Saturday, September 22, 2018

NetGalley Surprise!

I have been a member of NetGalley for years and have worked with some wonderful publishers from there. I've requested, read and reviewed many of their posted books and will continue to do so.

I was a little shocked the other day as I had requested a book from a publisher and was turned down because of my stats. I didn't understand why, so I started browsing through my account yesterday and came upon a huge surprise - the count of my unreviewed books. I couldn't believe the total and started looking at what wasn't reviewed. Unfortunately, I never checked my tab for books that haven's been reviewed in more than 3 months, because I certainly didn't have any outstanding from that long ago. I mean, I keep up with my reviews. SURPRISE!!! It appears that the one book discussion group I was part of years ago, sent them from NetGalley. It was my understanding that this was just an easy way to send them out and since these were just to be used to have a discussion amongst our private group, no review was required. I guess NetGalley didn't see it that way, because I have to review them, or get them counted against me, which will keep me from requesting certain books I'd really love to review.

You will be seeing books being posted here from times gone by. Even though I've read them, they will have to be read again so that I can post an accurate review and not one that may read like this: "I read it. I liked it. A least I think I did" LOL These books may have questionable content or other matter in them. They were part of a book club and many of them I probably would have never read on my own. These were to broaden our scope of how we looked at things. So, if you don't care for the books that will be posted here from time to time, I do apologize. I have an agreement with NetGalley and my stats at this point can really hurt me.

Thank you for your understanding.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

ALIVE Gospel Sexuality for Students Review

Author: Cooper Pinson/Harvest USA
Publisher: New Growth Press
ISBN: 9781645270918
Pages: 167
$15.99 (discounts on publisher's website)

Note: This study uses the English Standard Version

About the Book:

Alive: Gospel Sexuality for Students gives teenagers and young adults a biblical, gospel-centered framework to understand sexual issues. In a changing culture where feelings about our identity inform our sexual choices, this ten-week small group resource by Cooper Pinson of Harvest USA, applies biblical truth in a compassionate way to sexual struggles.

Cooper Pinson, with years of experience working with students, aims to bring the theological truths of our union and communion with Christ into the world of sexuality. Students are met where they are and encouraged to talk about the issues that are part of their everyday world. At the same time, they are guided to learn robust, deep, and strengthening theological content that will help them follow Jesus in how they express their sexuality.

Out of this framework, topics addressed include God's good design for sexuality, gender-related issues, singleness, dating, marriage, masturbation, pornography, and same-sex attraction, among others. Students are shepherded to understand their sexuality in the light of who Jesus is and to approach these issues with truth, faith, and compassion.


Harvest USA is a non-profit that has been ministering to individuals and families affected by sexual struggles since 1983. With over 100 years of combined direct ministry experience, Harvest USA staff also seek to equip the Church with their writing and teaching on biblical sexuality and how to help those who struggle sexually.

My Thoughts:

Sex and sexuality is probably one of the most thought about and talked about subjects in the world of a teenager. Society hits teens from all sides - be it gender, relationships, media, etc., our children are getting told lots of things through every aspect of their life. What they learn from their friends, schools, movies, books, special interest groups and other worldly influences is certainly not what we, as Godly parents, want our children to hear or worse - believe.

Alive: Gospel Sexuality for Students is a wonderful resource to help guide our youth to the Biblical truth about sex and sexuality. This leaders guide/student workbook looks at God's design for us and tackles many very sensitive issues. The leader's guide is laid out in a very user friendly manner for the youth leader (or even the parent who wants to use this as a guide to talk to their teens). There are questions to discuss, scenarios for the students to read, issues to cover and even touches on abuse and rape. This is designed for a group setting and would definitely be best in a gender specific group. I know, as a female, I certainly wouldn't want to talk about these things in front of a male!

I'm not sure how I feel about this book having both the leader's guide as well as the student workbook in one volume. It is nice for the leader, but the students have all the answers and information at their fingertips, taking the thinking and spontaneity away from the discussion. These kids really need to sit and think and consider how serious sex is and how God's design works for us!

I received a copy of these books from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

I Challenge You!

How many Christian books have you read lately? I've been working on a list at List Challenges and only read 17 of the books listed. According to the algorithm, the average is 3 off this list!

Good reading list for every Christian woman. List includes good fiction as well as nonfiction topics such as homemaking, marriage, family, spirituality, etc

How many have you read?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

My Princesses - Learn to Be Brave & Lean to Share Book Reviews

My Princesses Learn to Be Brave
Author: Amie Carlson
Illustrator: Heather Heyworth
Publisher: Tyndale House
ISBN: 9781414396613
Hardcover - 21 pages
Juvenile Fiction

About the Book:

Friends Grace and Hope want to play on their favorite slide at the park. However, when they get to the slide, they meet a mean bully who won't let them. As the girls turn to leave, Grace recalls the story of Queen Esther, who bravely stood up for her people. Inspired by Esther's story, the girls ask the bully to be their knight and invite him to play with them on the slide. Recommended for ages 2-7.

