There’s Always a Zacchaeus Up a Tree By Roger Campbell (Author), Timothy Campbell (Editor)

When I chose this book based on the cute title I did not even notice the author was Roger Campbell: the famous writer, broadcaster, columnist, pastor, father and husband! With such a life of variety, insight and experience I knew it was going to be a great book and I wasn’t wrong! It isn’t a big book, only 165 pages, but it would be 3 inches thick if it was measured by the treasures within. This is a simple read, but very inspirational and thought provoking.
Each devotional is a page long with a scripture at the end. I was impressed with how much truth and wisdom each simple story contained. He shares personal experiences, biblical truths and lessons learned from people in the past. Each page was engaging and captured my attention. No matter what the tone of the story; he always ends it on a note of hope
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, not only from the entertainment side but also from all the ways it gently opened my eyes and mind to looking at many spiritual matters in a different light. A book shared not only from a full life but also a full heart. Refreshing and different!
I received this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

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Ordering Your Private World By Gordon MacDonald

The title of the book drew me to it as I am always interested in better organizing my life, but once I opened it there was oh so much more! As I started to read it my eyes fell upon the words “live out of an empty soul”. That’s when I grabbed my highlighter. The author speaks of Christians who are so busy being Christians and serving the Lord but Christ isn’t the focus of their life. He asks us are we “driven” or all we “called”?
Some people are motivated by praise and success; others are caught up in serving and trying to meet all the needs and demands coming their way. As a minister’s wife for 26 years, I would often think about this. I love the Lord with all my heart but I would find myself “soul empty” because my time so full of the ministry. Yes I read my Bible and prayed but my focus wasn’t fully Christ but the tasks at hand.
No wonder we feel exhausted, hopeless and on the verge of burnout.
This book has so much to offer. Mr. McDonald shares attitudes and applications to establish if we are being driven or called to do something. He shares openly about his breakdown and shares how he began to rebuild his life on a firmer foundation. I like that he doesn’t just tell me I have a problem but gives me the tools to restore my life. I can learn how to reevaluate my priorities, control my time instead of it controlling me, how to re-enforce my spiritual inner life, and learn to truly rest. It excites me to see the world through the eye of the Bible and the Lord and not just what my flesh can perceive.
No wonder so many of us lack peace in our lives. I know I personally need to strengthen my inner world because my outer world the last few years has become almost too much to bear. The author jolted my mind with the example of Jesus ministry. Yes I knew it but I hadn’t ever noticed that he was never in a hurry. No one ever has or ever will have such a massive outer world to deal with. People constantly surrounding him and begging for help, teaching, dealing with those that wanted to harm him, and trying teach hard to teach disciples. Yet He was always at peace. Even as God in the flesh He took time to rest and be with His Heavenly Father. Amazing!
I so appreciate the built in study guide that will help me step by step to achieve this strengthening. When my focus is completely on Christ and all else that is shouting for my attention and energy will be sorted out as to whether deserves my attention or not. I will not be driven by the tyranny of the urgent but by looking through my Savior’s eyes. I want Him to be my only guide, not my planner or to do list. This book is to study and reread. I am keeping it as a reference book when I complete all it has to offer. An exceptional book all Christians need to read.
I received this book from W Publishing Group through Handlebar. I was not required to give a positive review; the opinions stated are my own.

