Monday, May 3, 2021

Glitch and Famous











Glitch and Famous 

Paperback – ebook

January 27, 2021




Someone is determined to cancel Joey’s friend . . . permanently.

TV detective Joey Darling is back at her beach home after wrapping up filming on her latest show, and she’s ready to plan her wedding with real-life leading man, Jackson Sullivan. With a clear schedule, nothing will stop her.

Until . . . an old acquaintance battling public backlash comes to visit and puts a glitch in her plans. When her friend is beaten, finding the people responsible becomes first priority. 

But as events escalate, Joey’s big day seems to move further and further away. Can Joey help her friend and finally plan her dream wedding? Or will Joey become guilty—and risk her own life—by association?




my thoughts: this book is one of the favorites that I have by this author.  I love the humor, I love the chicklit feel, and I love the cozy mystery. I did figure it out semi easy, but it didn't ruin my reading pleasure. And as usual, there were some unexpected twists and turns. If you are looking for a good cozy mystery series, you will want to read this collection. The books all do stand alone so you can start anywhere. I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own.





Sunday, May 2, 2021

Sweet As Honey by Jenna V Hilton

 




About three years ago, this stray dog came into our front yard. She had a collar, and looked like she was nursing puppies, although we didn’t find any. I called her over, and she started creeping towards me, crying quietly. I sat down, and the dog curled up in my lap and continued to cry. I started petting and talking to her, and she cried louder. Such a sweet girl, she had to have a family. So I posted her on Facebook, and two weeks later, she was returned to her family. We called her Sweetheart while we had her, and walked her around our neighborhood looking for her family. I remember she was so scared, but so trusting at the same time.
Trusting God can be scary, but it’s worth it. Peter didn’t know that he was gonna walk on water. All he knew was that his Lord said come. God will help you achieve your potential. All you gotta do is take that leap of faith.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for never leaving. Help us to trust you. In Jesus Name, Amen.








Saturday, May 1, 2021

Secrets of Willow Springs - Book 3: The Amish of Lawrence County

 


Secrets of Willow Springs - 

Book 3: The Amish of Lawrence County 

Paperback – ebook

April 7, 2021

Friday, April 30, 2021

Pugtato, Let's Be Best Spuddies Board book –


Pugtato, Let's Be Best Spuddies 


Board book – Illustrated, 

March 30, 2021

by Zondervan (Author), Sophie Corrigan (Illustrator) 

  • ASIN : 0310767776
  • Publisher : Zonderkidz; Illustrated edition 
  • Board book : 24 pages
  • Reading age : 4 - 8 years
  • Grade level : 1 - 2



What does it mean to be a best spuddy? Spend the day with Pugtato and his very best spuddies and find out! A best spuddy likes to play and listen, share, and give a helping hand. Spend time with Pugtato and his very best spuddies as they show us exactly how to be a best spuddy too.

Pugtato, Let’s Be Best Spuddies:

  • Features adorable and silly illustrations by Sophie Corrigan
  • Shows the youngest readers ages 0-4 how to be a good friend
  • Written in delightful, giggle-inducing rhyming text
  • Is great for discussions and story times focusing on friendship, sharing and helping others

Check out another title in the series, Pugtato Finds a Thing.




My thoughts: this children's board book will be a cute addition to your children's library. It describes friendship in all its good forms and encourages children to pay attention to the colorful and creative artwork on each page to encourage reading. Featuring vegetables as animals it also introduces children to cauliflower, potatoes, peas, and more. You will love this book as much as your children do. Recommended. I was given a copy free.  All opinions are my own.








Thursday, April 29, 2021

Part 1 of an Interview with Barb Roose, Author of Breakthrough



Part 1 of an Interview
with Barb Roose,

Author of Breakthrough


For some, Christianity is a long list of rules to be followed, and it’s hard to be a “good Christian” because it always seems you’re breaking one of those rules. In Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ (Abingdon Women), popular women’s conference speaker and author Barb Roose wants to help readers let go of the feeling they are not a “good enough” Christian and find freedom in Christ by studying Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
 
In this six-week study, Roose shows women that even the believers in the early church struggled to let go of rule-keeping and performance in order to embrace God’s free gift of grace. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul pours out his heart and faith to set them straight, addressing so many of the same questions and problems we still face today such as: Who has led you to believe you have to follow rules and “measure up”? Why do you think you have to be perfect for God? Does God only show up or love you when you “get it right”?
 
