12 Saturdays by F.P. Lione ~ Review

12 Saturdays pic

12 Saturdays by F.P. Lione

Twelve Saturdays is like an “everything” bagel; it has a little bit of everything in it. The setting is New York City: Staten Island and Manhattan. It has a little bit of suspense and tension with a few bad guys thrown in. There’s fun humor and a few giggles. Some romance, some psychology, some tragedy, some adventure, and lots of relationship dynamics. All this is blended very well into an unforgettable storyline.

The premise is about family relationships. Jenna had been out on a date when she learned that her father was in the hospital. By the time she got there, it was too late, and she was overcome by so many regrets. She had not known he had a brain tumor. Then she learned that her father had some rather odd requests for her after his death. And that’s the beginning of an unforgettable series of 12 Saturdays.

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I enjoyed reading this book so much. There were moments of levity which balanced out the revelatory nature of the story. The one driving character, Jenna, was a real, living, breathing person to me. I found myself relating to her on so many levels. The more her background was revealed, the more her life spoke to me.

One element of the book I really enjoyed was the “girl power” feel of Jenna’s friendships. The best of the humor as well as the best of her strength came from these close ties. There were also a few twists and turns as the book progressed that kept me turning the pages.

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Finally, this is a faith-based story. Jenna wasn’t exactly the picture perfect Christian; she was a work in progress, just as we are. I took comfort in the growth in her character shown to us through her trials and triumphs. At a crucial point in the story, she knows where she belongs. I felt a great deal of satisfaction in this conclusion.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from CKN Christian Publishing on behalf of the author. 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.”

 

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Amish Cooking Class: The Blessing by Wanda E. Brunstetter ~ Review

Amish Cooking Class book 2: The Blessing by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Amish Cooking Class The Blessing

The Blessing is the second book in the Amish Cooking Class series. I read this book without knowing about the first one, and didn’t have any feeling of missing something vital. So I would say this book can stand alone on its own. But I am intrigued now that I have read this one; I want to go back and read the first book. That is how well written this book is.

The story’s premise is about an Amish couple, Heidi and Lyle Troyer, living in Walnut Creek, Ohio. They have been married about 9 years and do not have children. Lyle is an auctioneer while Heidi teaches cooking classes in her kitchen. At the opening of the story, Heidi is anticipating the birth of her friend’s baby, which she and Lyle were going to adopt. Kendra had been living with them for several months now. Kendra really wanted to keep her baby, but she was a single young person and it wouldn’t be the best thing for the little one if she couldn’t support it.

Just as Heidi had decided not to teach another class, in preparation of the babe’s arrival, Kendra’s parents reversed their decision not to help her rear the child, and suddenly Heidi finds herself bereft of the baby she wanted to adopt. She decided to go ahead and teach another cooking class to help her stay mentally occupied while she grieved her loss.

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We eventually become acquainted with the six members of this new cooking class, and they are as diversified as they come! There’s an overburdened high school student, a custodian, a food critic, a mother in a shaky marriage, a widower, and a caterer. It’s the clashing and meshing of these lives that makes this an intriguing read.

What I appreciate most about this book is that regardless of Heidi’s background, she is centered on honoring God with her life. She is genuine and caring, someone that her class of students need in their lives. Without being preachy or overly Amish in her behavior with her students, she quietly relayed to them what each person needed at this point in their life journey, even for the one who cared nothing for God. I loved how all these individual stories wrapped up neatly at the conclusion of the book. If at first you feel the story moves along slowly while we become acquainted with all the characters, be patient. The character development is worth the wait.

God heals broken hearts

The second thing I enjoyed about the book are the cooking tips and recipes included in the back. I am always open to learning something new, and I wasn’t disappointed. If you enjoy cozy character-driven stories that warm your heart, then this is the book for you. I enthusiastically recommend it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Barbour Publishing. 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.”

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30 Days of Prayer for World Missions by Alana Terry ~Review~

30 Day of Prayer for World Missions

30 Days of Prayer for World Missions by Alana Terry

Suppose someone came up to you and asked, “Do you pray for world missions?” Would that question make you feel uncomfortable? Would you squirm because praying for world missions sounds like something everyone should do? It is a tremendous goal, but how would you implement it? Where would you begin? What would you pray for? This prayer guide answers these questions and more.

