Wednesday, January 18, 2012

DVD Review and Giveaway: A Mile in His Shoes

A Mile in His Shoes is a family-friendly movie (PG) about a young man diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (a form of autism) and how his God-given talent (his amazing throwing ability) helps him and others. It's about overcoming challenges in life. It is based on the book "The Legend of Mickey Tussler" (a true story). It's directed by William Dear, the director of "Angels In the Outfield." It stars Dean Cain who plays Arthur Murphy, a baseball coach and Luke Schroder who plays Mickey, the main character. Excellent performances!

My family and I enjoyed this movie. It spoke to my heart deeply because one of my kids has symptoms that are similar to Asperger's Syndrome but the doctors diagnosed him with anxiety disorder, instead. My son is very athletic and great with numbers like Mickey. He is also sensitive to noise and crowds like Mickey. When Coach Murphy sees Mickey (a farmer boy) throw apples at a bucket for his pigs, he knows that he has just found an outstanding pitcher for his team. However, Mickey's parents have concerns (I can understand why). Coach Murphy eventually convinces them that joining his minor league team will benefit their son. Coach Murphy is a wonderful encourager, in contrast to Mickey's father who discourages his son (while being protective of him). We were cheering for Mickey the whole time. There are some unpleasant events but I'm not going to spill the beans :). A couple things left out in the movie make me curious: why Coach Murphy's wife is never mentioned/seen and what happens to Lefty (the troublesome pitcher whom Mickey replaces) in the end. A Mile in His Shoes celebrates hope, faith, family, friendship, respect, and determination. I also hope it helps viewers understand people with Asperger's Syndrome better and stop teasing them/thinking they're weird. I highly recommend this heart-warming film. By the way, it is not a comedy but we laughed quite a bit. Entertaining and inspiring!


GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of this awesome DVD! Ends 01/31 at midnight Pacific time. One winner will be chosen via Please make sure you leave your email address with your comment(s).

To Enter: Leave a comment letting me know if you know anyone with Asperger's Syndrome or why you would like to win this DVD.
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"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, January 13, 2012

FIRST Wild Card Tour: The Gospel Story Bible by Marty Machowski

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

               Today's Wild Card author is:

Marty Machowski

Illustrated by:

                              A. E. Macha

and the book:

New Growth Press (December 5, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings – The B&B Media Group – for sending me a review copy.***


Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church, a Sovereign Grace Ministries church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for twenty-three years. Marty leads Promise Kingdom, the children’s ministry of Covenant Fellowship. He is also the author of Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God and the forthcoming Gospel Story Sunday school curriculum. He and his wife Lois and their six children reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Visit the author's Facebook Page.


I have never been the best at anything. This has given me the freedom to really enjoy alot of things; perfection is not on the line. So my drawing is not clean, my patchwork corners don’t really match up, and my cooking is always an adventure. I was raised by a single mom who has an exhausting amount of creative energy. My brother and I were taught how to create our own entertainment and seek adventure in the everyday.
When I was in Jr High, both my parents remarried and let’s just say things have never been boring. A foster brother, two step sisters, and a half brother were added to the mix. I have aunts and uncles who have been beyond generous and helped raise me in many ways. I have been blessed to travel overseas and even live in Prague for six months. My dad and stepmom run a special needs home in Guatemala where I have spent time and really fallen in love with the culture. My brother and his wife run a shoe company out of Guatemala. Everywhere I have been, even a dirt floor hut in the hills of Guatemala, there has been art: design and color. I believe as humans we are created in the image of The Creator, and so we all have some creative effort to put forth.
I have a BFA in Illustration because after all the studio classes one takes to finish an Art Education degree, I found what I really like to do is draw. I doodle. Alot.
Presently, I am married with two little ones, living in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. I teach art part time at a sweet little christian school, grow tomatoes and beets, and sew or draw when I get the chance.
My first illustration project is coming out in the fall, 156 illustrated Bible stories in the “Gospel Story Bible” by Marty Machowski, published by New Growth Press.
Visit the illustrator's Website.


Sometimes it’s easy to forget Jesus in the midst of frantic schedules, family squabbles and conflicting priorities. For many Christians, God often becomes little more than an afterthought after days absorbed and depleted by the busyness of life. But the truth is that he is the hero of every story—including the mundane, ordinary ones we experience on a regular basis. That is why Marty Machowski beckons families to take time out from the daily grind to be transformed by the message of the Good News in his latest release, The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments (New Growth Press, November 2011).

