Showing posts from June, 2019

The Very Best Hands-On Kinda Dangerous Family Devotions by Tim Shoemaker

Do family devotions leave your family yawning from boredom? Good News. There is a new devotional on the market that will keep everyone awake and interested. The Very Best Hands-On, Kinda Dangerous Family Devotions by Tim Shoemaker offers a whole new style of family devotions.

The Very Best, Hands-On Kinda Dangerous Family Devotions has 52 devotions in it. Shoemaker encourages families to do one a week in the first chapter called, Ending the Stop and Start Syndrome. In this chapter Shoemaker offers 14 helpful tips to make these devotions more successful in your family.  After this chapter, each devotional comes with a supply list of things you will need, advance prep info, how to make the activity successful, how to teach the lesson, and how to sum up the lesson. These devotions are definitely out of the ordinary. The first lesson uses a leaf blower and toilet paper. Some of the lessons do take more supplies than others. Shoemaker offers tips on how to cut costs or how to share with ot…

Cross My Heart by Robin Lee Hatcher

Cross My Heart by Robin Lee Hatcher is the second book in the Legacy of Faith series. In this book, Ben Henning and Ashley Showalter meet through their mutual love of horses as Ben works to set up his equine therapy mission on his great-great-grandfather's farm. Ashley has the experience Ben needs to help find the right horses for the mission to be successful. While they both share a passion for horses, they also are afraid to share their secrets. Ben is a recovering alcoholic. Ashley's brother is an opioid addict. Are they both willing to share all of their hearts and to give love a chance?

While we read the modern story of Ben and Ashley in Cross My Heart, Hatcher also flashes back to share more of Ben's family history through the story of his family members during the early 1930's. This story is also emphasized through the family Bible that Ben inherited.I love that this family Bible takes a prominent place in each book in this series. I especially love seeing how o…

Mended by Blythe Daniel and Helen McIntosh

People used to tell my mom and I that we looked alike. As we have gotten older, we don't hear that a much. But while we may look alike, we don't always think alike or act alike. That can create some problems. Maybe you have similar struggles with your mom or daughter. Mended by Blythe Daniel and Helen McIntosh was written to help mothers and daughters have a relationship of restoration and healing.

Mended is co-written by a mother daughter team. Blythe is the daughter and Helen is the mother. Throughout the book, there are perspectives written by each woman. At the front of the book there is a forward by ministry leader and author Stasi Eldridge.  In each chapter, there is a mix of advice and personal stories from both Helen and Blythe. Helen has a degree in counseling psychology. At the end of each chapter there is an area called Mending Thread with questions to ask and prompts to help you think about how to make your mother-daughter relationship better. There is another shor…

Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett

In 1933  President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal helped employ young men through the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to give them a hand up through the Great Depression. Nate Weber was one of the recruits in Karen Barnett's historical fiction novel, Ever Faithful. He is one of the older young men in the first group to come to Yellowstone from the cities out East. What a change for these young men in so many ways.

Ever Faithful is set in Yellowstone National Park and is the third in her Vintage National Park novel series. (Each of these books is set in a different park and can stand alone.) Elsie Brooks is a ranger's daughter and spent much of her growing up years in Yellowstone.  The past few years she has worked in the park's hotels as a maid saving up for her college tuition to become a teacher. In Ever Faithful, Elsie gets some early teaching experience as she teaches the young men in the CCC camp and gets to know Nate. They also work alongside other young peop…

All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner

The year is 1967. Annie Jacobson's brother Mike enlists in the Army and becomes a medic in Vietnam. Annie's mother and father have been separated for years after his return from the Korean war left him with what we now call PTSD that he struggled to deal with. While Mike is gone, her father comes home. She and her younger brother, Joel, and their mother must find a way to pull together as a family in the face of a world that is changing in many ways. All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner is a rich, fascinating story of change and faith in the midst of growing into adulthood.

I am not sure I can pour out everything in my heart after reading All Manner of Things. This book touched my heart and soul. . .and, at one point, I was a puddle of tears. Finkbeiner has written a book so full of real characters that I did feel like I was one of the family living right along side them as they faced changing circumstances all around them. I found myself pulling for all of the characters…

The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman

Let's face it. Some days adulting is hard. On those days, it can be difficult to make a decision about what to have supper, let alone what step to take next to work towards find a new job or something big like that. The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman offers solid advice as you work towards making good decisions in your life.

The Next Right Thing contains 24 chapters FULL of advice and stories as you consider how you make decisions. Each chapter focuses on one aspect of a decision making process and ends with a prayer and a practice. The practice section gives you something practical to do to help you learn, grow and/or make changes and decisions. This is a book that I marked up and took notes in my journal. To get the most out of the book, you may want to use a notebook or journal to answer questions she poses along the way and to work on the practice exercises. Also, to get the most out of this book, I think for most people it is a book to read in bite-sized pieces rather t…

Who Will Play with Me? by Randall Goodgame

It is no secret, children love wagons and getting to ride in a wagon. Who Will Play with Me? by Randall Goodgame illustrates in cute, colorful pictures and rhyming verse how much fun it can be when two get together with a wagon. Doug the slug found a wagon at the playground. . .but he gets in and finds he cannot ride in it without a friend. He then learns how much fun it is to give a friend a ride when he offers to give Sparky the bug a ride. This cute story is based on Philippians 2:3, "In humility, value others better than yourselves." (NIV)

Who Will Play with Me? is such a cute story and a fun reminder of how to be a good friend to someone. This cute book is a part of the slugs and bugs series and is aimed at children 4 to 8 years old. The writing in this book is rhythmic and lyrical. I thought the rhyme was especially fun to read out loud. Who Will Play with Me? is not overtly Christian but it is a great a reminder to children to be kind and share, without sounding preac…

More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer

From the back cover of More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer:

After fulfilling a pledge to a dying friend, Zacharias Hamilton is finally free to live life on his own terms. No opportunities to disappoint those he cares about, just the quiet bachelor existence he's always craved. Until fate snatches his freedom away once again when the baker of his favorite breakfast treat is railroaded by the city council. As hard as he tries to avoid getting involved, he can't turn a blind eye to her predicament . . . or her adorable dimples.

Abigail Kemp needs a man's name on her bakery's deed. A marriage of convenience seems the best solution . . . if it involves a man she can control. Not the stoic lumberman who oozes confidence without saying a word whenever he enters her shop. Control Zacharias Hamilton? She can't even control her pulse when she's around him.

Once vows are spoken, Abigail's troubles should be over. Yet threats to the bakery worsen, a…