Wednesday, September 30, 2015

God Made All of Me

God Made All of Me 

by  Justin and Lindsey Holcomb  

Picture Book
New Growth Press 

This simply-told, beautifully-illustrated story from the authors of Rid of My Disgrace helps two- to eight-year-olds understand why their bodies matter and distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate touch. God Made All of Me gently opens a conversation that every family needs to have.

My thoughts: I really appreciated this book. I forgot what it was about, and when I opened it to read with my daughter, I thought, oh, a book about creation. But it is so much more than that, teaching children what privates are, why they should not be touched, and why people should not tell them to keep secrets from their mom and dad. It also explains the differences between secrets and surprises. 

With sexual predators so common these days, children need to be taught that it's okay to say no, even if they don't feel like getting hugged by the nice old Sunday School teacher at church or by their big brother. And if the touch is more inappropriate, they definitely need to tell a trusted grown up.  This is a must read book by all parents. 

And an important note to all parents:  Don't blow your kids off when they tell you, and say, "Oh, So and So wouldn't do that. He's a nice man." Maybe he's not so nice when Mom or Dad isn't watching. Take the child seriously, and keep them separate, watching your children to make sure they are not alone with him so they stay safe (even if you don't believe the child).  Trust me on this one from instances in my own family when I was growing up. 

5 stars. 

Purchase a copy:
About the authors:


Justin Holcomb, PhD, is an Episcopal priest and professor of theology and Christian thought at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary. He is the author of On the Grace of GodKnow the Heretics, and Know the Creeds and Councils, as well as the coauthor of Is It My Fault? and Rid of My Disgrace. He also serves on the boards for REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade) and GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environments).

Connect with Justin:websiteFacebookTwitter
Lindsey Holcomb, MPH, counsels victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and is the cofounder of REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade). Lindsey has provided crisis intervention to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and conducted a variety of training seminars to service providers. She is also the coauthor of Is It My Fault? and Rid of My Disgrace.

Connect with Lindsey online: 
 Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Is social media stealing your identity?

Is social media stealing your identity?
Let's start an #IdentityRevolution and take back what social media has stolen!
Litfuse and Abingdon Press are excited to bring you debut author Jessica Fralin's book, #Stolen: Is Social Media Stealing Your Identity? Join the #IdentityRevolution by pledging your social media support on October 2; head over to the Thunderclap #Stolen Campaign Page to get started. We need at least 250 pledges to meet our goal---help us get there by pledging your social media support and tell your friends! When you sign up, you'll be the first to know onOctober 2 about a special Instagram contest and the chance to win a $100 cash card.

We're also offering you the opportunity to read the digital book and a companion youth group study guide for free! Sign up here if you're interested in reading the book. Even if you're not, would you pass this link along to your church's youth pastor, a teacher, or a parent who would find the book helpful? We want this book to get into the hands of those who will find the book useful for walking teens and young adults through this transitional period of their lives-only made tougher by the barrage of social media.

If you sign up to receive the book and study guide, you'll receive them via email in early October, along with an email full of social media and review tips and promotions.

On behalf of Jessica and Abingdon, we appreciate your support! Don't hesitate to ask us if you have any questions. 
What can you do to help get the word out about #Stolen? 

  • Share any photos from this email on Instagram---and link to the Thunderclap (here's the short link:
  • Forward this email on to parents, teachers, youth-group pastors---anyone who'd find this book helpful---and encourage them to sign up to receive their free copy of the book!
  • Share on your social media sites! We've made it easy with some pre-made blasts you can copy and pastes below!

Social Media Blast:

 Is social media stealing your identity? Join the #IdentityRevolution with Jessica Fralin's new book, #Stolen!

Take back what social media has #Stolen (plus a chance to win a #cash card!)

