Reviewing Some Children’s Books by V. R. Duin – Part 3

smile!An author friend has a series of books about a goofy and wacky character, the Goopy Ghost. Goopy is not a scary ghost. In fact, he’s not a typical ghost at all. His birth home was a pumpkin. Goopy has a big ole heart and loves helping out. Check out this lovable guy!

1. The Goopy Ghost of Halloween by V.R. Duin

Goopy Ghost at Halloween

What is a consequence? Well, unfortunately many of us think it’s a punishment or something that happens as a result of wrong done. But that’s not necessarily true all the time. Consequences are simply the results of an action taken. Sometimes there are good consequences, and sometimes there are bad consequences. But there are also natural/neutral consequences. Children need to know that ALL actions have consequences and that it is natural. Thinking about consequences teaches us to think ahead.

In this story, the Goopy Ghost is himself a natural consequence. The children are preparing their pumpkin to be a Jack O’Lantern. The design is drawn on the orange globe. The top is carved, and out comes the goop. Hmmmm…where should they put it? Out it goes into a stinky, smelly garbage can. The Goopy Ghost is born!

A little bit later the goopy ghost is aware he has to find his home, but where? Creeping around inside the children’s house, he finally finds his home–but changed. It glows! In search of another home, Goopy starts to wreak havoc. What did the children find the next morning?

I love these fun, light-hearted stories of our friend the Goopy Ghost. He’s not the scariest, nor the spookiest of ghosts, but he is certainly one of the silliest. The consequences of reading his stories? Most likely, more smiles!

2. The Goopy Ghost at St. Patrick’s Day by V. R. Duin

Goopy Ghost of St. Patricks Day

Limericks are a poetry form that seems to be designed for fun and children. Children love to be read to and they especially love repetition and rhythm in literature. Limericks are easy to learn and to teach. In this book, there are several stanzas in limerick form that can serve as perfect templates. The basic rule of thumb is that the easier the words fall off the tongue, the closer you are to the correct form and rhythm set in the templates. Why not try celebrating St. Patrick’s Day playing around with words in meter and rhyme after reading this book to your children/grandchildren?

There’s a lot to love about the Goopy Ghost series. The author has chosen well in her choice of artists for these books. The pictures are in bright cheerful water color paints. Children who are visual learners will find their eyes drawn to the pages repeatedly. The simple scenes depict believable adorable characters and Goopy especially as the least scariest ghost you’ve ever known. Kudos to artist Bonnie

Goopy Ghost is kind-hearted, fun-loving and generous. In his stories, he often places other peoples’ needs before his own, and he is creative in his problem solving skills. In this story, Goopy seeks out a leprechaun to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. He is looking for fun, but finds a problem to solve instead. His plan to resolve the dilemma has lasting positive consequences even as he selflessly gives up a reward to ensure the problem doesn’t happen again. Fun finds him in the end. Children need these type of character traits emulated continually. They need to be shown the rewards in being kind, generous and selfless. With so much negative surrounding them, they need all the positive role models you can give them.

3. The Goopy Ghost at Thanksgiving by V.R. Duin

Goopy Ghost of Thanksgiving

“Thanks is not bound in any way.
It isn’t tied to a certain day.
It isn’t tied to just one place.
Thanks has its very own grace.”

Just as Ma and Pa Brown prepare for their Thanksgiving celebration by picking out a couple of pumpkins for their pies, it begins to rain. Goopy is outside and getting wet when Pa Brown invites him inside their home to dry. The rain turns from sprinkles
to torrential rain and now the Browns are worried about their animals. Grateful Goopy helps bring the animals in to safety. All is going well when suddenly the house is lifted up and carried off in a flood.

When matters are finally righted, including a new spot for their home high up a hill where the flood waters won’t intrude, they celebrate. I can just imagine how much gratitude they felt after the flood was over. This book gives us an opportunity to remind our children that bad things happen to good people. Even when children are very young, they can be taught what to do in emergencies, how to look for the
good in every circumstance, and how to develop an attitude of gratitude and helpfulness. This is a good book to start a discussion with your children.

