Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner 2017 + Free menu planning worksheets

2017 Planner (fall)
Two years ago I discovered the Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner and I have been hooked ever since!  I was so excited to finally find a planner that fit my needs.

Here is what I like about this planner:
*It's a convenient size.  I can slip it into my purse.
*The weekly task list helps me organize my to do list.
*I can record and see my menu plan for the whole week on the two page spread.
*I plan birthdays, cleaning projects, clothes I need, makeup brands, books to read and more.
*The tear out shopping lists are handy for recording my shopping needs and using for my grocery run.
*I keep a master list of shopping needs from my favorite stores.
*I can see a month at a glance.
*It's my brain and I LOVE it!

This planner has been such a positive impact in my life to be organized, productive and happy!

Check out my video for the 2017 planner:

Click here for more information and to buy your planner for the new year:
Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner 2017

When you buy a planner for 2017 you will get a download of free menu planning worksheets.
2017 Menu Planning Worksheets Download


*I am an affiliate for this product.  Thanks for supporting me at no extra charge.*

Monday, October 17, 2016

When Calls the Heart- Hearts in Question DVD Review

 When Calls the Heart: Hearts in Question is another gripping episode of the ups and downs in Hope Valley.  Jack's mother, Charlotte, comes to visit and ends up staying with Elizabeth who is uncomfortable with her habits, her adventure and the fact that her son has still not completely made a permanent decision with Elizabeth.  But then there is a collapse of the Silverton Mine with many of the settlers needing to vacate their homes and take refuge in Hope Valley.  Rosemary and Lee are planning their wedding, but the needs of the town surpass the coming party and Rosemary gives many of her precious bridal dresses and dinners to help the cause.  Mayor Gowen and Nora try to "escape" Hope Valley, but get caught in the storm and Jack tries to save a young girl from the flood waters, but he gets swept away and Elizabeth desperately searches for him.  Will Hope Valley be able to help the misplaced settlers and will Jack survive his accident in the raging river?

This was a very intense movie, but it also showed again how the town of Hope Valley works together to help others and make sacrifices for the sake of others.  I especially like Abigail's tenacity and courage to help others in their storms.  She shows a strong spirit and a loving heart.  I am anxious to see how Jack and Elizabeth's relationship will progress as he shows her a piece of land that he has just purchased. 
*I received a copy of this DVD for review from Edify Media.  All opinions are my own.*

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Moonlight Over Manhattan by Carrie Turansky (a novella) Book Review

 Sarah is a lovely single professional organizer living in an apartment complex in New York.  Her older neighbor, Lillian, who is a widow has a bad fall and needs to go to the hospital.  Sarah is asked to care for the dog until her grandson comes.  When Justin arrives, Sarah is unprepared for his casual, yet charming personality.  Sarah and Justin decide to help clean up Lillian's apartment as a surprise for her homecoming from the hospital.  They don't always see eye to eye and Sarah is not quite sure the status of Justin's employment, but she becomes interested in his friendship.  After spending Thanksgiving with Lillian and Justin's family, Sarah feels comfortable and peaceful.  But she is still confused and when she learns that Lillian is supporting a young man whom she assumes is Justin, her heart tells her to back away.  Justin can't understand why Sarah has become aloof so he offers to take her out for a fun night in Manhattan.  Sarah's feelings are confused and she continues to keep her thoughts to herself.  After Justin reveals his flourishing career and professes his love for Sarah, will she be open to having a romantic and fulfilling relationship with him?  Find out in Moonlight Over Manhattan by Carrie Turansky.

This sweet story is the perfect novella to read for the upcoming holiday season where love and hope are in the air.  Be swept away with Sarah and Justin's unpredictable friendship and eventual love story in this new story by one of my favorite authors, Carrie Turansky. 