My Thoughts:

This sweet book is extremely colorful, holds a good message and is short enough to hold the attention span of the younger child. The message is loud and clear that as children of God, we can learn from the Bible and use it to make good decisions. Grace and Hope meet a bully and use Esther and her position of Queen to stand up for what is right. These girls do the same and handle the bully in a brave and kind manner. A lovely lesson to teach a young child!

My Princesses Learn to Share
Author: Amie Carlson
Illustrator: Heather Heyworth
Publisher: Tyndale House
ISBN: 9781414396620
Hardcover - 21 pages
Juvenile Fiction

About the Book:

Princess Grace and Princess Hope want to wear the same pink dress when they play dress-up. They end up ripping the dress, but Mom has a story to help them learn to share. She tells them the story of Jesus and the young boy who shared his lunch. The girls get the picture, Mom mends the dress, and they learn to share. Recommended for ages 2-7.

My Thoughts:

Another sweet story from Amie Carlson. When Grace and Hope want the same dress, the find that their selfishness caused both hurt and damage. Hope's mom uses this incident to use the miracle of the fish and loaves of bread to illustrate how sharing can change things and make a difference. She also pointed out how one should try to be beautiful both inside and out and sharing is part of that. A great way to share a lesson from one of Jesus's miracles and learn a good lesson from it.

I received a copy of these books from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible Tour


The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible: Over 40 Stories of God's Power and Presence
Author: Doris Wynbeek Rikkers
Illustrated by Fernando Juarez
Publisher: Zonderkids
ISBN-13: 978-0310749738
Hardcover: 312 pages

About the book:
The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible brings to life more than 40 Bible stories that help readers understand that God’s Spirit has been with us since the beginning of time and continues to be with us today. From the glory of creation through the powerful letters of Paul, God’s Spirit is living in his people. Old and New Testament stories such as Adam and Eve, Abraham, Joseph, the Baptism of Jesus, and Pentecost come alive with dramatic illustrations by Fernando Juarez and moving text by Doris Rikkers. With a cover that sparkles and shines with foil, this is a special storybook Bible that will appeal to both children and parents alike.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.

About the author and illustrator:

Doris Wynbeek Rikkers is a freelance writer and editor who has written many bestselling children’s books and Bibles. Although she loves the ocean, she lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, surrounded by her books, her flower gardens, and her family and friends.
Spanish artist Fernando Juarez illustrates children’s books and also works as an art supervisor at the Madrid studio Ilion Animation. The company produces 3D feature films for children. Fernando has three kids himself, and if he has any time left after work and family, you might catch him playing guitar in a rock band.

My Thoughts:

This book is beautifully illustrated and most definitely will grab your child's attention. I was taken by the artist's style and enjoyed looking at all the artwork throughout the book. Because of the artwork, I was sure I was going to love this Bible story book. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

My concern started with the first story: the creation. The author's first sentence states: "In the beginning, there was nothing but darkness ... and God." The first thing that popped into my head was, "Why would God live in darkness?" Darkness has always had a bad/evil connotation to it. This has a totally different feel to it than how my Bible starts out: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Gen. 1:1 KJV).

As the first chapter progressed on, I got the feeling the author does not believe the creation takes place in six days. " The seasons changed and seeds scattered and grew into plants." Then man was made." From what I take from this, man was made at least a year after to go through the life cycle of a plant.

I have other concerns as well - but won't go into them. It sounds quite picky - since this is only a child's book, but children are like sponges. They absorb so much more than we think they do. We need to feed them the correct information from the beginning. If that information doesn't exactly match what you believe, don't use it. If you do, you will only cause confusion later. Children learn and don't forget easily and so hard to correct later.

Although beautifully illustrated, this book is not something I'd use for my family.

Would you like to win your own copy of

The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible?

Win a children's book prize pack from Read with Audra!

The prize pack includes a copy of:

Spirit of God Illustrated Bible
Adventure Bible Book of Daring Deeds and Epic Creations
NIV Kids Visual Study Bible
Explorer's Bible Guide
Words to Love By
Love Letters from God

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Great Shopping Finds - One Unbelievable!

My son had to go out of town to take a managerial test yesterday and asked if I'd like to come along. How could I pass up an opportunity like that? The testing site was about 2 hours away, making it a great time for us to just spend some time talking.

