Thursday 28 February 2013

Book Review: Unbreakable by Nancy Mehl

Bethany House Publishers
ISBN: 0764209280

From The Back

Gentle and unassuming, Hope Kauffman has never been one to question the traditions of her Mennonite upbringing. She quietly helps her father run Kingdom Quilts and has agreed to the betrothal he arranged for her with the devout but shy Ebbie Miller.
Despite the attempts of Hope and other Kingdom residents to maintain the status quo, changes have already begun to stir in the small Mennonite town. The handsome and charismatic Jonathon Wiese is the leader of the move to reform, while Ebbie insists Kingdom must remain true to its foundation. When Hope's safety is threatened by a mysterious outsider, she can't help but question what she's always been taught about the Mennonite tradition of nonviolence.
As it swiftly becomes apparent the threat Hope faced is only the beginning, the town that's always stood so strong finds itself divided. With tensions high and their lives endangered by an unknown enemy, will Hope and the people of Kingdom allow fear and division to break them or will they draw on the strength of the God they serve?

My Reflections

It was a nice change for me to read about life in a Mennonite community. It's always interesting to imagine yourself in a very different way of life.

The theme running through this book is whether or not to take up arms to actively protect yourself and the others around you from a threat or pray and rely solely on God's protection. A few more progressive people in town want to put men on patrol with guns but the more traditional Mennonites resist the idea, saying they need to rely on God and turn the other cheek instead. Hope is being pursued by two men, each on the opposite side of this debate and we don't find out until the very end who she will choose.

Although the story and setting grabbed my attention right off the bat, I can't say I loved the book. The first person storytelling didn't work for me and there is an inordinate amount of dialogue in this book. Almost all the action is told to you through the dialogue. For me, it got rather tedious.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

About the Author  
Nancy Mehl

Nancy Mehl

Nancy Mehl, the author of 13 books, received an ACFW Carol Award in 2009 for her novel For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls. She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. She writes from her home in Wichita, Kansas, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their puggle, Watson. Visit her website at


Wednesday 27 February 2013

Homeschool Curriculum review: Awesome science Explore John Day Fossil Beds

Awesome Science Explore John Day Fossil Beds 

 Explore John Day Fossil Beds with Noah Justice (Study Guide)

Product Description

Explore John Day Fossil Beds (Awesome Science Episode 6) will take children and teens on a God-glorifying trip out west. Exploring how extensive erosion revealed layers of ash, sediment, and fossils at Oregon's John Day Fossil Beds, children will discover why no dinosaurs are found there, the history of the geological formations, and an explanation of why a catastrophic event explains the landscape.

Traveling is even better when you discover the evidence of biblical history and truth along the way. Hosted by 14-year-old homeschooler Noah Justice, his fresh approach to science and the Bible will get children more excited about the truth with each episode of Awesome Science.

My Reflections

This is the second episode I have reviewed in the Awesome Science Series, and I am still impressed!

 Again Noah Justice delivers a fast paced, information packed, hat decked science lesson.

 I have to say I had to watch this video a couple of times to really get a good impression of it. 
There is so much to take in, that viewing it more than once will be a must if you want your children to fill in the Study Guide questions which can be purchased or downloaded.
I quite enjoyed this little extra resource.

 In this Episode (#6 Explore the John Day Fossil beds), Noah Justice visits the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in northeastern Oregon.
 You learn all about  the range of plant and animal fossils and why no dinosaurs are found. The history of the spectacular geological formations and the impact of erosion, which explanation is correct millions of years or a catastrophic event?

The guide includes complete word lists, key concepts, fill in the blanks, and true and false questions.
This would make a wonderful supplementary resource for your science kit for kids ages 9-17. 

The length of the movie is 30 minutes, but as I said you will probably want to stop the movie have some dialog, and then re watch it to get the most of the video.
My kids were happy to watch another “Noah” video for science, and thought it was cool that he is a home learner as well.

I received this DVD, free of charge to review in exchange for my honest opinion from Master Books, a division of New Leaf Publishing Group. Thank you New Leaf!

Explore John Day Fossil Beds with Noah Justice

 About the Author:

Kyle Justice

The Awesome Science series is brought to you by Kyle Justice, the same producer of the “X-Nilo Show” and “The Creation Network.” His work has appeared on such networks as National Geographic, ESPN, and The Outdoor Channel. A true family project, Awesome Science is brought to you by 14-year-old host Noah Justice, producer and father Kyle Justice, and younger brother Jeremiah Justice who helps with video editing and their website.

