Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Dude's Guide To Marriage (By Darrin and Amie Patrick)

This post is more geared toward men but ladies, please pay attention too. You may need to buy this book as a hint to your hubby.

Is your wife well-loved? Is she getting what she needs from you? What DOES she want? Can you answer any of these questions? Dude's Guide To Marriage by Darrin and Amie Patrick will lead you toward answering these questions and so much more.

In this book, you will discover the ten skills every husband must develop to love his wife well. It is for men who want to grow and improve their marriage. It is for men who want their marriage to be better and to thrive rather than just survive.

The authors of this book, Darrin and Amie Patrick, are high school sweethearts and have four children. Darrin is founding pastor of The Journey (a large and growing church in St. Louis) and serves as the chaplain for the St. Louis Cardinals. They know a little bit about marriage and how to make it last and flourish.

The ten skills every husband must develop to love his wife well are:

  1. Listen
  2. Talk
  3. Fight
  4. Grow
  5. Provide
  6. Rest
  7. Serve
  8. Submit
  9. Pursue
  10. Worship
These skills are more than just the word they represent. The authors take you deeper into each part and how to utilize these skills in your marriage. At the end of each chapter there is a questions sections that will get you thinking about what you've just read. It allows the reader to better understand each skill and how to effectively use them each day.

I loved this book. I am giving it to my husband to read as well. Though I have a good marriage there is always room for improvement. No matter how long you have been married (or if you are newlyweds or engaged), Dude's Guide To Marriage will open your eyes to so many possibilities for your marriage to improve or to start your marriage off on the right track.

*I was given this book by BookLookBloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Sunday, January 17, 2016

instant HAPPY journal {By: Karen Salmansohn}

I love a good journal. I have so many at my house, it is ridiculous. I have a journal for gratitude, one for counting my joys, one for prayer requests, one for my favorite quotes, and so on. You get the picture. I chose to review the Instant Happy Journal by Karen Salmansohn because I need more happy in my life. I want to find every opportunity to be happy and to find happiness each day. This journal gives you 365 days of inspiration, gratitude, and joy all-in-one. I love it!

This journal is small and easy to carry around with you. There is also a ribbon book mark to help you remember what page you are on. For each day there are "happiness prompters". These include motivational quotes, scientific studies, and thought-provoking questions. I enjoyed these prompts because it forced me to notice and create moments of joy every day.

The pages are small enough that you don't have to write an entire book for the day. If you only have one or two things that made you happy that day, it is okay. The purpose of the book is to get you to start enjoying the little things in life. The things that make you smile but you never realized it before.

It was very easy to use this journal. I mean, who doesn't have five minutes each day to write down a few things that made them happy? She even includes prompts (as stated above) in case you have a hard time thinking of something.

I encourage you to find this book and use it daily. It will change how you think and how you remember each day.

*This book was given to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Just Show Up By: Kara Tippetts & Jill Lynn Buteyn (The Dance of Walking Through Suffering Together)

I have known many people who have suffered. Cancer, pain, grief, loneliness. It is all hard to go through alone. No matter how much you rely on God, having someone there to hold your hand and encourage you through it is such a blessing. In the new book Just Show Up, by Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn, they give you advice on how to be there for someone who is suffering. How to care for them, what to say, what to not say. You see, Kara Tippetts was that person suffering. She was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago. In March 2015, she went to be with the Lord leaving behind a husband, four children, and a huge gaping hole in so many hearts. I was given this book by Family Christian (through David C Cook) in exchange for my review (and I am very glad for it).

Kara Tippetts has shared her entire story on her blog Mundane Faithfulness since the beginning. Her husband (with the help of friends and family) continues writing there as well. I urge you to read her testimony before reading this book because there is so much to be gained from knowing her background.

