Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Heart of the Country... a book review AND contest!

Heart of the Country

Heart of the Country, by Rene Gutteridge and John Ward, is a modern-day retelling of the Prodigal Son.  In this book there are two prodigals who are unknowingly lost and don't realize it until life knocks them down.... literally to their knees.

born and raised in a wealthy New York City family 
His life set before him, if only he reaches and grabs hold.

a daughter of a country family. 
Mother dead.  Father aging.  Distant and aloof sister.

God-ordained collisions... 
a Ponzi scheme which rocked Wall Street
a parent's impending death

Life can be hard.  We all know that because we have lived through some pretty bad situations.  In Heart of the Country, we are drawn into the lives of Luke, Faith, Olivia and more as they first assert themselves, then as they learn to lean on God and family to see them through their personal trials.

Rene Gutteridge and John Ward have done a remarkable job bringing these characters to life, so we can relate to them and share their burdens, hopes, and dreams.  I love reading books that I can internalize and learn from.  Thanks Rene and John!

Here are two of my favorite chunks of wisdom from the book:

"Sometimes 'all we had' is not close to 'all that could be.' 
Sometimes you have to lose the thing you think is perfect
to see the better thing on the other side."
How many times do I settle for second best?  Why do I fight so hard to be 'right'
instead of forgiving and letting the past go?  Why do I fail to see the GOOD
God has waiting for me if only I trust in Him?

"Not gone.  Just temporarily removed.  God promises that one day
all of our tears will be wiped away.  Until then, we dig our way
through this mess (daily life) with our hands."
As a believer, I know I will see my loved ones again in heaven.  Until then,
I need to go about the work God has given me while here on this earth.

Now, on to the Heart of the Country CONTEST...

If you buy the ebook for $2.99 (retail $13.99) by March 15, 2012, you will receive a code that will allow you to enter the 'Star for the Day' contest.  The grand prize winner and a guest will be flown to the set of the film, stay in the cast hotel, and get the full movie-set experience with all the other cast members. They will have a star trailer, go through wardrobe, makeup, and hair, and have a speaking part in a scene of the movie Heart of the Country!  And remember, the contest ends March 15, 2012.

Click HERE to purchase the ebook from ibookstore, Amazon,, or Barnes and Nobles.  Then, enter your contest code for a chance to win the grand prize!

So, go ahead.  Purchase a great book at a terrific price and enter to win your chance at being a star!

I received a complimentary copy of Heart of the Country from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review.



Saturday, February 25, 2012

1 Peter 3.13-4.6 Bible Study


1 Peter 3.13-4.16 teaches us the importance of "Standing Strong When Wronged."

We are all living in tough times --- the current economy, advertisers targeting our children with immoral ideas and pictures, the increase of 'living together' in lieu of or in place of traditional marriage, etc.  For Christians in our times, we are called to live a life pleasing to God; one that brings Him glory and wins others to Christ.  This means living a life witnessing to God's glory!

Sue Edwards asked the following questions:

Do you tend to compartmentalize your life into segments (life at church, at work, at home, with friends, etc)?   YES.

If so, why do you think you do this?  I can try to fulfill the expectations of that given group.  This makes it easier to fit in... be like everyone else. 

Why is it sometimes difficult to integrate your spiritual life into all aspects of life?  I don't feel I am a good witness for Christ.  I know this is faulty thinking, but I don't want to turn people away from God, so I remain quiet.  Also, I fear how others will respond to me, especially if I feel it may bring any type of confrontation.

How do you witness to God in all areas of your life?  Am I the only one who feels this way?

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander."

1 Peter 3.15-16

If you are following along in 1 Peter, what has God been showing you?

Thank you to Kregel Publications for this complimentary copy of 1 Peter to complete my reviews.



Sunday, February 19, 2012

1 Peter 3.8-12 Bible Study


This week we studied what a healthy community of believers should look like.  I don't know about you, but it almost seems too hard to do this side of heaven... or is it?

What words describes a healthy church?

How do the members act?
devoted to and honors others
accept others for who they are
serve each other in love

God has given us simple directions to obtain peace in our churches and families. 

