Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Review and giveaway info: The Wonder of Your Love

About the book
Katie Ann lost the love of her life. Then God offers her a new beginning in Colorado .
Katie Ann Stolzfus lives in the small Amish community of Canaan , Colorado . At forty she is widowed and raising her first child. But baby Jonas will never know his father, and Katie Ann wonders if her Heavenly Father hasn't forgotten about her as well. Is it really God's plan for her to be a single parent?
Eli Detweiler has come to Canaan for a wedding and a long vacation. Having raised six children following the death of his young wife, Eli is finally an empty-nester. He's enjoying the slower pace of having no one to care for but himself.
When Katie Ann and Eli meet, there is an instant connection. Yet as strong as the attraction is, they both acknowledge that a romance would never work. He is done parenting, while she has just begun.
But as their friendship slowly blossoms into feelings that are as frightening as they are intoxicating, Katie Ann and Eli question if the plans they made for themselves are in line with God's plans.
Can Katie Ann entrust her heart to another man, and rediscover the wonder of God's love?

My thoughts 
I was able to completely relate to the theme of this book: questioning if our plans, even if they are good plans, are in line with what Heavenly Father is wanting us to do.  How often do we make plans and later realize that they are not the plans God has for us, or maybe we assume He wants us to do something for one reason, but we later realize that the reason was nothing like we thought?  When I joined the Army, I KNEW that was where Heavenly Father wanted me, I assumed it was to serve my country.  That is why, when I fell ill just a few weeks in and learned I was being discharged, I was very confused.  To make a long story short, the real reason I was in the Army was to have an undiagnosed, life threatening illness diagnosed and treated (I had already had it for 5 years and was lucky to be alive) and to meet the man who would become my husband.  

More recently, after the birth of our 4th child 3 years ago, we were pretty sure we were done having kids.   We did not take any permanent actions, but were preventing conception in other ways.  One day, about a year ago, I began to feel like maybe we were NOT supposed to be done.  I really struggled with this because I was not certain that I WANTED more kids and my last 2 pregnancies had been fairly difficult.  None-the-less, when I saw my OB/GYN for my annual this year, I asked about the problems I had in the past.  He gave me the go ahead to have more if we desired and told me that the problems were no more likely to occur than they had been previously.  It did not matter much though, because my husband was not having those same thoughts and feelings that I was having.  Then one day, out of the blue, he told me that he had been lying to me.  I asked what he meant and he went on to tell me that he HAD been feeling like we were meant to have more, but that he REALLY did not WANT to.  Of course, the not wanting to does not mean that we would not love and cherish any future children just as we do the ones we have now, just that we dragged our feet about doing what Heavenly Father had planned for us.  Now, after all those months of fighting it, we started trying to get pregnant and I am very happy to announce (for the first time publicly) that we are expecting the next Garcia baby in June of 2012.  (Because this has not been announced elsewhere yet, I do ask that if you want to leave any notes about this on facebook for me, please do so privately.)
My thoughts on the book- sorry for the sidetrack above
I really enjoyed this book.  As I said above, I could completely relate to Katie Ann and Eli.  I also loved Katie Ann's ability to forgive the woman who had caused her such pain, even though she could not forget it.  I know that forgiveness like that is expected among the Amish, but this really put it in a way that made it easy to understand.  I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys Amish literature, love stories, or stories of healing.  Although this is part of a series, I have not read any of the other books in the series and did not have any trouble following this one.  Click here to read what other reviewers are saying.
About the author
Beth Wiseman is hailed as a top voice in Amish fiction. She is a Carol-award winner and author of numerous bestsellers including the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series. She and her family live in Texas ., Twitter @bethwiseman,  

About the giveaway
Beth is celebrating the release of Book 2 in the Land of Canaan series with a Fabulous Facebook party on November 1st. She'll be giving away one of her OWN paintings, several mini prize packs and a sneak peak at the next book in this heartwarming series.
CLICK the button (below) to RSVP for the party - then join us on November 1st for a book chat, Amish themed trivia contest, and more!
The Wonder of Your Love Facebook Party on 11/1!

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group and the author for providing me with a copy of this book for review purposes.  My opinion is my own and was not influenced by anyone else.

Book Review and Giveaway Info: Baby, It's Cold Outside

About the book
Hope finds the hopeless when a storm hits.


