Review of Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal by Living Expressions Collection


 

Growing up I could always count on finding my mother writing in a journal,  a cup of coffee sitting beside her that had long since grown cold during the early, early morning hours. I admired her persistence in keeping to her routine of having her devotion time. Over the years I’ve tried following suit, but I’ve learned since I do not enjoy the wee hours of the morning, even after three cups of coffee. I also found, even though I thrive off the joy of writing fiction, I am not such a fan of writing in reflection to my own life. Still, it’s never stopped me from adoring a cute journal when I see one, or even occasionally buying one when I just can’t help myself. But something about those blank pages can be intimidating. I was far more comfortable bending to the artist in me and sketching my feelings onto paper. I may not have been putting my feelings into words, but I was still letting out those emotions that tend to bottle up inside of me. Just the feeling of putting pencil to paper without the obligation of thought helped relax my spirit. Little did I know there was a journal that could do just that.

 

When the opportunity arose to review Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal, I was actually very excited. Not only was its cardboard cover beautiful, but this journal also doubled as a coloring book! Each page turned opens up to beautiful designs and characters waiting to be filled with color. Within those beautiful black and white designs was a short devotional, and a page to journal your own thoughts.There’s even pages for those like me who enjoy sketching what they’re feelings. This is the perfect journal for a relaxing, carefree devotion time. How you spend your time in your journal is up to you. For me, when I first sat down with it, I pulled out my brush markers, found a page that intrigued my creative interest, and spent some time quietly coloring. The amount of time spent filling in the delicate empty spaces, and choosing which colors to put where, cleared away any train of thought i had going on, leaving me feeling peaceful, and in a way rather kiddish. I don’t believe God wants our devotion time to be a stressful time. He calls for us to be like the children. He wants us to come to him happily, and excited to be in his word, even if it means taking a few moments to color a picture.

 

-I received this book for free through Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of – Having a Martha Home the Mary Way: 31 Days to a Clean House and a Satisfied Soul by Sarah Mae


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Review of ‘Having a Martha Home the Mary Way’ by Sarah Mae
‘Having a Martha Home the Mary Way’ is your 31 day guide to a cleaner house and a more satisfied soul. In her book, Sarah Mae hopes to give you a renewed vision of what it is to have a clean home, and a calmer, more peaceful heart, starting’ when you set down that coffee cup and pick up your to-do list for the day. This 31-day plan is designed to teach you to not only care for your home but to also care for your heart. We all have that vision of the home we desire to welcome our friends and family into. How many of us often sacrifice our own peace and happiness in order to obtain that goal? Many of us struggle with the desire to give ourselves just an hour here or there to maintain our own peace of mind, but how often do you find your home suffers because of it. Sarah Mae’s book, Having a Martha Home the Mary Way is here to help you find that balance, but even more, neither you nor your home will have to suffer any longer.
Most people know the story of Mary and Martha found in the bible. Jesus was invited over for a visit by Martha. Upon Jesus’s arrival, Mary took to sitting at Jesus’s feet, while Martha went into host mode, busying herself with serving her guests. Martha and Mary laid a foundation for all women when it comes to housekeeping, and Sarah Mae kindly put that foundation into words we could all come to understand. Upon that understanding, you’ll come to find that neither Martha nor Mary were in the wrong on their approach to their evening with Jesus. You’ll see what I mean by following each day’s readings, where you will be given two challenges: a Mary challenge and a Martha challenge. The Mary challenges speak to your heart and the Martha challenges spur you into action. The purpose of these two examples is to get you moving and cleaning, but to also help you experience peace throughout the process. Sarah helps you to see that there is a place for both Martha’s and Mary’s approach, and that we should embrace a little of them both.
Sarah’s 31-Day challenge starts with ‘Prep Day!’. This one page chapter is basically a “get ready” read, alongside a supply list of things you will need to complete your challenges. Then, day by day, you will have a short devotional story and your Mary challenge, which consists of a verse for you to read and some questions for you to answer. Each question is designed to help you look deeper into yourself. Next, the Martha challenge where you will utilize that supply list we were excited to buy, but not so excited to use. Thankfully, this book was not designed to be a housekeeping boot camp. This book is designed to help you find peace in your day to day chores, and you will do just that. You will learn to take your chores day by day, not all at once. Day one leaves you with two simple chores to accomplish. Following your directions for the day, you will be given a few extra items to follow, as well as some extra tips, including a way for those of us with kids to help get them involved.
As well as teaching you to slow down and finding balance, this book is also designed to help you discover the type of housekeeper you are. In learning this, you will learn which cleaning styles work best for you, and how better to approach making your house into the home you long for. Sarah Mae does a really good job in helping us admit the type of housekeepers we are, as well as embracing ourselves for it. Some of us might be ashamed that we aren’t more organized, and that we don’t keep a strict schedule, and our house isn’t always dust free and guest ready. Others may spend so much time obsessing over cleaning and organizing that they forget there is a life outside those neatly decorated walls. No matter which category you fall into, there is always room to grow and something new to be learned. Even if all you take from this book is a better way to love yourself, it’s worth the read.
-This book was provided to me by Tyndale Blog Network for free in exchange for an honest review.

