Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Twelve Unlikely Heroes Review

Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur is about twelve people in the Bible and why God chose them to do His will. The twelve people are:
  • Enoch
  • Joseph
  • Miriam
  • Gideon and Samson
  • Jonathan
  • Jonah
  • Esther
  • John the Baptist
  • James
  • Mark and Onesimus
 I liked the history behind Enoch because I really haven't read much about him before. I also started to think about how old people got back then and how this was even possible.
I loved the chapter about Esther, it brought a different side to the story I hadn't thought about before.
James, the brother of Jesus, was a chapter I enjoyed a lot as well, thinking back to when Jesus was a little boy and what that must have been like.

The other chapters in the book are good but are a brief overview of those people and their lives. I would have liked to read more about the history behind the times and the people than was written. Granted the author is fitting twelve people's lives into one book. It makes me want to read a book about just one of the people for a more in depth understanding.

Overall this is a great read and I enjoyed reading it!

"I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson Publishing through their Booksneeze program. This is my honest opinion of the book."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Christmas in Apple Ridge Book Review

Christmas in Apple Ridge is a collection of three novellas: The Sound of Sleigh Bells, The Christmas Singing, and The Dawn of Christmas by Cindy Woodsmall. The Dawn of Christmas is her new novella and finishes this collection nicely.

I liked the characters in these books and the delicious looking recipes at the end of the second two books. There is always good food in Woodsmall's books and I love that she includes recipes.
I really enjoyed the first book in this collection because the two characters end up writing letters to each other throughout the story. I love it when people write letters, as I used to do the same with my husband before we were married. The Sound of Sleigh Bells was a little bit more difficult for me to get into, but it ended up being a good story. The Christmas Singing is a good light read as is the Dawn of Christmas. Beth Hertzler, Mattie, and, Sadie are fun characters to read about because their lives and problems are real and honest.

I recommend this collection to anyone wanting to read light Christmas stories. (I tried to imagine myself curled up by a warm fire while reading this!)

I will say that I do love Woodsmall's writing, but her novels I enjoy better than her  novellas.

Read the first chapter here.

Order Christmas in Apple Ridge over here.

Cindy Woodsmall's website has a lot of information on this book and the making of the book collection.

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. This is my honest opinion of the book."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I'm Wonderful Me Book Review

I'm Wonderful Me by H.L. Hall is a wonderful children's book that encourages a child's self -worth. Different animals are the illustrations that the author drew herself. Each page starts with "Look at me, look at me, look at what I can be, I can be anything I want to, look at me, I'm a lion, bird, etc". Hall encourages the book to be sang along with to the tune of "Oh My Darling, Clementine". At the end of the book Hall includes tips on how to make the reading of the book more interactive and encourage children. 

Check out this link to see more pages from the book.

Buy the book here.

This book is also available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Heather, the wonderful lady who wrote this book, is someone that I dearly love and grew up knowing. I used to watch her two boys and it's so exciting that she has written a book!

I don't have kids but this book is so cute. Check it out!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Week Two-gods of pleasure

Week two in the gods at war Bible study. This week it is about the gods of pleasure and mainly focused on one man's story about his obsession for food. Food is one thing that "if it makes you feel good, do it". Where do you go for comfort? What is the first response that you have when you need to feel comforted? Is it God or something else and then God? Is God your last resort? God has so much more to offer us than the temporary gods of pleasure. 

A man in our Bible study made a comment that I thought was brilliant and very true. "God would rather be the fix not the temporary solution".

Too often we think of God as being there for us just in case we need him. We always need him and He wants to be the solution to all of our problems, not just the difficult times.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sheri Rose Shepherd "We are on the same team and fighting the same enemy"

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Sheri Rose Shepherd

We Are on the Same Team and Fighting the Same Enemy
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)

By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach

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Think about what makes your heart melt when you watch a great love story. It's not the hero's physical strength or his beloved's beauty, is it? No, you and I are drawn to the power of true love and its inexplicable ability to prevail over tragedy and adversity. The greater the conflict, the stronger the love must be in order to resolve the issue. When the hero does whatever it takes to save the relationship, our hearts soar with renewed hope. Likewise, as we seek to truly listen and understand our men when differences between us create friction, we set ourselves up for more satisfying and loving relationships.