Autumn Harvest Pancake Pan $19.98 at Sam's Club

While he was taking his test, I went to Sam's Club there. It was a lot bigger than ours and had some really neat items that I've never seen before. I bought the most adorable pancake pan. It make medallion pancakes with autumn designs on them. I did spend more than I normally would, but knew it would be used a lot!

Gurunanda Essential Oil Gift Set $22.91 at Sam's Club

The next find was also at Sam's Club. I use essential oils - usually doTerra brand, but stumbled across a Gurunanda Essential Oil Gift Set for $22.91. It comes complete with:
  • 8 Essential Oils - Lemon, Lemon Grass, Peppermint, Lavender, Tea Tree Oil, Frankincense, Rosemary and Eucalyptus (15ml each)
  • A wooden storage box that holds 8 oils
  • A travel box that holds 8 oils
  • A small booklet containing information about the oils as well as some recipes
  • A dropper
  • Dots to put on top of your EO's so that you don't have to pull them all out to find the one you are looking for
Storage box and travel box
I'm not sure if Sam's just got them in or are clearing them out. I couldn't find the set on their website nor on Gurunand's site. This price is really good. I looked at what each EO runs at Gurunanda, and they are listing at $7.99 each. Even their sets are not priced this good. I'm not sure how great the quality is, as I haven't used them, however, their website states they are safe to use on the skin and some are safe to ingest - but you should always talk to a certified/licensed aromatherapist before ingesting any EO.

BUT the BEST find of the day was at the mall. My son finished his exam (and passed - He's now certified!!! YAY!!! ) and suggested we stop at the nearby mall to see what was there. Sadly, a good 1/4 of it is empty and the last big store, Bon-Ton was in its final stages of clearing out their merchandise. There was barely anything left, but I did happen to stumble upon two sweaters that I liked.

I purchased the same sweater in 2 different colors - the blue shown here and a red one. They are soft and feel absolutely luxurious on. The neat thing about them - the cowls are separate, so you can wear them with or without the cowl, creating 4 different looks instead of 2.  I can also use the cowls with other sweaters as well!

The original price of the sweater was $68 and was marked down to $50.99. That price still would have kept it well out of the range of what I'd want to pay for a sweater. But here's where it becomes unbelievable - since it was a marked down item, they had an addition 90% off plus another $30% off that!! I really didn't do the figuring in my head, but knew it was going to be a great deal when I got to the counter. At the time I took the sweaters to be rung up, I had no idea there was the extra 30% off. When she told me the grand total, I just looked at her and said, "Are you sure that amount is correct? I have 2 sweaters."

My total after everything was all said and done was $7.14 for both sweaters! That's even less than they charge for sweaters at the Goodwill - and these were brand new!!

I am saddened to see another store close its doors. The mall there lost JC Penneys, Macy's, Sears, and now Bon-Ton, not to mention other stores and restaurants. After we got back from our lovely day out, I went online and found that Bon-Ton closed and is closing a lot of their stores. Check in your area and see if your Bon-Ton is one of them. If so, you might find some great buys, too.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

I Should Be Ashamed To Call Myself A Woman

I recently worked at a very well known university as a Dining Hall Worker. It's a physical job, but one I enjoyed. I had contact not only with the employees at the dining commons, but I also worked with student employees and had contact with the general student population. Sometimes I served them and sometimes I cleaned up after them. The job was good and so was the pay.

When I was hired, I went through all types of training and one was about diversity and tolerance. We have many international students and students with diverse backgrounds. I had no problem with the idea of respecting other's thoughts, ideas and beliefs. That's what makes the world interesting!

I enjoyed learning about other's cultures and hearing about families as well as their religious upbringings (and at times lack of). It made me more aware and thankful for my salvation. As much as I wanted to share things about my beliefs, I was not allowed to discuss them or politics. That was a fire-able offense. Although if someone asked, I was very happy to share. That's how I found out I should be ashamed to call myself a woman.

I was washing dishes in the commons' kitchen, when a student employee started a conversation about feminism. She turned to me and asked, "You're a feminist, aren't you?"

I shook my head and answered, "Far from it."

She gasped and then started talking very loudly and became very condemning. She said I was working, so I must be a feminist. But I told her there were situations that forced me to work. She became louder and said I was a hypocrite. I agreed with her. That appeared to make her angrier. This began drawing a large crowd of students and employees. The students stood with eyes wide and mouths gaping and one of the employees tried to tell everyone that this is the great thing about being diverse and tolerant - we can have differences of opinions and still discuss them. He was worried that this discussion may get me reported and fired.

