Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book Review: The Gifts of the Spirit

Gifts of the Spirit: Understanding and Receiving God's Supernatural Power in Your LifeGifts of the Spirit: Understanding and Receiving God's Supernatural Power in Your Life by Derek Prince

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I rarely agree with everything in a book, and this one is no exception. I do, however, recommend it to ALL Christians. I think this is an important book because the Pentecostals are such a fast growing denomination and that I believe every Christian should be aware of what Pentecostals really teach (or in some cases SHOULD teach) about the Gifts of the Spirit. After all, there are guidelines set down in the Bible as to how some of the Gifts of the Spirit should operate, and if a church allows gifts to operate in their church, they should be following those guidelines.

This is presented in an easy to read style. It was a relatively fast read, and I liked how the Gifts were grouped in different sections. (Gifts of Revelation, Gifts of Power, Vocal Gifts). It was a great way to group them.

This book uses lots of Scripture to back up his beliefs, which I liked, even if I don't agree with all he teaches. It showed me where he was coming from, and I believe it's important to understand the differences between denominations, and this is a good overview of that.

You can purchase this book from Amazon here: Gifts of the Spirit

Monday, December 26, 2011

Book review: The New 1,000 Places to See Before You Die

1,000 Places to See Before You Die1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of those books that can be used multiple ways.  I've heard about people having competitions to see which of their friends can visit more of the places listed in this book.  For me, I don't know that this is a book I would use to construct my "bucket list".  After all, I tend to seek the out of the way, more unique, known only to "locals" places.  One of my favorite memories in Europe was going to buy vegetables in a quaint little town in Holland with a local.  That would never make a tour guide book, but I loved seeing the town, interacting with the locals, and enjoying a dinner complete with fresh vegetables we bought that afternoon. 

This is an updated edition, the first one having been published in 2003.  I had only been to five of the places in the first book.  Since then, I've been to 30 places.  (Counting all Hong Kong, Los Angeles, etc. as a singular place.) 

For me, I think this book would best be used as a springboard of places I might want to see.  I realize when you are compiling a list of only 1000 places, you lose out on many sights that are important, but I could think of different places I would have included in this volume, both in the USA and on foreign soil.  (I was going to say Yad Vashem in Jerusalem is one of those places, but I just looked it up and it got a one sentence mention, so it was mentioned, but one of the most memorable places I've ever visited, and I would have given it more than a mention.)

However, that's the joy of this book.  It includes places I wouldn't, leaves out places I would, and gives a different "must see" perspective of this world, and after all, the world is as unique as the people who live in it, and everyone has their own ideas and opinions, and that includes what should be the "must see" places.  It is enjoyable to flip through and learn about different places all over the world!

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book free through the Goodreads First Reads program.  The opinions are my own.

You can buy it here from Amazon: The New 1000 Places to See Before You Die

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Book Review: Raised Right

I remember hearing in church that you couldn't be a Christian and be a Democrat.  I wondered where this was in the Bible.  Where does Jesus say, "Ye must vote red to be born again."?  When Clinton was elected president, we didn't know that blue could also mean dresses, we only knew it meant that God didn't win.  Sitting with a couple kids from my youth group while watching returns, we prayed for the future of our country.  We felt certain that there would be no future because every child conceived would be aborted because that was the platform of the Democratic party, wasn't it?

While I couldn't totally relate to Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith from Politics , I still remember going off to the "Life Chain" one Sunday morning after church -- had I had my own way to church I wouldn't have participated.  For $2, which I didn't have but my ride graciously agreed to provide, we were able to "rent" a cardboard sign.  For an hour we stood along the highway and held up signs.  I passed on "Abortion stops a beating heart" and other anti-abortion messages and held one up that said, "Jesus heals and forgives".  I wasn't cut out to be an activist.  I wanted to show love not condemnation to anyone who would perceive our message that way.

But Alisa Harris grew up in a family where their blood ran red -- Republican red.  From dressing up a goat as Bill Clinton in a county fair, to debating abortion, to learning the "Killer Questions" of evangelism so that no soul is left behind, Alisa sees politics as part of the church.   She feels so dedicated to the cause that she campaigns in college for someone she can't even remember their name at the end of the day.  I believe it is then she starts questioning why.

From that point on, she begins wrestling with the compound of Church and Politics.  She is sat down with her parents by her pastor in what appears to be an act of church discipline to reign her back into the fold.  After all, women should be preparing for marriage and raising up more Republicans for Jesus, right?

Hounded by her parents to vote for McCain, she ends up buying a t-shirt that says "Blondes for Obama".  In the end of the book she muses over the question of "Can a Christian be a Democrat?"

This was a quick read and I did enjoy this book.  I think those who have grown up in the church and realize that Jesus is bigger than a political party would also enjoy it, as well as anyone wanting a glimpse into the life of an activist family.

