Sunday, May 31, 2009

Discovering the religions of the world

Nelson's Illustrated Guide to Religions - A Comprehensive Introduction to the Religions of the World
By James A. Beverley
Published at Thomas Nelson

About the book.
A comprehensive introduction to the religions of the world analyzed from a Christian perspective
Nelson's Illustrated Guide to Religions covers more than 200 religions, sects, and cults, most of them ones the reader might encounter on any given day. It is the most complete and up-to-date Christian guide to world religions. Perfect for the student as well as the layperson. Written by leading expert in religions, James A. Beverley. Benefits include: Easy-to-follow format and comprehensive content make this the perfect resource for both scholars and laypersons Reader's knowledge of world religions is expanded, providing a new context for their own faith and world view

Who is James Beverley?
James A. Beverley is Professor of Christian Thought and Ethics at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Canada and Associate Director, Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara. He has specialized in the study of new and world religions for three decades. He is the author of many books, including Religions A to Z, Christ and Islam, and Islamic Faith in America. Dr. Beverley has taught in Africa, Europe, India, South America, and throughout the United States and Canada. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion, Evangelical Theological Society, and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.

My thoughts
This is a reference book that anyone should have on their bookshelf. This book is packed with information and data about many world religions. Some of the religions you would learn more about are: Baha’I, Branch Davidians, Buddhism, Christian Science, Christian Sectarian Groups, Hinduism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Judaism, Mormonism, New Age, Orthodoxy, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Satanism, Scientology, Sikhism, Unification church and Witchcraft.

This book introduces us to the major religions in the world as well as their leaders, doctrines, beliefs and practices. The author also provides some criticisms on important points. I enjoyed reading about the religions I knew more like Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Islam and I must honestly say that I look forward to learn more about other religions in the world. This book is necessary I think for any Christians because it introduces us to the beliefs of other religions and gives us some material to work on when we interact with people following that religion. As Christians, I think it is important that we know our Bible but I think it is also important that we know what someone else belief if we are to have a good interaction about religion.

The author also presents various internet sources for the religions included in the book. These internet resources can also help us to identified sites that are not supporting the Christian belief. These sites are not always easy to identify sometimes. I’m glad that Mr. Beverley took the time to list these.

With each new chapter in the book there is a lesson 101 on the religion presented. I think it is important to get a basic level of what the beliefs of that religion are before starting to read about it. For each religion presented in the book, the author takes the time to explain the practices and doctrines. For example, for the Catholic faith, he explains how a new pope is elected which is a process that some do not understand. He also highlights the various investigations encountered by various religions. You will also find some questions and answers to help you understand the belief system of the religion you are looking into. Mr. Beverley also gives a chronology of the various religions presented in his book.

The author also identifies ten tests for Truth in religion. I think anyone should approach their own faith tradition by going through these tests – God test, Christological test, biblical test, love test, spirit test, freedom test, psychological test, social/political test, prophetic test, and rational test.

In conclusion, I think this book is well done and gives us an insight on the various religions we can find in the world. Again, I seriously believe that it is important as Christians to understand our neighbors and to love them – one way of doing this is to get a proper perspective of their faith. Then we can discuss with them and present the Truth of following Christ.

This guide is available at every bookstore and even on the internet like and

Being in limbo... while reading?

Saints in Limbo
By River Jordan
Published at WaterBrook

About the novel
Ever since her husband Joe died, Velma True’s world has been limited to what she can see while clinging to one of the multicolored threads tied to the porch railing of her home outside Echo, Florida.
When a mysterious stranger appears at her door on her birthday and presents Velma with a special gift, she is rattled by the object’s ability to take her into her memories–a place where Joe still lives, her son Rudy is still young, unaffected by the world’s hardness, and the beginning is closer than the end. As secrets old and new come to light, Velma wonders if it’s possible to be unmoored from the past’s deep roots and find a reason to hope again.

Who is River Jordan?
River Jordan is a critically acclaimed novelist and playwright whose unique mixture of southern and mystic writing has drawn comparisons to Sarah Addison Allen, Leif Enger, and Flannery O’Connor. Her previous works include The Messenger of Magnolia Street, lauded by Kirkus Reviews as “a beautifully written, atmospheric tale.” She speaks around the country and makes her home in Nashville.

My thoughts
I tried. I tried really hard to enjoy this book. But after reading more than 16 chapters, I still don’t get it. I’m lost on what is going on and what is the whole purpose of the novel. I sense there are dealings with spiritual beings with the main characters but somehow it is not so clear. I guess I am not a brainy kind of woman. When I read a novel, I prefer being part of it and travel with the characters. But this novel – I’m lost – in limbo – literally.
Oh I know someone who seems to have enjoyed the novel a lot. So that kind of novel does speak to others. Just not me I guess! There is a whole mystical idea throughout the novel which totally eludes me. I’ve read other books that contain some sort of spiritual battles in it and were captivating for me. Somehow this particular novel doesn’t hit the spot.
It seems that after 16 chapters I could enjoy the novel more and I will continue reading it just because I hate not finishing something I started. I know I’m bizarre but if I don’t finish the book, how will I know if there isn’t something that will touch me later on.

If you like not so evident novels, I think you might want to look into this one.

Saints in Limbo is available everywhere even at and

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Amish Love

What’s all the hubbub about Amish fiction? Major media outlets like Time and ABC Nightline are covering it, and authors like Cindy Woodsmall are making the New York Times bestseller list regularly. What makes these books so interesting?

Check out the recent ABC Nightline piece here ( about Cindy and her titles When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and When the Soul Mends. It’s an intriguing look at Amish culture and the time Cindy has spent with Amish friends.

And don’t forget that Cindy’s new book The Hope of Refuge hits store shelves August 11, and is available for preorder now.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Let's Grow with BeechNut!

