About Me

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Mysteries, polka dots, California Rolls, TJ Maxx, cozy blankets, rainy days and getting the first spoonful of peanut butter out of the jar make me smile. Spiders, rude people, cold fingers and toes, baby leashes, people that don't wrap their packages before going to the Post Office, poison ivy and Math (pretty much all of it) make me want to scream. My perfect day would be spent with my wonderful husband and sweet girls- watching movies in our jammies! Of course, having the movie theater to ourselves would be great, too. Please pass the popcorn and M&M's.:) I am saved by the grace of God. He is my constant companion and hears my every prayer. What a blessing! I'd love to hear from you! Lori at toosillysisters@cox.net

Saturday, November 21, 2015

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti!

My Thoughts:

One of the blessings of 2015 has been discovering Cynthia Ruchti. Truly, her books are beautiful with stories of hope, forgiveness, love and the Lord. They are unique and engaging while her characters are flawed in a realistically endearing manner. I find myself identifying with so many of the personalities and remembering them long after the book is closed and their stories have been told. Please- if you can get your hands on An Endless Christmas- do so! It would be lovely to read anytime but especially meaningful the month of December. The story revolves around the Binder family Christmas, their beloved traditions, and imperfect pasts filled with grace. On the first page Micah Binder proposes to his girlfriend, Katie, who has just met his family of 20+ for the first time. And her answer is... No.  What follows is nothing you would ever expect but I believe it will cause you to reflect on your own life, your heart and your Christmas experience. 

I wanted to jump into the pages of this book! The Binder family is precious with their delightful traditions: Bonfire of Regrets, Christmas pageant, family charity gift, and Grandma Binder's "No Technology Rule". The one bathroom situation (well, there is a second one in the barn) for 20 people adds a delightful element of chaos as does the sleeping arrangements (Katie slept in the kitchen window seat). Nothing can stop Christmas week- not a blizzard, lack of electricity, ER trips or even broken hearts. I was a puddle of tears when Grandpa Wilson told the Christmas story- just beautiful. 

An Endless Christmas was just what I needed to remember what Christmas is all about. I highly recommend reading this precious tale as an escape from the craziness of the holidays. It will put your heart in the right place, comfort your weary mind and bless you greatly. ❤️

Thank you, Cynthia Ruchti, for this beautiful story.

About the book: 
An Endless Christmas
 (Worthy Inspired, October 2015)

Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster.

Christmas takes a very different turn when the guests of honor break up instead of announcing their engagement. Trapped with his family, they learn that love looks different than either imagined. Both in their eighties, Dodie and Wilson Binder celebrate every Christmas as if it were their last. This year, their grandson Micah is planning to ask his girlfriend, Katie, to marry him so they can celebrate with the whole family. But things go very wrong when she says, "no." Now they are stuck. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it's Christmas.

Purchase a copy: 
About the author:
Drawing from 33 years of on-air radio ministry, Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels and novellas, nonfiction books and devotionals, and speaking for women's and writers' events. Her books have been recognized by Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Awards, Selah Awards, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Christian Retailing's BEST Awards, and Carol Award nominations, among other honors, including a Family Fiction Readers' Choice Award. She and her plot-tweaking husband live in Pittsville, Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.

Connect with Cynthia: websiteTwitterFacebook

There's no getting out of Christmas now, despite Katie rejecting Micah's marriage proposal. Cozy up this holiday season with Cynthia Ruchti's new novella, An Endless Christmas. The Binder family celebrates every Christmas as if it were their last. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it’s Christmas.

Celebrate the holidays with Cynthia and An Endless Christmas by entering her $100 Target gift card giveaway!

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One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of An Endless Christmas

  • A $100 gift card to Target

  • Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 30th. The winner will be announced December 1st on Cynthia's blog.

    endless christmas-enterbanner

    *I was given a copy of this fabulous book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.*

    The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart

    My Thoughts:

    The Five Times I Met Myself, by James L. Rubart, is a delightfully compelling and thought provoking story. Have you ever wished you could go back and change the past? Make a few different decisions? Brock Matthews uncovers a way to change his past mistakes through intense dreams. Meetings with his younger self, wife, brother, as well as others, results in surprising changes in his life- both positive and negative. His marriage, career, relationships and wishes are all on the line. It kept me guessing until the last page and even venturing down memory lane contemplating a few of my own life choices. 

