Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Waiting for Wonder: Learning to Live on God's Timeline {Book Review}

It is one thing to read a Christian inspirational work where the author takes her experience, discusses it, and refers to verses from the Bible to strengthen her writings. It is an entirely different level of depth that is found when an author takes experiences & people from the Bible, discusses them, humanifies the person, explains how God grew them and used them, and THEN blends in her own story after having laid down a biblical foundation. Marlo Schalesky accomplished this example of depth in her book, Waiting for Wonder.

Schalesky focuses on Sarah and the way she had to wait not just for a child, but also for the land God had promised. While Schalesky's key focus is Sarah, she also focuses on other biblical characters who learned, grew, and were used by God. The biblical characters (especially Sarah) become even more meaningful when Schalesky presents her personal experiences and relates them back to what God was teaching Sarah. It is a fantastic writing style, and I truly enjoyed this book.

**I received a copy  of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.**
Waiting for Wonder: Learning to Live on God’s Timeline (Abingdon Press, November 2016)
What if, in this waiting, God is calling us to more?
It’s easy to believe God when a promise is new. It’s hard when the years pass and nothing changes. It’s even harder when desperation strikes, your plans backfire, and still God does not fill the emptiness. But what if, in this waiting, God is calling us to more?
Join author Marlo Schalesky on a unique, contemplative journey to reveal the wonder that is often missed when we find ourselves struggling to wait well. Walking through the life of the biblical character Sarah, one who knows what it means to wait, you will discover a glimpse of God’s character that will give you strength to keep hoping and praying for the desires of your heart.
Waiting for Wonder is a journey into the heart of God where you will wrestle with personal questions, think deeply about God’s true character, and learn to appreciate His divine work as you discover your own path to the promised land. Recapture your hope, restore your soul, and renew your vision of a wondrous Savior when you learn to live on God’s time.
Leader guide also available.
Marlo SchaleskyMarlo Schalesky is an award-winning author of ten books, including "Wrestling with Wonder: A Transformational Journey Through the Life of Mary." A regular speaker and columnist, she has also published nearly 1,000 articles in various Christian magazines, including "Focus on the Family," "Today’s Christian Woman," "In Touch," and "Marriage Partnership." Marlo lives with her husband, six young children, nine horses, two dogs, five cats, two parakeets, ten rabbits, two chinchillas, three hamsters, and a bunch of fish in a log home in Salinas, California.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Great Resource as we Pray with Purpose

Intentional prayer--it's a reminder we shouldn't need, and yet we do. Pray A to Z is a great resource for how to pray with purpose, with passion, and to pray beyond ourselves. While it gives specific prayers, it is also written in a way you can still keep your prayers very personal. It is a good book for the longtime believer, yet also a great gift to give a newer believer who doesn't have much knowledge regarding the power of prayer.

**I received a copy  of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.**

Pray A to Z: Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community (Worthy, November 2016)
Change the world one prayer at a time.
How would our community change if instead of absently saying, “I’ll pray for you,” we actually did pray–deeply, intensely, and purposefully?
Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Praying for Your Community will help you topically organize your prayer requests and lay the burdens of your community at the feet of our Heavenly Father.
With compassion and encouragement, Amelia Rhodes offers Bible verses and prayer prompts, organized topically for every letter of the alphabet. There are five topics per letter–three prayers of petition asking God to work in a certain area of need, and two more prayers of praise to reflect gratitude for God’s presence in the daily issues and relationships of life. Through petition and praise, your specific, focused communion with God will lighten your heart as you place the heaviness of those prayer requests where they belong–on His strong shoulders.
Whether you are praying for a friend’s adoption journey, a neighbor’s bankruptcy, or a family member’s cancer, this book will give you Bible verses, prayer prompts, and prayer starts to guide you through praying for even the most difficult issues that affect the people you know and love. Perfect for either individual or group prayer, Pray A to Z will help you experience the peace that comes from communicating with God.
Amelia Rhodes
Amelia Rhodes is a speaker and author of "Isn't It Time for a Coffee Break: Doing Life Together in an All-About-Me Kind of World." Amelia's writing has also been featured in four "Chicken Soup for the Soul" titles, devotionals for the OneHope blog Undeterred and the international devotional "Upper Room." Amelia has a growing speaking ministry and speaks regularly to women's groups on topics of spiritual growth, friendship, and community, offering practical tools for living our faith in the everyday. She lives in Lowell, Michigan.