Psalm 34.12-16 states:

"Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and His ears are attentive to their cry;
the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

Pursue Peace!

If you are following along in 1 Peter, what is God showing you?



Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tuna Salad


I like a simple tuna salad to go with my honey wheat bread!  This recipe needs only a couple items along with a bowl and stirring spoon.


tuna fish
onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste


1)  Dice onion.  For 12 oz tuna, I used 1/2 of a med/large onion.

2)  Combine tuna (drained if using from a can), onion, and mayonnaise.  Add enough mayo to make it creamy or to your own personal preference.

3)  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well.

4)  Enjoy!  I love this with my honey wheat bread... scrumptious!

Cook Family Recipes.  Chef / Author: Ellen C.

This post may be linked to the following food blog hops!



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Matt - Eagle Scout


Our son, Matt, enjoyed his Eagle Scout Court of Honor last Sunday.  After months of planning and completing his Eagle project, he sailed through his Eagle Board of Review last November.

I can't wait to see what exciting plans are in his future!

Congratulations!  We are so proud of you!

Matt pinning the "Mom" and "Dad" pins on us....





The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

When I woke up this morning we were enveloped in fog. 
I grabbed the camera and snapped off a few pictures. 
Hope you enjoy the pictures and  poetry!



Saturday, February 11, 2012

1 Peter 3.1-7 Bible Study


This week's lesson revolved around submission and beauty.  What caught me was Peter's description of a beautiful wife.

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 

~ 1 Peter 3.3-4

Sue Edwards asked these questions....

When do you feel beautiful?  What do you think has influenced this assessment of yourself?

Nothing like hitting to the heart of low self-esteem / self-confidence.  Brutal honesty doesn't allow me to answer positively.  Why?  Because I believe the culture in what is considered beautful, not what God considers beautiful.  Unfortunately, it seems easier to believe the world. 

How might your life change if you adopted God's assessment of your beauty and ignored man's? 

I need to focus on God's truths about me, not the world's.  How?  By immersing myself in His word and repeating it over and over again until my mind and heart believe.

If you are following along in 1 Peter, what is God showing you?



Breath of Angel... a book review


ISBN: 9780307730138

Categories: Juvenile Fiction - Science Fiction, Fantasy, Magic

Book Description:

The stranger’s cloak had fallen back, and with it, a long, white, blood-stained wing.
When Melaia, a young priestess, witnesses the gruesome murder of a stranger in the temple courtyard, age-old legends recited in song suddenly come to life. She discovers wings on the stranger, and the murderer takes the shape of both a hawk and a man.

Angels. Shape-shifters. Myths and stories—until now.

Melaia finds herself in the middle of a blood feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm. When Melaia becomes a target, she finds refuge with a band of angels attempting to restore the stairway. But the restoration is impossible without settling an ancient debt—the "breath of angel, blood of man," a payment that involves Melaia’s heart, soul, and destiny.  (

Click HERE to read Chapter 1 or HERE to see the video book trailer! 

Karyn Henly has also written a study guide for Breath of Angel.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

I love Christian fiction and historical fiction; I usually don't choose to read from the fantasy genre.  Breath of Angel is fantasy / science fiction.  The book cover drew me in, so I decided to give it a chance. 

Halfway through the book, I realized I needed to STOP trying to draw parallels to the Christian walk.  I kept wanting to seek out the Christian symbolism to help me find the moral of the story.  Once I sat back and read for enjoyment, I was then pulled into the story.  Melaia, the main character, represents a strong young woman who braved evil for good to prevail.  Her character alone would keep teenage girls enthralled.

Breath of Angel is the first book in the Angelaeon Circle series from Karyn Henley.  The second book Eye of the Sword continues the story of Melaia and Trevin as he tries to prove his worth to her and the king.

Date available: March 13, 2012

Click HERE for more information or to purchase these books!

I received this complimentary book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.



Monday, February 6, 2012

1 Peter 2.11-25 Bible Study


This past week reminded me how to be a witness for Christ in my actions, attitudes, and words with everyone I come in contact with outside my home --- in society as a whole.

