Saturday, February 25, 2012

Weekend Photo :: 14

I've been too tired lately to stay up to read (or to blog). So here's a fitting photo to match how I've felt lately... just dreaming about having some extra time and energy to read.

Here's to catching up this weekend...

photo courtesy of: Kitty Gallannaugh Photography

Monday, February 6, 2012

Follower Love Giveaway Hop: $10 Amazon gift card

Thanks to I am a Reader Not a Writer and Rachael Renee Anderson for hosting this Follower Love Giveaway Hop!

In celebration of Valentine's Day and all the gushy, love-y stuff that happens this time of year, I'm giving away a $10 gift card to as a special thank you to all my followers whom I want to share some book love with.


Over 300 participating blogs are offering a book related giveaway and we are all linked up together so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another. The hop runs from Tuesday February 7th through February 14th. 

***MUST like facebook page TO ENTER***
(To follow, scroll down the left side bar to the top and click "facebook")

Giveaway Details:
To enter giveaway please follow this blog then fill out the RaffleCopter.
Comments are for feedback and questions only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Mornings with Jesus 2012: Daily Encouragement for Your Soul 366 Devotions

Title: Mornings with Jesus 2012: Daily Encouragement for Your Soul 366 Devotions
Authors: Judy Baer, Gwen Ford Faulkenberry, Tricia Goyer, Sharon Hinck, Keri Wyatt Kent, Erin Keeley Marshall, Camy Tang
Publisher: Guideposts (2011)

Source: Received from publisher via LitFuse Publicity Group

Buy book: here
About the Book:
"Be still and know that I am God.” is one of the most beautiful verses from the Bible, but it’s not easy to practice in this busy world. Mornings with Jesus will help you do just that—“be still” in Jesus’ beautiful and powerful presence. For those who are seeking a deeper experience in their relationship with Christ, Mornings with Jesus offers a fresh perspective of who Jesus is (the Healer, the Son of God, the Comforter, the Good Shepherd) and what that means for day-to-day life. With a warm and friendly voice, 365 short devotional writings on the character and teachings of Jesus encourage readers to greet each day by drawing near to Him and inviting His presence into their day. Spend time with Jesus at the beginning of each day and experience His nearness and peace in a new way throughout the year. Each day’s selection includes: • a Bible verse • an entry based on Jesus: His words, miracles, and parables; His wisdom, compassion, and comfort; His mystery, power, divinity, and humanity • a “faith step” that will inspire and challenge readers to apply the day’s message to their lives

I have struggled with finding a morning devotional to has hooked me beyond a few days. Within the past 6 months, I've tried two different ones without really getting into one. I've made various excuses about how I'm too busy as a mom, as a teacher, etc to carve out a time in the morning to spend with God. I am so glad that LitFuse allowed me to join this blog tour because it's been the first time in 1/2 a year that I've stuck with one devotional almost on a daily basis.

Mornings with Jesus is a great devotional written as a collaboration of 7 women authors. The daily devotional itself is short and sweet, but that doesn't mean that the meat of the devotional itself doesn't have depth because surprisingly, it does. Each day consists of a verse, a story that I can relate to, especially as a woman and a mother, and leaves you with a question to reflect upon as you go about your day. My only complaint is that I wish they hadn't labeled each day according to 2012 because if I wanted to read through this again in a different year, the dates would all messed up and confusing.

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

One day that I particularly enjoyed was Saturday January 21st. The main idea of it was that sometimes we treat God like a heavenly ATM. We come to him with all of our wants and requests and expect Him to full those desires instantly. It was a nice reminder to praise God first because we, as sinners, don't really deserve anything, but God still provides bountiful blessings upon our lives in spite of sinfulness.

The reason why this devotional stood out to me was because it set my heart right for the next week. My daughter got sick, which meant one of us had to take a day off from work. (It's quite challenging as a teacher to take a "sick day" because you can't just call in sick, you have to write a full day's worth of subplans.) Then my husband and I both got sick from our daughter. This was all very bad timing on the eve of running our first 1/2 marathon.

At this point we've been training for 7 months now. We've never been sick before a race and we were so disappointed that we weren't at 100% pre-race. Doesn't He know how important this race is to us? Doesn't He know that we've spent 7 months of training in order to accomplish this goal? We did a lot of praying leading up to the race and for whatever reason, God did not answer our prayers to prevent our bodies from getting sick. He wanted to remind us that we needed Him in this race, not just our own strength, but His. We came to realization that we just need to rely fully on God and surrender our bodies to Him. The morning of the race, He kept our illnesses at bay during the race so we could run the race we've trained for. I did end up losing my voice around mile 6, but miraculously, our head colds cleared for a few hours and we both finished the race!

I really do look forward to reading this devotional each morning and want to thank Litfuse and Guideposts for including me on this blog tour!

4 out of 5 stars

And now... onto the giveaway! The publisher was gracious enough to provide an extra copy to give away to my followers! Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Review: May B. by Caroline Starr Rose

Title: May B.
Author: Caroline Starr Rose
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (January 2012)

Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley
Summary from Goodreads:
May is helping out on a neighbor's Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it's hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While fighting to survive, May's memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she's determined to find her way home again. Caroline Starr Rose's fast-paced novel, written in beautiful and riveting verse, gives readers a strong new heroine to love.
I fell in love with the cover when I requested this book. I just loved the artwork and HAD to read it. If you haven't figured it out, I'm a sucker for beautiful covers. :)

May's story is told in free verse and even though it was hard to read at the beginning, it was surprisingly easy to catch on and I loved the poetic flow to the story that grabbed me from the beginning. I think the free verse would be hard to understand for students who aren't the strongest of readers. This book reminds me a lot of The Little House on the Prairie series and the harsh realities of pioneer life.

The best part of this book is that you root for May. She's a fighter and she perseveres through such difficult circumstances, like being abandoned by her family, you can help but want to cheer her on! What a wonderful character for young girls to look up to! May is a heroine in unexpected ways and I can't wait to share this book with my students!

4 out of 5 stars

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