Sunday, August 31, 2014

Book Review: Grace Finds Wings by Jill Miller

My Review:
Jill Miller is a Christian musician/singer/songwriter. This book explains where each of her songs on her latest CD, Grace Finds Wings, came from, what they mean to her, when they were written, how long it took her to write them, and other interesting facts behind each song. You can listen to her songs online at http://www.jillmillermusic.com/ . I really enjoy her music and I am encouraged by her beautiful, faith-filled lyrics. Knowing the background stories behind these songs makes listening to them much more meaningful. With transparency, Jill shares about her personal life's journey which includes her divorce, infertility, grief, adoption, motherhood, marriages, her dad's dementia, financial worries, career change, people-pleasing problem, doubts, and other struggles. I can relate with her regarding having a special needs child. It definitely brings many challenges. But what she went through was immense. I can also relate with her as we both have the "Pollyanna" personality :). Throughout the book, you will see her love for the Lord, her reliance on His grace, and her special fondness for butterflies. She experiences healing and embraces hope along the way. God brings beauty out of ashes and turns trials to triumphs! Check this book out and see for yourself that God's grace indeed frees and transforms broken and contrite hearts. It's an enjoyable and inspiring read! Be prepared to feel refreshed by God's unconditional love and irresistible grace :)!

"'Pursuing God-ordained passions, no matter how crazy they seem is the most responsible thing to do.' So I guess I'm exercising responsible irresponsibility!" (p. 81)

"And if we're going to obsess about something, what better thing to obsess about than God! He continually draws us in and is present in our lives." (p. 91)

"Believe it, conceive it, take steps to achieve it, then leave the rest to God and prepare to receive it." (p. 168)


~ I received a free copy of this book via The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

DVD Review and Giveaway: When Calls the Heart "Second Chances"


When Calls the Heart--"Second Chances" is the latest DVD in the When Calls the Heart television series inspired by the writings of Janette Oke and directed by Michael Landon, Jr. In this DVD, Elizabeth Thatcher tries to find ways to help one of her older students, Bo Grady, learn how to read despite his father's opposition. Meanwhile, Abigail Stanton dares to follow her dream by fixing up the abandoned cafe in Coal Valley despite discouragement from Gowen and a great sacrifice required. Adam Miller struggles to adjust to living with one leg. It's not only difficult for him but also for his wife and 2 daughters. Elizabeth feels overwhelmed when she finds out that she has only one week to prepare her students for the annual Founder's Day Play. Jack Thorton (the local Mounty) has got a surprise up his sleeves and hopes to win Elizabeth's heart. When Calls the Heart--"Second Chances" is a beautiful story of overcoming challenges, pressing on even when feeling like giving up, working together, finding hope, and recognizing love. "Love travels with you wherever you go!" (~Elizabeth) My daughter and I enjoyed watching this DVD and highly recommend it. Great performances! Entertaining and inspiring! We also enjoyed the bonus feature in the DVD which includes interviews and the making of the film ("Creating Coal Valley). 


GIVEAWAYYou can win a copy of this DVD!
Deadline: 9/7 at midnight (Pacific time) 
To Enter: Leave a comment here with your email address. Please share a Bible verse or a quote that encourages you. 

~I received a free copy of this DVD via Edify Media, Inc. in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Enough by Kate Conner


Starting out as a blog post, "Ten Things I Want to Tell Teenage Girls", Kate Conner put her thoughts into a book, Enough. I'm glad she did! Kate points out and explains 10 things that teenage girls need to hear. I agree that these practical truths must be instilled into teenage girls. The book covers various issues such as beauty, modesty, contentment, internet folly, social media, emotions, habits, passion, drama, flirtation, tanning, and more. Most teenage girls struggle with insecurity, immaturity, and overreactions. They need Godly wisdom and guidance. This book offers that. Even some mature women still seem to struggle with their worth, value, beauty, and confidence. I think it is a good reminder to all women that in Christ, we are enough, loved, beautiful, valuable, and unstoppable. I enjoyed reading it and appreciated her take-away points sprinkled throughout the book with #10things hashtag.