It's Christmas weekend 1949, and despite the threat of a storm, the townspeople of Frost are determined to continue their holiday traditions, if only as a means to forget the war that they had all just suffered through. But the suffering hasn't ended for Dottie Morgan who lost her only son in the war. She's preparing to wallow in her isolation for the weekend, when Violet, nearly a spinster at age 29, dares to make a request that will force Dottie to publicly revive the memory of her dead son.


When a storm traps the two women at home with a strange young man who has an unbelievable confession and a neighbor with more to do with Violet's past than she would like, no one can predict how this Christmas will give them all a second chance.


My thoughts
This was another book that I struggled to put down, in fact, it only took me 2 days to finish it, because I couldn't wait to see what happened next.  Each character has their own story, but they intermingle so much, even those who were strangers in the beginning of the book, find that pieces of their lives had crossed paths at an earlier time.  Other characters have long histories together.  They all have their own unique trials though and they all have faced love, loss and desire in their own lives.  I loved watching one romantic relationship grow and another one rekindle after many, many years of them trying to extinguish the flame that was smoldering beneath the surface.  I highly, highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys romantic tales,  stories that take place near Christmas, or who just appreicate a good heartwarming tale.  

About the author
Susan May Warren is an award-winning, best-selling author of over twenty-five novels, many of which have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, the ACFW Book of the Year award, the Rita Award, and have been Christy finalists. After serving as a missionary for eight years in Russia , Susan returned home to a small town on Minnesota ’s beautiful Lake Superior shore where she, her four children, and her husband are active in their local church.

Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder of, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.


Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota , where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!)


A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found

About the giveaway
Warm up with a Kindle Fire from Susan May Warren

Warm up to Chrismtas early this year with Susan May Warren's Baby, It's Cold Outside! To celebrate the release of her new Christmas book with Summerside Press, she and the publisher are giving away a Kindle Fire and hosting an early Christmas Party on Facebook!

One festive winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Fire

  • Baby, It's Cold Outside by Susan May Warren

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. Giveaway ends on 10/26!

But, wait there’s more! Join Susan May Warren on 10/27 for merriment and a few early Christmas presents at her Baby, It's Cold Outside Christmas party! Grab your Christmas sweaters, socks and pj’s and join Susan and a few friends for a fireside chat about her recent books (Heiress & Baby, It’s Cold Outside), holiday traditions, favorite Christmas recipes, a trivia contest and more! Invite your friends and don’t miss the fun!

RSVP here and we'll see you on October 27th at 5 PM PST / 8 PM EST!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group and the author for providing me with a copy of this book for review purposes.  My opinion is my own and was not influenced by anyone else.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Here are the winners from last week's giveaways:

Yoplait Do the Swap: There was only 1 entrant so by default, the winner is Raven in a Blue Room
Hearts for Hearts Girls: The winner is

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2011-10-20 00:45:47 UTC

which belongs to debijackson   The winner is

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2011-10-20 00:51:42 UTC

which belongs to Tea Moore

All winners have been notified (Tea, I did not have your e-mail, so I sent a Twitter message).  Please reply within 48 hours so that new winners do not need to be chosen.  Congratulations to all the winners and a big thanks to all who entered.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book review and Giveaway Info: Married Mom, Solo Parent

About the book
For married women who feel like single parents.
Bookstore shelves are full of parenting resources for moms who are newly divorced or widowed. But where do moms turn if they feel like a single parent--but they’re not? Whether he is away on business, deployed in the military, or obsessing over a computer game, dad may not be available for a variety of reasons. Moms who parent in this situation still need help and don’t necessarily relate to the advice given in divorce recovery or single parenting resources.
Married Mom, Solo Parent: Finding God's Strength to Face the Challenge
 is a common-sense, down-to-earth look at the struggles wives and mothers face when their husband is not actively involved in family life. Writing from her own experience as a married single mom, Carla Anne Coroy will help wives and mothers sort through their questions, such as: Can I do this alone? How do I raise kids to honor their father? How do I give my children a healthy perspective of marriage if they never see one in action? With practical suggestions, anecdotes, and biblical teaching, this book will encourage moms to see their position as a high calling, to find healing for their worries and frustrations, and to tap into God’s strength for help in facing the daily challenge of being a married mom, solo parent.