Don't forget to enter Carrie's giveaways that end this weekend: http://carrieturansky.com/index.php/a-new-story-for-you-2-giveaways/
*I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the author for review.*

Saturday, October 1, 2016

When Calls the Heart: Forever in My Heart DVD Review

Once again, Hope Valley is in transition.  Jack has decided to help a young mom living with the settlers to get back together with her husband.  He also is looking at land on which to possibly build a home.  Abigail's world gets turned upside down when Cody's sister Becky returns and a blood relative comes to town and seeks to take the children home with her.  Rosemary is ecstatic when a producer decides to cast her in his film.  But is she ready to move and leave Lee whom she loves?  And Elizabeth finds a way to help Becky achieve success in a very important school project and to personally rise above her physical disabilities. 

This episode had a lot of wonderful moments of accomplishment as well as some heart warming moments between Abigail and the children.  It is always enjoyable to watch how the town of Hope Valley looks after each other and cheers each other on.  Come enjoy another episode of the people of Hope Valley and the ups and downs of their lives.

*I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD for review from Edify Media.  All opinions are my own.*

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Caged No More DVD Review (sensitive content)

Caged No More is the story of one woman's fight to find her adopted granddaughters who were sold into slavery by their father.  Aggie is desperate to find her granddaughters who seem to have disappeared.  She goes undercover and finds an ally to help her in her quest from the wealthiest family in New Orleans who is also related to the father of the girls.  She discovers that the girls are being "sold" thinking they are performing in a beauty pageant.  There is danger everywhere and the girls are rescued in a dramatic emancipation. 
This film exposes the horrors and dangers of the underground sex trafficking industry that is taking over in every country, even the United States.  There is a great need to keep girls and boys from being taken and exploited.  This film shows the way people risk their lives for these girls.  It is daring and courageous work.  This is a real fight we need to fight. 
The reality of this is very scary for me to think about.  I hope this film helps others find a way to help and create more rescues for these women and also men who are being strangled by this horrible industry.  There is hope and help!

*I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD for review.  All opinions are my own.*

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

BOGO offer for Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner 2016 & 2017 (expires 8/31)

Hi Friends!
Can you believe summer is almost over?
Well, we are starting school on August 31 so that's not many more days left and also I realized we have 99 days until our trip to Mexico this coming winter.
But what I'm most excited about right now is the BOGO offer from Homemaker's Depot for the Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner 2016 AND 2017!
From now until August 31 you can get this deal for only $14.99.
See my video here for more details
GET BOGO on Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner for 2016 and 2017
Offer good until August 31!
*I am an affiliate for this company.  Thanks for your support!*

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

When Calls the Heart: Heart of a Hero DVD Review (Season 3, Movie 3)

When Calls The Heart: Heart Of A Hero 

When Calls the Heart: Heart of a Hero is the next movie in Season 3.  Pastor Frank is back in his position, but he can't seem to encourage a trusting relationship with Abigail and the Garrison Gang still is trying to get Frank to join back with them.  Lee injures his foot and Faith Carter, a nurse from Hamilton, arrives to care for him.  Elizabeth is jealous of Faith and Jack's friendship and makes it clear to Jack that she is not happy.  And Mayor Gowen continues to make life hard for the new settlers when he raises the rent.  A new girl comes to town and is not interested in making friends at school.  Elizabeth gets advice from Rosemary about how to promote kindness in her classroom.  Bill Avery makes Dottie Ramsey a birthday dinner and Jesse is still trying to win Clara's heart even if he used to run with a dangerous gang of outlaws.  Relationships in Hope Valley are soaring high and low and there is still some mysterious things happening at the mill.  Faith Carter is torn between becoming a wife and running an infirmary in Hope Valley.  She makes a decision that will affect her life in Hope Valley and her friendship with Jack.  Will Elizabeth be able to make peace in her classroom and in her heart with her feelings for Jack?
This episode had so many great moments.  I did enjoy Faith Carter in Season 2 when she met Jack while caring for his brother.  She is sweet girl and she has a heart of gold.  I was sad that she had to choose between her fiancĂ© and her work.  And Abigail has some sweet moments with Cody who she "adopted."  He is upset that some of the kids keep telling him that she is not his mother.  She says to him, "I need you just as much as you need me." I'll be interested to see how all these couple relationships grow.  Hope Valley has such a rich group of people and stories.  I look forward to more adventures and intrigues from Hope Valley.