Monday, December 19, 2016

ScriptureDoodle God’s Promises: A Six-Week Devotional Experience {Book Review}

This book is great for yourself, or perfect as a gift! I have both ScriptureDoodle's by April Knight; my 7th grade daughter oohed & aahed over them, so I gave her this one. She absolutely loves it, and it's been a true delight as a mom to look through her book and see all the ways she is learning, growing, and being creative in learning scripture! I enjoy it, too, but because so many reviews focus on adult women utilizing this book, I felt it important to focus on how much I recommend it for junior high, high schoolers, and young adult women as well.

**I received a copy  of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.**

ScriptureDoodle God’s Promises: A Six-Week Devotional Experience (David C. Cook, December 2016)
ScriptureDoodle God’s PromisesSome of the most incredible stories in the Bible are of God’s promises and faithfulness to His children.
ScriptureDoodle God’s Promises refreshes believers who are feeling burned out or stuck in a rut in their relationship with God. Each of the creative worship prompts in this interactive guide includes biblical encouragement and ideas for worship through art. Artist April Knight includes creative lettering tips, color ideas, and completed examples to inspire readers to respond to promises in Scripture related to trust, faith, and the power of God’s Word in all circumstances.
This unique blend of Bible study and creative expression provides the opportunity to connect with God as Creator in a new, life-changing way.
Learn more and purchase a copy.
April Knight
April Knight is a worship artist based in Asheville, North Carolina. Knight’s work includes live worship painting and leading ScriptureDoodle workshops online and at conferences and retreats around the country and internationally. Her family of four is her greatest joy, along with serving alongside her husband at their local church.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Trust My Heart {Christian Romance Novel--Book Review}

I don't read Christian romance novels very often (or romance novels of any kind actually), but I was intrigued by the plot line as the synopsis held a little bit of mystery within the book. Trust My Heart is a very sweet read; it holds layers of nostalgia, loss, hurt & sadness--but it also holds hope. And the combination of those elements helps bring depth to the conflicts, storylines, and character development--especially main characters Grant and Jami. For more information about the book, please read the author's synopsis. It is a wonderful book, and I highly recommend it.

*I received a copy  of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.**

Trust My Heart (Waterfall Press, October 2016)
Grant McAllister arrives in Murphy, North Carolina, with one aim: to sell his inherited property and leave as quickly as possible. 
The big-city lawyer has no interest in his late, estranged grandparents or the dilapidated mansion he just acquired. After his high-profile divorce, he should be avoiding perky reporters, too. But Jami Carlisle is honest, funny, and undeniably appealing.
After breaking up with her safe-but-smothering boyfriend, Jami is determined to ace her first big assignment. A story about the McAllister estate is too intriguing to ignore—much like its handsome, commitment-phobic heir. Thanks to her digging, the pieces of Grant’s fraught family history are gradually fitting into place, but also upending all his old beliefs.
The two draw closer as they share their dreams, until misread signals and misunderstandings begin to test their trust. But in the unspoiled beauty of the Smoky Mountains, there’s healing and forgiveness to be found. And for Grant, this unplanned detour may be just what’s needed to finally guide him home…
Carol J. PostFrom medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special-events decorating company, Carol J. Post’s résumé reads as if she hasn’t yet decided what she wants to be when she grows up. But one thing that has remained constant through the years is her love of writing. She started as a child composing poetry for family and friends, then graduated to articles for religious and children’s publications. Now she pens fun, fast-paced inspirational romance and romantic suspense stories. Her books have been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Book award and selected as an RT Top Pick. When Carol isn’t writing, she enjoys sailing, hiking, camping—almost anything outdoors. She also plays the piano and sings with her music-minister husband. Their two grown daughters and their grandkids live too far away for her liking, so she now pours all her nurturing into taking care of a fat and sassy black cat and a highly spoiled dachshund.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Great Gift Idea for Moms {40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood}

"Littles are asleep, tea is brewed, and colored pencils are ready." 
~Rockin' My Mom Jeans Facebook post, September 23, 2016

What a fun way to have some creative quiet time with God! The devotional aspect itself would've made for a sweet book for mamas, but the coloring adds the opportunity for depth, growth, and a lengthier time of solitude. 40 Day to a Joyful Motherhood would definitely make for a fantastic Christmas gift!