4. The Goopy Ghost at Christmas by V. R. Duin

Goopy at Christmas

The goopy ghost is born of pie,
A luscious way to start!
Good humored and so full of fun,
He demonstrates his heart.

Our friend the ghost is so surprised,
To find a tree inside;
He thinks the baubles on its limbs,
are “Food for me!” he sighed.

Content is he and explores some more;
And decorates a hall,
With candy canes, and ribbons bright,
And here and there a ball.

When Santa arrives, he hitches a ride
Deep within Santa’s pack.
He awakes up North and meets some elves,
To help–if he has the knack.

But making toys is not his niche,
So he decorates instead.
He brightens the halls with toys ‘n dolls,
And all things green and red.

When our goopy friend returns to his home,
A year’s time has passed;
“As happy as a lark” to help some more,
Putting cheer in our hearts to last.

I know of children who will love this book,
And read it again and again;
They will love the colors and the cheerful tone,
And the message to help a friend.

My hat is off to V. R. Duin,
For such a gleeful read;
Let’s look for ways to teach our kids,
to do a kindly deed.

5. The Goopy Ghost at Valentine’s Day by V. R. Duin

Goopy at Valentine's Day

“That friends and family
Matter the most
Is equally true
For a little ghost.”

The crux of this story about Goopy Ghost can be summed up neatly in the above couplet. Friendship and family. One thing about most holidays is their ability to either amplify our abundance of relationships with family and friends, or point out our lack of them. For those who do not have many family and/or friends, holidays can be supremely lonely. This is the case with the Goopy Ghost. Valentine’s Day was nearing and Goopy had no one with whom to share it.

As a former teacher and homeschool mom, I realize that friendship is something we need to teach our children about as early as possible. We are their nurturers and friendship does not come easily to everyone. This book could serve as a great launch in a discussion about loneliness, how to get friends and be a friend, and how friendship comes with its ups and downs. Goopy does not sit around feeling sorry for himself; he turns to people he knows and asks for help. With his helper, he goes and and does something positive. He makes a friend.

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The Golden Years: Healthy Aging and the Older Adult by Christopher W. Bogosh ~ Review

The Golden Years: Healthy Aging and the Older Adult by Christopher W. Bogosh

“My purpose is to help readers gain a better understanding of aging, good health practices, preventive medicine, common problems associated with aging and chronic conditions experienced by older adults. The chapters to follow will address each of these topics and more, including recent changes to Medicare by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).”

The Golden Years

In this compact seven chapter book there are a number of helpful topics pertaining to the aging process. The author begins with an overview of how the body and mind ages over time (chapters one and two). “Biological, psycho-social, and spiritual factors converge when people age. This convergence causes increased rapidity in aging. The anatomical and physiological effects associated with aging occur at
every level of the human person. Changes occur in musculoskeletal, neurocognitive, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems. Every major system of the body experiences the effects of aging down to the microscopic level. Since the [biblical] Fall aging affects everyone; but there are things the older adult can do to live healthy at present to age well…”

Chapter three discusses healthy living. The author emphasizes the importance of healthy habits: eating in moderation, exercise, sleep, dental care, and a healthy attitude. Most of this was common sense to me, but still necessary as a sound foundation for good health. Chapter four contains a discussion of the author’s view of the Affordable Care Act and how it should benefit the senior population. He talks
about the cost involved in aging and dying, and the roles the elderly person’s healthcare team should play.


Health (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

In the fifth chapter, a helpful discussion informs the reader about the Patient Self Determination Act (PSDA), what it is and what it is meant to do, living wills, healthcare management, the Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNRO), long term care and hospice care. All of this information I found to be valuable. Chapter six covers the more common health problems faced by the elderly including loss of loved ones and
bereavement, depression, cognitive loss, hearing loss, vision loss, sleep problems, incontinence, bone problems and heart conditions. The segment about the biblical perspective of suffering is a welcome addition to the chapter.

