Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory

What if you could grow closer to God and improve your health in just 21 days? Susan Gregory, “The Daniel Fast Blogger,” has a plan to help you do just that. Widely recognized as the expert on this 21-day fast inspired by the book of Daniel, Susan has helped thousands of people discover a safe and healthy way to fast. The principles you learn from The Daniel Fast will change the way you view food, your body, and your relationship with the one who created you. Includes 21 days’ worth of Daniel Fast recipes! Visit www.daniel-fast.com   (from the publisher)

In just a few more days a new year will be upon us, and this is the time people make resolutions and try to break old habits or start new ones. Many churches and individuals also choose this time of year to have a time of fasting and spiritual renewal, and The Daniel Fast is probably the most widely used. So, I was very interested in reading this book and finding out more about it. First off, here is a short video from author Susan Gregory explaining more about the purpose of this particular fast:




I liked this book and found it to be very useful in explaining the reasons for choosing this type of fast, and what makes it different than simply changing your diet. Instead of just a focus on what foods you are giving up, there is a more indepth look at the cleansing of body, soul, and spirit. I especially like the deepening relationship with God being the most important. Also, she has included several interesting recipes. I am not a cook, but they did give me a few ideas about foods that can be eaten. It's really more versatile than one might expect. There is also a menu plan for those who like to have more structure to follow. The book concludes with a 21 day devotional guide to use during your quiet time with God. This is definitely a book you want to have if you are considering The Daniel Fast for yourself.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own, and I was not required to give a good review.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Why Jesus? by Ravi Zacharias

In WHY JESUS?: Rediscovering His Truth In An Age Of Mass Marketed Spirituality, world renown author and radio evangelist Ravi Zacharias takes a look at the spirituality movement of the past 40 years. Many of the leaders of these various movements, along with their proponents like Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, Dan Brown, James Redfield, and various gurus, have taken a mixture of Eastern philosophies and given them a Western twist more palatable to many who are searching for another path to God. While some claim to honor and respect Jesus, Zacharias shows how they are presenting a twisted look the Jesus of Christianity. A special look is taken at how some of those who are more known have used their influence in media to teach such false teachings as the belief we are gods and are divine, that Jesus was merely a good teacher, and giving a message that is pleasing to many who prefer to worship self and perform rituals in a path they believe will bring enlightenment.
If you are wanting to know more about the varying spiritual beliefs that are currently popular, this will be an interesting read for you. Some of the religions discussed are, in fact, quite old, but many have been remade into a belief system that today's culture is more willing to embrace. Many who claim Christianity as their faith have done the same, so I am not just taking potshots at other beliefs. I thought the book dragged a bit in some places, but it was because I did not know who (or what) Mr. Zacharias was talking about. However, this does give you a better idea of the belief system that many have chosen to mold into their own faith system.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a ARC through NetGalley for the purpose of writing a review. All opinions given are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the author, the publisher, or NetGalley.




Natalie & Jonny Gore

Natalie Gore is listed as Production Staff on the set of Beyond The Farthest Star but she and her brother, Jonny also played a huge role in one of the songs done on the set. In the film, Anne Wells (Cherami Leigh) is the Goth daughter of Pastor Adam and Maureen Wells (Todd Terry, Renee' O'Connor). Anne, along with Steven (Tyler Corie), Kyle (Shawn Roe), and Clifford (Jordan Walker Ross) have a band that plays what Adam refers to as "vampire music".

Writer/director Andrew Librizzi gave a poem to Natalie and Jonny and asked them to write a song for the band. Watch the video to hear Natalie & Jonny talk about it:



Natalie and Jonny are the children of Rob and Toni Escobedo Gore of Faith Fellowship Church of McKinney, TX. In the video below, you can see that their mom also has a beautiful voice as she sings with Natalie...and below that is a funny, loving tribute from Jonny to his mom. :)







Natalie Gore Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Nataliegore
Natalie Gore Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Natalie-Gore/118382250113?sk=app_112078882147346
Natalie Gore on Twitter: http://twitter.com/nataliegore  
Natalie Gore on MySpace:  http://www.myspace.com/nataliegoremusic
The Natalie Gore Show: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Natalie-Gore-Show/123438711066585
Jonny Gore on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001097025567
Jonny Gore on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jonnygoremusic

 To hear the song they contributed, you will want to keep up with when BTFS is coming to a cinema near you!! For all the latest, go to Beyond The Farthest Star on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Beyond-the-Farthest-Star/170290344732 or Beyond The Farthest Star on IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1605791/

************************************************************
A series of blogs about Beyond The Farthest Star.
(I am NOT affiliated with the film or Pathlight Entertainment. Just an appreciative fan.)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.~ Isaiah 7:14

For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will accomplish this. ~Isaiah 9:6-7



 “Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and announce to her that her time of forced labor is over, her iniquity has been pardoned, and she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.” ~Isaiah 40:1-2

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners; ~ Isaiah 61:1



Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; One will come from you to be ruler over Israel for Me. His origin is from antiquity, from eternity. ~  Micah 5:2



Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus
 1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.  4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.