My thoughts
This book does not currently apply to my life, in fact, my life is currently quite the opposite.  My husband is currently looking for work, but due to modern technology, that means he is home almost all the time, and I am blessed that he is very involved with the going-ons of the family.  Unfortunately, this has thrown our schedule way off and I am struggling to figure out how to make sure all the things that need to get done, actually get done.  However, I have spent considerable parts of our marriage as a "solo parent" (a term that is not to be confused with "single parent.") My mom also spent her marriage to my dad, at least all the parts I can remember, as a solo parent, so I was definitely able to relate to this book.  What is a solo parent?  It is a parent, often the mom, who although married, has the majority of the parental duties laid on them 100% of the time.  As it says above, the other spouse may be in the military or travel a lot for work, or they may have addictions or illness that keep them from being involved.  For me, my husband was working both a full-time and a part-time job and attending school full-time.  For my mom, my father is schizophrenic which kept him from being able to provide the emotional and mental parts of parenting.  Any which way, if you find yourself in the role of a solo parent, there is a lot of things you need to learn how to deal with, not just how to balance it all, but also emotional issues.  This book did a great job of covering all the aspects of solo parenting.  I do have to warn my non-Christian friends, this IS a Christian book and is therefore rather "preachy", especially regarding the emotional parts.  However, there is also a lot of practical information, particularly when talking about how to do all the work that is laid before you.  I found much of that information applicable to my life, even now, when I have an extra set of hands around to help.  

I recommend this book to any Christian solo parent, whether they think they need help dealing with it or not.  For those who are not solo parents, but need help learning how to balance all the household duties, you will find quite a bit of help in the book as well.  To see what other bloggers think about the book, click here.

About the author
Carla Anne Coroy runs the Married Single Mom blog at She speaks regularly and serves as a staff writer for an online Christian women’s magazine Mentoring Moments for Christian Women. Carla Anne lives in Canada with her husband and four homeschooled children. For more information, visit 

About the giveaway
Come to an encouraging MomChat party on Facebook…you could win a KindleTouch
To celebrate the release of her new book Carla has partnered with her publisher, Kregel, to host a live MomChat party on Facebook!
The party will wrap up the blog tour ( and Carla will be hosting an encouraging MomChat about all things mom and wife related. There will also be a fun contest and she’s giving away a KindleTouch and a ton of other fun stuff (books, gift certificates and more!).
So RSVP today and then come back on 10/25 at 5pm Pacific, 8pm Eastern for the party.
Don't miss the fun ... and tell your friends.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group and the author for providing me with a copy of this book for review purposes.  My opinion is my own and was not influenced by anyone else.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hearts for Hearts Girls dolls Giveaway

Playmates Toys has released a new line of dolls and fashion collection called Hearts to Hearts Girls.  The collection features six dolls from around the world, each with an inspiring story to share. Their goal is "Changing the World One Heart at a Time."

The authentically dressed and lifelike dolls each represent a girl who is working to change her community in ways that are unique to her home country. Included with each doll are a friendship bracelet and a story booklet that explains how these multicultural girls live and contribute to their families, communities, and culture. Each doll also comes with a special code that unlocks a free membership to the kid-safe Hearts for Hearts Girls Website, which features:
  • Additional information about each of the Hearts For Hearts Girls and the countries in which they live

  • Educational activities and lively games that are fun and rich in culture

  • Intriguing stories about real girls who are making a difference

  • While all girls are welcome to visit the site, the code unlocks access to additional features, including a larger array of games and a “myHeart” page

To further bring to light each Hearts For Hearts Girls’ culture, additional outfits are available for the dolls, so that your little girl can envision her doll’s story as she plays and changes the doll’s attire.

Additionally, through a partnership with World Vision3, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each Hearts For Hearts Girls doll is donated to programs that support girls in that doll’s country. Whether it’s malaria nets in Africa, schoolbooks in Asia, or food supplies in the United States, these programs help girls to thrive and succeed.

Help to make a difference one doll at a time by purchasing your very own doll from the Hearts For Hearts Girls line which debuted in stores this fallor you can visit to purchase a Hearts For Hearts Girl doll for a loved one today!

Meet the six Hearts For Hearts Girls:
  • Meet Consuelo from Mexico City. Colorful and warm, Consuelo provides aid to hungry children who are homeless and live on the streets near her parents’ bakery.

  • Meet Lilian of Belarus. Determined Lilian provides aid to girls whose parents must find work in the big city and are forced to leave their children with orphanages.