The final chapter looks at chronic conditions such as the different types of dementia, several kinds of cardiovascular complications, the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) category which includes bronchitis, emphysema, asthma and other miscellaneous factors such as exposure to asbestos (in short, nearly anything that causes breathing complications), and pain.

I think this book would be a great resource to keep on hand for reference. It gives a short but concise overview of the aging process and its challenges. In time the content may need to be updated to remain current as medical science advances and as laws and provisions change and improve. I would like to have seen a more detailed section dedicated to nutrition and the benefits of consumption of whole and fresh foods on health.

weak and vulnerable

I especially appreciated the inclusion of a biblical world view as it applies to aging. A Godly viewpoint has an important impact on how we live our lives and how we face death. Knowing our lives are in the hands of a loving and caring God changes the way we deal with life threatening events and conditions, as the author so aptly wrote, “with the glory of God in view.”

Cross Focused Reviews

Cross Focused Reviews

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this commentary from Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC) and Good Samaritan Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Examine Your Faith! Finding Truth in a World of Lies ~ Promo and Review

examine your faith by pamela christianExamine Your Faith!: Finding Truth in a World of Lies

Well-meaning people want to believe that all roads lead to the same God and heaven. But wanting something to be true is far different from truth lining up with reality. Unless you make an intentional effort to examine what you believe and why you believe it, it’s quite possible you are living your life on the basis of a lie, and don’t know it.

• What is truth?

• Is it relative or absolute?

• Is it personal or universal?

• What are the differences among the various religious faiths? Can they be blended?

• Are we creating faith—a belief system—that is impotent by trying to accept all religions as equal?

(This book has been endorsed by Josh McDowell, Dr. Craig Hazen, and Dan Story.)

You can purchase Examine Your Faith! at:

~~~ Pamela Christian Ministries ~~~

~~~ Amazon ~~~

~~~ Barnes and Noble ~~~

~~~ Deeper Shopping ~~~

pamela chistianAbout the Author

For over twenty years, coast to coast, Pamela Christian, “the Faith Doctor,” has been helping people in matters of faith. Pam compassionately wants people to confidently discover and live in, life-giving truth. Her ministry experience began as Teaching Director for Community Bible Study, (an independent, interdenominational, international organization). This led to her receiving invitations to speak nationally, followed by work as radio talk-show host in two major markets. She is a contributing writer to various books and magazines. Her education includes a certificate in apologetics from Biola University. As a book author and media personality Pam’s desire is to reach as many people as possible. She and her husband live in Orange County, CA, with their two grown children living nearby.

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Blog Tour Schedule

October 14
Diane Estrella,
October 15
Lindsey Zimpel,
October 16
Rebecca Stoneking,
October 17
Krysta Osweiler,
October 18
Lisa M. Buske,
October 19
Ruth Hill,
October 20
Cindi Clubbs,
Cindy Loven,
October 21
Vera Godley,
October 22
Tara Box,
Beverly Terry,
October 23
Darlene Arroyo-Lozada,
Paulette Harper Johnson,
October 24
Donna Safford,
Karen Lange,
Tara Fairfield,
October 25
Adrian, seattlefreelancewriter
October 26
Elizabeth Sanders Towns,
October 27
Cassandra M’s Place,
October 28

My Review

“This book is based on two core premesis: the belief that human beings intrinsically desire truth, and the belief that our soul and spirit are eternal. As humans, we hold in common an undeniable desire to discover and live in truth. Additionally, as humans, we are both mortal and immortal–our bodies are mortal while our spirit and soul are eternal. I realize some people do not believe that the human soul and spirit are everlasting. But even that belief is an aspect of faith that deserves examination.

If you are not sure that your faith is based on a solid foundation, then by all means, you should examine your faith! Finding truth in a deceptive world is possible. A renewed faith producing real hope and certain joy is available. And it’s exactly what ‘the Faith Doctor’ (this author) prescribes for you within the contents of this book.”