Q: You wrote the Breakthrough Bible study to celebrate God’s amazing grace and unconditional love, especially for Christians who are afraid that they have disappointed God or feel like they have to earn God’s favor or blessing. Did you struggle with this?
 
Oh yes! I grew up in a religious tradition of lovely people, but there were a lot of rules! While I heard about the gospel at an early age, I remember hearing more “dos” and “don’ts” from Christians around me than God’s love for me.
 
As a result of their influence and my own thinking, I spent decades judging myself as a Christian by how well I followed the “good” Christian rules such as never miss church, read the Bible every day, and others. Of course, there were seasons of life when I did miss church, I didn’t read the Bible, and I made mistakes. During those times in life, I feared that God was disappointed in me and I felt like a terrible Christian.
 
Years ago, I shifted my mindset. Instead of focusing on my performance, I decided to ruthlessly believe God’s promises about me and watch out for how He was working in my life. As I noticed where God was working in my life, I stopped feeling the pressure to earn His blessing and favor because I could already see Him giving them to me.

Q: We hear a lot about having freedom in Christ, but what does that actually mean for a Christian?
 
In the Breakthrough study, I define “freedom in Christ” as living free from fear and fully alive in God’s joy and purpose.
 
One of the most tangible examples for me is Jesus’ encounter with the immoral woman in Luke 7. While we don’t know where she came from or what she went through, we know that she cried enough tears at Jesus’ feet that she needed to use her hair to wipe them away. I can relate to that woman’s anguish at certain times in my life.
 
I love Jesus’ words to her, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” She didn’t say any or to do anything to earn Jesus’ forgiveness. He gives her peace just because she came humbly to his feet and Jesus set her free.
 
This is a powerful lesson for us, especially when we’ve got big regrets or the whispers from the pit of hell try to remind us of our mistakes. Jesus died to bring us freedom and we don’t have to earn it, only receive it and live in it.
 
Q: Breakthrough is a study of the book of Galatians. Why do scholars consider Galatians to be one of the most significant books in the New Testament?
 
Scholars consider Galatians one of the most significant books in the New Testament because it establishes the importance of the gospel of grace over the law. As the Apostle Paul writes to the Galatians, he presents the gospel as well as explains the relationship between God’s covenant with Abraham, Jesus as the New Covenant and why the law was needed in between.
 
Much like it is now, the gospel was under attack in the Galatian church by those who taught that salvation by grace wasn’t enough. Paul calls this a “twisting truth” that fools people now like it did then. If we don’t get clear on the gospel, then we will miss out on the freedom that Jesus died to bring us because we’ll be too busy trying to make ourselves right with God—and that isn’t the gospel at all.
 
Q: Oftentimes we are hesitant to start the hard conversations about diversity at the risk of offending someone or making a situation worse. What are some ways we can start (and continue) discussions with the correct heart?
 
As part of Paul’s dialogue with the Galatian church, he emphasized that Christ came to break down the divisions between believers, but that doesn’t mean that God intends for us to ignore our differences. God intentionally created humans with differences in color and culture. In Galatians 5:13, Paul writes that we should use our freedom to serve one another in love.
 
The best way that we can love people who look differently than us is to love them through listening, especially when we don’t know them. Listening begins with inviting people who look differently than us to share their life stories. I like questions like, “Would you tell me about your life?” or “How did your family celebrate special holidays?” or “What’s been hard for you lately?”
 
When we’re willing to listen to others, it’s a demonstration of humility that we care and respect the other person and their story.
 
Q: How does taking a shutdown day or practicing walking and talking help us achieve our breakthrough?
 
When we purposefully stop trying to do and give ourselves an entire day without a “to-do” list, our hearts and minds are freed to hear from God. Taking a walk and praying while we’re walking focuses our hearts, minds and souls on God. Time and time again, I’ve experienced God’s presence, peace and often, divine revelation when I quiet my heart, mind and body.
 
Q: How do justification and sanctification fit in with your “finding freedom” theme?
 
Both sanctification and justification are a result of God’s activity in us. Justification is God’s “not guilty” declaration on us because we are redeemed through Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Sanctification is a combination of our willingness and God’s power to make us more like Christ. As we say “yes” to where God wants to transform us, He does the work in changing and transforming our thoughts so that we reflect Christ’s love, joy, peace and more.
 
Q: How can we be more supportive rather than judgmental Christians, especially with a friend that has fallen into sin?
 
