Melissa Spoelstra’s ‘Total Family Makeover’ Family Fun Night Giveaway

Begin to build your family discipleship and become the key disciple-makers in your children’s lives with Melissa Spoelstra’s new book, Total Family Makeover.

George is two. In the short time we have been in year two, we have seen George explore his emotions and who he is as an individual. With that has come tantrums and unfortunately George being a bully. There have been days where I wonder if he will ever learn to listen.

This book could not have come at a better time to give me hope and encourage me as a mom of a spirited young man.

There were a couple statements that really resonated with me.

  • My son’s behavior is not a report card on me as a parent. She went more in depth about where this will lead you, and I sat in tears realizing this is what I had become. I was comparing myself to other mom’s because my kid was hitting. I was doubting how to control this little being, and I was extremely embarrassed.
  • Along with that, God is the perfect parent, and we disappoint him regularly. I do at least a couple times a day. So how can I expect myself to be perfect and raise a perfect child? That is just setting myself up for failure to have that expectation on myself.
  • It is a different mindset of shifting how our kids respond to things to how we are actually teaching them. In other words, I need to focus on my spiritual direction in order to be able to train George.

This book has a great format too. It makes it really easy to pick up and read for the practical ideas and not feel weighed down by text.

Spoelstra weaves in scripture with practical activities for you to explore for modeling and training. I really like this aspect because I can be really dense sometimes, and at the end of the day when I am reading before bed, sometimes I just need someone to tell me the bottom line.

With George’s increase in communication and sense of awareness, Tom and I have talked at great lengths at what we want to model and hopefully instill in George as a Christian family. We want him to learn about Jesus and have compassion for the world, and these are definitely things we can start now even though his sentences consist of two words or just “No” or “mine.”

While I believe this book was intended for moms, Tom and I are really using it to give us a better foundation as parents and set the tone as a team. It has opened our eyes to different things we should be considering and habits that we should be creating now. It also reaffirmed some of the things we were already doing. To be honest though, it is hard to think about being responsible for your own spiritual development as an adult, but then to tack on the daunting task of helping a child build their own concept of God, it can be a lot. This was great to see that our worries are common and reaffirmed that we are on the right track. At the end of each chapter there are discussion questions that we can talk about and that has been great for our marriage as well. While we have been together for 10 years, we learned a lot by going through this book together.

And the examples she gives where invaluable for me at least. I love to hear what other parents do so that was my favorite part of the book.

There is a lot of scripture throughout which I think would lead this book to be a great Sunday School class option or for any new parent class that a church may do. If anything it would be a great gift for a baby shower.

This book is great. I didn’t feel like I was getting lectured to; it was more like getting coffee with a mentor. It is filled with ideas and things that just make sense. It focuses on the basics of establishing values, and to me that is so much more important than how to teach my kid how to dress himself. (Although that is a basic that eventually I would like for him to fully master.)

Disciples are made, not born. Whether your children are babes in arms or teenagers getting ready to leave the nest, making disciples at home starts with you! Give your family a makeover with this practical approach to helping your children learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Plan an evening of fun, pizza, devotionals, and games with your family! Melissa is giving away a Family Fun Night Prize Pack.

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One grand prize winner will receive:

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Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on October 7. The winner will be announced October 10 on Melissa’s blog.

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‘Like a River from Its Course’ Book Review and Kindle Prize Pack

Travel back in time in Kelli Stuart’s new novel, Like a River From Its Course, as the city of Kiev is bombed in Hitler’s blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union. This sweeping historical saga takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little-known history of Ukraine’s tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives. Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River From Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.

I really could not say enough about this book. I loved it! It is a definitely 5/5 for me. This is by far the most compelling time period for me to study. I took a class specifically on the Holocaust, and it is always so humbling to learn more about the harrowing stories. What I liked about this book is that it is showing how non-Jews were also affected, and in a different setting than Germany. These were Ukrainians and one German who were greatly impacted by what was asked of them during this time. It showed how destructive Hitler’s mindset was and how far-reaching it was.

Stuart did not shy away from the vulgarity and realness of what these people saw. While they were all fictional, I definitely felt that she had done her research to honor the true stories. It was very respectful. The characters were all different ages; some from different families. I liked this twist of showing four completely different perspectives on the same war. You get to saw raw emotions, and she writes them so well it’s as thought you are watching it all unfold.

This is a story about love, hope, faith, and redemption. It discusses how people triumphed through the painful and atrocious ways they were treated. This book shows how even in that darkness there were still glimmers of love and friendship that carried them through. I really appreciated those light moments where you could see how the relationships were so impactful to make change.

I would highly highly recommend this. If I was teaching sociology or history still, I would seriously consider making this a suggested reading. It was so good. It definitely reads as fiction. But with the history aspects, I think it would definitely be good for a book report or spark in-class discussions.

Celebrate the release of Like a River from Its Course with Kelli by entering to win a Kindle Fire Prize Pack.

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One grand prize winner will receive:

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Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 18th. The winner will be announced July 19th on Kelli’s blog.

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Book Review-Anchor in the Storm (And Giveaway)

I did receive this book complimentary from Litfuse Publicity Group for my review. These thoughts are my own.

 In a time of sacrifice, what price can one put on true love? Pharmacist Lillian Avery and Ensign Archer Vandenberg are about to find out in Sarah Sundin’s new book, Anchor in the Storm. During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves—and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions Lillian has been filling? As the danger rises on both land and sea, the two must work together to answer that question. But can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?

That is a snippet from the blog tour. Sounds intriguing right?

