Saturday, 27 April 2013

Book Review: Revelation by Sue Edwards

About the Book:  Throughout history people have speculated how the earth will end. Though it is often seen as the best source for end times study, the book of Revelation is not about predicting the end, but about preparing for eternal life.

Join Sue Edwards on this inductive study of Revelation, one of the most misunderstood books of the Bible, and discover how to ready yourself for your heavenly home.

My Thoughts: I recently reviewed Sue Edward's study on Ephesians, and everything I enjoyed about that study, I'm also enjoying about this one.   I like the QR code scanning videos that bring a personal touch the study.  I love the fact that you can vary the depth of your study depending on how much time you have - even week by week.  And I love that it's an inductive study.

You know how works of fiction are supposed to have the great first line that will captivate you and draw you in to the story?  Well, check out the first line of Edward's Revelation......
Crackpots have predicted the end of the world for centuries. 
Ha!  I'm hooked :)

On a personal note, I have had both a fear of and interest in how the world will end.  Fear is obviously not from God, and studying what He has to say is a great way to combat this fear.  But what I really liked about this study is Edwards point that, though Revelation does have a lot to say about the end times, it has even more value in terms of preparing for eternal life and living for God right here and now.  Definitely looking forward to completing this study!

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Book Review: Stress Test by Richard L Mabry, M.D.

About the Book: They may not have enough evidence to convict him, but they have enough to ruin his life.

Dr. Matt Newman thought he was leaving his life in private practice for a better one in academic medicine. But the kidnappers who attacked him as he left his last shift in the ER have no such plans-they just want him dead. Bound and in the trunk of his car, Matt's only thought is escape. He does so, but at a price: a head injury that lands him in the ICU . . . where he awakens to discover he's being charged with murder.

Sandra Murray is a fiery, redheaded lawyer who swore she was done with doctors. But when Matt calls, she knows she can't walk away from defending someone who is truly innocent.

Matt's career is going down the drain. His freedom and perhaps his life may be next. But with the police convinced he's a murderer and the kidnappers still trying to finish what they started, finding the truth-and the faith to keep going-will be the toughest stress test Matt has ever endured.

My Thoughts: I absolutely loved this book and would've read it in one sitting if I'd had the time, instead I think it took me 2 days. :)

This medical suspense novel (with a hint of romance) is chock full of fast-paced twist and turns that will keep you guessing till the very end.  The medical aspects are fascinating, not overly dominant and not overly medical so as to confuse or annoy the reader - it was just right.  The two main characters, Matt and Sandra, are very likable and have depth to them.  I liked the subtle romantic friction going on between the two of them.  I also liked it that the conversations about faith worked well with the storyline and didn't come across as heavy handed or forced.

The only downside I can think of is that perhaps Dr Newman got out of a few too many certain death situations for it to be realistic - but then again, realistic isn't usually what you're looking for in a work of suspense - book or movie.

I loved it and can't wait to read more from this author.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Book Review: Lead Your Family Like Jesus by Blanchard, Hodges and Goyer

About the Book: Does your family need a five-star general at the helm? A psychologist? A referee? Ken Blanchard, best-selling co-author of The One Minute Manager and Lead Like Jesus, points to a better role model: the Son of God. Joined by veteran parents and authors Phil Hodges and Tricia Goyer, renowned business mentor Blanchard shows how every family member benefits when parents take the reins as servant-leaders. Moms and dads will see themselves in a whole new light-as life-changers who get their example, strength, and joy from following Jesus at home. This user-friendly book's practical principles and personal stories mark the path to a truly Christ-centered family, where integrity, love, grace, self-sacrifice, and forgiveness make all the difference.

My Thoughts:  I am thoroughly enjoying reading this book.  I have to admit I'm actually not quite finished reading it yet, because it's definitely not a book you can just read straight through.  Well, you could, you just wouldn't gain as much from it!  This book is filled with thought provoking questions and requires a lot of self-reflection.

This book is not so much about individual behavioural issues or specific parenting advice.  Rather it focuses on the bigger picture - what your vision for your family is and what steps you need to take to make that vision a reality.  It encourages the parents, as the family unit leaders, to first set personal goals for themselves, and then to determine a mission statement and vision for the entire family.  It also focuses on reaching our children's hearts and character, instead of just their behaviour.  It's so easy to get caught up in the day to day mundane tasks of child rearing that it's easy to miss the forest for the trees when it comes to parenting.

The book is written by three authors, and while this is something that I normally don't like as I find it usually interferes with the consistency and flow of the book - in this book, it actually worked really well.  I enjoyed Tricia's chapters the best - but that's likely because she was the only mom writing, and was simply more relatable to me.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A 12 yr old's response to the Boston Marathon bombings

Emma's 6th grade class was given a writing assignment yesterday for homework. They were supposed to write about the Boston Marathon bombings, how it made them feel and what legal measures could be put in place to help prevent similar tragedies. This is what she wrote.....

I feel terrible. Those poor people who had to experience that.

One bomb. BOOM! Another bomb. POW!

I mean, how can someone be so cruel? How can you know there will be pregnant women, children, and so many others in this crowd and give them a big tragedy like this?

I think people need to be scanned, bags and pockets need to be checked before any big event.

Before each big event, the place where the event is should be checked thoroughly by police, because everyone needs to be as safe as possible.

In my opinion, I don't think cell phones should be turned off, because what if there's a sitter or someone watching your kids at home and there is an emergency and parents need to be reached? How can you contact them without phones?

Now because of this bomb, children go to bed, and live their lives terrified to go outside or scared to even live! People start worrying, ideas come into people's minds, and no one thinks they're safe.

We live in a cruel world.


Just stop and think.

Two bombs caused so much pain, tragedy, heartache, and fear.

Eventually the media will stop the interviews and reporting, and people will go back to their normal lives.

But, not those whose families were broken.

Permanent injuries, images being replayed over, and over, and over again in people's minds, lost loved ones, and scars, emotionally and physically.

Those memories will not be forgotten.

Those loved ones will not be ignored.

Those wounds will not heal.

Those tears will not dry.

Those lives will not be normal.

Not now, not tomorrow, not ever.

Never, ever, ever will this be forgotten.

Too many lives affected in some sort of way.

But, we have to think, have to know, we are young and beautiful. Yes, there are evil people who do something. What needs to happen now is all those good people who don't do something, need to do something.

Let good power over evil.

Be strong and courageous.

Power through the evil, comfort the ones affected by the evil, and keep your head held high, against the evil.

Remember those hard times and let righteous anger build up inside of you, beat out the evil.

Because we ARE strong, and we CAN do this.

Remember Boston, Sandy Hook, and all those places.

When you think you're overcome, beaten and destroyed, think of them, and fight on.

Because we can change the world.

One million, starts with one.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Book Review: Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell

About the Book: Lucy Kendall returns from a tour of the Continent, her luggage filled with the latest fashions and a mind fired by inspiration. After tasting Europe's best confections, she's sure she'll come up with a recipe that will save her father's struggling candy business and reverse their fortunes. But she soon discovers that their biggest competitor, the cheat who swindled her father out of his prize recipe, has now hired a promotions manager-a cocky, handsome out-of-towner who gets under Lucy's skin.

Charlie Clarke's new role at Standard Manufacturing is the chance of a lifetime. He can put some rough times behind him and reconnect with the father he's never known. The one thing he never counted on, however, was tenacious Lucy Kendall. She's making his work life miserable...and making herself impossible for him to forget.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this light, quick read - but be warned, you may experience candy cravings as you Mitchell transports you back in time and into the kitchen of candy making as Lucy tries to create the perfect candy to save her family's business.

Lucy is spirited and Charlie is charming - and both grow a lot throughout the book, in faith, grace and forgiveness.  I do wish it had ended with an even more redemptive ending, but still enjoyed it.  It was entertaining watching them one up each other, and some incidents were a great reminder that thoughtless actions can result in consequences you did not anticipate.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Book Review: The Gospel Centered Woman by Wendy Alsup

About the Book: Understanding Biblical Womanhood through the Lens of the Gospel
Many Christian books written to women claim to present God's good instructions for their lives. Some expound on the value of marriage and children. Many extol the virtues of the Proverbs 31 wife. A good number teach the value of love, submission, and respect in Christian marriages. Though this book deals with these topics, The Gospel-Centered Woman addresses women from an entirely different perspective. The most important part of the Bible's instructions to women center around the gospel. Jesus' life, death, and resurrection brought about a seismic shift in our understanding of Scripture. After His resurrection, His disciples understood words written thousands of years before with a clarity they never had previously. The good news of Christ illuminates all other Scripture, including instructions to women. 

My Thoughts: I absolutely loved this book. It was incredibly illuminating and intensely thought provoking. I definitely want to re-read it and ponder it more thoroughly - and I don't normally re-read books, particularly non-fiction ones. But this one had so much to digest and settle into the soul.

Though this book definitely speaks to our roles as mothers and wives, I loved that it focused primarly on the fact that woman (as well as men, of course) are first and foremost image bearers of God and though we have been marred by the fall, we have been redeemed through Christ's life, death and resurrection.

Let me share this quote that I really appreciated (emphasis mine).....
I encourage any woman reading this to be careful of the priority you give the women of Scripture as examples to you in relation to your first example, Jesus. I love Ruth, Mary of Bethany, and Esther, and I am particularly intrigued by Abigail, Lydia, and Phoebe. But they must all take a backseat in terms of role models. They are valuable to us because we need a plurality of saints, male and female, who are examples of Christlikeness in a variety of circumstances. But remember also that we were not created to be like Ruth. We were created in the image of God and are being conformed back to the example of Christ. Ruth is not the ideal for women - Jesus is. Our identity is completely tied to who Jesus is and what He has done for us. He is the vine, and we are the branches. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.

This book is great for both individual and group study. It's broken into sections and chapters, with a page of notes available at the end of each chapter, and discussion questions at the end of the book. I also appreciated that the book is so thoroughly entrenched in scripture, and that the scripture is provided directly in the book so you don't have to look it up yourself.

This is a book for every woman - married or single, with children or without. I highly, highly recommend it! I usually donate the books I review to our church library, but I'm keeping this one to re-read, and to give to my daughters to read, I think it would be particularly helpful during the teenage "searching" years.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


Happy birthday to me!

Artwork done by the kids while waiting for our food at Green Mill. Clockwise from top left we have Jacob's drawing of Lightning McQueen and the sky, Emma's flower, Sophia's landscape with flower and Olivia's picture of our family.

My gift? A wedding band to go with the new engagement style ring we bought a year ago to replace my original ring. I had lost the diamond a few years back and had been wearing an anniversary ring (which matched Nathan's wedding ring). When I looked into how much it would cost to replace the diamond it would be about the same as buying a whole new ring. I figured I may as well get a new ring in an updated style. But after we bought that (on a cruise), I realized I was too sentimental about my old ring after all. So we put a ruby in it (July's birthstone because it's the month we were married). I felt that my new ring alone made it look like I was just engaged instead of married so I requested a new wedding band for my birthday (and Mother's Day and our anniversary and on and on - I think I've used up my quota for awhile!).

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Emma's Age 12 Birthday Interview

How old are you now Emma? 12
What are you looking forward to about age 12? that I get to babysit
What grade are you in? 6
Who's your teacher? Mrs. Harder - best teacher in the world!
Do you like school? yes
What's your favourite thing about school? seeing my friends every day
What's your favourite subject? writing, gym, music, art
What's your favourite colour? blue
What’s your favourite drink? root beer
What's your favourite breakfast? chocolate chip pancakes
What's your favourite lunch? ham and cheese sandwiches (New Bothwell cheese)
What's your favourite supper? perogies or pizzaWhat’s your favourite game? Life
What’s your favourite treat? blizzards from Dairy Queen
What's your favourite snack? sliced apples
What's your favourite dessert? chocolate log cake 
What's your favourite restaurant? Famous Dave's
What's your favourite place? Disney World
What's your favourite thing to do at Disney World? all of it
What's your favourite ride at Disney World? Splash Mountain, Peter Pan, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Rockin Roller Coaster, Blizzard Beach
What's your favourite toy? iPod touch
What's your favourite book? If I Die Before I Wake (Dear Canada series)
What's your favourite sport? hockey, volleyball, basketball
What's your favourite movie? Hotel Transylvania, Flicka, Soul Surfer
What's your favourite TV show? Full House, The Brady Bunch, Good Luck Charlie
Who's your favourite celebrity? Taylor Swift and One Direction
What's your favourite thing to do? hang out with my friends
What's your favourite thing to wear? sweater and jeans or sweatpants
Who are some of your best friends? Emily, Naomi, Elora, Mackenzie, Julia, Jenny, Michelle D
Who's your favourite person? me
What is your favourite song? I Knew You were Trouble, 22 and Red by Selena Gomez, What Makes You Beautiful, and Kiss You by One Direction
What's one of the best things you've done with your family? Gone to Disney World
What do you like to do with your Dad? go out for coffee
What do you like to do with your Mom? go shopping
What's your favourite store? Hollister, Aeropostale, Bluenotes, Ardenes, Sirens, Stitches
What do you want to be when you grow up? owner of a restaurant, author
Anything else you think we should know about you? that's it