FTC disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Could you please take a second and rate my review?  This helps determine what books are available to me in the Blogging for Books program.  Thank you!  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Baby Crockett August 2007 - December 2011

Most of my pictures of Baby Crockett are in another computer, but I have these in this one.  Look at that log "pig tail" he had in the first one, and the second, that's a favorite "I'm sleeping" photo of him.

The third one, he's in Goya's Biggest Fan contest, and you can vote daily to be entered to win $5,000.

He was such a great guinea pig and I miss him so much already!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pigture re-takes

I often have people tell me I do a great job of taking Pigtures (guinea PIG picTURES).  But that doesn't always come easily.  Sometimes the guinea pigs walk off leaving me snapping a pigture of their back 40, I even once had a pig try to stand on another.  You never know what will happen in a pigture.

Here are some I did NOT sumbit for a contest I entered.

"Hey, it's getting crowded over here".  Not to mention the red eyes in Fuzzy.

And someone lost his hat!

I'm not sure what is going on in this one, but it doesn't look like they are up to much good, now does it?

Want to know what photo I entered in the contest?  Well you are in luck!  It's a finalist for a contest where I could win $7,500 or more!  And you could win $5,000 just by voting!  That's right!  Just by voting (which you can do daily until 12/31) you get an entry to win $5,000.

Just head over here and vote! Make sure you get the "Thank You" screen or you vote didn't go through.

My entry is #6.  Fuzzy kept giving me such bad red-eye I didn't submit a photo he was in.  :)  I think you'll agree that the final shot was much better than any of these I just showed you!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Book Review: Dangerous Surrender

Dangerous Surrender: What Happens When You Say Yes to GodDangerous Surrender: What Happens When You Say Yes to God by Kay Warren

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Although Dangerous Surrender was published in 2007, I just read it this year.  Kay Warren, wife of Pastor Rick Warren charts her own course away from his fame into her her own calling from God in this book.

As it starts, she feels as many American women must.  Me?  Why me?  My life is about my husband and children!  What can I do?  But slowly, this takes shape into a direction that while her husband supports her, it’s her own calling, her own mission, her own destiny.

She was reading and saw something about AIDS in Africa.  At first she didn’t care a whole lot because, after all, she lives in California and Africa is a world away.  She couldn’t quit thinking about that article she read, and she eventually found herself under a tree a dying African lady called home because she was kicked out of her home and her village because she was infected with AIDS.  Like the article Kay Warren wrote and couldn’t get out of her mind, this is an image that has stuck with me since I have read the book.  Joanna.  That was the lady’s name.  I read the book weeks ago, and the picture was painted so vividly of this lady I can recall the lady’s name.

Back in California, Mrs. Warren worked with Saddleback Church to start an AIDS outreach.  The story she tells of the man who said his desire was he wouldn’t be alone when he dies.  Isn’t that a desire of every one of us?  We want someone to care about us. 

This is an amazing book, one of the best I’ve read this year.  While your destiny may not be AIDS advocacy, there’s something deep inside you, some way for you to help others, and it’s ready to come alive, and I think reading this book will encourage you in your journey, whatever it may be.

You can purchase it from Amazon here:  Dangerous Surrender: What Happens When You Say Yes to God

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

5x7 Folded Card

Does anyone recognize this bearded man?  That's my dad!
Picture In Portrait 5x7 folded card
Shutterfly's exclusive line of graduation announcements and invitations.
View the entire collection of cards.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Review: I Wonder What I Can Give God

I Wonder What I Can Give God (I Wonder Series)I Wonder What I Can Give God by Mona Gansberg Hodgson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a cute children's book about a boy named Jared who wants to give God a gift.  Well, that sounds do-able, right?  Not as easy as Jared first thinks because after all, does God need a hammer or a goldfish?  He keeps thinking "I wonder" about what he can give God.  But then he remembers what Papa Ray said last night at Bible study, and Jared knows what it is that God wants, and it's something Jared can give Him. 

I liked this book because it was a cute story that very much incorporates the Christian faith without being corny or too cutesy.  It is almost like a child could have thought this through, but of course, the author is an adult.  It's a charming book.

The only thing I disliked about the book was there was a connect-the-dot in the back.  If it was an activity book, I wouldn't have minded, but considering it is a hardcover book, to me it's not something that should be written in, even if there is a connect the dot in it.  This is a lovely book and I look forward to reading it to my "niece" and "nephews" when I visit them.

I received a copy of this book from the author from a giveaway on her facebook page:  Mona Hodgson Author Page .  The opinions are mine.

You can visit the author's website and purchase her books here:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Review: Threads of Faith

Threads of Faith: A Christmas MiracleThreads of Faith: A Christmas Miracle by Shauna V. Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am not a Mormon. Yet, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a good story that is written from their faith perspective. This story didn’t disappoint. In fact, I would have enjoyed it to have been a tad longer, as it was a mere 121 pages.

Shauna V. Brown tells a charming tale set in the 1830s in England. Hillary Whitman grew up as a Methodist pastor’s daughter, but when Mormon missionaries come to her town, she sneaks to a meeting to find out what all the fuss is about. She decides to leave her Methodist faith and become a Mormon, but her father threatens to kick her out if she doesn’t change her mind and stay Methodist.

I’ll not share any more as I don’t want to spoil the story, but the characters were well developed. Almost instantly you felt you knew the characters, and the personalities were painted so well, you felt as if they were not just someone you knew, but old friends.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was, as stated before, it was a bit short. Maybe there will be a sequel? Also, once I got to the end, I felt the ending was a bit too predictable. (Although can it be too predictable when I didn’t know what was going to happen?)

Overall, this is a great book, and being so short, makes for a good afternoon read.

FTC disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads program in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own.

Wish to purchase it?  You can do so at Amazon through this link: Threads of Faith: A Christmas Miracle

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tiny Prints Review and Giveaway!

I recently wrote about how I love Tiny Prints cards.  I have ordered different products from them over the years, and have never been disappointed!  For my post, they sent me 50 Christmas cards.  Here's what our friends and family are receiving this year! I loved this card because it could highlight the top moments for my mother, myself, and my guinea pig with having three photos on it. 

Another thing I greatly appreciated with Tiny Prints, is if you find a card design you like but you want a different amount of pictures, or the same style but a folded card or ornament card, you can often get the same design in a different style!  Not only that, but they offer matching return address labels! 
They have a great selection of holiday cards.  So if you're looking for Christmas, Hanukkah, or a more generic "Happy 2012" card, you will find something you will love there!
And if you are reading this on November 9, be sure and check out the Tiny Prints Facebook page  to find out how to get a FREE card for your little one!  You will be able to chose one of these designs:  Checking it Twice or Santa's Scroll.  Personally I love the Checking It Twice card.  What a great way to let your little one know that Santa knows what s/he wants as well as giving positive reinforcement for good behavior.

The generous people at Tiny Prints have offered to give one of my readers 50 holiday cards of their choice.

Rules for the giveaway: 
  • Open to the USA only.
  • Ends 11/20 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.
  • Please leave a separate comment for each way you enter as I use to pick my winners.
  • Winner has 48 hours to respond after being contacted or another winner will be chosen.
  • Please leave contact information in your comment if it's not in your blogger profile so I will have a way of contacting you if you win.
  • You MUST do the mandatory entry for your other entries to be considered.
Ways to enter:
Head over to Tiny Prints and look around their Holiday cards and come back here and tell me which is your favorite.  (Or if you like several tell me which ones! I know it's hard to choose!)


  • Go to Tiny Prints Facebook Page and order your free card (valid November 9 only.  If for any reason you can't  or didn't order on this day, tell me how you would have personalized your free card for your entry, cards are linked above) 
  • Like Tiny Prints on Facebook 
  • Follow Tiny Prints on Twitter (leave your twitter username) 
  • Follow me on twitter:!/jenndiggy 
  • Follow me Google Friend connect. 
  • Tweet the following:  (can be done once daily)

Blog giveaway at @jenndiggy to #win 50 @tinyprints Christmas cards.  Ends 11/20

Good luck!

 FTC disclaimer: I am receiving 20 address labels for this post.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Book Review: 40 Days Without Food

I have a friend who has done a 40 day fast.  I also have a friend who has done a 39 day fast.  The former accepted a call to prayer and fasting Bill Bright gave years ago.  The latter prayed for her son who wasn't a Christian at the time. 

So, when I saw the book "40 Days Without Food", I was intrigued.  I knew it wasn't a guide to fasting but while I enjoyed the book, it still wasn't quite what I expected.  I expected more nitty-gritty details than the book seemed to give.  I wanted to know more how it felt to be tempted by the aroma of delicious food.  How did this change his outlook?  What did he learn from this?  What were the postivies?  I learned more that he was extremely tired, slept a lot, didn't feel up to having sex, more like his life became blah.  I'm not really sure that I learned what the positives were.

Yet, for some reason this book highly entertained me.  It was well written, the people he introduced us to seemed like people we would love to know.  (I think I may have had that same Sunday School teacher years back as he described.  I know that's an impossibility, but he sure does sound like one who taught me when I was younger.)  And Mac?  I'd love to read a book Mac wrote, but I figure he's too busy reading classics in a Super 8 to bother writing a book!  (But Mac, if you see this, PLEASE think of writing a book!) 

If you're looking for a fun, enjoyable read, this is it, which is NOT what I expected from a book about fasting.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Five Minute Friday: "Relevant"

Relevant.  What is relevant?  "Is THIS relevant?" is a question I always asked myself in college when I was writing a paper and needing to add extra information to get the word count high enough for the requirements.