Examine Your Faith! Finding Truth in a world of Lies by Pamela Christian is the first book in a three book series. The second book is Renew Your Hope! Remedy for Personal Breakthrough. The third book in the series is Revive Your Life! Rest for Your Anxious Heart. After Pamela suffered a crisis of faith that shook her to the bone, she was determined to find a solid foundation for a faith that would fulfill her deepest needs. This book is the report of her methodical search and her findings. She wants to share them with her readers so that they too can stand firm when a crisis approaches them. She doesn’t want her readers’ faith to fail them when they need it the most.

There are three parts to this book. The first part is her story how she came to a state of crisis, how she was able to move past it, and what she learned from her experience. In this part, you can feel her heart’s desire to share what she learned so others would not have to suffer as she did. You can see her desire to make our path to a solid faith easier than hers. It is this desire that has dubbed her the Faith Doctor. I believe it is well deserved, for she articulates her discoveries clearly, logically and thoroughly to make it easier for her readers (and conference attendees) to comprehend without insult to their intelligence. In addition, she addresses the trend she sees growing in America–that of religious plurality. She explains what that is, the goal of those who are promoting it, and the end result that’s most likely if the trend continues.

Part Two contains the most fair assessment of the world’s six most prominent religions I have ever read thus far, including secular Humanism, which she believes to be a system of beliefs, values and practices very much like a religion. Each of the subsequent chapters are dedicated to each religion, its history and origin and ultimate goal, and how they explore and approach topics such as the origin of the universe and the world, the origin of man, the foundation of truth and belief, evil and good, man’s purpose, man’s view of and relationship to others, eternal life or the lack thereof, the existence of God or lack of, man’s relationship to such a Being should one exist, His purpose and goals for mankind.

The author explains why she covers such a topic so thoroughly: “If you choose not to examine what you believe and why you believe it, then you are knowingly subjecting yourself to the prospect of deception. Although examining your personal faith is difficult, I suspect that you know in your heart it’s the wise thing to do.” Part 1 concludes with finding out what faith means and why we need to understand our beliefs. Part 2 explores Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Secular Humanism (which encompasses New Age, atheism, and agnosticism as secular/non-religions), Islam, and Christianity. In the introduction of the book, Pamela Christian explains that she consulted experts in the field to check her facts for accuracy. Each religion is approached in a respectful, non-biased manner.

In Part Three, the author reveals how she grappled with the information she discovered in her quest for truth in the second part of the book. To do this, she begins with sharing personal stories of individuals with backgrounds in the faiths and religions explored in Part Two. So we become acquainted with Aaron and Diane Schneiderman of California, Madeline Haydon, a Vietnamese scientist, Rev. Dr. Balaji Varadarajan, a pastor in India, Moira Noonan a successful publisher who was disabled in a car accident at 30, sent to a pain center where she became active in New Thought philosophy and Christian Science to control the pain, becoming a practitioner in New Age occult healing arts. The chapter concludes with Safi’s story who grew up in Iran a Muslin at the time of Khamenei. He came to America to attend college and remained to live in South Dakota.

Then in the subsequent chapters, the author examines faith perspectives on Good and Evil, the differing views of Jesus, prophecies and their fulfillments about Jesus, the evidences available to Jesus’ claim for his resurrection, and the impact of the varying religions on the world as a whole. By the final chapter she concludes her analysis and talks with us candidly about her faith conclusions. Chapter endnotes are a thorough bibliography of her sources so that a person desiring to learn more about her sources can do so easily. In conclusion, the author appeals to her readers to follow her example and strengthen their foundations of faith.

I found this book exhaustive, logical and well organized. I heartily endorse it for anyone who is determined to seek the truth in a maze of deceptive lies. The seventeen chapters average about ten page each. There is clear intellectual appeal to well educated individuals who want a concise expose without slogging through numerous texts to derive a conclusion. Yet the chapter end notes are so complete that an individual seeker can slog to his heart’s content using the sources listed. This book would also be a great resource for those who are in a position to talk with seeking individuals and desires to help them in their path.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and Pamela Christian Ministries. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Giveaway

For anyone that’s interested, the author is giving away one copy of Examine Your Faith! and a $25 Gift Card to Amazon or Paypal for one lucky reader! U.S. addresses only. Please use the Rafflecopter below to be entered:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be chosen from those entries and announced November 15, 2013. Good luck!