Friday, 5 April 2013

Book Review: Ephesians by Sue Edwards

About the Book:  Women need Bible study to keep balanced, focused and Christ-centered in their busy worlds. However, many find it difficult to set aside the time and discipline needed for an in-depth study. The Discover Together studies offer tiered questions to allow readers to choose a depth of study that fits with their individual lifestyles or schedules, even if they vary by the week, month or season.

This insightful Bible study uses the example of Paul's church in Ephesus to show readers how they can be victorious Christians, living in God's Word, and free from sin. Part of the discovery series, the Ephesians edition includes tips for either individual or group use, inspirational sidebars and short, 3-5 minute teaching videos. Scan the video QR code in the book with a smart phone or visit the series website to watch Sue provide historical and cultural background, teach important truths found in each week's lesson, or ask thoughtful questions to encourage deeper discussion.

My Thoughts:  Though I haven't had time to actually do the entire study before posting my review, I did do some of it and what I did, I thoroughly enjoyed.

I love the QR code scanning in each chapter which will take you to a video to watch Sue teach something about the week's lesson - truths, questions or cultural background.  I thought this was a really neat way to make the study "modern" and it was very easy to take the time to watch the videos.  Sue's compassion and love for the Word comes through so vividly through these videos.

I also love how you can tailor the study to fit your needs and the time you are able to commit to the study.  The sidebars provide options such as memory verses, quotes that go along with the week's study, insights about the original Greek, and options for digging deeper in the text with further Bible passage to study or commentaries to read.  

Ephesians is such a great book to study.  The historical background is fascinating - here's just a tidbit....
Ephesus was the grandest city in Asia, and God chose to plant a church there because of its strategic location. The economy was booming, making Ephesus an international trade center. Tourists flocked from all over the Roman Empire. They came to see the outdoor theater, which seated 25,000 people, and the Temple of Artemis, which housed the thirty-seven-breasted fertility goddess. Under Artemis's perverse influence, sex was big business in this red-light city of public baths, cult prostitution, homosexuality, and bestiality....  Under Artemis's influence, the Ephesians incorporated black magic into their religion. As a result, Ephesus was known as the Roman Empire's stronghold for the occult and magical arts.

Planting a church here was invading Satan's lair, no doubt about it. And, not surprisingly, this letter has a number of references to spiritual warfare.  At the time Paul wrote this letter (from house arrest in Rome) the Ephesians had only been Christians for six years old and many had been saved out of the occult.  If they could learn to live victoriously while living in such a debauched city, so can we!

In just the first week's lesson we see the blessings that our ours in the heavenly realms (not just later in heaven, but right now!), that we have been chosen by God, that we have been adopted into God's forever family, that we have a purpose from God, that we are sealed forever, and about who we are in Christ.  And that is so key to living our lives today.  If we don't know who we are in Christ, we can never live victoriously.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Book Review: Love in the Balance by Regina Jennings

About the Book: Handsome Cowboy or Debonair Tycoon.
How's a Girl to Choose?
Molly Lovelace dreams of a life without cares in Lockhart, Texas. She also dreams of handsome wrangler Bailey Garner, her ardent but inconsistent beau. The problem is, with Bailey's poor prospects, she just can't fit the two dreams together.
Then mysterious stranger Edward Pierrepont sweeps into town-and her life-and for the first time Molly wonders if she's met the man who can give her everything. But he won't be in Lockhart long and while it certainly seems like he talks about their glorious future together, she can't quite get Bailey out of her mind.
What's a girl to do with all these decisions when love is in the balance? 

My Thoughts:  I have to admit that it took me awhile to get into this book, probably because I didn't care for either of the two main characters at the beginning.  But, that was also the point of the book!  The changes that both Bailey and Molly go through when they finally surrender to God show what a difference His grace and Lordship can make in a person's life.

