Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Nan's Journey | A Review

This post contains affiliate links.

I was recently part of a review team for a series of Western based Christian novels by author Elaine Littau. Honestly, I am not big on Christian romance novels. Since getting married and living out my own love story, I have not had an interest in reading anything that might have a romantic twist to it. However, Nan's Journey had quite a different affect on me.

Nan is a fifteen year old girl who has had a hard life. Her father passed away when she was quite young and her mother remarried a horribly cruel man. Not long after, Nan's mother passed away leaving Nan and her brother at the mercy of their step-father and his new wife. Nan experiences a number of life changing moments- almost losing her 6 year old brother to the internal poison of a festering wound, being accepted unconditionally by a beautiful couple who know God's love and want to share it with Nan and Elmer, meeting a young preacher who has lost the love of his life, being assaulted by some mountain men, becoming pregnant because of the traumatic experience, and marrying the young preacher who wants to save her reputation during a time when an assault on a woman was considered her fault.

One of my favorite parts of the story was the way the author wove in aspects of the Gospel based on the experiences that Nan had lived through. For example, the story begins with a beating Nan received at the hand of her step-mother. Nan took this beating in order to spare her younger brother the beating that should have been his. The author uses one of the characters to explain to Nan that the same way she took the beating for her brother, Jesus was whipped for our transgressions and took the penalty of our sins upon himself. At least four times throughout the book a direct connection was to our need for salvation and how one can receive it.

I am a busy mom, who has recently taken on a part time position at our church, yet I was able to finish this book in two evenings. The writing is wonderful- very much a story with a clear direction, yet with twists and turns that keep you at the edge of your seat. There is enough detail to let your mind picture the setting, yet not not so much that it takes an entire paragraph to describe one aspect of a room. There is a definitely a beautiful balance in Elaine's writing.

We were able to participate in an author's interview as part of this team. Here are some of the questions and answers that I think are the most applicable to this review.

Who is your favorite author? What books have influenced you most?

Living authors: Janette Oak and Francine Rivers. Those from the past: Grace Livingston Hill and Hilda Stahl.

Janette Oak’s Love Comes Softly series influenced me a lot because it begins with the start of a family and continues through the generations. I like that format. Hilda Stahl’s White Pine Chronicles had such unexpected twists and turns, I want to write like that.

Where did you get some of your ideas for a Christian Historical Fiction?

For Nan’s Journey the idea came while I was doing dishes one day. I remembered a scene from the television series, Gunsmoke. A teenaged girl had been severely beaten. Her back was bleeding. As a little child, I had never seen anything like that. My mind whirled. Who hurt the girl? How did she get to the doctor? What happened to her after she was treated?

I couldn’t remember how the episode ended so I sat with a legal pad and began to write Nan’s story. I spent a couple of hours writing and my sons got home from school. It was time to be a mom again. I put that legal pad up and dug it out several times in the seven years it took to write it.

For Elk’s Resolve I decided to write a sequel for Nan’s Journey while I still had some courage. My husband helped me brainstorm with ideas about how and when some of the characters would find one another. Many times, just before awakening, ideas of the next scene would go through my mind.

Luke’s Legacy was the book that left me in tears most of the days I wrote it. I think it is an emotional book. I find it interesting that this one is my husband’s favorite. I love the character called ‘Purdy’. She says what a lot of us would like to say but have been taught not to say.

The Eyes of a Stranger came to me as I was thinking about mail-order brides. My first thought was, “If someone ordered me, I’d be sent back for a refund.” The story went on from there.

Some of the chapters from Timothy’s Home came from something that happened when I was three or four years old. My nephew and I were playing with my teenaged brother’s twenty mule team model. Somehow it was broken. Fifty years later I found a model and began putting it together. The kit had a history and interesting facts about the mule team. I researched online and had to use this hard fought knowledge in a book. I don’t like to waste a bit of research if possible.

The Series was completed with those five books. I sort of thought I was through writing but…

Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?

Each book has an overlying theme, but the main thing each book carries is that God loves you. He has provided a way for you to overcome your struggles, and He will never leave you in your mess when you ask Him for help.

Nan's Journey (Nan's Heritage Series Book 1) is available for purchase through Amazon for $0.99 for Kindle.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Mother's Love: That Face

I recently had the opportunity to guest post at Betsy Finn's photography blog. This post made me really look into my heart in order to pull out the feelings that a particular photo I took conjures up when I look at it. Sometimes we need a photo that will remind us of what is truly important for us as moms to focus on. The post is titled A Mother's Love: That Face.

Don't forget about the Build Your Bundle sale!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale - Up to 92% Off!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Build Your Own Bundle

This post contains affiliate links.

Many Homeschooling Moms are in the process of purchasing their curriculum and finding the supplements they need to have a smooth running home and school for this upcoming school year.

The "Build Your Bundle" - Homeschool Edition Sale is designed to contain the best educational digital products on the internet! Sprinkled throughout the bundles are well known publishers, including products on Cathy Duffy's Top 100 list!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale - Up to 92% Off!

Unlike overwhelming bundle sales with nearly a hundred ebooks, the "Build Your Bundle" - Homeschool Edition is a brand new concept that will allow homeschoolers to pick and choose what they want to purchase ~ all at a MASSIVE discount of up to 92% off!