This is such an important question! I’ve heard from so many hurting Christians who’ve walked away from the church because they made a mistake and Christians were quick to criticize.
 
We all make mistakes. All have sinned. Paul taught us that our role as believers is to gentle and humbly help those who’ve fallen. We’re not to add to someone’s guilt by telling them how badly they messed up and we’re gossip about them because Paul also taught in Galatians 6 that we’re all prone to faltering.
 
So, we gently and humbly help people when we follow in Jesus’ footsteps like he did with Zacchaeus the tax collector or the adulterous woman. First, we go to them, not avoid them. Then, we don’t shame them, but rather listen to their story. Finally, we affirm God’s truth and pray with them. We don’t have to save them or force them back on the right path again, that’s God’s job, but not ours.
 
Q: It seems like since the pandemic began last year that people in general have become more and more argumentative and staunch in their opinions over everything, even related to how the local church handles certain situations. What does Galatians teach us about agreeing (or disagreeing) together?
 
Unfortunately, churches have a reputation for what they are against more than what they are for. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul reminded the people that God sent Jesus to die for all. Paul teaches the principles of the gospel over and over again in Galatians because he knew how quickly people could get swayed by someone else’s agenda.
 
I have a dangerous theory: I believe that the gospel transcends and can transform even our greatest struggles as Christians and humans. The gospel addresses racism, sexism, poverty, family dysfunction and so much more. However, just as the Galatian believers began to listen to Judiazers with a false gospel agenda, as a Church, our ears have been bent by other agendas as well. Some of those agendas are very good things, but they aren’t the gospel.

Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ
by Barb Roose 

Available April 6, 2021 
from Abingdon Women
 Participant Workbook -- Paperback ISBN: 9781791014223 / $16.99 -- eBook ISBN: 9781791014230 / $16.99
Leader Guide -- Paperback ISBN: 9781791014247 / $14.99 -- eBook ISBN: 9781791014254 / $14.99
DVD ISBN: 9781791014261 / $49.99

 
About the author
Barb Roose is a popular speaker and author who is passionate about teaching women to live beautifully strong and courageous in spite of their fears so that they can experience God’s great adventure of faith and purpose for their lives.
 
Roose enjoys teaching and encouraging women at conferences and events across the country, as well as internationally, including national platforms such as the Aspire Women’s Events, She Speaks Conference, and many more.
 
She is the author of three books, Surrendered Devotional, Winning the Worry Battle, and Enough Already, and five Bible studies, BreakthroughSurrenderedI’m Waiting, GodJoshua, and Beautiful Already. Her writing has been featured in many magazines, and she also writes a regular blog at BarbRoose.com. She hosts the “Better Together” Facebook Live events and podcast.
 
Roose lives in Toledo, Ohio, and is the proud mom of three adult daughters. Her perfect day includes sleeping in, taking a long walk outside, shopping for shoes and eating two big bowls of chocolate peanut ice cream.
 
Visit Barb Roose’s online home at barbroose.com. Readers can also keep up with her on Facebook (BarbaraRoose), Twitter (barbroose), and Instagram (barbroose).



 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

An interview with Robert K. Cheong, Author of Restore: Changing How We Live and Love





 

An interview with Robert K. Cheong,
Author of Restore: Changing How We Live and Love

 

Everyone has their own unique story—a way of weaving together past experiences and relationships with current joys and sorrows to make sense of their lives. When we live our stories without looking to the master Storyteller, it’s easy to become lost and confused. In Restore: Changing How We Live and Love, pastor and author Robert K. Cheong helps readers reconnect with God and remember where their help and hope comes from.
 
Scripture describes God restoring the health, relationships, hearts, and souls of his people, and he chose an unexpected tool to make himself known and to show how he restores. He uses stories. He does the same for his children today, using our stories.

 
Q: Introduce us to your small group resource, Restore: Changing How We Live and Love.
 
You can view Restore as a discipleship resource that helps you to know how to abide in Christ as you live in a broken world. More times than not, we don’t realize how the fall impacts how we live and love. Restore uses God’s story to help you reframe how you see and understand life, how God restores your soul through your life with Christ, and how God redeems your story.
 
Restore will also equip you to engage in spiritual warfare and to encourage one another as we all struggle to live in the hard and harsh realities as we continue to live in the fall.
 
Q: What are the Spirit-dependent goals for readers to accomplish through doing the study?
 
