Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Character Is The Key

Character Is The Key – How to unlock the best in our children and ourselves
Written by Sara Dimerman
Published at Wiley

About the book
Would you like to see your children:
Taking greater initiative at home and school?
Able to put themselves in others' shoes?
Taking more responsibility for their actions?
Valuing togetherness as a family and wanting to spend more time with you?
Consistently treating peers, adults and themselves with respect?
Persisting through challenges and not giving up prematurely?
Being honest even when the truth is difficult to share?
Courageously facing fears?
Motivated to help with chores around the house?
Less influenced by negative peer pressure and able to stand up for what they believe?
Looking forward to a bright and successful future?
Then Character Is the Key will help!
The character education movement, implemented by educators around the world, is an incredibly successful and growing phenomenon. When important character attributes like honesty, integrity, and fairness are modeled and taught to kids, they develop an inner compass that continues to guide them in a positive direction. The missing link has been helping parents with their crucial participation at home - until now. In Character Is the Key, parenting expert and therapist Sara Dimerman shares proven techniques in a powerful, step-by-step plan that will help you bring your family together, improve communication, and unlock the very best in your children - and yourself. Get started today!
Who is Sara Dimerman?
Sara Dimerman, Dip.C.S., C.Psych.Assoc., is the founder and Director of the Parent Education and Resource Centre. Her syndicated column Help Me Sara appears in publications across the United States and Canada, and she is the child and family therapy expert at Sara is relied upon by the media as a parenting expert: she is regularly quoted in magazine and newspaper articles as well as appearing on radio and television across North America. Her first book, Am I a Normal Parent? (Hatherleigh Press, USA) was published in 2008. Sara lives in Toronto, Canada. She is married and has two daughters, aged nine and seventeen.Visit
My Thoughts
I’ve got the opportunity to review the book Character Is The Key through Mom Central Canada. I knew well that it was a secular book but I was still curious at what it would convey as message.
I won’t hide the fact that we are Christians and homeschooling. My oldest son was in school for two years and has experience the “let’s encourage the kids to develop good character” at school. Honestly, I am still wondering how they picked the students to receive the special mention of the month… There were times where I wondered what the teacher was thinking when she picked a specific student for one of the awards. I later learned that the objective was that all students went on the award wall… Yes you read it right – all students.
Personally, I think the responsibility of teaching your children about values and character should go to the parents. But in these times, when divorce is high or both parents are working, when everyone seems to be running around like a chicken without a head, I sense this task is not a priority. That is very unfortunate… It is interesting that the schools are now seeing the importance of teaching this to the students now.
I was curious to see what this book would “teach” to the parents. The author specifies from the beginning that parents need to find the time to reinforce the character of their children and work with the school. After all, we all know that children learn from their parents, right? Indeed they do and if you go to the store, realize when you are back at your car that you forgot to pay for something and don’t go back – they learn that it’s okay to steal… no matter what it is! Let me tell you a story… I went shopping one day with my oldest and my newborn. I had the stroller with the baby car seat installed on it. I had put a roll of wrapping paper in the basket under the stroller. I paid for the rest of my stuff and went back to the van. I put back the car seat of the baby in its gear, buckle up my oldest and start unloading in the trunk… That’s when I saw the wrapping paper. Shoot! Totally forgot to pay for it. So I unbuckle my oldest and put back the baby’s car seat on the stroller and walked back inside the Wal-Mart with the wrapping paper in my hands. You should have seen the surprised face of the cashier when I told her I forgot to pay for the wrapping paper… she couldn’t believe it. But I had a 3 year old who was observing and learning from this event. It was important for me to make sure he knew mommy would not steal and that honesty is very important! As a parent, I think it is essential to use the opportunities that come to us to become a teachable moment. This could be applied to anyone – from little ones to teenagers.
The book is divided in three sections. Part one of the book focuses on the modeling of values and handling conflicts (especially if you are divorced). You will also learn how to team up with your kids and how to join forces with the educators. Part two of the book gives you directions on how to implement a family plan and how to establish family monthly meetings. Part three of the book provides some guidance on what a monthly meeting should focus on i.e. one of the ten crucial characteristics presented in the book (respect, honesty, fairness, courage, perseverance, responsibility, empathy, initiative, integrity and optimism). This section is particularly interesting as each chapter covers one of the character issues to work on. In the chapter, you will read some examples and discover a specific activity to do with your family to reinforce the lesson to learn.
I was quite pleased with what I read. Mind you, I don’t agree with everything the author wrote about how to deal with disobedience and so on but since this is a touchy subject for everyone I won’t elaborate too much on it. But I find this book will be a good help for parents who don’t have a Christian background and realized that some changes should be made in their family unit. The author elaborates a strategy that is feasible for anyone who is willing to work on their relationships as a family. She also suggests some very interesting activities for each character issues covered in the book. I particularly love having new ideas to implement with my family – ideas that can become some teachable moments are especially a bonus.
The author also has the worksheets mentioned in the second part of the book available on the website !
GREAT NEWS! Mom Central offers one copy of the book to one of my readers. Please leave a comment before October 19th . I will draw a name on the 20th and contact the winner to get the address so I can send it to Mom Central. Good luck everyone!

Character Is The Key is available at every bookstore, even on and
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Character Is the Key: How to Unlock the Best in Our Children and Ourselves and received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

How Do I Love Thee?

How Do I Love Thee?
Written by Nancy Moser
Published at Bethany House

About the book
She dreams of love for others but never for herself...
Elizabeth Barrett is a published poet--and a virtual prisoner in her own home. Blind family loyalty ties her to a tyrannical father who forbids any of his children to marry. Bedridden by chronic illness, she has resigned herself to simply existing. That is, until the letter arrives...

"I love your verses with all my heart," writes Robert Browning, an admiring fellow poet. As friendly correspondence gives way to something more, Elizabeth discovers that Robert's love is not for her poetry alone. Might God grant her more than mere existence? And will she risk defying her father in pursuit of true happiness?

Who is Nancy Moser?
Nancy Moser is the author of three inspirational humor books and a eighteen novels, including Mozart's Sister, Just Jane, and Time Lottery, a Christy Award winner. She is an inspirational speaker, giving seminars around the country. She has earned a degree in architecture; run a business with her husband; traveled extensively in Europe; and has performed in various theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She and her husband have three grown children and make their home in the Midwest. Read more about her books at

My Thoughts
I love historical fiction! It gives you some interesting information about someone or something that lived/happened in the past. At the same time when it is fiction, you have to remember that everything that you read is not what really happened. This book is about the love story of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning. For those of you who don’t know who they are – as I did – they were poets from the Victorian era. I’m not too fond of poetry but I do appreciate some once in a while.

This novel made me discover a woman and poetess that I didn’t know. Her love story is quite special as it had to be kept secret. Why? You might wonder… Her own father didn’t approve of marriage. This is quite strange and makes me wonder why since he himself had been married and had children (12 to be exact). But nevertheless, even though Elizabeth was sick she found love at a late age. And she followed her heart by marrying Robert Browning, who was younger than her by a few years. They left the familiar surroundings of England and family to go live in Italy for a number of years. Elizabeth was rejected by her father and brothers in her family by doing so. But love conquered and won. They were loved in Italy and appreciated. Eventually they were blessed with a child.

Intertwined with the story, you will read some samples of letters between Elizabeth and Robert. And in the mix of all this, you will imagined with the author what Elizabeth thought while she read the letters from Robert. As well while you read the novel you have the feeling that Elizabeth herself is speaking to you. I think this makes the reading more personal and bring you at a deeper level. I love it when I discover a novel that is like that. It makes me feel as though I am sharing the life of the character.

