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!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

the beauty of Alaska - in fiction

In the Shadow of Denali, by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse, is a very well written historical fiction novel that has captivated my attention this week.Though I've never had the privilege to see the magnificent Mount McKinley (Denali) or even see a glacier at all, I feel like I have a better picture of the beauty of the Alaska.  One day I'm sure I'll get to go!! 

The authors do an amazing job describing the town and the beauty. The plot is unique and creative. The characters are well developed and easy to relate to. I laughed and cried. The Christian messages both inspired and challenged me, as I'm sure they will other readers. I especially appreciated the faith messages woven into the story relating to faith, forgiveness, and hardship. 

From the publisher:  Cassidy Ivanoff and her father, John, work at the new and prestigious Curry Hotel outside Mt. McKinley. While John will be expedition and wilderness exploration guide for the wealthy tourists, Cassidy has signed on as a cook's assistant. Both are busy as the hotel prepares to welcome the president of the United States on his way to drive in the golden spike to officially complete the railroad. Allan Brennan travels to the Curry Hotel to be an apprentice of a seasoned Alaska mountain guide. Ever since his father's death climbing Mt. McKinley, he's worked to earn enough money to make the trek to the Alaska territory himself. His father's partner blames their guide for the death of his father, but Allan wants to find the truth for himself. He finds an unlikely ally in Cassidy, and as the two begin to look into the mystery, they suddenly find that things are much less clear, and much more dangerous, than either could ever imagine.

This is the first book in the new "Heart of Alaska" series, and I look forward to reading more. I would recommend this book for readers age 15 and older. I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Essential Worship By Greg Scheer

This book came in the mail before Christmas an I was wowed by the amount of content in it.  It is jam packed with resources to teach and inspire the worship leader who wants to grow.  It is not, however, a book for the faint of heart or the quick scanner.  It's not a book for the casual christian who just enjoys worship - it's more like a textbook for a worship leader.  If you are willing to sit with it, you will be blessed.

I asked our worship pastor to read it, and he gave a lovely synopsis:  "A must read for any worship leader and their teams. One  of the most comprehensive and thorough resources I've ever read. It's both educational and engaging, exhaustive and approachable, challenging and encouraging, practical and contemplative. What truly sets it apart is that from beginning to end it is informed by scripture. A meticulous exploration of the who, the why, the what, and the how of worship; presented from a refreshingly God-centered and gospel-saturated perspective. It's format makes it easy for discussion amongst worship teams and challenges the reader with questions that will help them apply what they've read in their individual context. this resource has the ability to make you a more effective worship leader; but, more importantly, it could transform you as a worshipper, as your heart is stirred by the"surpassing worth" of Jesus Christ."

From the publisher: "Essential Worship is an easy-to-read primer on the basics of worship theology and practice that is perfect for pastors and worship leaders of all levels of experience. Each concept is introduced and unpacked with useful diagrams, charts, and lists, plus preparation and reflection questions to help you apply the material to your unique church context. Whether you're beginning a new service or hoping to deepen existing worship, this indispensable resource is your solid foundation for future success."

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

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

nostalgia and a beautiful Bible

Product Details
Nostalgia. I still remember how excited I was to get my first beautiful Bible in high school. It was a teal soft leather and NIV Bible and I loved it! It sounds trite, but having a Bible that felt beautiful made it so much easier for me to start reading.

I was so excited to get this new journal Bible in the mail to review last month. My Holy Bible for Girls, Journal Edition.has a gorgeous turquoise blue cover with swirly flowers and little tiny butterflies. It's beautiful! It's a very sturdy hardcover Bible. Open it up and the cover pages are also turquoise prints with polka dots. It has a beautiful inscription page with space to write presentation information. It also has a one page instruction guide on how to use the Bible. It includes challenges to set Christian goals, to consider Bible characters, to ponder ways to show God's love, and to choose vs to memorize. Like most Bibles, is it includes a table of contents, but this Bible also includes and alphabetical order of the books of the Bible with corresponding page numbers. I love that for new believers trying to find Bible verses quickly. The Bible includes two bookmarks. The Bible text is plain and simple text. No notes other than the headings for different passages. But what sets this Bible apart is the space on every single page to journal or doodle. At the end of the Bible, it has a table of weights and measures, but it does not have a dictionary or concordance. Honestly the Bible would probably be too thick if it added those things.

In conclusion, the Bible is gorgeous and lovely for any girl or a woman. My daughter latched onto it immediately and didn't want to give it up. If readers will take the reflection opportunities to heart, this Bible could be a wonderful way to encourage someone in their faith.

I received this Bible as a gift and exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Family Dynamics + Politics

A Primary Decision (The Worthington Destiny Book #3): A Novel by [Leman, Dr. Kevin, Nesbit, Jeff]

Before the holidays, I finished reading a political suspense novel, A Primary Decision (The Worthington Destiny Book #3) by Kevin Lehman and Jeff Nesbit.

Kevin Lehman's family dynamics plus Jeff Nesbit's politics = a good duo for political suspense. But woven among the political suspense is the story of a complex family's victories, struggles, secrets, and daily life.  And the thoughtful reflection of how the birth order of a person impacts some of their characteristics, insecurities, tendencies, and life patterns.

This book is the third in the series, and I haven't read the first two books, so there were some pieces that seemed to be missing in the story.  I was, however, still able to enjoy it as a stand alone book.  

The pros: good storyline, well-developed characters, twists and turns. The con: the story seemed to be drawn out a bit too long.

From the publisher:  Sarah Worthington never expected to become the US attorney general--at least not this early in her career. Plunged into the vicious vetting process, with all sides digging for secrets in her family closet, she steels herself for the path forward. Nothing will deter her from making her mark on the world in the biggest way possible--even if that means prosecuting the current president of the United States. Yet powerful forces conspire behind the scenes to take the Worthington family down, and the president orders her to close the investigation. Will she comply? Or turn the tables to pursue her ultimate dream--the US presidency? This exciting conclusion to The Worthington Destiny series will have readers on the edge of their seats--just in time for the 2016 presidential race.

I read the book in December. with America still tense with the 2016 election. I probably would've enjoyed reading it more before the mess of the 2016 election process.  I do hope our newly elected president will lead with the character of the book's main character.

Audience: male and female readers ages 16+

Good for a book club, as there are many good discussion points to delve into with a friend.

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