Friday, October 30, 2015

Won't You Be My Neighbor

Matthew 22:36-40
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Farmers Mural in Wilmington, OH
I didn't grow up in a neighborhood, but I knew my neighbors. We lived in the country on five acres where I could roam the woods, fish in the pond, and read on the front porch. More than a few times I remember my dad welding machinery for the local farmers who lived nearby. A couple of times I helped bale hay. I learned about sheep and goats from the farm on the hill. When we weren't working on something, all the kids got together and played softball, tag, and hide and seek. We were neighbors who watched out for each other, visited, and cared. We loved the folks around us.

Jesus knew about neighbors. He loved the people who surrounded him. When asked which commands to follow, he was clear in his answer. Love God, love people. This is not just an Old Testament law, but also words spoken by the prophets, reiterated in the New Testament. Love God with all I have and have compassion for the people around me. Not just neighbors who live next door, but people who weave in and out of my life. It's not easy sometimes, as I'm sure it's not easy to love me at times. Never-the-less, I continue to obey Jesus. Praise God for his love and for his commands.

Children's Book Review: Thank You, Lord, for Everything by P.J. Lyons, illustrated by Tim Warnes

Book Description:
Love surrounds you, beauty, too.
Notice how God blesses you!
Clap your hands, shout and sing:
Thank you, Lord, for everything.

A comfortable and relaxing rhyme tells the story of God’s great blessings in this padded cover board book. P.J. Lyons’ engaging text and Tim Warnes’ playful illustrations remind readers how much they have to be thankful for.

My Review:
This soft-cover board  book is perfect for little hands and as a read aloud. The little bear in the story is so enthusiastic, his thankful attitude will rub off on the reader. They'll be repeating the thank you chorus along with the reader. What a positive example.

P.J. Lyon's sweet poetry, "Jeweled flower, stained glass wing..." paints a delightful picture of bear's day. Children will enjoy Tim Warnes' soft and colorful illustrations. I love reading rhyming books to my grandchildren. I'll definitely share this one with them. Thank You, Lord, for Everything is a great book for Thanksgiving or as a Christmas gift. 

I received this book in exchange for a fair review.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Nonfiction Book Review: Best Hair Book Ever!

Best Hair Book Ever!
Book description:
We’ve all had bad hair days—be it hair that won’t curl or is way too curly, a cut that won’t grow out fast enough, or a do that just feels like an absolute don’t even after hours of pinning and spraying. But we have good news for you. Inside Best Hair Book Ever! are killer tricks and tips on having amazing hair every day, from the best cut for your lovely locks to simple-yet-stunning updos and gorgeous styles, and even the secrets guaranteed to make your hair behave. So put down that straightening iron and pick up this book! -From the editors of Faithgirlz and Girls' Life magazine.

My review:
This entertaining hair book for tweens and teens is filled with tips and tricks to have a good hair day every day. Along with instructions on braiding and styling, the authors encourage girls to embrace the hair God gave them. Whether curly, straight, thick or fine, there are ideas for every young lady. I like the pages that explain the different hair types and face shapes that show the reader the best ideas for them. Rather than focusing on looking sexy, the Best Hair Book Ever! shows girls how to have healthy hair that fits their lifestyle. This is a fun book for moms and daughters to share. Keep it in mind as a great Christmas gift bundled with some cute hair accessories.

I received this book in exchange for a fair review.

Out of the Forest

Monday, October 26, 2015

An Author's Love for Jesus and Writing: Meet Joi Copeland

Joi's desire to write began like many others, at an early age. She loved writing short stories as early as fourth grade. During her college years, she wrote stories that depicted where she was on her journey with Jesus. In 1999, she married her best friend, Chris, and put writing aside to focus on building her family. Her three boys kept her busy for many years. After moving to Colorado in 2008, Joi was encouraged by her sister, brother--in-law, and husband to pick up her writing once again.