The author also included interesting information at the end of the novel. She first included a note for the reader giving examples on how real life made a good run with her imagination. Then she clarifies what is fact and what is fiction in the book. I really enjoyed this and appreciate the fact that she took the time to explain this. Then for all the book lovers who meet on a monthly basis to discuss a book, you will find discussion questions for the novel. And finally, the author took the time to include the Sonnets From the Portuguese at the end of the book. This poem is one of the most popular ones from Elizabeth Barrett Browning and describes her blooming love relationship with her Robert.

I discovered a new series of book from Nancy Moser that gives information about women from the past. This is the fourth book in the series. You can also find a book about Mozart’s sister, Jane Austen and Lady Washington. I am looking forward to discover these historical fictions in the future.

If you want to learn more about Elizabeth Barrett Browning please look at the Wikipedia Link - and you can find Robert Browning’s information at .

How Do I Love Thee? is available everywhere even at and

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Cousin's Prayer - First Wild Card Tour

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Barbour Books; 1 edition (September 1, 2009)


Wanda E. Brunstetter is nationally recognized as an expert on the Amish community, and her book sales have topped the three million mark. Her books White Christmas Pie, A Sister’s Hope, and Allison’s Journey topped Publishers Weekly Paperback Religion Bestsellers lists in 2008. Her books have also received other honors, including the 2006 Reader’s Choice Award and the CBD Book of the Week. Brunstetter enjoys an uncommon kinship with the Amish and loves to visit their communities throughout the country.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.97
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books; 1 edition (September 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602600619
ISBN-13: 978-1602600614



Katie Miller’s stomach churned as she read the letter she’d just received from her cousin Loraine:

Dear Katie,

Wayne and I will be getting married the last Thursday of April. I’d like you to be one of my attendants.

Katie’s heart pounded. There was no way she could go to her cousin’s wedding, much less be one of her attendants.

“Who’s the letter from?” Katie’s grandmother asked, taking a seat on the porch swing beside Katie.

“Loraine. She’s getting married in April, and she wants me to be one of her attendants.” Katie almost choked on the words.

“That’s wunderbaar. I’m sure you’re looking forward to going.”

Katie shook her head. “I don’t want to go.”

“Think how disappointed Loraine would be if you weren’t at her wedding.”

Katie’s gaze dropped to the floor. “I can’t go back to Indiana, Grammy.”

“Loraine and Wayne have been through so much. Don’t you want to be there to share in their joy?”

Katie shivered despite the warm Florida breeze. If Timothy hadn’t been killed on their way to Hershey Park last fall, she’d be planning her own wedding right now.

“Katie, did you hear what I said?”

Katie nodded, hoping she wouldn’t give in to the tears pushing against her eyelids. “If I hadn’t freaked out about a bee in the van, Timothy, Paul, and Raymond would still be alive.” Katie drew in a shaky breath. “Jolene wouldn’t have lost her hearing, either, and Wayne would still have both of his legs.”

“You’re not to blame, Katie. It was an accident. It might have happened even if you hadn’t been afraid of the bee.” Grammy touched Katie’s arm. “You need to accept it and go on with your life.”

“I–I don’t know if I can.”

“Timothy wouldn’t want you to continue grieving for him. He wouldn’t want you to blame yourself for the accident.”

“You’ve said that before.”

“Then you ought to listen.” Grammy took hold of Katie’s hand. “Let’s go inside so you can write Loraine and let her know you’ll be at the wedding.”

“I–I’m afraid to go. The thought of traveling alone scares me. I don’t think I can deal with all the painful memories that are there.”

“Will you go to Loraine’s wedding if I go with you?”

“What about Grandpa? Would he go, too?”

Grammy shook her head. “He has things to do here.”

Katie couldn’t imagine what things Grandpa would have to do. He was retired and spent a good deal of his time at the beach.

“What about it, Katie?” Grammy asked. “Will you go to the wedding if I go along?”

Katie sat for several seconds, thinking things through. Finally, she gave a slow nod. It would be easier going back to Indiana with Grammy along, and as soon as the wedding was over, they’d come back here.

Chapter 1

“It sure is good to have you home,” Katie’s father said as they headed down the road in his buggy toward Uncle Amos and Aunt Priscilla’s house. He glanced over at Katie and smiled. “Your mamm said Loraine was real pleased when she got your letter saying you’d be one of her attendants.”

Katie clutched the folds in her dress as she stared out the window. She didn’t know why she felt so edgy. She hadn’t felt like this when she was in Florida. She’d been depressed after Timothy died, but not quivery inside the way she’d been since she’d climbed into Dad’s buggy. She was grateful they didn’t have far to go.

Dad motioned to what was left of the barn they were passing. “Take a look at the devastation from the tornado that hit this past winter. That terrible storm affected nearly everyone around these parts in some way or another.”

“No one was killed, though, right?”

“No, but some were injured, and the damage was great. Many, like Wayne’s folks, lost their homes, barns, and shops. It’s a good thing the house Wayne started building before he lost his leg didn’t sustain any damage from the tornado,” Dad said. “Several of the men in our community finished it for him, and Wayne’s folks have been livin’ in it ever since.”

“Will they continue living there after Loraine and Wayne get married?” Katie asked.

Dad nodded. “At least until their own house is done.”

Katie knew from some of the things Loraine had said in her letters that she and Ada hadn’t always gotten along so well. She wondered how things would be having them both living under the same roof.

“Look at the Chupps’ place.” Dad pointed to the left. “They lost their barn, his buggy shop, and the house. Only those who’ve actually seen the destruction of a tornado like we had here can even imagine such a sight.”

Katie gripped the edge of the seat. “I don’t understand why God allows such horrible things to happen.”

He shrugged his broad shoulders. “It’s not our place to question God. His ways are not our ways.”

Katie clamped her teeth together in an effort to keep from saying what was on her mind. Dad wouldn’t understand if she told him how angry she was with God for taking Timothy. He’d probably give her a lecture and say it was Timothy’s time to die, like he’d said to her on the day of Timothy’s funeral.

“Do you know how long you’ll be helping at Loraine’s?” Dad asked.

“Probably most of the day, since I’m sure there’s a lot to be done before the wedding. You can come by sometime before supper and pick me up, or I can ask someone to give me a ride home.”

“I don’t mind coming back for you. I’ll be here around four, okay?”

“That’s fine, but if we get done sooner, I’ll just ask for a ride home.”

“Sounds good.” Dad guided the horse up Uncle Amos’s driveway and directed him toward the barn. When they stopped at the hitching rail, Dad turned to Katie and said, “Have a good day, and don’t work too hard. You’re lookin’ kind of peaked today.”

“I’ll be fine, Dad.” Katie climbed out of the buggy and headed to the house. She wasn’t fine at all. It seemed strange being back here again. She’d only been gone from home a little over six months, but it seemed a lot longer.

She noticed several people in the yard, pulling weeds and planting flowers, but didn’t see any sign of Loraine or her folks. She figured they must be in the house.

When she stepped onto the back porch, she drew in a shaky breath. She wished Grammy or Mom would have come with her today, instead of going shopping in Shipshewana. Katie figured since Mom and Grammy hadn’t seen each other for several months, they probably wanted to spend some time alone.

Just as Katie lifted her hand to knock on the back door, it swung open. Loraine stepped onto the porch and gave Katie a hug. “It’s so good to have you home! Danki for coming. It means a lot for me to have you and Ella as my attendants.”