Liar’s Winter By Cindy K. Sproles

I read the author’s first book Mercy’s Rain and could not wait to read this one! She is an incredibly talented writer that not only entertains but rivets your heart and mind to the story, bringing home incredible biblical truths.
The Appalachians and the unique people that live there have long fascinated me. Ms. Sproles was raised in the Appalachian mountains so her stories have a realism inherent from understanding the people, their ways, and their traditions.
Lochiel Ogle was born in the Tennessee mountains during the late 1800’s. Through no fault of her own, she had a large red birth mark on her face and neck. The superstition of the hills deemed it a “mark of the devil.” Due to the fear associated with this belief she suffered isolation and abuse by her adopted family.
As a young boy, her brother Gerald came upon the cabin where her mother had just given birth to her. The mother, in deep sleep was assumed dead by the boy. He was hoping a baby would ease his mother’s grief from the babies she had lost. Of course because of the mark, the infant was rejected and became a young woman filled with anger, hurt and confusion. She truly believed the curse and that the devil controlled her.
When she was 19 years old her brother tried to kill her and left her for dead. A compassionate Christian man named Walton found her and took her to his elderly mother, Edna. There for the first time in her life Lochiel, experienced love, kindness, acceptance and nurturing. While these were all very important needs, the greatest gift Edna gave her was to introduce her to God and His Word. Gently and lovingly she began to teach Lochiel that there was no curse and that she was not evil. Slowly Edna’s Christ like ways and teachings began to change Lochiel. It brought home that what we see has a horrible situation is God working to bless us.
This is an incredible story of forgiveness and love beyond what most of us cannot even begin to grasp. I saw God’s power working in Lochiel’s life in unimaginable ways. Suspense and surprise do not even begin to describe this novel. You will not be able to put it down! If you only read one fiction book this year, this is the one!
I received this book from Kregel Publishing. This is an honest review and the opinions stated are my own.

The Secret Language of Dogs By Victoria Stilwell

Hands down Victoria is my favorite all time dog trainer. Her no nonsense approach combined with kindness above all continually impresses me. I love my dog, Bill. He is my pal and my companion. It would be a lonely dull life without him. He adoringly looks at me and follows me everywhere I go. Our pets are so in tune to us I think sometimes we assume we are the same wavelength in the way we view things. It is easy to attribute human characteristics to our fur babies that just aren’t possible.
Not that we do it purposely but it does happen, I know I have done it.
The fact is a dog is a dog no matter how much we love them. While this book had some common knowledge, the larger portion of it gave me a greater understanding of what makes Bill tick. It shifted my “all about me” viewpoint of our relationship to seeing not only our interactions through his eyes, but also interpreting his actions and signals I have been missing.
She reveals special aspects of different doggy personalities. From the special meaning of tail wagging to vocalization and everything in between you will learn how your dog is trying to communicate with you his or her way.
I absolutely LOVED the dog pictures. The special charts, illustrations, and tips were great! I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to using what I have learned to make Bill’s life happier and our relationship better.
I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Wicked Women of the Bible By Ann Spangler

This is another great book by Ann Spangler! Her books are always great for Bible study and reading. Those people mentioned in the Bible are for us to learn from in both their positive and negative choices. Of the 20 “wicked” women Ms. Spangler covers, you might be surprised at first. Some of the women studied are “wicked” as in naughty girls and others are “wicked” in the slang term of awesome! In her talented style the author shares each lady’s story in such a way it brings them to life. I appreciate that she does not turn it into fiction, nor does she detract from God’s Word with a great deal of “imaginary” information. Her sense of humor is sprinkled throughout and makes the reading even more enjoyable. Although I have known about all these women through my Bible reading, this book helped me learn even more about them and see them in a different perspective. They became flesh and blood people with failures and struggles just like women of today.
The mini biographies include very interesting historical backgrounds concerning the women. Questions at the end of the chapters provoke thought into how you might apply what you have learned to your life, and deeper understanding of the woman in a scriptural context.
As always with Ann Spangler’s books, it stays in my personal library. It is great devotional or study book for groups, women, and teens.
I received this book free from http://www.BookLookBloggers.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

The Imposter By Suzanne Woods Fisher

David Stolzfus had his hands full. He is a widower with six children, runs the local store, and is also a minister in his local Amish church. After his wife’s death he relocated from Ohio to Pennsylvania, hoping to start a new life. A new life awaited him, but not one he could have imagined.
His two oldest children shock him with devastatingly poor choices they made. Some of the church members are trying to find him a new wife to “fix” his problem of being alone. On top of that the church is facing some serious problems and David has innocently become a target of hostility.
You really do want to read this book. It is so well written and the author did a wonderful job developing all the characters. I am not sharing the plot because it is so diverse to do so would be a spoiler.
When I saw the title I was looking for one imposter in the story. What I found was several kinds of imposters; those that are hidden, those that are obvious, and those that are fake even unto themselves. It gave me a whole new view point on so many ways we are not honest with ourselves and those around us.
David’s way of dealing with his adult children’s mistakes was a beautiful example to follow. His love, lack of condemnation, willingness to be there for them, and patience were amazing. I feel it is because of the way he handled it, they were able to change their lives.
I was impressed with the way David handled persecution and attacks by choosing to do it God’s way. He didn’t give into the flesh even though he suffered at the hands of his enemies. As much as he loved his family, God was first in his life and surrendered the outcome to the Lord. With several of the characters it was a reminder that the very answers we need are often right in front of us. If we keep looking to God He will show us.
I cannot wait to read more books in this series!
I received a copy of this book free from Revell. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”