The Spirit-led goals remind readers what God desires for all his people. We can often look at these goals as “out of reach” or “reserved for the spiritually mature” or “accessible only during a retreat.” Believe it or not, God delights when we:

  • find rest in him
  • remember he is our hope and help
  • reframe how we see life and even ourselves with his eyes
  • experience his comfort and love as he restores our soul damaged by evil
  • regain confidence in him
  • and grow in love for him and others. 

Every time we draw near to God through his word, his spirit seeks to do these and other things. You will be amazed that God can accomplish all of these goals in one evening. Many people fear that if they experience these realities once, they may not keep experiencing these realities. That is why I call them Spirit-led goals because only God can bring these about, plus he promises to do these things in us.
 
Q: How do we begin to reframe our own stories and struggles as we start to see them in relation to God’s story?
 
Because of the fall, our tendency is to view every aspect of our life through the lens of our story, or the events and experiences that we encounter as we journey through life. Our reality becomes our reference point, or the filter through which we see and understand life.
 
But God begins to reframe how we see and respond to life as we look up and realize we live in a bigger reality—God’s Story—where Jesus is our reference point, as he serves as our way, truth, and life. As we experience God’s heart through his story, and his words saturate and satisfy our souls, God changes our perspective and posture in life.
 
Q: What do all of our struggles have in common?
 
Our struggles must be understood within the context of God’s story. Knowing that God didn’t create us to know evil, we can understand how our struggles flow from the fall. As a result, our struggles, though we experience struggles personally and uniquely within our own story, are common to all people who live in this broken world. We see these common struggles emerge from the Garden of Eden as the first man and woman rejected God’s word and disobeyed his command.
 
As a result of the fall, we all struggle in common ways, impacting our relationship with God and others. All of God’s creation has been impacted by evil’s destructive and deceitful nature. At the core of our struggles is our battle with self-love and self-glory.
 
Q: Even though faith struggles are common for all of us, why do we have to take them seriously and make sure that we don’t leave them unchecked?
 
Yes, we all struggle with doubt and unbelief, and when we do, it doesn’t mean we are not good enough as a Christian; it doesn’t mean that God is not good or unloving, but it does mean that evil continues to impact us as we continue to live in the fall.
 
Even though doubts are common, they aren’t harmless. Doubts keep us from knowing and experiencing God’s love, his presence, promises, and power. As you consider the armor of God, the shield of faith protects us from the fiery darts of the enemy. Doubts lower the shield of faith which enables the darts of the enemy to impact our souls.

Q: You write that a story doesn’t reach completion until it’s shared. Why is it so important to tell our stories to others? Isn’t that just focusing on the past and ourselves?
 
We share our stories as a way of helping others to understand who we are as a person. We also share our stories as a way to help others to know how they can encourage you and pray for you. When others share, we get to know them better and learn how we can encourage and love them.
 
If we merely share our stories because our stories have defined us or have imprisoned us, then we run the risk of focusing on the past and ourselves. But when we reflect upon and share our stories within God’s story and with his eyes and heart, we find hope and healing. As we work through our story in light of God’s story, He will help us to see how he is with us, how he is at work redeeming our stories as he restores our souls. God frees us from the past to live in the present and to continue our journey with him in the future. When we share our stories in this way, God is the focus, and he is glorified.
 
Q: Can you offer tips on how to respond when someone shares their story with you, especially in a group setting?
 
The Study Guide offers a section that offers a guide for how we can respond to one another when someone shares their story with us. As you listen to someone share their story, listen with your ears, eyes, and heart (unpack each aspect). Pray for them as they share. Weep with those who weep. Rejoice with those who rejoice.
 
After someone shares their story, thank them for their courage and faith to share, for entrusting a piece of their story with you. In the moment, don’t ask factual questions to find out more details, but offer loving encouragement centered on the realities of Christ. You can also pray for the person after others in the group take the time to encourage the person.
 
Q: What does it mean to have communion with God? What are the three aspects of a relationship with him?
 
God created us for communion with him, which simply means that he created us to enjoy the eternal fellowship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Communion with God describes how we know and experience our relationship with God. Our communion with God ebbs and flows given our struggle to live in a fallen and broken world.
 
Our communion with God has three “KEI” aspects—knowing God, experiencing God, and imaging God. Knowing God is essential since eternal life is knowing God (John 17:3). Experiencing God is foundational because God wants us to experience and enjoy his love found through his presence, promises, and power. Imaging God is crucial since God calls us to hear and do his word as we follow Jesus.
 