*I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD for review from Edify Media.  All opinions are my own.*

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Memory Book DVD Review

Buy Christian Movies on FishFlix.com | Memory Book DVD

Chloe Davenport is a photographer and innocently picks up a Memory Book at a Swap Meet.  She thumbs through the book and decides to buy it.  She takes it home and begins to try to unravel the mystery of the couple in the pictures. They seemed so in love and kept special memories of their times together.   She meets Gabe who is a willing friend who likes adventure and decides to help Chloe track down this mysterious couple.  They go all over San Francisco to places from the pictures.  They also meet a lot of special people along the way that give them moments to enjoy with them and with each other.  Gabe begins to fall for Chloe who is still unsure about love.  Then they finally meet the mysterious couple, Sarah and Jonathan.  Their story of a wedding that never happened gave Chloe an idea.  Will Chloe open her heart to Gabe and will this couple make love come true even after all these years?

Check out The Memory Book DVD from FishFlix online.  This sweet Hallmark movie is sure to tug some heart strings.  I really enjoyed the special moments and fun adventures that Chloe and Gabe experienced.  They really connected in making a mystery come alive.  I really enjoyed the ending and I love the idea of creating my own Memory Book.  This movie was romantic, adventurous with some laughs and also a few heartaches.  It's one to please any romantic soul. 

You can also get a $5 coupon to FishFlix.com if you join the email list.  Join by visiting www.fishflix.com/5gift or texting 5-GIFT to 44222.

*I received a complimentary copy of this DVD from FishFlix.com.  All opinions are my own.*

Friday, June 17, 2016

When Calls the Heart: Troubled Hearts (Season 3, Movie 2) DVD Review

 When Calls the Heart Season 3 is full of more than enough surprises.  Elizabeth wants to move into her own house, but Jack is starting to get serious about her because he has been planning on building a house for both of them.  Rosemary sticks her nose in Lee's business and finds out that he is taking out a loan on his business.  She begins to "help" him scrimp on every little convenience- no heat (wear a coat), and only allowing him one pencil.  And then there's Jesse, who has come into town looking for Pastor Frank Hogan (aka Matt Landry).  When Abigail sees his picture on a Wanted poster she tries to understand who Pastor Frank really is.  Will Jack make advances in his relationship to Elizabeth, is Lee really in financial difficulty and who is Pastor Frank and why does Jesse keep threatening him?  Find out in When Calls the Heart: Troubled Hearts in Season 3.
I really like the characters in this show.  They live simple lives, and they truly love to help and protect each other.  This episode featured some funny moments as well as some tense moments.  And as always I am anxious to see the development of Jack and Elizabeth's relationship.  She is so independent and I think Jack needs to make a move soon.  If you enjoy When Calls the Heart, this is another episode not to miss. 

*I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD for review.  All opinions are my own.*

Monday, June 13, 2016

Chasing Grace DVD Review and Giveaway

Chasing Grace (DVD)
A family tragedy.  A little girl gone.  Two brothers ripped apart.  Grace and forgiveness buried.  Or not? 

Pastor Jonathan Matheson is leading a large church and his brother continues to need to have someone bail him out of jail.  On the day of his daughter's birthday, he brings his brother home and a tragedy occurs.  The family is torn apart not only by the death of the precious daughter, but by the bitterness between the brothers.  They both harbor secrets and lies and betrayal.  Jonathan's wife is thrown in the midst of a storm not only with her husband, but also with her son.  Instead of grace, there is guilt all around.  It's not until the secrets are revealed and repented that grace begins to transform the family. 

This was a heartbreaking film at the outset. And it seemed like every situation was worse than the first.  It was also interesting to see how the brothers, one a pastor and the other a drunk,  both fit into the same mold of being fools.  However, as time went on I saw how each had to come to a place of brokenness and eventually seeking forgiveness and restoration.   The outcome of redemption is so positive and uplifting.   I thought this movie had a powerful message and it really showed how the sin nature of man can be so prevalent even in someone who follows God.  No one is immune to the workings of Satan.   This movie was loosely based on true events. 