“Danki for asking me.” Katie forced a smile. In some ways, it was good to be here, but she felt as out of place as a chicken in a duck pond.

“I just wish Jolene could be here, too.”

“She’s not coming?”

“Huh-uh. Her aunt’s been dealing with carpal tunnel on both of her wrists, and she recently had surgery to correct the problem. Jolene thought it’d be best if she stayed in Pennsylvania to help out.”

“That makes sense. But do you think Jolene will ever come back to Indiana?” Katie asked.

“I hope so.” Loraine opened the door and motioned Katie inside. “Ella and her sister Charlene are in the kitchen. We decided to have a snack before we head out to the barn to help decorate the tables for the wedding meal.”

When Katie entered the kitchen behind Loraine, she saw Ella and Charlene sitting at the table.

Ella jumped up, raced over Katie, and gave her a hug that nearly took Katie’s breath away. “It’s so good to see you! We’ve all missed you so much!”

Katie smiled. “I’ve missed you, too.”

“Would you like a glass of iced tea?” Loraine asked.

Katie nodded and took a seat at the table.

“How about a piece of my sister’s appeditlich friendship bread?” Charlene motioned to the plate of bread on the table.

“I’m sure the bread’s delicious, but I’m not really hungry right now.”

“As skinny as you are, you oughta eat the whole loaf.” Charlene’s eyebrows lifted high. “Are you sure you’re not hungry?”

Katie shook her head.

Ella shot her sister a look of disapproval, but Charlene didn’t seem to notice. She was busy cutting herself another hunk of bread.

“Didn’t you have a birthday last month?” Charlene asked, her mouth full.

Katie nodded. “I turned twenty.”

Charlene grabbed her glass and took a drink. “You’d sure never know it. Why, you don’t look like you’re more than sixteen.” She pointed to herself. “I look older than you.”

Katie groaned inwardly. She didn’t need the reminder that she looked young for her age. She couldn’t help it if she was short, petite, and had the face of a teenager. At least I act more mature than my sixteen-year-old cousin, she thought.

“I got a letter from Jolene last week,” Ella said. “She won’t be coming to Loraine’s wedding because—”

“She already knows,” Loraine interrupted. “I told her about Jolene’s aunt when we were out on the porch.”

“I wonder if Jolene’s using her aunt’s surgery as an excuse not to come home. She might be afraid that she won’t fit in with the rest of us now that she can’t hear,” Charlene put in.

Ella shot her sister another look. “I’m sure that’s not the reason. Jolene would never make up an excuse not to come to the wedding.”

Katie’s shoulders tensed as she shifted her gaze to the window. What would her cousins think if they knew she hadn’t wanted to come home for the wedding? Did they have any idea how hard it had been for her to make the trip? Even with Grammy along, Katie had felt anxious on the bus ride. Every horn honk and sudden stop had sent shivers up her spine. She knew she couldn’t have made the trip home alone. Even though she wasn’t looking forward to riding the bus again, she looked forward to going back to Florida where there were no painful reminders of the past.

Loraine stood. “Would anyone like to see my wedding dress?”

Charlene’s hand shot up. “I would!”

“Me, too,” Ella said.

Katie nodded as well.

“I’ll be right back.” Loraine scurried out of the room.

Charlene nudged Katie’s arm. “What’s it like in Pinecraft? That’s where your grossmudder lives, isn’t it?”

Katie nodded as she fiddled with the edge of the tablecloth. “As you know, Pinecraft is the section of Sarasota where many Plain People have homes or come to rent. It’s a nice community.”

“Is it true that there are no horses and buggies?” Charlene asked.

Katie nodded. “Unless they’re going out of the area and need to hire a driver, everyone either walks or rides a bike.”

“Do you go to the beach very often?” Ella questioned.

“Jah. Grandpa and I go there a lot. We enjoy looking for shells, and Grandpa likes to fish.”

Charlene sighed. “I wish I could visit Florida sometime. I’m sure I’d enjoy being on the beach.”

“Maybe you can visit me there sometime.”

Ella’s eyes widened. “You’re going back?”

“Of course. My home’s in Pinecraft now.”

The room got deathly quiet. Ella and Charlene stared at each other as though in disbelief.

Katie figured it was time for a change of subject. “Who did Wayne choose to be his attendants?” she asked.

“Jolene’s bruder, Andrew, and Freeman Bontrager,” Ella replied. “Wayne and Freeman have become good friends since Freeman and his sister, Fern, moved back to Indiana a few months ago.”

“Freeman opened a bicycle shop,” Charlene added. “Mom and Dad bought me a new bike for my birthday in February.”

“Oh, I see.” Katie stifled a yawn. She’d had trouble falling asleep last night.

“Freeman won’t be helping here today because he has lots of work at the shop.” Charlene sipped her iced tea. “You should see all the bikes he has. I’ll bet he’d do real well if he had a shop in Sarasota, since so many people ride bikes there.”

“Here it is,” Loraine said, sweeping into the room with a khaki green dress draped over her arm. “I’ll wear a full white apron over the front of the dress, of course.” She held it out to Katie. “What do you think?”

With trembling fingers and a wave of envy, Katie touched the smooth piece of fabric. “It–it’s very nice.”

“Are you okay?” Loraine asked with a look of concern. “Your hand’s shaking.”

Katie dropped both hands into her lap and clutched the folds in her dress. “I’m fine. Just a bit shaky because I didn’t have much breakfast.”

“Then you oughta have a piece of this.” Charlene pushed the plate of friendship bread toward Katie. “You’ll blow away in a strong wind if you don’t put some meat on your bones.”

Katie ground her teeth until her jaw began to ache. One of the first things Mom had said to her when she’d arrived home was that she needed to gain some weight. Of course, Dad had mentioned it, too.

“Charlene’s right.” Ella spoke up. “If you’re feeling shaky, then you should eat something.”

“Maybe you’re right.” Katie grabbed a piece of bread and took a bite. Then she washed it down with a sip of iced tea.

Bam! The screen door swung open, causing Katie to nearly jump out of her seat. Walking with a slow, stiff gait, Wayne entered the room. His face broke into a wide smile when he saw Katie. “Wie geht’s?”

“I’m fine.” The lie rolled off Katie’s tongue much too easily. She was getting used to telling people what she thought they wanted to hear.

Wayne moved across the room and stood beside Loraine’s chair. “We’re sure glad you could come for the wedding.”

Katie forced a smile and nodded.

“Would you like to see my new leg?” Before she could respond, Wayne pulled up his pant leg, exposing his prosthesis.

Katie bit back a gasp. “D-does it hurt?” She could hardly get the words out.

“It did at first, but I’ve pretty well adjusted to it now.” Wayne took a seat beside Loraine. “It could have been worse, and I’m grateful to be alive.”

Uneasiness tightened Katie’s chest, and she blew out a slow, shaky breath. Seeing him like this was a reminder of what she’d caused—and what she’d lost.

Wayne reached around Ella and grabbed a piece of bread. “Looks like you’ve been baking again, huh, Ella?”

She nodded. “It keeps me busy when I’m not helping my daed in his business.”

“Those wind chimes he makes are so nice,” Loraine said. “I might buy one soon, to hang on our porch.”

“You won’t have to do that,” Charlene said. “Dad and Mom are planning to give you one of his nicest sets of wind chimes for a wedding present.”

Ella poked her sister’s arm. “It was supposed to be a surprise.”

Charlene covered her mouth. “Oops.”

Loraine poured another glass of iced tea and handed it to Wayne. “How are things going outside?”