As a BzzAgent, I recently received a box containing products from BeechNut. I immediately shared them with people I knew their kids would appreciate a different kind of snack. My own 17 month old daughter enjoys the Biter Biscuits and the Yogurt Nibbles.

These products are made with whole grain, do not contain preservatives or artificial colours or flavors, no added salt. One of the product even contains real yogurt. They are great for little ones!

They nibbles are the perfect size for little hands to reach, grab and eat. The cookies have a fun shape and crispy. BeechNut promises that their products won't contain junk. And I think they are doing pretty good at keeping this promise.

I recently discover that BeechNut have other products as well on the market. Their products are a little bit expensive but I would not hesitate to purchase some when we are travelling or camping. They are so easy to use and to put in a bag.

If you are looking for a product that is healthy for your toddler, check out the BeechNut products. They are worth it!

Oh and the bonus point for them is to have put some ladybugs on their Yogurt Nibbles package. *grin* - They are so cute!

Finding your child's way on the autism spectrum

Finding Your Child’s Way On The Autism Spectrum – Discovering unique strengths, mastering behavior challenges
By Dr. Laura Hendrickson
Published at Moody Publishers
About the book
It seems that nearly everyone knows a family with an autism spectrum child. Most recent figures suggest that the prevalence of all autism spectrum disorders in the United States is an astonishing one percent of the population, translating to twelve million parents and grandparents who are seeking answers.
Dr. Laura Hendrickson is a trained psychiatrist, biblical counselor, and mother of an autistic son. Building on her medical background and practical experience, Finding Your Child’s Way on the Autism Spectrum presents autism spectrum disorders as different developmental pathways rather than disabilities.
Dr. Hendrickson knows that those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders can make significant contributions to their world. She does not deny that autism is a serious challenge, but addresses specific ways to work with a child according to developmental differences. Finding Your Child’s Way on the Autism Spectrum gives the reader sound, practical tools for understanding how to guide an autism spectrum child to function more fully as the person God created him to be.

Who is Laura Hendrickson?
Laura Hendrickson is a biblical counselor, former psychiatrist, and mother of an adult son who is recovered from autism. She is a member of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors, and the author of two books on biblical counseling issues, as well as co-author of Will Medicine Stop the Pain? For more on Dr. Hendrickson, you can visit her website at

My thoughts
When I asked Moodie Publishers to receive some specific books to review, I was surprise to find two other books I didn’t asked for in the box. One of these two books was Finding Your Child’s Way On The Autism Spectrum. I was wondering why I would receive such a book as we don’t have an autistic child in our household. But I struggle with the possibility that one of my kids might have it and I think that God decided to make me understand that it wasn’t the case… Since I had not asked for this book, I decided to give priority to other ones before reviewing it. Then recently, God stirred my heart to read the book and give it away. Let me tell you how it happened… Last week, we met with our insurance representative to discuss some changes we wanted to make. While talking, we learn that her 2 ½ year old son has been diagnosed with autism. Right then, while we were talking, I sensed that I needed to give her the book. Problem was I hadn’t read it yet… We have not completed the changes we need to do as we need to think and talk about some of the options between us. This meant I had a week or two to read the book and review it before giving it away. So I brought the book at camping and read it.

This book is wonderful. Not only you would read the experience the author had with her son but she also encourage us to see a child with autism as a special person, which they are really. She takes scriptures of the Bible and explains how God can help an individual with autism.
She goes through the various things an autistic person can go through from self-stimulation to meltdowns as well as how to make sure that they are involved in various relationships with other children and adults. Sharing is hard for autistic young ones because they don’t understand why another child would destroy something they worked so hard on accomplishing. But the author, who went through this with her son, gives tips and tricks to help other parents to guide, teach and encourage their autistic child.

I also discovered that autistic children have a very sensitive hearing. Consequently when they arrive in a place where there are lots of noises, they become overwhelmed and might have a meltdown. The author gave many examples of when her son had a meltdown. One of these examples reminded me that we should not judge a parent who is dealing with a difficult child in a store simple because we don’t possess any background information about it – for example, do we know if this child has autism or just being overtired? No. Then offer a sympathetic smile to the parent instead of commenting on the situation.
Laura was able to homeschool her son during the primary years and I think it is wonderful that she was able to do so. As a homeschooler myself, there are times when I wonder if I am doing this for the good of my children. Even with reading this book and not having an autistic child myself, I know I made a wise decision, a decision that God had planted has a seed and that grew with time.

This book is encouraging for parents who have an autistic child but honestly I think it is encouraging also for me. While reading it, I took note of some ideas that I could easily do with my own children. I especially like the discipline routine that the author created with her son. We are doing something similar but I never really thought of incorporating the forgiveness part in it. Kids need to know what sin is and how God forgives us. From now on, we will try to include this part while we have to discipline our own children. It makes sense really, we just never really thought about it.
As for my copy of the book, I am putting it aside with the intention to give it to our insurance representative next time I see her. I also feel as though I need to give her a bible with it so she can research the scriptures herself.

This wonderful gem of a book is available everywhere. In Canada, you can find it at and

Monday, May 25, 2009

Blog Tour: Night Watchman

The Night Watchman
By Mark Mynheir
Published at Waterbrook Multnomah
What the book is all about
Ray Quinn is a tough, quick-witted homicide detective in love with his partner, Trisha Willis. She gives Ray something to live for—something to hope in. Until a barrage of bullets leaves Trisha murdered and Ray crippled.