Based on the ESV Bible, this uniquely illustrated Bible storybook uses 156 stories to present God’s plan of salvation in Christ from its opening narrative in Genesis to its finale in Revelation. This easy-to-read storybook written for children from preschool to high school introduces readers to many captivating people, places and events from the Bible’s Old and New Testaments. At the same time, Machowski skillfully connects the individual stories to the overall gospel narrative of how God redeemed a broken world through sending his son Jesus to save his people. Each story ends by connecting to Jesus and his gospel of grace. By sharing these Bible stories with each other, young and old will learn together the life-changing habit of recognizing the presence and workings of Christ in every moment of their day.

“The gospel is deep enough to keep the oldest and wisest parents learning and growing all their lives, yet simple enough to change the heart of the first grader who has just begun to read,” says Machowski. “That’s what makes The Gospel Story Bible ideal as a storybook for a preschooler, a devotional for a grade school student, a refresher for the adult believer or an introduction for the new one. Parents and children will learn together to read the whole Bible as one story, with one hero—Jesus Christ.”

Vibrant illustrations by A. E. Macha, child-friendly discussion questions and Scripture references accompany each story to help lead families in exploring the Bible. Parents and teachers will be delighted to discover how easily even a young child can understand the original text of a story that he or she has already come to love. A companion to the family devotional Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God and the soon-to-be-released Gospel Story Sunday school curriculum (February 2012), The Gospel Story Bible is also a great resource for churches, Sunday school classes, home-schoolers and Christian schools who want to teach their children to apply the gospel to every situation and make Jesus the most important part of their everyday lives.

Product Details:
List Price: $29.99
Hardcover: 328 pages
Publisher: New Growth Press (December 5, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936768127
ISBN-13: 978-1936768127

I've enjoyed reading this book to my boys at their bedtime. They (13 and 10) are already familiar with the stories from the Bible. Nevertheless, this book gives us opportunities to discuss and helps my kids connect the dots more easily between the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is Christ-centered; every story points to Jesus. I love that! Some Christians (especially new believers) may think the Old Testament is not relevant and is hard to understand. The Gospel Story Bible will help readers see how the Gospel message is woven throughout the Bible since Genesis. I also like the vibrant colors used in this book. The illustrations are somewhat whimsical. Each story includes three questions for discussion. Great resource!

AND NOW...Some Sample Pages (click images to see them larger):

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Review: The 21-Day Dad's Challenge

Cover: The 21-Day Dad's Challenge

List Price: $13.99 
ISBN: 978-1-58997-681-8 
Trim Size: 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 
Binding: Softcover 

I have not seen Courageous yet, but I have heard positive reviews about it and can't wait to get its DVD. Courageous challenges men to be better fathers. The 21-Day Dad’s Challenge aims to do the same. Because of their competitive nature, men enjoy challenges. This book offers 3 weeks worth of challenges for dads to develop better relationships with their kids. The challenges were written by well-known Christian men such as Josh McDowell, Jim Daly, Joe White, Jay Payleitner, Randy Alcorn, Tony Dungy, Shaun Alexander, Chip Ingram, Carey Casey (the general editor) and one woman. The 21-Day Dad’s Challenge will inspire and equip men to build stronger bonds with their kids while having fun and instilling Godly values in them. I'm excited to be sharing all the practical tips in this book with my husband. It's helpful for moms, too :). Each chapter ends with "Your Challenge" and "Your Plan" (action steps). Some chapters also include a symbol/ code (that works with your smartphone) and a link to a video by Dr. Greg Smalley for bonus help/advice in taking that day's challenge. I really like these videos. You can join other fathers as they take the 21-Day Challenge here. Kids grow up so fast. Please do not take the gift of fatherhood for granted. No matter how old your child is, he/she would be thankful that you intentionally reach out to him/her with love. This resource is a wonderful parenting coach at your fingertips.

~ Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Gentleness Challenge

Of all the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control), gentleness is the one I struggle with the most. When I saw this challenge, I knew I had to (definitely should) take it :). Oh how I long for a constant gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4)!

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2