“Pretty good. By the end of the day, I think your folks’ yard will look like a park.” He grinned and lifted his glass to take a drink. “This sure hits the spot. It’s getting mighty warm out there. Much warmer than normal for April, I think.”

“That’s fine with me,” Loraine said. “A warm spring day is exactly what I wished we’d have on our wedding day. I hope the weather stays just like it is—at least until Thursday.”

Katie stared out the kitchen window, blinking back tears of envy and frustration. I’d give anything if it were me and Timothy getting married in two days. Oh, Lord, please give me the strength to get through Loraine’s wedding.

My thoughts

My Cousin's Prayer is book 2 of the Indiana Cousins series. I am thinking that maybe I should have ordered the first book to get an introduction of the story because there seems to be a flow. But this book can also be read as a stand-alone since you will find lots of information related to the first book to give you a little bit of the history of the characters. Still, I would have preferred having the first book – what can I say I love reading a series in order… *grin*

I wasn’t awed with the story. Somehow, I was hoping that it would be similar to other Amish stories I’ve read in the past (including some from the author). But it wasn’t. I was disappointed. It reminded me a little bit of Harlequin books. In this particular story, there is a young Amish lady who is putting too much effort to conquer the heart of a particular Amish guy. Way too much effort for my taste. Not at all what I have come to know from the Amish way of life. She also display jealousy as well as gossip around town against her rival. I was a bit disturbed about this. And in the end, she seems to switch her attention to another Amish guy. My thoughts when this happened was “Here we go again….”.

However, I must say that I enjoyed learning from other kind of trades that Amish can have – like a bike shop (which makes sense) as well as a stamping store. I would love to go in an Amish Stamping store and discover how they make scrapbooks and cards. Maybe sitting down with them to make cards as well. I would love that. So next time I go to an Amish area, I might do a search on the internet to see if there is such a store.

I’m quite surprise by my own reaction with this book as I usually LOVE Amish novels. But as I write this I must come to the conclusion that this book is perfect for anyone who like romance novel. I like a bit more of mystery and adventure in my books.

My Cousin’s Prayer is available everywhere even at and

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Money and Marriage God's Way

Money and Marriage God’s Way
Written by Howard Dayton
Published at Moody Publishers

About the book
Some people adopt an “It’ll all work out somehow” attitude toward marriage and finances. But sadly, it often doesn’t work out. Financial woes and marriage troubles can rob couples of precious opportunities to savor the blessings of companionship, family, and peace that God intends for His people.

Money and Marriage God’s Way will help you discover God’s approach to growing your finances and strengthening your relationship with your mate. It highlights key issues like debt, conflict, spending, investing, saving, and budgeting.

Regardless of the books, magazines, or television programs you’ve seen, nothing compares with money and marriage God’s way.

Who is Howard Dayton?
Howard Dayton is cofounder of Crown Financial Ministries, created by a 2000 merger of Crown Ministries, which he founded in 1985, and Larry Burkett’s Christian Financial Concepts. Howard’s books and small group financial studies have been used by thousands of churches and individuals. His is a former naval officer, restaurateur, and real estate developer. Howard and his wife, Bev, have been married for more than 35 years. They reside in Gainesville, Georgia, and have two married children.

My Thoughts
I like having books that my husband and I can read together and discuss. This book is definitively a book we will use during our time together. Actually, as soon as we are done with the book we are going through these days, I told him that I wanted to do this one. Finance is a subject that is touchy in many families and you can learn from professionals any days of your life.

This book is any couples who takes their finances seriously. It is divided in 6 parts from which you can learn to get a better handle of your finances and growth in your marriage.

Throughout the book, you will find various Q&A that came from various people. At the end of each part you will have a REACT section in which you will find some questions to discuss with your spouse. Also, you will find a HELP! section which will list you some resources you can look into to go deeper on the subject. Finally the part concludes with the testimony of a couple who according to the author we should know. I always find the testimonies very powerful and encouraging. I think it was an interesting concept to include this in a book about money and marriage.

Each chapter of the book also contains some examples to make the concepts more understandable. I really enjoyed looking into the Money Map and the various destinations along the way. Another idea I really liked was about celebrating your milestones. I never thought of applying this concept to finances but honestly it makes sense. It is so encouraging to celebrate some milestones. Even Weight Watchers strongly suggest doing so. Why not incorporating it in your finances? It could be as simple as inviting your friends over for a BBQ and burning your mortgage agreement when you are done paying for it. I REALLY like this idea… *grin*
The book covers everything from relationships in a marriage, communication, budgeting, conflict resolution, crisis, seasons of life and stay at home parent. There is even a website that will help you to achieve financial success in your marriage. Look at It is available 24/7!

Money and Marriage God's Way is available everywhere even at and

In the Arms of Immortals

In the Arms of Immortals
Written by Ginger Garrett
Published at David C Cook

About the book
"The time of the angels is over."
"Never again will men believe in unseen goodness. "
"The age of fear has begun."

Sicily, 1347. It starts with a strange ship in the village harbor. That night an old man falls ill.then the baker's wife.then a street urchin. By morning half the townspeople are dead and more are dying-horribly. Civic order breaks down. Wolves are moving in from the countryside. And no one has a clue what is happening or how to stop it. Not the local priest. Not the rich baron. Not the baron's proud daughter, nor the powerful knight who loves her. Certainly not the outcast healer whom many call a witch.

Only the Destroyer and the unseen Watchers know the real story.along with an unwilling visitor from another time. Mariskka recognizes the Black Death that soon will decimate Europe. But she has no voice to speak, no way to help.until she dares open her pain-hardened heart to unfathomable truth.

Richly imagined, tautly suspenseful, and deeply moving.another heart-stopping historical thriller from the author of In the Shadow of Lions.

Who is Ginger Garrett?
Ginger Garrett is the critically acclaimed author of Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther, which was recognized as one of the top five novels of 2006 by the ECPA, and Dark Hour. An expert in ancient women's history, Ginger creates novels and nonfiction resources that explore the lives of historical women. A frequent media guest and television host, Ginger has been interviewed by The New York Times, NPR, Billy Graham's The Hour of Decision," The Harvest Show, Fox News, and many other outlets.

In 2007, Ginger was nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year Award for her novel Dark Hour. A graduate of Southern Methodist University with a degree in theater, she is passionate about creating art from history. You can learn more about Ginger and her work by visiting

My Thoughts
I was excited to have the opportunity of reading this book as it has an historical base to it. However, I can’t say I enjoyed it so much. It was different to what I am used to read and I think I need to personally challenge myself to read different kind of books. I enjoyed learning more about the times of the Black Plague but having angels being part of the main character was a bit disturbing to me. I find a lot of people will have the tendency of worshipping the angels instead of the Creator. But I also understand that the author was portraying the spiritual battle between good and evil because you encounter evil spirits in the book as well.

I was not expecting the possibility of a woman of this age being sent to the year 1347 during the time of the Black Plague by some angels. She can’t speak and is torn because she sees how much errors are made which made the plague spread to fast from one person to the other. As the hours pass, she comes to term that God exists and that she needs to trust him with every aspects of her life.

All through the book, you will follow the various characters as they experience the nightmare of the Black Plague. Mainly there are three women characters who stand up. The one from the future that has been punished for something she has done in her time, the daughter of the village Baron who is greedy at the end, and the healer not recognized by the church who lives in the woods. One will die, one will survive and one will go back to her time. Many other characters die in the book as well. It makes you wonder if the Black Plague was this fast back in the 1300s.