Want to help get the word out about a great book and have a chance to win a #cash card? #Stolen

Don't let social media steal your identity! Join the #IdentityRevolution
About the Book
Take back what social media has stolen.
How many hours do we spend scrolling Facebook newsfeeds, retweeting something on Twitter, or posing for the perfect selfie on Instagram, hoping what we post will get likes and comments from our friends and followers? To get those likes, we post what is---according to social media standards---pretty, popular, and acceptable. We hide the messy parts of life, play up the fun times, and even twist the truth a bit so we look a little better, smarter, and funnier. But what happens when people start holding us up to these unrealistic standards? What happens when you realize that who you are on social media isn't who you really are? Have we let social media steal our identity?

In #Stolen, author Jessica Fralin uncovers our deep desire to be affirmed, valued, and loved and then points to the only place where that desire can be filled: in Christ not social media. She offers creative #FunFact, #GiveItATry, and #WhatDoYouThink callouts containing fun notes, activities, and ideas to discuss with your youth group and friends. As she tackles the issues and insecurities like popularity, body image, and cyberbullying, Jessica shows you how to find your identity in the one voice that really matters, not the million of voices online.   

Jessica Fralin is an author, blogger, and full-time college student residing in Lynchburg, Virginia. As a worship leader and aspiring women's ministry leader, she conveys the message of love, acceptance, and worth that can only be found in the gospel. On any given day, you can find her holding a guitar, a book, or a latte and passionately teaching others who they are-and why it matters-when it comes to social media.

Flags of the World

Flags of the World
Junior High to Adult. Price $19.99

If you are studying geography of the world, and plan to memorize countries and where in the world they are located, then this hardcover book of the flags of each country of the world is a must have to complete your studies.

Going into the history of the flag, how they came about Flags of the World teaches that the flag is far more than a mere banner. It also reflects the country’s independence, the citizens and in some cases, their social views. It shows how a flag needs to be treated with respect, defended, and given a military salute.

In addition to teaching about flags, it also goes into the meanings of the different colors (like red is for courage) and what the various symbols mean.

The book also includes information and statistics about the countries flying the flags. It includes information about 219 nations and over 100 flags for international organizations, including the Red Cross and the UN.

If you or someone you know is interested in international affairs, world history (including symbols), geography, then Flags of the World is definitely a book to consider. Recommended. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Huckleberry Hill

Huckleberry Hill 

The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill #1

Mass Market Paperback – ebook --audio, Audio CD, Paperback

January 7, 2014

by Jennifer Beckstrand

  • 352 pages
  • Publisher: Zebra
  • ISBN-13: 978-1420133561

"A delightful voice in Amish romance. Sweet and funny." --Emma Miller

With their thirteen children grown, Anna and Felty Helmuth are ready for their next adventure. That means trying their hands at matchmaking--because what could be more fun than igniting love when it's right--and undoing mismatches when they're wrong. Now Huckleberry Hill just might turn out to be the most romantic spot in Wisconsin. . .

Lia Shetler is resigned to being a spinster. She's too tall and sturdy to ever be marriageable--so says her overbearing dat. Instead, she's helping her pretty, spoiled sister Rachel secure the perfect husband--the Helmuths' grandson, Moses Zimmerman. But the more Lia sees of Moses' gently teasing ways and quiet understanding, the more she wishes he could be hers alone. . .

Moses knew his grandparents couldn't resist trying to find him a wife. But he never expected it would be the graceful, sensible Lia--a woman who is tall enough to look him in the eye, and honest enough to make him question a promise holding him to his past. Now both will need the kind of miracles only faith and courage can bring to finally reach for a lifetime of happiness. . .

"A delightful cast of characters in a story that overflows with Amish love and laughter." --Charlotte Hubbard, author of Autumn Winds

My thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Felta, Anna, Moses, and Lia. This was a charming story with irresistible 80-something year old matchmakers. I read this book series out of order, reading Huckleberry Spring first, and I was so charmed by it I went and put HUCKLEBERRY HILL and Huckleberry Christmas on my list of books to check out from and I loved this one, HUCKLEBERRY HILL just as much as I did Huckleberry Spring. 