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Book Review: A Quilt for Jenna By Patrick E Craig

book title front
From the Back

Amish + Quilts = readers delight!  And in this first book in Patrick Craig’s Apple Creek Dreams series, readers will follow Jerusha Springer’s journey out of tragic circumstances to a new life of hope.

Jerusha has spent months making the most beautiful quilt anyone in Apple Creek, Ohio, has ever seen, and she knows it’s going to take first prize at the Quilt Fair in Dalton.  The prize will be her ticket out of the Amish way of life—away from the memories of her dead daughter and her tormented husband.  But on the way to the Fair, she gets caught in the Storm of The Century and Jerusha’s driver crashes their car.  While the driver goes for help, Jerusha is led by someone, or something, to the side of a lost little girl.  By the time the storm clears, Jerusha finds there is a greater prize to be won than money and blue ribbons.
A beautiful story of loss….and redemption.

A Quilt For Jenna 

By: Patrick E Craig
ISBN# 978-0-7369-5105-0

My Reflections

 When I first decided to review this book I was thrilled to be able to review another Amish book, I love Amish!
 I have to say this book exceeded my every expectation. It drew me in and captivated my imagination, within mere pages.

 Craig masterfully paints the scenes with painstaking detail. You feel Jerusha’s angst so vividly, experience right alongside her the cold seeping into her being and the loss and bitterness are all consuming. 
 This author was able to shift back and forth from present to past and construct a cohesive and flowing story line that does not lose the reader in the process.

 I enjoyed how this book showed that love and forgiveness go a long way in helping someone heal and let go of the past, and how romance and love in a marriage can so quickly disappear and then return once more.

 I was pleasantly surprised that a male author could efficiently deliver this heartwarming and endearing tale of a quilt maker, and be able add enough sentiment to keep this romantic minded gal enthralled right up to the very last pages!
 Brilliantly done Patrick E Craig, I will certainly be watching for your next book in the Apple Creek Dreams Series! 

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion, from Harvest House.
Thank you so much Harvest House Publishing!

About the Author 
 Patrick E. Craig

Patrick E. Craig

Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next 26 years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor in churches, and at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the western United States. After ministering for a number of years in music and worship to a circuit of small churches, he is now concentrating on writing and publishing both fiction and non-fiction books. Patrick and his wife Judy make their home in northern California and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren.

Monday 25 February 2013

Karina's Book reveiw: Challenge on the Hill of Fire

The Imagination Station Challenge on the Hill of Fire

 Authors: Marianne Hering and Nancy I. Sanders
ISBN: 978-1-58997-694-8

This Adventures in Odyssey book is all about the characters Patrick and Beth who jump on the Imaginations station in search of adventure and Shamrocks and leprechauns.
However they don't find a pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow and they don't even find a rainbow.
 What they actually find is nothing like the fairy tales tell you about! Fifth century Ireland was a very scary place filled with people who try and hurt Patrick and Beth, causing them to flee!

 Imagination station is fabulous historical fiction that is recommended for ages 7 and up.

 It has questions and answers about St. Patrick and a secret word puzzle on the back. This book is an exciting story that keeps you interested, you could imagine the entire story as if it were really happening.

  My favorite thing about this book was that you were learning and you get caught up in a great adventure.

 Adventures in odyssey is a great series altogether. I would highly recommend them to anyone who wants a remarkable narrative packed with adventure and real facts.

The Mom’s reflections: 

"Challenge on the Hill of Fire" Came at the perfect time! This month is St Patrick's day! 
The cousins Patrick and Beth travel back in time using the Imagination Station to meet St. Patrick.

 While there they learn about the dark culture in which St. Patrick lived in the Fifth century of Ireland. 
The Druids were a wicked, cruel cult who enslaved and sacrificed many people, in the name if their faith. 
 In the story Patrick and his friends were able to share Gods truths with them and help them to see a little light in a very dark time period.
 The Main Characters Patrick and Beth are adventurous and brave! They even get a chance to fellowship with some of the Christians and to meet St. Patrick himself! 

 What a great resource to have in our home, I am considering creating a lap book template to accompany this book so our home-schooled children can delve a little deeper into the life of Bishop Patrick, and this time period.

 The theme I especially appreciated in this volume was the correlation between the “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow, and linking it to the truth and knowledge of our God. This was a wonderful theme that I was delighted to see.

 My opinion is if you want a well written book for your tweens to read with adventure, intrigue, historical content integrated with biblical truths you simply can’t go wrong with any of the Odyssey books!  

Thursday 21 February 2013

Your purpose, milking a goat?