At the end of the book, you will find various interesting facts about the Black Plague as well as an interview from the author.

I personally discovered a new author that I would like to read more. Her style of writing will permit me to stretch myself to something different in a world of books. I like the fact that she writes about historic events. In the Arms of Immortals was the second book from the series Chronicles of the Scribe. I really need to pick up book one and look forward to read the third book someday.

Here’s a sneak peek of the book.

In the Arms of Immortals is available everywhere even at and

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Finding an Unseen God - Reflections of a former atheist.

Finding an Unseen God
By Alicia Britt Chole
Published at Bethany House

About the book
Truth is dead.God never lived.Life is filled with pain.Death is the end of life.
These beliefs formed Alicia Britt Chole's worldview as a young woman. "I sincerely believed that there was no God," she says. "As a young Atheist, I simply considered myself a realist who preferred unanswered questions over fairy tales."

Then one day, without warning, Alicia's Atheistic worldview was shattered.
Creatively written, Finding an Unseen God opens a window into Alicia's surprising spiritual journey. With warmth, intellect, and compassion, Alicia invites us to carefully consider what we believe and do not believe, while she paints a vivid portrait of a God who relentlessly pursues even those who deny him.

Who is Alicia Britt Chole?
Alicia Britt Chole (pronounced show-lee) speaks nationally and internationally to a wide variety of people. She's been mentoring university students and the next generation of leaders for more than twenty years. She's the author of several books and audio and video resources, including Finding An Unseen God and Anonymous: Jesus' Hidden Years and Yours. A gifted speaker, reflective author, and seasoned mentor, Alicia Britt Chole relishes every messy moment of life with her tribe of five in the Ozarks of Missouri.

My Thougths
Revelation 12:11 says “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony”. And this book is all about the testimony of a young atheist who discovered God in ways she was not expecting it. She got caught completely off guard when He called her to himself.

This book is indeed creative. When I first started to read it I was travelling back and forth between her past and her thoughts about why she follows God now. But then I realized that the chapters were numbered in a special way 52, 1, 51, 2, 50, 3… and it kept going like that until the end of the book. So I am uncertain if I read the book in the way the chapters were presented or if I should have read it in the order of the numbers. I guess I could always re-read it in the order 1,2,3… and so on until the 52nd chapter. The other creative aspect of the book is that the cover and each chapter start with a word search. And hidden inside are other words. I had a little fun to try to see what was hidden before reading the chapter.

I love it when I read about the story on how someone came to God and chose Him instead of their previous Worldview. WoW! You sense that God is so much at work when you read about their travels on the road to salvation. This book gives you exactly that. The author explains her background and the reasons why she became and atheist at a young age. While you travel with her in her life story, you will learn how God showed Himself to her and how she decided to follow Him.

I enjoyed reading the book. I actually devoured it. I find testimonies so powerful in the sense that it energizes you to continue to pursue God and to share His love with others.

Check out what the author herself is saying about her story…

Finding an Unseen God is available everywhere even on and

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Energy - Its Forms, Changes, & Functions

Energy – Its forms, changes & functions
By Tom DeRosa and Carolyn Reeves
Published at Master Books

This book is part of the Investigate the Possibilities series and is geared toward students from grade 3 to 6. Its content is about elementary physics more specifically about energy. In this book you will find that learning is extremely fun when you can perform the experiences yourself and see from your own eyes what will be the result.

Once again, I found that the authors have done a tremendous job in putting this book together. Again you will find marvelous images accompanying a lesson and some interesting investigations to discover the world of energy. The quality of the books in this series is simply amazing! I am truly impressed with the scientific information contained in these books.

In the book on Energy, each lesson is divided in sections going from thinking about a specific subject to experimenting on it. Each time the student will have to ponder on some specific investigative problems and found out the answers. The experiments look very fun to do and can be done easily with the things you have at home – no need to purchase special products to investigate the various topics on energy. The student will also have to read more information on the subject of the lesson as well as make connections with our everyday life i.e. how does the lesson apply in real life? While doing the lesson, the student has also the possibility of digging deeper within the guidelines provided by the authors. Finally, the lesson finishes with a series of questions to make sure the student has understood what he has read. Throughout the book, the students will also learn more about some scientists who studied the wonderful world of energy.

Also available are the Teacher’s Guide and the Student Journal. The Teacher’s Guide will give the objectives of the lesson, more information concerning the lesson as well as the answers to the questions related to the lesson. Personally, I find the teacher book very helpful especially when it is a subject like energy… It gives me guidelines and helps me not to get too stressed when doing the lesson with my son. As for the Student Journal, it will permit the student to write down any observations and answers from the questions as well as experiences found in the book. There is even a special place to write down what the student has found in the dig deeper section of the book. There is plenty of space to write down the answers when you are using the Student Journal.

Energy – Its Forms, Changes, & Functions is available everywhere even on and

Transformation Study Bible

The Transformation Study Bible
General Editor Warren W Wiersbe
Published at David C Cook

About this Bible
As pastors seek to make the Word of God more understandable in an age that is unfamiliar with the Bible, and as growing disciples seek to discover the truth of Scripture in a skeptical culture, there is a great need for guidance in both the preaching and study of God’s Word. Whether you’re a pastor, a seminary student, or a truth-seeking disciple, an understanding of the Bible can be made clear to you with the help of one of the most influential, in-depth, and practical Bible scholars in modern history.

For over thirty years, millions have come to rely on the timeless wisdom of Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s “Be” Commentary series. Dr. Wiersbe’s commentary and insights on Scripture have helped readers understand and apply God’s Word with the goal of life transformation. According to Dr. Wiersbe, “It isn’t enough for us simply to read assigned portions of the Bible each day, as helpful as that is. A truly transforming experience involves meditating on what we read (Ps. 1:2), studying it carefully in the light of other verses, and then obeying what God tells us to do (Josh. 1:8).” Now available for the first time, The Transformation Study Bible offers the full text of the highly readable New Living Translation with accompanying notes and commentary from the 50 books in Dr. Wiersbe’s “Be” series.

“The Transformation Study Bible will better enable readers to appreciate, appropriate, and apply the Word of God, which will result in ‘purity, joy, right values, hope, comfort, freedom, new life, peace, guidance, wisdom, integrity, encouragement, and effective prayer,’” states Wiersbe. In other words, if you want to be a new person, knowing and obeying the will of God and becoming more like Jesus Christ, there is perhaps no finer tool to encourage that process than The Transformation Study Bible.

One of the most anticipated and comprehensive study Bibles of the year, The Transformation Study Bible has been a lifetime in the making by a man who is widely known as a prolific and trusted writer and theologian. The former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago, an internationally known Bible teacher, and someone who has given his life to a deep examination of the Word of God, Dr. Wiersbe lends his vast experience and scholarly insight to the most beloved and revered book of all time. This effort is to encourage believers of all levels to know and love the Bible and to experience the same transformation that has radically changed his life. The result is a Bible that is clear, understandable, and applicable to the lives of its readers.

My thoughts
I was curious about this Bible because it was stating on the cover of the jacquet – The Study Bible for Growing Disciple. So I wanted to see what this Bible has to offer more than the other ones we had at home. Even though we already owned a New Living Translation, I took the opportunity to review The Transformation Study Bible which is based on the NLT.

So indeed the text of the Bible itself is based on the New Living Translation. I find it a simple translation to read especially for new believers. But for people like me who would like to have more from a Bible, I was looking forward to discover the notes and Catalyst sections in this Bible. The Catalyst notes will highlight some key character issues in the scriptures. These are considered the heart of this new Bible as it contains information discussed by Mr. Wiersbe. The study notes at the bottom of the pages also are from Mr. Wiersbe and they explain to the reader what the verses means and how to apply them in your life. Seriously, though it made me think of the NLT Application Bible that we have.