    The book is a bit like the heartwarming movie, It's a Wonderful Life. One life choice has a chain reaction to other aspects of our world as well as other people's lives. I loved reading this story and the resolution at the end. I truly had no idea what was going to happen but I definitely enjoyed the ride! James L. Rubart focuses on the beauty of God's redemption and His ability to bring restoration. I highly recommend this book for adults of all ages.

    About the book: 
    The Five Times I Met Myself
     (Thomas Nelson, November 2015)

    What if you met your twenty-three-year-old self in a dream? What would you say?

    Brock Matthews' once promising life is unraveling. His coffee company. His marriage.

    So when he discovers his vivid dreams---where he encounters his younger self---might let him change his past mistakes, he jumps at the chance. The results are astonishing, but also disturbing.

    Because getting what Brock wants most in the world will force him to give up the one thing he doesn't know how to let go . . . and his greatest fear is that it's already too late.

    Purchase a copy: 
    About the author:
    James L. Rubart is a professional marketer and speaker. He is the author of the best-selling novel Rooms as well as Book of DaysThe ChairSoul's GateMemory's Door, and Spirit Bridge. He lives with his wife and sons in the Pacific Northwest.

    Connect with James: websiteTwitterFacebook

    *I was given a copy of this wonderful book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.*

    Friday, November 20, 2015

    The Men's Devotional Bible Review and Giveaway!

    And the winner is.... Jennifer Russell!!!! Congratulations, Jennifer!

    My Husband's Thoughts:

    I have to say that I was a bit skeptical when my wife asked me to be a “guest blogger” and review The Men’s Devotional Bible for her website.  I know how much work goes in to reviewing and blogging since I have witnessed Lori working on reviews for many hours. 

    I am by no means an authority on the Bible. A couple years ago I did read the entire bible as YouVersion reminded me every day for a year. After I finished I looked back and realized that even though I could say I read it all, I really didn’t have a good understanding of how it all fit together and practical applications in today’s world.

    When I was in school the first thing I would always do with my new text books would be to look in the back at the appendices. There would always be useful information that would save time later and answer many questions that I would have during the class.  No exception here—there are fourteen articles that deal with things like marriage, fathering, a man’s identity, and doubt from a man’s perspective. I was also pleased to read that not only are they are current with today’s world but they tie a man’s current struggles and issues with specific passages in the bible and how they apply today.

    I also found a dictionary and an index of devotionals.  The 365 devotionals are spread throughout the bible.  I really enjoy reading them since they give background and context as well as how the passage relates to today’s world.  Overall I am very happy that I decided to review this devotional bible and now it looks like I will be reading the Bible again except this time I will be getting much more out of it.  Thank you for letting me do this review.

    *Please leave a comment on this post if you'd like an opportunity to WIN a copy of The Men's Devotional Bible! What a wonderful Christmas gift!*

    About the ESV Men's Devotional Bible:
    Our world presents daily distractions that can easily displace Christ as the center of a man's heart and life.  The goal of the ESV Men's Devotional Bible is to strengthen and encourage men through the life-giving Word of God and sound devotional content aimed at nurturing godliness.  With 365 theologically rich and gospel-centered devotions drawn directly from the Bible, this all-new resource was created under the editorial oversight of Dr. Sam Storms with contributions from over fifty Christian leaders.  Introductions orient men to each book of the Bible, exploring its unique contribution to a man's walk with God.  Thoughtful and instructive articles address the importance of sound doctrine, life in the local church, leadership, the heart, calling, and a host of other relevant issues for today.  The Men's Devotional Bible will strengthen men in their walk with Christ, helping them apply the gospel and the truths of God's Word in their homes, churches, and workplaces. 

    - 365 brand-new devotions
    - Brand new book introductions
    - 14 brand-new articles
    - Dictionary of key terms
    - Ribbon marker
    - Smyth-sewn binding
    - Lifetime guarantee on TruTone edition
    - Packaging: slipcase (TruTone), L-card (HC), permanent slipcase (Cloth over Board) 

    Retail Price: $34.99

    About Crossway:
    The purpose of Crossway has been, from its founding as a not-for-profit ministry in 1938, to publish gospel-centered, Bible-centered content that will honor our Savior and serve his Church.   They seek to help people understand the massive implications of the gospel and the truth of God's Word, for all of life, for all eternity, and for the glory of God. 