Review of “Pop Painting” by Camilla d’Errico


Pop Painting-Inspiration and Techniques from the Pop Surrealism Art Phenomenon
PopPainting
       Camilla d’Errico is a Pop Surrealist Artist who, in her book Pop Painting, has opened the door to her studio, and her mind, and given us all an up close look at the makings of her beautiful paintings. When you pick up this book, you aren’t just getting a step by step guide to painting, you are getting a personal one on one look at the process and techniques used by a wonderfully talented artist, Camilla d’Errico. You are getting a look at her studio environments, what inspires her, what started her with painting, her journey into the Pop Surrealism Art world, and how through it all she stayed true to herself as an artist.
         An artist myself, this book was so much more then I could have imagined it would be. It was as if Camilla herself was a close personal friend or mentor, her book is so laid back, and funny, as we as inspiring and encouraging. I’ve bought, borrowed, and checked out so many art books in my lifetime, looking for the one that would help me better myself as an artist. All had tips and tricks, the typical walk through/study guide, and how to’s. It’s easy to read a book that tells you how to paint with acrylics, but it’s not the same as actually seeing it done. Camilla gets down deep and personal, and delivers a complete step by step of her paintings.
        When I chose to review Camilla’s book, I hadn’t really spent the time to look into it, and upon receiving it I instantly became a huge fan of her work. I grew up a manga fan, and actually spent much of my childhood drawing manga, so there was no question I loved Camilla’s style. Within the first couple chapters you get to know Camilla more. Being an artist myself made it so easy to connect with her personality, and I literally found myself laughing and agreeing with every silly habit and artistic quirk she has. Again, it was like hanging with a good friend, she made reading her book so easy and so much fun.
      Camilla introduces you to Pop Surrealism, which was a first for me, as I knew art had it’s classifications, but I had never really read far into what art classified as what. Next you get to know Camilla a little more, and what it is to be an artist. Part of what I loved about her book, was amidst introducing herself, she manages to turn the focus on you, yourself, the reader. Next she starts walking you through inspiration, choosing color, creating titles for your work, and little tips and tricks to being a better artist.
       Her book is set up in two parts, Part 1, Chapter three is where she introduces you to the tools of the trade, her materials, or weapons of choice, when creating her masterpieces. Whenever I walk through a studios, fairs, or any place where I can get a up-close look at another artists work, the first thing that goes through my mind is; what brand of paint do they use? What brushes are their favorites? What surface is their canvas of choice? Do they free sketch their work first, or just put brush to canvas and hope for the best? Do they use water or a mixing medium? Literally, a million questions go through my mind. When I got to chapter three, my face was glued to her book like it was my bible. I was taking in every bit of detail I possibly could.
      When I got to the photos of her work station, or studio, I was all smiles. I love getting to see the work place of other artists. My dream is to one day have a real studio of my own, one I don’t have to clean off my living room or kitchen table when we have guests over, ha ha. Next, and I know this might sound silly, but I love studying another artists paint pallet. They way they arrange their pallet and mix their colors speaks to me in a sense. Art is just a beautiful process, and getting to read/see another artists process is just beautiful.
Camilla pretty much answered every question I would ask, all in a few chapters. She graciously opened up her studio to those silly, curious young artists like myself to admire. She covers everything from painting surfaces, to setting up and organizing your studio, to choosing the right place and/or lighting for your studio. Chapter five covers sketching, from sketching your inspirations into a book to getting it onto canvas. From there, chapter by chapter, Camilla walks you through building your work of art. Using her own paintings as a guide, she covers things such as, Composition, Blending, Light and Shadows, Depth, and So much more!