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as e-mailed, and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Diane at That’s What I’m Here For… and sponsored by the author, Pamela Christian. The author provided me with a free copy of Examine Your Faith! to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a giveaway in return for the free book.VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

A Hope Deferred: Adoption and the Fatherhood of God by J. Stephen Yuille ~ Review

A Hope Deferred: Adoption and the Fatherhood of God by J. Stephen Yuille

“God’s love is never self-serving. That means he doesn’t need to love us, nor does he need us to love him. Simply put, he doesn’t gain anything from loving us. That realization shouldn’t disturb us or offend us. On the contrary, it should comfort us, because that’s the kind of love we need [unconditional]. We need someone to love us that actually doesn’t need us [conditional].

God has that kind of love in himself. And here is the wonderful thing: he lavishes it upon his children. We don’t need to earn God’s love. We don’t need to merit God’s love. We don’t need to worry that God’s love for us will change. We don’t need to worry that God’s love for us is contingent upon our performance. Why? God’s love is merciful, and it’s the whole reason why he adopted us.”


When the author and his wife discovered they may never conceive a child, they decided to adopt one or more children. But the process was not without its twists and turns and what should have taken only a couple of years stretched out for 17 years. These experiences inspired J. Stephen Yuille to explore the parallels and contrasts between human adoption and our adoption by our heavenly Father. So this book has two purposes. One is to celebrate our adoption by God, an act of unconditional love and unchanging goodness on His part. The second is to strengthen and encourage others in their struggles, especially those grappling with infertility and adoption issues.

God has purposely placed us in His “family” with all the rights and privileges of that family. The author explores the six blessings of our adoption into God’s family according to Romans chapter 8. In the even numbered chapters of this 14 chapter book, he and his wife recount their extended adoption story. In the odd numbered chapters, he uses the space for exegetical exploration of each of the blessings. In light of the first blessing he ponders how God could “turn a depraved sinner into a privileged son”, then delves into Romans 8:1-4–how our sins are cleansed. He follows suit with the five other blessings in the remaining chapters.

Mr. Yuille’s writing style is more like a Bible lesson in lecture format than it is prose. His strength is not so much as a storyteller but as an excellent Bible teacher. For such a small book, only 151 pages, the author packs quite a wallop into each of his expositions. Each chapter is only about five pages long on average but is packed full of pithy biblical truth. He uses examples such as C.S. Lewis’ character of Eustace in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, an unexpected pregnancy, or a rock making ripples in a pond to illustrate his point or to show us God’s unchanging goodness. He quotes from quite a few sources which he lists at the end of the book in the Notes section.

I get the impression that this author is one of those persons that I have always loved to take notes from. Ever since one of my Junior High teachers taught his classes how to outline a text book (which translated into note taking), I have enjoyed taking notes in outline form. It is a form of mental “visualization” that I discovered helped me to remember important points in the text. I used the method when I was in college along with creating illustrations, and later with church sermons (although not every pastor can teach in a style that makes that conducive). Mr. Yuille includes the use of lists in his book: three points of one thing, four parts of another. For example, in the first chapter he explains adoption, “In [Ephesians 1:3-6] we discover six wonderful truths about the biblical doctrine of adoption, specifically that: adoption is rooted in love; predetermined; through Jesus Christ; according to the purpose of God’s will; to the praise of God’s glorious grace; and fixed (or embedded) in union with Christ.” In that way, the writing is intense, and he is able to fit a lot of material into a small space.


