Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Book Review: Dashing Dish by Katie Farrell


You don't have to sacrifice tasty flavor on the altar of healthy dishes. This cookbook includes 100 delicious & nutritious recipes. Most of them are gluten-free and sugar-free. Every recipe uses healthy, wholesome ingredients. Beautiful photos accompany all the recipes. I really like seeing what each dish looks like. The author offers tips on clean eating and baking & cooking techniques that can help save us time and money. She also includes Dashing Dish staples, Dashing Dish's Eating Out Guide, lists of healthy snacks, 4 steps of meal planning, tips to help you stay healthy during special holidays, and sweetener conversions.

The recipes are organized into six categories: breakfast, lunch, dinner, side dishes, snacks, and dessert. Each recipe shows estimated time, nutritional information per serving, and the author's personal note. I have tried a few recipes (Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars, Personal Thai Chicken Pizza, and Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs ) and I'm impressed. They are simple but yummy. I did tweak the recipes a little bit :).
Our family does our best to embrace clean eating but we still have a long way to go. I find Dashing Dish very helpful and encouraging. The recipes are easy to follow. With this cookbook, we can eat better, stay healthy, and enjoy a variety of dishes (including comfort foods) without guilt. To live a healthy lifestyle is not only doable but also enjoyable :)! 

~I received a free copy of this book via Icon Media Group in exchange for my honest review. All my opinions are my own.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Book Review and Giveaway: MORE: From Messes to Miracles from Tammie Head


Most people are searching for something more. Even Christians. But that "something" will never truly satisfy them and only leave them yet wanting more. The author suggests that God is the "MORE" we all need. I agree! He is the only One who can turn messes into miracles. Do you feel like you don't measure up and just go from one mess/problem to another? Be encouraged; God loves you and cares about you so much! He longs to redeem, restore, and transform your lives. We need to surrender all, die to self, and live for God with undivided devotion. When we do that, we find freedom in Christ. When we give God our broken pieces, He will turn them into beautiful mosaics. God's grace is greater than any sin and any mess! Life is hard and messy but God is good and almighty!

Tammie shares her own experiences of her old messed-up life before encountering God and her new blessed life after encountering God. I appreciate her transparency about her faith journey which includes bumps (struggles) along the way. Her passion for God and her conviction to live for Him are evident and contagious. Everyone has a story to tell. It doesn't have to be neat, pretty, or dramatic. It only needs to point to Jesus. This book will encourage you to draw closer to God and revel in your intimacy with Him. Check out this refreshing, encouraging, hope-filled read and take time to reflect upon where your relationship with God is at!

"The greatest weapons we fight with (against forces of evil) are wholehearted surrender to the Lord, prayer, and the Holy Scriptures." (p. 133)

"The beauty of the gospel is this: A miraculous God stretched out His hand of redemption to a world of broken people paralyzed in sin--people born into a bloodline of godless heritage--to lift us up to become walking miracles." (p. 137)

"And when we entrust ourselves to an all-powerful God we are let off the hook of maintaining our muscles, keeping up such a valiant display of determination. There is no need to validate our existence or keep others impressed with our winsome personality. Instead, we can wake up to a new day of purpose and endless possibilities because God is our power supply and help, and His mind and power knows no end." (p. 150)

"To give God my life is to enjoy the more I was made for. Him." (p. 153)

About the Author

Anyone who knows Tammie Head will tell you that her life is a walking miracle. God has taken her from utter depravity to living a life she never dreamed of. Head’s desire for God is insatiable, and she cannot keep Him to herself. The effect on others who come in contact with her is usually the same, Christians and non-Christians alike: they want to know God like she does.
Tammie Head is a Bible teacher, published author, and speaker. Rescued by God from a life in the sex industry, she works to spread the news that miracles still happen today. Tammie is married to her husband Erin, and the two have two daughters, Peyton and Sierra.




