*I received a copy of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.**

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood: Devotions and Coloring Book to Nourish Mom (Abingdon Press, August 2016)
Nourishment for a mother’s soul through 40 days of devotion and . . . doodling! 
Wouldn’t it be marvelous if mothering came with a concrete set of instructions—an easy recipe we could follow? Instead, motherhood challenges women to find their faith, their true selves, and their family through daily doses of trial and error. It is a brilliant and healing time of life that is full of joy, pain, and beauty with a small side of crisis (and humor). What mothers do not know, they learn. And through this lifelong process of learning, they nurture and care for the most precious gifts on earth: children. In a modern society where moms often have a full and busy plate, these 10 minute daily devotions focus on six key topics of motherhood:
—Reconciling with grief, hope and expectations
In addition to the devotions, these beautiful pages are adorned with handmade illustrations to help you refresh from long days or even occasional sleepless nights. So, grab your colors and a little quiet time for yourself while doodling at the kitchen table. You will be grateful you did!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Great Book for Kids to help develop their own faith!

What a brilliant book for kids! It does a wonderful job of creating a very interesting storyline for tweens as they get to become a junior detective....but it isn't written at all in a way that is childish or condescending. On the one hand, the students are trying to find out information about an old skateboard. And on the other hand, the students go through information about Christ- did he really raise from the dead? Are miracles real?-and the interweaving of the two separate topics flows in a way that is extremely natural and interesting.
I have read this book, and will be giving it to my kids--I'm certain they will like it. More importantly, I hope that the book helps them look beyond what we teach at home and what they learn at church, & come to their own understanding that Jesus truly is who he says he is.
*I received a copy of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.**

Cold-Case Christianity for Kids(David C. Cook, October 2016)
Between the ages of 8 and 12, kids often start to wonder if Christianity is true. 
In Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, detective J. Warner Wallace draws readers into the thrill of high-stakes investigation by showing them how to think rather than telling them what to think. In this children’s companion to the bestselling Cold-Case Christianity, detective Wallace gets kids excited about testing witnesses, examining the evidence, and investigating the case for Christianity. Includes author illustrations and links to a website where kids can download activities, fill in case notes, and earn a certificate of merit.
Learn more and purchase a copy.

J. Warner and Susie Wallace have been training young people in the church setting for over a decade. J. Warner is a cold-case homicide detective who has been featured on Dateline, FOX News, Court TV and other crime-related television shows. A former atheist, he is the author of Cold-Case Christianity: God’s Crime Scene and Forensic Faith. He has a master’s degree in theology and is the founder of ColdCaseChristianity.com. Susie has a master’s degree in speech pathology and co-writes (and edits) all the kids books in this series. J. Warner and Susie have four children and live in southern California.

Great Final Books for Charmed Amish Life Series! {A Sister's Wish & An Amish Family Christmas}

I had read the first two books in the Charmed Amish Life series, and had hoped this third book would be well-developed, too. Whether it's due to the writing style, the plot, the character development, or my previous investment & history with the characters, A Sister's Wish is my favorite. Within each book after the first one, Shepard Gray chose main characters I did not expect for the newest storylines. Each time it caught me off-guard, but then I appreciated the way she took a pair of minor characters and creates a storyline unique to their relationship. In A Sister's Wish, Amelia Kinsinger is the young sister who now gets the spotlight, alongside her brother's best friend--Simon Hochstetler. Although Simon is a great guy, a troubled past and time away from the Amish community have Amelia's family declaring the relationship off limits. It's a great look at sibling dynamics, grace, forgiveness and love, and I truly enjoyed the book.

**I received a copy of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.**

An Amish Family Christmas is the 4th (and sadly final) book in The Charmed Amish Life series. The final book focuses on Levi Kinsinger, who has recently returned to Charm and to the Amish community. During his absence his siblings have, gotten married, tried various jobs, had a serious accident, fallen in love, expecting a child, and other daily life that Levi is finding his footing as to where he 'fits'. He has been welcomed home with open arms, and buys a home separate from the family home. He meets his neighbor Julia when she loses her house keys, and a friendship between Levi, Julia & Julia's daughter develops. But Julia is hiding a secret that has big potential to destroy any relationship she has with Levi. This fourth book in the series has the most complex storyline and weaving of characters, and is a great ending to a wonderful series.

