Monday, August 26, 2013

Wounded Women of the Bible - Book Review

One thing that you can count on living in this world is that sometime or another you are going to get hurt.  Someone is going to wound you to your core.  Whether intentional or not, it hurts and it cannot be avoided.  Truth be told you have probably done your share of hurting others as well.

Women tend to feel things deeply.  We love deeply and when we hurt we hurt deeply.  So many times when we get hurt we tend to shut ourselves off from others.  We have the frame of mind that if we guard our hearts, stop opening ourselves up to others we can "protect" ourselves from being hurt again.  Sad thing about that way of thinking is that we are only hurting ourselves.  We need friends, we need family, we need love and to be encouraged by others.  How then do we deal with the hurts that are sure to come our way if we continue to open ourselves up to relationships?

Wounded Women of the Bible:  Finding Hope when Life Hurts by Dena Dyer and Tina Samples is a great book of encouragement for all women no matter where they are in their walk with God.  There are stories straight from the Bible, plus Dena and Tina both give accounts of different times in their lives that they have went through trying experiences.  The book offers encouragement and hope.  It lets those of us who are hurting know that we are not alone in our suffering and most of all that God is right there with us, carrying us and He has a plan even when there seems to be no hope.  I really enjoyed the stories from the Bible such as Abigail, Hagar, and the two women in Solomon's Court just to name a few.  Sometimes we get so used to hearing these stories that we tend to forget that these were real people, who had feelings just like me and you.   When I thought of some of the emotions that these women may have went through during their trials, the Lord began to minister to me in a whole new way.

This book will be one that I know I will pick up in the years to come for encouragement.  I also think it would be a great gift idea for anyone you know that is struggling with the hurts that this world sometimes brings.

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my review.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Indoctrination - A Book Review

What happens when God is expelled from the classroom?

88% of Christian children deny their faith by graduation day…. are public schools to blame?


"Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity"

"Why a growing number of parents choose not to send their children to public school.

The companion book to the award-winning documentary "IndoctrinNation", this eye-opening book includes:
* An unforgettable introduction by a father who lost his son in the Columbine school massacre -- "I put him in a pagan school where they teach there is no God."
* 12 common reasons people give not to homeschool -- and the manageable reality of this educational alternative
* Revealing, firsthand accounts of Christian educators working in public schools-- sharing the struggles they face in a hostile system
* The classroom anti-Christian ideologies from humanism, Marxism, utopianism, educational psychology, and more confronting students in public schools today.

Look behind the comfortable myths of an educational system actively at work to alter your child's moral values, worldview, and religious beliefs. Learn the history and philosophy of public school education -- and discover it is based on neither Christian nor American values. Explore the biblical principles regarding education -- and who is ultimately responsible for our children's future." (From New Leaf Publishing Group Website)


The book IndoctriNation is a companion book to the dvd documentary, IndoctriNation.  This review is for the book itself and not the dvd as I did not get a chance to watch it for review.  So even though it is a companion book you can definitely use it without the use of the dvd or vice-versa.   

The book is very straight forward.  It does not come across as "bashing the school system", but instead tells it how it is by showing how the public school system is controlled by the government and how they are leaving God out of it.  The decline of the school system is a tragedy and one that is still spiraling downward.  I believe in homescooling 100% and believe that parents are the best ones to educate their children.  This book has reconfirmed my decision and convictions.  I would encourage every parent who has school age children and are considering sending them to public school to read this book first.  You need to know what kind of environment your child will be in and what they will be taught.  No matter what choice you make for your children's education, educate yourself first!!

***This book was provided to me by New Leaf Publishing in exchange for my review. 

Be sure to check out this video book trailer to learn more!

For Every Season - A Book Review

For every Season by Cindy Woodsmall is book three in the Amish Vines and Orchards series.  The book starts off right were book two ended.  Rhoda Byler and the Kings have been working hard to start a new Amish community outside of Unity, Maine and it seems like everything under the sun has come up against them.   At the end of book two Jacob had found out about Samuel and Rhoda's kiss and in book three you find the three of them trying to mend their relationships and earn back each other's trust.

Rhoda is learning not to fight her "gift" of premonitions and is starting to embrace who God has called her to be.  Jacob is starting to be able to put his past behind him, and Samuel, well he's just Samuel and I love the chemistry between him and Rhoda that seems to jump off the pages.  It is quite entertaining to read how these two fight their feelings towards each other.  In this book we are also introduced to Iva, an unconventional Amish girl who fits right in with this strange concoction of a family.