You ever wonder what your gifts are?
Just look at that fun, oh wait does she have a hot chocolate in her hand?
I think this year I am going to embark on a journey to really discover what my gifts are!
I am not going to lie to you this year has been fraught with challenges and trials worthy of those gray hairs I keep pulling out.

Life in general here in the middle of no where is usually quite peaceful, filled with busyness, school work and business ventures.
Do you ever find though that in all the rushing and flutter you wake up some days and go WHY?

Do you find yourself asking who am I? Why am I here and what is my purpose?
I am not talking about your cleaning lady role, your superb diapering jobs or even your savvy goat roping skills.
No I am speaking of your PURPOSE. Why the heck are we running here and there, wearing ourselves out trying to keep all the balls in the air.

Is it because:

A) We really like to run around feeling tattered and frazzled?

B) You find satisfaction in roping goats, and frankly it is as close to affection as you will get to day?

C) Life just passes in a blur and it is all you can do to keep it together.

D) You feel God has a purpose in all this. You are not sure what it is but are willing to ride it out to find out.

C) Everyone expects you to.

D) You love your family.

E) You know your Purpose and are living fully in it!

Which ones did you pick?
I sure hope it was E, that was my favorite!

Fine I will tell you what I chose #B, because you know how much I want a goat! I can't wait to learn to milk it!
~ Insert D.T. rolling her eyes at me, muttering "Oh doll, give it a month"~

Wherever you are in my fabulously handy multiple choice questionnaire, know that God does have a plan.
Now right here and now...frankly.....I am having a wee bit of trouble digging  mine out from all this chicken poo poo....but I have no fear God's got it all worked out!
 He is my superman, and I am who I am...just plain ol'me. I am sure he can work though a broken down, worn out, tired and addle minded country girl.
After all I'm pretty fun, just ask my friends, they have lots of funny stories about me.
Oh wait I don't think some of them are all that funny.ah..never mind.. Have I mentioned I get lost easily?

But if you are still having trouble figuring out your gifts here is a great tool to discover your spiritual gifts. a little part in discerning your meaning in life.

No surprise there, after taking the test it seems I am all on the compassion, service side and not so much on the teaching, leadership side.

No worries, mate I will go get my self a goat and speak sweet nothings in its ear as I milk her and show her how considerate and witty I can be, then I will share the goat milk with you, cuz that is where I shine my little light!

And yes friends, I am Blogging at 1 am again, that says it all....

Hugs and love, my prayer for you is that you find your passion in life, that you feel worthy and productive and that you know God will and can use you in the good and the bad.
So chin up, you are loved! Everyone has a special, unique gift, you just have to be you and keep on smiling.....

Romans 12:1-5 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Book Review: A Woman's Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year

A Woman's Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year
Cover Art
By Diane Stortz

 From The Back

 You CAN Read the Bible in a Year
 When Diane Stortz was invited to join a study to read the whole Bible in a year, she went for it. It changed her life, even though she'd been a Christian a long time. Now, more than ten years later, she still reads through the Bible every year with a group of friends.

"I didn't start to really know God until I made knowing him my goal as I read the Bible. Getting to know God changed me. It changed how I think and what I do. It changes me still."

God put the Bible together for you. Reading it through in a year helps create a rich experience and a focused understanding of what God wants to reveal about himself. And with week-by-week reading plans, easy-to-use reference material, and stories of encouragement from women like you, A Woman's Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year is the perfect companion for this life-changing practice.

Gather your Bible and some good friends to join you in your journey, or go for it on your own. Either way, God will change you.

My Reflections:
Delve into a wonderful routine of immersing your soul in God’s word, using this fantastic little guide.
Upon viewing this book what caught my attention instantly was the front cover, it is soothing with my favorite beverage hot tea; this simply beckoned me to review it.
Diane Storts has designed a very functional, yet personal guide to reading the bible in a year. She is insightful, honest and relevant throughout this study. I found the plan to be presented in a clear and uncluttered format.
This study goes week by week, and includes a summary of your Bible verse references and checkpoints. I especially enjoyed the Share the Journey exercises. These can be done as a group in your Bible study sessions or alone with God as your personal Journaling.
A few other points that make this study special is that they are is so easy to follow and read, you can check off your reading plan checklist as you go week by week and in the back of the book, if you choose.
Reading God’s word daily with a systematic approach helps us to not only know how God wants us to live, but also speaks directly to us, in a way like no other can. This little gem of a book is a great tool to keep you on track and organized!
I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review from Bethany House Publishers. Thank you Bethany House!

About the Author 
Diane Stortz
 Diane Stortz has over twenty years of Christian publishing experience, including writing and editing. She maintains a blog site to encourage Bible reading and memorization ( She and her husband, Ed, live in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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