Saturday, December 3, 2016

Charlie the Tramp by Russell Hoban

Charlie the Tramp is celebrating 50 years with a new hardcover release. Winner of the 1968 Boys Club of America Junior Book Award, the book was authored by Russell Hoban (Bread and Jam for Frances; Emmit Otter’s Jug-band Christmas) and illustrated by Lillian Hoban. Lillian illustrated 6 of Russell's books, but is best known for a young chimpanzee named Arthur and his little sister, Violet. 

Charlie the Beaver wants to be a tramp when he grows up. “Tramps don’t have to learn how to chop down trees and how to roll logs and how to build dams. Tramps just tramp around and have a good time. Tramps carry sticks with little bundles tied to them. They sleep in a field when the weather is nice, and when it rains they sleep in a barn.” Charlie sets off with his bundle. But when he hears water trickling, he can’t get to sleep. Will he be able to resist the urge to make it stop? As Grandfather Beaver says, “You never know when a tramp will turn out to be a beaver.” (publisher)

This is a cute story, with delightful illustrations, about the adventures of a beaver who decides he wants to be a tramp when he grows up. With the encouragement of his parents and grandfather, young Charlie sets out to a nearby field to be a tramp. He returns home at mealtimes to do some chores in exchange for his food, but travels back to the field to sleep. But...a noise keeps distracting him. A stream of water is singing much to loudly and Charlie goes over to investigate. When Charlie does not show up for breakfast, his family makes an interesting discovery.

I don't remember this book from my childhood, but would have been too old for it by the time it was written. But, had I been younger, this would have been one I enjoyed. Some may say it is a bit outdated, but I don't find offense at any of it. I see a family who is encouraging a little boy to explore his aspirations within a safe boundary. This is a charming tale of natural instincts and a nurturing family with the sense to know that children need a bit of freedom to explore possibilities. I, too, remember a brief desire to become a tramp as a child. :) My parents calmly explained the pros and cons, and I decided to postpone that dream. 

Charlie the Tramp/Plough website

GIVEAWAY: There is also a copy for one of my readers. Simply let me know in a comment (blog or Facebook) that you want to be entered. Deadline is December 10, 2016. USA residents only.
Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Know the Word NKJV Study Bible

A good study Bible is a must have for anyone who is wanting to dig deeper into God's Word. Know the Word Study Bible, published by Thomas Nelson, offers three easy ways to go beyond casual reading to becoming a regular student of the Word. Do you have a preferred method? Here is an overview of the different ways you may prefer to use:
  • Book by Book series of notes leads you through the main points of each book of the Bible. 
  • Verse by Verse studies help you to dig deeper into God’s Word at a verse level. 
  • Topic by Topic articles, which cover 21 key theological topics, give you a bird's-eye view of Scripture and guide you through the main themes that run throughout the Bible.

Features Include:
• New King James Version Bible text • Three easy approaches to study the Bible: Book by Book, Verse by Verse, Topic by Topic • Book introductions • Words of Jesus in red • Two-color interior page design • Comprehensive list of theological notes • Concordance

The things I like most about this Bible are the ease of using three different study methods, notes, the concordance, and the maps. It is also compact, easily held in one hand, sturdy due to hard cover, and the words are easily read. Also, the words of Jesus are in red, and pronoun references to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are capitalized. Not only is that more respectful (in my opinion) but it is another aid to clarification. NKJV is much more understandable that the original KJV, and seems to be an acceptable compromise.

My only major dislike is that I like to have wide margins for taking notes. Of course, passages can be highlighted (I prefer using colored pencils), but there is very little room for any comment. Other than that personal preference, I am very well pleased with this Bible and definitely recommend it to others.

I received a copy of this Bible at no cost to myself from the BookLook Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Abduction - Steve Feazel & Dr. Carol M. Swain

Abduction: How Liberalism Steals Our Children's Hearts and Minds by Steve Feazel and Dr Carol M. Swain is a warning to our nation on how the liberal left is slowly turning the hearts and minds of America's youth toward a mindset that no longer uses reasoning and values accepted as moral, but blindly follows cultural mores presented by entertainment, and left-leaning educators and judicial systems. The book spells out the dangers of what is happening and offers practical advice for fighting back against those people and philosophies that are endangering the very foundations upon which our country was built.

I have often thought of the *"frog in the kettle" aspect of how we were slowly destroying ourselves as small changes were slowly accepted as norm. But, in recent years, the "temperature" has been turned up and the changes are astonishing quick. Tolerance no longer means what it once did, and all are expected to not just accept, but to embrace values that conflict with personal moral or religious convictions. Everyone is quick to take offense and there is no attempt to consider other beliefs. Minds are shut and anger is the ruling emotion.

