Become an Organ Donor through the Taylor's Gift Foundation

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

{A Quote to Inspire You} #9

Thank you to my dear friend, Amanda, for sharing this quote with me.  I hope you all have a blessed Wednesday!  : )

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Book Review: Revell Blog Tour {Praying God's Word for Your Husband} by Kathi Lipp

{from the back of the book}

Place your husband in God's hands
Are you ready to see God move in big ways in your husband's life, your life, and your marriage?

Many wives approach prayer as a checklist, something that has to be done in order to carry the "Good Girl Christian" card. But with this accessible guide, prayer can feel about as natural as breathing. The reason: the Word of God itself becomes your prayer.

With warmth and wit, Kathi Lipp shows you not only what a blessing it is to pray boldly for your husband but also the amazing differences you'll see--in him and in yourself--as you pray in full confidence of seeing God-sized results. Kathi directs you to Scripture, showing you how to pray God's Word in every part of your husband's life, including his
  • career and finances
  • parenting
  • relationships with God and others
  • emotional health
  • safety
  • future
She shows you how to establish a routine, pick a special spot for prayer, focus your mind, prepare your heart, and even partner with other women in prayer. With Kathi's biblical direction, engaging personal stories, and encouragement, you can start making a difference in your husband's life today.

About the Author:
Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker who reaches thousands of wives each year. She is the author of three books and has been a guest on several national radio programs, including Focus on the Family. She and her husband have four children and live in California.

My Star Rating: 5 Star

My Review: 
Kathi Lipp has written a book that is both inspiring and practical.  It's certainly a book that can be read from beginning to end, but it's also a great resource to keep on your shelf to pull from in times of specific need.

I completely love the idea of our prayers being grounded in scripture, so that we're always praying God's word, and there's no doubt that we're praying His will.  Our husbands need our prayers, and Kathi has laid it all out perfectly, and given chapter after chapter of sample prayers that can be used in just about every circumstance our husband may encounter.

As a wife in a spiritually unequal marriage, I greatly appreciate Chapter four that is dedicated to Praying for your husband when he doesn't know God.  To be honest, I haven't really known how to pray for my unbelieving husband, but now I feel more equipped.  Kathi doesn't have real-life experience with an unbelieving husband, so I like the fact that she asked Lynn Donovan and Dineen Miller, authors of Winning Him Without Words: 10 Keys to Thriving in Your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage, to contribute solid, resourceful information and prayers for that specific need.  And while Chapter four is dedicated to the unbelieving husband, the majority of the other prayers in the book can also apply to this type of marriage as well.

I haven't been praying for my husband like I should, and I'm so thankful that Kathi Lipp has written this fantastic book that has truly pointed me in the right direction.  With God's word to guide me, and Kathi's book pointing out the "why, how, and when," I feel equipped and motivated to pray for my husband as I've been called to do as a wife.

I highly recommend this book to all wives, and future wives!  It's a resource you'll turn to again, and again!

"Available June 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

**Thank you to Revell for providing a free copy to review, in exchange for my honest opinion.**

Monday, June 25, 2012

Music Monday: {Redeemed} by Big Daddy Weave

Every week I get a little concerned when I don't have a song to post that really "speaks to me."  Sometimes I have to hunt around a little bit to find just the right song, but other times, I'll hear a song, and I just know -- that's it!  That's the one!

I heard Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave a few days ago on KLOVE, and by the end of the song I was in tears.  It's such a beautiful song, and the way he sings is so powerful -- the lyrics just speak to my heart!  Amazing!  Praise the Lord, I am redeemed, and I'm not who I used to be!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

Six years ago, I heard a lot of talk about being redeemed, but I didn't understand what it meant.  But now that I get it, it's the sweetest word I've ever heard!

Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.  For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.  
1 Peter 1:17-21 NIV

The blood of Jesus is precious because of what it provides.
"Through it we receive:
Redemption. To redeem means “to buy back.” First Peter 1:18-19 explains, “You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”  No matter how moral we are before accepting the gift of salvation, our nature is inherently sinful (Ezek. 18:20). None of us can say we are without iniquity (Rom. 3:23). Christ came as a substitute so that you and I would not have to die in our wrongdoing or live in bondage to it. Jesus went to the cross for the primary purpose of redeeming us from a life of slavery to sin."
From Charles Stanley's Life Principles Notes on The Precious Blood of Jesus. 
 I am redeemed
You set me free
So I'll shake off theses heavy chains
And wipe away every stain
Now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed
I am redeemed


I pray that you have a blessed week! ~Michelle : )

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Book Review: Revell Blog Tour {Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn't Enough} by Kay Warren

About the Book:
Everyone knows how to be joyful in the peaks of life. But what about the valleys? When nothing seems to go your way? When everything is falling apart? When God is silent, and you feel all alone? Where does joy fit into those moments? In Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough, Kay Warren explains the path to experiencing soul-satisfying joy no matter what you’re going through. Joy is deeper than happiness, lasts longer than excitement, and is more satisfying than pleasure and thrills. Joy is richer. Fuller. And it’s far more accessible than you’ve thought. Joy comes from God . . . and it can be yours today!

