Thursday, March 31, 2011

Living with Financial Freedom by Matt Bell

Money and Marriage: 
Living With Financial Freedom
By Matt Bell

For many couples, money is a tough topic. But there’s one financial issue that, like no other, causes financial discomfort among couples and raises the chances for financial fights: debt.

Take Off the Shackles

The Bible says, “The borrower is servant to the lender.” Living as a servant to a lender isn’t wise for any of us, but it’s especially problematic in marriage.

Researcher Jeffrey Dew at Utah State University has found that not only does consumer debt (credit card debt and other installment loans) fuel a sense of financial unease among couples and increase the likelihood that they will argue about money, but “this financial unease casts a pall over marriages in general, raising the likelihood that couples will argue over issues other than money and decreasing the time they spend with one another.”

Dew’s research shows that newlyweds that take on substantial consumer debt become less happy in their marriages over time. On the other hand, newly married couples that pay off their consumer debt within their first five years of marriage are more satisfied with their marriage. Those findings held up no matter whether couples were rich or poor.

Whose Debt Is It?

How couples approach their debt is important as well.

When Scott and Karen got married, Karen brought $50,000 of non-mortgage debt into the marriage. Scott jokingly referred to it as a reverse dowry.

One of the things I love about their story is that from the earliest days of their marriage, whenever Karen would talk about “my” debt, Scott would correct her by saying is was “our” debt. Now there’s a guy who is committed to financial oneness.

One other notable part of their story is that their faith-based convictions motivated them to give away 10 percent of their income throughout their journey of getting out of debt. Karen remembered seeing their year-end giving statement, and thinking, ‘Gee, we could have gotten out of debt so much faster if we had put that money toward our debts.” And she remembers hearing other people’s stories of unexpected blessings they felt came about because of their giving. “I started wondering where’s my cool story?” she said.

Six-and-a-half years after getting married, Scott and Karen made their last debt payment. It was a day neither one of them will ever forget. “It was amazing,” Karen says. “We felt like it was a hard road we had traveled, but we did it, and we did it in a God-honoring way. We are 100 percent debt-free.”

Scott will soon be able to retire with a full pension at a much younger age than most people, having put in over twenty years as a Chicago firefighter. They’re thinking about getting an RV and spending a year traveling the country.

Sounds pretty cool to me.

Be Done With Debt ASAP

If you are engaged or newly married, make it one of your highest financial priorities to get out of debt and then live the rest of your lives with no debt other than a reasonable mortgage (One that requires no more than 25% of monthly household gross income to pay for the combination of your mortgage, taxes, and insurance).

Put together a spending plan that enables you to maximize debt repayment. You may find it helpful to use the recommended spending plans found in the “Money, Purpose, Joy,” workbook, which contains detailed plans for four different size households across nine different annual incomes.

Very often, when couples get married they get excited about all that they’ll be able to afford with two incomes. But I encourage all newly married couples to base their lifestyle mostly on one income. It’s the single most helpful step you can take to prepare for children since it makes it much easier for one spouse to choose to step out of the paid workforce if that’s their desire.

If you have debt, it’s especially important to live mostly on one income so you can use the other income to get out of debt. Doing so will make all the difference in helping you build a solid financial foundation and live with financial freedom.

Matt Bell is the author of three personal finance books published by NavPress, including his latest: “Money & Marriage: A Complete Guide for Engaged and Newly Married Couples.” Matt leads workshops throughout the country and blogs at

  Read this book tour and my review here.

A copy of this book was provided for this review by... Litfuse
Join the Flock! LitFuse Publicity Group blogger


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

False Pretenses by Kathy Herman

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
False Pretenses
David C. Cook (March 1, 2011)
Kathy Herman


Suspense novelist Kathy Herman is very much at home in the Christian book industry, having worked five years on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and eleven years at Better Books Christian Center in Tyler, Texas, as product buyer/manager for the children’s department, and eventually as director of human resources.

She has conducted numerous educational seminars on children’s books at CBA Conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served a preliminary judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association , and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market.

Since her first novel, Tested by Fire, debuted in 2001 as a CBA national bestseller, she's added sixteen more titles to her credit, including four bestsellers: All Things Hidden, The Real Enemy, The Last Word, and The Right Call.