Q & A with Tammie Head, author of MORE


1. What do you want readers to learn from reading your book?
People everywhere are looking for something more. Churched and nonchurched
alike. They're in the grocery store aisle behind you, in the nail
chair beside you, singing praise songs in front of you, and perhaps in the
mirror staring back at you. People feel messy; plagued by looming feelings
of ineffectiveness, indifference, depression, and purposelessness.
However, all of us were made for more than surviving. Old stale religion
never satisfies. Neither do the solutions the world has to offer. What all of
us need is an encounter with God that reveals truth and sets our hearts
ablaze. I have seen this in my own life as well as in countless lives around
me.
2. Your life was a bit of a mess before you came to know Christ. How has He used your story to advance His kingdom?
I have watched God use my story repeatedly as a tenderizing agent for
hardened hearts toward God. People cannot believe what God has done
for me. In turn, I have also been privileged to lead many people to Christ,
to the One who changed me. People are glad to know God loves and
pursues even the messiest of people.
3. What encouragement do you have for men and women who feel like
their lives are too messy for God to use?
If God can use me, He can use anyone! But even more profound than "He
can" is this: He wants to! God specializes in taking the most broken of lives
and turning them around for His glory. The Bible is full of broken men and
women who, after encountering the Lord, were used dramatically by God
and for His kingdom.
4. What encouragement do you have for men and women who are
yearning to have more in their lives?
The more we're longing for, at the end of the day, is God. More of His
presence. More of His love. More of His power. And so on! What I want
men and women to know is God wants "so much more" of us than we
could ever want "so much more" Him. The deal is, we must risk making
more room for God. The key is sitting with Him, soaking Him in, allowing
Him to minister to us on a deep level and, lastly, deeply surrendering our lives to Him day-by-day.
5. What are some resources for readers who are ready to take the next step and start living for more?
I have written a Bible study called Duty or Delight: Knowing Where You
Stand with God. I think that would be a great resource for digging deeper
into more of a relationship with God.
6. Where can readers connect with you online?
Readers can connect with me at several social media sites.
Twitter: @tammiehead
Instagram: @tammiehead
Facebook: Tammie Head
My website and blog: tammiehead.com

GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of this book. Only valid in US. Ends 3/31 at midnight Pacific time.
To Enter: Please leave a comment sharing your favorite miracle either from the Bible or from your own experience.
For Extra Entries(please leave a separate comment for each one that you do):
- Follow this blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs

- "Like" Tammie's Facebook page
- "Like" my page "Living for God" on Facebook

- Follow Tammie on Twitter: @tammiehead
- Follow me on Twitter: @treasuredbyGod 

- Follow Tammie on Instagram: @tammiehead
- Follow me on Pinterest
- Share the link to this giveaway post on Facebook 
- Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter
~I received a free copy of this book via Icon Media Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Review: Starting Strong DVD and Study Guide


This DVD is the first volume of the Growing a Strong Marriage study series. I really enjoyed listening to all the interviews from well-known, respectable Christian authors/speakers/experts on marriage: John & Stasi Eldridge, Gary & Lisa Thomas, Art & Lysa Terkeurst, Chip & Theresa Ingram, Gordon & Gail MacDonald, and Les & Leslie Parrott. They share their own personal stories and offer insightful, practical advice. These marriage experts reveal that they are not without struggles and they, like any of us, still learn to love better. I appreciate their authenticity and willingness to share what they have learned in their marriage. 

There are four sessions in Volume 1 (Starting Strong): How We Met, Moving into Oneness, Identity in Christ, and Paths to Christ in Marriage. This DVD and study guide present Biblical foundations of marriage. You will learn about shared vision, unity, identity, the real Enemy (Satan is our Accuser), communication, holiness, self-denial, prayer, and more. When you and your spouse realize that your identity and security come from God, it takes a tremendous pressure off your spouse and your marriage. The study guide by Amy Mcgowan is also wonderful; it's made for a small group discussion. It starts with a Bible verse(s) and it contains several thought-provoking questions to help you reflect and discuss after you watch each session on the DVD. The study guide also points you to the Scriptures for solid answers and encouragement to strengthen your marriage. Some of the topics covered include: what marriage is really all about, how to achieve oneness in your marriage, who you and your spouse are in Christ, and what a Christ-centered marriage ought to look like. At the end of the book, you'll find a leader's guide with helpful tips and suggestions. There are also blank pages for notes and prayer requests.

If you want to grow a strong and healthy marriage, check this DVD and study guide out. I highly recommend it for all married (especially newlyweds) and engaged couples!


"What is the purpose of marriage? Marriage is about two people becoming one. At the center of a healthy marriage is a unified vision centered on God. A marriage is comprised of two individuals who find their core identity in God, rather than each other, and who continue to grow together...The marriage relationship is not only a picture of Christ and the Church, but is also a place in which husband and wife are molded and shaped to be more like Him." (p. 39, 40)

"A Christian marriage is two people with their eyes fixed on Christ, devoted to joining in the fight to become more like Christ and to see each other transformed into His likeness." (p. 48)


Growing a Strong Marriage Preview Video from Hendrickson Publishers on Vimeo.