The Shepherds and the Angels
 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 14 “Glory to God in the highest,
   and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”



 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  


19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.


 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. ~ John 1:14


Have a blessed Christmas and remember the greatest gift of all...
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.~ John 3:16




Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Michael Vey by Richard Paul Evans

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 is the first book in a series of 7 by the best-selling author Richard Paul Evans (The Christmas Box, The Carousel). This is also the first release by Glenn Beck’s new publishing company, Mercury Ink. Marketed to the teen/young adult audience, it is a breath of fresh air compared to some of the darker themes that are being offered recently. I admit, though, that it kept my attention, so I would recommend it for 12 and up. Here is the premise of the book (from the author's website):

To everyone at Meridian High School, Michael Vey seems like an ordinary 14-year-old–he likes waffles and video games, hates homework and gets bullied at school. But Michael is anything but ordinary.  He was born with special electrical powers.
When Michael’s best friends, Ostin Liss and cheerleader Taylor Ridley, make an accidental discovery, the trio learns that there are other children with electric powers–and that someone, or some thing, is hunting them.
After Michael’s mother is kidnapped, Michael will have to rely on his wits, powers and friends to combat the powerful Elgen and free his mother. 

This story covers a wide range of topics from bullying, peer pressure, high school crushes, etc. on up to moral and ethical issues that will make anyone stop and consider what their own choices would be. For the hero to be a kid who is picked on due to both his size and for having Tourette's makes him more down-to-earth, and also gives you a clearer reason for his strength of character. Much of the action in the earlier part of the book is more along a typical teenage life, and gives the reader an interest in the growth and development of each one and their interactions with one another.

Then, the true action of the story begins when both Taylor and Mrs. Vey are kidnapped by the mysterious Mr. Hatch and the strange teens with them. We are then whisked to a world where manipulation, greed, self-centeredness, and indulgence are considered normal. Having your every desire fulfilled is commonplace...as long as you show Mr Hatch your unfailing loyalty. The punishment for refusing is imprisonment with electrifying results!! Will good overcome evil? This is going to be a series that stretches your mind, your morals, and your ability to wait for the next exciting installment. I am already eager to read Michael Vey: Rise Of The Elgen.


GIVEAWAY: This time I have been provided with TWO copies of Michael Vey: The Prisoner Of Cell 25 to offer as a giveaway. Leave a comment on this blog (or  send me a message if you can't get logged on) and be entered into a random drawing. I will accept all entries posted no later than 5pm (CST) on December 25, 2011. At that time, I will announce who will be getting a slightly delayed Christmas gift. :)

Michael Vey on Facebook: Michael Vey Official Fan Page

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in hopes of receiving a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Damon Criswell

Damon Criswell is responsible for the original music that is used to highlight and underscore what is being seen onscreen in Beyond The Farthest Star. Film scoring is basically the background music in a film, but it is a vital part of drawing the viewer into the ambience of what is being shown. It can heighten your emotions and reactions...or can be a distraction. I have fallen in love with each piece of Damon's music in any clips I have seen of the film.

To demonstrate what a difference it makes, you need to see this video. In this clip, Benjamin Dane takes fans to composer Damon Criswell's studio to view a BTFS scene with Renee O'Connor and hear the developing film's score: Click here for Damon Criswell BTFS video. What a tremendous impact the music makes on the unfolding scene!

Damon is a talented, award-winning composer who creates emotionally engaging, soul-stirring music in a variety of genres. Some of the films he has written for include Pale Blue Moon (his score won Best Texas Feature), Dreamcatcher , Still Born, Ocean Front Property, and The Final. Click on the highlighted words to watch and hear really cool scenes from film clips!! Damon is also known for composing music for television and ads, in addition to receiving numerous awards from DownBeat Magazine as a pianist and composer.


A song from Damon's album Movie Clips:




And, a personal favorite of mine from Joy Of Christmas:




Damon Criswell website: http://damoncriswell.com/
Damon Criswell at IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0188191/
Damon Criswell on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Damon-Criswell/538301108
Damon Criswell at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/damon-criswell/4/64b/307
Damon Criswell at itunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/damon-criswell/id264485279


LIKE Beyond The Farthest Star on Facebook! And remember to vote to BRING IT!
*****************************************************************
A series of blogs about Beyond The Farthest Star.
(I am NOT affiliated with the film or Pathlight Entertainment. Just an appreciative fan.)