Now that I'm no longer in college the word "Relevant" is often used in church.  We want to be relevant to the world.  Be in the world but not of it, be relevant and not cheesy.  I'm sure everyone remembers some of the 1970s Christian movies and TV shows that are just laughable.  The church tried to be hip, but in the end got laughed at.

Do we really need to model the world to draw people to Christ?  I don't think so.  The love of Christ is relevant to all generations, and we don't need to make it popular because it's just not going to be.  Who is going to think that sacrificing your life for the will of God is going to be the cool thing to do?  The Bible says many are called but few are chosen, so I'm not sure that trying to make the Gospel cool, popular, and the 'latest thing' is really honest because when we strip away all the fun, what is left is still the Gospel truth that whoever wants to find his life will lose it.

Being relevant is all about showing love and compassion, not about being cute-sy or fun.


This is part of "Five Minute Friday" where we write for five minutes on a topic.  It is unscripted and unedited.  Then we link back to to encourage others to join in with the writing fun!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Review: {W}hole

This is a book with more than just a cute title making a play on the words whole and hole, it is a book about giving God your pain to fill.

The author, Lisa Whittle, writes from experience.  She grew up in the role of a pastor's daughter.  She found comfort in this role and knew how to work it so she would be admired.  That is, until someone saw through her facade at church camp and called her on it.  She was upset, but realized that man was right, she wasn't what she appeared to be.  Later, her father lost his church because he transported a deer head across state lines without a $2 licence.  Sounds harmless enough but the fish and game commission and later the IRS investigated him, and he could have landed in prison.  No church wants a pastor who may be facing a prison sentence, so he resigned, and the role of pastor's daughter -- the role that defined her -- was left gaping.  And the people at church she had grown to love?  The people who swarmed around her popular father?  They were no where to be seen.  Her role became a hole.  What now?  She still adored her father, but life was so changed.  Later when she was in seminary, a speaker at chapel didn't know she was a student and used the story of her father as a sermon illustration, and didn't even have all facts correct. 

Everyone has pain.  Everyone has issues.  No two lives are identical, but Lisa Whittle tells her story while weaving together a plan on how we can rid ourselves of our pain by allowing God to make our holes into wholes. 

I would expect a book with this cute-sy of a theme to be fluff, but this is not.  It's a deep book.  This is not easy reading, it will challenge you in many ways.  After all, are you living for your role or are you living for all that God has destined you to be?

I highly recommend this book, and I am looking forward to reading more from this author!  Also be sure and chck out her website as there is a free ebook guide on sharing your story with others! 

You can watch the book traier  here

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. The opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thrift shopping! $17 of treasures

I love vintage Christmas items.  I was thrilled to find they were out at one of my favorite thrift shops today.  I got this egg nog set for $3.

I also bought the following:

brand new skirt with a $60 retail price tag on it
FIFTY FIVE hotel bottles of shampoo of my favorite shampoo ever that has been discontinued
2 packages of several sheets of vintage gift wrap
Trivial Pursuit Book Lover's Edition
What Is the Gospel? book
The Broken Image: Restoring Personal Wholeness Through Healing Prayer
The Complete Tightwad Gazette
Creative Glass Techniques: Fusing, Painting, Lampwork
Origami Holidays
Floorcloth Magic: How to Paint Canvas Rugs for Decorative Home Use
Betty Crocker's Cookbook (5-Ring Binder)
Christmas ornament craft kit
Ziploc bag full of stickers from the 1980s
current magazine a friend has an article in it

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blog Tour: Zombie Church

Zombie Church by Tyler Edwards Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for Pastor Tyler Edwards, Zombie Church (Kregel Publications, October 2011)! Believing there is a way to breathe life back into the church, Tyler Edwards highlights and challenges the problematic attitude of today's believers. Written for the discouraged, disenfranchised, and anyone unsatisfied with their same-old church routine, Zombie Church is an accessible, humorous book that challenges readers to turn away from Spirit-draining (or life-draining) habits that stop them from achieving a full, fulfilling life in Christ.

For all of us who have ever attended First Church of the Frigidaire, Edwards' book will be warmly welcomed. It is a fair-minded and tenderhearted critique. . . . This novel lens of zombies allows the reader to see afresh the desperate need for awakening in the church.
-Mark Moore, PhD, Professor of New Testament, Ozark Christian College

Kregel Publications is sponsoring a $50 giveaway!

To enter all you have to do is send a tweet (using @litfuse) about Zombie Church or share about it on Facebook, your blog, GoodReads, etc...!

If you tweet we'll capture your entry when you use @litfuse. If you share it on Facebook or your blog, just email us and let us know ( Easy.