Q: If God created us to love, why can relationships of all kinds be so difficult?
 
Relationships are hard because each person has been seriously impacted by evil, which seeks to keep us from love. Even though we were created us for love, the evil within us causes us to love ourselves more than God and others. As a result, we struggle to see others more important than ourselves and fail to consider the interests of others before our own.
 
The Enemy seeks to divide us from one another, causing disunity and division in relationships. The Enemy also seeks to undermine how we know and experience God and his love, which can hinder the fruit of the Spirit in our hearts and lives.
 
Q: How does Jesus restore us with love?
 
Jesus restores our souls as we abide in his love. Through his loving words and by the power of his Spirit, he renews our thoughts, empowers us to experience his heart, and redirects our desires as he stirs our affections. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 tells us that when his love compels and controls us, we will live for him according to his word and how he created us to live.
 
As we live in God’s story of love, he reframes how we see and understand life as he redeems the hard and hurtful parts of our story.
 
Q: In what ways is Restore different than other resources on making life changes? How does Restore go beyond simply giving readers Bible verses and reminding them about Jesus?
 
Restore helps us to understand how our story distorts how we live and love; how evil damages our souls, and how our experiences can define their identities and story.
 
Restore then uses God’s story to reframe how we see our lives in a broken world, how Jesus restores our souls as we live in his love, and how God redeems the painful parts of our story so that we can live and love differently as we live in this broken world through our union with Christ.
 
Restore seeks to be a discipleship resource more than a counseling resource, since I believe God designed the church to bear one another’s burdens and to encourage each other to faith, hope, and love in Christ as we live in this fallen world.
 
At the end of each lesson, you will have the opportunity to abide in Christ through a passage that corresponds to the lesson. I believe that abiding in Christ is at the core of discipleship, care, and community.
 
Q: Tell us about how this study guide was designed to be used. What leader’s helps are included in the book?
 
You will get the most out of this Study Guide if you invite others to journey with you through God’s story. I believe God created us to live and learn in community with his people. Over the years, I have seen how God encouragers, comforts, loves, and confronts through his word and his people.
 
If you are married, I encourage you to go work through Restore with your spouse. As a husband and wife share their hearts and engage each other through the lessons, they will have the privilege to grow together in oneness with one another as they grow in oneness with God.
 
But, God will do amazing things if you work through this study on your own. If you do so, I would encourage you to share with others all that God is teaching, shepherding, and loving you through his story and word.
 
Q: What encouragement would you offer someone who is hesitant to do this study with a group because they feel uncomfortable sharing their struggles with others?
 
The hesitancy is natural. We all struggle to some degree with this issue. However, I have seen God work in beautiful and powerful ways as his people share honestly by faith, trusting God when he said there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. I encourage those who are hesitant to set your gaze on Jesus, like Peter did when he walked on water, trusting Christ for faith, courage, and strength.
 
I would encourage anyone who is hesitant to remember that God will grow and encourage them as they hear other people’s story and struggles. They will quickly realize that they are not alone in their struggles. Just as important, they will realize that God often reframes how we see and understand life, restores our souls, and redeems the broken parts of our story through the lives of others.
 

Restore: Changing How We Live and Love
Study Guide with Leader’s Notes
by Robert K. Cheong
September 14, 2020 / Retail Price: $19.99
Print ISBN 978-1-645071-09-9
Religion/Christian Ministry/Counseling & Recovery

About the author
Robert K. Cheong, PhD, serves as the Pastor of Care at Sojourn Church Midtown in Louisville, KY. He has a passion for helping the church to be confident in Jesus, and he is the executive director of Gospel Care Ministries, which trains leaders in churches, networks, and mission organizations for discipleship and care in community.
 
Cheong also serves as a Sojourn Network Strategist in the area of care and as a Council Member for the Biblical Counseling Coalition. He is the author of God Redeeming His Bride: A Handbook for Church Discipline and Restore: Changing How We Live and Love.
 
He enjoys life with his wife, Karen, their grown children, and their adorable grandchildren.
 
Learn more about Robert K. Cheong and Gospel Care Ministries at www.gospel.careFacebook (@gospelcareministries)Twitter (@GospelCareMn) or Instagram (@gospelcareministries).





 

Glitch and Famous

Glitch and Famous  Paperback – ebook January 27, 2021 by  Christy Barritt     (Author) ASIN :  B08TZBV2MD Publisher :  Independently publish...