You will also find cross-references to scriptures throughout the Bible, book outlines for the various books of the Bible, overviews for each books, colorful maps, a dictionary-concordance as well as the “Be Transformed “ section which gives the reader a life changing impact from the scriptures included in a book of the Bible.

I think this Bible has potential if the reader takes the time to study the notes and ponder on the Catalyst notes. It is sad that there aren’t enough spaces in this Bible to scribble some personal notes when God is speaking to us during our study time. I would have preferred having more spaces to write down my thoughts and feelings while I read this Bible.

Honestly, I don’t think I would have purchased this Bible if I would have been to a Christian store. Why? Simply because this Bible is too close to the NLT Application Study Bible that we have at home. However, if I wouldn’t have own another NLT Bible, I would have seriously consider getting this one. I do find that there is too many kinds of Bible on the market and many have similar objectives for the readers. So I would strongly suggest that if you want to purchased a new Bible take the time to visit your local Christian bookstore and compared the ones in which you are interested in. Also seek the Lord in which Bible would be best for you. You would be surprised in what He might suggest.

The Transformation Study Bible is available everywhere even at and

Saturday, September 12, 2009

You Were Born For This

You were Born for This – 7 Keys to a Life of Predictable Miracles
By Bruce Wilkinson
Published at Multnomah

About the book
Anyone can do a good deed, but some good works can only happen by an act of God. Around the world these acts are called miracles–not that even religious people expect to see one any time soon. But what would happen if millions of ordinary people walked out each morning expecting God to deliver a miracle through them to a person in need? You Were Born for This starts with the dramatic premise that everyone at all times is in need of a miracle, and that God is ready to meet those needs supernaturally through ordinary people who are willing to learn the “protocol of heaven.” In the straightforward, story-driven, highly motivating style for which he is known, Wilkinson describes how anyone can be a ‘Delivery Guy’ from heaven in such universally significant arenas of life as finances, practical help, relationships, purpose and spiritual growth.You Were Born for This will change how you see see your world and show you what you can expect God to do through you to meet real needs. You will master seven simple tools of service, and come to say with confidence, “I want to deliver a supernatural gift from God to someone in need today–and I expect to!”

Who is Bruce Wilkinson?
Bruce Wilkinson is recognized as one of the world's foremost Christian teachers and speakers. But he is best known as the author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, The Prayer of Jabez, and other bestsellers including A Life God Rewards, Secrets of the Vine, and The Dream Giver. He is the founder of WorldTeach, a global initiative to train Bible teachers in every nation. Wilkinson also founded Dream for Africa, a humanitarian agency that has taken on AIDS, orphan care and hunger in sub-Saharan Africa. Bruce and his wife, Darlene, have three children and six grandchildren. They live outside Atlanta.

My thoughts
Welcome to Mission Central, the place where God send whoever he wants and whoever is willing to a special mission. Are you willing to put on your delivery uniform and follow God on it? Are you willing to offer God yourself so He can use you on a daily basis? Are you willing to experience to enter the Land of Everyday Miracle Territory instead of staying in the Land of Signs and Wonders or the Land of Good Deeds? If you are then be prepare to be amazed at what opportunities God will bring to you. Oh and it is guaranteed that He will match you with people or situations unique for your own life. Every agent will experience something different. Isn’t it neat?

Every miracle starts with a person in need. It’s not our choices. It’s not our agenda. It’s not who you would pick or which mission you would prefer. God is the one in control and our role is to be there to serve anyone, anytime and anywhere He seems fit for us. The important thing is to serve God and please Him… not the people around us.

Our partner in this mission is the Holy Spirit. He will guide us and help us in time in need. The important thing to remember is not the fear take over us and to step out of our comfort zone. It won’t be easy all the time but with time we will become more able to do it. Practice does indeed make it perfect.

Open your eyes and see the need around you. It can be your neighbor, the server at the restaurant, the lady who serves your coffee every morning, your co-worker, your child’s teacher, etc. You have to commit yourself to the agency and be aware of your environment. God can bring an opportunity to you at any moment. Are you ready?

The book explains the various key necessary to open the door of possibilities for you to be involved in some miracles on a daily basis. It will also guide you in the steps to take when you are in the middle of a miracle mission. The book also present three special delivery missions: money, dream and forgiveness. During the reading of the book, you will also read about various stories of ordinary people who were there when God brought up a mission on their lap. They didn’t hesitate and followed His lead. Some stories brought tears in my eyes while I read them.

I learned a lot while reading this book and I plan to be open to anything God will bring on my path. I know I can help others as it had happened in the past. I, myself, if a child of divorce (it happened when I was in my 20s) and I had the opportunity of helping a woman dealing with the fact her husband had cheated on her while I was at the park with my son a few years ago. I was able to pray for her and her son as well as her marriage. I was able to give her a book from Dr. Dobson that I had just finished reading and annotated from my own experience with my parents. I wonder today how she is doing but she had called to tell me the book was helping her a lot. It was totally unexpected and scary at first but I helped her anyway.

Somehow, as the years went by, I “lost” the possibility of being available. Why? I don’t know maybe because I got busier with various things – primarily my own kids. But I see the importance of telling God that we are available to experience the Everyday Miracle Territory. Personally, I want more of these miracles in my life. Where is my uniform God? I want to be a delivery agent for You! How about you dear reader? Are you willing to step out of faith and be there for whoever God brings on your path?

There is a special website for the book You Were Born for This. Simply go to and check it out. You can download the first chapter, view some videos with Bruce speaking, share your stories of miracles, and an online community.

Listen to what Bruce himself has to say about the book!

You Were Born For This is available everywhere even at and

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Love Has A Face - Mascara, a Machete and One Woman's Miraculous Journey with Jesus in Sudan

Love Has A Face: Mascara, a Machete, and One Woman’s Miraculous Journey with Jesus in Sudan
Written by: Michele Perry
Published at Chosen
About the book
Unforgettable Memoir of a Woman Bringing the Love of Jesus to the Orphans of Sudan

Termites for dinner. Bombs in the backyard. A nation torn by decades of war still on the brink. Can one life really make a difference here?
Born without her left hip and leg, Michele Perry is no stranger to seeming impossibilities. So when she arrived in war-torn Southern Sudan--with little more than her faith in God's promises--she did what everyone told was crazy: she opened a home for orphaned children in the middle of guerilla warfare territory and has now become "mama" to over one hundred little lives.

With a deft pen, she recounts unforgettable stories of life in the bush, stories that capture the reader with the stark realities of living in a war zone—and the power of God's love to transform them. Her own story is just as compelling as the ministry she is living. From working in the slums of India to finding her home in war-ravaged Africa, her life has been a journey deeper into the supernatural power of God.

Captivatingly honest, readers will be swept up in one woman's poignant, spellbinding journey of love and the glimpses of God's tender grace and mercy in the midst of a broken and hurting world.

Who is Michele Perry?
Michele Perry is the founding field ministry coordinator for Iris Ministries in Southern Sudan under Rolland and Heidi Baker. Born without her left hip and leg and other birth defects, she endured 23 surgeries by age 13. A native of Florida, Michele studied at Baylor and has previously served in Bangladesh, India, and the inner cities of the U.S. She is also an artist, photographer, and poet. Michele wrote most of Love Has a Face on an old computer by a kerosene lamp in a bullet-hole ridden shell of a building in Southern Sudan. Her writing was punctuated by the occasional AK-47 shot.