The Author of love and life and the Designer of our differences knew there would be conflict between men and women. The real problem comes, though, when we get accustomed to seeing relational problems solved in the time it takes to eat a bag of popcorn. Our hero and his beauty have less than two hours to defeat the dragons and overcome unspeakable challenges. You and I are not going to magically resolve deep relationship conflicts in our own wisdom and definitely not in less than two hours.

When I met my husband, Steve, I was sure we were a match made in heaven. In fact, we have had the privilege of being in ministry together for most of our marriage. I wish I could tell you it's been an effortless, wonderful life for the two of us, but I would be lying to you.

I learned to fight loud and strong by watching my parents. My brother and I would hide together in my bedroom as our parents tore into each other during arguments, often screaming and throwing things. Because of my broken family, when I first got married I was sure that every conflict between me and Steve would end our marriage.

Steve was raised by parents who had stayed married, so it was impossible for him to relate to my fears and worries. He was raised in quieter surroundings. His parents dealt with conflict quite differently from mine. There was no rage. No yelling. No broken furniture. His parents rarely fought—and never in front of their children. But his family also had no system to resolve conflict. That meant issues went unresolved—though not unnoticed.

Steve's and my fighting techniques were drastically different. However, neither of us had been equipped to deal appropriately with marital conflict. That led to major challenges early in our marriage whenever we attempted to resolve a disagreement. To make things even more difficult, when I married Steve I was a new Christian and had not yet learned how to channel my anger properly.

I tried everything to get him to react or resolve conflict with me, and as I waited, I became more bitter and he became more distant. One day I couldn't take Steve's calm, cool responses anymore. From my perspective, he obviously needed some lessons on how to fight for our marriage. I'd had enough of his "let's work it out peacefully by ignoring our problems" act. In my mind, he was being polite only to annoy me.

"Why don't you ever show some emotion and prove to me you care about our marriage?" I yelled.

Steve stood there quietly, shaking his head and looking down at the ground. Then suddenly, he turned toward the mirror on our bedroom closet door and kicked it as hard as he could, smashing it to bits.

Wow, I thought, what a performance. He sure learns fast.

Suddenly I began to laugh hysterically through my tears. I was so shocked I wasn't sure if I was relieved or ready to run from what I saw. His toenail was jutting out at a bizarre angle as he asked me, "Is that enough emotion for you? If it would help, I could probably throw myself on the floor and work up a good cry." We both began to laugh together as we attempted to pick up the glass fragments scattered all over our bedroom floor. In that moment I realized how much we had shattered each other just because we were different and had not been trained on how to resolve conflict. Our marriage was not the problem; it was our hearts. Neither of us had a teachable spirit.

It took several years, a lot of tears, and one expensive closet door mirror to repair the damage inflicted during those early years. We still have conflict, as all couples do, but we now understand that we are on the same team and that it's okay not to agree on everything.

After twenty-five years of marriage, we've decided it's worth letting go of the little things and fighting to understand one another. Conflict comes no matter who we marry. We may be fighting about different things with different men, but there will always be major differences between men and women. I once heard a pastor say that if spouses agreed on everything, only one of them would be needed. Let's not allow our differences to divide us any longer!

For a sneak peek of Sheri Rose's Your Heart's Desire Group Experience, or to learn more about her ministry, visit

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sheri Rose Shepherd: Desiring a "Happily Ever After"

Desiring a "Happily Ever After"
Fighting the Temptation to Give Up on Love and Marriage
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach
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I don't know where you stand today with the man you love or loved—or if you are single, divorced, separated, or widowed. I can tell you, though, that if you've been hurt, you can be sure Your heavenly Father knows how hard it is to love and forgive the one who caused you pain. Yet regardless of the relational devastation you face, no one can keep you from finishing strong for God's glory!

