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Our lives are so busy. Thoughts of Christmas arriving in about eight weeks has, during certain years of my life, made me anxious inside.
Will the house be decorated enough, in a comfortable way?
Will I have the Christmas cards and photos ready to send out at least a week before Christmas?
Will the Christmas baking and holiday dinner be ready?
Reading this new book, The Sparkle Box, from Ideals Publications and Books, really places Christmas into perspective.
And not only Christmas, but every day of our lives.
Over the years, I've learned to minimize some of my expectations of the "trappings" of Christmas. If the cards don't get mailed until after Christmas, that's okay. I've reduced the amount of decorating I do around the house, and we do a lot less Christmas shopping than we used to do.
The Sparkle Box arrived here at my home a couple of weeks ago, and it is a delightful, beautiful book that will touch the hearts of you and your children. I love books that have deep, meaningful insight - especially children's books with their beautiful artwork. If you would like to share a deeper meaning to the holiday of Christmas - Christ's birth - and loving others, I wholeheartedly recommend that you consider getting your own copy of The Sparkle Box to share with your family, especially if you have younger children (written for ages 4-8, although my girls and I loved it, too!)
The Sparkle Box is not only a beautiful children's story, but it also comes with a Sparkle Box for your family to use! This is such a meaningful and easy way to encourage your family to take a different view of Christmas!
At The Sparkle Box website, they have provided readers with beautiful PDF copies of Sparkle Box Chore Charts, directions on how to make a Sparkle Jar, and Sparkle Box gift ideas as well as a Sparkle Box coloring page and ideas on how to use the Sparkle Box book in your family. Wonderful!
Take a peek:
Here is the touching story of a young boy who unknowingly participates in a powerful new Christmas tradition: honoring Jesus on His birthday by giving to others.
Sam is so excited about Christmas! He's thinking about his Christmas list, looking forward to holiday parties, and puzzling over one very mysterious gift: a sparkly box sitting on the mantel. In the midst of the festivities, Sam and his family participate in various acts of kindness to others. On Christmas morning, when Sam finally opens the Sparkle Box, he finds only slips of paper that record the family's good deeds. Sam's mom explains that the things that they've been doing are, in fact, a gift for Jesus, for Jesus said that whatever we do for those in need, we do for Him.
I received one hardbound copy of The Sparkle Box in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was provided.
Book Review from Joy In Our Journey:
Laurie Eakes has written a rollicking new novel, A Flight of Fancy, set in Victorian England. Eakes has presented a puzzle of a story. What does a girl who wears glasses and who is more interested in engineering and balloon flights over the countryside than in a "peer of the realm" have that makes the earl so interested in her? Could it be her dowry? It isn't much, but his mills and estate do need money. But then there was that passionate kiss in his carriage, when who knows what might have happened if the ruffians had not attacked them and caused her legs to be burned. Now that her legs are scarred for life, there is even less of a reason for him to want anything to do with her. These are the things about which Cassandra wonders. It's not that he isn't good looking, he is, and most girls would give up their new ball gowns to be sought out by him. Especially Regina who shows up on the doorstep with some cousins and makes no secret about her interest in Geoffrey. Who knows where she came from and just what is her plan?
Questions beset the earl too. Why does someone want to kill him? Why are the ruffians destroying the mills that are the source of their income? Who are these people anyway? Then there is Cassandra. Why ever does she want to travel so high up in the air, in of all things an air filled balloon, when even the upstairs balcony causes him to feel just a little sea sick? Why can't she see that he loves her? How will he ever get her to believe he loves her in spite of her glasses and scars.
These problems and questions are interestingly solved in this light-hearted, fun to read novel, A Flight of Fancy by Laurie Eakes.
A Flight of Fancy is available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller - from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
I received one paperback copy of A Flight of Fancy in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was provided.
Ever been there?
I know gals who don't even check their email anymore. They receive so many emails per week that it makes them feel like they are going to drown from it all. So they just practice avoidance - and I don't blame them at all.
And not all of these emails, newsletters, and messages are bad. Occasionally, they are downright inspiring.
But sometimes, in our overwhelming moments in life, we need to just hit [DELETE] and not feel guilty about it, right?
There have even been bloggers and Christian ministries to which I've unsubscribed, just because I can't handle receiving so many emails - even if they are applicable to my life.
Today, though, I've been introduced to a ministry whose goal is to create an online community by actively listening to and educating people about work, life, and God. The High Calling's motto is, “Every day conversations about work, life, and God.”
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J.D. Jessup is desperate to escape haunting memories, so he travels from Nashville to Tucson and volunteers on an organic farm. The hardened landowner has one prevailing rule: If J.D. sees an "illegal," call the border patrol. But during an early morning ride along the fence line, he comes upon a beautiful young woman named Maria, near death in the desert. J.D.'s heart pulls him in another direction other than "following orders." Longing to make amends for the choices that drove him to Tucson, J.D. hides Maria and unleashes a chain of deadly events he could never have imagined. Soon, they are running from a killer and fighting for their lives. As secrets of their past emerge, J.D. realizes that saving Maria may be the only way to save himself.
Book "trailer" for Borders of the Heart:
Forget the dirty dishes in the sink...
...the laundry awaiting me...
...and you say I have two children? That I'm supposed to be homeschooling?
Um, not right now - I'm busy reading Borders of the Heart!!!
Borders of the Heart is a quick read - that is, if you stay up late reading it past midnight like I did. Heh, heh. Who needs sleep, anyway? It's really overrated.
Not only is Borders of the Heart action-packed with the Mexican cartel, illegal immigration, shoot-outs, and the like, it also has the mention of rattlesnakes within the first two pages.
My mom started to read it and handed the book back to me. She doesn't do snakes. Even in books.
Well, snakes in real life aren't my favorite thing in the world, but I do fine with them when they're contained within words! Thankfully, there wasn't some freaky rattlesnake theme going on here throughout the book. Whew!
I don't want to give away the plot line of the book, but I do have to say that I very much appreciate reading a book that has everything I enjoy within the two covers: action, thought-provoking and inspiring words, seeing people change for the better, a godly message woven gently throughout, and no smut, swear words, or anything inappropriate - other than some people dying due to shootouts, stabbings, etc., which were tastefully written about. I'd feel comfortable having my junior high and high school daughters reading this book. If you like action-adventure books that both men and women would enjoy reading, this is a good one to consider.
Chapter 1 of Borders of the Heart:
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Chris Fabry is an award-winning author and radio personality who hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live! on Moody Radio. He is also heard on Love Worth Finding, Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and other radio programs. A 1982 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University and a native of West Virginia, Chris and his wife, Andrea, now live in Arizona and are the parents of nine children.
Chris' novels, which include Dogwood, June Bug, Almost Heaven, and Not in the Heart, have won two Christy Awards and an ECPA Christian Book Award, but it's his lyrical prose and tales of redemption that keep readers returning for more.
He has also published more than 65 other books, including nonfiction and novels for children and young adults. He coauthored the Left Behind: The Kids series with Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, as well as the Red Rock Mysteries and The Wormling series with Jerry B. Jenkins. RPM is his latest series for kids and explores the exciting world of NASCAR.
Author Q & A about Chris Fabry:
Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with one copy of Borders of the Heart in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation has been provided.
Seeing how successful her older sister's "mail order marriage" has been, and longing to strike out on her own, Greta Olsen answers an ad for a mail order bride in Central City, Colorado. However, when she meets Jess Gifford, owner of a thriving mercantile, she begins to harbor doubts. He didn't place the ad to begin with, and his business in a busy mining town leaves him little time or energy for love. To compound her troubles, she was not the only bride to answer the ad!
Maggie Brendan hosted a writers' critique group in her home for years and has won the 2004 Atlanta Persistence Award from the American Christian Writers. When she's not writing, in her spare time, she likes to paint and scrapbook, and be with her four grandchildren. She's also a member of a large sanctuary choir. Maggie resides in Georgia.
While mail-order brides were becoming common-place in these rural western communities, the fact that the intended groom knew nothing about these women coming to meet him poses a significant problem. It is actually the “groom’s” brother who instigated the letters to both women, inviting them to come so that the brother would have a chance to “look them over” and eventually choose one.
When both brothers become attracted to the women, the adventure really takes a turn; they all sort out their feelings and try to make things come out right. It is a huge challenge to make it work; the men are hooked but have a lot of things to work out in their own lives.
There are a number of important characters in this story, in addition to the two women (Greta and Cora) and the brothers (Jess and Zach). The townspeople, Granny, and Caleb, a one-time robber who becomes quite conformed to civilized living by the four main characters, and a little dog, Rascal, all contribute to making this a delightful and meaningful story. All the personalities have an important part to play and make the reading of this novel delightful. Naturally, there are some tragedies and disappointments along the way, but the best is saved for last!
I received one copy of Twice Promised in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was provided.
Lynette Eason is the author of several romantic suspense novels, including Too Close to Home, Don't Look Back, A Killer Among Us and When the Smoke Clears. She is a member of American Fiction Christian Writers and Romance Writers of America. A homeschooling mother of two, she has a master's degree in education from Converse College. She lives in South Carolina.
Serena Hopkins is a medical examiner, and Dominic Allen is a FBI agent. Together, they must try to stop the killer who leaves no evidence, except for a doll dressed to resemble the victim, at the scene of his crimes. It seems as if at every turn the killer has again been one step ahead of the duo. Serena is sure that she is safe until her home is invaded and she is in the line of fire. What is it going to take to find a killer, who seems to be killing people just for the fun of it? Is it a weird game that he is playing, or is there a pattern to the crimes?
