101 Bible Stories Illustrated by Dan Andreasen

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I was so excited when I got this sweet little book in the mail. It has 101 Bible stories, hitting all the highlights in the Bible. It is hard-bound and about the size of a Bible, only thinner.

The stories have been simplified of course, each one fits on one page. I would not say everything is 100% true to the Bible. For example, the pictures portray Jesus as having long hair, which we do not believe to be true. Also in the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, it says the king saw a fourth man who “looks like a god.” But the Bible quotes King Nebuchadnezzar as saying “the Son of God.” Although these accounts aren’t entirely accurate, it wouldn’t keep me from reading to my children, explaining as I go. The problems are minor and don’t take away from the good this little book can do.

I really love the pictures. They are clearly drawings, yet don’t have that cartoonish look that so many Bible story books have.

We’re so glad we have this book and are enjoying reading it together!

I received the book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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A Heart’s Rebellion by Ruth Axtell

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This is a sequel to Moonlight Masquerade, which I read last year and loved! However, this book stands alone, it just contains a few ties to the previous book.

Jessamine is very young, but has already experienced heartbreak when the man she thought loved her, decided he was a better fit for another woman. Even though she has no intentions of falling in love, Jessamine and her close friend Megan are enjoying a “season” in London. They are hoping to meet eligible young men and fall in love, but at first it seems hopeless! They find themselves despairing at the stuffy, proper atmosphere, which causes a first meeting with Lancelot Marfleet.

Lancelot, from a very wealthy and prominent family grates on Jessamine’s nerves. However, she soon finds he’s not like all the other formal English gentlemen but refuses to admit she likes him.

As the story unwinds, there are complications. Jessamine goes against her better judgment and finds herself in a very immoral and dangerous situation. Of course, Lancelot comes to her rescue, but can he ever love her after learning what she’s done?

I received the book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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The Gift of Love by Amy Clipston

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I don’t read too many biographies or memoirs, but I recently read one of Amy Clipston’s Amish novels, so this one intrigued me.

Amy is a Christian fiction writer, and her dream begins to be fulfilled during the darkest days of her life.

Her father suffers a stroke while she is still in college, giving her young adult life much difficulty. During those days, she meets her soul-mate Joe, and the story is sweet but still has very many turns ahead. Just a few years into their marriage, they realize Joe has a kidney disease. But before too much time goes by, he receives a new kidney and they hope life can gain some stability again.

Only it seems life will stay wrought with stress and toil for a while as his body rejects his new kidney. It takes several more years before they can once again find peace. As Joe’s body has to undergo dialysis, he is weak, irritable and the entire family hurts and suffers.

Not only is there poor health to deal with, but Amy finds herself struggling to parent their two sons, while working full-time to provide health insurance and to pay the bills. A publishing company gives her a contract for an Amish series. This gives Amy an escape from the stress that surrounds her, and also helps provide extra income.

Amy is determined to be a kidney donor, but is disappointed to find she is no match for her precious husband. So they sign up through a paired donation program and are accepted. After a few months, there is a match! Miraculously, they are paired with another couple. Amy’s kidney goes to a suffering woman whose husband donates his healthy kidney to Joe. It is a precious thing, and the couples are able to meet and talk while in the hospital.

This is a very sweet story and anyone would enjoy reading it.

I received the book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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In the Shadow of Jezebel by Mesu Andrews

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Have I ever mentioned I LOVE biblical fiction? I really do! It’s so fun to see the truth of the Bible, interwoven with the unknown… what might-have been. This story is incredible. It’s so very eye-opening to the duties of the high priest in the work of the Temple. It’s horrifying, seeing all the works of Jezebel, and her wicked daughter Athaliah. It’s so intriguing to read of Jehosheba, the heroine of the story, and her faith in God to hide the young prince Jehoash from the queens who would take his life!

Meet Jehosheba, the adopted daughter of Athaliah. She has been raised to be a political success, and will soon become a priestess in Baal’s temple, forced to commit mutilating actions on her own body, and others’, as well as other disgusting and mis-guided forms of “worship.” But as Judah is attacked, and her forces almost wiped out, Jezebel and Athaliah come up with a new plan for Jehosheba. She will be forced to marry the high priest, and win his confidence, thus underhandedly bringing Baal into the place where God should be. She must not fail! Jezebel and Athaliah have ordered the killings of many of their own children, so Jehosheba knows she must make them proud.

Meet Jehoida, the new high priest. He is much older than Jehosheba, but after much prayer and consulting the Urim and Thummim, he agrees to marry Jehosheba. What Jehosheba doesn’t count on is Jehoida’s love, and most importantly, the love of the true God. The God her ancestors worshipped.