There are 2 "Build Your Own" options:
  • buy any 5 products for $25 or 
  • 10 products for $39  
Some of the individual products are priced up to $19.99, so by puchasing a bundle, there is up to an 80% savings.

You can also Buy 2 Get 1 FREE! This is category specific: it must be 3 individual, pre-assembled bundles or 3 BYO bundles. No mix and match.

In addition to the "Build Your Bundle" option, you can also purchase 9 "premium products". These are products that are classes, software, or membership sites and are priced 60% off! Personally, I am looking into the Creation Anatomy Kids Class since Cycle 3 in Classical Conversations covers anatomy in science.

*Please note: Many of the products are e-books or digital products that can be downloaded and then printed out.

By clicking on any of the pictures below, you will be directed to the Build Your Bundle sale. If you click on the "P" that shows up in the center of the picture you will be directed to Pinterest. As much as I would love the promotion, I would rather you get to where you want to go.

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale - Up to 92% Off!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale - Up to 92% Off!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale - Up to 92% Off!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale - Up to 92% Off!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale - Up to 92% Off!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale - Up to 92% Off!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale - Up to 92% Off!

Save 60% on Individual Products at the Build Your Bundle Sale!

Click here to Shop the Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale when it starts!

I hope these bundles and sales will be a benefit to you and your upcoming school year. I have already begun the planning, scheduling, and lesson planning for our upcoming school year, and looking through the products in these bundles just makes me even more excited for the beginning of the new school year.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Tuttle Twins Learn About the Law

I was recently given the opportunity to read The Tuttle Twins Learn About The Law by Connor Boyack (http://connorboyack.com)

Here is a quick blurb about what the book is about.

Children are often taught that government protects our life, liberty, and property, but could it be true that some laws actually allow people to hurt us and take our things? Join Ethan and Emily Tuttle as they learn about property, pirates, and plunder. With the help of their neighbor Fred, the twins will need to figure out what they can do to stop the bad guys in government!

I personally enjoyed this  book. It was so well-written and so easy to understand that I could see how a book like this could help children understand our government, the way it is supposed to work, and, sadly, how it is changing.

The views expressed in The Tuttle Twins Learn About the Law are written from a Conservative point of view. As a Conservative parent wanting to find ways to explain the government and its workings to my children, I do hope there are more books to come with the Tuttle twins and their neighbor Fred. I think it is a great way to expose children to how the government works/is supposed to work, and it is written in a way that makes the complex world of government easy for children (and their parents) to understand.

One of my favorite aspects of this book was the respect shown for adults by the children, and the wisdom shared from one generation to the other. Too many times in the books our children read and the shows they watch, kids are viewed as the intelligent ones and adults are made to look like bumbling idiots. This book portrayed respectful children having a great relationship with an older neighbor.

The author, Connor Boyack is president of Libertas Institute, a public policy think tank in Utah. He is the author of several books on politics and religion, along with hundreds of columns and articles championing individual liberty. His work has been featured on international, national, and local TV, radio, and other forms of media. A California native and Brigham Young University graduate, Connor currently resides in Lehi, Utah, with his wife and two children.
Purchase link: http://tuttletwins.com/buy

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions shared are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

    Home Discipleship

    I recently had the opportunity to read Home Discipleship: Much More Than ABC's and 123's by Kimberly Williams. What a profound, eye opening read it was for me as a homeschooling mom.

    Before I go on, I believe that home discipleship can happen (and must happen) whether you homeschool or not. It is not limited to those who homeschool. Teaching our children about God's Word and how to live according to His Word is vital for our children to grow a relationship with the Lord and not fall away when they get older.

    The purpose of this book, however, is to give homeschooling moms a reminder that our ultimate goal in homeschooling our children is not to raise scholars (although that is important). Our goal in homeschooling is to disciple our children while educating them so they will grow to be men and women of God who have personal relationships with Christ and will continue on in that relationship once they have left our home.

    As a pastor's wife, Kimberly Williams has seen far too often teens "come of age" and fall away from the Lord. She goes on to share how our American mindset has caused this to happen far more in recent years than ever before in our nation's history. As she explains, many (not all) parents have been conditioned to turn over the responsibility of teaching and training their children. We have done this with the formal education of our children. It then becomes natural for us to turn over the spiritual training of our children to the church: Sunday school, youth group, children's ministers and youth pastors. God never sets forth a mandate for someone else to give our children spiritual training.

    We have all heard the phrase from frustrated parents, "But I took them to church!" Kimberly Williams reminds us of the Biblical mandate to disciple our own children. Deuteronomy 6:1-7 continually references the family relationship as being the direct teachers for a child's spiritual upbringing.

    "...to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life..."

    "...and thou shalt teach them dilligently to thy children..."

    "...and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house..."

    Deuteronomy 6:1-7 was my mother's scripture for raising her daughters, and it has become my passage for raising our children.

    Sometimes as homeschooling moms we become bogged down with the academics, making sure our children show progress in their end of the year test, and keeping them socialized that we forget the real reason we chose to keep our children home. Kimberly Williams' book is a great reminder that although academics are important, the discipleship our children must be our ultimate goal. As Matthew 6:33 states, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."


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