About the Author:
KAY WARREN is the Founder of the HIV/AIDS Initiative at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. She is a Bible teacher, author, and international speaker. Warren frequently travels the globe to encourage HIV positive men, women, and vulnerable children, and today she is a powerful voice on their behalf. Married to Rick Warren, together they founded Saddleback Church in 1980. In 2007, Kay authored Dangerous Surrender: What Happens When You Say Yes to God, and the revised and expanded softcover edition, retitled Say Yes to God, was released in fall of 2010. She also co-authored Foundations, a systematic theology course used in churches around the world.  She has three children and four grandchildren, and lives in Southern California.

My Star Rating: 5 Stars

My Review:
Kay Warren has written a wonderful book about how we can choose joy, even in the most difficult circumstances.  The book is well written, and easy to relate to.  I normally get rid of books once I've read them, but this one is going to stay on my shelf as reference; one that I'll go back to again, and again.  Kay Warren's writing is so full of Biblical truth, wisdom, and insight, and definitely worth revisiting. On the inside flap of the book, it says, "Joy deeper than happiness, lasts longer than excitement, and is more satisfying than pleasure and thrills.  Joy is richer.  Fuller.  And it's far more accessible that you've thought.  Joy comes from God . . . and it can be yours!  Today."

The book is divided into four parts:
Part 1 -- Joy is My Inheritance: Embracing the Permission to be Joyful
Part 2 -- Joy is a Conviction of My Mind: Discovering a New Way of Thinking
Part 3-- Joy is the Condition of My Heart: Cultivating a Soul-Response That Allows Joy to Deepen
Part 4 -- Joy is a Choice of my Behavior: Ways to Choose Joy Daily

Each chapter opens with a scripture and a quote, and ends with a prayer, as well as points to help us reflect and apply.

There are so many great points throughout the book, but I will share a few here.
* "The only way to grow up spiritually - to become mature and well-developed in our faith - is to go through the fire of testing, trials, and troubles." (James 1:2-4)
* "In Jesus' role, he was a man of sorrow.  But in his essence - who he was in his unchanging nature - he was a man of joy."   We can be joyful, because Jesus has set the example for us.  Even through hard times, we can choose joy.
* "Here is the foundational truth that each of us needs to remember: God is the only true source of joy."  We can't find joy in the "dry wells" of people, places, possessions, position, and personalities.
* "Because God's will is good, we can embrace joy rather than fear."
* "Those who are joyful with thank God.  Joy and gratitude always go together."

I highly recommend this book, and don't hesitate in suggesting that everyone should pick up a copy for themselves!  This book does share a life-changing truth, and it's definitely worth the read.

 "Available June 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

**Thank you to Revell for providing a copy to review, in exchange for my honest opinion.**

For more information, visit Kay Warren's website.

Music Monday: {Well Done} by Moriah Peters

Moriah Peters has a brand new music video!  And who would have guessed -- I LOVE IT!  Moriah's entire album, I Choose Jesus, is wonderful -- so full of wisdom, truth, encouragement, and inspiration --it's definitely one of my favorites! 

Moriah's sweet personality and joy just shine through in this video -- you can't help but smile.  I hope you enjoy! 

Sweet blessings, and happy Monday to you!

His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’  ~Matthew 25:21 (NKJV)

From Moriah's Blog: "My second single, "Well Done," was written about the hope that we have in heaven. The anticipation of hearing these two simple words can inspire us to love extravagantly and take risks because we're not living for this world, we're walking by faith and trusting in what is not yet seen!

My prayer is that this video becomes a sweet reminder for us to enjoy not just endure life's challenges, to love not just like our enemies, and with Christ as our strength and heaven as our destination, to live for the day we get to hear the powerful words: "Well done, my good and faithful servant!"