Not sure what to tweet/post? Here's an idea:

TWEET THIS: Zombie Church by Tyler Edwards - a fair-minded & tenderhearted critique of the church @litfuse RT for $50 to @amazon

FACEBOOK THIS: Don’t miss Edwards - a fair-minded and tenderhearted critique of the church. Written for the discouraged, disenfranchised, and anyone unsatisfied with their same-old church routine, Zombie Church challenges readers to turn away from hollow religious practices, which characterize “zombie Christianity,” and turn toward a radical relationship with Jesus. Share this for a chance at $50 to

My review: 

Zombie Church is a strange name for a book.  However, this book is not strange, it's fantastic.   Ever been in a church where you can't wait until the final "amen" so you can get lunch somewhere?  You're not alone.  This book is written for the person who is in a lifeless church, but it would also be ideal for ANY pastor or anyone who doesn't want their church to become something out a "living dead" horror movie.

This book is filled with great quotations such as "Would the community around you notice if the church stopped meeting?"  and "Bombs have kill radiuses, churches should have love radiuses where anyone living within twenty miles of a church should know it."  Unfortunatately this is the case for many churches.  It's become more of a social event or country club and not what it was meant to be.

I rarely recommend books to friends who are pastors and missionaries, but this is one I certainly will. 

I expect this to be one book that will be talked about in Christian circles for some time.  After all, as a quote in the book says "Faith without heart is what scares people away from organized religion".  And I believe that's true because how many people in the United States say they are born again and how many of them actually go to church?  What is the main reason for that?  Many times it's people who have been cruel to them instead of loving them as Jesus called His followers to do. 

This book is a wake-up call to the half-alive churches, and a warning to those who are alive to stay that way!  It's an excellent book, and I highly recommend it.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review of it.  The opinions are my own.

About the book:

A creative, entertaining approach to resurrecting the undead church. There is something missing in the church today. Stuck in a rut of routines and rituals, the church is caught up in doing what it is “supposed to do” but is lacking the true essence of what it is supposed to provide: life. Real faith--and a real relationship with Jesus--is not about playing by the rules, attending services, and praying before meals. Real faith is more than religion.

Believing there is a way to breathe life back into the church, Tyler Edwards adopts a contemporary and entertaining metaphor--zombies--to highlight and challenge the problematic attitude of today’s believers.

Written for the discouraged, disenfranchised, and anyone unsatisfied with their same-old church routine, Zombie Church challenges readers to turn away from hollow religious practices, which characterize “zombie Christianity,” and turn toward a radical relationship with Jesus.

While other books have addressed legalism in the church, this is the only book that effectively capitalizes on a popular entertainment genre in order to diagnose and correct the problem. Realizing that even his own church is part of that problem, Edwards has written an accessible and often humorous book that will help believers change the Spirit-draining (or life-draining) habits that stop them from achieving a full, fulfilling life in Christ.

About the author:

Tyler Edwards is the lead pastor at Cornerstone Christian Church in Joplin, Missouri, where he works to help people learn how to live like Jesus, love like Jesus, and look like Jesus—so they carry out the mission of Jesus to the world. He graduated from Ozark Christian College with bachelor’s degrees in both Biblical Literature and Christian Ministry. He has written articles for Lookout Magazine, spoken at various campus ministry events in Missouri, and served overseas in Mbale, Uganda.
Tyler loves cheesy horror films. He is particularly fond of movies like Dawn of the Dead, The Signal, and 28 Days Later, where zombies run wild and threaten to infect an entire town  Connect with the author on Facebook.

Want to read more reviews? 

Here is the blog tour schedule

Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 24 of being sick

I wanted to let everyone know I haven't abandonded my blog -- it sure feels like it as little as I've been posting lately, but I've been sick with a cold and ear infection for weeks now.  For some reason when I get a cold it lingers and lingers and lingers and really wipes me out more than it does the average person.  I've had an impressive cough with it too.  I was on the phone with friends the other day and they were passing the phone between people and I tried to cough while the phone was being passed only to have my deep cough resonate in someone's ear.  Ooops.

Anyway, I'm starting to feel better after I went on antibiotics Friday so hopefully I'll be back to my chatty self soon!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's time to get carded -- Christmas carded!

Can you believe it's less than three months until Christmas?  It's time to start thinking about your Christmas cards!  Each year I try to do something a bit unique.  The year I visited Israel I put a picture of myself in Bethlehem on my Christmas card (a picture of me at the Western Wall for my Hanukkah cards for my Jewish friends.)  Over the years, I've enjoyed sending some unique Christmas cards.

I've mentioned on my blog before that I love Tiny Prints.  They have such a great selection of cards for everyone, and they have cards where you can personalize with your photo, or if you don't have a great photo, there are great cards to choose from:  elegant, whimsical, or even a Dora the Explorer card!  I like to send photo cards, so I spent time looking through their cards where you can add your own photos.

Check out this card:

Isn't that just fantastic for the pet lover?  I have three guinea pigs and I could just picture their faces in there.  I'm sure Einstein, Fuzzy, and Baby Crockett would enjoy being on a Christmas card being called "Santa's Little Helpers".

Or check out this "card".  Isn't it absolutely precious?

If I received this, I wouldn't be putting it in the holder where we keep all our cards, but it would actually be hung on the tree year after year! 