      Part 2 starts with Top Ten Questions people ask her, followed by Tips and Tricks, and then goes into Step-by-step examples. Now, I loved this part, of course. It really is the next best thing to watching an artist paint on You Tube. She goes through the entire process of painting her girls. She starts with their eyes, then the lips, their hair, and their skin, which, if you’ve ever tried it, is not as easy as it looks. Next she walks you through painting some of the animals you can find in her work, some special effects she uses, and some of her black and white work. Her book then finishes with her journey from Passion to Profession. She touches on how she learned to love painting, how she found a home in Pop Surrealism, and how she dealt with becoming a professional artist (as well as dealing with rejection).
      Camilla’s book now sits on my studio table at all times. It is definitely one of my favorite reads as of late. Most might think of artists as a special breed of human who can just put a brush to canvas and like the fairy stepmother’s wand just Bibbidi-Bobbidy-Boo, create a masterpiece. But it truly is hard work that takes loads of time and dedication. Painting is my passion, but some days I will find myself grumbling and pouting as I drag my feet, coffee in hand, and make myself sit down and work a piece. I have been up into the wee hours of the night, eyes held open by toothpicks, and my hand  barely able to hold a brush without cramping up.
     Then comes the nerves of delivering a piece you just spent hours upon hours pouring yourself into. Your heart is pounding, your palms are sweating, and part of you, a very delicate part of you, could break into tears any second as you wait to see what people will think of your work. Art is an emotional mess from beginning to end, a rollercoaster that takes you through inspiration, excitement, and ambition, to artist block, then frustration, want to throw your canvas out into the rain, or punch a hole through it, to I love it, it’s mine, it’s my baby, I could just stare at it for hours, followed by heartbreak, letting go, hoping, praying, trusting that those who adopt your work will love it, treasure it, and put as much care into it as you have. It’s a crazy ride, but we love it!
Thank you Camilla, for opening your heart, mind, and studio to an artist like myself, who has barely got her foot at the door, just waiting for an opportunity to open up so I might make a home in the art world for myself. You are an inspiration, and I am elated to have gotten the opportunity to review your book.
-I received this book for free through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Your best Destiny by Wintley Phipps


Your Best Destiny

Your Best Destiny by Wintley Phipps

Your Best Destiny, by Wintley Phipps, is a book on helping you become the person you were created to be. Based on the description on the back cover, this book is designed to help you find what you may feel you are missing in life. In this book, Phipps is to take you on a journey through eight secrets that are to help reveal your unique character and lead you into the most amazing life you could experience. Why did I pick up this book? I guess you could say, when I first set my eyes on this book it spoke to me. For a long time I felt I was lacking something in my life, a guidance of sorts. I felt a little lost, and I hoped this book could help me discover my true calling in life.

 

In the introduction, Phipps talks about how true greatness has nothing to do with wealth, power, position, or fame, and that greatness is not through what we do, but who we are. Something I have said my whole life, but struggle daily to believe. Phipps goes on to ‘Discovering Your Best Destiny’, where, in his first chapter, he discusses the big questions. Is this all there is?, Is this truly all you were destined to do?, Were you made for something more?, Does God have a bigger plan for you?, Is your picture for your life what God wants? All questions I’m sure we’ve all asked at point or another.