Struggling with his new physical disability and severe depression, Quinn turns to whiskey, scorn, and a job as a night watchman to numb the pain. But when a pastor and dancer are found dead in an apparent murder-suicide, the pastor’s sister approaches Quinn for help.
Reluctantly, Quinn takes the case and is plunged into the perilous Orlando. Soon he discovers that, not only was the pastor murdered, but the case may be linked to his and Trisha’s ambush. Torn between seeking revenge or responsibility, Quinn is thrust into the case of his life.

Author Mark Mynheir gives readers his most profound police thriller to date with The Night Watchman (first book in The Night Watchman Private Detective Agency Series). Readers of all ages will devour this gripping murder mystery that bristles with tension and intrigue. In a taut cop-style all his own, Mynheir delivers an inside look at the thoughts, feelings, fears, and challenges police officers experience while investigating violent crimes and the lost souls who commit them.

Who is Mark Mynheir?
A detective with the Criminal Investigations Unit of the Palm Bay Police Department, Mark Mynheir investigates violent crimes and writes riveting Christian fiction. A U.S. Marine with a passion for martial arts and firearms training, Mark has worked on narcotics units, SWAT teams, and myriad high-risk situations. His four novels offer a realistic glimpse into the gritty world of law enforcement and the rarely seen raw emotions behind the badge. Mark lives in Florida with his wife and three children.

My thoughts on the book
I like suspense and mystery and this novel is packed with both. I had never read any books from Mark Mynheir and I enjoyed reading this novel. You can see that the author knows what he is talking about in the detective world. No wonder really since he himself is a detective who investigates violent crimes.

I can understand that going through a violent crime can mess your head to the point that you try to shut down the pain. But honestly, I find that the main character is drinking too much (even though at the end it seems that he has reduced the quantity) and is a bit too sarcastic. But at the same time his sarcasms make him an interesting character because he doesn’t get too emotional in the job. You can see his heart being softened during the course of events in the novel because at the beginning he is always pulling a leg on the younger character working with him as a night watchman but with time he takes him under his wings and teach him the nuts and bolts of investigating crime.

The main character also seems to soften a bit on “God talk” like he says after a long investigation on a suppose murder-suicide of a pastor and a young woman. Turns out that this was a murder and it is connected to his story.

Mark Mynheir uses his knowledge to keep you wanting for more as you get into the novel. You wonder what will happen next, who is the spy in the police department working for the bad guys, and if more will get killed during the investigation.

The way the book finishes makes you wonder if Mark has more story about Ray Quinn under his sleeves. I can sense a series about his adventures and his search for the “witness” who comforted him while he was down after being shot. And maybe, just maybe new relationships in his life – both with God and a lady he helped in this novel. And between you and me I would like to know if his protégée will achieve his dream of becoming a police officer.

If you like investigation and mystery novels, pick up the book from Mark Mynheir. I think you would like it.

The Night Watchman is available everywhere – even at and

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Apologia giveaway

A few years ago, I learned about Apologia. But just starting homeschooling I didn't want to have too much things to go. I concentrated on the basic which were writing, reading and mathematics. This year, I was able to get a copy of the Fifth Day of Creation - Flying Creatures. Myself and the kids just started it this week and I sense we will learn a lot from this book. I love bird watching and I am trying to teach my kids about birds. This is so well done that it is a bonus for us.

Anyhow, for those of you who know Apologia and the quality of their products, here's a great news...

Apologia is now producing notebooking journals that accompany each of the elementary science books. Both Botany and Astronomy are now available. You can see samples on the Apologia website here:

These journals are beautiful spiral bound notebooks that will save you time and money. You won't have to print and keep up with your child's notebook pages, buy and maintain page protectors, or purchase and compile binders...everything that makes notebooking time-consuming and labor intensive for mom. Also, your child will adore having their own notebooking journal.

Each of the notebooking journals include:
A daily schedule for those who like to have a plan or would like their children to complete the book on their own
Templates for written narrations, the notebooking activities and experiments
Review Questions
Scripture Copywork, with both print and cursive practice
Reading lists and additional activities, projects, experiments for each lesson
An appendix with beautiful, full-color, lapbook-style Miniature Books
Field Trip Sheets to keep a record field trips
A Final Review with fifty questions the students can answer either orally or in writing to show off all they remember and know at the end of the course.

See the sample pages here:

Jeannie is giving away four Astronomy Notebooking Journals and four Botany Notebooking Journals to bloggers who post about this on their site. Visit her blog to learn more about this contest:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hero - Becoming the Man She Desires

Hero – Becoming The Man She Desires
By Fred Stoeker, Mike Yorkey and Jasen Stoeker
Published by Waterbrook

What the book is all about.
You already know it’s not easy being a single man in this culture today. But it is easy to be overwhelmed, to feel helpless and hopeless about living by God’s high standards for singles. It’s easy to cave in to the pressures of this sex-soaked world and accept defeat—blaming the media, the culture, even girlfriends who don’t know how tough it can be.

But many men have read books like Every Young Man’s Battle and Tactics and have committed themselves to stand strong and pure in the power of God, and to go on the offensive against the onslaught of negative stereotypes. Some have suffered. Some have fallen. But many have experienced victory—and you can be among them.

What makes those committed men so desirable to women? Be Her Hero is their motto.

From best-selling author Fred Stoeker, along with his son Jasen, come the straightforward insight and real-life examples you’re looking for to help you take personal purity to its logical conclusion. Here’s straight truth with irrefutable evidence of what makes an ultimate hero to women who long for men of faith—men who stand by their convictions and make their world a safer and better place.

Are you ready to accept the challenge?

The authors
Fred Stoeker is a best-selling author of several books, including Every Young Man’s Battle and Tactics, the president of Living True Ministries, and a popular conference speaker who challenges men to become sexually pure, to reconnect in true intimate relationship with their wives, and to train their sons to become godly men. A graduate of Stanford University, Fred lives in Des Moines, Iowa with his wife, Brenda, and their children.

