Monday, December 27, 2010

Tour of Duty

In April of 2007, my husband came home with news I never expected as an Army National Guard wife; He was deploying. Pregnant at the time, I was in disbelief up to the very moment he left. Military wives all over the world go through this scenario on a daily basis, maybe not in the exact same circumstances, but definitely with the same end result, deployment. Sara Horn, a military wife herself, is one of those wives. Out of her own experiences with deployment, and the lessons she learned, she has created a Bible Study. Tour of Duty: Preparing Our Hearts For Deployment is her new book designed to help military wives who face this challenge.

Tour of Duty is a Bible study for a group or just an individual seeking help going through a deployment. In Tour of Duty, Sara doesn’t just offer up empty advice, but sends the reader straight to the source of all help, God. With chapter titles including “The Road Less Traveled,” “Walking on the Water,” “Facing the Giants”and“This Is Your Time,” Sara takes the reader on a journey with God from preparation for deployment to reintegration as a family. Using Biblical examples, Sara encourages military wives to trust God, grow in their faith, and rely on God as the source of all strength and to meet all daily needs and/or challenges while you travel through the journey of deployment. My favorite chapter was “Facing the Giants” because it covers so many things I struggled with when I went through my husband’s deployment.

Each individual chapter of Tour of Duty contains a variety of activities to engage the military wife in her own journey with God through the deployment. Portions of each chapter includes “Tips For Military Spouses,” and “Help For The Heartstrings,” both tidbits of natural advice to aid you and your soldier during the time of separation. There is a section called “From the Homefront” where Sara shares some of her experiences during her own time of separation from her husband. Most importantly in each chapter are scriptures, scriptures to eidify the military wife and stories from scripture that demonstrate God’s faithfulness when we place our faith in Him.

In the form of extra helps this seven-week Bible study also includes a leader's guide and a listing of the spiritual and emotional stages of deployment. The leader's guide is composed of eight sessions, the first being a get-to-know-you introductory session. Lesson preparation and questions are also provided as part of the leader's guide. The listing of the spiritual and emotional stages of deployment gives the wife both spiritual and natural support in the stages of deployment from “Anticipation of Departure” to “Reintegration and Stabilization.”

I highly recommend this book to all military wives, in any stage of military life. Deployments are always a possibility and it is an excellent resource with which to prepare you. The Bible study can also be used as a tool to equip you to reach out to other military wives. If you have a desire to be used by God to minister to others this Bible study will give you insight into the heart of a wife going through deployment. As I read the book, I was so blessed by the insight Sara has into the life of the military wife. Not only has she experienced a deployment herself, but as you read you become sensitive to the fact that she is compassionate toward all military wives and has done her research.

Tour of Duty by Sara Horn is a book beneficial for a military wife serving alongside her husband at any stage from a brand new military wife to one whose husband might be nearing retirement to those going through deployment to those who are in a time of stabilization. In just being a military wife you can glean knowledge and encouragement in your walk with God through this Bible Study. I connected with this book because I am a military wife and this is my life. God has a plan for me as a military wife. One word of advice I would like to offer is to read it slowly, so as to absorb the Godly wisdom and encouragement Sara has to offer. “Now thanks be unto God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”-1 Corinthians 15:57 Many Blessings!

You can purchase this book at Lifeway Christian Stores or

*To enter to win a free autographed copy of Tour of Duty, please comment below. One winner will be drawn at random on January 1st, 2011.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the prize copy free of charge from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: Precious Moments Storybook Bible

Precious Moments Storybook Bible
(Stories retold from the International Children’s Bible)

I am always on the lookout for ways to help me in my endeavors to teach my children the Word of God. The Precious Moments Storybook Bible is going to be a tool in my toolbox to do just that. Published by Thomas Nelson, the Precious Moments Storybook Bible stays true to the Word of God, while communicating those truths through the soft Precious Moments illustrations and text appropriate for little children.

This children’s Bible is composed of many favorite childhood Bible stories including “Noah and the Ark,” “David and Goliath,” as well as many stories of Jesus from the New Testament including the birth of Jesus and his visit with Nicodemus, a very important passage of scripture to Christians.

The Bible has a few extras as well. In the early pages are places to record the child’s name and special events. The following pages include Old and New Testament Stories. One note about the Bible stories is that they are not arranged in the same order as an adult Bible. There are “Classic Bible Stories,” followed by “Words of Praise and Wisdom,” and then “More Stories of the Faith.” The Bible ends with well-known “Songs and Prayers” of childhood.

At first, I was not extremely excited about this particular children’s Bible. I am not a big fan of the Precious Moments illustrations. But as I read the stories and looked through the pages, it grew on me so much. The language in this Bible is written in such a way to communicate the truths of God’s Word to a child but presents the Word of God in an accurate way, just as it was written for any believer. The illustrations are soft and round, very sweet and pleasing to the eye. I especially like the illustration of Jesus on page 57. I recommend the Precious Moments Storybook Bible to anyone with small children. It will definitely be a tool used in our house to teach our children the life-bringing truth of God’s Word.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I review for BookSneeze

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Twelve Blessings of Christmas

The Twelve Blessings of Christmas, written by author T.J. Mills, is a book designed to most assuredly increase the Christmas festivities in your home. Published by J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, this cute little book is full of activities sure to fill your home with Christmas celebration throughout the month of December.

