Sunday, August 24, 2014

When Calls The Heart: Second Chances

When Calls the Heart- “Second Chances” is a feature length film from the episodes of the When Calls the Heart television series.  The When Calls the Heart television series debuted on the Hallmark Channel to more than 3 million viewers, making it the No. 2 for the night on all of cable for the primary telecast at 9 p.m and No. 3 overall in households.   Distributed by Word Entertainment, previous DVD’s are available to purchase in Christian Retail.

Synopsis-  As Elizabeth and Jack fight to restore their relationship, she searches for ways to help one of her older students learn how to read. Meanwhile, Adam Miller struggles to adjust to his new disability. With so many difficult changes affecting the community, can Elizabeth create a Founder's Day play that will spark hope in everybody's hearts?

My Review: Once again this multi-talented team has produced a high quality film with a storyline that draws you in. Hope and moving on from the past and handicaps is key to this film. Jack and Elizabeth finally decide to pursue a courtship, Abigail moves on to a new level of independence in opening a restaurant, Adam Miller (the only miner to survive the explosion) returns and his family must adapt to his diability, and Elizabeth works to help a student overcome a reading disability.

Watching as each character overcomes fears and failures and works hard to attain goals is inspirational and, not only teaches a lesson to the viewer, but entertains as well. A wonderful balance is struck between the drama and the humor and makes for a wonderful film suitable for the entire family.

 I received this DVD compliments of Word Films and Edify Media for my honest review. I was not required to write a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.

Wine and the Word by Kurt Senske

Throughout the Bible, wine or the vine is referenced a total of 521 times and Dr. Senske is on a mission to connect lessons from the vineyard to our daily life. In Wine and the Word Dr. Senske weaves together stories of the vineyard, connecting them to the Christian lifestyle and and taking readers through places such as Bordeaux, Napa and Tuscany. Using both storytelling as well as humor, he guides readers through a conversation about their lives as disciples and how to fully savor God’s blessings and serve others with great joy. (from the publisher)

My Review: I have always been aware of the many Scriptures that include wine and the vineyard, but I know nothing about winemaking. I love the way this book shares the intricacies of wine development and the varieties of wine and it is a great metaphor of Christians. One chapter spoke on how some winemakers will "sell-out" or compromise quality for what they can gain. There are many Christians who slowly get caught up in the culture around them and forget they are to be nurtured by the the One who wants us to be our best. Just as an oenophile, whether an expert or a beginner, breathes in, savors, and lets the taste of the wine explode, we are called to "Taste and see that the LORD is good." In John 15 Jesus tells us that He is the vine and we are the branches. We must stay attached to Him so we can glorify God, the Master Gardner.

In explaining the full process of winemaking and how conditions affect the harvest on to some of his favorite wines and experiences of sharing wine with loved ones, Senske illustrates that God's Word can have that same impact in our development. Wine and the Word: Savor and Serve is a small sized book that would be perfect for the wine lover you know to enrich their knowledge of how Scripture is reflected from the beginning to the finished product. It is one you can pick up and enjoy for a long time.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Shelton Interactive, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. 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.”

CEO and critically acclaimed author, Dr. Kurt Senske is deeply passionate about creating conversation centered on faith and character. As a dynamic speaker and leader, he is known as much for his acute business acumen as he is for authorship on the Christian lifestyle. Dr. Senske finds joy in connecting various personal life experiences to the Bible and sharing his insight with other Christians. (from the publisher)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Here Is Where by Andrew Carroll

Here Is Where shares the adventures of Andrew Carroll journey in search of America's sometimes forgotten history. The idea for this book came after he saw the location where Abraham Lincoln's son, Robert, was saved by the brother of Lincoln's assassin, Edwin Booth. Carroll began to wonder what other little known historical facts and places he could come across --- places where extraordinary events happened or people who impacted many lived.  In this book you will find, Here is where...

 ...America’s deadliest maritime disaster took place, a calamity worse than the fate of the Titanic!