I read the first in this series almost a year ago, and I was excited to see this book come up! Here is my review on Through Waters Deep.

Unlike the first book, Anchor in the Storm I was able to get right into. Since I already knew the characters and the setting of the book, I was ready. I really enjoy Sundin’s writing style of back and forth between the two main characters.

This book was also a little different because it broached the world of disabilities with Lillian and the effects and stigmas of PTSD with Arch. Since PTSD is something that hits close to home for us, I really enjoyed reading the perspective written here. Even though it was fictional, it made me really glad that there have been a lot of changes for our military members, but it also reminded me that we still have a long ways to go to serve this population well. Just because you have PTSD doesn’t mean you can’t be a fully function member of society. But I digress.

Anyway, back to the book. I rate this one a 4/5. I honestly liked this one better than the first. It is a fun read with intrigue and romance.

I love the style of the women being heroines and being independent. The story does tell a lot about the push back of women moving into more traditional men’s roles, and I love the strength portrayed by these female characters.

 This is a great read for a WWII fictional time piece. What I liked about this was it really hit on how the home-front was affected. I think a lot of times when we look at WWII pieces, it focuses on what was happening overseas, so this was a different spin on that time. I was not disappointed, and I was often thinking about the book when I wasn’t reading it.

Celebrate the release of Sarah’s Anchor in the Storm by entering to win her All Hands on Deck Prize Pack!

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One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A signed copy of Anchor in the Storm
  • Nautical tote bag lined with anchor fabric
  • Anchor necklace made from copper reclaimed from the USS Constitution in Boston during restoration
  • 365 Devotions for Hope by Karen Whiting
  • Shine: Nautical Inspirational Adult Coloring Book
  • “Hope Anchors the Soul” journal
  • Set of two nautical tea towels
LF AIS full group 2

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on June 8th. The winner will be announced June 9th on Sarah’s blog.

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Book Review-Through the Shadows (& Give Away)

I did receive this book complimentary from Litfuse Publicity Group for my review. These thoughts are my own.

I was really excited to pick up this book because it is not my typical historical fiction era. I don’t know much about the west coast development, so I was intrigued by the setting of this book alone.

This book is part of a series, which I did not realize until about a third into the book. I think it very much can stand alone since each book is written from a different character’s perspective. The only reason I realized that it was the third book in the series is because I looked the author up on Goodreads to see what else she had written because I was enjoying it so much. Because “The Golden Gate Chronicles” didn’t tip me off…whoops.

Like I said I really enjoyed this book. It was based in San Fransisco at the turn of the 1900s a couple years after a devastating earthquake. It follows the King family, but most specifically Elizabeth King the youngest sibling.

Throughout the book, you see Elizabeth trying to figure out who she is and get over some secrets of her past. She is trying to make up for past transgressions by getting involved in a mission that houses Chinese girls who were rescued from the slavery of the time. I really liked her spunky attitude and how she defied the role of a woman at that time to do something she believed in.

Charles McKinley is the other main character, who is also trying to make a name for himself as a new lawyer in town. He is attempting to change the crooked politics of the city but obviously hits road blocks along the way.

Charles and Elizabeth’s stories intertwine throughout the pages, and you can’t help but root for them in their quest to change the status quo. I think it is a great read about characters (especially for that time) fighting against inequalities and corruption.

There are a lot of things that went well for this story line. It is quippy and there are many references to faith. Barnett doesn’t give you all the pieces to the story at once, so that sense of mystery keeps you turning the pages. It was like she would give you little nibbles in the midst of this great buffet of information that made you want to come back for seconds and thirds. I was drawn in quickly with the believable plot and how the characters related. I wanted to know more, and I would think about the book when I wasn’t reading it. This is why I give this book a 5/5 rating.

If you want to read a book that gives you hope and is a little different than your mainstream historical fiction, this is a great read!

Lucky enough for you there is a giveaway going on for the book!

Follow this link to check it out:  https://promosimple.com/ps/99f1

What have you been reading lately?

Book Review-Sit Stay Love

I did receive this book complimentary from Litfuse Publicity Group for my review. These thoughts are my own.

A book about dogs, baseball, and romance? I mean really, how could I say no to this book?

This was a fun light read. It was very easy to get into, and I read it in a few days.

This story is about a professional baseball player who inherits an elderly dog after his mom passes away. He hires a dog sitter since he wants nothing to do with the animal (how dare he!). Tippy, the dog, is a comedic thread throughout the story. She brings the sitter and the baseball player together even though their worlds are miles apart. Here is a simpleton dog sitter trying to maneuver through this very public sports figure’s world.

The characters are highly relateable. The author touched on loss and how your past can negatively impact your present. Sometimes things happen to us that cause this dark cloud to remain over us if we let it. We see how these two characters come to rely on each other and Tippy to move to a better place. I thought how they spoke to each other was real and honest. I felt really connected to Gina, the dog sitter. Some of her thoughts could have been my own. She was a girl after my own heart. I laughed out loud a lot reading her perspective on things.

The only part that I didn’t like was how the author described their physical reactions to each other. Note it was nothing real in depth or highly sexual. I just thought it was slightly awkward how she would describe them as distant and having known each other for only hours/days, and then the next page he was stroking her face or hair. I felt that their physical intimacy was weird with the other context of how she wrote their personalities. It just didn’t seem to make sense all the time.

Other than that tidbit, this was a great little afternoon read that I thought was funny and a nice change of pace.

I rate it a 3/5 on my meter. Good but not great. If you love baseball and dogs, I would recommend it. I love that I read this right around opening day!