I have always loved Christmas cards.  When I was little, my parents owned a business and we received so many cards.  We had a desk/bookcase area in our living room and we taped our cards to the edges of the bookcase.  By Christmas it was so festive in a 1970s sort of way.  I loved the Christmas season because they would save all the Christmas cards for me to open since many had my name on them, too.  I loved the feeling of mail.  Even now many people feel the same way.  I have friends who live in Russia, and they have told me one of the things they miss most about living in Russia is not getting Christmas cards.  I know not as many people send them as they used to, but the bottom line is everyone loves mail.  So this year, I'd encourage everyone to spread some cheer through the mail.

Don't forget, the annual Christmas letter can also be replaced. If a photo speaks a thousand words, then this card is worth 8,000 words. You wouldn't have to say "Johnny graduated from high school, Suzy lost her first tooth, Rover is a new addition to the family, we visited Florida on vacation" -- show it with a collection of photos of the year's highlights!

Really, Tiny Prints has so many more great cards than the ones I just showed.  Take look for yourself  You're sure to find the perfect card for your family for 2011! 

FTC disclosure:  I received 50 Christmas cards from Tiny Prints for writing this post.  The opinions expressed are my own and in no way influenced my review.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What is He Thinking? Review and Giveaway

Rebecca St. James has been a recording artist for years.  You can check out some of her videos here:  She's also published a few books, and her latest is What Is He Thinking??: What Guys Want Us to Know About Dating, Love, and Marriage .   This book is 155 pages consisting of answers she gleaned by talking to different men, most in the 20-35 age group, although she did interview men who had been married for a long time to see what they had to say about dating.  This was a great book that covered many questions I had about men (and boys) when I was younger!

She covers things such as flirting, turn-offs, physical boundaries (she was very outspoken before marriage that she was saving herself for her husband), spiritual connection, and more.

This book was a quick (and interesting) read.  It was fun to see how different men had different ideas, especially how that related to their age -- as well as where their opinions were the same.  As a single thirty-something, I'm not sure it really taught me anything I didn't already seem to know, but it was still an enjoyable read.  This would be a great book for a Christian teen girl.

The strengths of this book were the interviews, of course, since that's what the book is based on.  I also liked that she included her survey questions in the back of the book.  (That's the sociology geek coming out in me!)  Additionally, I enjoyed the style of the writing -- it felt like a letter from her, or possibly sitting down and having a cup of tea with this fascinating lady.

The only thing I disliked was so many comments from her Facebook page because some of the questions and comments raised were great, and she didn't address some of them.  Even so, this is a great book, and I would highly recommend it for any single female Christian. 

You can read the first 10% of the book by clicking here:


About "What Is He Thinking??"

In WHAT IS HE THINKING??, Rebecca interviews a range of men from high-profile types to the guys next door, men that every woman can relate to. Although the interviews focus on single guys ages 20-35, Rebecca also includes words of wisdom from older mentors she respects who have been successfully married for years, people like her dad, life coach, and pastor.

The men share their thoughts on topics like how women can respect themselves and the men in their lives, modesty, purity, taking it slow, friendship, letting guys lead, and more. This book gives them the floor to say what they would really like women to know.

The men respond candidly to questions such as:

What is the most attractive quality to you in a woman?

Is modesty truly attractive?

Is neediness a turn-off?

What do you find beautiful?

How can we be dependent on God for our identity, not on you?

How can we help you with boundaries physically?

Rebecca also discusses her own dating life, speaking openly about the single life, her struggle with loneliness, and her hope for the future. She challenges women to see the men in their lives as brothers in Christ and to trust God with their dating lives.
About Rebecca
Australian born Rebecca St. James is a Grammy Award winner and a multiple Dove Award recipient, with international success that has driven her record sales into the millions. In January 2008, she was named Favorite Female Artist in Contemporary Christian Music by readers of CCM Magazine for the seventh consecutive year. Rebecca also won Best Female Artist of 2007 from fifth consecutive year to be given this honor. She's been involved in several film productions and voiced the character of Hope the Angel in VeggieTales' bestselling DVD production The Easter Carol. You can read more about Rebecca on her official Web site: or on her Facebook page,

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 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."


And now for the giveaway:

I have been given the opportunity to give a DVD away to one of my readers.

The giveaway lasts until October 11 at 11:59 Eastern Time, open only to the USA.

Please leave a separate comment for each way you enter as I use to pick my winners.

Winners have 48 hours after being contacted to respond or I'll pick other winners.

Please leave contact information in your comment if it's not in your blogger profile so I will have a way of contacting you if you win. 

Ways to enter:

#Win What Is He Thinking book about single Christian men by Rebecca St James @jenndiggy Ends 10/11 #Giveaway

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cough, cough, cough

Did you know that some cough drops have "pep talks" on the wrappers? 