Deadline

Quite often I am asked if I know of any other good films coming up. A couple of days ago, someone did bring one to my attention. Here is a synopsis from their website:
Steve Talley and Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts star in Deadline, the story of the murder of an African American youth in rural Alabama that has gone uninvestigated, unsolved and unpunished for almost twenty years. But that changes when Nashville Times reporter Matt Harper meets an idealistic young blueblood bent on discovering the truth. Harper undertakes the investigation despite the opposition of his publisher, violent threats from mysterious forces, a break-up with his fiancĂ©e and his father's cancer diagnosis. Deadline is a story of murder, family, race, and of redemption — for a small Southern town and for Matt Harper.

Take a look at the trailer:

Inspired by a true story, Deadline is adapted from Mark Ethridge's novel Grievances. Ethridge is a former managing editor of The Charlotte Observer. Deadline will be released in theaters nationwide in 2012.
"Mark Ethridge has captured the South in a way that is every bit as evocative as Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and he has told a story as riveting as the best Grisham courtroom thriller. But Grievances is no mere thriller. It is a story of the heart that will resonate with readers long after they have turned the final page."
~ Pat Conroy, Author of My Losing Season, The Great Santini and The Prince of Tides
Transcendent produces high quality independent features and partners with The Panda Fund to release them theatrically. Our current projects are "Deadline" and "Jubilee", written by Curt Hahn. "No Regrets", Transcendent's first film, has been a worldwide success. Next, MGM acquired the worldwide rights to our co-production "Two Weeks". Drawing on the resources of parent company Film House, Tennessee's largest film production company, Transcendent produces the kind of inspiring, uplifting films that are often overlooked by Hollywood; meaningful stories that speak to the heart.

To find out more about the film, including sweepstakes and how to sign up for email updates, go to the Deadline website: http://www.deadlinefilm.com/
You will be hearing more from me on this one as the time draws nearer to theatrical release. In the meantime, LIKE Deadline on Facebook, and SHARE the news of this film with your friends!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sonoma Christian Home Magazine

Recently my friend Bry Taylor told me about a new free magazine she had discovered online. This magazine is beautiful! They only use high resolution shots so some of the pics are incredible. It's set up like a print magazine, and very easy to navigate. Recipes, articles, give-aways, film reviews...a smorgasbord that is sure to please those who love a variety of stimulating topics and ideas.

At my request, Bry forwarded some more info from Founder & Creative Director, Erica Jordan Galino:


Sonoma Christian Home Celebrates Food, Faith & Family


On October 21st, Food For Thought Media, Inc. launched Sonoma Christian Home ~ an elegant, faith based magazine for today's Christian lifestyle. Nestled amidst the rolling hills of the wine country in Sonoma County, California, SCH celebrates the abundant life of the Christian faith. Brimming with stunning photographs and thought-provoking features SCH is designed to inspire encourage and educate.


The Web Magazine was the vision of Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Erica Jordan Galindo. (Bio on site). The project was two years in the making and was abundantly blessed by the hand of the Lord with a team of gifted computer developers, graphic artists and photographers. All team members are born again Christians and all meetings were bathed in prayer.



The website is now an official contestant for the 2011 Webby Awards– for the best new website in the Religion and Spirituality Category. Additionally, Sonoma Christian Home will be rolling out in four more cities by the end of January 2012, including Denver, Dallas, Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale.


SCH provides unique film reviews with in-depth biblical discussions, as well as articles by nationally known Christian writers, pastors, artists and celebrity chefs. In addition, the monthly content will feature a cornucopia of delicious recipes, lifestyle stories and home and garden ideas. 

Sonoma Christian Home has been created to illuminate the everyday life of believers in the modern world with godly wisdom, great food and compelling discussions on today's most relevant and engaging topics.


Our roster of well know writers is growing daily. To date, some of our nationally known regular contributors include:



Henry Blackaby, Author of Experiencing God.

Mike Farris, Esq. and Michael Ramey. BA., MDiv., of Parental Rights.org

Carol Barnier, Speaker, Author and Homeschool Aficionado

Pastor Steve Carr, Pastor and Author of Married and How To Stay That Way.

Diane Paddison, CSO of Cassidy Turley, and Author, Eat, Work, Pray.

New York Editor, Peter Lemos of House & Home Magazine

Chelsea Eubank, Owner of Faithful Fish





Recent Celebrity Interviews:

LA Doger's Pitcher Clayton Kershaw and his wife Ellen

Dove Winner and Grammy Nominated Christian Singer Songwriter, Kim Hill

Christian Filmmakers Jeffrey Travis, and Steve Riach, CEO of Eterne Films.


Check out the Sonoma Christian Home website 
Also LIKE on Facebook.

I am also very excited to know that Bry will be a contributor to the magazine!! If you aren't yet, you need to follow her blog at Bry's Blog. She recently wrote an article on SEXTING that every parent of a teen needs to read! I know that I can look for more informative articles from Bry Taylor that be relevant and worth knowing.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Democratic Senator Burns Nativity - National Debate!

A DEMOCRATIC SENATOR DESTROYS A TOWN SQUARE’S NATIVITY AT CHRISTMAS. That is the opening segment of a new novel being released through Zondervan/HarperCollins by acclaimed authors, Bodie and Brock Thoene. It begins a national debate as the national news media and a civil liberties group descend upon the sleepy Texas town. The story is unfortunately genuine as it highlights the ongoing struggle with religious freedom in America.... Especially at this time of year. The novel is based on the controversial faith-based film, BEYOND THE FARTHEST STAR. The film releases this March in Dallas but the e-book will be available starting December 18th, with the novel following soon.

Stories similar to this are happening all over America NOW. As I read through several yesterday, I could not help but compare it to the events in BTFS. I believe this book calls attention to the attack of religion and the demise of Christmas as we know it!

In fact, currently there is an intense story in the little town square of Athens, Texas as the Wisconsin group, Freedom from Religion attacks this small town. Here is the Fox Dallas report-
http://www.myfoxdfw.com/dpp/news/national-group-wants-courthouse-nativity-scene-removed-120711 <http://www.myfoxdfw.com/dpp/news/national-group-wants-courthouse-nativity-scene-removed-120711>
 

Athens is about 30 minutes from where the story in the novel and film take place, and it is interesting to see the actual events and compare them to the fictionalized ones. You can see the vision behind the story of BEYOND THE FARTHEST STAR and how the burning of the nativity inspired the story...



For further commentary on how truth and fiction are meeting in Texas, Bodie and Brock Thoene are available, as well as independent filmmakers Andrew Librizzi and Benjamin Dane.  The author’s nearest Fox Affiliate is Santa Barbara Channel 24 KKFX. The filmmaker’s is Dallas Fox KDFW Channel 4. To schedule an interview, or to gather additional info, please contact Ben Robinson of Robinson Creative Inc. at the following links:


286 Grand Ave. Suite 238
Southlake, TX 76092
p. 817.748.5057 X-101
f. 817.416.7833

w.RobinsonCreativeInc.com

Monday, December 12, 2011

Nearing Home by Billy Graham

 NEARING HOME: Life, Faith and Finishing Well is the recent memoir by Billy Graham. Reflecting back over his 93 years, Rev. Graham writes in a manner that is filled with both wit and wisdom. Not only does he give accounts of some of the elders of the Bible, and the way God used them in spite of their age, but he also shares that there is always some way God can and will continue to use any who make themselves available. 

Naturally, there are areas of his ministry that he wishes he could continue to participate in, but his focus is not on regrets. Rightfully so, he does encourage those who are younger to prepare for their approaching older age, but also to do your best service to God where you are at now. As he approaches his final days on earth, his main focus is to finish well the journey he began many years ago.

  Nearing Home is an interesting, reflective, encouraging look at his past and present that also speaks of his hope for his future. It is written in a conversational style that is very well done! I recommend this for people of all ages; even if you are in your early adulthood, it is always wise to listen and learn life lessons from those who have lead the way.

To read an excerpt from this book, click here.

Disclosure: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I review for BookSneeze®


Awakening by Stovall Weems

Stovall Weems, pastor of Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida, is challenging each of us to step out of the sluggish, mundane time spent with God in to a fresh vital relationship. Are you so distracted by the clutter of other things around you that you miss out on what God is saying to you? In AWAKENING: A New Approach To Faith, Fasting, And Spiritual Freedom, Pastor Weems sets you on a 21 day journey to revolutionize your relationship with God. (click on that link to read the first chapter)

The first 124 pages of the book are devoted to telling more about fasting, and how it helps you to cleanse yourself of all of the added "gunk". He rightfully stresses that this is not to be with a legalistic formula of strictly adhering to one certain diet or method, with a defined time of prayer, and carefully following certain steps. I mean, if we are so focused on doing things in a prescribed way, and following the rules, it would take away from the relationship we are forming with the Lord. This is simply about taking our focus off of filling our bellies and minds with whatever is available, and simplifying to spend more time drawing nearer to God. Each chapter also ends with a personal story from someone who has experienced an Awakening fast and prayer time.