Book three has by far been my favorite book of this series.  Once I picked it up I could not put it down. I struggled some with the beginning of the first two books, but not the case with this one.  It had me loving it from the get go!  When I first got the book I thought it would be the last book in the series, but I see now that there will be a book four coming out in April!  I can hardly wait to read the conclusion of a series I have come to love!

I definitely recommend reading the whole series in order.  I have read all of Cindy Woodsmall's books to date and have never been disappointed.

***I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Advice for Seekers by Charles H. Spurgeon - Book Review

I am always thrilled when I get the chance to add a book by Charles H. Spurgeon to my library.  Advice for Seekers is a reproduction of Spurgeon's 1896 work called Words of Advice for Seekers.  It is published by Attic Books which is a division of New Leaf Publishing Group.  The book itself is compact and has the look of an older book which I really like and the edges of the pages even have a tattered look!

You might think upon hearing the title that the book and "advice" might be for new believers, but I have found it to be quite encouraging and think that it is a blessing for all people no matter where they are in their walk with Christ.  As I read through the book I found my self marking pages and underlining important truths.  There are so many great words of wisdom to meditate upon that I am sure I will be referring back to this little gold nugget of a book for years to come.

From the back of the book:

What is keeping you from finding the kind of faith like you want?

Christ said He came to give us the full depth of His abundant draw seekers unto Himself.  Yet, for some of us that deeper and more meaningful relationship with Christ just doesn't seem to happen.  No matter how many books are read on improving our spiritual life or reading the Bible faithfully, or even by attending church regularly, we remain frustrated, unable to move forward or grow in our faith.

What stands in the way?  The tough answer just might be:  YOU.

At least it was the answer Charles Spurgeon realized when he questioned is own ability to surrender his life and will to God as a young man.  a powerful collection of insight from this legendary pastor and man of faith is presented within Advice for seekers and focused on removing the barriers we too often place between our faith and God's love.  Spurgeon sought an abundant life in Christ and found it.  Now, in this faithful 19'th century reproduction, he reveals the simple path to God's truth for seekers today.

You can also read more about the book and see what other people say about it by clicking HERE.

***This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my review.

Homeschool Mom's Bible - Book Review

Sometimes it seems impossible for the homeschool mom to find any time for herself, but if you have homeschooled for very long you know how very important spending time each day
with God is.  A morning devotion and Bible reading combined with prayer can start your day off right.

I recently had the opportunity to read for review the Homeschool Moms Bible.  When the book was delivered to me I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was.  It is a hard back book and had a nice book cover.  I was also a little surprised that it is not only a devotional book, it is a complete Bible.  I love that idea!  What better place to put your daily devotions than the word of God.  After (or before) you read the daily devotion you can spend time reading from God's Holy Word.  So convenient!!

There is a devotion for each day of the year spread throughout the Bible.  At the bottom of each page of the current devotion it tells you what page you can find the next devotion on.  Each story is centered around the homeschool and you can find encouragement knowing that you are not alone in your journey.  Each day's devotion also includes a short prayer.  The Bible is available in KJV or NIV  and it is available in leather bound or hardback.

This would be a great gift for a new homeschool mom or even for the mom who has been at it for years.  We all need encouragement and this great devotional is just the thing to motivate you while you are raising/schooling your children.

***This book was provided to me through the booksneeze  in exchange for my review.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

I am Ruth - Book Review

 The story of Ruth has always been one of my favorite Bible stories.  There is so much to glean from her life and it seems that no matter how many times I read it there is always something new to learn from it.

"...For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God..."   Ruth 1:16

I am really excited to tell you about I am Ruth.  It is such a beautiful book that I don't think I will ever tire of looking at it.  Just when I think I am done with it, I pick it up again to flip through the pages and look at the amazing photographs "one more time".

I am Ruth is a story of loss, love and redemption.  Through this well written book you will follow the incredible spiritual journey of two women who would fulfill a plan that only God could put in place.  Committed to Naomi and believing in God, Ruth chooses to leave the land of her birth for the unknown lands of her mother-in-law.

God's love story through the lives of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz helps us understand that during the famines of the heart and soul He can fill our needs and our desires from the most unlikely circumstances.

This book can be an encouragement to those that have suffered loss, it will help you rediscover your faith and remind you to place yourself and your future in God's loving hands and He will bless you abundantly.