  • Meet Dell from the heart of Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains. Dell creates music and knitwear to share with others in need of warm clothing.

  • Meet Rahel of Ethiopia. Rahel, who dreams of becoming a doctor so that she can make a real difference for people in her region, journeys with her family into the wilderness of Ethiopia to help bring back aid to her community.

  • Meet Tipi from Laos. Based on a real girl who shares her art and storytelling with others through dancing, drawing, and puppetry, Tipi leads her school in a mural contest in hopes of winning much-needed books for her class.

  • Meet Nahji who hails from Assam, India. Brave Nahji breaks tradition to bring courage and education to the girls who work in the tea fields of India.

Playmates Toys and My Blog Spark have provided a gift set for one of my readers.  One person will receive:
    • One Hearts For Hearts Girl, accompanied by a friendship bracelet, story booklet, donation for girls in need through partner World Vision and a special product code your daughter can use to unlock a free membership to the Hearts For Hearts Girls website, which provides access to the “myHeart” page and an array of games and activities.
    • An outfit that is authentic to one of the Hearts for Hearts Girls’ culture, in which your daughter can also dress her doll
Please note, that the outfit you receive may not be from the same culture as the doll you receive, but they are all wonderful and the dolls can wear any of the outfits, not just the ones from their culture.

To enter:
Mandatory entry:  Tell me which of the dolls you like best.

Extra ways to enter (leave a comment for each one you do):
- subscribe to The Happy Wife
- follow The Happy Wife on Google Friend Connect
- Like The Happy Wife on facebook (you can also click the like button on the right hand side of the blog)
- share this giveaway via your blog or other social networking site.
- Follow me on Twitter
The giveaway will end on Tuesday, October 18th, sometime after 9PM.  You can enter until I choose the winner.  The winner will have 48 hours to get back to me or a new winner will be chosen. 

The Hearts For Hearts Girls doll, and information have been provided by Playmates Toys through MyBlogSpark.  I also received an identical prize package in exchange for sharing this information with you.

Yoplait Light- Do the Swap (Giveaway)

When trying to lose weight, it can be really difficult to maintain a new diet if you make many drastic changes all at once.  The weight may drop off quicker, but what good is it, if it all comes back once you can no longer maintain that diet?  I find that making small changes, 1 or 2 at a time, allows you to change your lifestyle, without feeling like you are depriving yourself.  The weight will come off a bit slower, but you will be happier and healthier in the end.  Yoplait Light also feels the same way and has created a "The Yoplait Light Swap" as a way to remind people that by making simple substitutions, like swapping one item from your diet per day for a 100 or 110 calorie Yoplait Light, you can cut unwanted calories and help yourself feel great about daily diet choices. Through swapping tips for food, fitness, and fashion, the "Yoplait Light Swap" can help remind you how rewarding one simple change can be.   Here is some information from Yoplait Light:

  • Yoplait Light yogurt offers 33 different options to choose from in fruit, pastry and dessert flavors that contain around 100 calories or less, providing endless swapping options.

  • Visit to share your favorite food, exercise and fashion swaps, find recipes and quizzes. Alison Sweeney, host of "The Biggest Loser" and author of The Mommy Diet, offers this Top Swap Tip on how she maintains her weight with a hectic schedule.

    • "I'm all about easy solutions, and making simple swaps in my diet helps me lead a healthy lifestyle while juggling everything else. I swap a slice of my favorite red velvet cake after dinner for a cup of Red Velvet Cake Yoplait Light which can save me almost 300 calories, without even thinking about it."

  • Swap your way to fabulous with the following tips from fashion guru, host of the Style Network's "How Do I Look?" and correspondent for NBC's upcoming series "Fashion Star," Jeannie Mai.

    • Swap the bus for a 15 minute walk on the way home, and you can save 60 calories.1
    • Boost your confidence in seconds by swapping more low-key flats for a pair of colorful heels.
    • Expand your wardrobe without breaking the bank by swapping clothes and accessories with your girlfriends. 
Yoplait Light and My Blog Spark have put together a prize package to help one of my readers begin to make simple changes. Included in the package is:
  • (1) VIP coupon for a free cup of Yoplait Light yogurt
  • Insulated tote bag
  • Water bottle
  • Sunglass holder
  • Hardcover planner
  • Ballpoint pen
To enter:

Mandatory entry:  Tell me a simple swap you can feasibly make to improve your health.  Promise me you will do it :)

Extra ways to enter (leave a comment for each one you do):
- subscribe to The Happy Wife
- follow The Happy Wife on Google Friend Connect
- Like The Happy Wife on facebook (you can also click the like button on the right hand side of the blog)
- share this giveaway via your blog or other social networking site.
- Follow me on Twitter
The giveaway will end on Tuesday, October 18th, sometime after 9PM.  You can enter until I choose the winner.  The winner will have 48 hours to get back to me or a new winner will be chosen. 

