Monday, November 25, 2013

Wounded By God's People (Book Review)

When I saw the title of this book, I knew I had to read it. I'm so glad I could!
Have you been wounded by God's people? I have, and I know so many others who have, as well. People always hurt other people, but...somehow it's worse when the wounding is done by someone who claims to represent the God of love. 

Anne Graham Lotz does a beautiful job of speaking to the hearts of both the wounded and the wounders. Her retelling of Hagar's story is both relevant and poignant and her sharing of her personal experiences brings it all close to home. This book offers hope and healing and is a must read for anyone who fits the description of the title, Wounded by God's People. I'll definitely be loaning out my copy. 

Read on for more info:

Book Description

From bestselling author and daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham, Anne Graham-Lotz in her new book,Wounded by God’s People, uses the story of Hagar to help people move past their wounds and into the joy and fellowship of God’s presence.
Tucked into Abraham’s biography is the story of Hagar, a young Egyptian slave with whom Abraham had a son named Ishmael. Hagar stands out because she was wounded—not physically, but in ways that were as emotionally and spiritually painful as any injury to a body would be. Some wounds were provoked by her own behavior, but others were inflicted by those who considered themselves God’s people.
As Hagar’s story unfolds, readers discover that wounded people often become wounders themselves. While Anne identifies with the wounded, the unpleasant reality is that she also identifies with the wounders because she has been one too. She knows from experience that wounding is a cycle that needs to be broken. And, according to Lotz, by God’s grace, it can be.
Many have had similar experiences where they have been wounded. Whatever their hurts may be,Wounded by God’s People will help them begin a healing journey—one that enables them to reclaim the joy of God’s presence and all the blessings God has for them.

I highly recommend this book!  ~Jessica

Friday, November 22, 2013

Coming Home For Christmas DVD (Review & Giveaway)

The Winner Is: Vonnie! Congrats, Vonnie! :)

It is sooo hard to find a good Christmas movie, at least in my opinion. Most of them are really, really cheesy. In a desperate attempt to find something Christmasy to watch, we have seen some real stinkers. (Think Christmas Village. I think that's the title. My brain sort of blocks it out.) Some of the funniest, most popular Christmas movies are simply not family appropriate. (Again, my opinion.) I was pleased to discover that Coming Home for Christmas while corny and yes, a little cheesy in spots, was actually pretty good--even genuinely funny. We were able to watch it as a family without worrying about the content, and we all enjoyed it. Best of all, the messages about family, forgiveness, and finding true happiness were all there. 

Keep reading to find out how you can win a copy of Coming Home for Christmas!

After their parents separate, two estranged sisters who haven't been on speaking terms reunite in hopes that having a family Christmas all together for the first time in years will bring their Mom and Dad close again. They plan to do this in their old family home... the only problem is someone else lives there now.
The DVD includes a limited edition Norman Rockwell print!
Who is Norman Rockwell?  Rockwell was famous for his famous American culture illustrations and artwork. He was born in the late 1800’s and died in the mid 1900’s. 

Director: Vanessa Parise
Cast: George Canyon (Christmas Miracle, Dawn Rider, Man of Steel), Aaron Pritchett, Britt McKillip (Dead Like Me), Carly McKillip (Hot Rod)
Available at Walmart 
Soundtrack also available featuring holiday songs performed by George Canyon

Who is This Movie Aimed For?
The audience for this movie is primarily families, but would be enjoyed by couples and children groups as well.

Where Can I purchase This DVD?

To enter to win a copy of Coming Home for Christmas, simply comment below with the title of your favorite Christmas movie. That's it! :) The giveaway ends Next Friday night at 9:00 pm.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Audrey Bunny Book Review and Giveaway

The winner is: Susan Laney Borow! 

I don't know if I've ever related to a children's book quite like I did Audrey Bunny.

Too often, people feel rejected, unwanted, so far from perfect, and left at the "bottom of the barrel". If you have ever felt this way, you'll love this book and the sentiment it expresses. Through the sweet story and beautiful illustrations, your children will see how God loves them, even when they aren't perfect. He made them, after all, and He doesn't make "mistakes". Your child will have a new understanding of God's unshakable, unchangeable, unconditional love.

Another lesson your children will learn from this story is that everyone has inestimable value. Hopefully, they will see others who are "imperfect" through different eyes...God's eyes.

My daughters and I loved Audrey Bunny, and I'm sure you will, too. Instructions on how to enter are at the end of this post. 