Ms. Beckstrand is a very creative writer, and I loved some of the humor she inserted as well as the crazy concoctions that Anna cooked. I didn't like Rachel at all, and don't understand why everyone seemed to think a delicate Amish woman was a good thing. She was as lazy as Lia was busy--and she was a conniving woman as well. 

I am definitely going to see if I can get my hands on the others in this series. They are HUCKLEBERRY HILL, Huckleberry Summer, Huckleberry Harvest, Huckleberry Christmas, and Huckleberry Spring. 

5 Stars

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Goodness Gracious Green

Goodness Gracious Green 

Paperback – eBook

July 12, 2010

by Judy Christie

  • Series: Green
  • 288 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press 
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426700552

Will Lois Barker put down roots in Green . . . or will small-town life be too tough? 

The charming and uncertain journalist is delighted with her decision to keep The Green News-Item and excited about the possibility of romance with her good-looking catfish farmer/coach neighbor and the growth of her fresh faith and friendships. 

Her second year in Green has scarcely been rung in, though, before Lois is wrung out. The former owners of the paper want it back. The mayor s dog bites her on the face. A series of fires threaten Lois. And while her friends blossom, Lois feels wilted. Although Lois finds fresh hopes turning stale in her second year in Green, in the midst of challenges and lessons, Lois's journey still explodes with possibilities!

This is the second book in the series - and readers will want to read book one Gone to Green first as it does not stand alone. There are also a lot more books than I expected in this series!  In order they are:
Gone to Green, GOODNESS GRACIOUS GREEN, The Glory of Green, Rally 'Round Green, and Downtown Green.  I have only read book one, so am not basing my opinion of this book on the series as the whole. 

Written in first person, GOODNESS GRACIOUS GREEN is about a big city reporter trying to reinvent herself in a small town. There are the usual array of small town quirky characters, including a female doctor with a male name. That threw me big time - not too many females named Kevin. I went back to double check on the gender. Of course, in this day and age, I guess anything goes. 

I didn't really connect with these characters, and if this was a mystery (which some allude it as) then it was terribly obvious who was behind the fires from the very first fire. And no one figured it out.... wow. 
The romance dragged, but if it had to last throughout a five book series, I suppose it needed to be very slow. 

Overall, it was an okay book. It killed a few hours (as well as a few trees) and was pleasant enough, if predictable. There is no faith message to speak of. 3 stars.  I won't be looking up the other books in the series to find out how it ends or develops. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015



Sisters of the Heart, # 3

Paperback – ebook, Audio, hardcover, Audio CD

August 11, 2009

by Shelley Shepard Gray

  • 262 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Original edition 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061474477

Tragedy strikes­—a brother and sister find themselves facing a situation that will shape the rest of their lives.
When a fire destroys the Lundys' barn, Winnie is injured trying to get the animals to safety. Confined to a hospital for weeks, out of touch with her loved ones who live too far away to visit by buggy, she must depend on Englisher Samuel Miller to keep her company. Though his family is part of Winnie's tight-knit Amish community, Samuel left years earlier to pursue a university education. Through conversations, and Samuel's dedication to her recovery, a friendship forms. But despite their growing attraction, Winnie knows it can never develop into something more as long as Samuel chooses to remain in the outside world.
When Winnie returns home, she finds her brother, Jonathan, struggling with his own dilemma. Cigarette butts were discovered in the debris of the barn and Jonathan is determined to find out who is responsible for destroying his property and putting his family at risk. But in a community founded on grace and forgiveness, will his unwillingness to move on eat away at the trust that is the foundation of their lives?