"I've learned that real beauty
lies in the good that
comes out of the hard."
Being there for someone you love while they are hurting, suffering, or maybe even dying is the hardest thing to do. I struggle with chronic pain (due to thoracic outlet syndrome, degenerative disc syndrome, and other illnesses). No, I am not dying but some days feels like I could. People do not know how to react to me or what to say to me or how to help. When you look okay on the outside people don't take your illness very seriously. But, in Just Show Up we are given some very biblical and comforting advice about this exact subject. Since one of the author's was suffering and the other was the friend.
The story that is woven in this very special book is so bittersweet. I cried and laughed. I could not put this book down. I felt like it was written for me. Although I do suffer from illnesses that keep me from doing a lot of things, I can serve others who are also suffering in some way. I can be the hands and feet of Jesus through my mess as well. Those points are talked about in the book as well as how to cultivate friendships in the hard times, knowing when to keep silent, and when to give them what they need.
"Whether you're entering someone's
life before, during, or after suffering,
it's never too late or too early
to jump in."
I could go on and on about how wonderful Just Show Up is. No matter how much you think you may know about serving those who are hurting and suffering, this is a great read. You will learn so much about what it feels like for the person suffering to be served.
"Depending on how ill a person is,
offering to sit quietly at the
house with them allows the rest of
the family to do something outside
of the home without feeling as
though they are leaving their
person alone."
If you know someone who is suffering or facing something hard OR if you are the person who is suffering and need help, please read this book. It has comforted my soul and helped me to be able to ask for help and to help in a better and more giving way. This is one of those books that stays with you. It makes your heart open up to those around you. It makes you dig deep into the corners of yourself and find true service for others. I highly recommend this book!
*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own."

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Bible Is My Best Friend (Sheila Walsh)

I just adore Sheila Walsh. I have several of her books and was so happy when I was chosen to review her newest addition “The Bible Is My Best Friend” (it is a companion flip book to her devotional by the same name). Family Christian has this available on their website.

This little flip-book can sit on a desk or nightstand or coffee table. It’s purpose is to get children to connect to God’s Word daily. There are scriptures, challenges, small devotions, riddles, and so much more. There are 365 days of new biblical things to learn. The bible has so much wisdom and God wants us to know everything about Him. The only way to know more about Him is to read the bible and dig into His word every day. Making the bible your “Best Friend” will help you to become closer to God.

My children have enjoyed flipping to the new page each day. I have three boys and their favorite thing is riddles. Every time I get to a riddle they laugh and laugh. This little book was written for children so that they can better understand God’s Word and make it a part of their daily lives. They can memorize scripture and challenge themselves to become better Christians.

I highly recommend this companion flip-book for anyone with children. No matter if your family already has a devotional that you read each day, this book will go along side it and get your to think about what God’s Word says. My family has really been entertained by this sweet resource as well as grown fond of reading each new days information.

Monday, December 14, 2015

An Amish Christmas Gift {Three Amish Novellas}

Amish Christmas fiction is one of my favorite genres of books to read. The stories are so sweet and have a good moral compass. I was chosen (by Family Christian) to review a new book called An Amish Christmas Gift (Three Amish Novellas) written by Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid, and Kelly Irvin.

Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston:
Naomi is a sweet Amish girl who doesn't think love is in her future. Caleb is a widower with a daughter who is eager to learn the Amish ways of life. Caleb's daughter, Susie, meets Naomi at a farmer's market and the two become instant friends. Once Caleb meets Naomi he becomes very intrigued by her. He wants to know more about her. A true Christmas love story is in store for both of them as they discover how much they have in common and how much they both care for Susie. Caleb has a decision to make about his own future that could lead him away from Naomi.
I loved this story because it was easy to read and had an easy flow to it. I am a sucker for love stories that end well and this one is a winner.
An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid:
Abigail has a problem that has led her husbandless for many years. She loves talking. She gabs about anything and everything. After realizing her problem she decides she will just be single and save her money to purchase a horse so that she can sell pies in town. Her neighbor Micah's elderly grandmother needs looking after and she steps in to help. Micah notices that she just never stops talking...ever. It hits him one day that he actually cares a lot for Abigail. Instead of revealing his feelings he leaves her devastated right before Christmas. It is then that he truly reveals his feelings toward her.
The twist in this Amish story is that the girl never stops talking. Typically, Amish women are quiet and reverent but Abigail is opposite. That is the reason I liked this story so much. It was different that any other Amish fiction I have ever read.
A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin:
Frannie is sent to live with her Aunt and Uncle in Bee County, Texas because of her love for an Englisch farmer named Rocky. Her parents send her away so that she can forget about him. Her Aunt and Uncle have good intentions when they begin inviting Joseph, an Amish boy, over for meals. They believe Frannie will forget about her love for Rocky and go for an Amish marriage. As Christmas gets closer Rocky shows up to see Frannie and plead his case.
This was a predictable story but very sweet nonetheless. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. Through this story Frannie and Rocky learn about patience and love and God's timing.
There are discussion questions included at the back of the book for a book club. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish fiction and Christmas stories.

