Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Heaven is for Real

I thought I would probably not read this book, Heaven is for Real, as it had too much hype and I just figured I'd stay away from it. But when a friend loaned it to me, I read the first chapter and kept right on going. It was really a fast read, but WOW, what a story. Little Colton Burpo faces an emergency appendectomy and goes to see Jesus while he is in surgery. It is quite the story - one that a child just COULD NOT make up - and it leaves you smiling. What stuck with me the most is little Colton telling people over and over, "Jesus LOVES the little children - they are important to Him." Brought tears to my eyes - as we serve in Children's Ministry and I echo that mantra. This is a great little read - one that might just make you think on Heaven a bit more while on Earth.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Route 66

The Bible is just a BIG BOOK - that is a true statement. And sometimes to learn to grasp what is all in there for us, we need to take it in chunks. And that is exactly what this book, Route 66 by Krish Kandiah, has done. Kandiah has taken the Bible and broken it up so that you could feasibly take 8 weeks and get a group together and conquer the outline of the Bible. No, you wouldn't be reading the entire Bible in 8 weeks, but you are getting an overall feel for how it all fits together and what each book would have as its premise - how it all fits together. The book is extremely "read-able" - I would recommend it to the questioning, new Believer or to the person who has been a Believer for years - all will find new insights and ideas.

To learn more, visit the Route 66 website - it is FULL of many other helps.

About the Author:
Krish Kandiah is the Executive Director: Churches in Mission for the UK Evangelical Alliance. He is also an external examiner for Oak Hill College, an Associate Research Fellow at London School of Theology, and is part of the theme development group for Spring Harvest.Dr. Kandiah previously held the position of Director of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, in addition to being Tutor for the Mission and Evangelism at Wycliffe Hall. He was also an Oxford University Theology faculty member.
Before becoming the pastor of a multi-cultural church in Harrow, Kandiah worked with students in the UK with Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship, and in Albania with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students. He has wide experience in evangelism and cross cultural mission, and he is in demand around the world as a speaker and lecturer—though he is still a regular speaker at university missions and at Spring Harvest.
Dr. Kandiah and his wife, Miriam, have four elementary aged children and regularly take in foster babies. Kandiah has a keen interest in movies, photography, rock music, and Liverpool FC.

Here is what others have said about Route 66:

"One cannot travel a new way without a map. The map tells us the road to take. Route 66 is a wonderful map into experiencing the God of Scripture." Darrell Bock, Dallas Theological Seminary

"With easy humour and constant insight, Krish Kandiah tells us what we need to do to get excited about the Bible again, and to allow it to change us."
Stephen R. Holmes, University of St Andrews

"Route 66 doesn't make the Bible come alive. It shows that the Bible is alive--with the voice of God. In an age when even believers are bewildered by the Bible, Krish Kandiah shows us how all the parts of this most extraordinary book fit together and how each part makes its own contribution. He does this without either dumbing it down or ignoring some of the hard questions."
Michael Jensen, Moore College, Australia

*I was sent a copy by the publisher for review purposes.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Playing Hurt

This was a blog tour that I just hoped I'd be chosen for! I enjoy non-fiction reads that encourage and uplift my soul. Brian Goins' Playing Hurt: A Guy's Strategy for a Winning Marriage wasn't written for women, but I knew I could get my husband to read this one! Well, he has said he WILL read it - that's the good news although his schedule hasn't allowed it yet. So when he does I will post his thoughts! He did say it doesn't look like your normal "marriage book" and he does want to read it before I share it with others. So I think that's a high compliment coming from a husband that has already read MANY marriage books!

It was a great read - even from a woman's perspective! Goins knows how to encourage men in ways that they will hear and understand. He comes alongside men and shares from his own stories and lessons in ways that men will truly relate to. Whether this is a newly married man or a man growing old with his bride - the advice in this book is relevant. I want to encourage you to take the time for this book - whether you've read a million books on marriage or none at all - make it a million and one and enjoy this "playbook for marriage."

Here is what the publisher says about the book:

A marriage book that husbands will actually want to read!

Everyone admires people who play hurt, from the superstar athlete to the journeyman player who finishes the game even when hurt, sick, or falling apart. Everyone looks up to these athletes and wants to mimic their “never give up” attitude. Except when it comes to marriage. Most husbands are willing to take a bullet for their wives in a life-and-death situation; but when his bride fires the bullet--hurls an insult, disrespects him in public, ignores his foreplay in private--he’d rather throw in the towel than play through the pain.