My thoughts: FORGIVEN is an older book by Ms. Gray. There is massive amounts of head-hopping and the cast of characters is very confusing. Who is who and how are they related? It took awhile to get situated in this reader's mind. While written in many points of view the main characters are Winnie and Sam. Sam is a sweetheart, one who left the Amish and got an education, but feels lost and misplaced in the Englisch world. Winnie - not sure about her intelligence level as she runs into a fire with bare feet and then just stands there?  Also wasn't sure how she ended up breaking a foot in addition to burning them. (The burning part was obvious. . .) and I'm not a medical doctor, but would they cast a foot that is so badly burned? I don't know.  

This one isn't as good as Ms. Gray's later books.  

Though third in a series, it stands alone. For readers who like to read series in order, they are: Hidden, Wanted, and FORGIVEN. 

3 stars. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Project Inspired

Project Inspired: Tips and Tricks for Staying True to Who You Are 

Paperback – ebook

August 4, 2015

by Nicole Weider (Author), Kristin Billerbeck (Contributor)

  • 168 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310749394
  • Reviewed by: Jenna

Nicole Weider is on a mission: to help young girls avoid the traps that culture sets. The trap that baits you into thinking you must sacrifice your self-worth in order to be beautiful and popular. Nicole launched Project Inspired in 2010 (, a website for teen girls that analyzes pop culture and explores ways girls can live in their authentic beauty.
In Project Inspired, Nicole shares tips for you to stay true to yourself—to how you were created to be—as well as how to dress modestly yet fashionably, how to make a positive difference in the world, and how to enjoy your teen years while standing firm in your faith. With photographs, real behind-the-scenes stories from inside the fashion world, and an honest look at living a life that looks great on the outside and feels great on the inside, Project Inspired is a book you’ll turn to time and time again.

My Thoughts: PROJECT INSPIRED is a very good book. She tells us about her experiences as a model and how she realizes it wasn't what she thought it would be. The way she switched paths to Christianity. 

I like that she shared everything she went through and how to work around it in a Christian way.  There are tips on boyfriends, dates, marriage, beauty and fashion tips and how to make a difference in the world. 

It was a really good book. 

5 stars. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015



by Rob Peabody and Cris Rogers 

5-week small group DVD resource

Welcome to Intersect; a resource designed to help you start spiritual conversations with your small group, your friends, or people who don't yet know Jesus.

Intersect uses the creative medium of video storytelling to start and  facilitate discussions about where your story and God's story converge. We can all relate to stories, as we all have our own stories. Some of them are joyous and easy to share with the world. Others are difficult and remind us of times that we sometimes wish we could simply forget. But nonetheless, we all have beautiful lives that are marked by events, situations, and circumstances that have shaped us uniquely into who we are today.

The stories you will watch chronicle choices that are made when individuals find themselves in the middle of hard times. All human beings have the propensity to go through situations that are trying, and the Bible even teaches that finding ourselves in these times will be a part of all our journeys. It is how we respond to these times that helps define our lives and develop our characters.

Each story and its related discussion questions takes a look at an issue that we are all likely to experience at some point. Together you and your group can explore your responses to: expectations, rest, disappointment, trust and control. We hope that each person will identify with each story and theme, will connect with the choices that were made in the video story, and explore how that specific situation intersects with their own life.

Intersect also aims for you to find inspiration in how, in each story, the opportunity is there to turn to God for help. We believe that the Bible is a guide, telling the story of how we were created to live. We hope you and your group will connect with the Bible passages and realize their truth and usefulness for application in your life. This is where your stories will intersect with God's story.
Intersect is a useful tool for those in the church to use as they seek to engage those outside of it with the love and message of Jesus. Starting spiritual conversations in this context can feel intimidating, but this resource can be easily shared with friends, neighbors, colleagues and family members. The video stories give platform to meaningful conversation, and the questions lead the way through the topic.

Intersect is for followers of Jesus too. Our hope is that through these stories your faith and understanding will grow, and you will discover where your story and God's story converge.

My thoughts: This is a great resource for small groups. We've been doing it with our Wednesday night small group, after prayer time. I found the speaker on the DVD a bit hard to understand, but it may be his British accent that I'm not so used to. Either that or the quality on the church's DVD player isn't so good. I'm not sure which it is. 