 

Phipps books strives to define the true meaning behind not only success, but how to achieve it by perfecting ourselves. He does so by focusing on what he calls our ‘Ethos’. He defines our Ethos as our personality, character, emotions, guiding beliefs, habits, ideals, attitudes fundamental values, and lifestyle. Our Ethos, he says, is our soul fingerprint, and what ultimately shapes our destiny. He helps us fine tune our Ethos through his next eight chapters; Belief, Virtue, Self-Control, Perserverance, Sacredness, Kindness, and Love. In closing, he walks you through the ‘Prescription for Transformation’, and finally ‘Your Supreme Destiny’. Following the end of this book is said to be an online Your Best Destiny Personal Assessment Tool (Which I had not been able to access at the time). If you don’t have the time for the personal assessment, at the end of each chapter he does provide questions to help you apply his teachings to your own life.

 

My first impression upon starting this book was that it wasn’t quite what I was expecting it to be. I had a vision on the impact this book would have on me personally, and in the end found myself looking for a bigger connection with it then I had. It’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the book, or that I didn’t take anything from it, but that I just didn’t follow along with his teachings like I would have liked to. Phipp’s definitely touched on good topics, made good points, and gave great advice. I was very encouraged by Phipps’s words, but I don’t feel I walked away with much more then that. There were a few things that may have come into play. Some of his chapters seemed a little jumpy, going from one topic to another quickly. There was less then a page per topic, which made it hard to pull yourself into what he is saying when you were having to change your focus so quickly. I think i’m just drawn to more deeper studies, and this book may have just been too light of a read for me.

 

I would definitely recommend to anyone interested in reading this book, to take your time to really absorb each chapter, answer each question to the fullest, and really dig deep into each of Phipp’s chapters, and how you can apply his teachings to your own life. I do feel there is a lot to be learned from this book, and it will speak to many of it’s readers, and touch many lives. There is a reason I picked up this book and I want to do right by it. For that reason I will be rereading it, and hopefully by taking more time I will find what I was seeking for when I first picked it up.

 

-I received this book for free through Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and reflect only my personal feelings.

A review of- Doodletopia Cartoons by Christopher Hart


 

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Review of Doodletopia Cartoons, by Christopher Hart

When I came across Doodletopia I knew I would get this book, but not just for myself, but for the purpose of drawing more with my kids. Since my kids could first pick up a pencil, they have desired to draw and paint just like mom. I do what I can to encourage them, but often find it hard to create the time to sit and draw with them. I was so excited to review this book, for I recalled my younger artistic self always with a pencil and paper in hand, ready to draw, but not always knowing what to draw. Sometimes I would skip out on drawing all together, for lack of ideas. What I lack in my ability to draw as well as I paint, I blame on my lack of practice when I was younger. I now know, you don’t always need a purpose or reason to draw, you just need to do it. Any form of drawing will better your skill. This book will will be a fun way to get my hands and brain moving when I’m having one of my blank spells, or just need something to doodle.

 
Christopher Hart has many, many books on drawing, from books on Doodling, to books on the Human Figure, all ranging in skill from beginner to expert. When I got the opportunity to review this book, I jumped on it, with pure curiosity, to see how one can create a book purely on doodles. Christopher Hart starts his book with the basic guidelines to drawing a cartoon face. The center line and eye line are the most common way to start the layout of a face. He then moves on to warm ups, building easy character out of basic shapes. His step-by-step examples make it easy to learn the basic form used for drawing cartoon characters and people. The last step he leaves you to draw your own character or person following his example. This page also comes with a witty tip to enhance your drawing skills. I must say, one of the things I liked about this book was the casual yet humorous narration given by Christopher Hart. He practically gives each of his characters a life and personality of their own. Some of his phrases, I feel, are more directed at teens or young adults, so I wouldn’t consider this book for young kids outside of the drawing aspect.