View this video (recorded 12/10) of Stovall explaining Awakening:


The next section of the book is the The Awakening 21 Day Plan. In this section, Pastor Weems, goes into more detail of different types of fasts, how to prepare, and suggestions of additional tools to help. There is a 3 week plan of Scripture and prayer focus points, as well as a small area available for you to journal each day. After looking through it, I found it to be extremely useful, and a great starting guide for time spent with the Lord. I liked the book. It wasn't a spiritual heavyweight, but it was easy-to-read, and useful for those who are wanting to fill their spiritual hunger.

Although you may fast whenever you need it, whether alone or in a small group ( a study guide is included for those who wish to do this as a group), Celebration Church will be fasting January 15th- February 4th, 2012. You can be a part of this online. For more info, go to http://www.awake21.org/.

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review"

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Power Of A Pawn

The Power Of A Pawn is going to be a MUST-HAVE for any aficionado of mystery/suspense/legal thriller genres! Author Paul Spite has been developing quite an avid fan base as we eagerly awaited the first book in his The Game Of Life series. The wait is over....and it was worth every moment!!

Synopsis: Amanda has been accused of a heinous crime. Her only defense is that she simply doesn't remember committing the crime. Her attorney, Samuel, desperately tries to help her, but has few clues to unravel this mystery. As this case becomes national news, the media and the court of public opinion combine to use Amanda as simply a pawn for their own agenda.


This is one of my favorite types of fiction and I love to find a author who knows how to weave the elements into a believable and gripping tale. Paul is a master storyteller! Just when the pace has picked up to a breath-taking moment, Paul would reveal yet another layer or element to the tale. Also, there are a variety of viewpoints expressed by the groups vying for attention during Amanda's trial and subsequent imprisonment. Suspenseful, provocative, intelligent, timely, entertaining...these are just a few adjectives to describe this contemporary novel that I will give a 5 out of 5 stars!

Remember that The Power Of A Pawn is only the first in a series of six books. Keep up-to-date on the rest of this series by clicking the LIKE button on the following links:
The Game Of Life: https://www.facebook.com/TGOLSeries
Paul Spite, author page: https://www.facebook.com/PaulSpite

Available as an eBook at SmashWords beginning December 16, 2011. Make sure you get YOUR copy!!
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/104522

Cooper And Me and the Winter Adventure

This is the 2nd book of the Cooper and Me series I have been given the opportunity to review. This time Cooper and a friend, Bella, are excited about getting to go sledding. They had so much fun playing in the snow, but then realized they were LOST! You need to read this to learn how they stuck together and found their way home again.

I love the lesson learned in these books. In this adventure, it teaches a child that being prepared and making good decisions are important. This provides the perfect opportunity to discuss a plan with your child of what to do when lost. It will certainly build your child's confidence if they have some idea what to do should they face a similar situation.

Another thing that I like, is that this mother/daughter writing team of  Monique and Alexa Peters also gives back from the proceeds of their books!
$1 of every Winter Adventure book sold will go to advance research & treatment of pancreatic cancer, via the Lustgarten Foundation (http://www.lustgarten.org/).

Check out more on Cooper & Me through the social media outlets:
Website: http://www.cooperandme.com/
SPECIAL OFFER!!: 
Make any purchase of $25 or more at CooperandMe.com and get FREE SHIPPING now through December 15.  
MUST USE THIS CODE @ Check Out:  COOPERBLOG

GIVEAWAY: If you have a young child who loves reading (reading level @ 1st or 2nd grade), dogs, and adventure, this will be a must have! To win a free copy, leave a comment for me by NOON (CST), Wed. Dec. 14th, 2011.


 “Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or
services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it 
on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally 
and believe will be good for my readers. 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.”

Friday, December 9, 2011

Beyond The Farthest Star novel review

Beyond The Farthest Star is the latest release from the prolific, multi-award winning team of Bodie and Brock Thoene. Known primarily for their carefully researched historical fiction, they have proven they are equally skilled in a contemporary setting. Based on the original screenplay by Andrew Librizzi, Beyond The Farthest Star is an insightful, mesmerizing story that centers on the Wells family. Adam, Maureen, and their teenaged daughter, Anne, are each struggling with internal demons that are destroying their family. Once a world-renowned preacher, this move to the small town of Leonard, Texas, is Adam's last hope of restoring his dream of living up to the approval he craves, but instead brings mounting tensions, revealed secrets, and an unexpected confrontation that leads to the ultimate sacrifice.