The pictures in this books are what have captivated me more than anything else.  They are taken by Kenneth Berg and if you go to his facebook page (click here) you can see a lot of pictures and videos and read more about his work on this book.   The photos are taken in Israel near the place of Ruth's life.  Through his pictures you get a clear image of this well known Bible story.  Along with that you get to read social and cultural details that help you to understand what life was like during that time period.

The text is written by Brenda Duff and she takes you through each chapter of the book of Ruth.  She includes lots of history and Bible verses and accompanied with the beautiful pictures it makes this book and excellent choice!

Being a homeschool mom I tend to think of how I can incorporate a lot of the books I read into our studies and this is a perfect book to use as you study Ruth's life.  You could also use it to enhance character studies on courage and loyalty.  It would be beneficial for all ages.  Even the youngest child can look at the pictures and follow along!

I am Ruth is from Master Books (a division of New Leaf Press) and has been provided to me for my honest review.  You can read what other's are saying about this great book by going HERE.

Be sure to check out this short video clip to learn more!

Into The Whirlwind - A Book Review

Into The Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden is a delightful book that is a refreshing change from most of the historical fiction I have read in the past.

Mollie Knox is the owner of the 57'th Illinois Watch Company, the business that her father started and left to her when he died.  She is a great business woman and has a bright future ahead of her.

Zack Kasmarek is an attorney of one of Chicago's finest department stores.  He is a force to be reckoned with and he is used to getting everything he wants.

Hartman's, the company that Zack works for wants to buy Mollie's watch company.  As their attorney it is Zack who makes the proposition to Mollie.  Mollie's company provides work for a special group of men who fought along side Mollies dad during the war.  The men include a blind man, a one legged man and other's with similar handicaps.  Mollie is afraid that if she sells her company, those men who have become her family will be out of work.  As she discusses the situation with Frank, the blind man, who serves as her companies attorney, they discover the true reason why the Hartman's want to buy the watch company.  Furious, Mollie heads to Zack's house to confront him.  Once she arrives at his house, but before she confronts him, they get word of a fire that is heading right towards Mollie's watch company.  She know's she must get there fast to move her inventory and equipment before all is lost.  Zack goes with her and does not leave her side.  Unbeknownst to Mollie, Zach has loved her for years and when it looks like all is lost, including their lives, Zach declares his love to Mollie.  Their lives are spared as they wade out into Lake Michigan to escape the flames.

After the fire there are a whirlwind of events.  Kicking Zach out of her life due to his dealings in buying her company and feeling that she can't trust him, Mollie struggles to rebuild her company and life without Zack Kazmarek.  Then when the handsome Colonel Lowe enters Mollie's life she has to sort through her feelings between the two men.  She knows that Colonel Lowe is the "safer" man for her but she can't seem to get Zack out her mind, but will she ever be able to trust Zack again?

I love the chemistry between Zack and Mollie.  They are as different as oil and water.  They fight like cats and dogs, and the love and feelings they share is a whirlwind of emotions.  What I enjoyed most about this book is how different it is from other historical romance books.  First, you have a man that declares his love in the first part of the book, it is not drawn out, and it is the Mollie who must decide and sort out her feelings.  The character of Mollie is strong, determined and courageous.  She is not a weak women who needs a man to rescue her, but instead a true heroine.

I also love the history in the book.  I have always been interested in the great Chicago fire and sometimes it is hard for us to understand or envision what those people went through, but the author helps give a clear picture of what it might of looked like and the terror those people went through.  The author also includes a section at the end of the book that tells which parts of the book were actual events and which things were made up concerning the fire which I really enjoyed as well.

The only negative thing I will say about the book is that towards the second half it seemed a little drawn out and had a few too many details about the watch making process.  Other than that it was a great book that I highly recommend!

***  This book was provided to me through Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Garden Woes of 2013

`I have been gardening most of my adult life.  I still remember my first beautiful little garden.  My dad drove 3 hours with his tiller in the back of his truck to work the ground up for me.  I labored and toiled and had  the perfect little garden.   That year at the peak of gardening season, the time when your garden looks the best and the bounty of all your hard work is just about ready to be harvested, we went away on a weekend trip.  The gate was left open, the cows got out, what they didn't eat they trampled or pooped on.  It was sad.  I cried.  Now I laugh.