Enough is an easy & fun read filled with valuable insights and Biblical wisdom. The author gives sisterly advice in honesty (she tells it as it is) with grace, caring heart, and humor. I highly recommend this excellent book to anyone who has teenage girls in their lives. It's an ideal book for mothers to read and discuss with their teen daughters.

"Drama is a poor man's passion, a cowardly man's creativity...Drama is an idle preoccupation; a cheap version of that which we really want, which is to live passionately on purpose." (pages 73, 74)
"There is natural, and then there is right. Just because a thing is natural doesn't mean it's healthy or safe. The standard for our behavior isn't natural or intuitive; it's wisdom." (page 89)
"The Bible, the Word of God, tells us what is right in every situation. It speaks to our actions, words, thoughts, and attitudes." (page 105)

About the Author

Kate Elizabeth Conner is a 28-year-old writer, speaker, and first generation southerner who spends her days learning braille, counseling teenagers via text message, and adjusting to life in middle Georgia. She is married to a college pastor and has three impossibly beautiful children who only make her crazy 97% of the time. Kate authors a self-titled blog, which received more than three million views in two years, due in part to her viral post, 10 Things I Want To Tell Teenage Girls. Kate writes about surviving parenthood, teenagers, and her twenties with her faith and sense of humor intact. She believes in music, coffee, and prose – and in all the world, nothing has taken hold of her like Christ.
GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of this book. Open only to residents in the US and Canada.
Deadline: 8/13 at midnight (Pacific time) To Enter: Leave a comment here with your email address. Please share the best advice you received when you were a teenager.

~"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Friday, July 18, 2014

Planes: Fire & Rescue

Planes: Fire & Rescue (2014) Poster

Opening Date:                  Friday, July 18
Rating:                              PG
SYNOPSIS:
“Planes: Fire & Rescue” is a new comedy-adventure about second chances, featuring a dynamic crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from raging wildfire. When world famous air racer Dusty (voice of Dane Cook) learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting. Dusty joins forces with veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger (voice of Ed Harris) and his courageous team, including spirited super scooper Dipper (voice of Julie Bowen), heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter, ex-military transport Cabbie and a lively bunch of brave all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero. Directed by Bobs Gannaway (“Secret of the Wings”).

REVIEW:
Thanks to Allied-THA, my family and I were given an opportunity to attend a 3D advance screening of this film. Planes: Fire & Rescue is the sequel to 2013's Planes. Dusty returns to his hometown of Propwash Junction after several racing victories. When Dusty learns that his gear box needs to be replaced but it is out of production, he realizes that his racing career apparently comes to an end. Dusty decides to become an aerial firefighter to help his friend, Mayday. He finds aerial firefighting difficult, challenging, yet rewarding. He also finds wonderful support from his brave fire & rescue team. There are many action scenes as they work together tirelessly to battle a fierce, massive wildfire. It's a beautiful story of courage, sacrifice, rescue, and risk-taking. It's not as funny as Planes but it's still enjoyable. Below are a trailer video and a video of Still I Fly (I really like this song from the movie). Great film for families, especially those of firefighters :)!


Like PLANES on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyPlanes
Follow PLANES on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DisneyPictures

Download Print & Play Activities

You can download your copy of Planes: Fire & Rescue Educational Activity Guide here: http://www.wdsmediafile.com/media/planesfireandrescue/familly-press-kit/planesfireandrescue_pdf_53a4811734ede.pdf 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