    *My husband was given a copy of this Bible from FlyBy Promotions in exchange for his honest opinion. No other compensation was received.*

    Monday, November 16, 2015

    Ishtar's Odyssey by Arnold Ytreeide- A Wonderful Family Tradition for Advent

    My Thoughts:

    Over the years my family and I have enjoyed taking turns opening advent calendar windows as we counted down the days to Christmas. A simple, quaint tradition with a surprise picture each day,  ometimes even a piece of chocolate candy or a surprise. But sadly, I never knew what advent was all about- until now. 

    I was thrilled to be asked to review Ishtar's Odyssey (written by Arnold Ytreeide)! It includes an entertaining story for the whole family, an explanation of what advent is all about, a website that details pictures, maps, and documents for an even richer experience, traditional menus/recipes (there are everyday options for the less adventurous eaters) that follow Ishtar's journey, as well as advent customs. My family and I are excited to put this book to use this Christmas season. It's going to be a fulfilling and enjoyable occasion for all of us! I truly appreciate how the author has written a wonderful story that continues each night of advent, as well as all the extras to round out this joyous event of the birth of our Lord, Jesus. We'll be making refreshments to enjoy while reading as well as lighting the candles on our advent wreath this year and I can't wait. The first Sunday of advent occurs on November 29th this year, so feel free to join us!

    A new Advent family devotional from the author of Jotham's Journey! Fourth in a set of Advent adventure books for families, Ishtar's Odyssey follows the ten-year-old son of a Persian wise man as their caravan follows a star across the desert. Ishtar would just as soon stay in the comfort of the palace, but slowly he learns that there's much to see, do, and learn in this world that can't be experienced in school. He eventually meets Jotham, Bartholomew, and Tabitha as he follows his father and uncles in their search for a newborn king. 

    Arnold Ytreeide's family advent devotionals have become a much-loved Christmas tradition, enjoyed by multiple generations. With over 100,000 in print they include Jotham's JourneyBartholomew's Passage, and Tabitha's Travels. - See more at: http://www.kregel.com/arnold-ytreeide/ishtars-odyssey/#sthash.9jizVKW8.dpuf

    *I was given a copy of this book from Kregel in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.*

    Thursday, November 12, 2015

    The Ology by Marty Machowski- Ancient Truths Ever New

    My Thoughts:

    The Ology is a gorgeously illustrated book written for children but truly it's a delightful treasure for anyone! It begins with 2 children exploring an old church and they stumble upon an old copy of this book- The Ology. While reading the pages they learn truths about God, heaven, salvation, resurrection, end times and so much more. 

    I enjoyed the way the author explains the Bible in an easy to understand manner. Bible verses support his words and the illustrations are absolutely beautiful. There are 71 lessons, each with verses to read and questions to ponder. My girls, ages 12 and 17, and I used this book as a gentle Bible study/discussion time. It would make a lovely family gift!

    Help your kids understand who God is in The Ology by Marty Machowski, a beginners’ theology book great for kids of all ages. In the cellar of the old stone cathedral, Carla and Timothy uncover a life-changing treasure, a carefully wrapped ancient book known as The Ology. What adults might describe as a beautifully illustrated storybook of systematic theology, the kids discover to be a story of adventure, mystery, and wonder that leads them to the truth about God, themselves, and the world around them.
    The_Ology_cover final - PK


    The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New (New Growth Press, October 2015)
    A page-turning storybook of theology for kids
    In the cellar of the old stone cathedral, Carla and Timothy uncover a life-changing treasure, a carefully wrapped ancient book known as The Ology. What adults might describe as a beautifully illustrated storybook of systematic theology, the kids discover to be a story of adventure, mystery, and wonder that leads them to the truth about God, themselves, and the world around them.
    Truth is for kids, not just for adults! So The Ology gives kids of all ages a beginner’s theology book to help them understand who God is and how we, as his children, relate to him. Arranged within a traditional systematic theological framework, each truth in The Ology is also connected to the larger redemptive story of Scripture. The doctrine of God, for example, is presented in the larger framework of creation, where the attributes of God are more clearly on display. The Ologytakes abstract theological concepts and makes them easier to understand with the use of creative examples, illustrations, and analogies. The goal is not to say everything that could be said about a theological topic, but rather to share the key thoughts behind a theological concept. The Ology is a starting point to learning theology and aims to create a hunger and desire in children to learn more as they grow older.
    Designed for six-year-olds through preteens, this flexible resource includes built-in adaptations for use with younger or older children, so that entire families can enjoy it together. Read The Ology to preschoolers, read it with grade-school kids, and let older kids discover the “hidden” truths by reading the corresponding Scripture passages for each section. However you read it, The Ology will give your children a gift that will last a lifetime—a solid foundation of life-changing biblical truth that will point them to the God who loves them and gave himself for them.


    Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for over twenty years. He is the author of the Gospel Story for Kids series, which includes “The Gospel Story Bible,” “Long Story Short,” “Old Story New,” and the “Gospel Story Curriculum,” as well as the Advent devotional and curriculum “Prepare Him Room.” He and his wife, Lois, and their six children reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
    Find out more about Marty at http://martymachowski.com
    *I was given copy of this book by Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.*

    Tuesday, November 10, 2015

    Get Your Story Straight by Kristen Hatton- A Teen's Guide to Living the Gospel

    My Thoughts: 

    Get Your Story Straight is written for teens but I believe anyone can benefit from the truths in this book. There are 52 weeks of lessons broken down into 5 days:
     Day 1- Bible readings
    Day 2- The Word Applied (how the Bible applies to our lives) 
    Day 3- Personal Questions
    Day 4- Memorization
    Day 5- Journaling and Prayer

    It's a richly written book with topics that apply to everyday living. There are 3 main portions: 1) Getting the Story Straight
    2) My Life Mixed into the Story
    3) The Story in Me Lived Out with Others

    I particularly enjoyed The Word Applied section as it made the Bible come to life in today's world. So often the Bible can be confusing, particularly to children/teens, and this portion was quite effective at explaining topics in a real and easy to understand manner. I look forward to using this wonderful devotional with my daughters (13 & 17)!

    What’s your story?
    We all tell stories to each other–stories about what happened when we were kids, stories about last night, and stories where we dream about the future. Some stories are funny, some are amazing, others are sad, but they all have something in common–each of us is the hero of our own story. Our thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams take center stage. But when it’s all about you, it’s also all up to you. You have to make life work, find meaning, and hope for the best even when you mess up or things go badly wrong.
    But what if we were made for something different? What if the main character in our life story isn’t us, but it is the God who became like us and is now with us? What if being fully human means knowing him and growing to be like him? What if the way to be fully alive is to be caught up in Jesus’s story?
    This 52-week devotional book and small group resource is designed to help you live with Jesus in his gospel story–the good news that your sins are forgiven, your future is assured, and following him is the only meaningful way to live. No matter your age, where you live, who your family is, or what your past, God wants you to experience the freedom that comes in being secure in his love.
    Divided into three parts, starting with creation, each section progressively explores the idea that the whole Bible is the unfolding story of Jesus. Through this grid, who Jesus is and why we need him will shape your understanding of freedom and grace and how you grow to be like him. This yearlong study for teenagers and young adults is designed for individual devotional times, but a small group discussion guided by a mentor would help participants to absorb and live out the truths of each week’s teaching.

    Kristen Hatton is a native Texan now putting roots down in Edmond, OK with her church-planter/pastor husband and their three children. With a public relations background from Southern Methodist University, Kristen has a wide array of professional experiences, none of which she counts as important as the job of being a “present” mom. Through leading a small group Bible study of teenagers, she has discovered her passion for teaching and writing about God’s grace.

    *I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was given.*

    Friday, November 6, 2015

    52 Original Wisdom Stories by Penelope Wilcock

    My Thoughts:

    52 Original Wisdom Stories, written by Penelope Wilcock, begins with Advent and goes all the way to Feast of Christ the King with 52 easy to read stories. The tales are told by way of Sid and Rosie, an older couple that have lived through divorce and experienced much of life. They relate modern day happenings to the Bible and bring topics such as adversity, falling in love, illness and home-making to life. I was touched by Advent 4- The Judge. It spoke of criminals being judged for their actions by someone who potentially may have a bias toward them. It also mentioned couples going through divorce and how people could be judged unfairly due to the fact that we are human. Then it brought up the fact that one day we'll all be in judgement with the Lord. It was a comfort to know that He loves us and knows our hearts, struggles and life experiences and will be just. At the end of each story there are questions to ponder and a shared prayer. I found it a bit difficult to begin this book as the main characters, Sid and Rosie, are... unusual. For example, Sid sleeps on the floor and Rosie throws her little grandson's toys away when he's naughty. I suppose the author wants us to see that people are people and everyone needs to know the Lord. Sid and Rosie's beliefs appear to be eclectic and not completely from one religion, as far as I could gather. The book has some sweet moments but it's not one I would recommend to friends. 