Not since that year have I had such a lousy gardening season.  This year has been horrible for my garden.  Even worse than the drought we had last year.  We are being over taken with wild animals.  We have deer, but they are the least of my problems.  It's the coons and squirrels.  Last year the squirrels and ground hogs ate a lot of my garden produce.  I tried to overlook it because it was so dry and I figured they were searching for something moist.  I am pretty sure it just gave them a taste of the delicious goodness of green tomatoes.  Between the raccoons, squirrels and I'm sure the occasional ground hog I have harvested ZERO tomatoes.  That's  nada, nothing, zilch I mean ZERO tomatoes out of almost 40 plants.  I am frustrated to say the least.  Yes, we've set live traps.  We've caught one, but why, mind you, would a wild animal venture into a small wire contraption to retrieve a chicken leg when he can feast on corn, tomatoes, watermelon, cucumbers, squash, and cantaloupe.  Yes, that is all the items in my garden that have supplied nutrition to every coon this side of Jefferson County.

One morning I ventured up to my garden and every single watermelon, cantaloupe and honey dew was laying on the ground, top half gone, bottom half scooped out.  The only remains was a tiny fruit rind bowl.

I am envisioning in my head a scene from Old Yeller.  You know, the one were Travis and that Old Yeller dog sleep out in the corn field to catch the coons and a dozen coons appear. Maybe I need me an old yeller dog.  I don't think Daisy Will do the trick here.

The only bright note has been the green beans.  They have done splendidly and strangely enough the wild critters have stayed away from them.  Last year the deer ate the tops off the green bean plants, but not this year.  I guess so I could have one single ray of sunshine in my poor pathetic garden.  Okay, maybe I am being a little dramatic..  So I'll just lift my chin and repeat one of my favorite Bible verses...Not that I speak in respect of want:  for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  Philippians 4:11  And then I will plot and find a plan of demise for next year.  Mwahahahaha!

Out of 3 rows of corn here is my harvest for this year.  Yep, 2 teeny weeny, itsy, bitsy ears of corn.

Thankfully I was able to restock my canning shelves with 30 quarts of green beans, plus plenty of fresh to eat now.  I am still blessed! :)

Summer in a jar

 I love pressing flowers between the pages of a book.  I have a scrapbook type album of the flowers I have pressed through the years.  This year I decided to dry some flowers without pressing them and adding them to a jar.  I call it my "summer in to a jar.   I'll sit the jar on my shelf and when the winter snow blankets the flower gardens I'll remember the beautiful colors that graced the same area just months earlier and I am pretty sure it will bring a smile to my face. :)  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Journal by Beth Harlow - A Book Review

I love to read anything that has to do with the Civil War.  I have always been intrigued by this period in time and personal journals have always interested me as well.  Although The Journal by Beth Harlow is a fictional journal it is well written and gives personal insight as to what soldiers may have went through during this time.  

It is a short and quick read and if you are a homeschooler I think it would be a great book to integrate into your study of the Civil War.  The book is centered around God which is refreshing and I think it would be appropriate for all age levels.  

More about the book:

A confederate soldier is given a journal from his wife in 1861 before he leaves for war.  Over the next four years the journal changes hands several times and even crosses battle lines.  Each person reads the accounts of those who wrote in it beforehand and then adds their own thoughts.  The first soldier who had it is a christian and and there are a couple after him that are as well and others learn about God and even find salvation through the writings of those before them.  

The entire book is a collection of journal entries from various soldiers and covers some of the major battles of the Civil war for a personal point of view and from both sides.  The only negative I can say about the book is that it is too short. I would of loved to have read more journal entries!  Good job Beth Harlow!!

***This book was provided to me through the book crash book review program in exchange for my review.

Gone South - A Book Review

When it comes to reading books I tend to stick with historical fiction, but after seeing the pretty cover of Gone South and reading the description I thought I would give this one a try.  It was a good read.  Not a favorite, but good.  I like the author's, Meg Moseley's writing style and I found the book interesting from cover to cover.

The story takes place in a small southern town.   Tish McComb makes a rash decision and buys her great-great-great grandparents home.  What she didn't know is that her ancestors where not well liked and the town seems to hold on to grudges.  She has to work really hard to gain acceptance in the new town.  Thankfully she finds a friend in George.

As if her life was not complicated enough she takes in a young homeless girl named Mel.  Mel's father refuses to let her come home and she has gained a terrible reputation among the towns people.  