~I received a free copy of this DVD and study guide in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. I'm part of the CWA Review Crew.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Book Review: Becoming A Spiritually Healthy Family by Michelle Anthony



About the book:

Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family: Avoiding the 6 Dysfunctional Parenting Styles (David C. Cook, January 2015)

We all want to guide our children into the abundant life that Jesus offers. But when we pursue the more and better that the world offers above our pursuit of Jesus, we fall into dangerous parenting habits. In Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family, Michelle Anthony unpacks six common dysfunctional parenting styles that we fall into out of habit, lack of attention, or just oversight due to busyness. If you long to show your children Jesus but don't know how to do it, you'll find hope in this practical guide to creating a relentlessly grace-filled home that is focused on God as first in charge.

Includes Scripture guides, reflection questions, ideas for family rites of passage, and other real life family examples.
Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1BSJpxN 

About the author:

Michelle Anthony
 is the vice president of Learning Resources and Family Ministry Architect at David C Cook and the author of Spiritual ParentingDreaming of More for the Next GenerationA Theology of Family Ministry, and The Big God Story. Michelle has graduate degrees in Christian education, theology, and leadership and over twenty-five years of church ministry experience as a children's and family pastor. She lives in Colorado Springs and loves a good book and a cup of coffee.

Find Michelle online: websiteFacebookTwitter
My Review:
Parents usually care about their children's health and do their best to make sure they are healthy physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially. How about spiritually? It's very important for Christian parents to help their families become spiritually healthy and stay that way. The author shows us the 6 dysfunctional parenting styles that we should avoid: having divided devotion, being permissive, pressuring to succeed, overbearing, criticizing, and being unavailable. God is writing and directing our stories and our children's stories. If we want the abundant life God envisions for our families, it's best for us to follow His script and not try to write our own. We don't have to live with dysfunction. Parenting is difficult and challenging, even more so when you have special needs children. However, God's Word and principles still apply. The author uses Biblical truths to offer us hope and give us healthy solutions for our families. The book covers several topics such as worry, worldliness, Enemy, truth, freedom, bitterness, spiritual battle, perfectionism, perspective, letting go of the need to control, brokenness, blessings, family mission statement, discipleship, traditions, and more. I like the 4 steps in responding to today's families on page 99 and I really like Chapter 9: Beyond Good Behavior and Chore Charts. Heart transformation, not behavioral modification, is what we want for our children. Gospel-living, not moralism, is what they need.

Each chapter starts with an insightful quote and ends with thought-provoking questions for readers to reflect and respond. The book includes Appendix A: The Ten Environments, Appendix B: Questions to Consider in Writing a Family Mission Statement, Appendix 3: Forms to help you write a mission statement. I highly recommend this practical, Biblically sound book to all parents, especially Christian parents!
"Children raised by the Spiritually Healthy parent often grow up knowing God, loving others, living a life of meaning, and recognizing that this world is not their ultimate home." (p. 29)
"Really good people are not what Jesus asked for. He asked for people of faith. And faith is so much messier (and harder to measure) than moral behavior." (p.146)

~I received a free copy of this book via Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. To read more reviews of this book, visit here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Book Review and Giveaway: Team Us: Marriage Together by Ashleigh Slater


Marriage is a teamwork. From the very beginning of our relationship, my husband and I have adopted a Thai saying, "Rao Mee Rao" which means "We have us" (we have each other). We are together forever! To make "we" work, the "I" mindset has to go. Team Us: Marriage Together offers tips and advice to help couples strengthen team unity in their marriages. The author shares about her own experiences and other couples' real-life stories to show us how to navigate through trials, struggles, and challenges while keeping the team unity intact. Her husband, Ted, chimes in from time to time throughout the book to share his thoughts. Nice bonus!

The topics covered in the book include grace, different preferences, conflict, losses, parenting, friendship, commitment, and more. Each chapter starts with an insightful marriage quote and ends with five questions for discussion. The author encourages readers to make today's decisions with a long-term perspective/a desired goal in mind. How will what we do now affect our marriage next month, next year, or in the next decade? 
Our daily choices matter...they either help or harm/hinder the strength of our marriage. I enjoyed Ashleigh's conversational style, candor, and humor. I could relate to some of the stories because I've been there and done that (my husband and I have been married for almost 24 years). I highly recommend this refreshing & encouraging read to any couples, especially engaged couples and newlyweds. 
It would make a wonderful wedding gift or Valentine's gift!