"Fire up those engines"
"Impress yourself today"
"Get through it"

I realize I could choose not to read my cough drop, but come on, it's hard not to read those few words on the wrapper when you're desperate for relief, and quite frankly, they are slightly annoying when you're coughing hard!

So, I think you now know where I've been the last couple weeks!  I've been pretty sick with a cold.  For some reason when I get a cold it takes me out for the longest time.  This is day #14 of it, and I had a doctor's appointment today to go over medicines.  He was quite interested in the fact I've been sick as long as I have, and I still have a fever.

Thankfully I'm feeling better, and hope to get back into blogging regularly!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Review and Giveaway: The Shunning DVD

Katie Lapp loves music and playing the guitar.  This shouldn't be a problem, should it?  Well, it's a HUGE problem when you're Amish and that is forbidden.  The movie begins as Katie's brother finds her strumming her guitar in the barn.  She's engaged to marry the bishop, and suddenly she discovers she may not be who she always thought she was.  Who is this woman who has appeared in her community?  By the movie's end, Katie is "shunned" meaning she can't be spoken to by anyone in her Amish community, nor is she allowed to sit and eat with the rest of her family.  This pushes her further towards her questions of who she is.

This is a wonderful family movie.  It's very wholesome in the fact there is no bad language, no questionable situations, and the like.  It brings up questions that could be discussed such as when do we give up on someone vs. when do we continue to love them with the unconditional love that God shows us?  Not only is it a good movie because of content, but the story line is one of the best I've ever seen.  I'd read the book years ago and remembered how fantastic the book was, so when I had the opportunity to review this movie, I was excited.   I never say this, but I do believe the movie was as good as the book!   You will NOT be disappointed with this movie!  Be sure and check it out!

You can watch the trailer here:

Beverly Lewis' The Shunning - About the Movie
Before she succumbs to cancer, the dying wish of Laura Mayfield-Bennett is to be reunited with the daughter she never knew. Unfortunately, that daughter, Katie Lapp, is a member of the Amish order. Katie is about to be married, but uneasy about the path ahead. Now she discovers the secret her parents have kept from her: she's adopted.

The film is based on the celebrated first novel of the best-selling "The Heritage of Lancaster County" book series from author Beverly Lewis. Stars Danielle Panabaker & Sherry Stringfield.

BEVERLY LEWIS - Author of "The Shunning"

Beverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, is The New York Times bestselling author of more than eighty books. Her stories have been published in eleven languages worldwide. A keen interest in her mother's Plain heritage has inspired Lewis to write many Amish-related novels, beginning with "The Shunning," which has sold more than one million copies. In 2007, Lewis' "The Brethren" was honored with a Christy Award.

Lewis has been interviewed by both national and international media, including Time magazine, the Associated Press, and the BBC. Lewis lives with her husband, David, in Colorado.

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services  mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I  only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  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."

You can buy the DVD here:

And for the Giveaway:

I have been given the opportunity to give a DVD away to one of my readers.

The giveaway lasts until October 4 at 11:59 Eastern Time, open only to the USA.

Please leave a separate comment for each way you enter as I use to pick my winners.

Winners have 48 hours after being contacted to respond or I'll pick other winners.

Please leave contact information in your comment if it's not in your blogger profile so I will have a way of contacting you if you win.

Ways to enter:
#Win #Giveaway a copy of the DVD The Shunning  from @jenndiggy ends 10/4

Thursday, September 8, 2011

DVD Review & Givewaway: Theo Teaching Children God's Word

I recently had the opportunity to review Introducing THEO -- Teaching Children God's Word by Whitestone Media.  The DVD I received had the bonus video of "Good News" on it as well as the "Saving Faith" episode.

I was pleasantly surprised at the entertainment quality of this video, as well as the theology contained in it.  This was a very cute video, with Luther and Belfry the mice providing laughable situations while important truths are being presented.  Because of Luther and Belfry, I believe children will watch with interest to see what they are up to!  
The theology on the video I saw was sound.  One episode explained how we can become a Christian, and the other episode was about how faith pleases God, using Abraham as an example. 
This would be fantastic for use in a children's outreach.  I expect Theo will become a mainstay of Christian children's entertainment in the future.   I highly recommend this product to anyone who is a church worker, parent, or have children in your life! 

There is even a church curriculum for use with this DVD series:

From the publisher:

About Theo

The animation series of Theo guides children and adults through a careful study of systematic theology. Theo discusses doctrines about sin, Godʼs character, the Bible, salvation and godly living with easy-to-understand illustrations that make children want to learn more about the Christian faith.

Theo Presents recognizes a universal fact: children and adults alike love cartoons. Theo captures the attention of young minds with liberal amounts of humor and high quality animation to present the Gospel of the Christian faith through the teachings of Theo and with the use of his two object lessons, Belfry and Luther.