Jehosheba is put in danger time after time. She learns to worship and serve the one true God, but she must make Athaliah believe she is still doing her bidding. As they are “wise without lies” throughout the story, you will see the plan of God coming to action, and His amazing protection prevailing!

You will love this book! I highly recommend it!

I received the book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter by Rob & Joanna Tiegen

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This was a very sweet read. It is written for Dads of Daughters. The authors write that of course you love your daughter so much, but where do you begin to pray for a young lady you do not understand? There are 88 life situations given, along with Scripture and a model prayer for that area of her life.

I was not expecting the format for some reason. The title of the book says it all, though! It was difficult to just read it through, but it would make a great reference book. When my daughters are faced with a difficulty, I can grab this book and find the matching section, read the Scriptures and model prayer for guidance.

One thing I really loved about this book: In the model prayers, there is usually a reference to the Dad himself being the example in that area that he should be. For instance, if his daughter is struggling with being discontent, the father should pray that he himself would be content, and be a good example in that area.

Another thing I really loved: It could be called Parents’ Prayers for Their Children, as most of it is not necessarily for Dads, or Daughters.

I received the book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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It’s a Mean (FB) World

I have had several sad observations lately while scrolling through my newsfeed and thought I’d just share a few things to ponder. I LOVE facebook. I don’t think I’ll ever delete my account (though I’ve thought about it several times!) because it’s my main means of communication with college friends, childhood friends, and a much easier way to share (with those who care) how the kids are growing and how everyone is getting along. I am in a few Ministry and Home school groups that have helped me tremendously!

That being said, I cannot be silent on a few problems I see almost daily:

  1. Those who think they can tell everyone what to do. From health and beauty to raising kids, to how long a person should pray each day, to what kind of minivan they would NEVER buy, I’ve seen a lot of opinions. Of course, anyone can post whatever they want on their status! But anything can be said with kindness! And so much of it is unnecessary. Would you say that to someone’s face? Then don’t say it on facebook.
  2. Those who tell everyone when they are wrong. So many times I have gotten involved in an argument. And I’m pretty sure it’s never made much of a difference. Of course there may be those who are silently reading and my opinion may be helping them. But it does bad things to my stress level. ;) And if someone doesn’t ask for an opinion, I really don’t think I should give it! And even if they ask, I can be kind, even if I disagree with them. If I wouldn’t give my opinion in person, then I probably shouldn’t give it on facebook.
  3. Those who constantly brag. We all have them on our news feed. I have been guilty of being one of them. It’s good to always ask myself why I am posting something. Am I wanting others to envy what I have an opportunity to do? Am I wanting to make others wish they had my clean house (which was only clean long enough for the picture!)? Do I hope people will be amazed at my profound wisdom in that statement I just made? Do I want others to wish they could go on the vacation I just took? There can be so much pride involved in what we post. I’m not saying we should never share, but consider how it may make someone feel. If I were in a group of (physical) friends, would I shout out “Look at my clean living room?” I doubt it.
  4. Those who unfriend or delete their account multiple times. If someone disagrees with us constantly, it can wear on our nerves, and there is probably a time to unfriend someone. In real life, it would be harder to do this, but there is this beautiful word called “ignore.” It means we don’t have to type back when someone gets on our nerves. The arguing will stop if we simply don’t argue. I personally think if you unfriend someone, it’s like a child screaming, “You’re not my friend anymore!”

Facebook is a different world than the physical world, so every part cannot be compared. This is all my opinion, so take it or leave it.  I just think we would all benefit from being more careful, and a little kinder when we post. :)

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Blessed Child by Ted Dekker & Bill Bright

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From the back of the book:

“A young orphaned boy was abandoned and raised in an Ethiopian monastery. He has never seen outside its walls—at least, not the way most people see. Now he must flee or die.

But the world beyond is hardly ready for a boy like Caleb. When relief expert Jason Marker agrees to rescue Caleb from the monastery, he unwittingly opens humanity’s doors to an incredible journey filled with political intrigue and peril. Jason and Leiah—the French-Canadian nurse who escapes the monastery with him—quickly realize Caleb’s supernatural power to heal. But so do the boy’s enemies, who will stop at nothing to destroy him. Jason and Leiah fight for Caleb’s survival while the world erupts in debate over the source of the boy’s power.

In the end nothing can prepare them for what they discover.”

This book is non-stop surprise and action! There are many miracles, many twists and turns. Will Jason and Leiah be in time to save Caleb’s life? Will the Tempest destroy him?