Thank you to Yoplait Light and My Blog Spark for providing a prize package for one of my readers and for myself in exchange for sharing this information with you.

Review of VocabularySpelling City and a giveaway

A few weeks ago, I told you about an upcoming review of  Well, here it is and the best part is, that I also have a 1-year Premium Membership to give away.  We have been using the free version of Spelling City for a while now and like it.  In the free version, you can create spelling lists and your kids can play some of the games to practice their spelling.  I had not thought much about trying the paid version, basically because no one I knew had used it and I did not want to spend money on something I was unsure of.  Then I received the opportunity to review the paid service and I am so glad I did.  We have been missing out on SO MUCH!!

There are so many more benefits of being a paid member of VocabularySpellingCitycom.  For starters, you will see that I refer to the free version as just Spelling City, that is because the vocabulary games are only available to those with a paid membership.  In addition to vocabulary, your students can practice parts of speech and synonyms and antonyms of the spelling words.  Another great benefit is the ability to create records and track progress for your individual students.  This is nice because all I need to do is go in and enter their spelling/vocabulary lists and then let them "play".  I can see their progress and address it as needed, but as of yet, I have not needed to.  They were learning with the free version, but definitely enjoy the paid version much more and are learning so much more as a result.  My 9 year old absolutely LOVES the spelling game Letter Fall, which is only available with the premium membership.  Both versions also offer spelling lists that others have created, so you also have options of using those.  There are also tests available for each list in both spelling and vocabulary, with only the spelling test being available for free members.  Another benefit, although somewhat minor, is that there is no paid advertising with the premium membership.  I say this is a minor benefit because even on the free version, advertising was never very distracting. 

So how much does this all cost, you ask?  For families and homeschoolers, it is a very reasonable $24.99 per year and allows you to register up to 5 students.  For a school classroom, up to 30 students, it is $49.99 per year and they also have rates for schools as well.  If you want to see more of the benefits and FAQs visit the premium membership page.

I am a very frugal homeschooler and really dislike spending money when there is so much available for free.  However, spelling and vocabulary are areas where I have not found much available.  In addition, there is a lot to be said about curriculum that allows my children to learn with minimal time spent by me.  The best part is that $24.99 a year, for 5 children, is an excellent price for this, so even my frugal-side is appeased.

How would you like to win a 1 year Premium family membership to  Here is how to enter:
Mandatory entry:  Tell me which of the benefits you think would be the most helpful to you and/or which game you think your child will enjoy the most.

Extra ways to enter (leave a comment for each one you do):
- subscribe to The Happy Wife
- follow The Happy Wife on Google Friend Connect
- Like The Happy Wife on facebook (you can also click the like button on the right hand side of the blog)
- share this giveaway via your blog or other social networking site.
- Follow me on Twitter
The giveaway will end on Tuesday, October 18th, sometime after 9PM.  You can enter until I choose the winner.  The winner will have 48 hours to get back to me or a new winner will be chosen. 

I received a 1 year premium family membership to in exchange for my honest review.   No other compensation was received and as always, my opinion is my own.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gerber® Graduates® Grabbers™ Squeezable Fruit and Fruit/Vegetable Pouches

I recently had the opportunity to try Gerber® Graduates® Grabbers™ Squeezable Fruit and Fruit/Vegetable Pouches.  As soon as my preschoolers saw them, they could not wait to get into them.  Had I allowed it, they would have eaten all the packages in one sitting.   Here is a little about them:
Made for Toddlers:
·         Easy for toddlers to self feed
·         Encourage independent eating skills
·         Come in a resealable pouch
·         Pouch is easy to take on the go
·         Fun to eat
Good for Toddlers:
·         Made with 100% natural fruit or fruit and vegetables
·         No artificial flavors or colors
·         Excellent source of antioxidant Vitamins C & E
·         2 servings of fruit or fruit/vegetables per pouch*
5 Flavor Combinations:
·         Banana Blueberry
·         Apple, Pear & Peach
·         Pear & Squash
·         Apple, Mango & Strawberry