DVD Review and Giveaway: The Perfect Summer


The Perfect Summer is a movie about the worst summer turning into the unexpectedly pleasant summer when Jake (Adam Horner), a fatherless, 17 year old internet-dependent young man and his Mom (Sydney Penny) move from Chicago to live with her estranged father/Jake's grandfather (Eric Roberts) in a small surfing town. This change is difficult for Jake who seems to have nothing in common with people in the beach town. Everybody knows how to surf, except Jake. In addition, the town bully, Tyler (JD Banks), takes pleasure in giving Jake a hard time. Jake feels like an outcast and is bored to death. Things look dim and depressing for the summer until he meets Kayla, a beautiful talented surfer. Jake becomes interested in surfing and discovers that his own grandfather, Lou, is a surf legend. Lou teaches Jake how to surf and helps him find courage to face & overcome his fears and challenges in life. Jake accepts the dare from Tyler to enter a surfing competition even though he is just a beginner. In the end, Jake realizes that there are more important things than winning a competition. My family and I enjoyed this DVD. Great performance and beautiful setting! Jason Castro does a great job playing a friendly surf shop owner. Chill out with The Perfect Summer, a perfect movie for the summer :)!

GIVEAWAYYou can win a copy of this DVD!
Deadline: 7/30 at midnight (Pacific time) 
To Enter: Leave a comment here with your email address. Please share your favorite thing(s) to do in summertime.

~I received a free copy of this DVD via Edify Media, Inc. in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

 
~I received a free copy of this DVD via Edify Media, Inc. in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

DVD Review and Giveaway: When Calls the Heart "The Dance"


When Calls the Heart--"The Dance" is the latest DVD in the When Calls the Heart television series inspired by the writings of Janette Oke and directed by Michael Landon, Jr. In this DVD, new miners (who are single men) came to Coal Valley to help reopen the mine. The town welcomes them and celebrates with a Miner's Dance and the annual Miner's Games. One of the new miners, Billy Hamilton, is determined to steal Elizabeth Thatcher (a beautiful teacher from a rich family)'s heart. He charms Elizabeth with "his poetry" and flattering words. This makes Jack Thorton (the local Mounty) very concerned :). When things start disappearing in Coal Valley, Jack is readily suspicious that Billy might be a thief. Is Billy whom he claims to be? In the meantime, a pregnant widow, Carla Noonan, has complications in her pregnancy and has moved in with Abigail Stanton (played by Lori Loughlin) and Elizabeth so that the women can keep an eye on her and take care of her. Mary, a widow, finds herself torn between her protective son and a handsome, kind-hearted miner, Mr. Graves, who is interested in her. When Calls the Heart--"The Dance" is a beautiful story of kindness, love, trust, courage, and hope! I enjoyed watching this DVD and highly recommend it. Entertaining and wholesome!

GIVEAWAYYou can win a copy of this DVD!
Deadline: 7/30 at midnight (Pacific time) 
To Enter: Leave a comment here with your email address. Do you have a favorite poem or poet? Do you write poetry? Please share.

~I received a free copy of this DVD via Edify Media, Inc. in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Book Review: God's Promises for Tough Times by Jen Sheppard

I collect devotional books. God's Promises for Tough Times is the newest addition to my collection. It's an easy & encouraging read! There are 34 devotionals in the book. It covers various promises of God about different issues such as peace, patience, treasure, rest, prayers, fear, faith, love, grace, trust, worry, comfort, and more. The author is realistic and insightful. She offers hope and encouragement from God's truths. Each devotional is short and concise. She gets to the point; there's no sugarcoating. I really appreciate her Biblically sound messages. At the end of the book, you'll find a great list of comforting Bible references for life's problems such as Afraid, Anxious, Depressed, Discouraged, Grieving, Lonely, Anger, Envy, Temptation, etc. I'm glad she also warns readers about the false gospel of the "Word of Faith Movement". She encourages readers to trust God totally, rely on Him completely, and rest peacefully in His presence, power & promises. God cares. God understands. God loves you. God is with you and for you always. Are you going through tough times or do you know someone who is? Check this devotional out and rediscover the beauty of God's promises!

Author Bio:
Jen Sheppard is a wife, homeschooling mother, and inspirational writer. She challenges people to take up their cross, turn from worldly traditions, and get back to following the Lord in truth. She is also the author A Wise Woman Builds Her House: Encouragement for Christian Stay at Home Mothers


Connect with Jen: