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
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:

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):
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~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.