My Thoughts
What is love? Really… have you stop a second and wondered what it was? God is the perfect image of Love. And the book Love Has A Face will demonstrate by reading of the life of Michele Perry how we can show God’s love to the ones who need it the most.

Michele has a way of writing from the deepness of her heart and makes you travel with her through her life in Sudan. WoW! That’s honestly the first word that came to my mind after I finished reading the book. She is experiencing so much of the presence of God it is almost unbelievable. But the words are there, black on a white page, telling us all the miracles that He did and the only thing she needed to do was trust Him and show His love to others.

We don’t experience these kinds of miracles here in Canada or the US. Could you imagine what would happen if it was like this here? I’m thinking of the miracle of the candies for many children who showed up for a Veggie Tales night. There were too many children for the number of candies that was purchased. However, God provided above and beyond (well one extra candy – probably for himself *grin*) what was needed… I’m thinking of how Michele prayed for a blind woman who recovered her sight. I’m thinking of how many times provisions came when they didn’t expect it – even soccer balls for the kids.

Yes God is there. He knows what is needed. He cares about everyone. But He needs others to show His love – to be Love for Him. Are you willing to follow and trust Him wherever He will bring you?

It doesn’t have to be in Africa you know. It can simply be here in your city. Don’t walk fast when you see a street person; take the time to be a blessing for them. Love them just like Jesus would have love them himself. It’s that simple. Sometimes a simple smile is enough. Acknowledge them and let them know that God do cares about them.

I was blessed beyond measures by this book. And I hope that one day my own children will pick it up and read through it to learn of God’s love.

If you want to experience His love and see what He is doing in Sudan – pick up Love Has A Face next time you go to the bookstore. You won’t be disappointed. Expect to be moved and have tears in your eyes when you read it.

Love Has A Face is available everywhere even at and

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Voices of the Faithful Book 2

Voices of the Faithful Book 2 – Inspiring Stories of Courage from Christians Serving Around the World.
By The International Mission Board
Published at Thomas Nelson
About the book
A new year’s worth of inspiring stories from the front lines of faith.
"A willingness to go is all they have in common," exclaim Beth Moore and Kim P. Davis, speaking of their friends on the front lines who are spreading the gospel around the world and with whom they collaborated to create this book. This second book of 366 daily devotionals features stories of God’s faithfulness, written by hundreds of missionaries worldwide.
From stirring miracles to heroic adventures, this second volume highlights those who daily go to the outer limits of spiritual devotion.

A follow-up to the first book which has now sold over 300,000 copies.

My thoughts
I have been wanting to get the first book of the Voices of the Faithful but never got around to it. So when I saw that the second book of Voices of the Faithful was available for review, I jumped on the opportunity. I was curious to read some of the devotions. I thought it would be devotions from Christians from the past. Boy! Was I wrong…

I discovered a wonderful little devotion book which contains devotions written by Christians currently serving around the world. This Voices of the Faithful Book 2 contains 366 devotions from missionaries stationed around the globe. When I realized that I immediately thought of our friends, Al & Joane Brown and their 7 kids who are missionaries in Thailand. They serve through Compasio.

Each month has a specific theme which is repeated in the devotions of the month. For example, the month of September is about Lessons from the Young – ie children. In a specific devotion, I read about a 6 year old reaching out to a 20 year old guy who has since came to the Lord. This devotion touched me particularly because it made me remember how my 2 year old reached out to a street person one night during a service at the church we are planting. God did indeed give me a lesson that night and I hope to never forget it.

Each page begins with a scripture and then you read a devotion written from someone in the field. The devotion concludes with a prayer specifically related to the reading. This way, you pray for the missionaries and their work and realize what God is doing around the World.
I took the habit to read the page of the day daily since I got the book. And God speaks to me in various ways – from thinking to our friends in Thailand, our Compassion kids, how my own kids minister to the people coming to our church and so on. Yes God is in the move. Keep your eyes open. Read about what He does in other countries and realize that He is indeed real.

Voices of the Faithful Book 2 is available everywhere, even at and

A Family Guide to the Bible

A Family Guide to the Bible
By Christin Ditchfield
Published at Crossway
About the book
All Christian parents want their children to gain a better understanding of God’s Word, but many of them are still searching to completely understand the Bible themselves. How can they confidently share what they believe with their families?

A Family Guide to the Bible takes readers on a fun and exciting tour through all sixty-six books of the Bible and offers parents, grandparents, and teachers a better understanding of the Scriptures so they can help the children in their lives know what is in the Bible, where to find it, and how it all fits together. As Christians become more familiar with God’s Word, they will gain greater confidence as they share what they believe with their family and friends, help answer questions concerning the Bible, and encourage others to grow deeper in their walks of faith.

Who is Christin Ditchfield?
Christin Ditchfield is the host of the syndicated radio program “Take It to Heart!” heard daily on stations across the United States, Canada, Central and South America. She is a popular conference speaker and author of more than 40 books. Her articles have appeared in numerous national and international magazines, including Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian Woman, Sports Spectrum, and Power for Living.

My Thoughts
I took the time to explore and compare The Family Guide to the Bible before writing my review. The two books I used for the comparison part are: What the Bible is all About by Dr. Henrietta C Mears and Willmington’s Bible Handbook.

A Family Guide to the Bible is a wonderful tool to own in your house so that you can get more information about every single book of the Bible. However, I must confess that I am a little disappointed with the depth of the information in the book. I was expecting more details and so on but it isn’t the case. It gives you a good overview of the books found in the Bible with information related to the book (author, audience, setting, story and message), a key verse or passage, a section which give you more information on how this is related to the rest of the Bible, Words to know with definitions on specific words found in the book, a section called Did you Know? with information concerning this specific book, and a section titled Making the Connection in which you can read some specifics related to this book and history.

Now, if you are looking for something more complete and exhaustive, I would definitively go with one of the two that I have used to compare A Family Guide to the Bible. However, if you are only looking for something to introduce yourself and your kids to the books of the Bible in more details than what you can found in a study Bible, this book would be perfect. I know that I will use it in my homeschool because the two other books are a little bit too complicated to understand for children. As parents it is our primary responsibility to teach our children about God and His Word. This book will help you to give more details about each book you will find in the Bible. It is perfect to introduce your children to biblical studies. It is never too young to start to learn more about God and His Word.

A Family Guide to the Bible published at Crossway is available everywhere even at and

Fearless - Imagine Your Life Without Fear

Fearless – Imagine your life without fear
By Max Lucado
Published at Thomas Nelson
About the book
Each sunrise seems to bring fresh reasons for fear.

They're talking layoffs at work, slowdowns in the economy, flare-ups in the Middle East, turnovers at headquarters, downturns in the housing market, upswings in global warming. The plague of our day, terrorism, begins with the word terror. Fear, it seems, has taken up a hundred-year lease on the building next door and set up shop. Oversized and rude, fear herds us into a prison of unlocked doors. Wouldn't it be great to walk out?

Imagine your life, wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, or doubt, what would remain? Envision a day, just one day, where you could trust more and fear less.

Can you imagine your life without fear?

Who is Max Lucado?
Max Lucado, Minister of Writing and Preaching for the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, is the husband of Denalyn and father of Jenna, Andrea, and Sara. On a good week he reads a good book, has a few dinners with his wife, and breaks 90 on the golf course. He usually settles for the first two.