Mike Yorkey, a writer living in Encinitas, California, has collaborated with Fred Stoeker in all his books for the Every Man’s series.

Jasen Stoeker is a popular conference speaker who challenges young men to be heroic in their relationships with women and to be a Christian, rather than just seem like one. Jasen is a graduate of Iowa State University with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science and now lives in Minneapolis, MN, with his wife Rose.

My thoughts on the book
It was interesting to get the opportunity to review this book. After all I am a woman! But I was glad I received the book (even with the little delay that happened due to postal services) and finally started reading it last week. I am not done with the reading part but I am impressed by what I have read so far.

Basically, this book is the third of a series. It can be read separately from the two other ones. The first one is titled Every Young Man’s Battle which confronted male sexuality within the context of him and his sexual vulnerabilities. The second book is Tactics which confronted sexuality within the context of his relationship with God and with his Christian brothers. In this book, Hero, the context is his relationship with women.

This book is aimed for young men and how to stand up and be strong in a world which is bombarding them with various sexual enticements. The author, with the help of his son and his daughter-in-law, goes through 9 strongholds that most young men believe regarding sex in the hopes that the reader (any young men, really) would be able to break their strongholds. For each stronghold (lie) the author uses God’s truth and his stories, as well as his son and daughter-in-law’s stories, to help the reader to overcome the lies and come out victorious.

As much as I want my boys to stay pure for their future wives, I am unsure that I want them to go to the extreme of what Jasen did. For example, in grade 7th, this boy made the decision to get out of an English class because he was unsure of the movie they were going to see. There was a possibility of having sexual connotation as well as bad languages and since he knew his parents had not seen the movie and didn’t know if it was appropriate or not, the boy asked to be dismissed. As much as I am impressed by this strength, I am wondering if he could have asked about getting more details before asking to be dismissed. We also experienced this while our youngest son was in senior kindergarten a few years ago. We know for a fact that the kids were watching some cartoons that we didn’t approve for a 5 year old. That and other situations enforced our decision of looking into homeschooling. I hope that someday my boys will be wise enough to step up to the plate of not watching something degrading when they are older. However, at the same time, I hope they will be able to stay informed on what is going on.

Let me give you an example, I was participating to a women in position of leadership group at the church we used to go. One of the themes we discussed was about protecting our mind. We have been told that it is important to select wisely what we read or watch on television/movies. Me, being a passionate person and thinking that it is important to know what is going on, I asked about the popularity of the Da Vinci Code (both book and movie) and the popular book The Secret. I mean to be able to converse with non-christian, I think it is necessary to know what the hype is all about don’t you think? Well I have been told that I should avoid this kind of information at all cost. I disagreed because I have seen the book The Secret at my own mother’s place and wanted to know what it was about.

I am not saying that young men should start watching porn – far from that. This is a totally different issue and Fred Stoeker do explain very well how some movies are damaging for whoever look at them. Consequently, I approve the wisdom of checking out the rating and the description of the movie by going to sites like Focus on the Family or I am also appalled on how parents bring their young kids to violent movies like Spider-Man or HULK. I’ve seen kids younger than mine going to these and some were frightened. It’s simply sad. But this is a total different issue.

The purpose of the book is to help young men to respect the women in their life and to take the step up and control their sexual impulses. By controlling what goes in your mind, it is one step further toward success.

One thing for sure is that I am keeping this book for the future as I have three boys myself. I want them to be a hero for their future spouse and I pray that they will be gentlemen and respect all women they come in contact with. I also pray that they will be an example of what a true man can be to their little sister (she is barely 17 months now) but I want her to see godly examples of what a guy should be in her life. With her dad and her three brothers, I know she will be protected until she found her own hero.

Having said this, I must inform my readers that I am not completely done with the book. I will continue to read it until I am done. But I think I got the big idea of this book and I hope that I encourage you to look into it – either from a parent perspective or from a young man perspective.

And you know what; even with good intentions sometimes we make errors. Don’t beat yourself up. Bring it to God and be honest about it. Ask for help from mentors in your life – pastor, father, brother, friend you can trust. It is a battle out there. You can stand firm and face it.
Hero is available everywhere.

You can get it at and as well.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Love is a Verb - as in action and decision making!

Love is a Verb
By Garry Chapman
Published at Bethany House

The book - Be Inspired by Lives Changed by Love
Gary Chapman, bestselling author of The Five Love Languages, shares forty uplifting true stories from everyday people like
- Doris, who chose to love her husband when what she really wanted to do was run away
- Loretta, whose family was mended by love in action
- Faith, who learned how to love a mother who had become a strange
- Laquita, who finally fell in love with her husband after forty years
- Jackie, who found the courage to love someone who seemed truly unlovable
Because love isn't just a feeling.
Love is a choice, and love is something we all need to do.
Love is a verb.
"To last for the long haul and through the stresses and complexities of life, love has to be more than something we feel. It has to be something we do. We have to demonstrate it concretely in our marriages and families, among our friends and acquaintances, and, yes, even among our enemies.
And that's what this book is about. In the following pages, you'll see examples of people just like you--like all of us--who learned to take the obstacles, the lemons they face in life, and turn them into satisfying, emotional thirst-quenching nectar. These are the success stories that make you want to go out and try harder." --Gary Chapman

Hear what Gary Chapman has to say about the book.