Fortunately, our adoption from God is not very much like human attempts to adopt children. While on the surface they may seem similar, the likeness is shallow. Human adoption can be a harrowing experience. And while we may search everywhere else to find fulfillment except the adoption into God’s family, when we finally lean completely on Him, He makes it easy for us to be adopted because He has done all the work. We can trust Him completely. The gratification we receive from our adopted family members is warm and satisfying, but it is only a shadow of the completeness and joy we experience when we are adopted by God. I find that immensely comforting.

Cross Focused Reviews

Cross Focused Reviews

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews and Shepherd Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Bake Through the Bible by Susie Bentley-Taylor and Bekah Moore ~ Review

Bake Through the Bible:  20 Fun Cooking Activities to Explore the Bible Story with Young Children by Susie Bentley-Taylor and Bekah Moore

“Our hope is that by twinning the teaching of a Bible truth with hands-on activity young minds will grasp something of the wonder of the Bible’s message. Cooking together gives a natural context for discussion and questioning, and the final product will serve as a prompt for remembering the truth taught.”

Bake Through the Bible

If you have pre-school aged children, grandchildren or students, you are going love this book. Bake Through the Bible is a big colorful book filled with stories from the Bible beginning with Genesis. There are kid-friendly directions for the recipes that accompany each lesson. Beautiful vibrant pictures show us the end product. At the conclusion of each set of directions there are discussion questions to review the lesson while preparing or eating the treat. Interspersed with the directions are small circles containing time saving tips.

bread  smoothie  pizza 1

Each recipe lists the ingredients needed, equipment to use, and a time estimation. Some of the delicious recipes include: English muffin pizzas, various sugar cookies cut into shapes to match the story’s theme, homemade bread, fruit smoothies, crepes with fruit, lamb pita burgers, cupcakes, jam tarts, sandwiches, jelly boats, fruit popsicles, fudge, and more.

The Bible lessons ultimately point to Christ, even those stories from the Old Testament (the early part of the Bible). This is the basic progression of the message: God created the world and everything in it; People sinned against God; God keeps his promises; God promised His people a Rescuer; Jesus was born; Jesus performed many miracles and helped people; Jesus died on the cross; He rose from the grave; Jesus transforms our hearts; the Holy Spirit empowers believers to tell others about Jesus’ great love for us; We look forward to being with Jesus in God’s new Heaven and new Earth.

pita burger 1

Telling the gospel story through short lessons and cooking is a tried and true method in aiding children to remember. It is a tactile, visual, auditory, olfactory, and taste experience for them that helps to cement the concepts deep within. I used to include my children in cooking and baking projects when they were young. How much a young child can participate is a highly individual matter and is left to the discretion of the person in charge. The book is aimed toward pre-schoolers ages 2 to 7, although that could stretch upward especially if there is more than one child involved in the project. The stories can be read aloud before going to the kitchen, to introduce the theme. At the end of each lesson is a short heart-felt prayer.

tarts  cookies  boats 2

In preparation for this review, I cooked several of the recipes included in this book. Most of them turned out very well as you can see of the pictures I’ve included in this blog post. I did have some trouble with the bread recipe on page 14. If you live in the US, the amount given for the yeast in the bread did not make sense. I suggest using 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast. That is the same amount suggested in another bread recipe on page 44 that used the same amount of flour. I hope the editors can fix the problem before the next printing. Once I used the correct amount of yeast, the bread baked up well; just ask my family who snarfed it up!

crepe and fruit face 2

The sugar cookie recipe I tried was a disaster due to human error (mine). Otherwise, my family enjoyed the goodies coming out of the kitchen. I believe my son enjoyed the English muffin pizzas best, while my husband enjoyed the pita burgers most. I loved the crepes, the tuna rolls, and orange jello boats personally. There’s enough variety to please most little taste buds.

tuna rolls and empty tomb bread 1

The final lesson teaches our children about God’s new Heaven and new Earth as mentioned in the book of Revelation. It’s a beautiful lesson about looking forward to the future with joy and hope.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from The Good Book Publishers and Cross Focused Reviews. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Cross Focused Reviews

Cross Focused Reviews

Catherine’s Pursuit by Lena Nelson Dooley ~ Review

God puts things togeher

Catherine’s Pursuit by Lena Nelson Dooley

This book is the third part of a three part series and newly published. I have not read any of the other books of this series, but it seems that this book easily stands by itself. I’m sure if this was read before books one and two, it would change the perception the reader would have of the main characters in these books a little bit. Reading this first did make me want to read the other books to understand the broader story involved.