There are some great thoughts and my preacher/husband along with the men in our group get a really good discussion going from the five or six questions included for each group and so each one session ended up lasting two or three sessions. 

Steve's thoughts:  There were two things that I really enjoyed about this series.  First, the relevance.  The lessons were drawn from real-life situations, and touched immediately upon issues that everyone could relate to.  And while they were immediately relevant, they also reached down to the bedrock of Scripture and grabbed hold of fundamental doctrines which the church probably hasn't done such a good job with.  Those doctrines that are crucial to our understanding of who God is, and how we are supposed to respond.  We have a small church, but we've taken the studies far beyond the "suggested outline."  For instance, we watched the second lesson on "REST," two weeks ago.  We've spent the last two weeks in the Word concerning this doctrine, and we are still exploring.  In a word, the series was theologically refreshing, and immediately applicable.

Highly recommend this series. 5 stars. 

Purchase a copy:

 Meet the Author


Rob is the Co-Founder and International Director of Awaken, a non-profit charity that exists to resource the church for action. Awaken creates resources that inspire, educate, and equip local churches to live as Kingdom-bringers in their communities. In 2011, Rob and his wife, Medea, along with their two boys left his position as a lead campus pastor at a mega-church in Texas to pioneer and lead fresh expressions of church seeking to engage unreached 20-30's in northeast London. His latest book, Citizen, was released in Autumn 2014.

CRIS ROGERS @RabbiRogers

Cris is a writer, pastor, speaker and church visionary. In 2010, Cris planted a church in the poorest area of London with a dream for it to be an explosion of joy within the tower block estate in which he works.

 Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

5 Minutes with Jesus

5 Minutes with Jesus 

Hardcover – ebook

August 11, 2015

by Sheila Walsh 

  • 192 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718032531

In this very moment, God offers you the gift of His presence.
Your life is hectic! Juggling family time, work, and church equals jam-packed days. You want to spend time in God’s Word, but the busyness of life keeps getting in the way. What if, however, you could take five minutes to invest in making each day matter?
With her signature honesty, vulnerability, and humor, bestselling author Sheila Walsh helps you find perspective in the midst of your fast-paced life. Every entry features a powerful devotion, a guiding takeaway, and related Scripture that will nourish you, sustain you, and remind you that you are not alone.
These five minutes with Jesus just might become the most peaceful and meaningful moments of your day.

My thoughts: 5 MINUTES WITH JESUS is a short 50 devotional book by Sheila Walsh. It is comparable to My Daily Bread devotionals. Easy to read in one sitting. 

It starts with a short story then has a collection of Bible verses, not necessarily from the same book of the Bible. It is good to keep in your desk at work, or beside your bed, or wherever you prefer to keep your devotionals, so you can spend your five minutes with Jesus.  

There isn't a lot of meat in it, but it will give you a spiritual uplift.  This is not meant for Bible study, but for a few short minutes with your savior. 

5 stars. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Change Your Trajectory

Change Your Trajectory: Make the Rest of Your Life Better 

Paperback and ebook 

September 22, 2015

by Dale Bronner

  • 192 pages
  • Publisher: Whitaker House
  • ISBN-13: 978-1629115528

Become a master, not a victim, of change!

It is time to make the rest of your life better!

Our lives are like objects hurtling through time, constantly colliding with changing circumstances or situations that send us careening down new trajectories; new paths. 

"Change," however, doesn't have to be a bad word. When we learn how to respond to it, change can make the rest of our lives even better. 

Experienced church founder and pastor Bishop Dale Bronner explains in practical terms how to take responsibility for our trajectory instead of panicking over change or stagnating from lack of change. With helpful principles, motivation, and personal stories, this book is a guide for any Christian who wants to work hard and become a master of change. 