My thoughts
We are surrounded by events that might cause fear in our lives. But is it worth it. Fear can indeed severe our trust and faith if we are not careful. Do you have worries that take control on your life? Then the latest book from Max Lucado, Fearless – Imagine Your Life Without Fear, is for you.

This book approaches many fears that people could sense in their lives – fear of not mattering, fear of disappointing God, fear of running out, fear of not protecting my kids, fear of overwhelming challenges, fear of worst-case scenarios, fear of violence, fear of the coming winter, fear of life’s final moments, fear of what’s next, fear that God is not real, fear of global calamity, and fear of God getting out of my box. Really, by fearing so much I wonder how people live sometimes!

Some chapters talked to me more than other ones in this book. You can easily see it from the notes I took in the margins and the underlining you will find on the pages. But I was able to take something out from each chapter no matter what. Even when we think God is not there – He is. He cares for us and He is ever present in good times and bad times. Fear the Lord not what is surrounding you.

Max brings hypothetic situations and writes about the fear related to them. He brings up scriptures in each chapter to make us realize that fear should not stop us in any shape or form. Yes we will experience hard times and scary times but then it’s time to fully trust our Father in Heaven who cares deeply for us. When we persevere then we grow in our relationship with Him.

In these days, a lot is going on from recession, markets going down, loosing a job, terrorism, pandemic that is threatening us… But we need to keep our eyes on the One who knows everything. He knows which means we should trust Him and pursue without fear what He wants us to do – whatever that is.

I remember when in 2001 the planes hit the World Trade Centre. My son, Alexandre, was 2 ½ months old. You know what someone told me? Maybe it wasn’t the right time for having children. I disagreed with this. An event like this sometimes flip people so much that they make drastic decision because of fear. From what I know of history – every once in a while a drastic event comes and shake the world… think about the Black Plague or the wars especially the 2nd World War with the concentration camps and so on. Ouch!

We can learn from past events and persevere. The Bible does tell us that a reward is there for those of you who will persevere. Will you trust God or die in fear?

Check out what a little boy of 7 years old, whose missionary family was posted in Africa, has written while his house was burning to the ground… . Honestly if a little boy can see God in a tragic event, we can surely do the same don’t you think? We should learn from the kids when they exemplify a strong faith and trust in the Lord.

Finally, the reader will find a wonderful discussion guide at the end of the book. This book can be used in a book club setting or as a small group study.

Want to see what the book is all about? Check out the youtube video about it…

Today, September 8th 2009, is the official release date for Fearless. So hurry up and go grab your copy at the bookstore!
Fearless is available for purchase in every bookstore even on and

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

90 Days to a Fantastic Marriage

90 Days to a Fantastic Marriage
By David Hawkins
Published at Tyndale

About the book
Perhaps you’re newly married and it’s slowly dawning on you that you’re going to spend the rest of your life with this person. Or maybe you’ve been married for a decade or two and you long for the days when you were more than just roommates. No matter what stage you’re in, wouldn’t it be nice to be appreciated, noticed, and praised by each other, instead of being ignored or criticized? In 90 Days to a Fantastic Marriage, Dr. David Hawkins reveals a 12-week plan of noticing, focusing on, and bringing out the best in each other . . . a strategy that will revive the romance and renew the intimacy in your relationship. The book draws on Dr. Hawkins’ 30 years of relationship counseling (he is also a popular author, speaker, and columnist), and it contains stories and real-life examples from marriages in all stages (newlyweds, long-term marriages, couples in crisis). With this book readers can:
1) Put a stop to negative relationship patterns in just 12 weeks.
2) Learn to listen for and speak about the good in your spouse.
3) Embark on a more positive marriage, solidified with love and appreciation.
4) Feel fully appreciated when your spouse starts acknowledging your gifts and praising your abilities.
Who is David Hawkins?
Dr. David Hawkins has been counseling for over thirty years and is the author of more than thirty books, including the best-selling series, Your Pocket Therapist. He is also the weekly advice columnist for both and Dr. Hawkins founded the Marriage Recovery Center and owns Pacific Psychological Associates with offices located throughout Washington State. He lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington, with his wife, Christie. Visit him online at
My thoughts
Throughout this book you will learn how to get a FANTASTIC marriage during a period of 90 days. Each chapter is for a specific week and at the end of the three months you will have rediscovered your spouse and became soul mate.
This book is good for newly married couples as well as couples who have been married for a long time. It’s never too late or too early to work on our marriages. There is always place for amelioration and for making the relationship better.
How many times did it happen that I felt offended when my husband came with some requests to change something? If I would take the time to see his perspective and see him not as an enemy, I wouldn’t and shouldn’t react that way.
Each week you will have a chapter to read where you will find examples from the author as well as from other peoples about the subject of the week. I particularly like the fact that the author has included his own experience in the book. I find that when an author does that – especially for teaching books – it makes it more personal and realistic. I love to see that others are struggling with some things in their relationships too.
You will also have a quiz which makes you think on how you would apply the lesson in your life. What would be our first reaction to something? And then there is a putting in practice section where the author suggests various activities so you can apply what you have read in your relationship with your spouse. Each one will make you think on how you can change yourself to make the relationship better.
Throughout the book you will learn to reevaluate your perspective, choose the rose-colored glasses, bring out the best qualities from your spouse, remember the reasons why your mate love you, give up distractions to focus on the dream, embrace the ripple effect, nurture your mate’s dream, teach your mate to nurture your dreams, prepare your best to meet your spouse’s best, unleash the power of positive gossiping, initiate change by encouragement and maintain mutual admiration. Honestly, I don’t know how a marriage cannot change when you go through all this…!
My husband and I wants to ameliorate our marriage and we both look forward of spending time to read this book and grow close to each other.
90 Days to a Fantastic Marriage is available everywhere even at and

My Story Bible - 66 favorites stories

My Story Bible – 66 Favorite Stories
By Jan Godfrey and Paola Bertolini Grudina
Published at Tyndale
About the book
This is a true story book. The 4-color bright and charming art will attract kids, but the way the writer makes the beloved 66 Bible stories come alive will keep them coming back. The book is written from a storyteller’s perspective; the imaginative writing makes the characters from the Bible come alive and piques kids’ interest about the word of God. The repetitive style helps kids remember the stories.

Who are the authors?
Jan Godfrey is a born storyteller. She is an experienced writer for children with many published books. She is a retired school teacher who now lives in the South of England with her husband who is a pastor. They have four children and many grandchildren who love hearing Jan tell stories.

Paola Bertolini Grudina was born in Italy and worked as a graphic designer before becoming a children's book illustrator. Paola's inspiration for the books she has illustrated comes from her own Christian faith. She lives with her illustrator husband and five children in Gorizia, on the Italian border with Slovenia.

My thoughts
Geared for children ages 3-6 this marvelous book will introduce them to 66 bibles stories that we can find throughout the Bible. The stories are short enough to keep the attention of the kids and deep enough to include a teaching lesson as well… The stories will more than likely plant a seed in the children’s hearts. They will experience how God love and care for his people. Each story also has a reference to the scriptures in the Bible.

The art accompanying the stories is bright and add some charm to the stories. The drawings are very colorful and are full of little details. Each image reflects perfectly the point of the story and brings the characters of the Bible alive for little ones. They will bring a smile of the children’s faces as well as the parents. I know I did smile while going through this wonderful little book. I was also pleased to spot some ladybugs here and there in the book. *grin*

This book is a perfect gift for a dedication or a baptism of a child. It could also be a wonderful gift for a shower.

My Story Bible is available everywhere even at and