This movie has death, grief and alcoholism.  I would recommend it for teens and above.
*I received a complimentary copy of the DVD for review.  All opinions are my own.*
I am having a giveaway for this DVD:
Please enter your name and email in this LINK to be entered.
Winner will be chosen on Monday, June 20.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner DOUBLE DEAL! (2016+2017)

Hi Friends!  You know that I LOVE the Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner.  I have used it for almost a year and half now and it's a planner I will buy every year.  But I'm wondering if you love your planner.  It's been almost 6 months into the new year and how is it working for you?  Have you been curious about the Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner?

Well, here's a sweet deal!  You can not only get the 2016 planner, but also the 2017 planner for a double deal!  It's $18.99.

Check out the planner video and blog post here:

2016 & 2017 Planner Combo

DOUBLE DEAL: 2016 and 2017 Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner for $18.99

I really hope you think about getting this great deal.
I'm excited about the new 2017 planner.  It looks lovely.

*I am an affiliate for this company.*


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin Book Review and All Hands on Deck Giveaway!

Anchor in the Storm is book 2 in the Waves of Freedom series from award winning author Sarah Sundin.  Lillian Avery is excited to start her new career as a pharmacist in Boston and to be near her brother, Jim.  Lillian is caught by surprise and a bit of put off by the attention of Jim's best friend and fellow officer Archer Vandenberg who also comes from a wealthy family.  Lillian's disability (one leg and a prosthesis for the other) prevents her from coming close to anyone who could hurt her.  Arch longs to let go of the "rich kid" label and be a man who can care for Lillian despite her physical difference.  As Arch gets back on a new ship, the USS Ettinger,  after he almost drowned in the USS Atwood, he begins to have the shaking feeling in his hands from the trauma he experienced.  He decides to take some prescription drugs and feels drowsy and unable to do his job.  Meanwhile, Lillian is filling prescriptions for huge amounts of the same drug and is becoming suspicious.  She's a bit intimidated by her boss, Mr. Dixon and decides to keep the information to herself.  When Arch discovers many of the naval officers suddenly acting sleepy and becoming secretive, he begins to investigate.  Both Arch and Lillian discover an underground drug ring forming among the naval officers on board his ship.  They start to spend time together discussing the case and checking out leads.  They become close and fall in love.  But eventually a misunderstanding separates them and creates a rift between their relationship and stops their investigation together.  Lillian tries to recover from the hurt and gets too involved with the drug case by herself.  Arch is busy trying to sink German U-boats and trying to discover the links to the drug ring.  He is broken over his split with Lillian and after a tragedy he makes a huge decision that changed his life.  But will Lillian still be part of his life?
Sarah's latest novel is filled with history, romance, tragedy and true love.  This novel is rich in character development, intricate weaving of emotions and realistic historical war situations.  Both Lillian and Arch have physical disabilities that they try to hide and emotional baggage that they eventually share with one another.  The slow romance and eventual sweetness they discover in each other is conflicting to the growing tension of the war and probable drug ring forming around them.  Lillian is determined, brave and smart and she fights for what's right and grieves for what's wrong.  Arch is man of wealth, but doesn't want to flaunt it or live on it, but determines to make his life purposeful even in the midst of changing circumstances.  But most of all he wants Lillian at his side.  Do they lay aside their stubborn hearts and embrace the love they shared?  Find out in Sarah Sundin's new and thrilling historical fiction, Anchor in the Storm.
In a time of sacrifice, what price can one put on true love? Pharmacist Lillian Avery and Ensign Archer Vandenberg are about to find out in Sarah Sundin's new book, Anchor in the Storm. During the darkest days of the war, Arch's destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves—and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions Lillian has been filling? As the danger rises on both land and sea, the two must work together to answer that question. But can Arch ever earn Lillian's trust and affection?