Who is Gary Chapman?
Since 1979, Gary Chapman has written more than 20 books. His book The Five Love Languages has sold four million copies in English alone and has been translated into thirty-six languages, including Arabic and Hindi. He has his own daily radio program called A Love Language Minute that can be heard on more than 100 radio stations across the United States.
In addition to his busy writing and seminar schedule, Gary Chapman is a senior associate pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he has served for thirty-six years. Gary and his wife, Karolyn, have been married for forty-five years and have two adult children and two grandchildren.
Gary Chapman is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and holds BA and MA degrees in anthropology from Wheaton College and Wake Forest University, respectively. He received MRE and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and has completed postgraduate work at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Duke University.
My thoughts on the book
I half expected a teaching book from Gary Chapman. But I was surprised to see testimonies of decision to love throughout the book. Yes, Gary still gives a little bit of teaching at the end of each story but honestly I think the stories speak from themselves.
Some of them touched me more than others because I went or are going through similar situations. I’ve learned to reach out more to some people with love instead of being sorry with myself. It’s not always easy to love when you are hurt but this book demonstrates that it can be done. Taking the focus out of ourselves and putting it on others is far more rewarding that it seems. Giving more, expecting less. I know it’s not easy and that sometimes we might feel like we do it for nothing. But time will tell if our love has softened the others.
I thank everyone who shared their story in this book. Some were a breath of fresh air while other brought tears to my eyes. It reminded me of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books in a way. It is the kind of book that you can leave on your side table and pick up once I a while to read one or two stories.
I enjoyed reading the testimonies of love found in this book. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to see how love can be chosen in various situations instead of self-pity and being self-centered.
Love is a Verb can be found at any bookstore. In Canada, it is available at or

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rosetta Stone (contest and my thoughts about the program!)

Rosetta Stone is the fastest way to learn a language and has been the #1 foreign language curriculum among homeschoolers for a while — and you can WIN the *all new* version 3 Rosetta Stone Homeschool LATIN program… FOR FREE! This is the first year you can get Latin in the brand new Version III update.
This is a $259 program (and believe me it’s worth every penny!)This is a computer based curriculum and Rosetta Stone will also include a headset with microphone, and a supplementary “Audio Companion” CD so you can practice lessons in the car, on the go, or where-ever! Students participate in life-like conversations and actually produce language to advance through the program. Rosetta Stone incorporates listening, reading, grammar, vocabulary and writing along with speaking and pronunciation lessons. For parents, the new Parent Administrative Tools are integrated into the program to allow parents to easily enroll up to ten students in any of 12 predetermined lesson plans, monitor student progress, grade completed work (the program grades the work automatically as the students progress- I love that!), and you can view and print reports for transcripts. Homeschooling a lot of kids at your house? This program is designed to enroll and track up to ten students (five users on two computers) and will work for nearly all ages — from beginning readers up to college students.
To win this most excellent Latin program copy these paragraphs and post them in (or as) your next blog post, and/OR link to the contest from your facebook page and/OR email the information to your homeschool support group – Then go to the original page and leave a comment saying that you’ve posted about, or have linked to, the contest. Please make sure the link works to get back to the original contest page when you post. And good luck!

My thoughts on it!
We love this company. We already purchased French and Spanish for our own kids. Right now, only my oldest one is using it but I am planning to use it with all of them eventually. My only negative point for it would be for the French product. They based it on French from France and consequently the keyboard is AZERTY and not QWERTY. We are French Canadians and it would have been nice to be able to select the keyboard according to the area you live. But on the other side, my son can use the mouse to select and type the words. It just takes a little bit longer that all. The software is very well made and uses all areas of learning - listening, speaking, writing, and seeing. I gave my two thumbs up for this company. You won't be disappointed if you decide to buy some language training from them. After all it is used by many companies around the world...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

They Called Me White Jesus

They Called Me White Jesus - I was a legend… now I’m something more
By Bill Rieser
Published at Moody Publishers

What the book is all about?

A star high school basketball player in New York City, Bill Rieser fully expected to play in the NBA. But after a serious knee injury and clashes with a coach derailed his college career, Rieser descended into a self-destructive lifestyle of drinking, drug abuse, gambling, and womanizing. He could have been just another washed-up playground legend, until he found his life turned around by an encounter with God.

Once known for his 44-inch leap, Rieser is still looking up these days, and his vertical now reaches higher than he could ever have imagined.

Who is Bill Rieser?
Bill Rieser is a former New York streetball legend who played for Eastern Kentucky University. Bill Rieser now serves as director of recovery ministries at Heartland Community Church outside Chicago. Bill also have a blog - you can find him at

My thoughts on the book
I must admit that the beginning of the book is a little bit overwhelming. But as the testimony of Bill is given throughout the book, you see how God brought him out of destruction and into life. You learn how much Bill went through during his years growing up in New York, how he became a Christian and how God took care of his and his family needs. I’m amazed on how some of his prayers were answered – people approaching him with the exact money he needed at various time in his life.

At one point, Bill says that when you have faith for something it will happen. I am particularly careful with that kind of statement because sometimes God’s answer can be a simple no for something that we ask for. But beyond that, I say the book is very interesting. It is always very refreshing to read about someone else’s testimony and how God worked in his/hers life.
If you want to see how God worked in Bill’s life, please take the time to read this book.

The book is available in every bookstore. In Canada, you can find it at and

Monday, May 11, 2009

Helping others going through life crisis

The Book: Helping Those Who Hurt – A handbook For Caring and Crisis
By Barbara M. Roberts
Published by NavPress

Life’s struggles affect everyone at some time. Whether you’re a friend of someone who hurts, a layperson in ministry, or a professional counselor, you need guidance and practical advice during the pain of a crisis. Get the wisdom and direction you’re looking for in Helping Those Who Hurt.
Barbara Roberts offers lists, step-by-step directions, Scripture, and dozens of tips from her own experience as the director of a large Caring Ministry department. Written in a practical, conversational manner, this book lends support for the crises you encounter.