More info on the book:
About Audrey Bunny
From best-selling women’s author Angie Smith (I Will Carry You, Mended) comes this sweet children’s book about a stuffed animal named Audrey Bunny who fears her imperfections make her unworthy of a little girl’s love. She'll learn the truth soon enough, and young readers will learn that everyone is special and wonderfully made by God.

[Also included]: The Parent Connection (last page of the book) shares discussion questions and activities reinforcing God's love for us.

Angie Smith is the wife of Todd Smith (lead singer of Dove Award winning group Selah), best-selling author of MendedI Will Carry You, and What Women Fear, and one of the most popular speakers and blog writers in the country. She holds a Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Vanderbilt University and lives with her husband and daughters in Nashville, TN.

Written by: Angie Smith
Publisher: B&H Publishing
Hardcover with jacket:  32 pages 

Stay Connected

To enter to win this beautiful book, simply comment below telling me the title of your favorite children's book. It's that easy! The Giveaway will end Tuesday, Nov. 5th at 5:00 pm.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Bash and The Pirate Pig (Book Review & Giveaway)

The winner is: Susan Borow! Congratulations, Susan! Thanks to everyone who entered!

I have another great kid's book to giveaway! Bash and the Pirate Pig is written for boys ages 8-14, byt my 11-year-old daughter loved it. Since Carrie was my reviewer for this one, I'll let her tell you a little bit about it.

Carrie's opinion:

The Farm of Doom!

Bash and the Pirate Pig is a funny story about two boys on a farm. They are cousins and they are both 11. They are very different. The oldest (by a few months) who is visiting his cousin's farm used to be sitting on his couch reading comic books and watching TV. Now he is tipping cows in the night, riding cows to a drive-through, and taking a cow to the fair with his silly cousin and some friends. To find out more about their adventures, you'll have to read the book yourself!

Mom's opinion:

First, I've gotta tell you that I love the way this book looks, feels, and smells. Seriously. It really is a beautifully bound book.

Second, I love that it made my daughter laugh, sometimes hysterically, while teaching her Biblical truths.

Third, I like the Parent Connection in the back of the book; a list of Bible verses, applications, and things to think about.

Here is more about the book:
About Bash and the Pirate Pig 

Bash and the Pirate Pig, by Burton Cole, is the story of a cranky city kid named Raymond "Beamer" Boxby who must spend summer vacation at his younger cousin, Bash's, farm. 

Beamer prefers air conditioning and video games. He can't see what good can come of this so-called country fun that includes riding cows, river rafting with a pig, or playing with skunks. 

But hang tight, Beamer, because Bash's zany adventures with his "Fishin' and Farmin' book" (The Bible) just might lead to the coolest discovery of all. 

About the Author
Burton Cole is a Pulitzer Prize nominated journalist with thirty years of experience and more than fifty humor writing awards to his credit. He grew up on a farm in northeast Ohio and attended a small-town church with a slew of cousins and buddies. That same boyhood inspires his colorful stories today. 

About the Illustrator 
Tom Bancroft has more than twenty years of experience in the animation and illustration industry and worked with Disney on films including Beauty and the BeastThe Lion King, and Aladdin. Other clients have included DC Comics and Big Idea Productions. 

Bash and the Pirate Pig 
Written by: Burton Cole 
Illustrated by: Tom Bancroft
Publisher: B&H Kids
Hardcover: 224 pages 

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Stay Connected
B&H Kids Facebook:
B&H Publishing Twitter: @BHKidsBuzz

Win a copy!
If you would like to win a copy of this delightful book for your child, grandchild, or any child, comment below this post. For more entries, you can like my Facebook page, share this giveaway, and/or subscribe to my email list. If you do any of these things, be sure to comment below telling me what you did. Comment for every share, like, etc., and you will be entered each time. :)  The contest will end Friday, Sept. 27th, at 8:00 pm.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless  I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising." 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Exciting News!

My daughter, Carrie, is a bookworm. Her favorite books are the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy mysteries, so she was very happy when I discovered a Kindle freebie that was a mystery, written in a similar style. The book was part of a series and was written by a new author, Paul Moxham. Carrie enjoyed the book immensely. I found more of Mr. Moxham's books and short stories for free or very cheap, and Carrie quickly devoured those, as well. In one of the books Mr. Moxham said that if his readers had any plot ideas, they could send them to him and, if he used their idea, he would name one of the characters in that story after the sender.