Celebrate the release of Sarah's Anchor in the Storm by entering to win her All Hands on Deck Prize Pack!

anchor in the storm - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A signed copy of Anchor in the Storm
  • Nautical tote bag lined with anchor fabric
  • Anchor necklace made from copper reclaimed from the USS Constitution in Boston during restoration
  • 365 Devotions for Hope by Karen Whiting
  • Shine: Nautical Inspirational Adult Coloring Book
  • "Hope Anchors the Soul" journal
  • Set of two nautical tea towels
LF AIS full group 2 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on June 8th. The winner will be announced June 9th on Sarah's blog.

anchor in the storm - banner

Book Review: Through Waters Deep (Waves of Freedom #1)

Sarah Sundin Facebook
Sarah Sundin Blog
Sarah Sundin Pinterest Board for Anchor in the Storm

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review from Litfuse Publicity Group.  All opinions are my own.*

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Noble DVD Review

Christina Noble is a hero and rescuer to millions of lives.  She came from the slums of Ireland and chose to go to the slums of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.  When Christina was a young girl, her mother died and all the kids in her family were sent off to different places.  She dreamed of becoming a singer and she never gave up on anything she put her mind and heart into.  In high school she was gang raped and had a son who was taken from her.  She married a smart, handsome man who broke her heart and abused her.  When she was in this dark place, she had a dream that she was to go to Vietnam and rescue the street children after watching a news piece on TV. 

In 1989 she went to Vietnam under no agency, but of her own free will.  She started to connect with the street children and even though she didn't know the language she used her gift of song to bring them hope and life.  She joined forces with the native people who wanted to help these kids and with a lot of effort, determination, rejection and eventually support she was able to build a new building to take care of the many basic needs of the children.  In doing this she rescued many children from danger, hunger, and a host of other things young children should never have to endure. 

Christina Noble was truly a noble woman who saved many generations of young people to help make a difference in one of the unreached areas of Asia.  She never looked back, never gave up and always  kept moving forward.  She just wanted to give kids their childhood. 

You can read more of her story here: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/feb/13/my-700000-children

This movie was incredible.  It was amazing to see the courage of this woman who worked tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of children that others did not think mattered.  But she knew that this mission was given to her by God and she took it seriously and with great determination.  I could not believe all that she went through in her own life and how God used her to make positive changes in her own life and in the lives of others.  Christina made it a point to connect with people and to make a difference.  There was a funny scene with a man who she told that by the time she moved out of the building that she would make him smile.  And she did!  This movie was riveting, inspirational and one not to be missed! 

They broke everything but her spirit. They took everything but her dream. NOBLE, the award-winning feature film, is the incredible true story of a fearless Irish heroine driven by her daring vision to escape the slums of Ireland and risk everything on the streets of Vietnam.
Check out this website for more information: http://thenoblemovie.com/.

*I was given a complimentary copy of this movie for my review.  All opinions are my own.*

Monday, May 2, 2016

When Calls the Heart: It Begins With Heart (Season 3, Movie 1) DVD Review

 The town of Hope Valley is never immune to danger or romance.  When Season 2 ended, Charles was on his knee in front of Elizabeth while Jack watched from the doorway.  Elizabeth tries to convince Jack that Charles is a friend and she could never think otherwise.  Rosemary enters a contest to showcase how a real frontier family celebrates New Year's Eve.  The town comes together to make quite a successful event but Rosemary still has to admit she is not what she claimed to be to the reporter who covers the story.  Bill Avery wants to prove to Jack he's not the counterfeit thief, and goes to great lengths to capture the real culprit.  And a young drifter shows up to cause trouble for Pastor Frank.  Yes, it's a place of hope, adventure and family friendly fun. 
Be sure to check out Season 3 Movie 1 It Begins With Heart!