...a virtually unknown American scientist saved millions of lives.

...modern anesthesia was first used

...a 14 year old got the idea for the creation of television.

...a black woman refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white passenger (and it is not who you are thinking).

As a lover of both history and trivia, I had no doubt I would enjoy this book. I was aware of some of the stories Carroll shared, but many were new to me. I admit I did not share his fascination with some of the stories he chose for the book, but the majority were very interesting and kept me wanting to read more. His style of storytelling kept my interest and he has an amusing way of presenting some of his encounters along the way. These are stories that need to be remembered. 

 FTC Disclaimer: "I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."

 Andrew Carroll is the executive director of the American Poetry & Literacy Project, a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that promotes literacy and encourages a greater public awareness of poetry. The author of several books, he lives in Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Christ-Centered Wedding

A Christ-Centered Wedding: Rejoicing in the Gospel on Your Big Day by Catherine Strode Parks and Linda Strode

Wedding planning has spawned a major industry. The average cost of the occasion now exceeds $25,000, and societal pressure to create the “perfect day” is so strong that even Christian couples forget what God originally intended for the sacred marriage ceremony.

While paying attention to the good fun that follows that special proposal (the dress, the flowers, the cake, the gatherings, etc.), A Christ-Centered Wedding first serves as a guide to believers who want their wedding to portray the relationship of Christ with the church and to reflect the gospel to all in attendance.

From the start, this thoughtful book looks to the Creator of weddings for guidance in planning by emphasizing the sacrificial love of the Savior more than the modern world’s idealistic view of romantic love. There are chapters filled with practical information about everything from pre-marital counseling and choosing a wedding location to other resources like a planning checklist and timeline, music suggestions, guidance on potential issues of conflict, a listing of traditional financial responsibilities, sample vows, and other great ideas from couples who have successfully put together a Christ-centered wedding.
(publisher's description)

My Review: If you are looking for a book that covers just about everything you can think of for a wedding, this is the one for you. My favorite part was at the beginning of the book when they went into more detail of Biblical betrothals, marriage contracts, and wedding ceremonies. It brought a greater clarity to some of the metaphors used throughout the Bible, especially with the church being called the Bride of Christ.

The rest of the book is divided up into easy-to-read chapters on various aspects from the engagement to the reception. There were several ideas that I really loved and would suggest to anyone planning a wedding. I did love the way that each focused on having Christ at the center of it all. It brought a deeper meaning to the commitment the couple are making to one another and to their commitments as followers of Jesus.

Honestly, much of it is more overwhelming than anything I would have wanted to do, but I tend to be overly pragmatic. But, I still found it interesting and helpful. There were even things that I wish I had done. All-in-all though, I felt that it covered areas that could handle most budgets. The thought of spending thousands of dollars on a ceremony is absolutely horrifying to me, so if I think something is is. So, whether you are planning a very low cost wedding or if money is no object, the important thing is to work together with your finances, your personal views, consideration of others, and most of all, sharing and celebrating the love of Christ.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Shelton Interactive, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. 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.”

Shelton Interactive is offering a giveaway copy of this book. Please leave a comment no later than 8/14/14 7pm (CDT) to be entered in a random drawing. US & Canada only. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The BTFS "Find It" Contest

Beyond the Farthest Star is giving fans a chance to win a fabulous prize, but you must first answer 3 questions correctly. To make it simple, the answers can all be found on the film's IMDb page.

Click on this
link and find the answers to the 3 questions below: 

1. What's the last name of the actress who played Adam's mom?

2. How many weeks was the film crew in Leonard?

3. What type camera was used fo
r filming?

Email your answers and your name to

Be watching the BTFS Facebook page for the announcement of who won!

Easy as 1, 2, 3...and if YOU are the winner, the next step is choosing A, B, or C!