    About the book:

    These 52 loosely related fictional stories about the large themes of life, nature, and faith follow the liturgical year and are an ideal resource for public worship.

    Sid and Rosie are an older married couple with several children and grandchildren. Through a series of short, engaging narratives, we learn about their faith, their feelings for one another, their hopes and dreams, and their perception of how God speaks to them through the events of their lives.

    Each story stands on its own; their sequence follows the rhythm of the church's year from Advent through Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, and Harvest Thanksgiving. With an open tone of wonder and reflection, author Penelope Wilcock explores the ordinary and extraordinary topics of daily life: falling in love, marriage, birth, education, illness, farming, adversity, hospitality, homemaking, and work.

    This beautiful large-format paperback is suitable for personal reflection or as a refreshing resource for church and small group discussions.

    *I was given this book from Kregel in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.*

    Monday, November 2, 2015

    A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love- Full of beauty, history romance & intrigue!

    My Thoughts:

    Beauty, history, romance and intrigue all come to mind when I think of Dorothy Love. Her books never fail to entertain and draw you into the depths of a richly fulfilling story. A Respectable Actress is a gorgeous, compelling tale that begins on the stage in Savannah and rushes along to St. Simons Island when the main character, actress India Hartley, is accused of murder. Her handsome lawyer, Philip Sinclair, wants India to feel safe at his home, Indigo Point, but ghosts from the past exist in this haven and not everyone can be trusted. I'm always impressed with how Dorothy Love's incredible ability to paint pictures with her words...

    "The path grew more narrow, the trees more dense and overgrown as she approached the charred reminds of the chapel that Philip's grandfather had built. Though it was not yet noon, a deepening gloom blotted out the sky. Beneath her feet the dead leaves and brittle vines seemed to whisper a warning. Gazing at the blackened bricks and crooked chimney, India shivered. She couldn't give it a name but she could feel something dark and foreboding gathering there, waiting in the shifting shadows."

    I can almost hear the leaves whispering, feel the chill and see the shadows. Don't you?

    A Respectable Actress is engagingly enjoyable with delightful characters, a fabulous historical location and a story line that will keep you captured until the very end. Highly recommend!

    About the book: 

    A Respectable Actress (Thomas Nelson, October 2015)

    When India Hartley is accused of murder, she must uncover the deceptions of others to save herself.

    India Hartley, a famous and beautiful actress, is now alone after her father's death and embarks upon a tour of theaters across the South. Her first stop is Savannah's Southern Palace. On the eve of the second night's performance, something goes horribly wrong. Her co-star, Arthur Sterling, is shot dead on stage in front of a packed house, and India is arrested and accused of the crime.

    A benefactor hires Philip Sinclair, the best---and handsomest---lawyer in Savannah to defend India. A widower, Philip is struggling to reinvent his worn-out plantation on St. Simons Island. He needs to increase his income from his law practice in order to restore Indigo Point, and hardly anything will bring him more new clients than successfully defending a famous actress on a murder charge.

    Because India can't go anywhere in town without being mobbed, Philip persuades the judge handling her case to let him take her to Indigo Point until her trial date. India is charmed by the beauty of the Georgia lowcountry and is increasingly drawn to Philip. But a locked room that appears to be a shrine to Philip's dead wife and the unsolved disappearance of a former slave girl raise troubling questions. Piecing together clues in an abandoned boat and a burned-out chapel, India discovers a trail of dark secrets that lead back to Philip, secrets that ultimately may hold the key to her freedom. If only he will believe her.

    Purchase a copy: 
    About the author:
    A native of west Tennessee, Dorothy Love makes her home in the Texas hill country with her husband and their golden retriever. An award-winning author of numerous young adult novels, Dorothy made her adult debut with the Hickory Ridge novels. When she isn't busy writing or researching her next book, Love enjoys hiking, traveling, and hanging out with her husband Ron and their rambunctious golden retriever. The Loves make their home in the Texas hill country.

    Find Dorothy online: 

    *I was given a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.*