I didn't raise my voice and only answered when she asked questions. She screamed of tolerance and equality and how as women we need to stick together and fight for each other. She went on to say that  I should be ashamed to consider myself a woman since I'm not helping female equality, but one that has backwards beliefs. I was stunned at how much anger and intolerance flew out of her mouth! She spewed so many foul words and she became louder and louder while doing so. If she tried to win points with her fellow student workers, she didn't. They appeared to be disgusted and after she walked out, many came to me and apologized for her.

I learned a lot that day. I found that tolerance from certain people with special interests, only seems to go one way. I also found that the college will stand behind that person with a special interest and no behind the Christian. Hence, I must tolerate the beliefs of others, but they are allowed cut mine up into pieces and put me down. As much as I loved my job and the people I worked with, I don't miss the double standards.

Friday, August 17, 2018

God's Design for Sexuality in a Changing Culture

God's Design for Sexuality in a Changing Culture
God's Design for Sexuality in a Changing Culture
A 15 Video Series - approximately 30 minutes each along complete with a leader's guide and participant outline
From Harvest USA

About the Series:

Everyone outside the church is talking about sexual issues—gender identity, same-sex attraction, same-sex marriage—the world’s perspective on these issues has certainly changed over the last decade. So how do you answer questions about God’s design for sexuality for church members and their families? Is your church equipping your people to understand a biblical perspective on sexuality and form a gospel-based response to questions from both inside and outside the church? 
Harvest USA, an organization that has been thinking biblically and redemptively about these issues for decades, has now made available a video series that will help you wisely, kindly, and truthfully help your church to understand God’s biblical design for sexuality and give direction on how to speak the truth in love to the world around us. 
The seminar consists of fifteen 30-minute videos (suitable for use during Sunday school or in small group), downloadable leader guide, and participant outlines that address questions and topics about God’s design for sexuality including the following:

  - Why do we need to talk about sex?
  - Why do we struggle with our sexuality?
  - Is God’s design for sexuality still relevant today?
  - What does the Bible really say about homosexuality?
  - Can you change if you are gay?
  - How can a single person live out God’s design for their sexuality?
  - Understanding gender and transgender issues
  - Pornography
  - How to help the sexual struggler
  - Key steps for raising sexually healthy kids
  - Keeping your kids safe in an Internet world


Harvest USA is a non-profit that has been ministering to individuals and families affected by sexual struggles since 1983. With over 100 years of combined direct ministry experience, Harvest USA staff also seek to equip the Church with their writing and teaching on biblical sexuality and how to help those who struggle sexually.

My Thoughts:

My first reaction to this series is "WOW!" I wish I had had this available to me years ago. This series has addressed so many questions and concerns I've had throughout my lifetime. How much simpler things would have been to have understood God's Design for us - for me. I was raised with no instruction from the Church except when it came to pre-marital classes given by the Catholic church. It didn't cover much except for natural birth control and that was about all there was to the sexuality part.  When Mr. D and I were engaged, we had our counseling session with a Baptist minister and there was no mention of sex at all, just our salvation. So - my education was a book-set from my mother that explained sex and the views of my peers, romance novels, movies and music  - all world views and not Biblical.

I could never really put God together with sex, although he was the one that designed it! It took this course to really open my eyes and see things in a totally different light. It made things so clear - that we are designed to be made for our spouse and our spouse only. It would have been wonderful being taught this from a young age - how sex/sexuality is a gift from God and not something dirty, secretive or never to be spoke about with your Christian peers.

This series covers areas that Christians struggle with: pornography, same-sex attraction, gender identity, keeping our children safe in a world of technology, how to talk to your children about God's Design of Sex, etc. All of these aspects are important to go over for those that struggle as well as those that do not. No one is condemned for having these struggles, but instead are given guidance and support. For those that do not struggle, this series helps to understand and shows how to possibly give help or just a listening ear for those that may have a need.

This amazing series should be offered by every Church. There are so many struggling with the idea of a healthy sexuality in the Christian Church and this would definitely solve quite a few issues. How wonderful it would be to bring up the next generation of our children with the idea that sex is a God given gift to be treasured and excited about and not something that is associated with shame because God certainly can't fit in with "something like that"!

Don't think you have to be head of a Church or group to get this series. It would be a good addition to any Christian home - especially if you have questions, are struggling with things or have children that you'd like to teach how beautiful sex and sexuality is because it is God's Design for us.