From the beginning, I was able to "get into the skin" of each character in the book and understand a bit of what he or she was feeling. The conflict between people and their inner turmoil jumps off the page in a way that has tremendous impact. The entire book is filled with universal themes that speak to all people and effectively weaves the idea that there is hope in spite of physical or emotional scars.The humanity of each person is revealed in a way which is a fresh and unique with genuine, even raw emotions. Ultimately this is a richly layered story with an honest portrayal of transformation and restoration. However, there is so much more, and it is hard to pinpoint just one aspect. BTFS is an amazing story that will hold the interest of those who like a variety of genres. Elements of suspense, romance, and political intrigue are presented in an escalating tension that intensifies to an explosive climax, and, ultimately, to a satisfying conclusion. This engrossing novel, with multi-dimensional characters is a story of how the choices we make affect the lives of those around us, and how buried lies may destroy us. Even days after reading the book, the story and characters have remained vivid. For me, a good book is one that I hate to see end and this one fits that criteria. I am also eagerly anticipating seeing this story and the characters come to life on the big screen when the film, Beyond The Farthest Star, is released in theaters in 2012.

I received a free copy of this of this product from the publisher. I was not required to give a favorable review.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Living Translation Giveaway!

Wow! I just read about a giveaway on the New Living Translation Facebook page. Check out these details!!

Starting on November 29th until December 24th at the New Living Translation Facebook page we're giving away lots of great prizes and something free for you just for singing up.
By visiting the giveaway entry page (located on the NLT Facebook page, the link is under the profile picture) and entering your name and e-mail address you'll be entered to win the following prizes:
  • One random person each day will win a Life Application Study Bible Family Pack (Guys Life Application Study Bible hc, Girls Life Application Study Bible hc, Student's Life Application Study Bible hc, Life Application Study Bible hc, Life Application Study Bible Large Print hc).
  • One Random person each week will win an Apple iPad 2!
Everyone that signs up gets a free download copy of the Life Application Bible Study – Book of Luke!


Click on the link below to enter:
New Living Translation Facebook page

William McNamara

William McNamara is cast in the role of Calvin Clayman in Beyond The Farthest Star . Calvin is an old high school friend of Adam and Maureen Wells (Todd TerryRenee' O'Connor) who shows up in Leonard when the media spotlight is shining on this small Texas town. He has a secret about the Wells family that threatens to widen the rift in their marriage. Money can't be the issue, since Adam has such a small congregation. What is his motive? Calvin is the character that has puzzled me the most, so looking forward to watching it unfold when this dynamic film hits the theaters!!

Best known for his riveting performance as psychotic Peter Foley in the movie Copycat, Billy has over 65 film and television roles to his credit. Some of the TV programs he has appeared in are Island Son, Doing Time On Maple Drive , Beyond The Break , and Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From The Stories Of Stephen King. Some of the other notable films he has appeared in are Opera , A Dance For Bethany , Ringmaster , and the upcoming Risk For Honor .

 Take a look at Billy's acting demo (some graphic scenes and language) below:


For more on Billy go to the following links:

William McNamara on IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001530/
William McNamara on IMDb resume: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001530/resume
William McNamara on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/William-McNamara/114085631938549
William McNamara on ReelzChannel: http://www.reelz.com/person/263595/william-mcnamara/
William McNamara on StarPulse: http://www.starpulse.com/Actors/McNamara,_William/Biography/
William McNamara Interview on The Jon Stewart Show (1995): http://youtu.be/bDll_Pk1LBE
William McNamara on BeyondTheFarthestStar/cast: http://beyondthefartheststar.com/cast/billy-mcnamara/

For all of the Beyond The Farthest Star Links:
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1605791/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Beyond-the-Farthest-Star/170290344732
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/beyondmovie
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/Beyondthemovie
Website: http://www.beyondthefartheststar.com
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Part 28 in a series on the cast of Beyond The Farthest Star.
(*I am NOT affiliated with the film or Pathlight Entertainment. Just an appreciative fan.)


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Beyond The Farthest Star

Beyond The Farthest Star is the latest release from the prolific, multi-award winning team of Bodie and Brock Thoene. Known primarily for their carefully researched historical fiction, they have proven they are equally skilled in a contemporary setting. Based on the original screenplay by Andrew Librizzi, Beyond The Farthest Star is an insightful, mesmerizing story that centers on the Wells family. Adam, Maureen, and their teenaged daughter, Anne, are each struggling with internal demons that are destroying their family. Once a world-renowned preacher, this move to the small town of Leonard, Texas, is Adam's last hope of restoring his dream of living up to the approval he craves, but instead brings mounting tensions, revealed secrets, and an unexpected confrontation that leads to the ultimate sacrifice.