"It's fine that we don't always favor the same things since we are confident in our connection at a deeper level. While we may have day-to-day differences, we're on common ground heart-to-heart. We've learned to respect, not ridicule, the other's interests." (p. 56)

"The keys to our longevity are found in those moments we decide to assume the best of each other instead of the worst. In those times we choose forgiveness rather than bitterness. On those days we offer grace, not irritation. How well we do is influenced largely by the seemingly small, blink-of-an-eye choices." (p. 151-152)

GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of this book! Only valid in US & Canada. Ends 2/14 at midnight Pacific time.
To Enter: Please leave a comment sharing your favorite quote on marriage.
For Extra Entries(please leave a separate comment for each one that you do):
- Follow this blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs
- "Like" my page "Christ Alone" on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter: @treasuredbyGod 
- Follow me on Pinterest
- Share the link to this giveaway post on Facebook 
- Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter
~Many thanks to FlyBy Promotions Blogger Network 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.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Book Review: I Choose You Today by Deb DeArmond

"Love is an act of our will, based on the commitment we made when we married...Love is a choice. Give it or give up on it. Love is always a choice." (p. 13) Do you want your marriage to happily last a lifetime? You must be intentional in strengthening and enriching your relationship with your spouse. In this book, the author encourages readers to make daily choices that will help nourish their marriage, such as choosing to keep my commitment to you, choosing to forgive you, choosing to submit to you, choosing to keep romance alive, choosing to help you achieve your dreams and goals, and more. The key is to make a conscious decision to grow closer as a couple... and to do all these things for your spouse even when you don't feel like it. Our daily choices matter...they either help or harm/hinder the strength of our marriage.

Each chapter ends with a conventional wisdom quote, choice questions, and a prayer. These questions will help readers evaluate their marital relationship and take action. For example, from Chapter 5 ("I Choose to Honor You"), the questions include "How well and how often do you honor your spouse? What prompts you to do it? Why do you sometimes fail to offer honor? What's your plan? What will you choose to do, starting today, to honor your mate?" I choose to honor and bless my husband everyday. During the weekdays, I send my husband texts of encouraging Bible verses, inspiring quotes, and love notes. I often compliment him and I never speak of him negatively. I express my appreciation and admiration for him all the time. I enjoyed reading this book. It serves as a reminder for me to be a blessing to my husband every day and to glorify God with each choice I make. I highly recommend this insightful book which can be used as a devotional for couples. It would make a wonderful wedding gift or Valentine's gift!

~I received a free copy of this book via Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. To read more reviews of this book, visit here.



What’s the secret for hanging on to the happily-ever-after feelings from the day you said, “I do”? It could be as simple as four little words: I Choose You Today. Be sure to grab a copy of Deb DeArmond's latest release and find out how you can make the declaration “I Choose You Today” a regular part of your marriage communication.

Deb is celebrating the release of her book with a Facebook author chat party on February 3rd.

ichooseyou-fbevent 
Along with the February 3rd author chat party, you're invited to participate in two marriage-strengthening challenges: one beginning February 1 and the other beginning in March. Don't miss out on this opportunity to build your relationship with your spouse and enter to win some prizes along the way!

The Valentine's Challenge: February 1 – 28

Tell your spouse "I Choose You" every day of the month. Sign up online at www.ichooseyouchallenge.com and receive a free downloadable February calendar to mark off the days of the challenge.

Deb will also be emailing participants 1–2 times throughout the month with giveaway opportunities and "keep going" encouragement.
The "I Choose You" Challenge: March 1 – December 31, 2015

Sign up online at www.ichooseyouchallenge.com to receive 10 weekly emails, each teaching one of the choices from Deb's book along with practical applications. This challenge is broken up into three different sessions, covering all 31 choices from the book.

There will be giveaways and opportunities to win throughout the year. Participants can decide when to join—it's not required to do all three sessions. do all three sessions.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Review: Motivate Your Child by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller

Are you tired of telling your kids to do chores or to stop fighting for the millionth time (or that's what it feels like to you)? Are you discouraged from expecting maturity from your teens but it seems like it never comes? There's hope and help! Check out Motivate Your Child, my new favorite parenting book! Based on Biblical principles and heart approach to parenting, the authors show parents how to raise and train children to have internal motivation to do the right thing without being told (over and over again). Behavior modification (based on external motivation) appeals to a child's selfishness to get things done with the mindset of  "What's in it for me?" But a heart-based approach parenting teaches children to be internally motivated to do the right thing because it's the right thing to do. The book aims to equip parents to nurture strong moral and spiritual development in their child(ren) which will prepare them for life. Some of the topics covered in the book include conscience, 3 levels of thinking (thinking only about self, thinking about others, and thinking about God), action point, honesty/integrity, guilt, compassion, responsibility, convictions, forgiveness, value of correction, 3 questions to end discipline times well, honor, consequences, boundaries, discipleship, family time, and more.