Carrie was hooked. She quickly came up with a plot, (a pretty good one, I might add) and sent it off to Paul Moxham. I warned her that she may never hear back from him; we didn't even know if hewas still  accepting ideas. The warning did nothing to dampen her enthusiasm, and she waited impatiently for an answer to her email. When Mr. Moxham replied, she was ecstatic!

Long story short, Paul Moxham, did use Carrie's plot, and created a character based on Carrie's description and interests. When all was said and done and Carrie read the preview Mr. Moxham emailed to us, she was over the moon! She was even more excited when she read that he might even use her character in a future story, as well!

And now, we wait for "her" short story, "The Mystery of the Strange Notebook" to become available on Amazon. In the meantime, you can get the first book in the series, The Mystery of Smuggler's Cove for free (Kindle version) through Sept. 16th! If you download this book, please leave a review on Amazon! Thanks!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Winner of Alone Yet Not Alone

The winner of  Alone Yet Not Alone is: Glenda Summers!

Congratulations, Glenda! Thank you to all who entered. You're the best!

Coming soon: A review and giveaway of a super funny children's chapter book about a...pirate pig...? ;) Judging from my daughter's reaction while she's reading it, it's downright hysterical.

Thanks again, everybody!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Alone Yet Not Alone (Book Review, Giveaway, and Movie Details)

My daughters were happy to be able to participate in today's review/giveaway. Since this was kind of their review I only skimmed the book, so I don't have much of an opinion on it other than it definitely looks exciting and, even though I read only a little, I could see that it had a wonderful message of hope and courage. There are eight pages of photos from the movie in the center of the book, and I know my younger daughter especially liked this. 

Keep scrolling for more info on this book, our giveaway, and the movie that will be coming to theaters on September 27th. 

"Alone Yet Not Alone is an exciting true story about two young girls who are captured by Indians. It tells about their strong faith even through the hardest times. Barbara, even when faced with the penalty of death, never gave up hope, and that is what eventually set her free. It's a story of faith, hope, love, and survival."  ~Brianna

"What I didn't like about this book: nothing. I loved this book. It's clean and very exciting. It makes you feel like you're there with them and seeing what they are seeing. It's easy to understand and is a very good book."  ~Carrie

About Alone Yet Not Alone (novelization):

Settled in the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania, deep within America's new frontier, the Leininger family celebrates the blessings of a beautiful homestead and bountiful harvest. That is, until tragedy strikes with the beginning of the French and Indian War and the devastating raid known as the Penn's Creek Massacre. 

The lives of this simple, God-fearing family are forever altered when Barbara and Regina, two young sisters, are carried away by the Delaware tribe. Driven by their faith in God and the powerful bonds of family, Barbara and Regina hold firmly to the belief that they are never alone, even in their darkest hour, and that they will be reunited again. 

Rich in historical details, Alone Yet Not Alone is an inspirational, true story of a family caught in the cross fire of the French and Indian War. 

About The Author: 
Tracy Leininger Craven loves history and retelling real-life stories in her historical fiction books. She also loves spending her free time in the great outdoors with her husband David and their four children.

Alone Yet Not Alone (the book)
Written by: Tracy Leininger Craven
Publisher: Zonderkidz 
Paperback: 148 pages 


About Alone Yet Not Alone (THE MOVIE):
Releases in theaters Sept 27th, 2013 - Find a Theater Here:

Families will love this film based on a true story!  Awarded 5 Doves from the Dove Foundation!


Starring: Kelly Greyson, Natalie Racoosin, Clay Walker, Jenn Gotzon, Joanie Stewart, Ozzie Torres, Tony Wade.

Stay Connected
Bring Alone Yet Not Alone to Your City


And now, for the GIVEAWAY!
One of my readers will win a copy of the book, Alone Yet Not Alone. We're keeping it simple. To enter, all you have to do is comment below this post. that's it; just say somethin'. To earn more entries, share this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, or on your blog. Please leave a comment for each time you share. The winner will be announced one week from today. Good luck! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

When Jesus Wept by Bodie and Brock Thoene (Book Review)

The familiar story of  Lazarus found in the Gospels is told from the perspective of  the man himself. Lazarus is the one speaking to us, the readers, describing the tumultuous political and religious climate of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas, (as well as the underlying strain in his own life and family) and telling of the Stranger Who is causing such a stir: Jesus. Of course, we already know that Lazarus dies and is resurrected, but "hearing" Lazarus describe how it happened and how he felt, in his own words, was pretty amazing. 