Peter is writing to Christians and us as we live in an increasinly un-Christian world.  We live in a time where true beliefs do not show in actions, attitudes, or words.  Many people give 'lip service' to God, but then live their life under their own terms - not God's. 

How can I, a believer in Christ, live in the world as a light to Jesus' glory?

First, I need to shadow Jesus.  Learn His ways of dealing with hardships, difficulties, hostility, and submissiveness to those in authority.

Then, I need to model His behavior and reactions in my own life.  Only then, will I be an effective witness to Jesus Christ during my time here on earth.

"Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong,
they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us."

1 Peter 2.12



Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hot Sausage Gravy n' Biscuits


I love sausage gravy and biscuits!  I mean, who doesn't?  This recipe is so simple that even my
non-cooking daughter could make this!  Here we go...


1 lb. hot breakfast sausage (such as Tennessee Pride or Jimmy Dean)
4 TBSP all-purpose flour
4 cups milk (I use 1% milk)
10 Biscuits


1)  Brown the sausage in a fry pan.  When cooked through, add flour and mix well.

2)  Add the milk.  Bring to a slow boil and reduce heat to medium/medium high.

3)  Stir continuously.  This is when your gravy is thickening.  Take off heat when it is to your desired

4)  Slice/pull apart warm biscuits into two halves and smother with sausage gravy.

5)  Enjoy!

Notes:  I don't make this very often because I will eat the whole batch!  Not good.  If you don't like the spicier flavors, use mild sausage.  I do not recommend the maple flavor as it doesn't seem to blend well with the milk.  Since I don't cook before 12 noon, I make breakfast for dinner; hence, the scrambled eggs were added to our sausage gravy and biscuits.

Cook's Family Recipes.  Author/Chef: Ellen C.



This recipe may be linked to:
Cookbook Sundays, Savory Sundays, Recipe of the Week, Hunk of Meat Monday, Makin' You Crave Monday, Mouthwatering Monday, Mangia Mondays, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Monday Mania, Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Tuesdays at the Table, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Night Supper Club (2nd Tues of the month), Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Hearth and Soul Hop, Tasty Tuesday Link Party, Made from Scratch Tuesday, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, This Week's Cravings, Delicious Dishes, Foodie Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, What's On the Menu Wednesday, Made it on Monday, What's Cooking Wednesday, Recipes I Can't Wait to Try!, What's on Your Plate?, These Chicks Cook, Whisking Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Ultimate Recipe Swap, It's a Keeper, Slow Cooking Thursday, Twisted Thursday, Taste-tastic Thursday, Fun with Food Friday, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Friday Potluck, I'm Lovin' It, Fusion Fridays, Foodie Friday, Sweets for a Saturday, Simply Delish Saturdays, Link and Greet Party

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Waiting for Filippo and Into the Unknown... book reviews

After reading Indian  Captive, I was reminded how much I miss reading picture books with elementary-age school children.  So, to remedy that, I perused my bookshelf and located
Into the Unknown and Waiting for Filippo.

Into the Unknown: Major Powell's River Journey introduces you the man and the adventure of canoeing down the Green and Colorado Rivers to map the canyons.  With only ten men and four boats, these brave souls pushed off into the unknown on May 24, 1869.  Three months and more than a thousand miles later, the men had emerged from the great unknown, The Grand Canyon.

This is another wonderful early American history reader.  Major Powell's journey occurred after the Lewis and Clark expeditions which received much coverage.  Take a peek, you may just find a gem of a book for you and your child!
Waiting for Filippo: The Life of Renaissance Architect Filippo Brunelleschi- A Pop-Up Book

Waiting for Filippo is a well-written biography on the life of the Renaissance architect Filippo Brunelleschi.  Even though he was born into an upper class, his parents allowed him to pursue his dreams and giftings.  His natural talents for the arts led him on an exciting career.  Beginnning as a goldsmith apprenticeship and ending as the architect who build the dome and crowning lantern for the Cathedral of Florence.

Did I mention... this is a 3-D pop-up book!  How cool is that!


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