Playing Hurt is a biblical playbook for marriage that speaks in the language most men understand—the language of sports. Using a sports analogy to explain the motivation, means, and methods of playing hurt, author Brian Goins shows men how to overcome the temptation to stay on the bench. Playing Hurt is more about inspiration than instruction. It’s about finding the motivation to stay in the game, despite the pain. It’s about becoming like the One who knew more about nails and thorns than any superstar athlete. Using Ephesians 5 as a biblical basis, this book will call husbands to be the heroes they long to be--men who play hurt in order to win at marriage.

To read what other bloggers are saying about the book - go HERE.

There is a giveaway too!!!
About the Giveaway!
To enter all you have to do is send a tweet (using @litfuse) about Playing Hurt or share about it on Facebook!

If you tweet we'll capture your entry when you use @litfuse. If you share it on Facebook or your blog, just email us and let us know ( Easy.

Not sure what to tweet/post? Here's an idea.

TWEET THIS: Playing Hurt by Brian Goins-coaches men to win the 1 game that truly matters–marriage! RT 4 a chance at $50! @litfuse

FACEBOOK THIS: Everyone admires people who play hurt, from the superstar athlete to the journeyman player who finishes the game even when hurt, sick, or falling apart. Everyone looks up to these athletes and wants to mimic their "never give up" attitude. Except when it comes to marriage. Learn more: Playing Hurt by Brian Goins

*I was provided a copy for review purposes by the publisher.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back to School

Back to School ... Pray!
By Carla McDougal

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 6:5,7

Excitement’s in the air! Anticipation rises. It’s that time of year when the kids go back to school.

Who can forget watching your child go to "big school" for the first time? I remember those bittersweet moments as each of my four children kissed me good-bye. I always knew that day would arrive, but nothing prepared me for the moment.

Elementary school seemed to fly by and almost overnight they were in junior high and then high school. And in a blink of an eye, they were off to college. Where did the years go?

I learned early on that when my children were away from home, praying for them comforted me. By turning them over to God I experienced a calm peace. Year after year my prayers intensified, yet remained the same…
• Elementary School – Will he make a friend? Will he eat all his lunch, or just the cookies and chips? God help him to love You with all his heart.
• Junior/Senior High –Will he make the right friends? Is he paying attention to the teacher? God, help him love You with all his soul.
• College - Will he make some forever friends? Is he making the right life decisions? God, help him to love You with all his strength.

Just as our children face challenges, we as moms face our own set of challenges…
• To pray over our children no matter where they are in life.
• To be on our knees for those God entrusted to us.
• To ultimately pray for each child to love Jesus with all his heart, soul, and mind!
• Finally, to let them know we are praying for them each day! What a blessing it is to pray for our children.

I ask you to take advantage of this new season too. Do you need a fresh start? Where are you in your relationship with God? In my Bible study, Reflecting Him – Living for Jesus and Loving It, I encourage you to find Jesus in your everyday activities. He is there for us 24 hours a day, and He wants to hear our everyday prayers!

Author Bio

CARLA MCDOUGAL is founder of Reflective Life Ministries headquartered in the Houston, Texas area. Her true passion for her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, shines brightly, whether she is speaking or writing. She shares experiences from her own life to encourage women to live every day for Him. God is sending Carla around the world to speak to women from all walks of life—those living in the best of circumstances to those who have hit rock bottom.

Carla’s book, Reflecting Him: Living for Jesus and Loving It, is a 10-week study that encourages you to open your eyes to God’s daily life lessons. The more you ask God to be in your life, the more you will recognize His hand on everything you do. For more information on a growing number of products from Reflective Life Ministries, and to see about booking Carla for an event or interview, go to

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Grace Card

Grace Card is truly a movie that our whole family (well minus the girls that were in bed already) enjoyed. The story is sad - a family loses their son at a young age through an accident - the rest of their time as a family is spent dealing with that loss - everyone handles it differently - from the Dad that is full of anger and pours himself into work to the teenage son that feels the only way to handle it is to act out and get in trouble. It is hard to watch - the extreme sadness that comes after their loss, but their is hope - and that is what makes this movie so powerful! LOVE the idea of a Grace Card - watch and you will see what I mean. Truly a redemptive film - we enjoyed it!

Visit the website or the Facebook page.

*I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Over the Top

Yep, it was just what I needed!! I am SO grateful to BookSneeze and Women of Faith for this amazing opportunity!!