 
The chapters following this each give you practice in drawing, from copying the other half of a character or scene, to drawing different expressions, a section where you can choose and design a different animal from the same outline, or play dress up by drawing the clothes on characters already drawn out for you, and even a calligraphy portion, which we can all admit was probably the most common form of doodling during your school years. Who hasn’t written in bubble letters before? My son’s favorite section of this book, of course, was the “Draw your own Inventions” chapter. My son aspires to be an inventor of sorts, and he already spends his days drawing up inventions. In this section, Christopher gives you a part of an invention, and leaves you to come up with the rest. I feel it will be a great way to inspire my son to draw more, and help encourage his creativity. Altogether, I’d say Christopher Hart did a good job creating a book that will inspire creativity in people of many ages.

 

 

-I Received this book for free through Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions given are strictly my own.

Agents of Babylon by Dr. David Jeremiah-review


 

 

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Review of Agents of Babylon by Dr. David Jeremiah

 

Agents of Babylon is one of three books Dr. David Jeremiah wrote on the end times using prophecies found in the Bible. In Agents of Babylon, Dr. David Jeremiah focuses on prophecies given to Daniel during his lifetime. Before I go too much further, one thing I found you must remember while reading this book is that it is one man’s opinion, and further, he in no way states that the fictional section of his book on Daniel was to be taken literally word for word. It is merely an example of what it would have been like to be Daniel during his lifetime. I have become a big fan of historical fiction, especially in relation to biblical characters. I first came to love this form of writings when I discovered Mesu Andrews, particularly her book “The Pharaoh’s Daughter”.

 

These books are one authors opinion, and I feel the purpose of these books are less to provide you with a history LESSON, and more so to provide you with a WINDOW into the lives of these great people of history. It’s meant to help you to see and feel what they “might” have seen and felt during their day to day lives. That is how I felt while reading Dr. David Jeremiah’s fictional view on Daniel’s life. It was like being pulled into my own Bible, and living out his life through his point of view. Sure it may not have happened just as Dr. David wrote, but how else would we get the chance to see the life of Daniel in such a way, and who better to provide us with a glimpse into that world but someone who has the knowledge and talent to do so.

 
Dr. David Jeremiah lays out his book in such a way that he gives you a brief fictional preview into the life of Daniel in each chapter, and then breaks off into a factorial breakdown of the story, using scripture and outside sources to backup the events of that chapter, for those of you who prefer reading facts over reading fiction. You get the best of both worlds. For instance, chapter one “The Hostage” is about a nine to ten page fictional story of Daniel’s capture and his first days in slavery. It is quickly followed by “The Scripture Behind The Story” where Dr. David Jeremiah divides up the story into sections, explaining each section for you using scripture and his own studies. I especially liked the great detail he went into explaining the events of Daniel’s life, such as the changes he and his friends had to go through as they adjusted to life as slaves. Daniel and his friends literally had their lives ripped from them, and most of us wouldn’t have thought twice about what that was like. It’s amazing to see it all though Daniel’s eyes, and knowing that through it all, Daniel never let it change who he was in Christ.

 
Each chapter takes you further and further into the books of Daniel. Dr. David Jeremiah slowly starts piecing together the connection between Daniel’s story and the end times, starting with King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. As we all know, there are aspects of the bible that can be connected to actual events in history and then there are parts of the bible, such as King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream which Daniel describes, that can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. Dr. David Jeremiah goes into great definition and detail with all these things, such as the dream, using many different supporting scriptures and sources. He continues to do this throughout the book as he slowly walks you through Daniel’s life. I am no theologian, and don’t aspire to be one, so for a simple person whose only desire was to learn more about Daniel and the end times, I found myself very impressed with this books ability to deliver both a fictional and factorial view on these things.

 

Eventually he ends with Daniel 11:36-12:3, and the visions given to Daniel concerning the end times. Using the prophecies given to Daniel, and supporting scripture from elsewhere in the bible, we are given a good picture of what to expect, and what to do with the knowledge given us about the end times. But amongst all this information, Daniel was eventually told, “…not to waste time delving more deeply into the prophecies, that they simply wouldn’t be fully understood until they came to pass.”

