Friday, April 15, 2016

8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids

In 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids, child psychologist, Todd Cartmell, walks you through basic tools for healthy, effective parenting. Todd gives eight essential and practical tools to help you:
  • Maintain a healthy relationship with your child
  • Develop a nurturing home culture
  • Correct behavior in lasting ways
Divided into five short chapters that include a summary tip and application questions, the book is designed to give you simple clear-cut applications to build a healthy, loving relationship with your child, guiding them toward maturity. Using these applications, you can plant Godly wisdom in the hearts of your children, and help them thrive in all relationships with others.

My review: Overall, it's a good book with practical advice and doable solutions. I admit it started a little slow for me, and sounded like it would be more along the lines of helicopter parenting, but after the first couple of chapters, common sense and good advice became much more apparent, so hang in there if you have doubts. (Keeping in mind that I am a great-grandmother and probably have a different mindset than many of today's parents)

My favorite part is one that I have tried to stress to many children with whom I have had any influence. THINK before you ACT! Dr. Cartmell refers to this as
S - Stop
T - Think of possible solutions
E - Evaluate the solution
P - Pick a solution
S - See if it worked

Naturally, this is going to work better with children past preschool age, but start training kids to do more than REACT as soon as possible. Dr. Cartmell does give wise advice in training children to redirect their behavior---and parents also. We all make mistakes.

While it is obvious that Christian principles and values are an inherent part of his methods of raising children, I think that even non-believers can agree with the solutions he recommends. However, a downside of the book is also a lack of useful tips for single parents, especially when other adults who are involved in parenting have a completely different outlook. But, that in itself is reason for a separate book. No matter what your situation is, I do recommend the book.

I was given a copy of this book at no cost to myself by Flyby Promotions for the purpose of writing this review. They are also offering a discount on the book through May 15, 2016. See details below:

DISCOUNT CODE!! You have access to a 50% Discount Code which is GREATKIDS16  This code is only good from April 15th to May 15th

Official Website-

Free access to the HEARTS AT HOME "ESSENTIAL WORKSHOP COLLECTION FOR PARENTS" with every purchase: (so readers not only get 50% off with the coupon code at, but also get access to a slew of freebies).

Saved By Grace DVD

Saved By Grace, starring Joey Lawrence as Rick, is the story of a former police officer who is still coping with the aftermath of the day his life was irrevocably changed. Released due to medical issues, Sam Jenkins (Michael Joiner) has Rick's wife held hostage to make Rick suffer for the part he played in Sam's imprisonment. During the ensuing struggle, his wife is killed, and Rick sustains an injury that disables him. Leaving his young son with the child's grandmother, Rick sinks deeper into despondency.

The story begins 5 years later when Rick is contemplating a dramatic course of action to ease his pain. But when a chance encounter with a persistent woman named Grace (Catalina Rodriguez) interrupts his plans, he is slowly drawn to open up and share his own feelings as she shares her life story with him. As the day progresses, Rick begins to re-evaluate his life and realize that he is the one who abandoned his family and faith.

Wonderful storytelling and great acting are the reason I always enjoy any film Johnny Remo makes, and this one is no exception. Of course I am more familiar with Joey Lawrence as a child star, but the promise shown then is certainly displayed in his portrayal of Rick. Both he and Catalina give believable performances as people who have faced tragedy, albeit they are at different places with how they handled it. The way they relate to one another and provide support the other needs is gradually, but naturally played out without seeming forced.

Muse Watson and Michael Joiner have smaller roles in the film, but both have powerful performances that definitely stand out. Both have made choices and gone through bad experiences, but demonstrate that attitude determines what you do with your past. Overall, the movie is a story of hope despite despair and that healing is possible when you turn to God. I really enjoyed this one.