It just blessed me to the core - from the music to the speakers to time away with my dear friend - I felt refreshed and ready to tackle the world - oh, I guess that was literal since we "tackled the world" on the way home when we hit a mammoth deer and nearly totaled our van. UGH - but praise God for the uplifting time we had BEFORE the run-in!!!

I met some other BookSneeze bloggers - that is ALWAYS FUN!!

Got to visit the BIG CITY!!

It was a wonderful weekend - they treat you right - from the little things....

To the big things - like amazing speakers and music!! I encourage you to take advantage of this if it comes near you - it is worth every minute!!

One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street

What do an empty lot, an orange tree, and a rock shaped like a heart have to do with this book?? All I can say is you will want to read it to find out!! Joanne Rocklin has SCORED with her latest novel for readers ages 8-12! One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street is just superb. I loved everything about it - it is a tender story and yet funny and completely enjoyable! It has everything our young readers can relate to - family themes, friendship, mystery, and lots of humor. Kids will relate to this touching story. It's a fast read but almost TOO fast for me - I did not want it to end!! Share this one with a young reader today - they will LOVE it!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Amish Values for Your Family

I have read some of Suzanne Woods Fisher's books - fiction stories of the Amish - but I was not familiar with her non-fiction titles on the Amish. I was pleasantly surprised - I thoroughly enjoyed Amish Values for Your Family. It is simple, down to earth advice - everyday issues and encounters that we face and then thoughts of how we might handle them differently with an example from the Amish way of life. I was challenged to think about how I handle relationships, family issues, my focus on material things - all different areas of life that are worth thinking over and knowing where you stand. I loved the humor in the book - the gentle voice it is told in isn't harsh, but gives you MUCH to think over. There is no push to "go Amish" but it is about adopting some simple principles and ideas from the Amish that may help change who we are - for the better. It is a fast read, but it is guaranteed to get you thinking!

Here are some words from Suzanne herself:

Five Things I’ve Learned from the Amish that Have Nothing to Do with being Amish and Have Everything to Do with being a Christian:

Being Amish is not a lifestyle. Life among the Amish has to do with faith. Faith can’t be squeezed to an hour or two on Sunday morning; it infuses their entire life like a teabag in hot water. What they do and how they do it is rooted in the spiritual question: What is pleasing to God?

Amish proverb: “Letting go of earthly possessions enables us to take hold of heavenly treasures.”

The Lesson: To pray about my day’s activities and offer them to God, first, for His purposes. And then trusting interruptions (seeing a friend in the grocery store, for example) or de-railings (those days when everything goes wrong!) to be God-managed.

Cherish your family. A family that works together, grows together. Amish families spend a lot of time together and try to keep their work close to home. Children are valued as gifts from God, wanted and enjoyed. They’re included in all of Amish life—from barn raisings to three-hour church services. An Amish bishop once said, "We don't prepare our children for the future, we prepare our children for eternity."

Amish proverb: “Tomorrow’s world will be shaped by what we teach our children today.”

The Lesson: Involving children in chores and activities may not be the most convenient or efficient way to accomplish a task, but the benefits are long lasting. Look for ways to get everybody involved—cook together, sweep out the garage together, set the table together. And have fun while you’re doing it!

Draw a land in the sand. The Amish want to be good stewards of God’s resources—time, money, material goods. They know that convenience comes with a cost. They don’t want to be dependent on outside sources (such as electricity or gas!). Convenience means loss of something valuable. For example, fast food means less nutrition. More stuff means more maintenance. They’re willing to say no.

Amish proverb: “Things that steal our time are usually the easiest to do.”

The Lesson: Technology has its limits. And technology isn’t all good. Evaluate purchases more thoughtfully. Think of where a purchase or an added expense will lead your family. More time together or less? More stress or less? Reframe your view of time and money and goods as God’s resources.

Watch Your Words. The Amish continually stress the importance of filtering their speech.

Amish proverb: “Words break no bones, but they can break hearts” and “Mincing your words makes it easier if you have to eat them later.”

The Lesson: Say less. Prayer more.

Nothing replaces face-to-face visits. Back in the day when telephones emerged on the scene, the Amish bishops made a deliberate decision to keep the telephone out of the house. They didn’t want to interrupt family life. But they drop everything for a face-to-face visit.

Amish proverb: “Use friendship as a drawing account, but don’t forget to make a deposit.”

The Lesson: Nurture relationships by investing face-to-face time in them. No technology can substitute for the real thing.