I received a digital access of this course from Harvest USA. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Christmas Singing - Book Review

The Christmas Singing: A Romance from the Heart of Amish Country
Author: Cindy Woodsmall
Date: October 4, 2011
ISBN: 9780307446541, 0307446549
Hardcover, 208 pages
Currently $9.62 at Amazon

About the Book:

Experience the holidays with the Plain folk and discover the power of second chances in this touching story from the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Bridge of Peace.

Gideon Beiler has loved Mattie Eash since they were children. But when faced with unexpected circumstances, he makes up an excuse to end their engagement. He doesn’t want to lie to her, but he believes that telling Mattie the truth will be more hurtful.

Brokenhearted, Mattie moves from Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania to Ohio, where she pursues her longtime dream of becoming a cake decorator. She finds a new beau—a man offering the secure relationship Gideon has denied her.

When Mattie is forced to return to Apple Ridge, she and Gideon must confront the suffering created by his dishonesty--and address the powerful emotions that continue to bind the two childhood friends.

After Gideon coldly broke her heart, can the warmth of the season revive Mattie’s faith in love?

My Thoughts:

The Christmas Singing gives the reader exactly what they would expect - a heart warming story that is perfect for reading during the Christmas season. I needed a heartwarming story to curl up with, and believe me, it didn't disappoint. I found myself both charmed and captivated and was happy with the ending - it turned out exactly the way I wanted it to. If you love Amish or Christmas stories, add this one to your reading list. You won't be disappointed!

About the Author:

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author whose connection with the Amish community has been featured on ABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Her ability to authentically portray her characters comes from her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families. Cindy lives in Georgia with her family. Visit her website at

I received a copy of this ebook from Edelweiss. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A Genesis to Revelation Scripture Memory Guide - Review

A Genesis to Revelation Scripture Memory Guide

A Genesis to Revelation Scripture Memory Guide
Author: Ed Strauss
Publisher: Barbour Books
ISBN: 9781683222453
Paperback: 224 pages

About the Book:

Know your Bible better. . .and get more from your time in it! 

 This powerful and practical guide book is packed with invaluable information on scripture memorization. Not only does it lay out vital, need-to-know scriptures for everyday life; it offers so much more, including an overview of all 66 books of the Bible, helpful hints and tips for retaining scripture, plus a comprehensive list of Bible memory verses in biblical order. You will come to understand and appreciate the value of scripture memorization as you learn that God’s Word offers comfort, inspiration, and guidance for everyday life situations

My Thoughts:

A very helpful guide for helping one to learn scripture memorization. It goes in some good detail about how to learn successfully and why. I was excited to see how it was done and knew it would be easy to put into practice.

Unfortunately, Strauss went on about Bible versions and how one is better over others and why. When he uses his illustration, it's not a good one and shows error between the two - and why the one he has chosen is not the best version. With his views slanted towards one version over the other, there is now room for error. The verses chosen has comments with them and both the KJV and NIV verses are printed for the reader to use.

I like the overview of all the books of the Bible as well as an alphabetical list of verses, but I'm not thrilled with the telling that one version is superior over the other. If that is felt, then only use the preferred version.

Overall, I'm walking away with how to memorize scripture, but will pick the verses and do the research on my own.

Friday, July 20, 2018

United We Stand!!!!

Image may contain: one or more people, ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, text, nature and water
I have been silent about things for a long time. I am not one to discuss my views or get into arguments when it comes to the subject of politics. I do try to keep somewhat informed, but the topic is so heated, that I'm not sure when the media is telling the truth or when it's swayed.

With that being said, what I saw in the news made me concerned - very concerned. I saw our former president in another country discuss what he considers problems here in the United States with our current president. Honestly, I was stunned and felt betrayed. Not betrayed because he is putting down a man that I may or may not have voted for, but because he has betrayed our country and put us at risk.  He showed the world that we are divided. With division comes weakness and makes us a target.

"And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand." Mark 3:25.  If we are divided, it causes strife in the home, and that marriage will fall apart if unity is not found. I can personally attest to that and what happened to my marriage a few years ago.

Mark 3:24 states,"And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand." From my own personal experience, you can see why I'm concerned. I see so much anger everywhere. I used to enjoy looking at posts from my friends and family on Facebook. Now, it's no longer enjoyable. I see anger and hate and everyone taking the us -vs- them mentality. That not only angers me but saddens me. It's not only Facebook and my family and friends, but it's all over. There really is no place I can go that I don't hear about it: online, TV, papers, magazines, even at the store!

I am amazed. I cannot believe what I'm seeing and hearing from everyone.

I don't care who the president is. He was ELECTED by the people just as other presidents in the past were. Agree with him or not, it is our job as Americans to be united. That is our strength. If we stay divided, we become weak and will allow our enemies to overtake us while our guard is down.