**I received a copy of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.**

A Sister’s Wish (Avon Inspire, September 2016)
In Shelley Shepard Gray’s third book in her Charmed Amish Life series, a respectable young woman finds herself falling for an Amish man from the wrong side of the tracks.
Amelia Kinsinger is the perfect Amish woman—at least according to her neighbors. And while Amelia takes pride in her role as homemaker, she’s also harboring a secret: She’s been in love with bad boy Simon Hochstetler for as long as she can remember. Too bad he’s about as far from “perfect” as an Amish man could get… but that’s exactly why she’s so drawn to him.
Life hasn’t been kind to Simon. He ran away from an abusive home at fifteen and things went downhill from there. Eventually, Simon landed in prison. But the experience changed him. Now back in Charm as a grown man, he’s determined to make a new life for himself and not think too much about his wild past…unless it pertains to Amelia.
He’s loved Amelia for years. To him, she represents everything good and kind in the world. When he realizes that she returns his affections, he starts calling on her in secret, even though her older brother Lukas—who just happens to be Simon’s best friend—has made it perfectly clear that Amelia deserves better. Simon disagrees and believes he’s the only one who can truly make her happy.
But when Amelia gets hurt, it sets off a chain of events that forces them to consider their future together—and face their past mistakes. There’s a chance for love… but only if Simon dares to trust Amelia with the secrets of his past.
Shelley Shepard Gray is a "New York Times" and "USA Today" bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Life Creative: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom {Book Review}

Life Creative: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom is written to build up and encourage moms who may feel they've given up their desires and dreams because they are pouring into & rearing their young children. The authors present honest, raw emotion, both from their own lives as well as the lives of other moms. The book recognizes the various seasons of motherhood, and how our creativity ebbs, flows, pauses & grows throughout our motherhood journeys.

My favorite line from the book is found on page 38: "Your life at home is where it all begins, not just in the great big, inspired moments, but also in the small, simple, ordinary ones. So keep it up!"

If you are a mom who has laid down her creativity to care for your little ones, this book is for you. If you are a mom whose brain is spinning, full of new ideas & desires (or dusting off the cobwebs of past dreams), this book is for you. And if you are a mom who is establishing yourself within your creative field, or spending private moments creating a joyful world all your own, this book is for you as well.

As someone who has spent most of motherhood longing for my college days when I would sit and journal, or experience the rush that came from putting pen to the paper in my non-fiction writing classes, this book was a great encouragement! Sometimes, God lets us grow in and continue to develop our creative makeup--and other times He adds different situations and circumstances that pushes us onto a different path, weaving together a new path and plan. My perspective on "what my life will look like when I grow up" continues to develop, and I'm excited to see what my future holds as I more intentionally follow my dreams.

**I received a copy of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.**

Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom (Kregel, September 2016)
What was God thinking when He created you creative and then gave you children?
Creative moms often feel as though they must lay their passions down. But God had something special in mind for the creative woman during this intense season of mothering.
In this Pinterest age of handcrafted children’s parties, Instagram photos of beautifully decorated homes, and blogs filled with poetry and prose, it is clear that we are in the midst of a brand new artistic renaissance. Not one born in Italian cathedrals or Harlem jazz clubs, but rather in kitchens, nurseries, and living rooms around the world. Mothers, working in the cracks and crevices of each hectic day, are adorning the world with their gifts, and they’re showing all of us the beauty of this Life Creative.
In this book, you’ll learn:
—Why the world needs your art
—How this Life Creative begins at home
—When art can turn a profit
—Your part in this modern day Renaissance
Life Creative paints the stories of moms, just like you, who are fitting their inspired lives into the everyday, ordinary places of motherhood. Women like home decorator Melissa Michaels and jewelry designer Lisa Leonard, author Angie Smith, recording artist Ellie Holcomb, and many more.

Wendy Speake is a trained actress and heartfelt teacher. She ministers to women’s hearts through storytelling and life applications, utilizing drama, comedy, poetry and the study of God’s Word. During her career in Hollywood, Speake found herself longing to tell stories that edify and encourage women. She is the author of "Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses" (BRU Press, 2015). Speake is a wife and homeschooling mother of three boys. ||**|| Kelli Stuart is a writer and a storyteller at heart. She has written for several websites including The Huffington Post, 5 Minutes for Mom, The MOB Society, (in)courage and Compassion International. She is the author of three books, including "Like a River from Its Course" (Kregel Publications, 2016) and a noted speaker. Stuart her husband live in Florida with their four children.PREVIOUS CAMPAIGN

The 10 Myths of Teen Dating {Book Review. For Parents of Teen Daughters}

This book is a "real world" presentation of teenage dating life, from people who know teens best--high school teachers. We parents may want to think we know it all because we remember our teenage years, but it is extremely helpful to have the insights of Daniel & Jacqueln Anderson (who are father & daughter), who have spent years teaching high public high school. Both authors are Christians, yet they make it clear this book is a wonderful resource for any parent who desires to see their daughter build healthy relationships and understand the journey to her lifelong happiness and well-being.

As a mom of several daughters, I truly appreciate this book. I especially like the writing style, as Daniel Anderson presents his viewpoint and experiences, and then Jacquelyn Anderson follows up by remembering her teen experiences (which is an honest portrayal of the areas her dad made mistakes as a parent, the ways he could have approached topics better, and also her viewpoints now as an adult). The tag-team of the authors brings a unique, reliable voice to The 10 Myths of Teen Dating, and it is a resource to which I will continue to refer.

**I received a copy of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.**


The 10 Myths of Teen Dating: Truths Your Daughter Needs to Know to Date Smart, Avoid Disaster, and Protect Her Future (David C Cook, September 2016)
There’s no greater moment of panic in a parent’s life than when their daughter begins to date.
Due to their lack of knowledge about the world their teens face coupled with the scant dating information they received as teens, many parents feel ill-equipped to guide their daughters through the minefield that is teen dating.
And by the same token, teenage girls crave information about dating and relationships. And left to their own devices, many will develop their own assumptions about dating by talking to their friends or watching the latest TV shows and movies. But that will only lead them down a path toward heartbreak.
So how do you engage your daughter in discussions about dating, relationships, and her future happiness? Expert educator Daniel Anderson and his twenty something daughter, Jacquelyn, help you navigate the biggest dating myths, including: the myth that a boyfriend will make your daughter happy, that she should trust her feelings, or that sex will enhance her relationship. Combining the latest scientific research with poignant personal stories, as well as proven truths and practical application, The 10 Myths of Teen Dating will equip you to teach your daughter how to date smart for today . . . and tomorrow.
Daniel Anderson is a former college All-American basketball player, an expert educator, and a father of two grown daughters and a son. As a veteran high school teacher in the public school system, Daniel was troubled by how his students approached dating and relationships. He and his daughter, Jacquelyn Anderson—a twenty something and also a high school teacher—decided to address this need by equipping parents with "The 10 Myths of Teen Dating," their first book together. Daniel and Jacquelyn both make their home in Portland, Oregon.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Love Our Vets: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD {Book Review}

While I do not have any family members who live with PTSD, I do have some friends who live with it. Because of that, I wanted to read this book and then determine if I should buy a copy for them, too. My answer is ABSOLUTELY!! I myself gained so much insight, understanding, compassion, clarity, wisdom and very aware of the importance of love and grace by reading this book. I truly believe if a broader range of people read Love Our Vets, our society would have a whole new outlook on what PTSD is and how we respond to those who have it. And those who have PTSD would not feel as isolated!

Author Welby O'Brien is extremely qualified to write this book, which is a key reason for my 5-star rating. She holds a Master's degree in counseling, and her husband has lived with PTSD for a very long time (which means it has affected her life for quite a while, too!). In addition to her qualifications, O'Brien brings something critical to this book--the words, voices, feelings, and advice of countless others who live within a PTSD-affected environment. The book is broken down into 3 parts, and within each part are questions that are looked at and answered. The book format is wonderful in that you can look at certain topics specifically, or learn a wealth of information from reading the whole thing. The final perspective O'Brien brings to the book is how important our prayer life and spiritual growth are in helping us fill our cup and pour out love. We can't accomplish this heavy task on our own--but with God's help, we can gain hope, love wisdom & grace--and then we can share God's love with those who need it so very much.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.

About the book: 

Love Our Vets: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD (Deep River Books, April 2015)

Chances are that if your loved one has seen war, he or she has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at some level, and you who love your veteran will also be deeply and profoundly affected.

Finally, the cries and needs of the loved ones have been addressed in this comprehensive, practical book, now newly updated in its second edition!