The book provides helpful strategies and tools to help you be intentional in connecting with your child's heart, developing Scripture-directed conscience and building godly character in him/her. The authors help parents see that spiritual training not only doable but also enjoyable. I like the evaluation form at the end of Chapter 3 which helps me keep track of what areas of the conscience (do what's right, deal with wrongs, be honest, and care about others) my children need improvement on (I also use it to pray specifically for my children). I highly recommend this book which in my opinion, is one of the best parenting books available! Insightful, practical, and encouraging! I only wish I had read this book when my kids were younger.

*To celebrate the release of this awesome book, members of the Launch Team are sharing an awesome giveaway filled with a Go Pro Camera, $50 Mardel Gift Card, $25 Amazon Gift Card, and book bundles from both the National Center for Biblical Parenting and Thomas Nelson Publishing! Three winners will win prizes with a total value of nearly $800! Click here to enter. The deadline is tomorrow (Jan. 28th)!

"What parents say leaves a marked impression on their children's hearts...A parent's words are important in a child's life. They linger in the heart and become food for the conscience." (p. 21, 31)

"Asking teens, 'What's your plan?' instead of barging in and demanding instant obedience can be a way of teaching them to be responsible. It passes the responsibility on to the child to help determine details and to remember to get things done." (p. 51)

"Just because someone feels a sense of peace about something, it doesn't make it right...A trained conscience feeds off the Scriptures. Not all actions have a Bible verse to point to, but a growing knowledge of God's Word produces an internal sense of obligation to do what's right." (p. 54)

"The point we're trying to teach children is that correction is a valuable tool in their lives, and it's a way to learn and grow. God wants us to learn from our mistakes, not beat ourselves up or attack other people." (p. 64)


"If you want your kids to fly straight, teach them obedience. If you want them to fly high, teach them honor...Obedience gets the job done, but honor deals with how that job is done." (p. 85, 88)


"The role of the conscience and the Holy Spirit is to provide guidance for the heart and keep it moving in the right direction." (p. 100)


"There are many good and godly ways to raise children. Just because one technique works with another child doesn't mean it will work with yours. Tailoring a plan for each child will consider specific needs and challenges, resulting i more effective parenting strategies." (p. 110)


"Passing on the faith is more than imparting biblical knowledge or explaining theology. It's living it out. When children see faith lived out in the everyday activities of life, they're more apt to catch it. " (p. 142)


"A strong family seeks to bless others, cares for others, and helps them find God in tangible ways. In short, the family is a place where children become disciples of Jesus Christ so they can impact the world. They learn how to become disciple-makers themselves." (p. 160-161)

About the Authors:

Scott Turansky has been a pastor and missionary for more than 33 years and is an author of several books. In addition to pastoring full time, Scott also conducts parenting seminars on Saturdays around the United States (http://www.effectiveparenting.org/). He is the cofounder of the National Center for Biblical Parenting (www.biblicalparenting.org) and has co-authored four books.

Joanne Miller is a pediatric nurse with 26 years of experience and the cofounder of the National Center for Biblical Parenting. She is the coauthor of seven parenting books.

NOTE: $150 Pre-Order Deal--Anyone who pre-orders the book at any retail outlet by January 31, 2015 will receive a Bonus Parenting Strategy Package full of parenting resources worth $150. 
The Bonus Parenting Strategy Pack includes:
• Toolbox of Consequences Video and Study Guide • Kids and Conscience Video and Study Guide • Children’s Activity Lessons for Conscience Development • Children’s Activity Lessons on Correction • Strong Willed Child Teaching Points • Make Devotions Fun MP3 • How to Develop Gracious Speech MP3
Learn more about all of these resources here:
http://www.biblicalparenting.org/motivateyourchildpreorder.asp
INSTRUCTIONS: Purchase the book. Email the receipt to
gift@biblicalparenting.org. They will send you the link and a special code
to access these downloadable products. This offer is good until January
31, 2015.