Theo Presents is designed to serve as a multi-media resource tool that will help men, women and children fulfill the Great Commission of Christ, to go into all the world and make disciples and to teach those disciples Godʼs Word. The multi-media outlets include a DVD series, curriculum, books and iPhone/iPad app. Each of these facets are designed to work with one another or individually.

Theo was created to reach kids of all ages. The lessons and teachings of Theo can be used for Sunday school lessons, Christian school curriculum, missions, evangelism and homeschooling.

About the creator - MICHAEL JOENS

Mike Joens has produced and directed scores of animated commercials for toy companies such as Milton Bradley, Hasbro, Kenner, McDonaldʼs and Playskool. In addition to commercial work, he produced and directed the animation segments for the award-winning video series “McGee and Me,” as well as the animated “Adventures in Odyssey” for Focus on the Family. After a waiting period of over 30 years, God opened the doors to Joens for the production of “Theo Presents.” At last, the dream of a cartoonist, called to teach the Word has come true. It is Mikeʼs hope that God will use Theo to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to children and adults in every country of the world!
What sets THEO apart from anything we've worked on? The Buy 1 - Give 1 campaign!
For every Theo DVD purchased, Whitestone Media and Child Evangelism Fellowship® will send a child in need their very own copy of Theo.
You can log onto after making your own purchase, and select the region of the world you'd like another copy of Theo to be sent.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 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"

And now for the Giveaway!

I have been given the opportunity to give a DVD away to TWO of my readers.

The giveaway lasts until September 19 at 11:59 Eastern Time, open only to the USA.
Please leave a separate comment for each way you enter as I use to pick my winners.
Winners have 48 hours after being contacted to respond or I'll pick other winners.
Please leave contact information in your comment if it's not in your blogger profile so I will have a way of contacting you if you win.

Ways to enter:

#Win a Theo Presents DVD from @jenndiggy #giveaway 2 winners ends 9/19

Friday, September 2, 2011

Five Minute Friday -- "Rest"

What is rest?

Feeling safe.

Knowing you're okay.

Relaxing knowing that the world around you is not out to get you.

Deep breaths, enjoying the moment. 

Feeling secure.

A hug from the world.

Five minute Friday Linkup and rules:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back to The Gypsy Mama and invite others to join in.
3. Get a little crazy with encouragement for the five minuter who linked up before you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Review: Midnight Mystery

This is the 4th book in the "Winnie The Horse Gentler" series by Dandi Daley Mackall.  Unlike previous books, this one actually does include a mystery, and the horse Winnie is helping doesn't board in her barn.  This time the circus is in town, and she's needing to help a circus horse who is jumpy, frightened, and even disobeying commands he's been taught.  But the Russian circus is going to be there to scout for new talent. . . can she figure out what is going on in time?

Sub-plots of the book are Catman's Grandfather "Colonel Coolidge" is in town.  He's gearing up for a reunion of army men -- but where are they?  Even more important is Winnie's mother's birthday is approaching.  Since her mother died, Winnie wants to put on a horse show for the family -- celebrate the birthday like they always did when her mother was alive which meant a movie in the morning, spaghetti for lunch, and a horse show in the afternoon.  Winnie wants to teach Nickers to bow because her mother always had her horses bow, but will Nickers learn in time?  And besides that, with Winnie's dad headed to the Invention Convention in Chicago, he's not going to be home on her mom's birthday.  Lizzie has a writing competition that day, so that leaves -- Winnie -- and Winnie alone to remember her mother's birthday -- or so she thinks!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Review: The Cause Within You

The Cause within You: Finding the One Great Thing You Were Created to Do in This World is a book where the title might not be as catchy as it could have been but the one thing that will catch in this book is inspiration.  Matthew Barnett was the youngest pastor of his denomination at age twenty, and he took a church that had about eight people in attendance to creating a huge center that reaches out to those in Los Angeles who are hurting and desperate -- the homeless, drug addicts, and anyone who feels hopeless.  People come to serve at his church and he stresses that serving will bring out the cause that is inside you, just serve and you will find that.  He says that true joy comes when we realize others are better off because of our investment in them.

This is a fascinating book.  He is certainly someone who hasn't thought traditionally.  A church that is open 24 hours a day?  There's always someone at the church serving.  Vans go out to feed the homeless.  He tells personal stories, too.  The story of taking the homeless children to Build-A-Bear was one I really enjoyed, but my favorite was one where he was telling of a woman who started a ministry in his church to pimps.  She even got invited to the Pimp of the Year award ceremony, and they all told her they would go to one function she wanted them to go to, and one Sunday morning there was a section of pimps in Matthew Barnett's congregation.

This book isn't a one-two-three to find your purpose in life.  Instead, it's a book of inspiration for you to discover that yourself -- or if you already know what your cause is, it's a book of encouragement to keep it up! 

I very much enjoyed this book, and will definitely be recommending it to others. 

FTC disclaimer:  I was sent a copy of this book free from the publisher as part of their summer reading program.  The thoughts and opinions of it are my own.