My opinion:
I am blessed to have kids that willingly eat fruits and veggies, but I am aware that many people struggle to get their kids to eat enough of them.  Generally though, I have met few kids that do not like foods like applesauce.  Three of the flavors include apple in them and they all have the same consistency and sweetness of applesauce.  I am willing to bet that this would be a food that most kids would enjoy.  I also like them because we travel fairly often and it is rather difficult to eat healthy when on the road.  Furthermore, due to their delicate nature, fruits can be difficult to travel with so if we want them, we need to stop and buy them along the way.  However, the Gerber® Graduates® Grabbers™ Squeezable Fruit and Fruit/Vegetable Pouches, travel well and were not messy, even in the hands of my 3 year son.  

I received 1 of each of the flavors to assist me in reviewing this product.  No other compensation was received and my opinion was not influenced in any way.

Spiritual Sunday: A Mighty Change of Heart

A few weeks ago, I was asked to give a talk at church about a "mighty change of heart." I debated whether or not I wanted to share it on here, and if so, if I would alter it.  I have decided to go ahead and post the talk I gave, as is.  For my non-LDS (Mormon) friends, there are both Biblical references and references from the Book of Mormon, so if you see a scripture quoted and you do not recognize the name of the book, it is likely from the Book of Mormon.

If you had known me 20 years ago, you would not recognize me today. While I was not into a lot bad things, I was a worldly girl who didn’t know anything different. I had many friends, some who had the potential to lead me down the wrong path. Fortunately, my freshman year of college, I became good friends with the girl who would later introduce me to the missionaries. I remember meeting the elders and I was blown away with what they were teaching me. I had looked for a church for several years, but none could ever answer my questions. I had begun to believe that there just was no religion on earth that made sense to me. Then, I had 2 young men in my living room answering my questions before I could even ask them. Because I already believed that there had to be prophets on the earth still today, it was easy for me to believe that Joseph Smith had been a prophet. Once I believed that, everything else had to be true as well. However, simply believing something is often not enough. There were still areas of my life where I had to have a mighty change of heart in order to live the gospel fully.

What is a mighty change of heart and how do we have one?
Just like our physical hearts, our spiritual hearts can also be weakened. Every time we sin, our spiritual heart becomes hardened and weaker. In order to repair our spiritual heart, we need to undergo a spiritual heart transplant. In Ezekiel 36:25-26, we read, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.“ This tells us that just as Heavenly Father can make us spiritually clean again, He can also perform a spiritual heart transplant for us. Through the Atonement of Christ, we have the opportunity to have our hardened hearts removed from us and replaced with a heart of flesh once again. We can find examples of Heavenly Father performing these heart transplants throughout the scriptures, particularly in the Book of Mormon. In Mosiah 5:2, after King Benjamin had taught his people, we read, “And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.” And again in Alma 5:7 we read, “Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word”
However, just as those in the Book of Mormon learned, if you do not take care of your new spiritual heart, it will begin to weaken again. Satan quickly begins to present temptations in an attempt to cause us to spiritually reject our new hearts.

How do we maintain a mighty change of heart?
Maintaining our new spiritual heart is a lifelong process which requires certain behaviors on our part. The first being:
- Prayer: We need to maintain our relationship with Heavenly Father on a regular basis. Many of us have to take medications every day to keep our physical bodies working the way they should or to keep us free from pain. Prayer does for our spiritual health what these medications do for our physical health. But sometimes medicine is not always enough.
- Sometimes we have to give up certain things, even things we enjoy. Just as a diabetic has to give up sugary treats, there are behaviors that we need to give up when we experience a mighty change of heart. If these behaviors are closely linked with certain friends, we need to let them know where we now stand and may have to give up some friendships. I chose to give up a very close friend after I was baptized because they would not respect the changes I had made in my life. In some ways it was difficult to lose this friend, but in many ways, it was very easy as I could see the bigger picture. However, even with giving up these things, temptations will still be placed before us.
- We need to constantly be on guard against temptation, especially our former weaknesses. When bulletproof glass is hit with a bullet, it will protect the person on the other side. However, the place that the bullet hits has become weakened. If it takes a few more hits in the same spot, the glass will give way. We are the same way and Satan knows this. The things that we used to succumb to are the very things he will tempt us with, knowing that they have already been a weak point for us in the past. At the very first sign of temptation, we need to remove ourselves from the situation and pray for strength. You may have heard that it is easy to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission, but anyone who has ever been through the repentance process will tell you that is not the case.
When we do give in to a temptation, it is essential that we repent of that transgression.
- Repentance: To truly repent, we not only need to take the steps of repentance: confessing, rectifying, asking for and receiving forgiveness, but we also need to forsake the sin. This does not mean simply changing our actions, but undergoing a mighty change of heart regarding this sin.

