I Love You More ~ 5 Simple Ways To Show It {Giveaway}

by Fitzysmom

We have a silly little game that we play around here called ‘I Love You More’. It started innocently enough with me telling my grandboy that I loved him. He answered back with, “No, I love you!” Of course my response was, “I love you more!” His response was, “No, I love you more!” After a few more rounds of those words we then added, “I love you more than ice cream.” Or whatever other ridiculous thing we could think up. This little back and forth goes on and on with total abandon until we are both lost in a fit of giggles.

Love is such a gift that we can give our kiddos. It provides security to them in the darkest of days. It really doesn’t take much time, money or effort to instill this valuable resource in our children. Over on the Tommy Nelson blog this month we have an article entitled, 5 Ways To Show Your Kids Love Today. The points of that article are as follows:

1. Use Your Words. Open up your mouth and simply tell your child that they are loved. Let them know that they are loved simply because they are your child. Stick a note in their lunch box. Put a post-it on their mirror. If they are older and driving, put a note in their car or just send them a text. There is nothing more heartbreaking than hearing an adult say that they never heard their parent tell them they loved them. Don’t be that parent. Say it to them over and over until it is so ingrained that as teenagers they roll their eyes and say, “I know, I know, you love me.” Trust me, deep down they crave it.

2. Do Something For Them. We all have dreaded chores that must be done. Whatever that task may be for your child go help them do it, just because. It is perfect because they are held captive with the duty so you can use that time to communicate to them that they are valued and loved. Even if it is just joining them in making their bed and picking up their room, you are still showing them that you desire to be in their presence and that what they are doing matters.

3. Give Them Something. Gifts don’t have to be expensive or big. What if you picked up a cute new pair of earrings for your daughter while you were buying groceries at the supercenter? For my boys an inexpensive pocket sized car will light up their faces. Just knowing that your parent thought of you while they were away conveys a sense of love and security.

4. Do Something With Them. Spending one on one time with each of your kids is priceless. For little ones, an ice cream cone at McDonald’s is magical. As they get older try a weeknight dinner and movie or maybe a window shopping trip to the mall. Just having your undivided attention lets your child know that you love them and are willing to set aside time just for them.

5. Give Them A Hug. This isn’t so hard when they are little, although I did have one that just was not a cuddler but I still pulled him in my lap and held him and told him he was loved. Physically hugging your teenager is just as important as hugging your toddler. If they are typical they will shrink away from it, but don’t let that stop you! A good backrub or back scratch, a squeeze of the hand, a ruffle of the hair, it all goes a long way in conveying your love and affection towards your child.

While it is important that our kids grow up knowing we love them, knowing that God loves them is even more important. In fact our love for them only matters during their physical lifetime, but the love of God has an eternal impact.

One of the biggest blessings in life is introducing your child to the Father. It is such an important duty of ours as parents that the Bible says in Deuteronomy 11:18-19,
“Impress these words of Mine on your hearts and souls, . . . Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Are you doing that? We encourage you today to in some way not only tell your children that you love them but that the Father loves them. Love is a powerful thing . . . pass it on!

We’ve come across an adorable little bedtime prayer book from Tommy Nelson that was written by Amanda Lamb. It is called I Love You To God And Back. We loved this sweet little book so much that we want to give a copy of it to one of our readers. Our prayer is that it will be a blessing to you as you teach your children that not only do you love them, but God loves them.

The Giveaway

We have partnered with Tommy Nelson to offer one of our readers a copy of I Love You To God And Back. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and will run through midnight on Friday, November 7, 2014. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. The winner will be contacted by email and will have forty-eight hours to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be drawn. The winners’ entries will be verified. Please enter the contest using the Rafflecopter form below. All entries are optional.

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Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty ~ Taste the Goodness of God in All Things {Book Review}

Sara Hagerty
Christian Life


Sara Hagerty found Him when life stopped working for her. She found Him when she was a young adult mired in spiritual busyness and when she was a newlywed bride with doubts about whether her fledgling marriage would survive. she found Him alone in the night as she cradled her longing for babies who did not come. She found Him as she kissed the faces of children on another continent who had lived years without a mommy's touch.

In Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet, Hagerty weaves fabric from the narrative of her life into the mosaic of a Creator who mends broken stories. Here you will see a God who is present in every changing circumstance. Most significantly, you see a God who is present in every unchanging circumstance as well.