Catherine's Pursuit

Catherine Lenora McKenna had just turned 18 when she was confronted with a startling revelation. She was one of a set of triplets. Sisters…she had sisters and hadn’t been told about them. At first, she thought they had died when her mother had; she was filled with grief at her loss…at what could have been. But then she learned that her sisters had been adopted by two other couples on the westward bound wagon train her mother and father were traveling with. So why had all this been kept a secret? Where were her sisters now? Feeling cheated of something precious in life, Catherine was determined to find them.

She and her father had been a happy little family that included her Aunt Kirstin, her mother’s widowed sister. She had been given much and denied very little. Still, from time to time she had felt as if something was missing, as if there was an inner emptiness. She had assumed it was because she missed having a mother. But now she understood this secret longing. When she asked her father to accompany her on a journey to find her sisters, he regrettably had to deny her this one request. He showed her a contract which promised the adoptive families he would not seek out his daughters or rip them from their families. He lived with regret over that promise, but even nearly 20 years later, he would not break it. So Catherine had no options left to her but to leave on her own without permission. She took her maid Julie into her confidence and the two of them embarked on a journey of a lifetime.

Captain Collin Elliot was still recovering from his ship’s loss and the damage to his leg that left him limping and in pain. It may be true that he had saved the lives of all his shipmates in the storm, but he certainly didn’t feel like a hero. In fact, he felt the full weight of the loss of Mr. McKenna’s cargo and ship on his young shoulders. So when given the opportunity to work in his employer’s warehouses, he gladly accepted the job. Hard work gave him a way to keep occupied while he healed and an outlet for his frustration. What would he do with the rest of his life? Would he ever captain a ship again? Life had ground to a halt. Then an unusual request from Mr. McKenna sent Collin in an entirely different direction. How could he turn down his generous boss’s request to tail his daughter in her westward journey and offer protection whenever necessary?

Collin was not very impressed with Catherine. The few times he had seen her she appeared distant, pampered, and haughty. To himself, he referred to her as the Ice Princess. All too soon for his liking, their paths crossed and Catherine recognized her father’s employee. She was annoyed at his overbearing interference but eventually accepted his stubborn presence and protection. Her only concern was to continue her search for her sisters.

The adventures that Catherine, Julie, and Collin encountered fleshed out their characters very nicely. I felt a kinship with Catherine as she struggled with her impatience to find her sisters. I could tell she wasn’t used to the seamier side of life and found humor in her capacity to get herself into trouble. Fortunately Collin was more experienced and usually stepped in just in time. It was gratifying to see that Catherine was humble enough to accept help when she needed it and return Collin’s faithfulness and persistence. By the end of the story, I was engaged in all the characters involved and cared to see that conflicts were resolved.

While Catherine learned numerous life lessons in her search, Collin’s character deepened as he explored the spiritual side of life. It was heart-warming to see him grow closer in his relationship with God. His search felt genuine and earnest. The romance involved in the story was only lightly touched upon, enough for me to think this was more of a historical fiction than a romance. However, the resolution in the book in the final two chapters is still satisfying for everyone, including Catherine and Collin.