A great read! I definitely recommend it!

I received the book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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She’s Twelve Going on Twenty by Kim Camp

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This was one of my first “daughter” books to read. I have read several books on raising boys, but not as many on girls. Kim Camp gives a good overview of a young girl’s life. She divides the book into 3 sections: your daughter’s spirit, your daughter’s soul, your daughter’s body. It is well-organized and has wonderful ideas to put the ideas into practice and make it part of your everyday life, instead of just a bunch of ideas you’re not sure how to apply!

The spirit section covers what your daughter believes about God, and how you help her in that area. As she grows up, she will likely have questions about other types of religions, and even difficult questions about God’s existence, and about the Bible. She may make other friends who believe differently. The author wisely suggests never “shooting down” her questions, but to approach her gently and go to the Bible together to discover why we believe what we believe, and why we wouldn’t participate in other religions.

The soul section has chapters on friends, boys, and peer pressure. It has a wide array of stories of others who have gone through difficulties, and how different teen girls approach certain situations. Again, there is much practical advice.

The body section talks about drugs, sex, and even eating disorders. Our girls are faced with so much in the media and entertainment today, and it is easy for her to get a false image of how she “should” look. I loved the author’s advice for you and your daughter to make lists of what the ideal woman should act and look like. Then you can compare them and see which ones are really important.

One of the resounding themes throughout this book is listening. It is SO important to listen to our daughters. They have so many emotions and feelings, and they need you to help them work through them. There is also mention of a “safe box.” When you employ this ideal you simply draw a square on a piece of paper and tell your daughter that no matter what she writes here, she will be safe. She will never be belittled because of this. It is a great way for her to open up and tell you things she’s been afraid of.

I definitely recommend this book and will probably pull it back off the shelf for a second read when my daughters get older!

I received the book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Fun Gender Reveal for Baby #4!

We found out in April that God was giving us another little blessing! We are excited and thankful!

From the beginning of our marriage, I always thought I would love to be surprised with the gender if I already had a boy and a girl. That way, I would already have the “stuff” and could just sit back. But, I just couldn’t hold out…none of us could! So, we decided to do a fun gender reveal.

I scoped the internet and pinterest for fun ideas. Here we go…

On ultrasound day, it was so hard not to peek. The technician went for the gender right away. Baby was in a great position, so she had us close our eyes for a minute or two. As soon as she wrapped up the ultrasound, she put the sweet surprise in an envelope. All that held the envelope closed was a tiny piece of tape! Ahh! It was so hard not to open it! When we got to the car, I held it up to the light to try to cheat! I know, I know! Pretty desperate! But thank goodness, I couldn’t see!

A sweet friend asked if she could please help with the reveal, so I said “Sure!” She came over a few days later, and took some pictures and pulled off the whole shebang for us!

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It was so fun! The cans of silly string were wrapped with paper, and decorated. We each had one in our hands. Camera ready, go!

IMG_3954 Edit ReadyAt first, I couldn’t tell what color the string was! It looked white! But when I looked up in the trees, I could see the PINK!

“Ahhh! It’s a girl!” I said!

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IMG_3975Jackson said, “I wish it was a boy.”

Kids! ;)

Thank you to Cassie King for the beautiful pictures, and hard work! You really made our day special!

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Under a Blackberry Moon by Serena B. Miller

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This is the sweet story of a young Chippewa woman who finds love in more ways than one. Moon Song married a white man, much to the dismay of her elderly grandmother. Years earlier, Moon Song’s own mother had also married a white man and he had broken her heart, causing her early death. After Moon Song was grown and married to her own white man, she was widowed, and being far from home, she stumbled into a logging camp with a tiny newborn. She meets kind Christian people who help and love her. But she can’t stay forever. It’s time to go back to her own people.

Skypilot, nicknamed for his profession, agrees to see that Moon Song gets home safely, so they board a steamer and head up the Great Lakes. But tragedy strikes, and the two of them find themselves in the wilderness, struggling to survive.

Will this bring them closer, or drive them apart? There’s definitely a spark between them. But they have different faiths, and completely different cultures? Will Moon Song come to know the true God? Can Skypilot accept the ways of her people?

This is a fascinating read. Though the book is fiction, I was saddened to know that some of its contents were based on true stories. And the Indians were faced with very harsh treatment time after time.

The love story ends as one would suspect, but there is a twist at the end that makes the story so precious. Great book!

On sale now in your Revell bookstore, a division of Baker Publishing.

I received the book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 

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