A Harvest of Hope By Lauraine Snelling

Miriam Hastings is training as a nurse in Chicago in 1905. Her desire to be a nurse goes further than loving the vocation. She wants to be able to support her sick, widowed mother and young siblings that are forced to live in poverty. She finds herself with the opportunity of a lifetime: to train in a small hospital in Blessing, North Dakota. After just a few weeks, she is called back home as her mother has taken a turn for the worst. Although she wants to remain in Chicago, she is forced to return and finish out her year of training.
On the other hand, she finds herself unable to suppress her growing feelings for Trygve Knutson. He and his family, the Bjorklunds, are back bone and leaders of the fast growing, predominately Norwegian town. His family wraps her in love an acceptance. Her heart is torn between a life with Trygve in a town she adores and her family whom she loves so much. No matter what she does, she realizes she must make a choice and both will cause heartache.
I felt I was a part of Blessings, and through reading the book dreamed about how wonderful it would be to live in such a place. Life is simple but filled with hard fulfilling work. Whatever crisis might be faced, everyone rallies to shoulder the burden and help. I felt a part of the family’s closeness and interactions. Even though it was just a story, it gave me feelings of warmth and happiness.
I appreciated that the story was not a gushy portrayal a blissful life. The author showed the other side of misunderstandings, losses, grief, heartache, and problems. What makes it special is how each character works through these real life dilemmas based on their strong faith in God, biblical wisdom, and constant prayer. An uplifting story that you will find a “blessing” to read!
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

Here and now are the perfect place and time to get your copy of Unclaimed Legacy.

Unclaimed Legacy 99 Cents for a limited time

 

Now? Because it’s only 99 cents for Kindle (for the month of September only). Here? Because buying it enters you in my giveaway of the complete Time and Again trilogy (personally signed by yours truly) AND a pretty mug for your morning coffee. Hint: You might want to keep the mug and Kindle book for yourself and give the signed copies of the trilogy as a gift.

The Rafflecopter giveaway entry form is below, but first let me tell you about Unclaimed Legacy.

Unclaimed Legacy blurbette

 

Those who have read Time and Again know that Abby Thomas is a college student on a summer service project with 11-year-old Merri. And they know that the summer is not going the way Abby had expected—but in a good way. For one thing, she meets a very nice guy named John Roberts. And for another, she discovers a strange computer program called Beautiful House that lets her fast-forward and rewind life. Not her own, of course, but those of the people who lived in Merri’s old house.

And now Beautiful House comes in handy when Abby, John, and Merri agree to help the “Old Dears” next door with their family tree. Except Abby and John learn more about one of the ladies’ ancestors than they ever wanted to know. Convicted in 1871 of murder and arson, Reuben Buchanan is a blight on the family’s reputation. But was he really guilty? Abby and John must get inside the mind of a murderer to find out.

And while they’re rummaging around in the Old Dears’ family history, they also find Nathan Buchanan, a heroic relative connected to the Lewis and Clark Expedition—and a legacy waiting to be reclaimed. But the most important discovery they make is that God’s promise to bless a thousand generations is true.

“In this sequel to Time and Again Deborah Heal has taken pieces of real life history and woven them [into] a fantastic story geared to keep the reader entertained and on the edge of their seat… I adored every single bit of this. It has the perfect blend of history and action-packed suspense to keep young adults glued to the pages… I think she has mastered a home run here. This one easily rates a 5 out of 5 stars for me…and I hope it will work its way to the top of the best seller lists for young adults.”

— Pirate2240 “Kat” Amazon Reviewer

080The Clue of the Unclaimed Legacy

The blurb above doesn’t say a lot about it, but Unclaimed Legacy features my heroes Lewis and Clark. I’ve always been fascinated by them, partly because I knew the explorers spent the winter of 1803 at Hartford, Illinois, near where I grew up in Woodburn.