 

With that being said, Dr. David Jeremiah ends with these simple instructions: PROTECT THE PROPHECY – study it, understand it, and obey it, PROCEED WITH YOUR LIFE – don’t let the end times become an obsession, don’t just sit around and wait for it to come to pass, and PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE – put your trust in the Lord, and most importantly, serve Him in everything you do. We are to continue living our lives with the knowledge that the end times are near, but also to continue living actively for the Lord. If you don’t yet know what that looks like, then what better example could be given to you then the life of Daniel. And what better way to learn of him then through this book.
-I received this book for free through Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Learning To See Creatively -review


Find it on Amazon

 

Review of Learning to See Creatively by Bryan Peterson

LEARNING TO SEE CREATIVELY (Third Edition)- Design, Color, and Composition in Photography, by Bryan Peterson, was first published in 1988. His newly revised edition was the first of Bryan Peterson’s books I’ve read. Being an amateur photographer, and an artist, I found his book to be a breath of fresh air compared to the many other photography books I’ve come across. With me not being a pro in any way, his simplistic layout, and his step-by-step explanations that walked me through his book made it not only easy to comprehend, but gave me a personal look into the mind of what I can tell, from my own opinion as well as other reviewers, is a great photographer and teacher. Not everyone can afford a one on one photography class with such a teacher, but most anyone looking to learn, or become better at, photography can afford a great lesson in just under 20 dollars.

I personally took an interest in this book for it’s title, although for me, it would read “Learning to see MORE creatively”. I’ve always had the eye, but not always the skill, and this book brings those two things together beautifully. Bryan Peterson answers all the questions a self-taught photographer like myself would have. He first breaks you into the book by focusing on, what else, but, “What Do We See?”. This first chapter is a perfect example of what the rest of the book looks like. You open up the chapter to see an array of images, the same image, just different perspectives. Each image is of a different view, depth, or lens. What Bryan does, is he shows you the different options a photographer might have in taking a photo, and then shows you ways you might make it better. He does this using his own point of view, explaining how he might go about taking such photo, and does this with a walk through of what he uses as far as camera, lens, shutter speed, exposure, and so on. It’s like being in the mind of a master.

Following through the first chapter, Bryan takes you on a walk through different lens, each lens he provides you with a photographic example, and another step-by-step walk through. Next chapter, he introduces you to the more creative side of things, the “Elements of Design”. Here, he covers Line, Shape, Form, Texture, Pattern, and Color. This is where the artist in me exploded with excitement. For so long I had thought photography was supposed to be about subjects, particularly people or animals. My eye, on the other hand, was always drawn to the more abstract side of life. It’s where my most favored photos came from. The book really opened my mind to see, just like with art, there is no limit with photography. There is just finding a way to build on the gift you’ve been given, in a way that all the world can see it and enjoy it.

Chapter by chapter Bryan goes on to explain the basics in photography, such as composition, contrast, light, editing, and Photoshop. Each and every chapter of his he provides an exercise, a chance for you to pull out your camera, and put your own skill to work, as well as to help you learn what your own vision and color composition is. Bryan does a wonderful job reaching out to you, the student, and helping you build your skill. Even the more skilled photographer has a chance to open their eyes a little more and learn a thing or two. It’s a great refresher book all around, and one I was very pleased to review.

-I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and views are my own.

