you to know that you are rich. He says that if you make more than $48,000/ year you are in the top 1% of wealthy people in the world! Top 1%! His goal isn't to teach you how to get rich quick or to shame you for what you have. Instead he believes that we are never taught as Christians how to be rich. He is simply seeking to bring light to what God's word tells us about our riches and how we are to be good stewards with those riches.

I started this study with my Sunday School class last week. We had a video snafu but were able to watch the first group session of How to Be Rich this morning. I really liked what he had to say. We've done other studies by Andy Stanley in the past and he has a great, straightforward way of just laying his message out there. He isn't beating around the bush or trying to impress you with his lofty vocabulary, he's just talking with you. 

His premise in the first lesson is that comparison drives us a lot of the time. More than we'd like to admit. In the book he tells the story of the first diagnosis of anorexia. Anorexia began when women kept pulling their corsets tighter and tighter and tighter. In keeping up with Mrs. Jones (as he puts it) the women began really harming their bodies. Are we harming ourselves by trying to keep up with everyone around us? Likely so.

As our class fell into discussion this morning, it was troubling to us how soon our children fall into these same patterns of comparison. So let's start now and follow this study (there is also a book available for How to Be Rich) so we can set a better example for the next generation and how they should care for their riches.

I received a free copy of this bible study and guide for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Tweens, Shoes, and a New Series


Apple loves books and softball and shoes. Softball season starts very soon (yay!) and we've found a new series for her to read (double yay!)


Apple tells me that Riley Mae also loves softball and that the book Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek by Jill Osborne is about a shoe company. Apple's first comment after reading the book was, "I sure hope there is a sequel because this book just sort of ended!" She was thrilled to hear there are more in the series but super sad that the mailman didn't bring another one yet. 


Riley Mae's adventure is part of the faiThGirLz! library and this is the first book in The Good News Shoes series. In this book, the Swiftriver Shoe Company asks Riley Mae to be their spokesgirl. She's the perfect fit for a new line of girl's athletic shoes. RM is pumped about a shoe line that carries her name and being in commercials until she finds out she will have to miss the softball season. And then she begins to realize that life is happening without her while she's busy fulfilling her contract. 

All in all this is just a great light read for your tween. It's 238 pages so not exhausting even for those who don't find books as fascinating as my Apple. I love books like these with positive messages and little morals strewn throughout. These are exactly the kind of books I love for Apple to read. We are all affected by the books we read and music that we listen to and I love for her to have as much positive in both of those medias as possible. I can't wait for her to get her hands on #2 Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids


I received a free copy of this book from BookLook for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. 



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Moving Mayhem

You might be a homeschool mom if you move and the only room set up properly in the house is the homeschool room! And actually it was but it really isn't now because it became the room to put all the boxes if you weren't sure where to put them.

Sorry it has been a little silent around here. We finally moved and it has been super chaotic. For almost 2 weeks now I have hopped out of bed bright and early (seriously y'all 6:30 is like torture for me) and either packed, loaded, or now unpacked, sorted, and organized (oh and the cleaning). It doesn't end until bedtime (which has been 10 or early for me the last couple of nights, seriously NEED my sleep).

However I'm finally starting to see the light at the end of that tunnel. The number of boxes has slowly dwindled and if I never see another cardboard box in my life that will be just fine. Okay maybe not because all my blogging goodies come via mail in cardboard boxes.....

I'll just say the kids have transitioned very well. There were a few tears and bad moods but all in all they've adjusted. The dog took longer to adjust. Crazy dog. I love her. I think she's finally stopped having panic attacks.

6 year old boys can move boxes like a boss. Just saying....child labor and all. 8 year old girls make great managers. Sit in a chair and direct everyone else. Just saying....diva and all.

Now we are back to a new sort of reality and I will be back on here giving you all my wisdom over life, homeschool, books, and new products. I know you are super excited and so am I!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Get Your Vitamins in the Shower

For your skin that is!


I am so excited when a box like this arrives because it means goodies for me and goodies for you!


I've told you before about some of Dial's amazing body washes like Dial Kids Body Wash and Dial Coconut Water Body Wash. Now Dial has Vitamin Boost body wash. They come in Amazing B lotion infused and Super C oil infused. I tried the Amazing B lotion infused with the cute kiwi on the front. I'm completely impressed with how creamy this body wash is!




