Monday, July 24, 2017

Fun, Refreshing take on Motherhood & Parenting {Hiding from my Kids in my Prayer Closet--Book Review}

If reading a book with a chapter titled : 'Children's Parties; Where Saturdays go to Die' causes you to say, "Amen, Sister!" you will truly enjoy this breath of fresh air written by Jessica Kastner. I've read many books on parenting and motherhood, and it's wonderful to read a Christian book that addresses day to day life with such transparency. Kastner blends humor, sarcasm, truth and tenderness in ways that can encourage moms and also spur them along to accept their individual gifts and personal parenting styles. 

Kastner does not shy away from sharing snippets from her own motherhood journey, which began as an unwed, single mom and continued with two surprise pregnancies after she was married. The author is never snarky or irreverent, but does a great job of putting a magnifying glass on the unimportant, and putting a flashlight onto the aspects of parenting that truly do matter. She ends her chapters by focusing on the relationship between a mother and Christ, and also the need to help our kids develop a heart that is going after God. I enjoyed this book quite a bit, and look forward to recommending it to friends.

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

Hiding from the Kids in My Prayer Closet (David C Cook, July 2017)
Finding grace and laughter when motherhood gets real
Soon after Jessica Kastner became a mother, she wondered if she was the only mom who found pretend play more boring than watching playdough harden and who dreaded yet another friend’s Instagram post of homemade deliciousness.
In Hiding from My Kids in the Prayer Closet, Kastner shares her experience as an “unmom”—a mom who loves her kids more than she loves the daily experience of mothering. She helps readers laugh at the ridiculous, delight in the unpredictable, and enjoy being the mothers God made them to be.
Jessica KastnerJessica Kastner is an award-winning journalist and a contributor for the Christian Broadcasting Network’s,, and the Huffington Post’s Christianity blog. As Connecticut’s coordinator for Straight Ahead Ministries, she shares God’s message of hope by leading Bible studies in juvenile detention centers. When she’s not on the trampoline with her three boys in Connecticut, Jessica shares her unapologetically “real” commentary on the Christian life at

His Guilt {Book Review}

His Guilt is the second novel in the Amish of Hart County series, but it definitely stands on its own as a suspenseful, well-developed, and independent work of fiction! The main characters in this second novel are Mark Fisher and Waneta Cain, who were not prominently featured in Her Secret. Author Shelly Shepard Gray shows her writing expertise by creating yet another Christian Amish Fiction series that  manages to tie the novels together and still allow them to stand alone.

I don't like to read reviews that give away the entire plot of a novel, nor am I willing to write them. As the key characters, Mark seeks a fresh start by returning to his childhood home. Wanetta has never left home and begins to see her world view expand as she starts to grasp the complexities that surround Mark's past, his present, and what it means to truly accept others. While the journey isn't easy, Wanetta truly 'puts her stake in the ground' as she stands up for what is right, stands against the false accusations from the past that still affect Mark, and puts into action what it means to be a true friend. In turn, Mark must learn to balance standing on his own yet accept friendship, kindness, and acceptance when it's offered. 

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

His Guilt: The Amish of Hart County(Avon Inspire, July 2017)
A suspenseful tale of an Amish man who will risk all to protect the woman he loves
Mark Fisher has returned home to Hart County, determined to put the past behind him. Two years ago, after being wrongly accused of assault, he left the Amish community, though never forgot his home. When the one person who had helped him through his rough times asks for help, Mark returns. But it is pretty Waneta Cain who makes him want to stay…
Neeta is one of the few people in Hart County who doesn’t believe Mark is guilty of hurting anyone. However, his worldliness and tough exterior do make her uneasy. As she begins to see the real man behind all the gossip and prejudice, she wonders if he is the man for her.
Just when Mark starts to believe a new life is possible, a close friend of Neeta’s is attacked. Once again, everyone in the community seems to believe he is guilty. But what hurts most is Neeta’s sudden wariness around him. When another woman is hurt, a woman who is close to both Neeta and himself, Mark fears he knows the real culprit. And time is running out. Will Mark be able to find him before Neeta becomes his next victim?
Shelley Shepard GrayLearn more and purchase a copy.SH
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.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Israel-God's Heart {Book Review}