The Pharaoh’s Daughter, by Mesu Andrews


My Review of “The Pharaoh’s Daughter” by Mesu Andrews

Pharoah'sDaughter

My Review of the Pharaoh’s Daughter: A Treasure of the Nile Novel- by Mesu Andrews:
I have heard a lot of things about biblical fiction, had read many reviews, but had yet to give one of those books a try. Until I came across The Pharaoh’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews. I had never read one of her books, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of this one. I had always been fascinated by Egypt, it’s history, and it’s stories, and I just had to get my hands on this book. When I saw it for review I snatched it up without a second thought. First thing Mesu does is explain that she has done her research, biblical and historical, and apologizes for anything she may have not gotten right. First off, this is fiction, so my mind was being transported into the world that Mesu Andrews built with her own words (not a history book), and secondly, not once did I lose fascination with this story and think, “hmm, that’s not right.” I was too transfixed on this amazing story of Annipe, who goes on to become the mother of Moses.
For some reason, this story took on a whole new feeling of excitement and fascination for me. I believe it was the idea that this isn’t just some made up fiction story that bubbled up inside some author’s imagination. Although that is partially true, it was the idea that this was a retelling of a real point in history, and though the story may have been different, the chance to get to read, imagine, feel, and almost become a part of the life of Moses and his mother, to see them come to life, it was just beautiful. Mesu did an absolute wonderful job with her choice in characters (although some were hard to grow used to), and her descriptions of their homes, surroundings, and lifestyles. It was so neat to get to experience that.
This book is very strong at points, from violence, graphic descriptions of things such as childbirth, deaths, wars, tragedies of slavery and so on, it may be more suitable for those of an appropriate age to understand those things. Otherwise, I love how in depth you become with the characters. Getting to follow along with Annipe through her life, from a young child, to the woman, and mother, she becomes, and her facing all her fears of life, love, childbirth, being on her own, becoming a mother, being a n egyptian, and discovering new faith, it really brought that character to life for me. All of us feel that way and face those fears at some point in our lives. It is just so neat to get to follow Annipe, Moses, and the many other characters you come to know, through a story I had only really known from the Biblical standpoint, and stories told as a child, or retold in cartoon renditions.
Although in the end it is fiction, fiction is what I’ve come to love, and to put that together with the Word of God, it made this book join my many other favorites on my nightstand. In my opinion, I would have a hard time putting a character such a Moses on paper, to bring him to life, give him a voice, and replay his life in my own words. I think it takes a lot of strength and courage to take such an important person, and important point in history, and a place such as Egypt, and to put that all together into a book you know people will ultimately question or critique. I admire Mesu for having that talent, ability, and courage to do so. I absolutely loved this book, and look forward to reading more from her collection, and especially those books that have yet to be written. 🙂

-I received this book through blogging for books, and Waterbrook Multnomah, for free in exchange for an honest review.

My Sing-Along Bible: 50 Easy-Read Stories + 50 Fun Bible Songs- by Stephen Elkins


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My children absolutely LOVE that I review books, almost as much as I love it, but for one reason, every now and then I get a new children’s book for them to help me review! This time, it was My Sing-Along Bible: 50 Easy-Read Stories + 50 Bible Songs, by Stephen Elkins. When we first opened the book, the kids were super excited to see a disc. Of course, their first thought was a movie! But I showed them how to the disc was a disc of music to go along with their book. My children loved the idea, and for a long time they sat in their room, taking turns holding the book, and trying their best to sing along.
After the excitement subsided, it was a blend of emotions for both of them. My four year old, who doesn’t know how to read enough to follow along with the book, and my seven year old who can read, but was trying to understand what part of the book the disc was singing, and when it was repeating the choruses, and each child wanting to be the one to hold the book. 🙂 My oldest son eventually got his fun out of it, but my daughter still loves to play the music and try her best to follow along with the book. She really enjoys it.
As for the book: At the top of each page is a brief story, followed by the song, a picture, and a “Little Lesson”. For instance, once chapter is God Created Families. It has a “Let’s Read” section that explains how God created the first family with Adam and Eve and gave them a special blessing called children. Then there’s a verse, Joshua 24:15, “As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”, followed by the song, “My Family Matters”, and lastly the “Little Lesson” which is that “God created my family”. On one page is an illustration of a family spending time together by a pond. The book has a lot to offer, and is a great family time book. My daughter enjoys it on her own as well, and loves the music, even if she can’t quite read yet.
The only issue we came across with the book is the disc case, which is a plastic piece that I believe is supposed to hold the disc in place. From the moment we opened it, the disc came sliding out. It was supposed to open from a sticky flap on top, but one of the sides of the plastic was completely open, allowing the disc to slide out. Obviously a manufacturer malfunction, and an easy fix for us. Aside from that I could not find anything wrong with the book itself, and am glad to add it to my children’s library.