Honor the Sabbath. An Amish person would never think of working on a Sunday. But it’s more than that—they truly cherish their Sabbath. They spend time on Saturday to make Sunday a smooth and easy day.

Amish proverb: “Many things I have tried to grasp and have lost. That which I have placed in God’s hands I still have.”

The Lesson: Strive to make Sunday a different day than other days. A day of rest is important on so many levels—time to worship, time to reflect, time to re-energize. A re-charge your battery day.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of Amish fiction and non-fiction and the host of a weekly radio program called Amish Wisdom. Her most recent book, Amish Values for Your Family released in August. The Waiting is a finalist for a 2011 Christy Award. Amish Peace: Simple and Amish Proverbs were both finalists for the ECPA Book of the Year (2010, 2011). Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised Plain. Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world. When Suzanne isn't writing or bragging to her friends about her first new grandbaby (!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you just can't take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth. Keep up on Suzanne's latest news on Facebook, Twitter and on her blog!

Suzanne Woods Fisher is thrilled to announce the release of Amish Values for Your Family, her latest non-fiction release. "It offers loving ways to bring your fractured home back to life-Amish style. Read it and apply generously! It’s a beautiful book-funny, charming, soulful, and beautiful." -Mary Ann Kirkby

Read the reviews here.

To celebrate the release of Amish Values for Your Family, Suzanne has teamed up her publisher Revell Books to giveaway a Kindle, and with Bill Coleman (the amazing photographer used on Suzanne’s book covers) to give away a signed Bill Coleman original.

One Grand Prize winner will receive an Amish Values Prize Package (valued at over $200) and includes:

* A brand new KINDLE
* A Signed Bill Coleman original
* Amish Values for Your Family (for KINDLE)

Click on one of the icons to enter. Winner will be announced on 9/2 at Suzanne’s blog. Be sure to stop by the blogs on Suzanne’s blog tour – many have copies of Amish Values for Your Family to give away.

But, wait there's more! Suzanne is running a Bill Coleman caption contest during the month of August on her blog. Title one of Bill’s gorgeous photos for a chance to win a print from Bill’s Amish Photo site and/or a copy of Amish Values for Your Family.

*I was provided a copy of the book by the publisher for review purposes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mugabe and the White African

There are some books that you would rather not read - they are too raw, too true, and too difficult to read. This is one of them - but it is also one, that when you are done, you are spurred on to try to do all you can to fight for justice and truth! Ben Freeth tells his story of fighting for justice in Mugabe and the White African. It is the true story of Freeth's struggle to keep his farm in Zimbabwe, even though a corrupt leader, Mugabe, wants to reclaim all land that belongs to white people. This story was also the subject of a documentary that has the same name. The documentary was short listed for an Oscar in 2010. This is a story that we all need to be aware of - it happened, may even still be happening, and we can not hide our heads in the sand and pretend it isn't happening.

Here is what has also been said about the book - and some more pertinent information as well:

Ben Freeth has an extraordinary story to tell. Like that of many white farmers, his family's land was "reclaimed" for redistribution by Mugabe's government.

But Ben's family fought back. Appealing to international law, they instigated a suit against Mugabe's government in the SADC, the Southern African equivalent of NATO. The case was deferred time and again while Mugabe's men pulled strings. But after Freeth and his parents-in-law were abducted and beaten within inches of death in 2008, the SADC deemed any further delay to be an obstruction of justice. The case was heard, and was successful on all counts.

But the story doesn't end there. In 2009 the family farm was burned to the ground. The fight for justice in Zimbabwe is far from over--this book is for anyone who wants to see into the heart of one of today's hardest places and how human dignity flourishes even in the most adverse circumstances.

Read the press release for more:

The PBS debut of Mugabe and the White African, the award-winning documentary of the same name, was on July 26. Watch now at PBS:

To learn more about the blog tour - go HERE.
*I was sent a copy of the book for review purposes by the publisher.

Across the Wide River

Stephanie Reed has written a novel that combines history and fiction to craft a story that will capture young and old alike. Across the Wide River tells the story of Lowry Rankin - a young boy that is heavily involved with the Underground Railroad. His story is intriguing - riveting really - all he goes through to move people along the railroad to safety comes out clearly in this story. All he gives up to be a part of this dangerous but important part of history is amazing - his story is eye-opening. What I loved about this book is that it is even based on the real Rankin family - and their involvement with the Underground Railroad. This would tie in so nicely with a unit on the Underground Railroad too - keep that in mind, all of you teachers!! The story is wonderfully told and would be just as poignant for a teen or an adult. Reed has written a sequel as well, The Light Across the River, and I am anxious to read that as well. I love it that you can experience this novel while you read and then go and follow the path in real life - don't miss Reed's website to see how to trace the Rankin route and continue on your own journey!