Love Our Vets answers more than 60 heartfelt questions, providing down-to-earth wisdom and much-needed tips for taking care of yourself. Sharing as a counselor and from her personal experience of living with a 100% disabled veteran with PTSD, Welby O'Brien gives hope, encouragement, and practical help for families and loved ones who are caught in the wake of the trauma. This book addresses a broad spectrum of issues and concerns and offers realistic wisdom from a wide variety of individuals who share from real hearts and lives.

Now newly revised and updated with additional material, the second edition of Love Our Vets continues to be enthusiastically welcomed by VA and other counselors. This is not just another book about PTSD; rather, it is a tremendous resource for families and loved ones who struggle heroically along with their vets to face the day-to-day challenges.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/2dfzbVA
About the author:

Welby O'Brien
 holds a Masters Degree in counseling (Portland State University) and a teaching degree (Biola University). Author of Formerly A Wife, and Good-bye for Now (Wingspread); contributing author, Shepherding Women in Pain (Moody Press), and Chicken Soup for the Soul, Divorce and Recovery. Founder of Love Our Vets support network; wife of veteran with PTSD.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wrapped in God's Grace {Book Review & Amazon Gift Card Giveaway Link!!}

Wrapped in God's Grace by Barbara Bras is a unique take on how past events affect our current life, and how faith can weave through and be passed down generation to generation. The biography begins   with the powerful authenticity Bras shares of her life of infertility, her cries to God and wondering if He would answer, the doors he opened when she & her husband adopted their son, Raphael, the surprise blessings of biological children, and then the difficulties and heartbreak that occurred due to various decisions Raphael made from childhood into adulthood. While our stories are not the same, the fact I also have biological and adopted children made Bras sharing extremely tender and touching.

After sharing her story of learning to truly release Raphael to the Lord and trusting Him completely, Bras then shifts her book to a focus on two people who experienced the horrors of the Armenian Genocide. Those two children, Arshag & Gulle would find their paths crossing many years later. They are able to move to America & get married. Through God's grace, they not only survived the Genocide, but have several children. Their first grandchild is Bras. Again, God's plan and purpose is on display.

The final portion of the book focuses on Bras teenage and adult years--the times she sometimes trusted God, but didn't trust and follow Him completely. Through various missteps, heartbreaks, and yearning for more, Bras finally finds her life back on track as she marries her second husband--the one with whom she would adopt Raphael and continue with on a path that continues to put God and whatever He has planned for their lives above everything else.

While I truly enjoyed this book, I do wish the end would have presented a clearer telling of when Bras "put her stake in the ground" in going whole-heartedly after God. It's mentioned in the Afterword (which is one paragraph), but a chapter focusing on this area would have truly brought the book full-circle in a powerful way.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher, but was under no obligation to write a review. My honest opinion has been provided without any requirement to give a positive review.

To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book

The crushing pain of seven years of unanswered prayer for a child. A miraculous adoption story, followed by unforeseen challenges and heartbreak.

Barbara Bras begins her memoir by sharing God’s answer to her prayers and the difficult times that followed. Although God does not provide an easy fix, the intricacies of God’s plans reveal themselves to her, and she relives her life in a new light.

Bras then recounts the stories of her grandfather Arshag and her grandmother Gulle, survivors of the atrocities of Armenia in 1915. Arshag, sent to South America for his protection, returns as a soldier of the Armenian Legion to fight for his country. Gulle is the only member of her family to survive the death march into the desert. Through God’s grace they find each other, marry and move to America in 1921. Bras is their first grandchild.

The final section of the memoir follows Bras as she marries and moves to Hawaii, only to return as a single mother to teach school in a small town. It is there she finally realizes that God has provided her with protection and direction. Bras discovers that once we truly surrender our will to God, His plan always produces blessings beyond our wildest dreams!

About the Author

In 2015, Barbara Bras left her career to pursue her dream of serving God. She believed that her first step would be to share the amazing ways God had blessed her. As she wrote of her son’s miraculous adoption and the challenging years that followed, it led to the rediscovery of her entire life, including the history of her grandparents’ remarkable survival in Armenia and her search for purpose and love. Her memoir led to her first novel, which she hopes readers will find engaging and memorable.

Guest Post from Barbara Bras

An Unanswered Prayer

I struggled for many years with one unanswered prayer. It was my “go to” request every time I came before the Lord.