*I was given this book by in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Monday, December 7, 2015

Christmas Stocking Stuffer Ideas For The Whole Family

Every year I start brainstorming about what to put in our stockings for Christmas. This year I decided I would do a blog post with all of the ideas I have come up with for the entire family. Please feel free to print this list off and put it in your purse. Take it with you when you go shopping and check off everyone on your list.

Small Children:

Small metal cars (Matchbox or Hot Wheels)
Goldfish Crackers
Bubble Bath (These Veggie Tales Bath Toys are awesome)
Small Bath Toys
Hair Bows
Christmas Ornament (THIS one is my favorite this year)
Small Stuffed Animal (HERE are some ideas)
Board Books (HERE are a few from
Sippy Cup

Older Children:

Small Monster Trucks
Dum-Dum Suckers
Colored Pencils (The Twistable Ones are my favorite)
Paint Set (I like THIS set)
Doll Accessories
Themed Socks (Avengers, Disney Princess, Elmo, etc.)
Christmas Ornament
Card Games (HERE are a few ideas)
Flash Light
Reusable Water Bottle
Glow Sticks
Beginning Reader Books

Teenage Children:

Devotional (HERE is one for Girls and HERE is one for Boys)
Fun Socks (colorful or themed)
Nail Polish
Hair Accessories
Christmas Ornament
ITunes Gift Card
CD's (HERE is a list of Christian music that I love)
DVD's (Depending on your family's taste and guidelines, this category may vary)


Devotional (I love THIS ONE for my husband this year)
Books on CD (HERE is a list of my favorites this year)
Favorite Candy
Christmas Ornament (I was thinking of getting THIS ONE for my husband this year)
Travel Coffee Mug (I love THIS ONE for my husband this year)


Chocolate (Of course!)
Coffee Mug (I am in love with THIS ONE)
Panera/Starbucks GC
Christmas Ornament (I want THIS ONE!)
Earrings (Who doesn't love ARROWS?)
Christmas CD (I just purchased THIS Pentatonix is the best!)
Devotional (I want THIS ONE...hint, hint)
Scarf (I am loving this beautiful red SCARF)

Now, I know there are a lot of links here but I love They have everything you need for Christmas and more. It is one-stop shopping and it is a Christian organization that I trust. Some of these items can be found pretty much anywhere but ordering online (or you can look up your local store on their website) is so easy.

I pray you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

5 in 5 For Every Season (By: Michael Symon)

I love cookbooks and I love Food Network. I collect cookbooks and have so many I lost count. Michael Symon's new book 5 in 5 For Every Season (with Douglas Trattner) is a wonderful addition. I am a fan of Michael Symon's and love his way of cooking. In his new book, he goes through all four seasons plus the holidays. He uses 5 fresh ingredients plus 5 minutes of heat to equal 165 wonderful recipes for dinner, sides and more. They are all quick and healthy as well.

This book is organized by season with an entire section completely for the holidays. He has a section in the front of the book dedicated to the pantry. He lists all of the essential pantry items that he typically keeps on-hand. His use of fresh ingredients is the best part of this book. Using in-season fruits, veggies, and herbs keeps the recipe simple, delicious, and on a budget.

Some of my favorite recipes are:
  • Rigatoni with mushrooms & swiss chard (p. 20)
  • Four-egg omelet with ramps (p. 41)
  • Chicken breasts with strawberry & goat cheese salad (p. 72)
  • Breaded beef sirloin with zucchini & tomato salad (p. 82)
  • Grilled cheese with Havarti & apple (p. 116)
  • Mushroom philly cheesesteaks (p. 162)
  • Chicken breasts with bacon & brussel sprouts (p. 184)
  • Cheesy broccoli gratin (p. 216)
  • Leftover ham frittata with gruyere (p. 247)
Michael Symon includes different drink recipes as well. Some of them are alcoholic and some are not. They all sounded tasty. I am so glad I received this book. The recipes are delicious and I plan to make most of them in the future.

If you are a fan of Michael Symon's then you will love this new cookbook. Put it on your list for Christmas. It would make the perfect holiday gift.

*I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*