In this movie, Elizabeth is still trying to juggle between her life in Hamilton and her new roots in Hope Valley.  She chooses Hope Valley and the people in it.  This episode also features some touching moments with children.  Cody and Becky are two orphan runaways who are taken in by Abigail and Elizabeth.  Becky is very ill, but she supports her younger brother Cody in a touching moment during the New Year's Eve party.  And Laura is a young girl without a mom and a father who has no joy or hope.  When Laura submits her drawing into the New Year's Eve contest, a touching moment softens the father's heart and opens up Laura's sweet inner need to have hope and love in the new year.  I really like how the people of Hope Valley really pull together and create special memories to last for years in the community.

*I was given a complimentary copy of this DVD for my review.  All opinions are my own.*

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Having a Martha Home the Mary Way by Sarah Mae Book Review

Sarah Mae's new book Having a Martha Home the Mary Way: 31 Days to a Clean House and a Satisfied Soul is long awaited!  Eight years ago she wrote an ebook called 31 Days to Clean and started sharing the Martha and Mary challenges, but now, this new book is so much more.  It digs deep into the heart of what you really desire your home to be not just on the outside, but on the inside.  Each chapter or day starts with a short story.  The Mary Challenge is a devotion with a Scripture and some questions to answer right in the book.  A Martha Challenge follows with specific areas to clean.  The chapters and challenges give practical tips and ideas for the art of "gentle homemaking" which is the purpose of Sarah Mae's vision for the home.  What really matters is how we love others and Sarah Mae wants the reader to look past all the chaos and clutter to reach the heart of the home. 

I want a clean home, but more than that I want an attitude of peace and joy in my home.  After reading this book, I had a good plan to start working on my heart and my home.  I really enjoy Sarah Mae's real life stories and how she overcame some huge struggles to find happiness and also some ideas to make her house clean.  I like how the book is divided into 31 days of challenges.  It takes a big project and breaks it down into doable pieces.  Her wit and humor shine forth in each chapter.  She makes me want to clean my home and have fun in the process!  I encourage you to check out Having a Martha Home the Mary Way and join the challenge on Sarah Mae's blog starting April 11.

Sarah Mae is hosting a 31 Days to Clean challenge starting April 11.  Be sure to join and you might have a clean home inside and out!  Sign up and get the first 42 pages of her new book for free. 

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers.  All opinions are my own.*

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner SALE!

Hi Friends,

We are a few months into the new year, but you may be missing something.  Could it be the Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner?  I thought so! 

Check out my video of the overview of the planner (from 2015):


Here is what I like about this planner:
*It's a convenient size- I can fit it in my purse, but it's big enough that I can write in it (no shorthand).
*The weekly task list is vital to my organization.
*I can record my menu plan.
*I can plan birthday parties, trips, summer ideas and book lists.
*I can record gifts to buy, cleaning ideas, and use the tear out shopping lists.
*I can make a master shopping list in the back.
*I can keep loose notes in the back pockets.
*I can see a month at a glance.
*I can record good quotes from podcasts.
*If I lose this planner, I will lose my brain (I'm not kidding!)
I have REALLY enjoyed this planner.  I am so glad to have used it this year.
I have felt more organized, I can see what I've done and the different areas are great for taking lots of notes and lists.

As I'm into my 2nd year with this planner I have seen so many great ways to utilize it to fit my specific needs.  I'm curious to see how you might use it too!

Let me know if you have any questions.  I'm happy to answer.

If you are curious about using this planner and think it might be something to try, Homemaker's Depot is having a SALE and I have a coupon code just for you for an EXTRA $2 off.

(Get $2 off with code: SK200)
This code expires March 12.
Offer good only while supplies last.

click to order

*I am an affiliate for this product.  Thanks for supporting me at no extra charge.*

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Captive DVD Review + Giveaway


About the movie:
Based on a miraculous story about the power of faith, Captive is an "amazing, inspiring" drama about the spiritual collision of two lost souls, Brian Nichols (Golden Globe Nominee David Oyelowo), on the run from police and desperate to make contact with his newborn son, takes recently widowed mother Ashley Smith (Kata Mara) hostage in her own apartment.  Fearing for her life and desperately hoping to see her daughter again, she turns to Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life for guidance.  Ashley and her captor face a crossroads where they discover hope and light in the midst of despair in the moving film that Dick Rolfe, CEO, Dove Foundation hailed as "powerful." 