I’m headed down this narrow road
Chosen by a few
And all that I know is
You told me to follow You

I’m taking a risk and leaving it all
Not knowing what I’ll go through
But I’m not alone
As long as I follow You

So when my life’s a leap of faith
I can hear You say Well done, well done

I’m gonna chase You, Lord
I’m gonna show the world Your love, woah
I’ll run, I’ll run
I’m gonna run this race
To hear You say well done

If people walk with me, talk with me, looking for truth
They’re gonna find out soon
If they’re following me then
They’re gonna follow You

So let my life speak loud and clear
Lord, I wanna hear, well done, well done

I'm gonna chase you Lord, I'm gonna show the world your love
I'll run, I'll run
I'm gonna run this race to hear you say well done

I’m so glad that I get to serve You, Lord
You’re the only One I am living for, woah
I’m gonna run straight into Your open arms
I’m gonna follow You with all my heart, woah, woah

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Funny: {Candy Wrap} by Chris August

Chris August won New Artist of the Year at the 2011 Dove Awards, and he has several great songs that you've probably heard on KLOVE . . . Starry Night, 7 x 70, and his latest -- Center of It.  But this may be a song that you haven't heard, and I thought it would be P.E.R.F.E.C.T for a "Friday Funny." 

This video cracks me up every time!  What can I say!?!  I love the candy song!  I hope it makes you smile.  Happy Friday!  Have a great weekend!  : )

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Sweet Treat: {Blueberry Zucchini Bread}

Photo Credit: Michelle @ Sweet Treats & Inspiration
This is one of my favorite recipes, so I decided to pull it from the "archives."  Not that my archives are extensive, :::grin:::, but I posted this one back in April of 2011.  I hope you enjoy it!

This recipe uses two of my favorite Summer harvests!  I know that we've just entered Spring, but this is something you can certainly enjoy now, and even more so when zucchini and blueberries are in their Summer abundance.
I made this bread for my family and neighbors several times last year, and it was a big hit!  If you give it a try, be sure to come back and let me know what you think.  I got this recipe from


  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
Photo Credit: Michelle


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 4 mini-loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer to the prepared mini-loaf pans.
  3. Bake 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

{A Quote to Inspire You} #7

I took this photo last weekend at Pigeon Point Light Station in Pescadero, California.  The view is incredible, and I was completely awestruck by the beauty of the coastline and the lighthouse -- truly breathtaking!

Here's a little bit of information about the lighthouse:
Perched on a cliff on the central California coast, 50 miles south of San Francisco, the 115-foot Pigeon Point Lighthouse, one of the tallest lighthouses in America, has been guiding mariners since 1872. Its five-wick lard oil lamp, and first-order Fresnel lens, comprised of 1,008 prisms, was first lit at sunset, November 15, 1872. The lens stands 16 feet tall, 6 feet in diameter, and weighs 8,000 pounds. It sits in a lantern room that had been constructed at the Lighthouse Service's general depot in New York before being shipped around the Horn. Although the original Fresnel lens is no longer in use, the lighthouse is still an active U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation using a 24 inch Aero Beacon. 

If you're interested, you can read more information here at the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book Preview & Book Trailer: {To Whisper Her Name} by Tamera Alexander

I'm really looking forward to this one!  Tamera Alexander is an amazing author, with incredible talent.  If you haven't read any of her books yet, you'll want to add her to the top of your list!  

To Whisper Her Name is scheduled to release October 23, 2012, and is available for PRE-order now at a discounted price of $4.99 for Kindle, and $8.38 for print. But only for pre-orders.

About the Book:  Olivia Aberdeen, destitute widow of a murdered carpetbagger, gratefully accepts an invitation from 'Aunt' Elizabeth Harding, mistress of Belle Meade Plantation and the dearest friend of Olivia's late mother. Expecting to be the Harding's housekeeper, Olivia is disillusioned once again when she learns the real reason why Elizabeth's husband, Confederate General William Giles Harding, agreed to her coming. Caring for an ill Aunt Elizabeth, Olivia is caught off guard by her feelings for Ridley Adam Cooper, a southern-born son who---unbeknownst to her and everyone else---fought for the Union. Determined to learn 'the gift' that Belle Meade's head horse trainer, Bob Green, possesses, Ridley is a man desperate to end the war still raging inside him while harboring secrets that threaten his life. As Ridley seeks to make peace within himself for 'betraying' the South he loved, Olivia is determined to never be betrayed again... Set within the remarkable history of Nashville's historic Belle Meade Plantation, comes a story about enslavement and freedom, arrogance and humility, and the power of love to heal even the deepest of wounds.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Music Monday: {Me Without You} by TobyMac

TobyMac's new song, Me Without You, is hitting iTunes tomorrow on June 12 (full album releases on August 28th)!  In the meantime, you can "bee-bop" to the song here at this week's edition of Music Monday!  This is a great new song, perfect to singalong to (or exercise, dance, tap your toes) . . . or whatever your thing is!  It has a great sound, and the message really hits home for me . . . Lord, where would I be without You?  L.O.S.T. 