This body wash is thick and it smells great. It's a very fruity scent but not overpowering at all. The difference in this new Vitamin Boost body wash is that the lotion infused formula leaves your skin feeling soft right out of the shower. In the winter time I usually step out of the shower feeling like a dried up sponge but not after using this Dial! My skin felt like I had already put on my lotion.



You can see the full line of Dial soaps and body washes on their website. Now if you are interested in trying this new Dial Vitamin Boost Body Wash you are in luck. I have a 2 coupons to giveaway! Each coupon is good for one free bottle of Dial Vitamin Boost Body Wash. To enter use the easy Giveaway Tools widget below.




I received a free bottle of body wash from Purex Insiders for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.
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Quilted Together


I am quickly deciding that novellas aren't my thing. They leave me longing for so much more of the story (when they are well written) and sometimes they just feel rushed. Mona Hodgson has such a lovely style with her writing. She has a wonderful way of opening up each character as the story moves along. In The Quilted Heart Omnibus, she has woven together 3 novellas of ladies that have come together in a quilting circle. 

The first novella, Dandelions on the Wind gives us the story of Maren. Maren is living on a farm with a widow and her granddaughter. She came to America to be a bride but her circumstances changed. Will she return to her country? Can she bear to leave little Gabi? 

The second novella is the story of Emilie in Bending Toward the Sun. Emilie has dedicated her life to caring for her PaPa. The pressure of caring for him, working in his store, and now attending school are starting to get to Emilie. How long can Emilie go without filling some of her own hopes and desires? Will she ever find love?

Lastly we have Ripples Along the Shore, the tale of Caroline a young war widow. Caroline is living with her sister and bitter brother in law. Can Caroline find a new path for her life? Will she ever feel happiness again? 

The characters (Gabi, Mrs. Bratenberg, Wooley, Garret, Oliver) that lace these books are unique and well presented. I must admit each little novella left me longing for me but I was somewhat appeased by the next novella as they each included the same characters. Now I can hardly wait for Prairie Song which will pick up where Ripples Along the Shore ended. To summarize, The Quilted Heart Omnibus combines three novellas that are well written, lightly romantic stories of three very different women living in St. Charles, Missouri following the Civil War. I think you will enjoy these short fictional reads as much as I did.

I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Something Very Different



Alright y'all I'm stepping outside of my comfort zone and I'm taking you with me. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you may have seen me talking about Pulling Back the Shades by Dr. Juli Slattery and Dannah Gresh. From the sneak peeks I have seen this book is a response to Fifty Shades and other erotica fiction. Dannah posted this blog post way back when those books started capturing the attention of women across America. You can see a sneak peek of Pulling Back the Shades here on Amazon. Click the picture to read the first chapter.

Over the next few weeks I will be bringing you more information as I have it on this book. I promise to keep it as G rated as possible. I want to say though that even though this subject makes me uncomfortable I think it is time that Christians open up our mouths and speak on some of these matters. I heard a great sermon several years ago that addressed pornography, outside of marriage relationships, and the long term harm they cause. That sermon was SPOT ON! I believe many people (young and old, believer and non-believer) are lulled into believing peeking at those pictures, reading those books, indulging in intimacy before marriage will not have any effect on their lives. That cannot be farther from the truth. What is seen cannot be unseen. Memories cannot be erased.

So I feel like these are topics that need to be tackled. I want to leave you with a little more information. To hear a little more of Dannah Gresh's heart about this book see her post here:  http://purefreedom.org/pulling-back-the-shades-true-confessions-from-dannah-juli/. Co-Author Dr. Slattery spoke earlier this week on "Holy Sexuality" and you can see watch it here: :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9UB9vgr5YM&list=PLIJRnZpz0o6UisD0C5ghsdPcSo5rHgIP-&index=14

The official release date for Pulling Back the Shades is March 1st. Learn more about Authentic Intimacy on Facebook and Twitter.


As a member of the Launch Team I will receive a free copy of the book. Any opinions above are my own.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Storm Is Coming #storminside



Did you get a chance to watch the webcast last night with Sheila Walsh and Lysa TerKeurst on shame? Ladies....oh it is powerful. Even if you don't struggle with shame (or don't think you do) it is completely worth your 30 minutes to listen to these two ladies. There will be a new webcast available next Tuesday!

