Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Up In Smoke ~ Hannah Conway

Up in Smoke by Hannah Conway is a mixture of romance, mystery, intrigue, and danger that changes course from beginning to end. Just when the reader thinks everything is falling into place, another twist appears.

Leanna Wilson has returned home to Kentucky after the death of her parents and plans to raise her young sister, Brie. When she finds that her parent's will and assets are more complicated than expected, she must take advice from their attorney---her ex-fiance who is eager to control Leanna's life once again. Her only solution appears to be to accept the offer of her former high school sweetheart. He broke her heart when they were teens, but she will do nearly anything to keep her sister safe.

With a spiritual theme woven throughout the unexpected twists and turns of the plot, it is a story filled with surprises, but comes together at the end with a fresh hope and healing for characters you grow to love. There were times when I would have liked the editing to be a little tighter, but the story did keep my attention and interest. I do recommend this book and hope to read more by Hannah Conway.  


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I did receive a copy of this book in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.


VALENTINE SPECIAL: Up in Smoke is available for FREE on Amazon Kindle Unlimited February 14-15. https://tinyurl.com/UpInSmoke-HannahConway

Monday, February 12, 2018

Graciousness ~ John Crotts

Anger and criticism have become the standard response today, especially in a world where one of the major sources of communication is the internet. I often find myself hoping that people who comment on articles and posts would not actually be that abrasive and unforgiving in a face-to-face discussion. I try to temper my responses and believe I am gracious when I comment, but it's not always easy to judge a person's tone and temperament in the written word...especially on hot topic issues. I love to look at all sides of an issue to understand the perspective of others, but, if I hope to remain gracious, I need to back away a bit from overfilling my mind. It did seem perfect timing to receive a chance to review "Graciousness: Tempering Truth With Love" by John Crotts.

The author says that LISTENING with love is one of the first steps in the right direction. I know that I have been guilty of forming my response rather than really listening to what another says. He makes a valid point that we are to THINK before we speak also. While there are certain topics that have an absolute truth, some are more a matter of opinion. Is your need to feel right more important than the chance to have a meaningful conversation? Crotts fills this book with Scripture and practical wisdom to help with the spiritual growth that all of us need. The Body of Christ is built on relationship and community. If we can't treat each other with kindness how can we reach people wandering in spiritual darkness?

The book is small and compact but is well worth the read. And, it shows that we are all flawed at times, but we need to learn how to be gracious after we have been less than gracious in the past. Sometimes there is a need for righteous anger, but we have an example in the Bible about getting angry without sinning. Crotts covers a wide range as he teaches the true meaning of graciousness.

I received a copy of this book via Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC).

"What will it profit a man if he gains his cause and silences his adversary if at the same time, if at the same time he oses that humble, tender frame of spirit in which the Lord delights, and to which the promise of His presence is made?" ~ John Newton

Friday, February 2, 2018

Candlemas Day

Candlemas is a word I remember reading many times, but have never researched... until now. This  is a beautiful tradition that I would love to see come back into practice. Groundhog Day doesn't have to go away, but I just don't feel the same connection to that tradition. Perhaps it's due to my utter confusion as a child. I honestly thought I was being told Six More Weeks of Winter or Six Weeks Until Spring. I have always had an active imagination, but tempered with a strong practical streak. No matter how people wanted to say it --- Spring was coming in 6 weeks! Well, actually six and a half weeks, but I was taught it was bad manners to argue with my teacher over technicalities and that it had more to do with temperatures and weather than exact date. Good manners won...but it still annoys me.

Candlemas Day is celebrated on February 2nd... on what is considered the midpoint between the Winter solstice and the Spring equinox. The tradition that gives the holiday its name is that pastors would bless candles and then distribute them to people to provide light for the remander of Winter. The tie-in to what became Groundhog Day was when people began saying if Candlemas Day dawned sunny and clear, Winter weather would last several more weeks. Spring would arrive early if the weather was cloudy.


There's more, though! February 2 is also called the Feast of the Presentation. This has been celebrated since the 4th century in Jerusalem and is based on the presentation of Jesus to the Lord at the Temple at the end of Mary's 40 days of purification. All firstborn sons were to be consecrated to God. Traditionally the birth of Christ is celebrated December 25th, therefore, February 2nd would have been the date of the Presentation. 

Tie-in? At the temple, a devout and righteous man named Simeon had been anticipating the birth of the Messiah because Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before he had seen the promised Savior. When he held Jesus in his arms, Simeon said, "He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and He is the glory of Your people Israel!” Read the whole story in Luke 2:22-40.

In John 8:12, J
esus spoke to the people once more and said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life." That promise holds true for everyone today. The world is a dark place, but Jesus is the Light that leads to eternal life. It's not always easy to follow Him, but be assured that it is worth it.

The groundhog is fun and I am curious to see what is predicted and whether he was reliable this year. But I will celebrate the Light of the World whose promises of Hope and Healing, despite current cold and darkness, are assurances I know I can trust. More than fun, this brings JOY! Today, light a candle to remind yourself,
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." - Matthew 5:16


Go light the world! 🕯



*FUN FACT: February is also a traditional day for some to take down and put away their 🎄 Christmas decorations! If you haven't quite finished, today is the day! 



Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Alien Intrusion

Alien Intrusion: Unmasking the Deception takes a deeper look at the phenomena of UFOs and space aliens from a historical, spiritual or Christian, and cultural perspective. This thought provoking film is for anyone who has ever questioned or wondered about the existence of aliens. Believers and non-believers alike will come away with a new perspective and many of their questions answered.