Whatever lost expectations you are facing--in family, career, singleness, or marriage--Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet will bring you closer to a God who longs for you to know Him more.

Going beyond the narrative to offer timeless insight, Hagerty brings you back to hope, back to healing, back to a place that God is holding for you alone--a place where the unseen is more real than what the eye can perceive. A place where every bitter thing is sweet.

My Thoughts

After reading the first chapter of this book I was hesitant to continue. Not that it wasn't good, in fact it was very well written and quite touching. It just didn't seem to pertain to my life. In that first chapter Sara opens up with her heart-wrenching story of infertility. As a woman I feel sorrow for her plight, but I've never struggled with that area so I almost gave the book a pass.

Yes this book is about Sara's battle with infertility, but it contains so much more. If you've ever had an unmet expectation you'll be able to relate to this book. If you've ever had a dream that you found dashed you'll relate to this book. This book is really about being a woman in this fallen world. We all have hopes and dreams and ambitions that sometimes materialize but often don't.

We've all tasted the bitterness of rejection. Whether it is from a friend or foe it doesn't seem to matter, it all tastes awful! But what if you could find a way to turn that bitter taste into something deliciously sweet? Sara takes you on a journey through her life experiences that shows you the secret of doing just that. The key to it all is to find a longing so desperate of God's desire that even the bitterest of circumstances seem sweet because God Himself is in it.

After reading the whole thing I now know why so many people are recommending it. It is a beautiful story of the redemption of God in a seemingly ruined life. I think you'll come away from it uplifted and encouraged.

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Fall Harvest Celebration With Tommy Nelson {Giveaway}

As we head into the last weeks of October there is a crispness about the air and a beautiful multi-colored tapestry is unfolding in the trees around the Ozarks. Our drinks have turned to hot apple cider and pumpkin spice coffee. There are corn mazes to navigate and pumpkins to be picked. Fall is here in full force and Fall Harvest Festivals are everywhere!

One of our favorite things to do this time of year is cuddle up with our little ones and read some great books that celebrate the season. We'd like to invite you to do the same! Tommy Nelson has some fabulous children's books on sale right now that highlight every wonderful aspect of the fall harvest season. If you are looking to add to your collection head on over to the FaithGateway Online Store and check out their specially priced books.  

Another one of our favorite things to do around here is share with you our friends and readers. So, in honor of the season we're going to have our own online Fall Harvest Celebration by doing a giveaway with Tommy Nelson. We've put together three of our absolute favorite fall harvest children's books that we are going to give to one of our readers. Here's a little bit about each one of them:

The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs is an all-time favorite of ours. It is of course told in parable form and illustrates how a loving farmer can turn a simple pumpkin into a simply glorious sight. In the same way, God's transforming love can fill each of our hearts with joy and light. Liz Curtis Higgs created this parable as a way to share the Good News with her own precious children each harvest season . . . and now with children everywhere.

A Pumpkin Prayer by Amy Parker and beautifully illustrated by Kirsten Richards is a sturdy board book perfect for chubby little hands! Little ones will delight in the wonders of this special time of year and learn to be thankful to God for His blessings. Colorful pumpkins, crunching leaves, crisp breezes—celebrate the abundance of the harvest season through charming illustrations and sweet rhymes that are perfect for young hearts.

Good Night, Little Pumpkin is adorably illustrated by Claire Keay. Sleepy little Milo, in his oversized pumpkin costume, is making the rounds at the harvest party with his friends. It’s time to go home, but he wants to enjoy every game at the fall fair before the night is over! Crunching leaves, crisp breezes, mountains of sweets—celebrate the abundance of the harvest season through this bedtime book for children. Charming illustrations and a sweet story are perfect for young hearts. It is a great alternative to scary books, this fun harvest-themed book is sure to be a perennial favorite.

The Giveaway

We have partnered with Tommy Nelson to offer one of our readers a copy of The Pumpkin Patch Parable, A Pumpkin Prayer, and Good Night, Little Pumpkin. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and will run through midnight on Friday, October 24, 2014. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. The winner will be contacted by email and will have forty-eight hours to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be drawn. The winners’ entries will be verified. Please enter the contest using the Rafflecopter form below. All entries are optional.

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All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant ~ Contemporary Romance Review & Giveaway

Contemporary Romance

Kat inspected rows of the same old cupcakes. 
They seemed to blink back at her, as if they knew 
she was capable of so much more.

Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie’s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.