Most recently the Spotlight Movie at the Oxford (MS) Film Festival, Skipstone Pictures latest release, Saved By Grace, also stars Muse Watson, Candice Barley and Christopher Michael. Johnny Remo directed, produced, and co-wrote the screenplay. Lance Bachelder and KennethLemm also co-wrote this story which shares that God has a purpose and plan for all things that happened.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wildflower DVD

Creatively gifted, college student Chloe Moray (portrayed by Nathalia Ramos, known for BRATZ, Arrested DevelopmentHouse of Anubis) finds solace from a difficult childhood in her extraordinary art. But when an alarming dream begins to recur nightly, Chloe starts to believe that it might be a suppressed memory and that she may have witnessed a terrible crime as a little girl. Her search for peace takes her on a journey that forces Chloe to confront her past traumas and leads her to cross paths with Josh (Cody Longo, known for NOT TODAY, Hollywood Heights, Nashville), a young man dealing with his own painful loss. Together they find in each other someone they can trust as they seek to unlock a cold-case mystery from years before. But with the authorities blocking the way, Chloe's new-found hope is challenged in this powerful story of faith, triumph and healing.

My Review: Wildflower is a well made suspense film that is rated PG-13 for thematic elements and due to some scenes too intense for younger viewers. The tension increases throughout the film as Chloe has nightmares that are occurring with increased frequency. Unable to trust anyone, and with everyone involved believing that she is delusional and in need of mental health help, Josh chooses to become her friend. Dealing with his own demons of grief and shattered faith that haunt him, his compassion and support of Chloe eases his own journey toward healing and restoration. Trauma, grief, lack of trust, abuse, rejection, and fear are all explored in this film, some in a more subtle message, but leads to a message of hope and healing. The film is good for a conversation-opener for family or small group discussion. I really liked it and give it 4.25 stars. A relative who who was visiting me says it is one of the best films she has ever seen. She watched it several times, and I gave her my copy when she left...but good news below for another reader and movie fan!

I received a copy of this DVD from Icon Media Group at no cost to myself in exchange for a fair and honest review. They are also offering a DVD to one of my readers. Please comment to enter (or contact me to add you) no later than April 20, 2016.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Under the Sea Bible, NIrV

The Under the Sea Holy Bible, NIrV is a perfect gift for children ages 6 to 10. Themes of underwater fun and sparkling fish grace the interior of this wonderful children’s Bible. The outside is covered in foil and sparkle. The interior has color inserts featuring whimsical underwater scenes with themes of God’s care and love for each of us and all of creation. (publisher)

This Bible has some pros and cons to it. Of course, having the Word of God in an easy to understand version is the very best feature, and the book has a strong, durable cover that will hold up to daily use. But, the cover is more likely to appeal to the younger end of the age it is intended for (6-8 year olds) who aren't quite up to the reading level. By the time a child can handle the reading, the cover seems a bit garish. I remember the Bible I received when I was 6. I loved it, but it was 2 or 3 years before I truly appreciated the words and was able to comprehend. It is basically a regular Bible and that in itself is wonderful, but I feel like the cover and inserts are more for marketing than an attempt to put things at a child's level. I am also disappointed that there are no maps. That was my favorite part of my first Bible when I first got it. But, the fact that it lies flat instead of pages flipping when you are reading it is a major plus. Overall, there is more to like about the Under the Sea Bible, so I would like to give it 3.5 stars. Without the cover, 4.25.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment to be entered into a random drawing to win a copy. All entries must be in by Sunday, April 10, 2016. Thank you to FlyBy Promotions for my review copy and for the giveaway copy. These were given at no cost to myself.

Buy now at Barnes & Noble, Walmart or Family Christian Stores.  

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Be Light by Samuel Rodriguez

In Be Light Samuel Rodriguez provides a blueprint for confronting darkness in every realm of our lives. He issues a clarion call for individual believers and the church to rise up and once again be that bright city on a hill, which doesn’t simply expose the invading darkness, but overcomes it with God’s blazing light. (back cover)

Light is exactly what followers of Christ are called to be. Light is so important that it is the very first thing God created! And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. - Genesis 1:3-4. 

In his latest book Pastor Samuel Rodriguez brings a message to shine God's beauty, truth, and hope into a darkened world. Divided into 30 different short chapters, exploring different properties of light and using Scripture to equip the reader with the needed encouragement and tools to grow in their spiritual journey. The "Reflections" at the end of each chapter hone in facets of being light that are meant to help you better reflect the light and love of Jesus in your every day life. Although not set up as a typical small group study, Be Light can be adapted into a plan that can be incorporated for use by several or used for a month long personal devotion and spiritual growth study. Not meant to be a quick read, Be Light is a book that emboldens and illuminates your understanding of how to shine as you follow Jesus.

"Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever." - Daniel 12:3 

 I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah as part of their Blogging For Books program at no cost to myself. I was only asked for my fair and honest opinion. 

 Samuel Rodriguez is president of NHCLC/Conela, an international organization of more than 500,000 evangelical churches. He is a sought after voice in White House and congressional meetings and is regularly featured on CNN, Fox News, NBC Telemundo, and other major news outlets. The author of The Lamb’s Agenda,Rodriguez is senior pastor of New Seasons Christian Worship Center in Sacramento, California, where he resides with his wife Eva and their three children.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Miracles From Heaven

Miracles From Heaven’ tells the story of a child who recovers from a life-threatening illness in a manner that defies medical explanation. Based on the true story of the Beam family in Texas, this recounts the highlights of what this family went through to get Anabel Beam the needed help when she became ill. Christy Beam (Jennifer Garner) is determined to do whatever necessary to get the answers for her young daughter when Anna (Kylie Rogers) is finally diagnosed with a rare, incurable disease. Pseudo-obstruction motility disorder is the inability to digest foods and Anna was forced to receive nutrition through feeding tubes.

When the only hope for a solution is across the country, Christy and Anna make frequent trips to Boston Children’s Hospital for treatment from Dr. Nurko (Eugenio Derbez), a pediatric gastroenterologist. Kevin (Martin Henderson) remains in Texas to care for the other daughters and to keep his new veterinary practice running. With the stress of Anna’s deteriorating health, financial problems, and being apart from family, Christy does struggle to hold on to her faith at times, but a freak accident changes everything!

This is one of the better faith-based films I have seen. The story is mesmerizing, and it also feels real. There is no doubt that some changes were made to make the action flow better, but not in a way that seems overly forced as many movies tend to do. The love and support of family, church, and community is evident, but so are the stresses and flaws from those same people. The faith of the Beam family is genuine, but they did not gloss over doubts, fears, pain, and even anger. I left the theater feeling inspired and assured that God has us each in the palm of His hand...even when things don't happen according to our own plan. I give this a 4.5 star rating.

Directed by Patricia Riggen, the screenplay was written by Randy Brown, based on Christy Beam’s book. The film also stars Queen Latifah, John Carroll Lynch, Brighton Sharbino, Courtney Fansler, and ‘Third Day’ is featured as the church worship band. Produced by Joe Roth, T.D. Jakes and DeVon Franklin, with Matthew Hirsch, Derrick Williams and Zack Roth as Executive Producers.

Visit the website at

The Mustard Seed by Peter Szondy

Sara is a typical ten-year-old girl living in a small rural town, who is loved by all for her kindness and caring attitude, but what happens at a nearby lake soon has everyone talking. When Sara prays for a dead sparrow that revives and flies away, she claims that she saw Jesus on the lake and that is who healed the bird. Her parents brush it off as imagination until Sara prays for a friend who is also inexplicably healed from paralysis. After the media broadcasts these events, Sara becomes an overnight sensation as more people come to her for healing...and her life takes a bewildering twist that puzzles everyone. The town is torn as some claim they also see Jesus with Sara, and others see nothing. Lives are changed as events continue to unfold.

My Review: A well told story about the power of faith and how one little girl displayed pure faith and trust in action. Luke 17:6 says, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed," the Lord said, "you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you." Sara takes those words literally and never doubts that Jesus will answer her prayers. The unfolding drama surrounding the healings, others who were also able to see Jesus, and the mysterious illness involving Sara cause each character in the book to examine his or her own personal faith. Lives are forever changed by decisions made.

The preface of the book, written by original story teller G.M. Mercier, says actual events that sparked the idea that eventually became the "The Mustard Seed." This novelization moves along at a good pace and keeps the reader engaged. It wasn't a 5 star book for me, but it was very good.

I received a digital copy of this book at no cost to myself for review purposes from BuzzPlant. They are also offering a digital download to one of my readers. Comment before April 1st to be eligible for the drawing.

Visit to get more information.

"I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." - Mark 10:15