Narrated by John Schneider, the film is written and directed by Gary Bates,
the CEO of Creation Ministries International–US and the author of Amazon Top-50 bestselling book Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection. Numerous experts in paranormal and UFO research, scientists, and theologians are interviewed as the film takes a closer and honest look at the events, the beliefs, the experts, and the people that have shaped our views in all things otherworldly.Many stories that are familiar to the average person are also explored more indepth in the search for truth.



Alien Intrusion
will be in theaters for ONE NIGHT ONLY on January 11, 2018. For a list of theaters and to buy tickets, go to Alien Intrustion - Fathom Events.

My Review:
I had the privilege to see the film in advance, so I wanted to give my personal endorsement. As much as I enjoy star-gazing, I honestly have little interest about potential life forms on other planets, UfOs, ect. HOWEVER, this movie did keep my interest and Ifound it to be very imformative. The stories were fasciating and I enjoyed hearing what experts from various fields had to say. If it is showing near you on Jan 11, I recommend you go see it. Whether you believe, or are skeptical, or completely disregard all UFO sightings, inexplicable things seen on radar, Roswell, alien abductions, government cover-ups, etc., this is a well-done project that will either strengthen your view or cause you to want to learn more.

Links:
Fathom Events tickets

Alien Intrusion website 
Alien Intrusion on Facebook 
Follow @alien_intrusion on Twitter 
Creation Ministries International on YouTube 
Alien Intrusion on Instagram 
Creation Ministries International 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children - Jodie Berndt

In Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children: Trusting God with the Ones You Love, Jodie Berndt continues her Praying the Scriptures series with biblical prayers for your adult children, whether they are just leaving the nest, flying well on their own, or struggling to take off at all. With grace and wisdom, Jodie addresses cultural trends such as couples living together before marriage and young adults leaving the church, as well as the painful realities of loneliness, addiction, and mental health issues. With hope-filled words for the parents of the prodigal, she is particularly sensitive to the long-term prayers we offer, even as we doubt ourselves and grieve over our children’s choices.

 Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children is a small compact book that is easy to carry with you...but it packs a powerful message that you will want readily available. It can be hard to let go of our children when they physically move into adulthood, but parents never give up on praying for their "babies." Filled with anecdotal stories, each chapter ends with prayers for both the praying parent and for the adult child. Each prayer also has the Scripture book, chapter, and verse.

For your convenience, the book is divided into 5 parts:

  • Praying for Your ADULT CHILD
  • Praying for Your ADULT CHILD'S Relationships
  • Praying through the MILESTONES in Your ADULT CHILD'S LIFE
  • Praying for Your ADULT CHILD'S HEALTH, SAFETY and WELL-BEING
  • Praying for Your ADULT CHILD'S VICTORY OVER TEMPTATION
Each of these parts are then divided into 4 or 5 chapters that touch on more specific topics. The only thing that would have made the book better, in my opinion, would be more room for making notes or journaling. But, if you already have a prayer journal, you can add the prayers and scriptures to it. I do recommend this book. Since I now have both adult children and adult grandchildren whom I pray for, this book will be put to use for years to come.  
 

Disclosure: I received this book free from Handlebar Marketing as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

May the Faith Be With You Bible

May the Faith Be With You Bible (Zondervan) is a full-text New Intertainional Readers's Version best suited for young readers ages 6-10. Using an outer space theme, this hard cover, compact sized, Bible points out that the highest, truest, and most rewarding way to a life of wisdom is apprenticing with the Ultimate Master himself---Jesus Christ. It also includes 24 full-color pages of content with pages titled "Ways of Wisdom," Use the Force," and "Master Moment." It's a convenient size to handle and the text is easy to read. In my opinion it is more suitable for 8 and up, but is also good for those who speak English as a second language.


I did love the space theme and cover, but I am fascinated by outer space...and it has a "In the beginning..." feel about it. The words seem a bit small, but are actually the same size as the Bible I had when I was 6. The children this Bible was designed for are probably not note-takers like me, so the lack of wide margins aren't going to be a big deal to most kids. However, if your child does like to make notes in the margin, this isn't the one for them. On the other hand, the colored pages are an extremely handy for young believers who aren't as familiar with stories, Scripture, and explanations needed to grow in faith. I also love the convenient dictionary in the back.

Handlebar Marketing provided a copy of this product for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Heaven Bound

Ted (Michael Joiner) and Josie (Nancy Stafford) have a perfect marriage and a perfect life. His career as a successful dog food marketer has moved them into a whole new tax bracket... until the fateful day when he suddenly makes a mistake that costs him his job and makes him the most hated man in the country. Josie is already very unhappy, but her frustration reaches the breaking point when her wealthy boss confides he selling all he owns to support a charity he is creating in memory of his late wife. So she concocts a plan to steal the jewelery her boss has hidden in order to pay their debts. Accompanied by her lazy little brother Moochie (Torry Martin), Ted and Josie attempt to pull off a caper but their plans quickly fall apart when Doc (Danny Vinson) realizes he has a captive audience to share the plan of salvation with before he dies. 



Heaven Bound is a fun, family-friendly film that has a serious message at its inner core, but is wrapped in layers of pure laughter. Many of the things that the secular world mocks about Christianity are highlighted in this film...because it's also things we laugh at ourselves. Of course, it's not laughing at the central message of following Jesus, but at some of the ways the gospel is presented. Just as it seems things may take a serious turn, the humor comes through. Joiner, Stafford, Martin, and Vinson all excel at their craft, and each are perfect in their roles. There is also a hysterical scene with Victoria Jackson, as well as a very funny scene at a coffee shop that features Denny Brownlee. Written by Marshall Younger, Torry Martin, and Rene Gutteridge, and directed by Gabe McCauley, this film is a must-see for anyone wanting a night of laughter.Learn more at HeavenBoundthemovie.com