I love the way that this story links back to the Civil War era through Tish's ancestors, plus it deals with several modern day issues such as homelessness, prejudice and forgiveness.  A great book to add to your home library!

***This book was provided to me through the blogging for books book review program in exchange for my review.

A Bride for All Seasons - A Book Review

Summertime is such a busy time for me, but I still love to read.  What suits me best this time of year is short stories.  A Bride For All Seasons was perfect for me.  The book includes 4 short novellas.  Each one is written by a different author and takes place during a different season of the year, but they are all historical fiction stories involving mail order brides.  A matter of fact, they are all linked to the same mail order catalog. 
All of the books are really good, but my favorite story is Winter Wedding Bells by Mary Connealy.  I have read several of Mary Connealy's books and she never disappoints me and her being an author in one of these novellas is actually what prompted me to read A Bride for All Seasons.  

If you are looking for a good, enjoyable, quick read, then this would be a great choice!


It all starts with an ad in a mail-order bride catalogue . . .

This charming bouquet of novellas introduces you to four Hitching Post Mail-Order Bride Catalogue prospects in the year 1870, all eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they’ll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages.

“And then Came Spring” by Margaret Brownley
Mary-Jo has traveled halfway across the country to meet her match, arriving just in time for his funeral. Returning home seems like her only option until her would-be brother-in-law proposes a more daring idea.

“An Ever After Summer” by Debra Clopton
Ellie had no idea she’s not what Matthew ordered. And what’s wrong with being a “Bible thumper” anyway? She’s determined to show him she’s tougher than she looks—and just the girl he needs.

“Autumn’s Angel” by Robin Lee Hatcher
Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn’t come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. ­ e trouble is, there’s no money to send them back . . .

“Winter Wedding Bells” by Mary Connealy
David’s convinced he’s not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he’s gone—nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying?
It all started 


Margaret Brownley:  "I love reading mail-order bride stories and I don't know what took me so long to write one.  And Then Came Spring  is about a gambler's daughter who travels west expecting to wed the man with whom she's been corresponding.  Things sure don't turn out the way she expected., but where love is concerned they rarely do. I hope you enjoy all four stories in  A Bride For All Seasons  as much as I enjoyed working with these three terrific authors."

Debra Clopton: "I had such a great time writing An Ever After Summer for A Bride For All Seasons! This may be my first 1800's western historical but it won't be my last. What a blast! My Mule Hollow series from Love Inspired may have the 'Matchmaking Posse' but these mail order brides have Melvin Hitchcock editor of the Hitching Post Mail Order Bride catalogue and he gives the Posse a run for their money on matchmaking! I do believe my readers will love this collection and if you loved Samantha the donkey--then An Ever After Summer has a surprise waiting for you inside..."

Mary Connealy: "We all worked together so well and had so much fun brainstorming A Bride for All Seasons. I am working with creative, talented professionals here and I learned so much...and had a great time while I was learning. I hope you enjoy reading this book, including my contribution, Winter Wedding Bells, as much as I enjoyed writing it."

Robin Lee Hatcher: "I had great fun writing my novella, Autumn's Angel, for this collection. It allowed me to return to Grand Coeur, the setting for my novel, Heart of Gold, and to revisit some of the characters from that book. And I think readers of these mail order bride stories are going to love the meddling owner of the Hitching Post even as they see the chaos he creates for these four couples." 

***This ebook was provided to my by the publisher through the booksneeze blog review program in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Homemade Cherry Limeade

I love Cherry Limeade and there are a ton of recipes on pinterest.  I would of loved to have used one of the recipes I found, but I had a hard time finding the right ingredients so instead I made up my own version and not to toot my own horn or anything (TOOT! TOOT!)  but it turned out soooo Yummy!  

All you need is a can of sprite, a bottle of V8 Splash Cherry Pomegranate juice, a lime, a jar of maraschino cherries and sugar.  I use a quart canning jar for mixing.

I put in the whole can of Sprite first, then I added the Cherry Pomegranate juice.  I filled the jar pretty full with this.  No set amount.  Next I added sugar to sweeten it.  This is fun!  It makes it real fizzy!  Again, no set amount, I just taste it and when it is sweet enough I stop adding. ;)  Next I added about 3 maraschino cherries.  I bought the ones with stems just because it makes it pretty and I add just a tad bit of the juice out of the maraschino cherry jar.  I also add some quartered slices of lime!  Mix it all up!

Then I enjoy the yummy goodness!!