I have finished reading The Storm Inside. I have been struggling with storms inside and outside. Just this week God is working out a struggle that has been over a year coming. God blesses us so much even when it isn't in our time. Boy do I have to learn that lesson over and over. The Storm Inside releases on February 11. Next week! I want you all to read. I cannot recommend it to you enough. Just as a reminder the chapters cover:

*Heartache
*Disappointment
*Fear
*Bitterness
*Unforgiveness
*Anger
*Regret
*Abandonment
*Shame
*Insecurity

I will say as I came to the conclusion of the book I was surprised. When I first looked at the table of contents a few of those jumped out at me and I thought,"Oh Lord I need to go to those chapters first. I need so much help in those areas." However (to my surprise) the chapters that went straight to my heart were a few of them that I didn't even realize I was struggling with. I really think you would each have the same experience.

Now here's the REALLY exciting news. You have a chance to win a signed copy of The Storm Inside! Amazing right? This giveaway will end on Valentine's Day (just because I think that is cool) so get your entries in before then on the easy Giveaway Tools widget. You can also pre-order this book on Amazon and CBD.com. Don't forget the release date is Tuesday February 11. 

I received a free e-copy of this book as a member of the launch team. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Exciting and Spicy #bottledawesome #saucesquad

This was one of the best Super Bowls in a long time. I found the game to be exciting, the crowd at my house was pumped up, the halftime show and commercials were very tame (compared to previous years), and the food was awesome!



It may have been cold and nasty outside but we had a rockin' nacho bar that was heating us up.

Chili and cheese sauce...


Chips....


Black Beans and taco meat....



Olives, Green Chiles, sauteed onions, avocados, and.....Taco Bell sauces!


I must say the Taco Bell sauces really made the nachos special. Now you can get your favorite sauces in nice glass bottles to add to all your favorite foods at home. Verde Sauce has long been our family's favorite and we were so excited to have a whole bottle full! Speedy loves spicy foods and he chowed down his nachos tonight with Fire Sauce. He's braver than I am!


That was my yummy plate of nachos topped with a little bit of everything. I had the mild sauce on mine and it was really good with the chili and cheese.


As you can see Apple had no complaints about the Super Bowl food! 

Everyone was full and happy as we enjoyed the game and some cookies.



Look for these Taco Bell sauces in your local store and savor the flavor without opening a million little packets!

I received a free sample of the Taco Bell sauces from Crowdtap in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 






Saturday, February 1, 2014

On Their Level

Small children just can't keep still long and they don't stay focused on one subject for very long either. When they are little you have to do things to keep them interested. We've used a lot of games and manipulatives over the years during our homeschool time. Keeping things on their level is the best way to teach them.

















Just like with school work, Bible stories are best learned on level.


Jesus and Me Bible Storybook is a book full of Bible stories (over 60!) designed for 2-7 year old boys and girls. Jesus and Me is a bright, colorful hard back book that will easily draw the attention of a child. Published by Tommy Nelson and written by Stephen Elkins, this fun Bible story book was illustrated by Claudine Gevry. The cute, colorful illustrations are eye catching and engaging.

Speedy has been reading me stories from it. He wanted to find the story of Jesus teaching in the temple when he was young. He was so excited to go through the table of contents and find "Where did Jesus teach as a boy?" on page 22. He flipped to it and began to read. After he finished the one page story and short "Jesus and Me" section on the facing page, he flipped to the back and found the map of Jerusalem. He read me the names of each of the places listed on the map and then we discussed how to pinpoint places on the map using the letter, number grid. 

Anytime my son can read me a Bible story my heart smiles. I know that as he reads these familiar stories to me again and again (sometimes from various Bible story books) he is committing them to memory. Now that he's a little older we can compare versions of a particular story and then compare those to the actual text from the Bible. What a great way to keep ourselves soaked in the Word!

If you'd like to win a copy of the Jesus and Me Bible Storybook please enter via the Giveaway Tools widget. You can see a special preview of the book here


I received a free copy of this book as a Tommy Mommy for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.