The Author: Who is Barbara Roberts?
Born and raised in Denver CO. (one of not too many natives)
Married to Ken (also a native) for 47 years
Mother of 3 – 2 sons and one daughter;
Mother-in-law to 3 – 2 daughters-in-law and 1 son-in-law
Grandmother to 9 – all located in the Denver area.
Involved in Pastoral Care Ministry for 23 years.Degree in Pastoral Care with emphasis on Family Counseling – Regis University

Things I love:
I love my family
I love what I do – walking alongside those in crisis energizes me.
I love writing, studying and learning, preparing to teach and actually teaching and speaking.
I love time to be quiet, ponder, pray, think before the Lord.
I love to read and love all kinds of musicI enjoy movies, exercising, walking, golf.

Personal life experiences – personal bouts with cancer for both myself and my husband.
I have walked through the valley of the shadow of grief and loss – as Nouwen and others describe – a wounded healer.

My Thoughts About the Book
This is a gem! We are pastors of a new church and I can see this book being very useful in the future. Already, I can understand more my own mother with some crisis included in the book.
The many subjects are illness and hospital visitation, crisis, aging, death, grief, troubled marriages and divorce, addiction, domestic violence, rape and forgiveness. You will also find a wonderful section about resources you can recommend or use yourself for various crisis situations.

This little book is full of very interesting information going to what to do and what not to do, how a patient reacts to sickness/death, how to recognize and respond to abuse, when to share scriptures, when to just listen, when to speak up… It is a resource that I think anyone who works with people should have.

This book is so small that it can easily be carried around in your purse (well okay it depends of the size of the purse) or leave in your car for easy access when you need it. It can be reviewed anytime the necessity arises for any type of issues. The author is a seasoned pastoral care minister and will guide you, via this book, through the steps to take when dealing with a specific crisis.

As I mentioned earlier, I came to the point to understand my own mother a little bit more. She went through a lot during her life and reading about the crisis’ she went through, including divorce, helped me to see her with a new perspective and understand why she is building walls around her. I’m not saying this is the best action to do when you get hurt but I understand her need to feel protected. I wished I had had this little book many years ago.

This handbook is very helpful and I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in helping a family member or a friend that goes through a tough time. As for us, I’m keeping it on our bookshelf and I plan to go dig in it every now and then when I need to.

Helping Those Who Hurt is available at Navpress as well as and

It Happened in Italy - defying the Holocaust

It Happened in Italy
Untold stories on how the people of Italy defied the horrors of the Holocaus
By Elizabeth Bettina
Published by Thomas Nelson

One woman's discovery---and the incredible, unexpected journey it takes her on---of how her grandparent's small village of Campagna, Italy, helped save Jews during the Holocaust.

Take a journey with Elizabeth Bettina as she discovers much to her surprise, that her grandparent's small village, nestled in the heart of southern Italy, housed an internment camp for Jews during the Holocaust, and that it was far from the only one. Follow her discovery of survivors and their stories of gratitude to Italy and its people. Explore the little known details of how members of the Catholic church assisted and helped shelter Jews in Italy during World War II.

WHO IS Elizabeth Bettina?
Elizabeth Bettina is a native New Yorker who lived in Italy. Elizabeth graduated from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Presently, she works in marketing in New York.

Somehow, I was always curious on what happened to the Jews during the Holocaust. I remember reading some other books on people who survived when I was a teenager. But for some reasons, I can’t watch a movie about the war… I know I need to watch Schindler’s List but I still haven’t done it yet.

Recently, I attended a ballet on The Hiding Place performed by Ballet Magnificat! Omega. It tells the story of Corrie ten Boom and her sister and how they hid some Jews and how they spend time in a concentration camp after being discovered. Corrie survived. I was moved by the ballet and the next day I picked up the book which was sitting on a bookshelf and started reading it.

It’s amazing to realize that Jews were treated like human being in Italy while in other parts of Europe it was not the case. Throughout the book you follow Elizabeth as she discovers multiple pieces of a puzzle and bring the truth up in the open. Somehow, she meets survivors and she brings them to Italy. They thank the people who helped them, visit their internment camps and even meet the Pope.

I wonder why the Italians reacted that way. Why there aren’t more stories like that all around Europe? And why many kept their eyes closed or reported their neighbors – people their own kids played with – during the war? The subject is still and emotional one for me. I can’t figure out how someone could just decide to eliminate an ethnic group the way it happened… It bothers me to the core. But reading stories like the ones in It Happened in Italy, I feel refreshed. There is hope that maybe more stories like that can be found in the future. I sense that Elizabeth can discover more survivors and more stories to write another book like this one. I pray that she will continue to be amaze by what God is bringing to her. It’s important that the younger generation knows that amidst the bad things going on, there were still hope and courage and love for the neighbor who is different from us.

I want my kids to love and accept someone no matter what is the background of the person they meet. I hope that someday they will pick this book and read it and realize that sometimes you need to stand up against what is wrong and do what is right even if it means taking some risks and maybe get caught.

This wonderful book is available everywhere. In Canada you can find it at or

Here's some testimonies from some of the survivors.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Discover how to save money with Miserly Moms.

Miserly Moms – Living Well on Less in a Tough Economy 4th Edition
By Jonni McCoy Published at Bethany House
What the book is all about?

Save Thousands of Dollars a Year!
The economy is tough, food prices are soaring, and there is constant pressure to have more even though we have less to work with. Enter Jonni McCoy, whose money-saving strategies allowed her family to go from two incomes to one while living in the San Francisco Bay area, one of the most expensive locations in America. Jonni's tried-and-true Eleven Miserly Guidelines are completely practical and easy to do, and they could save you thousands of dollars a year! This updated and expanded fourth edition of Miserly Moms reveals how to save money on groceries, see through warehouse clubs' "deals," celebrate holidays without breaking your budget, and spot sneaky marketing tricks.