DVD Release Date: January 5, 2016
Runtime: 96 minutes
Rating: PG-13 (for mature thematic elements involving violence and substance abuse) 
Captive is a compelling true story about a young widow (Ashley Smith)  held by her own prison of drugs and the loss of being the mother to her little girl and Brian Nichols, a man accused of rape and an escaped prisoner with 4 murders in his wake.  These two are thrown together in a thriller drama that shows the power of redemption.
One rainy night in Atlanta, GA, Brian Nichols grabs Ashley Smith outside of her apartment and holds her hostage for 7 hours.  In that time he takes the drugs she still has in her new apartment but she refuses.  She calmly tries to talk to him and eventually she ends up reading parts of the book The Purpose Driven Life to him.  They are two desperate people and Ashley saw how broken Brian was and he saw the hope that she had within her.  Both were imprisoned by their choices, yet, God chose to redeem them in miraculous ways. 
Ashley believes that God saved her that night in March 2005 and she has been drug free since.  Brian Nichols surrendered to the police without a fight and now is in prison for life without parole.  Both realized that light can shine through the darkness and this movie showed just how messy lives can be, but how no one is too far away from the God who saves. 
I really enjoyed this movie. It was powerful and thought provoking how God can use such broken people to come to him.  Although Brian is not "saved" he surrenders to the police which ultimately ends his flight peacefully.  There are a few drug scenes and some violence with gun shots and punching, but this drama was also full of hope and humanity that we all face things that imprison us and God can use any circumstance to bring us out of that pit.  This true story is worth watching. 
"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 a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”
Captive on DVD
Open to valid addresses in US and Canada only.
Please see giveaway guidelines above.
Please fill out this FORM with the following information.
Name and Email 
Giveaway ends on January 25.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Connect Cards for Small Groups from Missional Women Review



 Creative Resource for Small Group Leaders: Deeper connections are critical to a Small Group and creating them is a formidable challenge. So here is a resource—creative ideas and content—to help your Small Group make those connections: Connecting with God, Connecting with Scripture, Connecting with the Mission, and Connecting with One Another.

Why Connect Cards?
Many times when a Bible study is over it can seem like getting into God's Word was great but the group didn't really connect with each other, didn't grow in a heart for prayer or for reaching the world for Christ.

Small groups provide an atmosphere where great growth can take place but it takes intentionality to think through how to help group members connect with God, each other and the Great Commission in a deep and meaningful way. The Connect Cards provide training, questions and ideas to ensure each of these elements are present each week to make not only a deep and meaningful group but also an influential one.

How it Works
The Connect Cards deck has four essential elements: Connect with Scripture (for the leader), Connect with God (prayer), Connect with Each Other (group interaction), and Connect with The Mission (ministry). Each week during your small group Bible Study, chose one card from each section. All four categories combined (depending on the size of your group) should about 30-45 minutes to your group time. If you are short on time, you can choose to go through one category at a time.


The Connect Cards are a collection of cards with specific themes and questions or reflections for connecting to God, others, mission and scripture.  There are 11 cards in each section.  Each card focuses on a specific aspect of the theme.  Included on the cards are questions, Bible references, web links, thoughts and many ways to connect to God and others.  These cards would work well in a small group to pick 2-4 during a Bible study time and dive into the activities.  These cards cover what might not come up in normal conversation, but what dedicated Christians should be discussing and researching in their Christian walk. 

Do you need a unique way to increase discussion and make meaningful conversations in your small group or Bible study?  Connect Cards might be a good resource for you.

Be sure to visit Missional Women for more information and to order. 