The author, Alana Terry, provides caring Christians with a guide that covers 30 days or a month’s worth of important needs we ought to bring to the feet of Jesus on behalf of missionaries all around the world. Each day there is a short devotional or commentary about the need being prayed for. Some examples of what we should to be praying about are: encouraging the called, second-career missionaries, the sending churches, physical protection, the missionary’s marriage, cultural barriers, relief work, and so much more. There is even a day dedicated for those who can’t go out as a missionary.

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This short book is written from the perspective of a person who has served overseas as a missionary. Her experience is evident on every page. Her genuine voice demonstrates to her readers just how important prayer is to a missionary’s ministry.

Here’s how I would use this guide. Most churches have a group of missionaries they support with their financial gifts, physical gifts, emotional and spiritual encouragement and prayers. It’s a good place to begin. I would adopt a missionary for a month and pray through the guide for this family or person every day. The author provides at least three prayer points we can use to keep our prayers on topic. The following month, I would adopt another missionary and their family and so on. Another idea would be to adopt a country for a month, and pray for a group of missionaries or persecuted Christians each day.30 Days of Prayer for World Missions quote2 In still another cycle, we could adopt a people group, a missionary organization, or relief workers in a particular country in distress. One month, we could broaden the scope, and another month, narrow it down to a particular person or family. Keep in mind extended family such as parents of missionaries and adult children of missionaries. This guide is flexible and adaptable.

The guide’s prayer points could be transferred to a church calendar, a private calendar, printed onto index cards, put into a flip book, and onto posters. You can challenge other sisters and brothers in Christ to pray every day using the guide. Christian schools could adopt a missionary or support organization each month. 30 Days of Prayer for World Missions quote3This could be used by Sunday School classes, Bible study groups, sports groups supported by the church, and so on to keep our missionaries in the forefront of our minds.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to step up their prayer life and pray with more purpose. Where our minds go, there our hearts will be also.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. 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.”

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Prayers of a Mother’s Heart: For a Chosen Generation ~ Book Blast ~

CrossReads Book Blast featuring Amy von Borstel

 

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Prayers of a Mother’s Heart: For a Chosen Generation
By Amy von Borstel

About the Book:

If you knew that your prayers could change the lives and futures of your children or grandchildren, would you pray regularly? Prayers of a Mother’s Heart: For a Chosen Generation is a hope-filled resource for those desiring a life of prayer and for those seeking God for miracles.

In the Prayers of a Mother’s Heart eBook, there are several personal stories that reveal the power of prayer, a collection of heartfelt prayers that address a wide range of concerns many mothers have for their children, along with over ninety-five Scriptures, simple guidelines for preparing the heart for prayer, a chapter on prayer journals, and a chapter on the importance of generational blessings.

Be inspired by Prayers of a Mother’s Heart to begin trusting that Jesus truly holds the answers to the challenges in your children’s lives. Jesus promised He would do the impossible if only we would believe (Mark 9:23).

LINK to KINDLE

Amy 2014Amy von Borstel is a passionate follower of Christ, a wife and mother of two—one adult child and one teen. She attributes her twenty-eight year marriage and happy home to the love of God and living a life of faith-filled prayer. She’s been a writer since she was a little girl, writing poetry and keeping journals as a way to find peace and rest in her soul. Her first published short story, A Divine Hair Appointment, was released in the 2013 Thomas Nelson book, When God Makes Lemonade. She is passionate about helping orphans and seeing people find abundance through an intimate relationship with Christ.

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21 Prayers for Teen Girls by Shelley Hitz and Heather Hart — A Review

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“Being beautiful in Christ isn’t as easy as slapping on a layer of makeup in the morning or
making sure to pick up the right clothes when you’re at the mall–it takes commitment and
the help of Christ living within you. It’s not something that you can achieve on your own,
but it’s a beauty that surpasses any physical primping you could ever do.”

“Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing
praises.” James 5:13 (NASB)

Now that I look back to my teen years, I am amazed that I managed to get through that tough period of my life without the fortifying and encouraging material I’ve found in this book. I remember being desperate for something positive in my life. I was being so overwhelmed by attacks, whether they were from the inside or the outside, that I was convinced I must be a truly ugly person. The world works overtime to make us doubt ourselves. Since that’s only scratching the surface of bad influences on our hearts and minds, then it makes sense that we need to be diligent to pour into our minds a counterattack in the form of the truth we find in Scripture. How does God really view us
and feel about us?

