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Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas at Harrington's - Book Review

Just in time for the holidays, comes Christmas at Harrington’s, a tender story about fresh starts from Melody Carlson, the bestselling author. Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books, several of them Christmas novellas from Revell, including her much-loved and bestselling book, The Christmas Bus. She also writes many teen books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series. Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books, including the Notes from a Spinning Planet series and Finding Alice, which is in production as a Lifetime Television movie. She and her husband serve on the Young Life adult committee in central Oregon. Visit Melody's website at

As I have mentioned in previous reviews, I often don’t take the time to read fiction. But I am learning, through the awesome opportunity of writing reviews, there are valuable lessons to be learning in fiction as well! And this book was simply spectacular!
Although I have not endured the same adversity as Lena, I consider my journey back to happiness to have been a long, difficult road too! The issues of trust dealt with in this book ring SO TRUE to my heart! The way the story takes you through ups and downs (and requires patience), reminds me of a non-fiction story/book.
Honestly, I must also admit that I have never read a book by Melody Carlson, although I have heard of her and know her reputation of being a fabulous author. After reading this book, I KNOW I will be purchasing, at a minimum: The Christmas Dog, The Christmas Bus, All I have to Give and An Irish Christmas! As a hopeful author-to-be, I was amazed at how effortlessly this story takes you on a journey with Lena. The words “I couldn’t put it down” came to mind this morning as I finished the last several chapters (and absolutely enjoyed EVERY minute)! I pictured Ms. Carlson’s mind creating the intricate weavings of twists and turns and wondered: Did she KNOW it would end this way, or did she go back and add details to the story? The way she portrayed Lena initially was so true to life for a REAL Christian; and to see how God truly DOES weave every person/place/situation in place as He promises in His Word-FABULOUS! Even though this story is different from mine, it ends the same….I am incredibly blessed because HE IS! He is my Savior, He is my Redeemer, and He is my Father!
Thank you so much Ms. Carlson for a heart-warming story! You are an inspiration to me! I can’t wait to run to the bookstore TODAY!

Available November 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

The Big God Story - Book Review

As a mother (and grandmother-to-be one day), I am always on the look-out for GREAT children’s books; especially Christian books. When I was given the opportunity to review The Big God Story, I couldn’t wait to see/read it!

One of the most memorable parts of the book was the first and last page: personal notes from the author, Michelle Anthony. Michelle is the Family Ministry Architect for David C. Cook and the Pastor of Family Ministries at RockHarbor. The first page includes a note reminding us that this is not an ordinary story; its God’s big story where he promises to love us forever. She also includes a place for your child to personalize their copy of His Story: “This Book Belongs to ___________”. The VERY FIRST thing my youngest daughter did was write her name on the line (first AND last name)! I loved the personal implication of her name connected with God’s Story (and she was the one that made the connection)! At the end of the book, the author reminds parents of the privilege and responsibility given to nurture their children’s faith-and an on-line resource has been created to assist parents with doing just that. You can view it here:

I was surprised at the accurate, complete summary of redemption (covered from Genesis through Revelation), in such a few pages. There are adults that could benefit from reading this simple, complete overview of the story the Bible conveys.
I believe graphics are extremely important in children’s books, and was impressed with EVERY ONE of them in this book. The use of vibrant colors, especially on the cover, was eye-catching and beautifully done! I also love the way the cover portrays the magic and beauty inside the book! Cory Godbey did a fabulous job-kudos Cory!

I will be purchasing numerous copies of this book to give as gifts; as well as keep MY copy handy for reading to my future grandchildren! I honestly think this is the best children’s Christian book I’ve ever read and I will be keeping my eyes open for Michelle Anthony’s future children’s books!

YouTube trailer for The Big God Story -
You can purchase this book directly from Amazon here:

I received a complimentary copy of this book from David C. Cook for review purposes.

Middle School Small Group Celebrations in December

More Glimpses of Heaven - Book Review

From Author of Bestselling Glimpses of Heaven
New collection of inspiring accounts of people nearing death and
their experiences with God as he prepares to take them home

We often wonder what death is really like. In her new book, More Glimpses of Heaven, Trudy Harris provides insights into what really goes on at death and how it is not something to be feared, but something that quite literally brings us closer to God.
Harris, who has worked as a hospice nurse for more than 30 years, shares how God has worked in the lives of 46 patients as they neared death. Each of their stories is a testament to the fact that God is never far from us—especially in death—and illustrates the lengths to which God will go to so that we understand his compassionate love for us. Whether by intuitive understanding, divine encounter or through the touch of ordinary individuals, God's compassion and comforting love are revealed to each person as he reaches out and calls them home.

Anyone that knows me knows why I chose to review this book; I LIVED it! My father was diagnosed with cancer in January of 1981. He was placed in Hospice in August the same year and passed away in early September-with me at his side. I was living at home (and only 18 years old), which allowed me the opportunity to care for him easily. I tried on a few occasions to allow my dad the opportunity to open up to me-to tell me anything he wanted me to know, just in case….. Well, you know, in case he didn’t make it. But my dad would NEVER admit he wasn’t going to BEAT THIS! And, as his baby, I was in no position to tell him he wouldn’t (nor did I want to believe it myself!) As a matter of fact, I still remember the day before he passed away; I put his frail body in a wheel-chair and took him for a “spin” around the hospital grounds. He looked up at me, and reminded me that I was NOT A RACE CAR driver and that I needed to slow down. I just couldn’t – I was so proud to have him OUT OF THAT BED! He was GOING to recover, by golly! Needless to say, he didn’t. It took many years and many tears to be able to accept that.

Over the past year (that’s right, it’s 2010), I have been involved in a grief group; realizing time does NOT necessarily heal all wounds. Sometimes, we can “stuff” our pain so far inside; we realize years later it was NEVER dealt with. That was the case for me. I could go on and on about my dad because it provides comfort for me to share about my loss, but I won’t. However, I can say, from a very real and personal opinion, this book is absolutely amazing!

Will it make you cry? Possibly. Will it make you think? Possibly. Will it remind you of your loved one? I would say absolutely! It reminded me that my dad is with his Father in Heaven and the only person that’s sad about it is ME! He is at complete peace, reveling in His Father’s Love! That revelation is very comforting to me! I also took great comfort reading about others who share my story. Although some of the details are different, many are similar. It brings me comfort to know someone else can relate to my journey; that I’m really not alone.

Thank you so much Trudy, for writing this stories for us to share. I look forward to reading more of your books in the future.

Available November 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thankful Thursday - once again on Friday!

On Thankful Thursday, I do my best to think of a person that has blessed my life personally. However, those of you that know me, KNOW how important my children are to me. Therefore, it dawned on me today that I need to post about a young lady I'm thankful for - not for me, but for my son!

I have heard nothing but wonderful words about Chelsea - my son Peter's girlfriend (both pictured). She has been a wonderful source of joy and encouragement to him - which means she makes ME extremely happy! (Anyone that makes my son happy makes me happy!) I am extremely hopeful they spend many, many years together!

Thank you VERY MUCH Chelsea! I adore you too!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The most amazing thing......

YouVersion Bible App has been downloaded more than 10 million times!!!! It's FREE and you can get it too!!!! Read all about it here:

They're on Facebook too!!!!! Check it out here:

Last Night's Activity

Yep, I had a car accident! Thank GOD no one was hurt (and I met some really nice people)!


How funny that Craig Groeschel thanked ME! God is good!