MommySecrets

Being a mom is the hardest thing I've ever done, but it has brought me so much joy! I want to encourage other moms on their journey, I'll share motherhood tricks, spotlight tips I've learned from friends, and I hope you will share your ideas. I will focus on secrets that help families stay balanced, healthy, frugal, creative, and closely knit. I will also share favorite fiction and nonfiction books that I have enjoyed. Many blessings to you on your mothering journey!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky


From the publisher: Between the years of 1869 to 1939 more than 100,000 poor British children were sent across the ocean to Canada with the promise of a better life. Those who took them in to work as farm laborers or household servants were told they were orphans--but was that the truth? After the tragic loss of their father, the McAlister family is living at the edge of the poorhouse in London in 1908, leaving their mother to scrape by for her three younger children, while oldest daughter, Laura, works on a large estate more than an hour away. When Edna McAlister falls gravely ill and is hospitalized, twins Katie and Garth and eight-year-old Grace are forced into an orphans' home before Laura is notified about her family's unfortunate turn of events in London. With hundreds of British children sent on ships to Canada, whether truly orphans or not, Laura knows she must act quickly. But finding her siblings and taking care of her family may cost her everything. Andrew Fraser, a wealthy young British lawyer and heir to the estate where Laura is in service, discovers that this common practice of finding new homes for penniless children might not be all that it seems. Together Laura and Andrew form an unlikely partnership. Will they arrive in time? Will their friendship blossom into something more? Inspired by true events, this moving novel follows Laura as she seeks to reunite her family and her siblings who, in their darkest hours, must cling to the words from Isaiah: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God".

I completely enjoyed the book. I didn't know anything about the immigration process from England to Canada during this time period. I was saddened to read about so many of the situations these young children faced. Turansky does a fabulous job telling a story, depicting emotions, and helping a reader live into history.

The story has so many good lessons on character including honesty, perseverance, loyalty, and service. It's a great story on finding friendships that withstand the trials of life. It's a beautiful story of a family fighting to stay together. It's an inspiring story about young men and women having the courage to fight for the health, wellness, and safety of children who cannot help themselves.

I would recommend this book to women and teens age 15+.  There are love stories woven throughout the story, but they are innocent with no sensual references.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest reviews.

Monday, March 25, 2019

When I Pray for You



This beautiful gift book is sure to inspire parents, children, grandparents, and others. It reminds me of Dr. Seuss' book "Oh the Places You Will Go" because it's a perfect gift for an expectant mom, a new grandma, a child being baptized or even a teen graduating from high school.

The prayers are perfect, spanning ages, celebrations, emotions, physical development, and life in general. The illustrations are whimsical and sweet. It's a hardback book, so it's sturdy enough to withstand time.

I would recommend this book to anyone that has a child they love and cherish.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Of Fire and Lions: A Novel by Mesu Andrews

I just read the last pages of the novel Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews. It is a beautiful fictional novel based on the true stories of Daniel in the Bible woven together with historical documents from the time period of Daniel's life.  It was captivating from the beginning to the end. Andrews does a great job putting emotion, understanding and context to the stories in the Bible. It's a book that's sure to encourage readers in their faith and leave them yearning for reading more of God's great power.

The story of Daniel contains so many reminders of God's love, faithfulness, provision, and intimacy with his people. Daniel provides a wonderful model of worshipping Christ, listening intently for his voice, standing for his truth, and fervently following his lead at all costs.

I recommend this book for male and female readers over age 16.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women


I’m very impressed with this devotional book. It highlights 60+ women from the Old Testament and the New Testament in order to help young women ascertain the role and influence God has designed for them to have in life. One of their premises is to give young women a picture beyond just Proverbs 31, so they can see how God has used many women to change the world. Specific topics include decision-making, integrity, honesty, courage, responsibility….  Practical topics that every woman needs to wrestle with as they navigate life.

There are 365 numbered devotionals, each with a scripture, a 2-3 paragraph reflection, and blank lines for a short journal response.

This is a beautiful hardcover devotional with floral edging and coloring on every page. It would make a lovely gift. It includes an inscription page as well as a ribbon bookmark.

I would recommend this book to ladies age 13+.  While it’s target audience is young women, I think the scriptures and devotionals are appropriate for women of all ages.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher and I can’t wait to pass it on to a lovely young lady!

Lady of a Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

By Sandra Byrd

Beautiful novel about treasure hunting – hunting for antique treasures and a view of yourself as the treasure God has made you to be.   Set in England in the late 1800s, the book is steeped in culture, so there is a lot to soak in about gender roles, history, financial difficulties and political struggles in other countries.

An exploration about debts and forgiveness – both from physical treasures as well as relationships with God and others.  A book that wrestles with the reality of dementia.  A book with beautiful descriptions of art, jewelry, dresses, horses, landscapes, homes…
It’s very well-written. I actually dropped my book in the bathtub (aaggghh!), but kept reading the wet pages because I was so engrossed in the book.

While there is a love story woven throughout, it’s very clean and wholesome.

I would recommend this book to readers age 15+.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Historical Fiction from Melanie Dobson

Hidden Among the Stars

Hidden Among the Stars is a riveting story told from the perspective of multiple characters over an 80 year period on two continents. 

Half of the book is set in 1938, as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian It's the story of friends uniting to help Jewish friends in need. The heartwrenching story of love and loss, hope and despair, desperation and sacrifice.

The other half of the story is told from the perspective of a bookseller and children's storyteller in America in 2018. It's her quest to reunite treasures found in books with their owners. It's her quest to find her best friend's family. It's her quest to heal, to dream, and to learn to love and be loved again.

Author Melanie Dobson does an amazing job weaving the two stories together. Letting modern-day characters see into the lives of characters from 80 years ago. There is mystery, intrigue, twists, turns, sweetness, and sorrow between the pages. You won't want to put the story down, and you might even feel a little lonely when you finish the book, wanting the story to continue on.

Excellent read for ages 15+.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Conversations and Memories with Children


A thought-provoking 365-question journal designed to spark daily interaction with your child while simultaneously creating a memory book that captures your child's life, personality, and faith journey over a 3-year period.
Each page represents a different day of the year, for example, January 1. There is a question associated with that day - perhaps a funny question or a creative question or a spiritual question. Then there is a space underneath the question to write a response for three different calendar years, thus tracking a child's thoughts and feelings over a long period of time.
It's a very clever concept and a wonderful legacy gift to leave to your children. With my over-achieving personality, I'll need to give myself the freedom to skip a day, or even just to capture a few questions a week without feeling guilty about leaving blank spaces in the book. Perhaps you will be the mom that never ever skips a day though! (LOL!)
Links for purchase can be found here.
I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.