Pray for our President to make good choices. Democrats and Republicans should not be against each other but working as checks and balances as was originally intended. This should not be a competition and the hate and anger level is way out of hand. There have been leaders in the past that were not the best, but we stood united and the United States (notice the word UNITED) was always looked at as a powerful and strong nation. Not so much any more. Even our past president was in another country and ran our leadership down which is undermining our country to others! What is happening here?!!!

We are playing a dangerous game and the last thing we need to do is to break down and become weak and allow our enemies to take advantage of the situation. Pray for our leaders and make America UNITED and STRONG again!!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Hope for Your Marriage - Review

Hope for Your Marriage: Experience God̢۪s Greatest Desires for You and Your Spouse

Hope for Your Marriage: Experience God’s Greatest Desires for You and Your Spouse

Authors: Clayton and Ashlee Hurst with Joel Osteen
Publisher: Emanate Books (Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 9780785216452
Paperback, 224 pages

About the Book:

Clayton and Ashlee Hurst share the principles and Scripture they have learned to lean on and preach at Lakewood Church. Foreword by Joel Osteen.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes to have the marriage you dreamed of? Interestingly, this is the question Clayton and Ashlee ask young couples before they get married and married couples in crisis. If they answer yes, then there is hope for the couple. If they are willing to commit to the hard work ahead, they have a very good shot.

Hope for Your Marriage is a book designed for couples who desire to have the best marriage possible. Every marriage has the potential to be incredible when God is at the center.

In Hope for Your Marriage, Clayton and Ashlee share personal stories on overcoming fairy-tale pitfalls; keeping Jesus at the center of your marriage; practicing healthy communication on sex, conflict, and forgiveness; declaring life over your marriage; and leaving a God-honoring legacy.

My Thoughts:

Although there are a few good points and pieces of advice in Hope for Your Marriage, I found is pretty much like any other book on marital advice. There is a bit of scripture quoted, but more personal with many stories of other couples and those couples are all counselors or in the ministry at Lakewood Church. I was hoping to find something that would be geared to couples who had been married for quite a period of time, but this seems more geared to those who are seeking marriage or have been married only a short period of time.

I will admit my thinking was swayed a bit when the authors used the illustration of male vs female brain as something of their own concoction instead of giving any reference to where it came from. It was almost word for word as it was presented by Mark Gungor more than 10 years ago on his DVD. Here is an excerpt of that DVD from YouTube that the authors used - especially the boxes and the nothing box:

I ended up wondering what else was not original and with the many discussions about Lakewood Church and Joel Osteen and how wonderful things are there, if it's not more of a plug for the Osteen empire and not so much for really helping couples.

Personally, I felt this book was not as scriptural as it should be, and more filled with "feelings" and human examples. Yes, stories from others" life experiences are great illustrations, but I wanted more about scripture and what the Bible says.

I received a copy of this ebook from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Book Review - Fairy Cake Fatality

Fairy Cake Fatality 

(Cake Fairy Mysteries #1)

Fairy Cake Fatality (Cake Fairy Mysteries #1)Author: Sabrina Hartford
Kindle Edition, 321 pages
Published May 16th 2017

About the book:

Faye left California to start a new life in England. Things aren’t going well and her new cake shop is close to bankruptcy, but she gets a lucky break when she is chosen to be featured on the town’s popular radio program. Unfortunately, on the day of the recording, a murder occurs and she is the prime suspect! 

She tries to solve the case herself, but each clue she finds only leaves her more confused. To make things worse, she keeps having hallucinations about being a fairy, but these only occur when a certain kitten is around. Or maybe there is something to these visions? Can Faye befriend the kitten and master her fairy past while solving the case? 

My Thoughts:

I'll admit it - I'm a sucker for cats - especially kittens. When I find one that not only mixes kittens with delicious desserts, but makes it the theme of a cozy mystery, it's a must read for me!

"Fairy Cake Fatality" was a fun read with just enough humor, twists and suspense to keep me interested. I enjoyed the main character, Faye, who loves, and I mean LOVES to bake. I'll admit, there were times I wondered if I could actually be smelling those delicious cakes she was baking. Oh the descriptions!  There were times she had a somewhat snarky attitude that I didn't totally appreciate. However, I imagine I would have been as irritated as she was at times if I were in her shoes. I mean - she was questioning things that really weren't making much sense, let alone never being to explain them to anyone else because they'd think she was crazy.

I enjoyed the story line and had flip flopped between who I though was the murderer. Finally, I did figure out who did it, but not much before they were revealed. There was also another character I had a feeling about who they were and did figure that one out - but won't say any more about that. You'll have to read the book to know about that one. I'm not going to give anything away :D

"Fairy Cake Fatality" is a brilliant start to the series. It can be read as a stand alone with a nice wrapped up ending; however, it does have a lead into the next book. And yes - I really want to read the next book because of that lead!