What a detailed glimpse into modern day Israel! This book weaves ancient history with today's busy lifestyles, not just through gorgeous photography, but also through fantastic paragraphs on each page. The book is simply exquisite! I have not been to Israel, but as a Christian I fully appreciated the details regarding the area and both past and present cultures. In addition to content, the book itself is a perfect size to purchase as an affordable gift or your own side table. 

*I received a complimentary copy, but was under no obligation to write a review.

Israel—God’s Heart: Landscapes and Legacy of Israel (Skypics Israel, November 2016)
**Click Here to see the Flip Book!**
Soar across the skies of beautiful Israel and visit contemporary and historic sites beckoning visitors to stay and explore.
The beauty of Israel from above is captured by top aerial photographer Ron Gafni.  As you sweep over ancient ruins, fly high in hot air balloons, and view vignette’s of Israel’s modern lifestyles, Holy scripture will also come alive. Author Kathleen Barrett offers reflective narrative with scripture pointing to God’s redemption plan for the world.

Ron Gafni works as a professional aerial photographer after spending more than a decade in Israel's High-Tech Industry. He brings his vast experience and personal perspective through the lens of a proud Israeli citizen. His work has been featured in "National Geographic," and his company,, provides books from its "Israel From Above" collection to the Israeli government, Army and Air force, as well as to large corporations in Israel. **||** Kathleen Barrett, a south Florida resident and former teacher is a student of the Word. She shares her thoughtful point of view in "Israel-God's Heart" from a personal, 40 year walk of Christian faith and study. In 2002, she authored a children's devotional. Before that and since then, she has published numerous articles from mission's outreach to local political events. Her more personal and reflective work has been featured in a number of collections.

Stepping on Cheerios~Book Review {Authentic Book for Moms}

Stepping on Cheerios: Finding God in the Chaos and Clutter of Life is an refreshingly authentic account of how motherhood can flip the most organized, detailed life into one that is lived not knowing what each day will hold. Author Betsy Singleton Snyder is pretty witty as she describes having her first child at 44 and triplets 3 years later. If anyone has earned the title "Boy Mom", it's her!

Snyder's Christian life became one of complete reliance on God as she faced a serious health issues after birthing her triplets. I appreciate how a person already in ministry can be vulnerable to sharing all that God revealed to her as she learned to rely less on herself and more on Him.

*I received a complimentary copy, but was under no obligation to write this review.

Stepping on Cheerios: Finding God in the Chaos and Clutter of Life(Abingdon Press, April 2017)
Family life is beautiful and motherhood is a privilege, but it ain’t no picnic!
Being a mother isn’t easy. Sometimes it’s hard to experience a personal connection with God and community when you are caught up in the chaos of just “doing family”.
Independent and self-sufficient, author Betsy Singleton Snyder lived a full and busy life as a pastor, missionary, and wife to a husband who served in the U.S. House of Representatives. She had her first child at age 44, then at 47, she found out she was carrying triplets. Suddenly finding herself overwhelmed is an understatement.
Stepping on Cheerios is a collection of funny, warm, and charming tales from the frontlines of parenthood, written for women who are juggling to accomplish everyday feats of work, motherhood, marriage, church, and more. It’s a comical story of one woman’s realization that her crazy life is a gift and how she found the grace in it.
Betsy Singleton Snyder, author of "Stepping on Cheerios," is a pastor, a former missionary to the arts community, writer, and blogger. She and her husband, Dr. Vic Snyder who formerly served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 years, live in Arkansas with their four sons, Penn (10), and triplets Wyatt, Sullivan, and Aubrey (8).