I was raised in a non-Christian home. My parents have each been married and divorced to three different people. As part of several blended families, all I understood about marriage when I was growing up was "unhappily ever after." But then I became a Christian at twenty-four and married my husband, Steve, just a few years later. Because of my love for God and my husband, I honestly didn't think anything could shake my own marriage or faith.

In the summer of 2007, however, my happily ever after was wiped out and my faith was tested. The family foundation I had worked so hard to build and protect was almost destroyed, along with my ministry, in that season of my life. I truly believed that God had forsaken me.

I had just finished writing my book for mothers about raising sons to become godly husbands. As I excitedly ran upstairs to e-mail the manuscript to the publisher, I suddenly felt as if something dark hovered over me. My passion for the book's message was drowned out by the fear of an attack from the enemy that could come against me and my family if I stepped on his territory . . . young men and their future marriages.

I called the publisher and said I'd need to wait and pray for courage before submitting the manuscript. I went to my son, Jake, who was eighteen years old and a senior in high school at the time, and asked him if he had any plans of rebelling against his faith once he graduated from high school. I told him I was willing to give him freedom to find his own faith in Christ, but I didn't want to put out a book about raising boys if my own son was going to walk away from the Lord. He reassured me that he was strong in his faith and that he felt I should publish the book. I decided to take the chance to make a difference and sent in the manuscript.

The book began climbing the charts, and everything seemed to be going well. I even began speaking with my son at conferences for mothers of boys. Then three months into my book tour, my fear of attack hit. My husband had taken a job that we had both prayed for. This job appeared to be a blessing; however, his new position required him to violate some of the boundaries we had put in place to protect our marriage, and we ended up separated.

There I was in the public eye of ministry, fighting to save future marriages, and somehow my own marriage was falling apart. My son was devastated by the division between me and his dad. It was too hard for him to deal with all his confusion, pain, and anger, so he took a break from his faith and began using drugs and alcohol to comfort himself. I had always known to run to God for cover when there was a great attack, but now I felt like He had left me alone on the battlefield to fight for myself. It appeared that all I had believed about God and all my effort to build a strong foundation for my own family had been shattered. My pain, my shame, and my life were an embarrassment. I felt as if I were battling an out-of-control fire that would burn up everything I loved and lived for. Every night I would cry myself to sleep as I struggled to understand why God had not protected me while I was attempting to accomplish something for His glory.

One night I could not take it anymore, so I fell to my knees and told God I either wanted Him to fix my family or I wanted to quit the ministry. Then I felt the Lord asking me a bigger question: Was My life, given on a cross for you, not enough for you to finish strong even if it means surrendering the life you wanted? For the first time I realized that my heart's true desire was to feel loved and secure, and yet no man on earth could love me the way my Lord does. In that moment of crisis I found the true meaning of following Christ. God had not forsaken me, but He did want to free me from depending on others to give me my happily ever after.

That night I gave my heart's deepest desire to God and chose to follow Him at any cost. In exchange, He gave me something so much better; He gave me peace that was more powerful than my circumstances. My faith was no longer in people; it was in Christ alone. Although nothing outwardly had changed yet, I had been changed. Today, Steve and I have celebrated twenty-five years of marriage, and our son serves God with His whole heart. He and his bride have given us our first grandbaby girl. However, to be honest, restoring our marriage was excruciatingly painful and more difficult than either of us expected. As hard as this trial was, it taught me a valuable lesson: our Lord is the God of comfort and the author of a new beginning. He can and will rebuild a beautiful life out of any broken heart willing to make a change. He will use one sacrificial choice; one act of forgiveness; one sincere, repentant heart; and one woman who is willing to step out in faith and start rebuilding with His love for His glory.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)

For more teaching from the Your Heart's Desire book and Bible study, visit

I was offered the opportunity to include some of Sheri's articles on my blog and I think she has some good things to say. I will be posting a few more like this in the next few weeks.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fall Sunset

My husband took me for a drive the other night out to where he has been working and this is what I captured.

Call of a Coward Book Review

Call of a Coward: The God of Mose and the Middle-Class Housewife by Marcia Moston is a very realistic read about following God even when it seems crazy.