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If you are not sure what you should believe about yourself, this book will help you with that. The authors know what it is like to feel rejection, to experience peer pressure and doubts. They know what it is like to feel uncertain about the future and believe the lies others want you to believe about yourself. They take you through many prayers based on Bible verses that affirm how valuable you are and beautiful in God’s eyes. The prayers bring to our attention character qualities we may not have given any thought to before this. There is encouragement day by day, and prayer by prayer, for us to live out that value in our lives.

I don’t think you need to be a teenager to find this book encouraging. The prayers and verses directed my thoughts toward a loving, accepting God who wants a personal relationship with me. We all need that kind of reassurance and personal relationship. I highly recommend this book for anyone who would benefit from a focused guide that helps build positive thought habits in place of the negative ones we may have unintentional accepted for ourselves.

A complimentary review copy was provided to me by the authors and Body and Soul Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review for Parenting on Your Knees: Prayers and Practical Guidance for the Preschool Years

200x200-CFR-Badge-review imageI remember those years of my life, rearing preschoolers. Take the word of a mom who is on “the other side” that if you are a parent of a small child or children, it really is only a Season of life, although at the time you are experiencing it, it may feel interminable! I would have loved to have had “Parenting On Your Knees” in my desperate hands so many times during that season. There’s wonderful insight, spiritual wisdom, and just plain lots of fun stuff to read.

In the Table of Contents, we discover the book is divided into 7 segments: The Introduction, Character, Development, Social Skills, Behavior, Spiritual Growth and Salvation, and an Appendix at the end where you’ll find recommended books for children that fit with the many topics written about and recommended parenting books. In addition, there are some tips on memorizing verses and suggestions for praying on the go, and creative quiet time ideas for getting much needed spiritual nutrition.

Within each section are chapters, each one dedicated to an area relevant to toddlerhood and beyond. The introduction has two chapters discussing why we should pray for our children. I think it is neatly summed up by this verse of Scripture:

“Pour out your heart like water before the Presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to Him for the lives of your children…”Lamentations 2:19 (ESV)

Each chapter of each section stands alone very well, and can be useful as reference in case the reader need fortification from time to time. Character traits we are led to pray for: to persevere, to have wisdom, to have patience, to have self-control, to learn responsibility, to respect authority, to be honest and to develop His conscience. And while we are being intentional about these traits, we should also pray for ourselves to model each of these and exercise wisdom in their development.

As our little ones’ bodies are growing, we are encouraged to pray for their health, for potty training, for bedtime, for cleaning up toys, for clean speech and language abilities, for their safety, and for morning routines. Each chapter opens with a short story, usually personal antidotes from the author, but it may also be one friends have shared with her. So many of these stories are funny and bound to strike a familiar note if you have similarly-aged children. The author includes a relevant Bible verse and a short lesson, followed by a prayer, a section to include your own prayers and a way to record answers to those prayers.

As our toddlers become preschool age they need to learn more social skills. So Vicki Tiede guides us through praying: for manners, for mealtimes, for sharing, for tattling, for friendships, for separation anxiety, for security and for sibling rivalry. Each of these has a devoted chapter. One of my favorite stories was the nonsensical discussion in chapter 22 “Isaac’s Your Buddy”. It was slightly reminiscent of Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s on First?”.

In the section on behavior, prays are for public behavior, for obedience, for temper tantrums, for time out, for whining, for accepting limit and for aggression. Last, but absolutely the most important is the chapter on praying for spiritual growth and salvation of our little ones. The stories there brought tears to my eyes. I remember the poinant moments of salvation in both my children when they decided to make Jesus their Savior and Lord.

You can read this book in one sitting if you want to. But each chapter can be read independantly and re-visited when needed. The book is well organized and one I recommend as a great reference, kept nearby for those moments when you forget why you wanted to be a parent in the first place, or just need a nudge of encouragement to keep on keeping on. I like the recommended readings given for each chapter. In the appendix, the author has broken down for you the character traits, behaviors, and habits each reference covers, including a suggested book for the parent to read to the child.

A complimentary review copy was provided to me by Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.Wrap_arms_around_hurting