Jonni's tips, tactics, and recipes are so easy that you'll wonder why you hadn't thought of them before. If you're ready to learn how to live well in a tough economy, start reading.

Who is Jonni McCoy?
Jonni McCoy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Prior to motherhood, she spent ten years as a senior buyer and supervisor for electronics firms such as Apple Computer and National Semiconductor. She presents seminars on living for less to women's groups and other conferences. She has been practicing her frugal ways since 1991. Jonni has appeared on The Gayle King Show and The 700 Club, and radio programs such as FamilyLife Today and the Dick Staub Show. She has also been featured in Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Family Fun, Working Mother, and Woman's Day magazines. Jonni and her husband, Beau, make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where they homeschool their children.

My thoughts about the book
Love it! I highly recommend this book to whoever wants to save some money on a monthly basis. This book is packed with tips and tricks on how to reduce your budget. It also has some interesting information. For example, I learned which products is worth buying at a warehouse type of store and what to avoid.

Since a few years, we have made modifications in our own way to handle money. For example, we cancelled some credit cards and the ones we decided to keep we made sure that the limit was at the minimum allowed. We are also wiser in our purchases and do not buy on impulse. We shop a lot before making a move. The last big purchase we made was our big screen tv and let me tell you it took over a year before one entered our house.

Since about a year or so, we have discovered the 50% sections in various stores in our area. We don’t hesitate to get veggies, bread and even meat at that price after inspection. The veggies are often used in soup, the meat often cooked right away and the bread put in our freezer. We have saved a lot of money by doing that.

While reading the book, I was glad to see which steps we have already taken and which ones we could consider taking to reduce the amount spent on groceries. We rarely eat at the restaurant and if we do we make sure we have coupons. With a family of 6 eating at the restaurant can become quite expensive… The author also included some very interesting recipes that I intend to try-out. She also included a chapter on crafts for kids with recipes to feed the birds, to make play dough or any other fun activity to do with your children. There is even a chapter on cleaning products with easy-to-do yourself recipes or tricks to clean like how to remove play dough from carpet or chewing gun from hair.

In the hard times we are facing with the current economy, it is refreshing to read this book and discover new ways to save. I think every family should have this book in their household.

Miserly Moms is available everywhere – even at or Get your copy as soon as possible and start saving!

Amazing performance

Last night, I attended the representation of The Hiding Place given by the dancers of Ballet Magnificat! Omega.   I went with my mother-in-law and we had fun.   I was very moving.  

The Hiding Place is the story of Cory ten Boom and her sister, Betsie.     Honestly, I am lost at words on how to express my feelings about it.   I recommend everyone to take the time to go see this if it comes to a place near you.   The dancers were very good and you can sense that they are dancing for the Lord.  

Simply beautiful and amazing!


Monday, May 4, 2009

Mama's Got a Fake I.D. - Blog Tour

The book: Mama’s Got a Fake I.D. - How to Reveal the Real You Behind all That Mom
Published by Waterbrook
No one begins life as a mom. Before you have children, you are an amazing combination of friend, daughter, confidant, visionary, encourager, and thinker. You start out in life using your gifts and abilities in a surprising variety of settings.
Then you have children and the role of mom–as wonderful as it is–seems to consume you. It’s easy to lose your identity when others see you as a mom and little else. What happened to the artist, the team-builder, the organizer, the entrepreneur, the leader–the person you’ve lost touch with?
In Mama’s Got a Fake I.D., Caryn Dahlstrand Rivadeneira helps moms like you reclaim the person God made you to be. God still wants to use you in ways that let your gifts, passions, and personality shine.
This inspiring and practical guide will show you how to break free from false guilt, learn a new language to express your true identity, and follow God’s lead in sharing who you really are. God wants you to discover who he made you to be–in your family and beyond. It’s time to reveal the woman who got hidden behind all that mom.

The Author: Who is Caryn Dahlstrand Rivadeneira?
The former managing editor of Marriage Partnership and Christian Parenting Today, Caryn Dahlstrand Rivadeneira has been writing for and speaking to women for more than a decade. Today she is the managing editor of, an online community of Christian women in leadership. Rivadeneira lives with her husband and their three children in the Chicago suburbs.
My Thoughts about the Book
I think I might be lucky to not feel like most women on this subject. Most of the people I know see me beyond the mom – I am also a wife, a woman who like creating crafts like scrapbooking and card making, a blog reviewer, a pastor’s wife (even though some see me as a pastor which I feel inadequate for), a daughter-in-law and a friend (to name only a few). Right now, my calling is to teach my kids and to support my husband in the business and the church planting. It’s not always easy and sometimes people might not realize how much time and energy it takes.

I can see the need to write a book like Mama’s Got a Fake I.D. because more often than necessary people judge women on what they do. If you’re a stay at home mom and struggle with the fact that you want to be known for more than just motherhood, well this book is for you (and if you continue reading this review, you’ll get a chance to win a copy!).

Each chapter has some questions for reflection and discussion at the end. It helps you to ponder and reflect on what has been read. Also, smacked in the middle of chapter 8, you will find a questionnaire to help you to interview yourself. It’s important to know who we are and this was very helpful for me when I did it. Caryn also included The Big Mom Group Survey at the end of the book which you can take the time to answer and send it to her. She is always looking for new insights on the subject.

I really enjoy reading it and will continue since I still have a few chapters to go to finish it. I could see this book being used as a group study for mothers. If you feeling blue about being seen only as a mom - read this book and discover a new you, the one God intended you to be!

GREAT NEWS! I’ve got a free copy of the book to giveaway. I will draw this copy on Mother’s Day (May 10th, 2009) and would like to invite all my Canadians readers to comment on my blog. Leave me a comment and your e-mail and I will include you in the draw. If you win I will contact you on Monday.