Although some adversity may be inevitable along the way, our only true failure is a failure to launch in a new trajectory when times, situations, and circumstances change around us. Bronner encourages us to prophesy our future and to realize that the power in God's Word can take us to a new and better place.


. How to navigate through uncertainty
. How to deal with change and transition
. How to experience a new trajectory
. How to develop a vision for the future
. How to be a master of change
. How to improve your thinking
. How to overcome failures

My thoughts:  CHANGE YOUR TRAJECTORY is an easy to read book filled with common sense approaches to being able to adapt to whatever life throws into your path. I wasn't sure what trajectory meant -- for sure -- so I looked it up on an on-line dictionary, and it said the path followed by a projectile flying or an object moving under the action of given forces. So when your life is being thrust out of control, you can adapt to the changes better by applying some of the advice given in this book. 

The bishop who wrote this book has some wisdom included. Everyone who is going through a life changing event needs to read this.  Includes marriage, a baby, illness, death of a loved one, a job loss, whatever. 

4 stars. 

About the Author

Bishop Dale C. Bronner is the founder/senior pastor of Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral in Atlanta, Georgia, an interdenominational ministry founded in 1991 and now thriving with more than 19,000 members. Many regard Bishop Bronner as a leader's leader. He is a sought–after conference speaker, a leadership trainer, and the author of Get A Grip (1996), Guard Your Gates (2002), A Check Up From the Neck Up (2003), Treasure Your Silent Years (2004), Home Remedies (2005), and Pass the Baton (2006). Bishop Bronner's message reaches millions daily through his international multimedia broadcast. He resides in Atlanta with his wife, Nina. They are the proud parents of four daughters and one son, and the proud grandparents of two beautiful granddaughters.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Perfect Arrangement

The Perfect Arrangement: An October Wedding Story 

A Year of Weddings Novella Book 11 

Kindle - MP3

by Katie Ganshert 

  • 84 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • September 29, 2015

They've helped orchestrate the perfect day for countless couples. Now twelve new couples will find themselves in the wedding spotlight in the second Year of Weddings novella collection.

Meeting Nate was truly an accident--but Amelia finds that he's one of the few people she can count on.

Amelia Woods is a small-town wallflower and the proud owner of Forget-Me-Nots, a quaint flower shop that once belonged to her mother. Despite her success in business, her love life has always been a bit lackluster. Until she spies on her ex-boyfriend's wedding and ends up in horrifyingly embarrassing fender-bender with handsome wedding guest, Nate Gallagher.

Meanwhile, Amelia's younger brother, William, has proposed to his girlfriend. Amelia would be excited except she has evidence that the fiancée is not who she says she is. How can she be supportive and yet be the protective big sister too? It seems Nate is the only one available for any advice-giving, and he's good at it--and pretty fun to talk to, too. Amelia and Nate strike up an online relationship, but always lingering in Amelia's mind is the fear that he'll realize she's not nearly as appealing in real life.

As Amelia works to craft the perfect flower arrangements for other people, she begins to wonder if real love is better than the dream. And if it is, will Nate still be interested when he learns who she is?

My thoughts: THE PERFECT ARRANGEMENT is a truly good Autumn wedding story. I enjoyed getting to know Nate and Amelia and am definitely interested in reading more of Ms. Ganshert's books! I will be looking her books up to see what else she wrote. 

This was a fun story. Partially email romance, the characters aren't together a whole lot, but even through email, there are sparks. Amelia would be a fun person to know in real life. Quirky, fun, inquisitive, and, well, just fun. She even has a great relationship with her ex-boyfriend, which is rare.  

I think there could've been a bit more conflict, especially with the Will and Bridget incident, and that thread wasn't completely wrapped up. Readers are left wondering what really happened and why she lied. 

As for 24 -- I think it's a random number added to the end of his email because there are more than one person with the same name wanting the same email. :) But it was a fun guessing game added to the story. And since it's also unsettled, you can add your guess. 

5 stars.