Praise the Lord that He has rescued me, saved me, and remade me!  I am forever grateful!

Happy Monday!  Hope yours is amazing!

You rescued me
You are mine, I am Yours
You rescued me
And I am Yours forever
You saved me, remade me,
Where would I be . . .

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Book Review: Revell Blog Tour {The Ride of Her Life} by Lorna Seilstad

About the Book: Can a determined roller coaster designer take a reluctant, no-nonsense widow on the ride of her life?The only man pragmatic Lilly Hart needs in her life is four feet tall and six years old.

Widowed two years ago, Lilly left the shelter of her intrusive in-laws home to stand on her own and provide for her son, Levi. She figures after a summer of working at the lake, she should have enough money for a place in the city where she could get a job at the candy factory. When her interfering in-laws show up at the Midway diner where she’s employed insisting her tent home at Lake Manawa is unsuitable, she is furious. They demand she allow Levi’s return to their home. A verbal altercation ensues and a handsome stranger intercedes on her behalf.

The stranger, she soon learns, is the roller coaster designer, Nick Perrin. But Lilly is not about to get involved with any man, especially a cocky rich man whose job requires him to travel the country. Charismatic Nick, however, is hard to ignore.
Saving Levi pulls them together, but will Lilly let her fears tear them apart?  

My Star Rating: 4 Stars

My Review:   This is my first novel by Lorna Seilstad, but it won't be my last!  Even though I haven't read the first two books, it was easy for me to follow along with this third installment to the Lake Manawa Summers series.  I look forward to going back to read the first two books!  Lorna Seilstad is a talented writer with the ability to write a great story full of fun, a sweet romance, and that special element of faith that readers of Christian Fiction look for in a novel.  The Ride of Her Life is a light, fun, easy read that kept my interest.

I found this story to be completely unique, as I wasn't aware of the history of roller coasters at this time, and I've never read a story with this setting and plot.  To my knowledge, it hasn't been done.

I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, and the natural dialogue throughout the book.  Lilly, Nick, Levi, and all of the secondary characters are uniquely drawn, and believable.  I found Eugenia's character to add a fun element to the story, and she reminded me a lot of the "Amelia Bedelia" character in children's books.  I don't know if someone could be that clumsy, or that naive, but I suppose it's possible.  Regardless, her character made me smile and laugh.

As this is a historical, I appreciate the fact that  the research is well done, and I was able to learn about a place in American history that I wasn't familiar with.  The setting came to life, and I felt the fun and excitement of the lake shore, the midway, and the thrill of the amusement park rides.  Lorna Seilstad really brought the charm of Lake Manawa to life.

An additional part to the story that I wasn't expecting was the tension that was created by Lilly's former in-laws, in their desire to take her son, Levi, from her.  There were tense moments, and a hint of suspense and mystery that kicked this romance up to another level.

I think the faith element was very well done, and I enjoyed watching Lilly grow in her trust of the Lord, and her trust in the people in her life.  It's nice to read a novel where you can connect to the thoughts and feelings of the main character, know that they're facing real-life struggles that we all have.

I highly recommend this novel, and I'd definitely say it's worth the price of admission!

"Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

**Thank you to Revell for providing me with a copy to review, in exchange for my honest opinion.**

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Sweet Treat: {Avodah Coffee}

If you love coffee, this is a sweet treat for you!  I recently discovered this coffee when Janelle, at Comfy in the Kitchen, posted that Jessica at Muthering Heights sent her some Avodah Coffee to try.  Janelle described it as "coffee bliss,"  and being the coffee lover that I am, I had to order some for myself!

I've been drinking Avodah coffee for over a month, and I love it so much that I've subscribed to get two bags automatically sent to me every month (you even get a FREE bag when you sign up for a subscription!).

Now, let me tell you, this is not your ordinary coffee.  It's definitely something special, and not what you can find in your local stores.  And it isn't just the fantastic flavor, or the amazing customer service, that makes it special.  It's much more than that . . . keep reading to get all of the details.

Photo Credit: Avodah Coffee

Information from the Avodah website:

It’s more than a groovy name.