From the beginning, I was able to "get into the skin" of each character in the book and understand a bit of what he or she was feeling. The conflict between people and their inner turmoil jumps off the page in a way that has tremendous impact. The entire book is filled with universal themes that speak to all people and effectively weaves the idea that there is hope in spite of physical or emotional scars.The humanity of each person is revealed in a way which is a fresh and unique with genuine, even raw emotions. Ultimately this is a richly layered story with an honest portrayal of transformation and restoration. However, there is so much more, and it is hard to pinpoint just one aspect. BTFS is an amazing story that will hold the interest of those who like a variety of genres. Elements of suspense, romance, and political intrigue are presented in an escalating tension that intensifies to an explosive climax, and, ultimately, to a satisfying conclusion. This engrossing novel, with multi-dimensional characters is a story of how the choices we make affect the lives of those around us, and how buried lies may destroy us. Even days after reading the book, the story and characters have remained vivid. For me, a good book is one that I hate to see end and this one fits that criteria. I am also eagerly anticipating seeing this story and the characters come to life on the big screen when the film, Beyond The Farthest Star, is released in theaters in 2015.

I received a free copy of this of this product from the publisher. I was not required to give a favorable review.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tyler Corie

Tyler Corie is outstanding in his role of Stephen Miller in Pathlight Entertainment's Beyond The Farthest Star. Stephen is attracted to the new girl at school who is very different than the other girls in his small Texas town. His interest in Anne Wells (Cherami Leigh), and his close friendships with troubled teen Kyle (Shawn Roe), and sweetly naive Clifford (Jordan Walker Ross) sets Stephen apart as someone very special in my mind. He appears to be the kind, funny, compassionate, loyal friend that everyone needs...or should be to others.

Cherami Leigh talks about Tyler Corie on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/13173000

Other projects that Tyler has been involved in are Mad Bad, Dear Jane, Carried Away, Brotherhood, and Friday Night Lights. It is going to be very exciting to watch as his career takes off and begin to soar! Also, check out this great clip as Tom Huckabee and the cast of "Carried Away" invade the Red Carpet Crash interview suite to talk about the production of Huckabee's family-centric comedy: http://vimeo.com/11114318

To learn more and to keep up with the latest on Tyler through the following links:
Tyler Corie on IMDb:
Tyler Corie on BTFS cast page:
Tyler Corie on Facebook:

Remember that Beyond The Farthest Star is working through a fan-driven system to determine the areas where the film will be released first. Is YOUR metro area on the list of others that are telling them to BRING IT!? Click on the highlighted areas to see where your city is...and tell your friends!!
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  Part 27 in a series on the cast of Beyond The Farthest Star.
(*I am NOT affiliated with the film or Pathlight Entertainment. Just an appreciative fan.)

Todd Terry

Todd Terry stars in Beyond The Farthest Star as Adam Wells. If you are not (yet) a fan of BTFS, the synopsis is: Adam was an international phenomenon as a preacher during his childhood, but is now having to live in relative obscurity in a tiny church. He and his wife (Renee' O'Connor) are barely going through the motions in their marriage, and his daughter (Cherami Leigh) is filled with seething rebellion against her father. When a former senator (Andrew Prine) sets fire to the town's nativity display, Adam grabs this chance to once again make a name for himself. However, the publicity also reveals long-buried secrets that threaten to expose and destroy Adam's family. Adam must choose the best path to follow, and his decision makes a major impact. To watch a video of Todd speaking about his role, click on here.

 Todd has previously worked with writer/director Andy Librizzi in the short film, Still Born, and actually won the award for Best Actor for that role at the 168 Film Project in 2009.Todd has had numerous roles on television, including series ( Walker, Texas Ranger, Friday Night Lights), movies (Still Holding On: The Legend Of Cadillac Jack, Final Witness) and mini-series (A Woman Of Independent Means). Todd's film roles include Arlington Road, Lonely Hearts, and Emma's Wish (written and directed by BTFS's Carolyn Hodge). Todd recently was in a short film that I absolutely love; It is a teeny bit gory, but hilarious!! If you enjoy zombies, vampires, etc., you have to check out the horror/comedy The Code!! To watch it, click here!
And, I loved seeing Todd in a hilarious clip called Shallow Small Group. It pertains to Bible Study Groups, but if you are in any type of support/study group, I think you can relate to this.