About the Author:

Sabrina Hartford loves solving crimes and baking. So she combines both her passions by writing recipe books and cozy mysteries filled with sweet treats! She lives in SoCal with her darling hubby, her adorable kitten Seamus and her two wonderful children. She has had a variety of jobs in her time, but now, when she's not doing her first love of writing, she enjoys baking, traveling, volunteering and reading books.

I received a copy of this ebook from the author. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Life is Good!

Married life has certainly changed since the last time around. We have grown and I know that I've probably grown the most. Those years on my own gave me a greater perspective on what actually goes on in life. I never was truly on my own before - where I had no safety net. I went from my parents home, to rooming with someone to being married. Flying to another country and being 11,000 miles from home, away from anyone I knew, certainly put a new light on things.

Working, too, as an older person, was a challenge. Trying to find a job after being out of work for 26 years was difficult. No one was interested in hiring someone that "didn't do anything" for all that time. Homeschooling and doing other odds and ends just wasn't of interest to those that interviewed me. Finally, I found something that was not only a job, but a fun job... demoing products at Sam's Club. That got me the experience to get hired at a grocery store and then on to a job at the University.

I loved the job at the University, but after many hours of Bible Study, decided that after we remarried, that I would leave it and return home as a housewife. Both of my decisions were frowned upon by most of my friends. I was questioned over and over about the remarriage and then told I was crazy to leave my job - my source of independence!

You know, as much as I loved my job at the University, I don't miss it. It's funny, really. I do miss the people - they were a great team to work with, but I stay in contact with those that I made good friends with. The same with my past jobs. I may go back to demoing at Sam's a day or so a week, but right now, I just don't have the time! There are so many things I want to do and so many things that keep me busy right now, that I just don't seem to have enough time in the day, let alone adding work to it. I guess you could say I'm living the life of luxury now. I'm doing things I've been wanting to do that I couldn't with living in an apartment and with working all the hours I did.

Now, I am back doing those things I love: gardening, canning, dehydrating, knitting, reviewing, blogging, taking classes, working on making my house a home, trying new recipes, working on making a place for a craft room, etc. Most important, is having time for church, Bible study, family and friends. Those were the things that I missed doing most of all. I couldn't attend church because of my schedule at work and the time spent with visiting and enjoying the company of others was few and far between.

I am so lucky to have a second chance. I learned a very large lesson from all this - what is most important in life. God is soooo good!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Roasted Dandelion Root Coffee

Finally! After a long, dreary winter, spring has arrived! My favorite part about the spring is gathering up the fresh greens and flowers that are packed full of vitamins and minerals and are super tasty. This year I have dried my dandelion leaves, flowers and made the roots into a wonderful roasted "coffee".

The "coffee" is a not actually coffee but makes a wonderful substitute. It has a nice flavor - a somewhat coffee, caramel and chocolate flavor combination. It's hard to describe, but with a little bit of cream and a touch of honey - it's pretty much heaven! The spring crop of roots are much more mild than the fall crop. The fall is more robust and bitter and packed with more vitamins and minerals because the roots are storing all the nutrition required to make a strong plant in the spring. Fall is the best time to harvest for drying roots for their medicinal value and for the most robust coffee, but I love the spring harvest as well! 

I dig up my dandelions whole and try to get as much as the root as possible. They are long and do easily break off. I found it best to try to run a long screwdriver or a dandelion removing down next to the root as closely as possible and break the ground around it by wiggling it back and forth. If difficult to remove, I will do this around the plant. A shovel works, too, but it leaves a lot more mess to deal with and depending where you harvest your plants, you may not want to leave holes behind.

After digging the dandelions, I pre-rinse with a hose to get rid of as much dirt as possible. Then I put the whole plant in a 5 gallon bucket and rinse, drain, rinse, drain, rinse, drain.... until the water looks quite clean. Next, I cut off the top part of the plant and put in two separate piles.

I then put the roots in a bowl and soak for a little bit. Then I rinse a few more times and try to swish off as much of the remaining dirt as possible.

I then use a scrub brush to take off the remaining dirt. I like putting a small cutting board in the bottom of the sink to have something to scrub on. If the roots have a lot of off-shoots, I'll break them apart to get in between them.

Then I put them in my food processor and chop until the pieces resemble brown rice.

Next I pour them on a cookie sheet and put them in a 225 degree oven and let them dry. This can take about an hour. 