One thing I really liked about this book is that the consequences for their choices were realistic.  They weren't rescued from making a bad choice just in the nick of time.  They mistakenly relied on their own human ability, chose wrong, and suffered the consequences.  And yet, God also redeemed them.  And that is so true to life for you and I.  We can choose to go our own way, and we can make a royal mess of our lives.  And though God won't necessarily rescue us from those bad choices, He will redeem them and bless us in spite of them, when we turn to Him.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Sophia's Age 10 Birthday Interview

How old are you now Sophia? 10
What are you looking forward to about age 10? That I get to be 2 digits - I'm not a little kid anymore!
What grade are you in? 4
Who's your teacher? Mr. Roy - he's a teacher that does fun games and stuff with the assignments
Do you like school? no - just my friends, and computers and art
What's your favourite thing about school? my friends
What's your favourite subject? computers
What's your favourite colour? sky blue and lime green
What’s your favourite drink? root beer
What's your favourite breakfast? chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream on top
What's your favourite lunch? Kraft Dinner
What's your favourite supper? perogies with corn and Costco sausage
What’s your favourite game? my iPod
What’s your favourite treat? pepsi slurpee
What's your favourite snack? hot chocolate
What's your favourite dessert?  ice cream sundaes with chocolate chips, strawberries and whipped cream
What's your favourite restaurant? The Keg and Famous Dave's
What's your favourite place? Disney World, Florida
What's your favourite thing to do at Disney World? sitting at the pool and suntanning
What's your favourite ride at Disney World? Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, no question about it
What's your favourite toy? iPod
What's your favourite book? Spyology
What's your favourite sport? hockey
What's your favourite movie? Hotel Transylvania
What's your favourite TV show? The Next Step, again, no question about it
Who's your favourite celebrity? Taylor Swift (duh) and One Direction (again, duh)
What's your favourite thing to do? hang out with my sisters and talk about girl stuff
What's your favourite thing to wear? ankle black leggings with a cool shirt that goes
Who are some of your best friends? Emily, Dilyn, Emma, Phoebe, Madison, Clara, Hannah
Who's your favourite person? me and my Mom
What is your favourite song? I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift
What's one of the best things you've done with your family? gone to Disney World
What do you like to do with your Dad?  having him coach me for hockey, go to Jets games
What do you like to do with your Mom? EVERYTHING!What's your favourite store? Urban Behaviour, Claire's, Gap, Aeropostale
What do you want to be when you grow up? an architect 
Anything else you think we should know about you? I like chocolate!  I like GIRAFFES!

At The Keg for Sophia's special birthday dinner with me and Nathan.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Jacob's Age 5 Interview

Not to be outdone, Jacob wanted to do a birthday interview too, and I figured Age 5 was a good age to start, so why not?  We're only a few months after his birthday (Jan 23) so these are still accurate without him having to "pretend". :)

How old are you now Jacob? 5
What grade are you in? Not in school yet
Who's your teacher at Sunday School? Miss Kerilyn and Mrs. Barkwell 
Do you like Sunday School? yep
What's your favourite thing about Sunday School? playing with the toys
What's your favourite colour? red, I mean blue
What’s your favourite drink? chocolate milk
What's your favourite breakfast? pancakes
What's your favourite lunch? my usual lunch - banana, cheese and Mom's healthy chips
What's your favourite supper? all your supper things
If you can only pick one?  perogies
What’s your favourite game? hockey
What’s your favourite treat? Kinder Surprise
What's your favourite snack? everything
What's your favourite dessert? rockets 
What's your favourite restaurant? Olive Garden, Chicken Chef, Boston Pizza, the chip restaurant (Paradiso), mom's food
What's your favourite place? Disney World
What's your favourite thing to do at Disney World? everything
What's your favourite ride at Disney World? waterpark at Blizzard Beach
What's your favourite toy? cars
What's your favourite book? Old MacDonald had a Farm
What's your favourite sport? hockey
What's your favourite movie? Cars 2
What's your favourite TV show? Teletoon Retro
Who's your favourite celebrity? Andrew Ladd
What's your favourite thing to do? play hockey
What's your favourite thing to wear? ummmm, uhhhhhh, a Jets jersey
Who are some of your best friends? Little Rylan, Nate, Taylor
Who's your favourite person? Mom and Dad
What is your favourite song? O Canada 
What's one of the best things you've done with your family? Gone to Disney World
What's your favourite store? Walmart to get a car, Toys R Us
What do you want to be when you grow up? Jets player
Anything else you think we should know about you? you can get me cars every day

Showing off a couple of his birthday gifts - Jets bathrobe and Jets poster for his Jets room.  Yep, he's a fan of the Jets all right!


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