For more on Todd, please check out the following links:

Todd Terry on IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0856086/
Todd Terry on BeyondTheFarthestStar.com: http://beyondthefartheststar.com/cast/adam/
Todd Terry on IMDb resume: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0856086/resume
Todd Terry on CastingBeyond video: https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1832780894667
Todd Terry in 168 Project nominations: http://www.168project.com/downloads%5CPR/1-168%20Nominations%202009%20by%20Individual.pdf
Todd Terry on Cast Interview: http://beyondthefartheststar.com/blog/cast-interview-todd-terry/
Todd Terry on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1322452887

Head over to Facebook now and LIKE Beyond The Farthest Star !!!!
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 Part 26 in a series on the cast of Beyond The Farthest Star.
(*I am NOT affiliated with the film or Pathlight Entertainment. Just an appreciative fan.)


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UPDATES: 

Static with Elise Baughman, Morgan Alana Taylor, Todd Terry, and JuliAnna Briscoe.

Take A Hike stars Todd Terry and Taylor Brandt and was the winner of Best Comedy and Best Comedy Screenplay at the 2012
168 Film Festival.



Saturday, December 3, 2011

Stephanie Dunnam

Stephanie Dunnam is the epitome of the no-nonsense, long-suffering, overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated teacher in Beyond The Farthest Star. Mrs. Harper, the English teacher, is appalled when Anne (Cherami Leigh) reads a poem in class that has disturbing imagery. Bristling with indignation, she marches into the Principal's (John McIntosh) office and demands he take immediate action before Leonard High School becomes the next target of a mindless school shooting.

I am really intrigued by this scenario. While there is no doubt that school violence has increased, some officials are too paranoid and have very rigid views of what is considered normal parameters of acceptable behavior. Is Mrs. Harper over-reacting...or is she correct to report this as worthy of investigation? Can't wait to see this!!

 Although she is an extremely talented and experienced stage actress, Stephanie is primarily known for her work in television and the list of credits is impressive! Her appearances include roles in Emerald Point N.A.S., Dynasty, Frasier, ER, and Boston Public. Stephanie is an incredible character actress, and she sure to be a delight to watch in BTFS. Make sure you check out this wonderful monologue reel I found:



For more on Stephanie, go to:
Stephanie Dunnam at IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0242294/
Stephanie Dunham on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=830680064

To help you remain updated on Beyond The Farthest Star, click on the highlighted links to LIKE on Facebook or to FOLLOW on Twitter
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 Part 25 in a series on the cast of Beyond The Farthest Star.
(*I am NOT affiliated with the film or Pathlight Entertainment. Just an appreciative fan.)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Shawn Roe

Shawn Roe, in the role of the troubled son of an abusive father, threatens Anne Wells (Cherami Leigh) when his best friend Stephen (Tyler Corie) develops an interest in her. Swearing that she isn't going to steal his band or his best friend, Kyle adds fuel to the flames of rumor spreading through town about the new "Goth" girl who just moved to Leonard. As the town "bad boy" in Beyond The Farthest Star, Shawn brings this brooding character a level of intensity that is stunning.

It's hard to believe that this is Shawn's first feature movie. His previous experience has been in commercials, music videos, student films, and as a print model. Shawn also co-starred onstage in “Dawn of the Vampire”, and has credits for appearing in iGod and Pineapple Express. His current project is The Dead Mile.

More links to Shawn Roe are the following:
You will want to see Shawn in this dynamic role, so remember to sign up at BeyondTheFarthestStar.com and tell them to Bring It! to YOUR local cinema!!
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Part 24 in a series on the cast of Beyond The Farthest Star.
(*I am NOT affiliated with the film or Pathlight Entertainment. Just an appreciative fan.)

Caden Gibson

Caden Gibson has a small, but crucial appearance in Beyond The Farthest Star in a photograph as young Kyle Tucker (Shawn Roe). This photo of Kyle with his best friend, Stephen, brings memories of a happy time that was shared with the 2 friends. One of these friends has this keepsake and it plays a vital role in the film as the friends begin to have a rift in their relationship.

Out of curiosity, I asked how Caden Gibson and Shane Shuma were chosen for their roles. Producer, Benjamin Dane, responded with, " I think the story on how we found the two boys is interesting. Natalie Gore knew their parents and the boys were friends. I believe the families went to Natalie's church. She called them in the middle of shooting and had the boys come out to the on location set near Leonard. We took the photo the same day."

Caden's mom recently shared with me that what she remembered the most of Caden's thoughts on his time on the film set is that "it was really cold" (the boys are shirtless in the photo), but that it was an "awesome" experience. Hopefully, this first small taste of acting has given him an appetite to do more in the entertainment industry. It will be interesting to see where this new interest leads him.

You can keep up with future roles for Caden at the following:
Caden Gibson on IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4788276/

Also, LIKE Beyond The Farthest Star on  IMDb!!
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Part 23 in a series on the cast of Beyond The Farthest Star.
(*I am NOT affiliated with the film or Pathlight Entertainment. Just an appreciative fan.)