They chose that site for the camp they called Camp River Dubois, because it was near the mouth of the Missouri River, which they would ascend the next spring. The captains spent the winter laying in supplies and training their men. I decided it would be fun to let Abby “time-surf” back to see Camp River Dubois. . .

Continue reading HERE to get my clues about Unclaimed Legacy.

As the blurb says, sometimes when Abby and John are “time-surfing” they learn more than they want to know about people from the past–like Bertram White a violent husband. Read my companion article about him HERE.

Read a free chapter of Unclaimed Legacy HERE)

Now, enter the contest to get your Kindle copy of Unclaimed Legacy for 99 cents and a chance to win the complete trilogy in paperback, personally signed by me. Oh, and a mug.

Time Travel Trilogy by Deborah Heal

Mar 27 2013 038

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Candle Bible for Kids: Toddler Edition

This is the perfect book of Bible stories for little hearts and minds learning about God’s Word.    The soft cover and size are perfect for small hands to hold and use.  I also liked the fact the cover is washable.  An especially nice feature where kids are involved! 

The illustrations were excellent, with bright bold colors.  This will be a real attention holder for young ones.   Each page has one to four lines on it; just the right length for short attention spans.   What was surprising was how very clearly they conveyed the Bible stories with so few words.   The simplicity will definitely enable a small child to grasp and understand the story.

I particularly liked the book and chapter Bible references at the end of sentences that showed where in God Word the story was taken from.  This makes it easy for the parent to go directly the Bible read the complete story.

This would be a beautiful gift for a baby or young child.  A very nice addition to any young child’s “library”.

I received this book from Kregel Publications for my honest review.

 

To Love and Cherish by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

It is the late 19th century and Melinda Colson has lost both of her parents. Due to their debts and no inheritance, she is stripped of her wealthy and privileged lifestyle and thrown into being a common working lady’s maid. Mrs. Mifflin, once her equal now her employer is petty, selfish, and difficult. Melinda’s past experience as a socialite gives her great insight into the demands of Mrs. Mifflin. This causes her employer to greatly value her to the point she wants Melinda’s life to revolve around her alone.

During their winter excursion at a resort named Bridal Veil,  Melinda meets and falls in love with the assistant gamekeeper, Evan. She is sure he feels the same way about her. Evan is everything she wants in a husband, and his proposal for marriage cannot come soon enough. Her desire to be married and have her own home is exacerbated by her frustrating job with peevish Mrs. Mifflin.

Hoping he will ask her hand in marriage before they leave the island makes Melinda very anxious. She hints, flirts, and does everything in her power to persuade Evan to marry her. When he just doesn’t get it, she resorts to pouting and throwing fits. Poor Evan hasn’t a clue what he is doing wrong! Her time is unexpectedly shortened by Mrs. Mifflin’s decision to leave 2 weeks early to prepare for an important guest’s visit at home.

Shortly after their return home, a hurricane devastates the island.  She is terrified Evan is injured or dead. Impulsively she quits her job and hurries back to the Bridal Veil. She is positive now they will be married. . He truly wants to marry Melinda but is waiting on a promotion to make sure he can support her so she won’t have to work. When he explains this to her she is grows even more angry, arguing that she does not mind helping support their family. Their relationship continues to be strained and misunderstandings abound. Other events threatened to end their hopes of marriage completely.

I learned so many lessons in this book! Melinda was like  many women. They have the unrealistic expectation that the men in their life can read their minds! Instead of just saying what they want they hint and get mad when he doesn’t understand! Like most men, poor Evan truly did want to please her and couldn’t figure out what he was doing wrong. This causes needless tension in relationships when openness and honesty is all that is needed.

Melinda was a prime example of making plans and not waiting on the Lord. She wanted her way and she wanted it right away! She was lucky Evan was so patient with her impatience and immaturity. God’s timing is always right and we need to leave the “when” and “how” to Him.

The book also had many wonderful examples of not making assumptions on appearances. Melinda, Evan, and her brother Lawrence were all victims of circumstances making them look guilty when they were not. Tempers flared and judgments were rendered when they were innocent of any wrongdoing.  It is always best to seek out the truth before coming to any final conclusions.  We can’t always see the whole picture.

I found this to be a fun book with a surprise ending. I look forward to reading the first book and the third one to be published in January 2013.

I received this book free from the Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255