He careth for you

I also enjoyed the author’s attention to historical detail. It added greatly to the authenticity of the plot-line to include details of geography, clothing, food, speech patterns and mannerisms, social customs, history, and family traditions. The beginning of the story began in a leisurely manner befitting that of a historical fiction while the setting, history and characters were established, but the action and suspense moved along quickly enough by the end of the first third of the book that I was reluctant to put the book down for very long. I’m looking forward to reading the first two books in the series and other books by this author.Trust_Lord_Heart

A complimentary review copy was provided to me by Charisma House Publishing/Realms through the website, the Booketeria. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Body Image Lies Women Believe: And the Truth of Christ That Sets Them Free by Shelley Hitzt ~ Review

Body Image Lies Women Believe: And the Truth of Christ That Sets Them Free by Shelley Hitzt

“In society, beauty is [judged on] a thin line, and while we’re busy trying to balance on that line, we forget that to the only One whose opinion truly matters there is only one definition of beauty. [Jesus] is beautiful. He created “beautiful.” He is the epitome of beauty. If anyone should be judging what we look like, it should be Him. In all fairness, when He looks at us, He should turn away in disgust [because of our flaws]. If I were Him, I wouldn’t want to look at me either – but that’s just the thing; He does. He sees me and despite myself, He does not close His eyes. The Bible declares that we were made in His own image, and that’s not just the cheerleaders; it’s the fat girls, the tall girls, the short girls, the nerds, the girls no guy has ever given a second look. And when He looks at each and every one of us, He does not close His eyes.”

Body Image Lies
One of the most interesting parts of Body Image Lies Women Believe is the life stories of the many women who contributed to this collection. You can’t help but connect with the writers. So many of their personal experiences mirror our own, suffering in the many ways women do when we accept the body image lies fed to us and believed by us. In each chapter, a person openly shares her pain…telling her story.

While the stories are widely varied, with some suffering disfigurements from either disease or trauma, others suffered because they were vulnerable to nuances of teasing and subtle and not so subtle prodding from loved ones in our lives, acquaintances, classmates and even total strangers. Perception colors our world. Once we’ve received the “message” that we’re somehow unacceptable and flawed, we often believe anything that supports that perception and reject even blatantly obvious truth about ourselves. Have you ever wondered why this is true? The concepts taught in this book will help you figure it out, so that you can apply the principles for yourself. There is hope.

Personally, my demon was my weight. I was, truthfully, a fat baby. I look at pictures of my early baby years and cringe. Think sausage links…plump pink rolls of fat that really never left me at any time of my life. If you just look at my childhood pictures, you’d think I was such a happy little tyke. I probably was for the most part. Even my last name implied that I was a happy, smiling, carefree soul. But I got the message early on. I was larger than most other children. I was taller, bigger boned, heavier, rounder, and definitely not petite. My mother hovered over me, transferring fear that I might hurt someone because I played “rough.” I was tomboyish. I was impulsive. I had three younger brothers. I remember being yelled at constantly to control myself. As a result, I began to internalize the perceptions. I was self-conscious, awkward and uncertain about my social abilities.

compare yourself to Christ not others

No one really knew how I felt about myself, but I can remember being sensitive to teasing, no matter how innocuous. It didn’t matter if the teasing was loving and came from a “loved one” or from not so friendly sources. My perceptions were skewed. As I got older, I became the silent one. I loved learning and music, so I buried myself in books, piano, and instruments. In high school, I was looked on as snobbish, aloof and stand-offish. I hid behind my glasses. I only had a couple of close friends. This continued into college and young adulthood. To be honest, I still struggle a little bit even now.

My perceptions of myself in my growing up years were based on need. I wanted to be loved and accepted. My weight problems were one of the physical aspects of my problem. Deep down I didn’t really believe I was worthy of being loved. This is why the stories in this book resonated with me. Some of their stories could have been mine. Some of their stories could be similar to yours. But the stories are more than just sharing bad experiences. They offer an alternative to believing the lies. The storytellers share with us how their hearts were changed, and they were transformed. They don’t believe the lies any more.

a beautiful life

In the final chapter, the author shares step by step how we can overcome our poor self image. I know these steps work, since I have applied them for myself and been successful in overcoming most of my self-image problems the same way the author has shared with her readers. The key is to be persistent; realize that change does not happen overnight. It takes time for our perceptions to be overturned. But it can be done by God’s Grace. I highly recommend this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Body and Soul Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”