I then check to see how they are drying by stirring every 10 to 20 minutes or so. Drying times will depend on the day, your oven, how large the pieces are, etc.

After the pieces are dry, I increase the oven temperature to 325 and continue to bake. Now the roasting process has started. I kept a close eye on it and mixed every 10 minutes. I love this part because when the root is almost ready to remove from the oven, it has the most amazing aroma of baking a chocolate cake or brownies! 

Some people will remove the root as soon as they see small wisps of smoke coming from the root. I put mine back in a bit longer. I like a darker roast. I find it to have a bit more of a robust flavor. 

After removing from the oven, I let it cool and then put it in a jar. The contents in the jar are much more true in color to the actual end product. 

To use:

Put water in a pan and bring to a boil. Add the dandelion root, stir well and boil for 1 minute. Make sure it doesn't boil over because it will produce foam on top. You will need 1 tsp. of Roasted Dandelion Root Coffee per 8 oz of water (adjust to taste). Serve with a little cream and honey if desired.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a qualified/licensed instructor or certified to teach wildcrafting, using herbs or explaining how to identify any plant I use or speak of in these posts. This is only describing what I did and how I use the item described in MY home with MY family. I am not to be held responsible for any misinformation or any mishaps if anyone decides to try this at home. If you decide to try this method - it is at your own risk. Please research and study any plants, methods and side effects of the plant describe in this post.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

More Than I Could Ever Hope For

GOD has a way of putting surprises in our lives that we would never expect. As I continued to read the Bible and pray, my eyes were opened and I softened and began to really HEAR what He was telling me. I guess he must have decided I was receptive to His plan because He started implementing it well before I could see it happening.

Every once in a while, I would run into my ex-husband. We were always civil and decent to each other. If he found out I needed something like the car fixed or tech advice, he'd always offer to help. I always declined. He's my ex, so why would I have him continue to help me?! But one day, he made a point of driving to where I worked, just to check my car because of some odd tire wear. I couldn't believe he'd go out of his way just for that and for me, so I bought him dinner as a thank you.

As time went on, we would go out for dinner every once in a while, but in late fall, we started actually spending more time together, going to the movies, dinner and talking. Then we did day trips and all the while I was still reading the Bible and praying. I discovered in many places in Paul's books and especially 1Cor 7:10-11 that even though we are divorced, in the eyes of God, we are basically still married and should reconcile or never marry another. My ex came across the same thing.

10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

This weighed heavily on our hearts and one day, it came out - both of us were contemplating the same thing. After many long discussions we decided we should reconcile. We will be getting remarried on our anniversary date!

Since this has been decided, I cannot tell you the peace we've both felt. Unfortunately, others around us are not so thrilled and have tried discouraging us. My closest friend, who is a Christian, believes that we are doing the right thing. She said she sees how we are together and how miserable we have been apart. She believes we needed the time apart to grow and see what is was most important - God. When God was lost in my life and I started listening to the ways of the world, I lost sight of things. How true this is! I needed the total breakdown and heartache to find what was most important.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Life Is Full Of Lessons

Life is full of lessons - some extremely difficult, some easy and some that take you totally by surprise. My last few years have been full of lesson - mostly difficult and some made me wonder if I was going to survive: However, I made it through, with the help the help of the Lord.

As you know, I was divorced 2 years ago, went to Australia to heal and came back to begin my life over. I found a part time job, an apartment and then life became more interesting as I looked for more work. I was carrying 3 part time jobs at one point last year and then found a full time job. Not the dream job I've always wanted it, but a good paying full time job in food services that has good benefits. Life seemed to be finally looking up. Then came the surprise.

Spiritually and emotionally, I was a mess. I tried hiding from God. My life was in shambles, I had broken my vow to be together with my husband forever, and I was really seeing myself as I truly was and not liking it one bit. So, like the child who took a cookie from the cookie jar when told not to, I hid from my Father. I didn't read my Bible, didn't pray, and stayed as far away as I could from Him. But it appeared He wasn't going to allow that at all. People would come to me and ask if I had a Church that I attended. I would say no and then be invited to attend theirs. I had one woman give me a book called "Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence" by Sarah Young and she kept telling me things about forgiveness and stated she knew I was haunted by what happened. I attended church a few times when I wasn't working and I began reading the Bible.

The healing that I needed finally came, but only after learning to forgive myself and learning to accept and like myself for who I am. With that came a change in me. I became a calmer, more peaceful and more loving and accepting person. I didn't notice it at first, but as I look back, I can really notice a difference. God has been very good to me. I now have everything need and more than I could ever hope for!

Male sure to come back tomorrow to find out what surprise blessing God granted me!


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