I chose this book because I am interested in everything missions and real stories that go along with the experiences. The book takes the Moston family to Guatemala when they unexpectedly feel called by God to completely uproot their life in order to serve. They pack up their belongings and drive south from New Jersey where they live in a small village helping widows and children at a home in the middle of nowhere. Marcia learns how to live with little and buy food for the entire house and plan a menu based on necessity. The family lives there for only a few months but the Lord directs them elsewhere.

I enjoyed this book but while reading I wish it could have been longer and more stories had been written about. Marcia writes about what happened but at times I wish there was more depth to the story. Overall it is a great book about a real family that follows the Lord; I only wish I could be so brave and know when I am being called!

Recommend this book to anyone who is interested in missions.

"I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson Publishing through their Booksneeze program. This is my honest opinion of the book."

Find out more about the book at the publisher's website.

Marcia Moston's blog.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Wreath of Snow Book Review

A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs got my attention with its cover. It's a perfectly beautiful book cover and I simply couldn't resist. This story is a Victorian Novella and a rather short read. The setting is Christmas time in 1894 Stirling Scotland. Meg Campbell and the entire Campbell family have a disagreement on Christmas Eve which leads to Meg leaving her family on Christmas Eve and taking the train home. When the train is delayed, fellow passenger, Gordon Shaw, makes his presence known to Meg. When the unexpected happens Gordon and Meg conversation leads to the past and surprising realities that both had wanted to forget.

I love the train setting and Victorian atmosphere in this story. The character of Meg Campbell is charming and I wish I could read more about her story. There is a story about forgiveness when Meg and her family have to learn how to forgive, even when the past has made the present so painful at times. I like this aspect to the story because it isn't always easy to forgive and it's even more difficult to forgive yourself after carrying a burden.

Another thing I love that Higgs did with this book is by putting sayings at the beginning of each chapter that would relate to that chapters happenings. Here are two of my favorites (I love quotes and sayings that are worth repeating):

 "A hero is a an who does what he can do." Romain Rolland

"No one knows the weight of another's burden." George Herbert

There was a disappointment with this story and that is the romance between the two obvious characters. Now I understand that this is a shorter story but there is no development of a relationship or romance hardly at all. One minute the couple are meeting and the next they want to be together forever? It all seemed too fast for me and little development between the two.

If you are looking for a fresh Christmas story I recommend this Novella.

Check out this podcast about A Wreath of Snow with Liz Higgs.

Read the first chapter over here.

Also click on over to Higgs website.

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. This is my honest opinion of the book."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Family Pictures

We got these taken a few months ago...yeah I'm a little late on posting. This is Chance's family and we took these out by where his parents live. Marla Pranger, who is a longtime friend, did an amazing job on these pictures!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

gods at war

Kyle Idleman has a new DVD Bible study called Gods at War. It is a six week study that discusses idols and how anything that is in our life BEFORE God is an idol. We just started the study this week and the first video was fantastic and really makes you think.

Most people think of idols as like a little trinket that people worship or something that isn't important or maybe just an old fashioned idea. The study depicts several people who explain their idols and how something that might even be good can turn into an idol.

Kyle tied his discussion with Joshua 24. While reading the verses we realized that different versions say something different. One version says that the people would not worship other gods, my version said serve  other gods. Worship to many (myself included) always seemed to be more of like what you do in church and singing and praise. This compares worship with serving, we are to praise Him but what better honor to serve Him?

Try and think about worship as serving, it really made me think.

To conclude the study we were asked seven questions about our own idols.These questions were asked throughout the entire video as well but seemed more thought provoking at the end.

Think about it, an idol is what you live your life around. Ask yourself these questions and try to answer them.
An idol of some sort is probably the answer to these.

1. What has left you most disappointed?
2. For what do you sacrifice time and money?
3. What do you worry about?
4. Where do you go for comfort?
5. What makes you mad?
6. What do you dream of?
7. Whose encouragement means the most to you?

I will be thinking about these questions for the next week...where do I go to comfort? The answer should be the Lord but what's the truth have to say?

Check out gods at war website and video.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Albright Family Pictures

These were so fun to take and I haven't had much practice taking pictures of people. It's been a great learning experience.