In a BYU devotional, Brent Webb said,
“Our desires come and go, often in relation to our environment, but character and personality are more permanent, more fundamental to the makeup of our soul. The change of heart we seek that accompanies true repentance actually brings a change of appetite for sin. Our likes and dislikes relative to good and evil are shaped by the Atonement. We learn not only to avoid the sin but the temptation to sin as well. There is no earthly entity that has this power to change our temperament. Wars are fought trying to bend people's wills and loyalties, but only the Savior can transform within us something so fundamental as our character and our appetites.
Those undergoing spiritual cleansing are softened in their interactions with others. They make better home and visiting teachers. They are less apt to be critical of those around them, looking for the good instead of the faults. They see and seize opportunities to serve more readily. They are more patient and less quick to anger. (I have noticed that when I am truly seeking spiritual health, I am able to be more restrained in what can be for me most un-Christian behavior--such as when I'm behind the wheel of my car in heavy traffic.) In short, the change of heart brings the Savior's hand into every facet of our lives "at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death" (Mosiah 18:9).”

Undergoing a mighty change of heart may be a onetime thing for many people. I know for myself it has not been. I have had to have several spiritual heart surgeries since joining the church, but once I have had a mighty change of heart, it is only when I fail to maintain it that I begin to feel the symptoms of my heart hardening again. It is when I am diligent with my personal prayers and scripture study that I find myself less likely to be tempted and if I am tempted, I have much more strength to walk away. I encourage all of you to nourish your spiritual hearts and to keep it strong.

Space Lunch

I have been working on serving a fun themed lunch to my kids each week. Last week, I chose a space theme.  I used half of a buttered English muffin for the moon (though I wish it had been more round) because I wanted my moon to have a crater-appearance. The stars are made from American cheese using a star-shaped fondant cutter.  The rocket is a slice of turkey breast, with kiwi "wings", Craisin decoration and a 1/4 of a Roma tomato for the thruster (is that the right word?).  THen I dropped dollops of vanilla yogurt for the smoke.  The kids really liked this one.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway Info: Reclaiming Lily

About the book

A storm the size of Texas brews when Gloria Powell and Kai Chang meet in a Ft. Worth hotel. They have come to discuss the future of Lily, the daughter Gloria adopted from China and the sister Kai hopes to reclaim. Kai is a doctor who had to give up her little sister during the Cultural Revolution and has since discovered that an inherited genetic defect may be waiting to fatally strike Lily.
Gloria's relationship with her daughter is tattered and strained, and the arrival of Kai, despite the woman's apparent good intentions, makes Gloria fearful. Gloria longs to restore her relationship with Lily, but in the wake of this potentially devastating diagnosis, is Kai an answer to prayer--or will her arrival force Gloria to sacrifice more than she ever imagined?

My thoughts
It took me a little bit to really get into this book, but once I did, I had a hard time putting it down.  I enjoyed learning a bit about the Cultural Revolution in China, which I knew little about was encouraged to research more.  (For those interested, you can learn a bit more about it here: .) Reclaiming Lily, takes the reader from a small village in China to Texas and then onto Boston, as you learn about how Lily came to be adopted and the struggles that Gloria, Kai, and Lily face as their lives become intertwined with one another.  Kai and Gloria both have a deep love for Lily and want what they believe is best for her.  At times, Gloria seems to know best what that is and at times Kai does and in the end, it is Lily who ends up making the decisions for herself.  I enjoyed watching Lily awaken as she discovered her new-found family and was able to reconnect with her Chinese side.  I also enjoyed watching Gloria come to realize that she was not the perfect mother and how she dealt with that.  I also very much enjoyed the tender relationship that Gloria has with her pastor husband.  Kai also undergoes extreme growth as she faces her own medical issues, her struggles with her beliefs and those of Christianity, and her love life.  I recommend this book to any one who enjoys heart-warming family stories, and those who have adopted, plan to adopt, or were adopted from another culture, particularly China.  While the book deals with the adoption of a Chinese girl, it serves to remind us that those who put a child up for adoption have their reasons and while we may believe we could never do the same, we do not know their individual circumstances.  It also serves to remind us that although we are all human, knowing about our cultural heritage is important and should not be ignored, even if we never end up experiencing any of it first hand.

