Friday, November 29, 2013

BTFS Black Friday Sale

[BLACK FRIDAY!] Buy a Beyond The Farthest Star novel, t-shirt or both and receive a star autographed poster FREE! Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30 ONLY...while supplies last. Give the gift of BTFS and watch for more in 2014! Click the BTFS STORE link.
The novel is written by Bodie and Brock Thoene, based on the screenplay by director Andrew Librizzi. This is contemporary fiction in a richly layered story that draws you into the characters lives and touches your heart with the honest emotion expressed. I first read the novel 2 years ago and still vividly remember scenes that profoundly made an impact on me.
The T-Shirts are a bold, vibrant 60/40 cotton/poly with the full color logo on fron and the inspirational The End Is The Beginning tagline on back. Show the world that YOU are a BTFS fan!  Or, it is a spectacular gift for your favorite BTFS fan!!
Buy and Get a FREE POSTER! This exclusive poster signed by Andrew Librizzi, Renee O'Connor, Todd Terry, Cherami Leigh, Benjamin Dane (rockin' that BTFS shirt!) and more!! 


The First Christmas Night by Keith Christopher

The First Christmas Night by Keith Christopher is a beautiful retelling of the birth of Jesus on that joyous night in Bethlehem so long ago. The poem begins with the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and winds though Christ’s birth, the angels’ appearance to the shepherds, and the visit by the Wise Men.  The simple, yet elegant, verses will appeal to little ones and are accompanied by the rich acrylic illustrations of Christine Kornacki.
Twas the very first Christmas when all through the town
not a creature was stirring—there was not a sound.
The moon shining bright in the heavens so high
gave the look of midday to the Bethlehem sky.
The animals were nestled in warm, cozy places
with looks of contentment on each of their faces. 

Ideals Books is the publisher of this charming 32 page hardcover book. Perfect for a 4-8 year old due to the rhyming language that helps them develop verbal language skills and learn to read. Not only is this book great for Family Story Time during the holidays, it is a wonderful addition for the libraries for Children's Ministers and Sunday school teachers! Musically inclined? Christmas carolers could set it to a tune! I found myself humming The First Noel as I read.

Very reminiscent of "Twas The Night before Christmas" in style, this has a poetic feel that flows smoothly with a rhythm that is very pleasing. The story is told in a simple style suitable for young children and gives them an overall summary of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. The Biblical story of the First Christmas, as written in Luke 2:1, 4-16, 20 and Matthew 2:1-2, 9b-11 is also included at the end of the book. I loved this added touch! The gorgeous illustrations add a beauty to the book that will delight all. Even those too young to read for themselves will want to look at these. This is sure to be a treasured book in your family and one you will want to enjoy for years to come.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from FlyBy Promotions Blogger Networkin exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

GIVEAWAY!! FlyBy Promotions also has a copy to give to one of my readers. Leave a comment telling me who you want to read this story to this Christmas season. Contest ends at 11am (CST) on Wednesday, December 11, 2013.

Bonus: As an added treat, I saw that the illustrator, Christine Kornacki,  had a coloring sheet available for download. Click here to download.

About the Author
Keith Christopher is a composer, arranger, orchestrator, and educator, and he has served as editor and producer for several major music publishers. In addition to writing and studio producing, Keith served on the faculty at the Blair School of Music of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee, with his wife and two children.

 About the Illustrator 
At a very early age, Christine Kornacki developed a love for painting and bringing stories to life. After receiving a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford, her dreams of illustrating children's books began to take shape, including illustrating the best-selling The Sparkle Box for Ideal's Children's Books. Christine's recent work also includes illustrating the six-book series for the American Girl historical doll characters Marie-Grace and Cecile.  She spends her days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming cafe in New Haven, Connecticut. 


Saturday, November 23, 2013

1 Girl Nation cd

Landing in the space where One Direction meets TobyMac, 1 Girl Nation is an exciting blend of upbeat pop music, with lyrics that are totally focused on living life for God, even while you’re young. 1GN, as they’ve already been dubbed, stars Carmen, Kayli, Kelsey, Lauryn Taylor and Lindsey, five girls with a passion for telling their fans about Christ through their music. Their first single, “While We’re Young,” can be heard on radio stations across the country and their self-titled debut album is available now! (from promoter)

Watch the video below for "While We Are Young":

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this cd from Propeller FlyBy Promotions in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not required to give a positive review and all opinions are my own.