A - A fabulous BTFS T-Shirt! I have seen them and they are awesome!
B - A copy of the BTFS novel written by Bodie and Brock Thoene
C - Mini-poster of the film

RULES: Deadline to Enter is 8/8/14 Midnight CDT
Do NOT Answer questions on the BTFS page or anywhere other than email or you Will Be Disqualified.

 Important Info:

Monday, July 28, 2014

When Calls The Heart: The Dance

When Calls the Heart - “The Dance” is a feature length film from two episodes of the When Calls the Heart television series. When new miners are hired to help with the reopening of the Coal Valley mine, the town decides to celebrate with a dance. One of those new miners takes a special interest in Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) and showers her with attention and poetry. With Jack's (Daniel Lissing) insistence that the life of a Mountie is too difficult to share with a wife, Billy Hamilton's (Andrew W. Walker) flattery tugs at Elizabeth's heart. 

In a side story, one of the widows (Laura Bertram) is also attracted to one of the new miners (Derek Hamilton. However, her son (Will Verchere-Gopaulsingh) is not ready to have another man in his mom's life. Tensions increase as she struggles to extinguish her growing feelings that equal her son's resentment.

The celebrations of the new miners, a dance and the Miner's Games is not the only cause for joy, though. Widow Carla Noonan (Jill Morrison) is expecting her baby soon. However, the excitement is tempered with trepidation since there is no doctor available. Carla has moved in with Abigail (Lori Loughlin) and Elizabeth has her time grows nearer, but will the women of Coal Valley be able to care for her when she goes into labor early?

My Review: Once again, this is a well acted and well written film that keeps the viewer interested and endears these characters even more. There are a few twists here and there that lend to the excitement of the story, along with the poignancy of letting go and moving forward. You must believe that Jack and Elizabeth will realize their love for one another, but will misunderstandings cause a permanent rift? Also, realizing the hardships many of our ancestors faced gave me a greater appreciation of my blessings. If you haven't seen the previous When Calls the Heart DVDs, you will want to get in on the beginning of the series. You will fall in love with the people of Coal Valley.

I received this dvd compliments of Word Films and Edify Media for my honest review. I was not required to write a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.

 Like "When Calls The Heart" on Facebook

Michael Landon Jr. – Director:  Michael Landon Jr., son of the late television legend Michael Landon, has been in the film business for over 25 years.  With two of the highest rated films in the history of the Hallmark channel, and several top ten releases targeted to the Christian market, Michael has become known for creating heartfelt, inspiring films that connect to the family.  He has developed and/or produced, directed, and written screenplays for Fox, CBS, NBC, Disney, Sony, Lifetime, and others.

 Brian Bird- Writer/Producer : Brian Bird is co-founder with partner Michael Landon, Jr., of Believe Pictures, a film and television production company.  He was co-executive producer and writer on the successful television series, Touched by an Angel.  Adding to Brian’s success, he had also written and produced episodes of Evening Shade, Step by Step and The Family Man.  Most recently, Bird wrote and produced Gametime, a two-hour television pilot for NBC, The Shunning, inspired by the novel by best-selling author Beverly Lewis, for the Hallmark Channel, and Not Easily Broken, adapted from the novel by T.D. Jakes and released theatrically by Sony/TriStar.

About Word Entertainment:  A leader in the music industry for over 60 years, Word Entertainment, a Warner/Curb company, is a unique, comprehensive entertainment company comprised of multi-faceted artist service departments including publishing, merchandising, booking, and online initiatives. Word Entertainment represents some of the top names and brands in music, including Meredith Andrews, Chris August, BarlowGirl, Francesca Battistelli, Big Daddy Weave, Jason Castro, Patrick Ryan Clark, Everfound, for KING & COUNTRY, Group 1 Crew, Love & The Outcome, Dara Maclean, Point Of Grace and Sidewalk Prophets and is home to 25 Entertainment, Word Distribution (representing Curb Records and Big Idea/VeggieTales among others), Word Print, Word Films, Word Music Publishing and Word Label Group’s Word Records, Word Worship and Fervent Records.