*I was sent a copy for review purposes by the publisher.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Love You More

Books that have anything to do with adoption call my name. I just love to read what others have to say about adoption and how it has worked for their family. So Jennifer Grant's book, Love You More, totally grabbed me. And it did not disappoint - Grant is honest and intuitive. She shares from her heart and does not sugar-coat either the process of adoption or life after adoption. I was smiling along at things that had been said to us as well or things we had experienced in our adoptions, but there were also points where I was empathizing with how Grant felt or reading how her Guatemalan adoption differed from our experiences. I learned a lot, I was reminded of much, and now am going to re-read it! I guarantee you will come away with something to chew on -

There is one quote in the book that I have shared with others already and it is making quite an impact:

"I read once that the best predictor of happiness in families who have adopted children is the parents' certainty that their children are meant to be theirs. Such parents are not just trying to be nice. They are not trying to work off a debt of guilt to the world's poor because they drive a Lexus or own a lake house. They are not trying to be faithful to their religion. Sure, one or more more of those things may also motivate or encourage them at various points in the process, but guilt and pity are not the primary reasons they want to adopt. No, these parents know, in some deep, spiritual, and authentic sense, that this is the way their family was meant to be created."

*I was provided a copy of this book for review purposes.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Growing Up Green

If you've ever entertained the idea of working alongside your child and exploring nature - you will LOVE this great guidebook! Charles E. Majuri's Growing Up Green is a "simple gardening book for children and adults". This is a small book packed with a lot of info. It starts with planning your garden out with your child, to activities for each month as you watch your plants grow, to teaching your children about plants, seeds, etc. This was an informative book - and had a lot of great ideas for sharing your love of gardening with the younger generation.

*I was provided a copy for review purposes by the publisher.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Ultimate Top Secret Guide to Taking Over the World

Yep - this is it! The book that will keep kids laughing for hours! Kenn Nesbitt has teamed up with illustrator Ethan Long to create a book that is guaranteed to keep them laughing! The Ultimate Top Secret Guide to Taking Over the World is quite a read! Haven't we all wanted to take over the world!?!? Ok, maybe not, but let's just say you did - then this is definitely the read for you! (And raising three boys - I can safely say that this would have SCORED BIG TIME with them!!) But parents be warned - after your children read this book - life may not be the same...LOOK OUT!

For readers ages 9 and up.

*I was provided a copy for review purposes by the publisher.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

2 GREAT Reads for Younger Readers

I was recently sent two books that you NEED to discover before the summer is over!

Hailey Twitch by Lauren Barnholdt is a fun young readers series with a wonderfully spunky main character by the name of Hailey. She is just a hilarious heroine and one with a fun secret that is "magical"! If your child enjoys the Clementine series or Moxy Maxwell books - I am sure they will thoroughly enjoy Hailey. Her latest book, Hailey Twitch and the Campground Itch will be a fun story for summer and even made me chuckle right out loud a few times!

If it's a boy reader that you need to please - Horrid Henry is where it's at! Francesca Simon's Horrid Henry series is one that boys devour. Horrid Henry is hilarious and a little bit mischievous - hmmm, sound like any boys you know!?!? This latest release, Horrid Henry Rocks - is no exception! Henry wants to go see his favorite band in the whole wide world, but his family gets tickets to "Daffy and Her Dancing Daisies" instead - yep, he handles it like any true rocker would!!

Both books are geared to readers ages 7-10 and are beginning chapter books.

*I was sent both of these titles for review purposes by the publisher.

Monday, August 01, 2011

It's a Giveaway!!!

Remember THIS post?? Well I STILL love the book, highly recommend it and NOW have a copy to give away!!

Here's what you need to do:
1 entry - post about this giveaway on your blog and leave a comment.
1 entry - Tweet it and leave a comment with your twitter "handle".
1 entry - post about this giveaway on Facebook and leave me a comment.
1 entry - "Like" In The Pages on Facebook and leave me a comment to let me know you did it!

The drawing will be held on Friday, August 19!! Stop back to find out if you've won your very own copy. Believe me, you want your own so you can mark it all up!!

Search This Blog