I confess that when I read the description, I thought, "Who is "One Direction"?. So I did listen to a couple of those videos to get a grasp on their style. and I agree that they are very similar. Bottom line, if you are a fan of one, you will probably be a fan of the other. I also confess, this really is not my favorite style of music, but that does not take away that I did find myself tapping my toes as I listened to it. There is no denying that this high-energy, upbeat music has a huge fan base, and these young ladies certainly have the enthusiasm and talent to go far. My particular favorite was the 4th track, "In The Eyes", but they are all good. The entire cd is filled with upbeat music and lyrics that deliver a positive message. I will be passing along my copy to my teenaged granddaughter, but see details below of how you can win a copy for yourself or a special person in your life.

Stay Connected:

Friday, November 22, 2013

Memories of 11/22/63: Grief to Gratitude to Grace

Sandra, Paul, Debbie, & Cindy
November 1963
Several have posted memories of Kennedy being assassinated 50 years ago today. My parents, brother, my best friend, and I had come to Alabama for a few days. This photo of Sandra, Paul, Debbie (my cousin), and I was made about that time. I know I was sitting on my grandparent's front porch when my mom came outside crying, telling us that President Kennedy had been shot.

At the time, I did not truly grasp the enormity of what had happened. Since Daddy was in the Navy, I know we immediately had to return to where he was stationed in Goose Creek (near Charleston), South Carolina. All I remember about the trip back was my parents sitting in the front seat, quietly taking, and Mom continued to have tears streaming down her face. Of course, I cried because Mom cried. 

Caroline, Jackie, & John Kennedy
At first I thought she was upset because we had to end our Thanksgiving vacation early, but reality sank in once we got to a television and I witnessed the sights and sounds of what had and continued to happen. Images of a grieving widow, and 2 kids brought it into a sharper focus. These kids no longer had a daddy. John-John's daddy was being buried on his 3rd birthday! Caroline's was just 2 days later, and she was the same age as my little brother. Suddenly, my world expanded beyond my circle of family and friends.

I remember when Thanksgiving came a few days later, I was more aware than ever of the blessings I had received from God.
I knew that Thanksgiving was a day we thanked God. We always prayed before eating anyway, but Thanksgiving Grace was for more than just the food we were about to eat. When it was my turn to ask the blessing, I always used the standard, "God is great, God is good, Let us thank Him for our food.", but I think I matured a little between Nov. 22, and Nov. 28, 1963.

That Thanksgiving I asked permission to ask the blessing. I still remember getting to the table early with my Bible because I wanted to read Scripture too. That is when I discovered a Psalm about thanksgiving! Psalm 100 immediately became a favorite and I remember reading it before asking the blessing and thanking God for all of the blessings I had received and could look forward to receiving from Him for all eternity. So, more than just a "Where Were You When...?" moment, this expanded to a week of where I experienced the grief of others as we mourned as a nation, realized how much I had to be grateful about in my life as the Kennedy family received the gratitude of a grateful nation for their sacrifice, and realized there was more to saying grace and thanking God for my food. I could also experience God's Grace and He became very real to me that week. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Coming Home For Christmas

Coming Home For Christmas tells the story of the O'Brien family, who were once a close, happy family but a rift was formed when Kate (Carly McKillip) walked out on her sister Melanie’s (Britt McKillop) wedding. The sisters refusal to speak to one another, coupled with the loss of the house due to financial difficulties, are stressful enough, but learning that the house has sold is the final straw for Wendy O’Brien (Amy Jo Johnson). When she tells her good-natured husband, Al (George Canyon), that he needs to take his new puppy and leave, he does. That's when Kate decides to step in.

After meeting the very attractive new owner of her former home and, Kate talks Mike (Ben Hollingsworth) into considering her plan to reconcile her parents. First, though, she has to end her feud with her sister. Will they be having a family Christmas all together for the first time in years? 

The film also stars Jordan McIntosh as Ryan, the son of Mike's best friend who was killed during the war. The role of Ryan's mom, Jill, is played by Vanessa Parise, who directed this movie. As an added treat, the DVD also includes a limited edition Norman Rockwell print!


My Review: This is is a heartwarming and fun film that the entire family can sit down and enjoy. I was unfamiliar with the actors involved, but the majority of them are Country music singers from Canada. So, the music in the film is good, and I am glad they incorporated it into the story. I know I usually review faith-based films, so I think I need to mention that is one is not. However, it is family-friendly and clean and one that does cover forgiveness and the importance of family and friends who become like family. There are poignant moments, but also romance and comedy in the mix. It's a good film for your personal dvd library to have on hand to watch with friends and family.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the dvd from Flyby Promotions for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.


You Can Also Buy It Here Online From Walmart

Monday, November 18, 2013

In Gramps Shoes

For 20 years 65-year-old Ty (Donald James Parker) has prayed for a reconciliation with his estranged daughter (Francine Locke), and he is hoping that moment has arrived when he finally gets a telephone call from Amy. Due to an extreme financial crisis, she turns to her father for help, and also confesses that her rebellious teenage son, Scott (Andrew Wilson Williams), has become more than she can handle. When Amy reluctantly agrees to her father moving in temporarily, Ty finally gets to meet his two grandchildren, Scott and Sally (Brittany Blades). However, Ty's first encounter with his grandson leads to a challenge for a two mile race that alters the course of life for both. 

In Gramps Shoes (written by Parker and directed by Chip Rossetti) is a film that demonstrates the impact a person has on the lives of others. Gramps is a man who is very firm in his beliefs, but does not try to force those beliefs on others. In accordance with 1 Peter 3:15, he is always ready to give an answer for the hope is has, and his reasons for his beliefs, when questioned. His granddaughter soaks it all in and blossoms in her faith and her confidence as she spends time with Gramps. Scott, is all about challenge---he is one, he makes everything about one, and the film does a fine job of transitioning his challenging character. This movie tackles a number of topics that are relevant to today, but also has a level of humor in the interaction of the characters.

The 4 main characters play well off of one another and even when I didn't like the actions or attitudes, they were realistic. Jeff Rose and Grace Etzkorn as the track coach and his daughter gave an added layer to the film's story and I loved the performances by Denny Brownlee and Greg Robbins. This is a film you and your family should enjoy.

To buy a copy, click here!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Win An Autographed BTFS Mini-Poster

BTFS Mini-Poster
[FREE AUTOGRAPHED POSTER!] A randomly selected entry will win a poster signed by Renee O'Connor, Todd Terry, Cherami Leigh, Barry Corbin, Benjamin Dane and Andrew Librizzi
 To enter, all you need to do is watch the video below (on Vimeo) and then go to the Beyond the Farthest Star page (click here) and write, in your own words, how you would answer Anne.
Video can be accessed through Vimeo:

Ever think about the stars, Sticksboy? from Pathlight Entertainment on Vimeo.

Contest ends soon!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas dvd

"Merry Larry" (Mike Nawrocki as Larry), is the exuberant Head Elf for Spring Valley Mall's annual Christmas display. His days are spent making lists of the children's requests for Christmas, but a little girl named Christiana has a wish that leaves him wanting to find out more. All she wants for Christmas is to help a neighbor in need.

In the meantime, the newly hired decorator, Philip Fleagle (Phil Vischer as Bob), just wants to impress the owner of the mall with the most magnificent display of lights ever seen. He is too focused on bringing more lights to make Christmas shiny and bright to care about Larry's quest to bring light on the need of  Christiana's neighbor.

Larry gets an idea, and Philip Fleagle discovers that when all of the bright lights and tinsel are gone, you can easily see the "true Light of Christmas". Will Philip help Merry Larry rally the community to meet Mrs. Crespie's need by Christmas? In this latest VeggieTales story, kids learn that "Christmas shines most bright and true, when you give the love God gave to you."

This Brian Roberts directed VeggieTales dvd is the latest serving of a series that is sure to entertain people of all ages. This is the time of year when we are the most focused on the celebration of family, friends, and faith and the joy of the season. The message, the music, the fun, and the faith that are an integral part is every bit as bright and shiny in "Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas" as we have come to expect.