Knowing that Bodie and Brock Thoene are excellent authors, I was excited to review this book. True to their style When Jesus Wept was obviously well-researched and written straight from the heart. The Thoene's attention to detail and their ability to make the reader see, smell, and feel the surroundings described in the book is unrivaled by any other author. I was impressed with how they tied in Scripture and actual happenings with fictional characters and events in such a unique way. I found the subplot of Patrick the slave one of the most heartwarming elements of the book. The description of Jesus forgiving Mary and of her transformation were touching, and the Lazarus household's battle with locusts in their vineyards was quite suspenseful. 

I did find the book a little dry in places and hard to get into, and didn't really start to enjoy it until I was about halfway through. I didn't truly connect with this book as much as I had hoped, but I did find it though-provoking. It isn't the kind of book one reads and promptly forgets.

In my opinion, though beautifully written and true to the Thoene style, When Jesus Wept is not a favorite. I prefer their series, The Zion Chronicles.

Book Description

Lazarus occupies a surprising position in the Gospel accounts. Widely known as the man Jesus raised from the dead, his story is actually much broader and richer than that. Living as he did at Bethany, near Jerusalem, Lazarus was uniquely placed to witness the swirl of events around Jesus.
When Jesus Wept, the first novel in The Jerusalem Chronicles series by bestselling authors Bodie and Brock Thoene, unfolds the turbulent times in Judea during Jesus’ ministry, centering on the friendship between Jesus and Lazarus. With rich insights from vineyard owners and vine dressers, the Thoenes explore the metaphor of Jesus as the True Vine, harvesting the ancient secrets found in the Old Testament.
Weaving the life of Lazarus, who owned a vineyard, into the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ will help you understand it is the hand of Love Divine that holds the knife, that cuts and breaks with such tender and loving touch, and that we who have born some fruit, after the pruning, can bear much more.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, August 9, 2013

Earn Free Books and Bibles!

If you're like me, you're skeptical of clubs and programs that tell you to "just sign up and earn free stuff". Some of them, however, are legitimate, and this looks like one of them. I have just signed up and I'm excited to start earning points 'cuz, in my humble opinion, one can never have too many books, and a new Bible always excites me. This program also sounds like a great way to get some Christmas or birthday gifts! Interested? Read more info on the Tyndale Rewards program below!  

About Tyndale Rewards
The Tyndale Rewards program is designed to provide you with opportunities to get books and Bibles for zero dollars. That’s right—F. R. E. E. As a member of the Tyndale Rewards program, you’ll have access to inspiring literature, Bibles, special promotional offers, and much more.
Other member incentives include a free gift on your birthday, along with opportunities to share your persona recommendations and feedback concerning Tyndale products. The more participation you have with the program, the more points you earn—and points translate into free stuff!
The Tyndale Rewards program is a great way to get free books and Bibles that you can keep for yourself or give to friends and family. Your journey to earning free faith-based products is here!

Earning Points...
To refer your friends and earn points: First, you sign up  for free. Then click the “Earn Points” tab get your code from the “Invite a Friend to Join” section. 

There is no cap on the amount of points you can generate through referring friends to signup.

Redeeming Points...
Log in to your account on to see how many points you have collected in your account. Next, browse the product available for redemption. If you find a product you like and you have accumulated enough points, click the “Redeem” button.
Your Points will never expire!
A glimpse at the rewards to choose from....

After you join, be sure to share your link with your friends to earn more points. Have fun! ;)


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ring the Bell DVD: Review/Giveaway

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

As a Christian parent, I know how hard it is to find good, clean movies for family movie night. I firmly believe that more Christian films need to be made, and I applaud those who are working to fill that need. 

Ring the Bell is rated PG, though I can't imagine why. There is absolutely nothing objectionable in this movie. (The girl wears a low-necked top and a little cleavage is visible, but it isn't too obvious.) You can watch this with your family without worrying about having to turn down the volume or skipping scenes. There is no bad language, no violence, no suggestive jokes, etc. 

Now, I must give my honest opinion: while I enjoyed parts of this film, and though I was moved by it, I didn't fall in love with it. The acting seemed forced, the jokes fell flat, everything was far too predictable, and there was too much diologue. I'm pretty sure that younger children will grow bored quickly. However, there were some genuinely touching moments in the film, and the overall message was very good, and one that we all need to hear. 