Dividing the book into twelve sections of “Blessings,” author T.J. Mills has filled the pages with recipes, activities, anecdotal stories, lyrics from Christmas Carols, and scripture. Blessings include the blessings of “Warmth,” “Music,” and “Love” just to name a few. There are activities you can develop into lessons for your children like making Pomander or Spice Dough ornaments. Recipes include Friendship Tea, Homemade Rolls, and Gingerbread Men which are sure to make your child smile. The most important story, the account of the birth of Christ is included in the pages along with several scriptures all pointing to a life of love and peace in God.

I really like this book. There are so many things in this book you can do with your children to create memories. Some of my favorites include the list of children’s Christmas books you can read with your child, the recipes for Sand Art Brownies, and a Brisket recipe to cook as part of an “Old Fashioned Dinner.” The author has even included some ways you can serve the people in your community and get involved in a very important aspect of Christmas, which is the act of giving.

On a personal note, I received this book from a student while I was doing my student teaching and pregnant with my first child. It is very special to me because it always makes me think of that time in my life. I recommend this book to anyone who would like to give a Christmas book as a gift to someone special this Christmas. If you want to create memories with your family, and would like to have lots of information you can refer to year after year, then this book is a good choice. If you are a homeschooling mom, then this book would be a good resource for you as well.

The Twelve Blessings of Christmas is a beautiful book with lovely illustrations that will be a treasure on your shelf and that you can refer to for many years to come.

The Twelve Blessings of Christmas can be purchased at,,, and

Sunday, November 28, 2010

God Gave Us Christmas

God Gave Us Christmas

God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren is a vivid and colorful picture book to be enjoyed by children of all ages. Set in the Arctic Tundra, God Gave Us Christmas is a story of a young polar bear cub and her mother. The story begins when the Little Cub asks her mama, “Who vented Christmas?” Together they go on an adventure as the mama bear shows her daughter how God Gave Us Christmas.

There are so many aspects of the story that are relevant to the mother-child relationship. One aspect has to do with the parent as a teacher. Every young child at some point has asked one or both of their parents a question of some importance. This book demonstrates a parent as teacher when the Mama Bear takes Little Cub on an adventure to answer her question.

Another relevant aspect of the mother-child relationship addressed in the book is very subtle, and that is the desire in every child’s heart to be special. At the beginning of the story before the adventure begins, Little Cub asks her mama, “Can we leave them at home?” in reference to her siblings. Every child wants that special one on one time to spend with either mommy or daddy and that is something children and parents can connect to in the story.

I liked this story for so many reasons. One reason is that it is a book that should be read while cuddling your child /children close. God Gave Us Christmas has a warm and cozy feel, which makes for a wonderful time of snuggling up and creating memories as you read. Another reason I like the book is because of the element of science in the book. The book is set in the Artic Tundra and the author uses the wonder of the Northern Lights for Mama bear to teach Little Cub at one point during the story. But my favorite part about the book is how it is a tool to teach your children about the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus. The author weaves this into her story so beautifully and while the Mama Bear is teaching her cub, she is teaching you and your child as well.

God Gave Us Christmas is a wonderful story with beautiful illustrations to make the story come alive. Each page contains just the right amount of words to keep the reader engaged as well as beautiful illustrations that perfectly match the text. I highly recommend this book to any parent with small children, no matter how young. Read it to your infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary aged children. God Gave Us Christmas is a fantastic story that can be read at Christmas, put away, and brought out at Christmastime every year.

You can purchase this book at,, and

Other children's titles by Lisa Tawn Bergren include God Gave Us You and God Gave Us Two. For more information on the author, go to

Friday, November 26, 2010

God Strong-A Military Wife's Spirtual Survival Guide

Upon gazing upon the title, God Strong by author Sara Horn, you are immediately aware of what the book is about. God Strong, The Military Wife’s Spiritual Survival Guide is a work of nonfiction designed to encourage military wives of all branches in their walk with God, especially during a time of deployment.

Sara, a military wife herself, wrote this book after separation from her husband, a Navy reservist, due to a deployment. God Strong is heartfelt work of encouragement as Sara shares her personal struggle going from “I” can do this deployment all by myself to leaning on God, and His strength.

Arranged in chapters God Strong deals with issues every military wife faces during times of deployment and times of everyday military life. Chapter titles include, “Fear Blocks My Focus,” and “I Am Not Alone.” Topics Sara addresses in her book are faith, fear, loneliness, grace, hurt, worry, and worship. Each chapter ends with “Strength Builders”, scriptures aligned with subject matter of the chapter, as well as “Strength Trainers”, questions designed to assess where the military wife is at in her walk with God.

The book is very insightful into the life of the military wife. As a military wife, Sara is very much in touch with the challenges all military wives face. I enjoyed reading the book because I could relate to the things she says because I am an Army wife. I connected with many of her stories and struggles on a personal level because I have had some of the same experiences. I recommend this book to any military wife who wants to deepen her walk with God and begin to focus on Him more as her source for strength and less on herself. If you have been relying on yourself, thinking I can do it all without anybody’s help, and failing miserably, get this book. It will help you grown in your walk with God and encourage you on the journey of military life.

Many thanks to Sara for writing God Strong, A Military Wife’s Spiritual Survival Guide. I appreciate her willingness to share her private journey in order to encourage military wives everywhere to find their strength in God.

For more information on the author go to Also be sure to check out the website, Wives of Faith. Sara Horn is the founder of Wives of Faith, a Christian organization for military wives by military wives. You can order God Strong-A Military Wife's Spiritual Survival Guide at