Mama’s Got a Fake I.D. is available at any bookstores. In Canada, it is also available at and
And the winner is......
Well before I give the name of the winner I will explain how the draw was made. I wrote the names of the participants on a piece of paper and folded all the little pieces of paper. I put them in a nice decorated bag and asked my son, Alexandre to pick one. So drum roll please....
The winner is - Shannon Landriault. So Shannon, I will contact you and arrange to send it to you.

Enduring Justice - Blog Tour

The Book: Enduring Justice by Amy Wallace
Published by Waterbrook

Hanna Kessler’s childhood secret has remained buried for over two decades. But when the dark shadows of her past threaten to destroy those she loves, Hanna must face the summer that changed her life and the man who still haunts her memories.

As a Crimes Against Children FBI Agent, Michael Parker knows what it means to get knocked down. Difficult cases and broken relationships have plagued his entire year. But when the system fails and a white supremacist is set free, Michael’s drive for retribution eclipses all else.

A racist’s well-planned assault forces Hanna and Michael to decide between executing vengeance and pursuing justice. The dividing line between the two is the choice to heal. But when the attack turns personal, is justice enough?

The Author: Who is Amy Wallace?
Amy Wallace is a freelance writer and self-confessed chocoholic. She is a graduate of the Gwinnett County Citizens Police Academy and serves as the liaison for the training division of the county police department. Amy is the author of Ransomed Dreams, the first book in the Defenders of Hope series, and a contributing author of several books including God Answers Moms’ Prayers, and God Allows U-Turns for Teens. She lives with her husband and three daughters in Georgia.

My thoughts on the book
This is the third book of the Defenders of Hope series. I haven’t read the first and second book of the series (even though I do have the 2nd one, Healing Promises, on my bookshelf since I won it on a friend blog last year but I haven’t got a chance to read it yet…). There seems to be some returning characters but this book can be read as a standalone.

The theme in this book is disturbing. But in an age where this is quite common, we need to learn more about it and read a novel about the subject can help a bit. Child abuse and hate against ethnic communities are more and more present in the 21st century. This book presents both problems in a very well written novel. I enjoyed the suspense and the mystery even though the theme made me sick in my stomach while reading. Just to think that adults are abusing children in a sexual matter is sickening. But let me clarify to you that there isn’t graphic details on how it happen. It’s just the whole concept on how it happens that disturb me.

However, I would recommend that you don’t read this book while preparing for bedtime. I found it disturbing enough to the point that my sleep wasn’t as deep as I would have liked.. In a way, I think it shows that the book is very interesting and challenging. There is a lot of suspense and action in the book. While reading it, you will find yourself sitting at the edge of your sofa to keep going.

I still have a few chapters to read and I want to know the end of the story. Even though the theme disturbs me I got to know the characters and want to read what will happen to them.

Enduring Justice is available in many bookstores. You can find it on and

Dear MOM - Blog Tour

The book: Dear MOM – everything your teenage daughter wants you to know but will never tell you.

Published by Waterbrook

Hear your daughter’s heart…without the angst, arguments, or arm-wrestling.

Raising a teen daughter can be like trying to chart a course underwater. You can drown in an ocean of one-word answers, defensive conversations, and unpredictable outbursts, and never get anywhere. Popular teen girls’ novelist Melody Carlson helps you cut through murky, deep, uncharted and seemingly unsafe waters so you can hear what your daughter’s really trying to tell you through her anger, silence, and mixed messages:

“I need you, but I won’t admit it.”
“I’m not as confident as I appear.”
“I have friends. I need a mother.”

Instead of focusing on outward behaviors, Dear Mom captures your daughter’s heart and soul. You can know your daughter’s hopes and fears, doubts and dreams about her identity, guys, friendships, and even you. And you can connect on a deeper, more intimate level that will carry both you and your daughter through the stormy seas of life.

The author: Who is Melody Carlson?

Melody Carlson has published over ninety books for adults, children, and teens, with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards, including the Gold Medallion and the RITA Award. She is also the best-selling author of the Diary of a Teenage Girl series.

My thoughts on the book
My daughter is 16 months – far from being 16 years old – but I thought this would give me some good insight on how to know a teenage girl. Let me first tell you that this is not a parenting book on how to deal with your teenage girl. It’s more a get-to-know-what-your-teenager-thinks kind of book.

I remembered some of the things I used to think while being a teenager but I disagree with some the points in the book. For example, at one point the young lady is saying that she doesn’t need mom to pick her clothes anymore because she has her own taste. I agree that teenager girls have their own taste and that moms cannot control them to the point of picking their clothes while shopping. BUT, I think it is important that parents put guidelines and make sure that their teenage daughters are dressing properly and not disrespecting their body. I want my daughter to be wise and modest in her choice of clothing.

At one point, there is a list of what she (the teenager) won’t say when she is a mom. It made me smile because some of those things, I remember thinking that I won’t say – like;

“Do you think I’m made of money?”
“Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
“Stand up straight.”

And guess what… now that I am a mom I understand more about those things and I do say them. *grin*

Here’s how I would use the book… I would be honest about reading for one thing. Let my teenage daughter see it. Read it together maybe and then discuss it. I know that going through teenage years are not easy and I want to be there for my daughter when she travels through those years. I want to be open enough that she can trust me in sharing her struggles and her joys.

I am not done reading the book just yet and I am planning the finish the 9 chapters left to read in the weeks to come. I am also keeping this book for future reference. Even though my little Jasmine is far from it, it will arrive sooner than I will expect. Kids grow so fast!

Dear MOM is available in every bookstore. You can also find the title at or