About the author
Patti Lacy graduated from Baylor University with a BS in education and completed master's-level courses in English at Indiana State University . She taught at Heartland Community College until May 2006, when she resigned to pursue her passion of writing. The author of three previous novels, Patti is the mother of two grown children and lives with her husband in Normal , Illinois .
For more about Patti and her other books, visit her website at

About the giveaway

  Win a KindleTouch from Patti Lacy!
Patti Lacy is celebrating the release of her latest book, Reclaiming Lily,  with a KindleTouch Giveaway, blog tour and FB Book Chat Party!

Follow the blog tour and read the reviews!

Patti and her publisher, Bethany House, are giving away a Reclaiming Lily prize package worth over $150 to one lucky winner!!!!

Enter the Reclaiming Lily Giveaway and you could win:
  • A brand new just released KindleTouch with Wi-Fi
  • $25 gift cetificate to
But, wait there’s more!

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. Giveaway ends on 10/19! Patti will be announcing the winner of the Reclaiming Lily Giveaway at her Party on Facebook October 20th! She’ll be hosting a book club chat of Reclaiming Lily (it's okay if you haven't read it - you could win a copy!) and giving away other fun prizes! (signed copies of her books and gift certificates to, Starbucks, & iTunes!). Don’t miss the fun at Patti’s FB Author Page on 10/20/11 at 5pm PST ( 6 pm MST, 7 pm CST, & 8 pm EST)! RSVP today!
Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group and the author for providing me with a copy of this book for review purposes.  My opinion is my own and was not influenced by anyone else.

Book Review and Giveaway Info: Along Wooded Paths

About the book
All she wanted was a simple Amish life . . . But now Marianna Sommer finds herself depending on Englisch neighbors. Although proud of living apart from the world, she and her newly relocated Amish family have discovered that life in the remote mountains of Montana requires working together.
As Marianna begins helping those different from herself—and receiving their help—her heart contemplates two directions. She’s torn between the Amish man from Indiana whom she has long planned on marrying and the friendly Englischer who models a closer walk with God than she’s ever seen before.
Who should have young Marianna’s heart? What is God asking her to sacrifice? Her traditions? Her community? The answer is found along the wooded paths.
Read my review of  book 1, Beside Still Waters, here:

My thoughts

When I wrote my review of Beside Still Waters, I stated that I hoped there would be a sequel because there were several loose ends.  I was not disappointed with this sequel.  All of the loose ends of the first book were tied up, well mostly, but there are new loose ends that have my interest piqued for the next installment.  Marianna is still on her spiritual journey, but has most of it figured out.  Her dilemma in this book is deciding which man to choose.  It was kind of like the Amish Bachelorette when she gets to the final two.  She is truly torn between Ben and Aaron and they both have their own pluses and minuses.  In the end she makes a decision, but I am not certain that she is certain about it.  I found it difficult to put the book down and I am eagerly awaiting the next sequel.  However, I need to state that while this is part of a series, you can read this book without having read the first one.  There is enough back story given through the book to update a new reader, but I still recommend reading the first book because together they are even better.  You can see what others are saying about the book here:

About the author

Tricia Goyer is the author of thirty books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock , Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.
For more about Tricia and her other books

About the giveaway
Come to a Facebook Party and Live Author Chat! 
Tricia is celebrating the release of Along Wooded Paths with a Fabulous Facebook party on October 18th. She'll be giving away prizes and a sneak peak at the next book in the Big Sky series.
Then during the second half of the party she'll be hosting a LIVE AUTHOR CHAT on her website and announcing something BIG! CLICK the button (below) to RSVP for the party - then go here to sign up for the Live Author Chat.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group and the author for providing me with a copy of this book for review purposes.  My opinion is my own and was not influenced by anyone else.