*I was given these cards for review purposes only.  All opinions are my own.*

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Reason to Stay by Kellie Coates Gilbert Book Review

A Reason to Stay by Kellie Coates Gilbert is the third book in her Texas Gold series.  Faith Marin is a successful news anchor with her own show on the local TV station in Texas but hides a secret past that she doesn't want to expose ever.  Then she meets Geary and they become enchanted with each other. She even puts up with his overbearing and strange, but loving family.  But Faith and Geary have different interests and dreams and eventually they go their separate ways emotionally.  Then an accident happens and Faith is unable to accept that her life will forever be changed.  She and Geary must trust God with their pasts and future to be honest and give their marriage new life. 
This story had me hooked from the beginning.  The bounce between present and past was very tasteful and helped me to understand the story better and kept me guessing as to how the relationship between Faith and Geary changed.  The way they went from complete separation to healing and hope was quite a transformation.  This book kept me glued to my seat until the end. 
*I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review.  All opinions are my own. *

Friday, January 8, 2016

Favorite Books of 2015

Hi, I am a book reader!  I remember getting in trouble for reading books at school because I was supposed to be doing the classwork.  I also probably stayed up too late in high school and college reading.  But now, it's a struggle to read, especially books that I want to read.  I read A LOT to my kids.  But I am learning to find time to fit in reading for me and it's fun.  I started to track my reading on GoodReads this year and they have a nifty reading goal challenge.  I chose to read 24 books last year which was about 2 a month.  I did it! 

So here are 5 books that I read in 2015 and an extra one that I recommend:

See my short video HERE.

Books that I shared:

*Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson
Own Your Life

*Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine
Say Goodbye to Survival Mode

*Hoodwinked by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk

*Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst

*Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin
Through Waters Deep

Bonus book: Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph
Women Living Well
Bible study that goes with this book from Biblical Homemaking.  Excellent!

I hope you can read some of these books this year if you haven't.  I can't wait to see what books I get to recommend next year.  If you want to see all the books I read, check out my GoodReads account.  As you can see it was tough just to choose 5 books to share. 

Also, I usually buy my books at Book Depository which sometimes has lower prices, but also FREE shipping all over the world.  I have found this company to be reliable and convenient.

What books did you read that you might recommend for me to read this year?  Thanks, Shonda

*I am an affiliate for Book Depository.  Any purchase you make is at no extra cost to you.  Thank you for your support.*

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Make Over Your Mornings SALE ends on January 8!! Don't Miss It!

The Makeover Your Mornings Course is now on SALE for only $9.

I am currently going through this course again because I feel that I need to refresh my intentional living strategies. 

Crystal walks you through each step.

Learn how to create order to your next day by doing a few things the night before.
Choose the BIG rocks first and make them a priority.
Break down your goals in bite sized pieces.
Make a reasonable to do list.
Make a morning routine and be consistent.
Be ok to fail at times.

I can't tell you how much better I feel when I have my day in order and I'm able to truly enjoy my family and my work.  This ecourse is the perfect jumpstart to making those things happen. 

Make Over Your Mornings is a 14 day ecourse with videos, a short reading, assignments and printables.  This takes about 15 min a day, but has huge benefits.

I really like how the printables actually get me to think about the most important parts of my time.  On Day 2 I wrote down 3 things that cause me stress in the morning and how to make them less stressful if I took the time to do them the night before!  How come I didn't think of that?

If you would like to take a quick peek, check out the free Day 1 link below.
I honestly thought I didn't need this course and that I was just fine, but after taking this course and doing it again, I see so much more than just good morning routine.  It's a lifestyle that makes my days worth getting up and living for. 

How about you?
You can get Day 1 for free!
And if you purchase the course and you are not satisfied there is a 30 day money back guarantee.
Take a look at Day 1 and decide if this would be a good fit for you.
SALE from December 26-January 8
Only $9

*I am an affiliate for this course and I am pleased to endorse it.  Any purchase you make is no extra cost to you.  Thanks for your support.*

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Mexico: November 2015

Last November we had a family reunion in PV, Mexico with 27 family members.  Almost 10 years ago, my husband and I were at the same resort, but it looked much different then.  It was fun to go back and this time we had two kids!  It was so fun to watch the kids enjoy the water and my son learned to swim without water wings.  We ate a lot of good food and we had some fun adventures.  Here are a few pictures to share with you!

Can't wait to go back again!