Feazel and Swain point out the hypocrisy and inconsistencies that are so obvious to many, yet are being blindly accepted by others. Revisionist history is being being taught in classrooms, minors are being permitted to make life-altering decisions for themselves long before they are able to reason the consequences, and fiction is being presented as fact by our news sources. Professor Swain went through character attacks due to having an unpopular opinion, so is even more aware than many of how challenging it can be today to have a different opinion than the politically correct one. And I especially appreciated the Calls to Action and suggestions given to parents. 

The stories told in this book are backed up with a 30 page bibliography of sources. It's comforting to know that the authors did their homework and can tell you where to find the materials to investigate on your own. The book (including bibliography) is just over 300 pages, but is an easy read, and hard to put down. It is also endorsed by several conservatives whose opinions I respect. The ones who stood out to me are Dr. Alveda King, civil rights activist, pro-life activist, author, Christian minister; Eric Metaxas, New York Times Bestselling author of Bonhoeffer,  and If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty; Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University; and Suellen Roberts, founder and president of Christian Women in Media and CEO of Global Media Summit.

I received a copy of this book from the authors, but all opinions are my own. Purchase your copy HERE.

Steve Feazel has a very diverse background which includes a Bachelors in Religion from Olivet Nazarene Univeristy, a Masters of Divinity from Nazarene Theological Seminary and a Masters in Business Administration from Arizona State University. He is a retired pastor but also has experience in state government, business, video productions and as a comedian. He has also served as a board member of a pro-life pregnancy center and a board member of a state chapter of the National Speaker's Association.

Dr. Carol M. Swain (B.A., Roanoke College, 1983; M.A., Virginia Polytechnic & State Univ., 1984; Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1989; M.S.L, Yale, 2000; member of Phi Beta Kappa) is a Professor of Political Science and Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University. She is the founder of the Carol Swain Foundation (2011) and Carol Swain Enterprises, L.LC. (2014). Dr Swain, a widely recognized expert on campaign and elections, racial politics, immigration reform, and religious liberty is an author of several books, a frequent speaker at events and on television, and was recently featured as an authority in the film, "Hillary's America." 

*"Frog in the Kettle" refers to the premise that a frog would jump out immediately if placed in a pot of boiling water, but if placed in a pot of cold water that was heated slowly, it would not notice the small changes until it was too late to save itself.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Amy Grant - Tennessee Christmas

Amy Grant has a new CD out in time for Christmas. Tennessee Christmas  is a collection of 13 songs that encompass the meaning of Christmas from a variety of moods and views. Just as the Christmas season is filled with many emotions, "Tennessee Christmas" has a little something for everyone. The album grew on me more as I listened to it a few times, but even my initial reaction was favorable. The songs range from the loneliness that some experience to the joy of being together with loved ones. There are also new songs amidst familiar classics and favorite hymns. This is the first time I have ever like "Christmas Don't Be Late" (sorry Chipmunks!) and I even liked the arrangement [of a song I normally dislike] "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with Amy's husband, Vince Gill. The mixture of contemplative and light jazz music makes this album work well. I really loved what she did with "Joy to the World." This is one of my favorite Christmas songs, and I love it in a variety of arrangements; so while this slower version may not seem as "joyful" to some, there are times that this is exactly how I sing it at home. It reminds me that there is Hope. The final song, "O Come, All Ye Faithful" is a perfect reminder of the main reason we gather together on Christmas--- to celebrate the birth of Jesus, surrounded by the family and friends we treasure.

A sample from the album is "To Be Together."

Buy Tennessee Christmas:
Like Amy Grant on Facebook: Follow on Twitter: Subscribe to Amy’s VEVO Channel: Follow Amy on Spotify: 

Amy's team is also asking for fans to upload any videos they may have of them surprising loved ones for the holidays to social media. Use the hashtag #TNChristmasSurprise! Your video may be part of a compilation video Amy will be posting across her social media platforms.

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):   I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Bible Journaling Kit

Bible Journaling---making art in your Bible to create a more personal connection to Scripture and with God---has become more popular than ever. Have you tried it? Whether experienced at journaling or still considering it, this kit from Ellie Claire, a division of Worthy Publishing, is a fabulous collection of needed tools.

This Bible Journaling Kit comes complete with: 
  • 4 sheets of word stickers
  • 4 sheets alphabet stickers
  • 24 tab stickers
  • 8 colored pencil twists
  • 1 journaling pen
  • 1 pouch with adjustable strap
  • 1 ruled page protector mat with tracing lines
If you are unused to writing in your Bible, or feeling intimidated by the prospect of creating Art, this kit is a perfect way to get started. Remember, this is for your spiritual journey and to help you to connect with God in a more personal way. This kit has all you need to get started! I know I have always liked to make notes or highlight passages that really speak to me. Going back through your Bible, you are then reminded of times that were especially meaningful.