The addition of a new character, Silas Okra, is sure to be a delight to the fans of "Duck Dynasty". Si Robertson is a perfect fit as the
mall maintenance man and narrator who shares bits of wit and wisdom with the listeners. His fans will also enjoy the bonus material with an interview of 'Uncle Si'. 

New song, “Light of Christmas,” from Owl City, featuring multi-Grammy award winning artist, TobyMac, is certain to be a holiday hit among children and music lovers of all ages. Then there are the delightful Kurt Heinecke songs that are one of my favorite parts of VeggieTales. 'Silly Songs with Larry' is a real treat: "Wrapped Myself Up For Christmas"!

Once again, in the Spirit of the holidays and as part of its core mission, VeggieTales is participating with Operation Christmas Child, a global children’s project of Samaritan’s Purse. This year, Bob and Larry are official spokes-vegetables to encourage families to join in the collection of millions of shoebox gifts and to share God’s love with children in need.

I loved the video and hope all who see it will realize that Jesus is the true Light of Christmas and that we honor Him most when we focus on the Gift and the giving rather than the receiving. Whether it is helping our neighbor we see daily or our neighbor thousands of miles away, let the light of Christ shine brightly through you as you seek ways to help others.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Your Own Personal "Heart to Heart" contest

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your younger self?  Project Beautiful is running a new video contest you may be interested in. They are asking, "From learning to be more patient, not basing your self-worth on a man, or worrying what other people think of you… these are all lessons that help shape values and build inner strength and confidence. Many of you know the exact message you’d want to send to your younger self — regardless of whether or not you would have listened. If you could give that girl some perspective, helping her avoid the mistakes you now regret, and somehow assure her she’d be okay…what would you say?" The prizes are really good and the message is meaningful to women of all ages. Here is what you will need to do:

Submit a video giving your own personal "Heart to Heart" and what advice you wish you could have told your younger self and register to win up to $750 in prizes including a Visa Gift Card, charity donations and Peter Lamas Products! It doesn’t have to be long or fancy; just real and authentic! They’ll pick the top three videos submitted to qualify for the final voting round that will take place on their Project Beautiful Facebook page. For a list of rules, regulations, and additional info click on Project Beautiful Contest.

Created by Peter Lamas to help women realize that real beauty is found both outside and inside.
Using the Scripture Genesis 1:31-
"And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good" as inspiration,  Peter was quoted as saying, "You are beautiful and unique. God does not make any mistakes, and He made you special. There is only one you."

Project Beautiful is meant to be a place where people of all nations, socio-economic levels, ethnic backgrounds and ages can gather together, via the internet, to share their dreams, hopes, experiences, and encouragement with one another. Project Beautiful is a community where you are inspired and encouraged to explore and to reach your dreams. Part of having the confidence to pursue your dream is how you feel about yourself. Using products and services that bring out your best features for your outward appearance does create an aura of confidence, but nothing compares to creating inward beauty that gives people the assurance that each of us are truly wonderfully made. When you look and feel your best, you feel more capable of being the person God created you to be.

Monday, November 4, 2013

When A Woman Finds Her Voice by Jo Ann Fore

When a Woman Finds Her Voice by Jo Ann Fore: With straight talk, insightful biblical truths, and heart-aching stories of hope, Jo Ann leads you on the unparalleled adventure of finding your voice and using it to make a difference. Jo Ann helps you find healing, then leads you to help others do the same. You will learn how to overcome life's hurts. You will be moved to share the stories you’ve been hesitant to share—those healing stories that have the power to change both your life and the lives of others. (publisher)

I was aware who Jo Ann Fore is through the Write Where It Hurts page I had stumbled across on Facebook, so when I saw she had written a book, I hoped to someday read it. It was such a blessing a few days later when I was contacted by the publicist asking if I would review When A Woman Finds Her Voice. I love this book! Some of the stories she shares from her own life and from others are beyond what I can imagine, yet each found the courage to rise above their pain to to reach out to others and to God to begin a journey toward healing and restoration. Whether you find your 'voice' through speaking or writing, your story is valuable and one that needs heard. It doesn't matter if your audience is millions or just one person who needs to know she is not alone. Jo Ann uses this book to let the reader know that she can trade in the lies for Truth, hurts for healing, and silence for a voice that will set you free from emotional bondage. I highly recommend this book!