The word Avodah is Hebrew, and describes action that is simultaneously work, worship and service. It means that the work we do is more than a job – that bringing the awesome to our customers is about serving you, the farmers who grow the coffee, and those who benefit from the organizations we support.  All this combines under a lifestyle of Avodah, through which all we do becomes an offering.  When you see Avodah, you know you’re getting great coffee with a great purpose.

Inspired coffee…what’s better than that?  Grab a mug, and get ready to dive head first into a sensuously smooth cup of awesome!

We raise our mugs to you – by choosing Avodah Coffee, that scrumptious cup of amazing you’re sipping makes a difference! 

A portion of the proceeds from every roast or blend of Avodah Coffee is given to lift our neighbors from poverty, provide clean drinking water, save women from human trafficking, developing young leaders around the world, and equipping entrepreneurs in third world countries.

I love the fact that I can get amazing coffee, AND help support so many worthwhile causes!  I give Avodah Coffee a full FIVE STARS!  Be sure to check out their website at to get more information on their ministry and their delicious coffee!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Music Monday: {Don't Have Love} by Holly Starr

Scheduled to release October  2, 2012

Happy Music Monday! It's another exciting day! I've discovered another "new-to-me" artist, and I really think you're going to love this song! It has a great message, with a fun, fresh sound! And the video is very "summery," so it's perfect for this time of year!

Released October 19, 2010
To find out more about Holly Starr, her music, and her tour schedule, you can visit her website here.

You can have money, and cool friends, a ring on your left hand. But it's never gonna be enough, if you don't have love. You don't have love. You can have a fast car, a mansion, and everyone's attention. But it's never gonna be enough, if you don't have love. You don't have love. 

We're all made in the image of God.  But all this baggage that we carry, hides who we really are --  a picture of His love, designed to shine like gold.


Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Book Review: Revell Blog Tour {A Love Forbidden} by Kathleen Morgan

About the Book: Moved by the desire for adventure and a yearning to help the Ute Indians, twenty-year-old Shiloh Wainwright impulsively accepts a teaching position at the White River Indian Agency in northwestern Colorado. The new job, however, isn't what she imagined it would be, and Shiloh soon finds herself caught in the cross fire between the Utes, their unyielding Indian Agent, and the unrealistic demands of the US government. Her unexpected encounter with Jesse Blackwater, an embittered half-breed Ute and childhood friend, only complicates matters as they battle their growing feelings for each other amidst the spiraling tensions threatening to explode into a catastrophic Indian uprising.

Set amongst the wilds of the Colorado Rockies in 1879, this is a tale of a forbidden love and a faith tested in the cauldron of intolerance and the harsh realities of life on the untamed frontier. Bestselling author Kathleen Morgan deftly explores themes of mercy, fidelity to one's beliefs despite what others think or do, and compassion for those different from oneself as she plumbs the depths of the human heart and the healing power of God's love.

My Star Rating: 4 Stars

My Review:  A Love Forbidden (Book 2 in the Heart of the Rockies series) is a compelling, historical novel filled with elements of adventure, tension, faith, and romance.  The book seemed a little slow at first, but things really picked up about a third of the way in.  That's where the story really grabbed my interest, and I was pulled into the action.  There were several tense moments throughout the book, as well as the passionate moments that romance fans love! 

Kathleen Morgan has done a fantastic job filling the pages with historical details, realistic characters, and an interesting plot.  The story certainly depicts a difficult time in U.S. history where tensions were high between the Native Americans and the U.S. government.  Morgan has combined this historical element beautifully with her fictional creation, and the tensions and difficulties clearing come across the page -- leaving the reader full of anticipation for what will happen next.

Shiloh and Jesse are realistic and enjoyable characters, and I found their relationship to move along at a believable pace, while at the same time a little frustrating because of its back-and-forth nature.  I would get the impression that the relationship was going in one direction, and then it would go the other way.  Despite this, their struggles seemed natural as they both tried to navigate their way through the uncertainty of their relationship.  It was this aspect that kept me guessing until the very end.

The faith aspect to the story is perfectly done, and Morgan does a wonderful job weaving the message of Christ's salvation, love, and forgiveness throughout the story.  It's nice to see how this plays out for Shiloh, as well as Jesse.

Despite the slow start, the story really picked up, to the point where I couldn't put the book down!  I found this to be a satisfying read, and would recommend it those who enjoy historical novels set during the late 1800's, as well as those who love a sweet, clean romance.

** Thank you to Revell for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review. **

** Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.**