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review

Flash, The Homeless Donkey Who Taught Me about Life, Faith, and Second Chances- Author Rachel Anne Ridge


My review of Flash-

Flash

So I have a handful of books to choose from to review and I’m instantly drawn to this book with the cover of an adorable donkey holding a daisy. Part of me sat there and thought, “hmmm, could I really read an entire book about a donkey??” And so I go on to read the back cover, “Meet Flash: a quirky, unconventional hero with gigantic ears, a deafening bray, a personality as big as Texas, and a story you’ll never forget. It’s the heartwarming true tale of an irrepressible donkey who needed a home – and forever changed a family.” And so, being a foster mom of my own rescues, this book had already pulled at my heartstrings. Then being about an adorable donkey, of whom I’d take into my own home in a heartbeat, I answered my question, “Yes, I could totally read an entire book about a donkey!”

From the first chapter in, Rachel Anne Ridge, and her wonderful gift of storytelling, had me hooked to her story of this poor donkey who came wandering onto their property in the dead of night, and had both her and her husband (though really just her husband) doing anything and everything to get this stubborn animal up their driveway and into the safety of their pasture, where it would stay ‘ONLY’ until they could find it’s owner. Little did Rachel and her husband know, this donkey would make that pasture his home, and from that point on he would then carry them through one hardship after another.

Day by day, week by week, Rachel and her husband are doing everything to keep their family business afloat, as well as their home and kids. Morning after morning, Rachel looks out over the pasture and their mystery guest, who has by now become a beloved member of the family, and she ponders life. As she does this, she starts to realize there is more to this donkey then just some plain, grey, lazy animal, with little purpose in life but to cause problems, and pave dirt paths through their pasture. She starts to see the animal God created, who may have been plain and grey, but who was also a blessing in disguise. From the moment she decided to give Flash his name, and claim Flash as her own, she found God slowly speaking to her through him.

“…somehow, He was using a donkey to lead me to a simple truth.”
We are all going through things of our own in life, and often life tends to look plain and grey. We find ourselves desperately trying to “Live the Dream!” or reaching for that next “Exciting Chapter in Life!” but life is never that easy, and not always that colorful. So we sit back and think, “what am I doing wrong?” or “what is wrong with me?” or “what can I change about my life”. We allow the enemy to feed us lies, and we allow life to beat us down, and we become so blinded by life’s’ expectations that sometimes we even beat our own selves down. In doing so we overlook the small blessings in life, because we are so busy trying to fix the “donkey problems” as Rachel puts it.

In her book she says, “I wondered about all the “donkey problems” I faced in life. The times I thought, “If I can just figure out what I’m good at, or, If I could just change this relationship, or, If I could make a whole gob of money.” Then she goes on to say, ” I realized how often I made the mistake of thinking that ‘fixing’ things was what the journey was all about.” And Flash teaches you a great lesson about that, and many other things. You’ll just have to read it for yourselves! 😉

This book came at the perfect time in my life. It was like God gave me a Flash of my own, just when I needed him the most, and all thanks to Rachel Anne Ridge for sharing Flash with us through this absolutely wonderful read! I can not thank her enough, as an aspiring artist, mother, wife, and animal lover and foster mom , I was able to relate to her story in so many ways. Her story touched my heart, and it is one I know I will revisit again and again. Anytime I feel my heart get heavy, or life’s stresses pulling me down, I just look at this cover and smile. Thank you God, for this donkey who has given me a reason to smile, and the many smiles he will share with all those who choose to read this book, and share in his story.

Thank you Tyndale House Publishers for this review copy that I received in exchange for an honest review! 🙂