Not long after that, her first novel, Hope for Tomorrow, published by Comfort Publishing, was released, followed by Hope for Journey. The third and final book in this trilogy, Hope from the Past was published and released in June, 2013. She's written two novellas, Christmas Rayne and Sheriff Bride, Rob's Story. Her short book, Letters of Love, hit closer to home for her than any other she'd written so far. Actual letters from her grandfather to her grandmother while he was stationed in China during WWII became the center of this fictional novel.

Joi continues to write. Her love for stories allows her to come up with many different themes. Though, hope and forgiveness seem to be one of the constant themes in her writing.

Joi makes her home in Denver, Colorado, with her husband and three boys. On occasion, you can find her sitting at Starbucks with her laptop working, or enjoying coffee with a friend. She not only writes, but is currently employed with Executive Scheduling Associates where she spends much of her time filling up calendars.

The most important decision of her life happened March 18, 1990, when she accepted Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior. Following Him has been a journey, and not always an easy one, but she's never regretted it. She feels like the disciples when Jesus asked if they were going to turn away also. Their response, like hers, was this, "Where would we go?" That's exactly how she feels. Jesus has been her life for over twenty years, and will continue to be so as long as she lives.

Her prayer is through her writing, you will come closer to Him as she has through so many Christian authors.

One huge recent development this year was God's calling for Joi and her family to move to Ireland to church plant. It's an exciting time in her life, and she prays she will continue to write once overseas. Those stories will be focused on redemption and hope to a society that has lost its hope. Joi and her family will be church planting in Ireland, building disciples for Christ, and raising ambassadors to the nations.

For more information on that or on any of Joi’s books, contact her at

Visit her on Facebook or her author page 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Road Not Taken

Psalm 23:2-3
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

What path should I take? One of my favorite poems is Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken. A man walking along the woods comes to a Y in the road and wonders which path to take. He talks about the yellow of the forest, I imagine a beautiful autumn day with the breeze waving. One path he describes has marks of wear, where another may have trod. But he chooses the one with grass still green and leaves untouched, the one less traveled. He even considers that he might come back to take the other road someday, but doubts that because one road leads off to another. In his final words, he claims that the road less traveled has made all the difference.

I used to think I related to the poem just because I wanted to be different. Take the less traveled road because no one else did. But I believe there was a deeper stirring in my soul. God's Holy Spirit encouraged me to swim with the salmon. Take the less traveled path. So I chose to follow Jesus. His road isn't easy, there are bumps and curves but I know with all my heart His road leads to joy and abundant life, both here on earth and in heaven. By following the trail He's created for me, I accept my role in life and intertwine with the people He wants me to meet. And it has made all the difference. Praise God for leading on His path.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Children's Book Review: A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest by J. A. Myhre

About the book: 

Mu, a ten-year-old orphan, has lived his entire life in the heart of Africa. For as long as he can remember he has served in the household of a great-uncle where he is unloved and ignored. In his drudgery-filled life, Mu has little hope of happiness, and little hope that anything will ever change.

But one day, everything does change. On his way to draw water one morning, Mu is astonished when a chameleon greets him by name and announces that they will embark on a quest together. And what a quest it turns out to be! Mu faces danger and finds unexpected allies as they journey through a fascinating and ever-changing landscape.

My Review:
My favorite character in the story is a chameleon named Tita who guides Mu through the mountains and valleys of Africa. The two encounter natural elements that hinder their path as well as evil soldiers. They also find animal friends along the way. I wanted to like this story because it does introduce the reader to Africa. And the adventure is great. But I cannot endorse this book due to a violent scene, I found unnecessary, even though the purpose is explained at the end of the story. If you buy this book for a child, please read it first and see what you think. 

I received this book in exchange for a fair review.

About the author: 

J. A. Myhre serves as a doctor with Serge in East Africa where she has worked for over two decades. She is passionate about health care for the poor, training local doctors and nurses, promoting childhood nutrition and development, and being the hands of Jesus in the hardest places. She is married to her best friend and colleague Scott, and together they have raised four children for whom many of her stories were written as Christmas presents.

Find Jennifer online: website