But when Lucas Brannen, Kat’s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself—her—is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat’s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

My Thoughts

Kat Varland is a small town girl with big city dreams. She loves her Aunt Maggie and doesn't mind working for her at Sweetie Pies, but her desire to branch out is strong. Her family doesn't seem to understand this and tends to stifle her at every turn.

The one person in her life that encourages her love of all things cupcake is Lucas Brannen. Kat and Lucas have been good friends forever. But recently they both are beginning to want just a little bit more. How in the world are they going to communicate that without risking what they currently have? Without Kat's knowledge Lucas enters her in a reality TV show called Cupcake Wars. Surely that will communicate to Kat how much Lucas loves her. But making it to the final episode is anything but sweet.

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes is an endearing tale of friendship turning to love. Both Kat and Lucas want a deeper relationship but are too scared to risk letting the other know. It is a story of sacrificially giving of yourself in order to better the lives of those you love. The story is at times funny and also heartbreaking. 

I enjoyed an afternoon of reading this lighthearted story of love and friendship. It includes a delicious recipe for Kat's specialty cupcake and a Reading Group Guide. If you are involved in a book club and looking for something on the lighter side this would be perfect.

The Giveaway

We have partnered with Family Christian Stores to offer one of our readers a copy of All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and will run through midnight on Saturday, November 1, 2014. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. The winner will be contacted by email and will have forty-eight hours to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be drawn. The winners’ entries will be verified. Please enter the contest using the Rafflecopter form below. All entries are optional.

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Promise to Cherish by Elizabeth Byler Younts ~ Historical Amish Fiction Review

Promise of Sunrise Series, Book 2
Elizabeth Byler Younts
Historical Amish Fiction

It's 1945, and Christine Freeman is a nurse at Hudson River State Hospital, where she works alongside members of a Civilian Public Service unit. Eli is one of the conscies--conscientious objectors to the war--and he is doing his best to become a man of character instead of the immature heart-breaker he used to be back home in his Amish community.

Christine and Eli are friendly, but when an old acquaintance, jack, returns home from the war, Christine's world is violently turned upside down. Eli, heartbroken  to see his friend so hurt, offers her an escape within his Amish community. Despite her misgivings, Christine is fully embraced by Eli's community. She slowly begins to feel valued and loved as she learns the Amish way of life.

Christine finds herself falling for Eli. But soon, the abusive Jack discovers Christine in her Amish hideaway and starts causing trouble for the quiet community. Christine can't see herself becoming Amish, and she knows that if Eli leaves the church to be with her, he will be shunned. Will she escape Jack and possibly have to give up the one thing she holds most dear, or will she follow her heart and promise to cherish the Amish man who loves her?

My Thoughts

I enjoy reading Amish fiction. I really enjoy reading Amish fiction that is unique in presenting an aspect of that lifestyle that I am unfamiliar with. 

Elizabeth Byler Younts first introduced me to what was happening in Amish settlements during World War II in Promise to Return, the first book in the Promise of Sunrise series. I knew that the Amish were conscientious objectors but had no idea about the Civilian Public Service. 

While that first book introduced the Civilian Public Service, Promise to Cherish  takes us inside one of those camps. Through the story of Eli we are allowed to see what it was like to be drafted and then sent to a CPS settlement. It would seem that no one was thrilled to have him there. His fellow Amish (especially his family) are irritated that he is leaving his responsibilities as first-born behind to spend such a long time away from home. The local community where the CPS camp is located resent the conscientious objectors and look at them as cowards. The only place where he finds a small amount of welcome is the Hudson River State Hospital.

At first Eli would rather be anywhere but at the hospital. It is understaffed and lacks some of the basic necessities for its patients. Most of the patients are mentally ill and are left at the hospital by their families. The irony is that in this most dire of places, Eli begins to see his life differently.

While serving at the hospital Eli meets Christine who is a nurse on the ward where he is assigned to work. She has lost two brothers in the war and is rather cold towards Eli. But as often happens in life, the very person she dislikes is the one that winds up being her salvation.

This story has great depth and delves into several subjects that are somewhat uncommon in Amish fiction. There is a date rape that results in an unexpected pregnancy. I found it refreshing to read what felt like true reactions from the Amish community to this situation. There was true conflict and strife but in the end there was also a great amount of faith and trust in God's divine plan.

If you enjoy Historical Fiction, especially surrounding the WWII time-frame, I think you will be intrigued with this fascinating look at a very pivotal time in our country's history. 

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