To recap:

What I liked:

  • There was nothing offensive.
  • The music was good.
  • The message was fantastic.
What I disliked:

  • The amateur feel of the film, especially the acting.
  • It was too predicatable...too "perfect".
  • There was very little action and far too much talking. 
Overall, I think this is a decent movie with a great message that could be watched by the entire family. 

About Ring the Bell:

Ring The Bell shares the story of a slick, big city sports agent Rob Decker who seems to have it all. But on his latest mission to sign a high school baseball superstar, Rob becomes stranded in a small town where the simplicity of life—and the faith of the people—stand in stark contrast to his own fast-paced, win-at-all-costs mindset. Torn between these two worlds, will Rob have the courage to let faith transform his life? This heartwarming story of redemption is sure to entertain and inspire the whole family.

Ring The Bell features a host of well-known Christian music artists, such as Mark Hall along with his band Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Matthew West, all who play a role in this inspirational drama. Several former and current Major League Baseball all-stars are also featured in the film: ESPN analysts John Kruk and Rick Sutcliffe (a former Cy Young Award winner), along with Ben Zobrist.

This family-friendly movie was produced by Mark Miller, Beach Street Records' founder and Casting Crowns’ producer. Miller, who is also the lead singer and founder of country music group Sawyer Brown, co-wrote the script with Thomas Weber and Weber directed the production. 

Ring the Bell is available on DVD for only $19.99 

DVD Special Features:

The Heart of "Ring the Bell"
Casting Crowns “The Well” Music Video

On Set with Casting Crowns
Famous Faces

A Very Special Movie

Ringing the Bell

The Artists and Music of "Ring The Bell"

You have an opportunity to win a DVD of  Ring the Bell! Just leave a comment below about your favorite family movie, and you will be entered. The winner will be announced on Friday, July 5th. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Hey God, I've Got Some Guy Named Jonah in My Stomach....

Congratulations, Vonnie Warden! 
I'll get your mailing info and you should receive your new book shortly. Enjoy!!!

I'm having serious issues with Blogger today. I have no idea why there are random words over this picture. Argh.

Have you ever wondered how the whale felt when he swallowed Jonah? Have you tried to imagine what it would be like to be a fish with a human in your stomach? Yeah, me neither. But, I must admit, this is a fresh, unique, hilarious way to read the story of Jonah. This book, "Hey God, I've Got Some Guy Named Jonah in My Stomach and I Think I'm Going to Throw Up, is written from the whale's perspective. 

My younger kids (8 and 5) loved this book. My son giggled nearly all the way through! I must admit, I enjoyed reading it to them as much as they enjoyed hearing it. It's not too long or too short, making it perfect for story time  and the text is as colorful as the illustrations. The author does a great job of keeping the book comical, lighthearted and interesting for the kiddos while also bringing in the truths of trusting and obeying God, and the consequences that come about because of disobedience  There is a Parent Connection in the back with a Bible verse, reading suggestions, and "think" and "do" sections. I found this very helpful and a great way to turn a hilarious read into something for my kids to think about. 

What I liked:
  • The length of the book. 
  • The humor.
  • The manner in which serious subjects about trust and obedience were addressed. 
  • The Parent Connection in the back. 
  • In short, nearly everything. :)
What I disliked:
  • I was afraid that the book would sound disrespectful or irreverent because of the way God was spoken to. While reading it I was a little uncomfortable with that, but not as much as I thought I would be. It was fine. 
You can read more about this book and pre-order it here.

One of my readers will win one of these great books! Just fill out the easy form below. (This is my first giveaway using Rafflecopter. If you have any issues, please let me know and I'll do my best to correct them.)
Thanks for entering! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless  I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising." 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

New Blog, New "Project"

Hi! Thanks for stopping by.

I blog about homeschooling, parenting, and "life stuff" in general at It's The Little Things. Here, however, I will dedicate my posts to reviews and giveaways of books and DVDs, as well as other items from time to time.

There have been many times when I wished I could hear a fellow Christian mom's take on a certain book or movie. There may be sites out there that do just that, but I haven't found them. (If you know of any, please point me in that direction!) It's not that I think I'm better than everyone else; I can't stand it when people have a holier-than-thou attitude. I just want to be careful what my family reads and watches and I figure that a lot of moms feel the same way.

As I said, I may review other items from time to time such as homeschool curriculum, household products...who knows!

So, if you're interested in hearing a conservative, homeschoolin' mama's two cents' worth, stick around! It's going to be fun!