Convinced that with God nothing is impossible, I also knew that the Lord may say “Not now” many times, even before he says no. I acknowledged that the Lord probably had a much bigger and better plan in mind for me, but none of that offered any comfort. As I struggled year after year with my unanswered prayer I found more questions than answers.

Was I fooling myself and ignoring God’s “No”? Could my lack of faith be the reason I couldn’t hear the Lord? And if not now, then when dear Lord?

Then I discovered that the Lord said “Not now.” because he had a miracle waiting for me, more amazing than I could have ever imagined. Like Hannah, God finally answered my prayer for a child. And through that miracle I learned that surrendering my will to God allows Him to bless me beyond my human understanding.

To my further surprise, I discovered that the miracle didn’t mean the end of the story. Experiencing a miraculous adoption didn’t come with a guarantee or a promise that the rest of my life would be free of heartache.

After all of those years of unanswered prayer, I found myself back on my knees with a new daily prayer request. The Lord had something else to teach me through this new struggle, a lesson that took me another fifteen years to learn.

Not only did those fifteen years lead me right back to where I started, surrendering my human will to His and trusting in His greater plan, but it convinced me that the Lord wanted me to share my story.  

Wrapped in God’s Grace, a Life Rediscovered begins with my unanswered prayer for a child, but as I wrote it, God’s plan for me became clear. The second section of the book recreates the events surrounding the survival of my grandparents through the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Their immigration to America in 1921 led to my existence. The book closes with the Lord blessing me with a loving husband in spite of the many missteps I made directing my own life. A reviewer found this nonlinear sequence of events unusual, and I am fine with that, since that’s how the book unfolded before me.

Captured by St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, I now view my writing as a tribute first to the God who comforts and strengthens all of us in hardships and trials, and second as my mission to encourage others.

A photo gallery for Wrapped in God’s Grace, a Life Rediscovered can be found on my website AuthorB.Bras.com. Click here to view the Photo Gallery

Blog Stops

October 14: Book Love
October 15: A Greater Yes
October 16: Carpe Diem
October 18: Pause for Tales
October 19: A Reader’s Brain
October 20: Bigreadersite
October 22: Mary Hake
October 22: Simple Harvest Reads (Spotlight)


To celebrate her tour, Barbara is giving away a $100 Amazon gift card! Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/a561

Friday, October 7, 2016



Begin to build your family discipleship and become the key disciple-makers in your children’s lives with Melissa Spoelstra’s new book, Total Family Makeover. Disciples are made, not born. Whether your children are babes in arms or teenagers getting ready to leave the nest, making disciples at home starts with you! Give your family a makeover with this practical approach to helping your children learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
Plan an evening of fun, pizza, devotionals, and games with your family! Melissa is giving away a Family Fun Night Prize Pack.
One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on October 7. The winner will be announced October 10 on Melissa’s blog.
Total Family Makeover PK


Total Family Makeover: 8 Practical Steps to Making Disciples at Home(Abingdon, September 2016)
Train children in the way they should go; when they grow old, they won’t depart from it. —Proverbs 22:6
God calls us as parents to be key disciple-makers in our children’s lives, but if we’re honest, some days it’s a battle just to get them dressed and ready for school on time. How can you mold their hearts when sometimes you can’t even find their shoes?
In Total Family Makeover, author Melissa Spoelstra gives parents a way—a sort of spiritual track to run on—when it comes to building family discipleship. She focuses on eight key habits of growth:
—Spending Time in Prayer
—Reading God’s Word
—Growing Through a Mentoring Relationship
—Finding Community in the Church
—Serving Others
—Taking Time to Rest
—Giving Back to God
—Sharing Your Faith
Disciples are made, not born. Whether your children are babes in arms or teenagers getting ready to leave the nest, making disciples at home starts with you! Give your family a makeover with this practical approach to helping your children learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
Melissa Spoelstra


Melissa Spoelstra is a popular women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages to seek Christ and know Him more intimately through serious Bible study. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible Theology and enjoys teaching God’s Word to diverse groups and churches within the body of Christ. She is the author of the “First Corinthians: Living Love When We Disagree,” “Joseph: The Journey to Forgiveness,” and “Jeremiah: Daring to Hope in an Unstable World Bible” studies and “Total Family Makeover: 8 Steps to Making Disciples at Home” book. She lives in Dublin, Ohio, with her pastor husband and four kids.
Find out more about Melissa at http://melissaspoelstra.com.