I appreciated the fast pace of the story and the hints that the author gives to help the reader solve the puzzle. I did wish that I had read book one of the series first, as there were several references to the first book characters which left me a little puzzled as to whom some of the characters were. The reader should be aware that the book is a little intense in one or two places, and might not be the best choice for a younger reader. Nonetheless, this was a great read for those of us who love a good mystery.
When a Heart Stops is available as of October 2012 at your favorite bookseller - from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, provided me with one copy of When a Heart Stops in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was provided.
Autumn decorations have been available in our local stores for months now...some were being displayed and sold as early as July 5th. Yikes!
But it's difficult to find autumn/fall decorations that share a biblical worldview. I saw an idea like this from D. Martin, in her "Christian Fall Decorations" for sale on CurrClick.com, but I wanted decor that had a muted look to it and that used Scripture verses in a translation that would be easily understandable, even to those who don't read Shakespeare. So, I decided to design my own set!
Here are some other biblical seasonal decorations I have available for you to download and use!
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Twin brothers Arion and Argo are scared. They have spent most of their lives shipwrecked on the lonely, gray island of Terrene with their ship's captain, and now he is leaving and they cannot imagine life on Terrene without him. He is going to Bluestone, a place where the birds always sing and the grass is ever green. He tells them he is going to prepare a place for them in Bluestone. Then he will come back for them, and they will all go to Bluestone together.
Though Bluestone sounds like a wonderful place, the boys find it difficult to wait for the captain on Terrene. The island is so gray that it is hard for them to imagine the vibrant colors of Bluestone. Soon they grow tired of watching and waiting for their captain, and it is hard for them to remember his voice. Can they really believe that he will come back for them? To do so they must have faith-they must see with their hearts, not their eyes.
Will the captain really come back for Arion and Argo like he promised? And will the boys be ready for his return?
Are you familiar with Max Lucado?
Most importantly, Max Lucado's books point people to God in a way that makes a person really ponder and meditate.
About the author, Max Lucado:
Max’s writings have been published in a wide array of formats including adult books, gift books, children’s titles, Bibles, commentaries, calendars and devotionals. He is also the author/creator of “Max Lucado’s Hermie & Friends” brand family, one of the most popular animated DVD series in the marketplace, with more than 5 million units sold to date. His words have also inspired a branded line of greeting cards and gift books for Hallmark/Dayspring that has sold more than 15 million copies since its 2001 debut. He is currently serving as a contributing editor for Leadership Journal magazine.
Max Lucado is a Minister of Preaching at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio,where he has served since 1988. He has been married to Denalyn Preston Lucado since 1981, and they have three grown daughters—Jenna, Andrea and Sara—and one son-in-law, Brett.
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We've enjoyed every single Max Lucado book we've ever read. He often writes about heaven in terms that children can understand.
Coming Home is 32 pages filled with beautiful artwork and text. Here are two samples, but please note that these are not quite as vibrant as the actual book pages' colors:
The biblical message found within the 32 pages of Coming Home is that Jesus has returned to heaven, is building a heavenly home for us there, and will return for us in the future to bring us to heaven with Him. It is a delightful picture of the emotions a child or an adult will go through when choosing to wait and follow Christ or decide to choose a worldly lifestyle and not follow Christ.
It would be nice to have a family library full of Max Lucado's books! In handing down our Christian faith to our children, it is a blessing to be able to surround them with biblical, thoughtful books to help renew their minds and then their hearts.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading through this short but beautiful book. I know you'll enjoy Coming Home, too!
Do you have a favorite biblical children's author or set of titles that you enjoy sharing with your children or grandchildren?
I was provided with one hardbound copy of Coming Home in exchange for my honest review of this book. No other compensation was provided.
"It's crazy how God works," says Kyle Sherman. "Five years ago, I pushed pretty hard to do my own thing as a singer-songwriter, but every well I approached would dry up. It clearly wasn't the right time." Kyle continued on a path of leading worship, taking a full-time role as worship leader at Lifechurch.TV's Fort Worth campus under the leadership of renowned pastor/author Craig Groeschel.
Just 3-years later, Kyle came back to Nashville, pouring his heart into a microphone at Sony Studio with veteran producer and country singer-songwriter Mark Collie, making his first album.
God is faithful. Hear Me, the result of those sessions, is an eclectic and authentic mix of rootsy, southern soul.
Hey, y'all, let's go ahead and give away a new CD copy of
Kyle Sherman's CD: "Hear Me"!
I was provided with one MP3 copy and one CD copy of the new album, "Hear Me" by Kyle Sherman, in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was provided.
Hi! I'm Julieanne!
You'll find me in the kitchen
trying new Trim Healthy Mama recipes, loving God, and carrying out that love as I bless my husband and teen daughters.
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