Write Where It Hurts website.

I received a copy of this book at no charge from ACU Press/Leafwood Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not required to wrote a good review and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Experiencing God At Home Day By Day: A Family Devotional

Experiencing God at Home Day by Day: A Family Devotional (B&H Publishing, Oct. 1, 2013) features 50 weeks of daily devotions the whole family does together, that takes them from Genesis to Revelations. Each devotion feature a passage of scripture, a parent connection section, a conversation starter and more. There are also special devotions for important family events like birthdays, holidays, and back-to-school. The book not only provides a basis for personal, daily family-time spent together in God's word, but aims to help parents to develop their own habit of seeking God in their lives. (publisher)


 My Review: This is a compact, padded book that may look small but packs a powerful message sure to impact your family. Each page starts with a question that opens up a conversation that is then easily steered in the direction of the focus of the day's study. Using the Scripture Reading provided at the top of the page as the story or theme, it allows you to lead your family into a more indepth study, and permits control over how much time you can invest during your devotional time. The Family Prayer Time is set up in the same manner so you can let one person pray or each may add to the prayer. The additions of Quiet Time for both younger and older children are excellent ways of introducing kids to having a personal quiet time aside from family devotions and training them early about the need to seek out their own relationship with God.

Day 1 is a Parent Connection that gives the topic of the week so you can better prepare for the discussions you will be having with your children. Tips are provided for extra Scripture to read and to familiarize yourself in order to answer the questions that are sure to arise. Another part I loved is the section in the back for Special Occasions. Of course there are the various holidays, but topics like 'Last Day of School', 'Death in the Family', 'Pregnancy', and 'Celebrating An Achievement' are all included. Finally, there are several blank pages provided for notes. If you are interested in having a family devotional time, leading your family, and training your child in the tenets of faith...this book is an excellent resource.

I received this book free from Shelton Interactive for review purposes.. I was not required to write a positive review and 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."

Blackaby Ministries International was founded by Henry and Marilyn Blackaby to help people experience God. The ministry focuses on three main concepts: helping people experience God, helping people and churches return to God, and helping church, business and family leaders move people to God’s agenda. Through writing, speaking and teaching ministries the Blackabys share their unique message, drawing on timeless truths to show how God is drawing people close to Him, and setting them free. For more information, visit

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Jenn Gotzom Misses Premiers Due To LAX Drama

Jenn Gotzon
Photo by Chris Armstron
LAX Airport 11/1/13
Photo courtesy of Jenn Gotzon
Friday, November 1st, started out as being a day of incredible excitement for talented actress Jenn Gotzon. She had not one, but TWO films with theatrical premiers. Doonby is the story of a handsome drifter (John Schneider) who gets off a bus in a small Texas town and captures the interest of Laura Reaper (Gotzon). The moral of the story is that "every nobody is somebody'. Her plans were to fly to New Orleans to meet with a group of students who had seen Doonby to discuss the film and to inspire them. The planned session with high school students, who had been impacted by Hurricane Katrina, are no strangers to adversity, and Jenn planned on speaking to them about how each life does make a difference and on overcoming obstacles.

Instead, as she was at the air port, her life took a turn that seemed more in line with her other film that was being released, Dragon Day. This film is about a family getaway to a mountain town turning deadly when China launches a massive cyberattack against the USA. But the real life terror was a gunman killing a TSA agent and wounding several others. LAX was closed for several hours, leaving Jenn Gotzon stranded on the curbside with thousands of other travelers.

LAX 11/1/13
photo courtesy of Jenn Gotzon
For more details, here is the  press release about LAX GUN SHOOTING and how Jenn was affected re Doonby and Dragon Day theatrical opening yesteday. It was written by Paul Rose and photos were taken by Jenn Gotzon. Click on the link below to read the full article.


It was a frightening and frustrating experience for all, and the victims and their loved ones are certainly in our prayers.

Jenn also made a short video update of what was going on and her attempts to get to New Orleans so she won't disappoint the kids who are waiting to talk with her.

Jenn Gotzon on Facebook

Doonby website

Doonby on Facebook

Doonby on Twitter

Doonby trailer

Dragon Day website

Dragon Day on Facebook

Dragon Day trailer