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC/FlyBy Promotions for sending me this kit.

**There is also a link for free coloring pages---AND another chance to win a Bible Journaling Kit! EllieClaire/Worthy Publishing is also sponsoring a giveaway with FIVE winners!! Winners will be announced on Dec. 15, 2016.
Enter at Bible Journaling Kit Giveaway
Here are places you can get kits for yourself or as gifts:
Also check out the Ellie Claire Gift & Paper Expressions on Facebook for more amazing products. 

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Abigail: The Belle of Bravery

Abigail, the Belle of Bravery is the third book in The Adventures of Rooney Cruz. Bible Belles highlights five "superhero" women of the Bible: Hannah, Esther, Abigail, Ruth, and Deborah. Each of these women has a super power to they use to serve God and this series highlights that to teach young girls a valuable lesson. These books were created by Erin Weidemann and illustrated by former Disney illustrator, Rob Corley.

 In this story, Rooney is back again with another adventure, and another lesson to be learned. When Rooney's brother Anthony deliberately angers the boys across the street, she is afraid that more trouble will be coming. What does she need to do? Her angel Mari has already taught her about the superpowers of prayer and patience, and now she has another story to help Rooney. Through the story of Abigail, Rooney learns about being brave enough to do the right thing. Just like Abigail, God will give her the courage of God to boldly face any problem with the confidence that He will see her through it. (Read about Abigail in 1 Samuel 25)

Another great story from the Bible Belles series. I love seeing stories of the women of the Bible being taught and directed to girls so that they have examples they can follow. I actually just re-read the story of Abigail in my own daily Bible reading recently, so I was delighted when offered the chance to review the version for younger children. Adults know how little things can escalate into large problems out of circumstances that we don't always understand. The lesson here of being brave and doing the right thing is perfect during a time of great misunderstanding, and one that needs to be learned early. Just as Abigail was able to wisely diffuse a threatening situation, Rooney was able to ease the growing tension and help bring peace to her neighborhood. Little things can make a difference, but being brave can seem scary. Teaching a child that God can give her the courage she needs to act boldly and do what is right---and on a level that is easily understood---is awesome. I highly recommend "Abigail: The Belle of Bravery" and the entire Bible Belles series.

Check out their other great books at

I received a copy of this product from Bible Belles. I was not required to give a positive review.
They have also authorized a giveaway copy to one of my readers. Please respond by November 30, 2016. 

To Joey, With Love DVD

To Joey, With Love is a documentary, based on home movies, of the final 2 and a half years of musician Joey Feek. Husband-and-wife singing duo Joey+Rory, 2010 Academy of Country Music New Vocal Duo winners, were in the midst of a whirlwind life when they did the unheard of for those who are experiencing extraordinary success. When Joey became pregnant, they decided to take a year off and simplify life for a year, living on their small farm. What started as Rory filming their lives and preparation for the birth of their child turned out to be an extended time when it was discovered later that Joey had cancer. The film follows the decision to take time off to the birth of their daughter Indiana, born with Down Syndrome, and continues through Joey’s struggle with and ultimate surrender to cancer—and is an intimate peek through the joy, despair, love, laughter, struggles, and hope as this family experiences a life they never planned. Narrated by Rory Feek, the DVD will be available on Dec. 20, 2016. You can pre-order it here:

My Review: I seldom cry when watching movies, but this one did move me to tears several times, for varying reasons. To be honest, I hesitated when offered the chance to review the DVD since I knew so little about Joey+Rory. Of course, I had seen the stories trending and knew that Joey had passed away---I had even prayed for them frequently during her illness, but I don't think I had ever heard even 1 song by them until watching the DVD. Plus, knowing of her passing, I was not sure if this was something I would want to see.

I was wrong! Rather than a melancholy story of a life cut too short, this DVD is a celebration of life. Nothing is sugar-coated, but the viewer is drawn into the lives of these people in such a way that there are as many tears of joy as there are of sorrow. Watching them LIVE their lives rather than just accepting defeats and falling into despair is a true encouragement for others. Of course, their faith in God as their sustainer and hope is a message that shines through. I do recommend you see this for yourself and share it with others. In the midst of sorrow, there is also inspiration and hope for this life and beyond.

Buy DVD:
Rory's Blog:
Facebook: To Joey With Love

Disclaimer: Thank you to Icon Media Group for sending me a link to watch this film! They also are offering a copy to one of my readers. Simply respond by Thursday, December 1, 2016 to be entered. USA residents only.