Kathy's husband Paul is her manager and most ardent supporter, and the former manager of the LifeWay Christian Store in Tyler, Texas. They have three grown children, five almost-perfect grandchildren, a cat named Samantha. They enjoy cruising, deep sea fishing, and birdwatching—sometimes incorporating these hobbies into one big adventure.


Zoe Broussard loves the life she and her husband Pierce have built in her beloved Louisiana hometown. She owns a thriving Cajun eatery in South Louisiana and is married to the love of her life.

But it’s about to become hell. One day, out of the blue, she receives a series of anonymous notes that sends her life into a tail spin. Five simple words, “I know what you did.” Zoe has a secret so terrible it could leave the business in shambles and tear her marriage apart. Unbeknownst to anyone, even Zoe’s husband, Pierce, she has a past—a past she had covered so well she never thought she would have to confront. How could anyone know what she did? Can she find the courage to face her past?

If you would like to read the first chapter of False Pretenses, go HERE.


Whatcha Reading ~ Taking Charge of Parkinson's Disease

This is how "Whatcha Reading Wednesdays" works this week...

Go to page 1 type in the first sentence. If it is a spoiler at all be sure to put **Spoiler Alert** at the top of your comment (like if the selection announces the death of an integral character or something).

Link up over at Busy Moms Who Love to Read

Before Parkinson's disease (PD), Mike and I were "the Artist and the Chef."  We are still the Artist and the Chef, but we have adapted our skills to current conditions and emerging science.  


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lazarus Awakening by Joanna Weaver

Getting God’s Love from Our Heads to Our Hearts

You believe that God loves the world…but sometimes you wonder if He truly loves you.

For many of us, moving the truth of God’s love from our heads to our hearts is a lifelong process. As we consider our inadequacies or grieve our shattered dreams, we find it difficult to believe that God cares for us personally.

In this life-giving book, Joanna Weaver shows you how to embrace the truth that Jesus loves you apart from anything you accomplish, apart from anything you bring. Just as He called Lazarus forth to new life, Jesus wants to free you to live fully in the light of His love, unbound from the graveclothes of fear, regret, and self-condemnation.

Love is calling your name.

Combining unforgettable real-life illustrations with unexpected biblical insights, Joanna Weaver invites you to experience a spiritual resurrection that will forever change your understanding of what it means to be the one Jesus loves. Bible study and Leader’s Guide available here

In her book Lazarus Awakening, Joanna Weaver, stresses them importance of awakening the reader out of their oh, hum sleep in Christ to a resurrected transformation of surrender.  She calls for the reader to remover their grave clothes and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in your life.  She explains in a way like I've never heard it explained before that we are slaves to only what we choose to be slaves to.  We should look for opportunities to be that good neighbor and not let geography hinder our work.

This study is designed to be a 10 week study; however, it could be done in 8 weeks.  There are many helpful resources in the appendix section of this book.  This study can be done as a group or individually. 

Joanna Weaver is known the world over for her transparent and life-changing books, Having A Mary Heart in a Martha World and Having a Mary Spirit. These two books have sold over a million copies and have been translated into several languages including Spanish, French, Dutch, Chinese, German, Korean and more. Joanna has appeared on a wide variety of nationally syndicated radio and television broadcasts. Past appearances include: The Harvest Show, At Home Live With Chuck & Jenni, Midday Connection, HomeWord, and Janet Parschall’s America. She is also a highly sought after speaker and shares her message at intimate gatherings and several high profile events each year. But Joanna's greatest joy is found in being a wife and mother and her role as a pastor’s wife. For more information about Joanna, please visit her website.

Joanna is celebrating the release of Lazarus Awakening with the Heart of God KINDLE Giveaway!

In Lazarus Awakening Joanna writes about getting God’s love from our heads to our hearts. We all know Jesus loved Mary – look how she worshiped. And we can understand why He loved Martha – after all, look how she served. But what about those of us who don’t know where we fit in the heart of God? Lazarus Awakening explores the tale of the third follower – Mary and Martha’s brother, Lazarus. We never hear him speak, we never see him serve. The only thing of any significance that Lazarus did was to die. And yet, the Bible is clear. Jesus loved Lazarus. And He loves you and me as well. Lazarus Awakening looks at different aspects of the story we find in John 11. We learn what it means to be a friend of God and begin recognizing the tombs we spend far too much time in. Find out more here.

 One grand prize winner will receive:

    * A Brand New KINDLE with Wi-Fi
    * Having A Mary Heart in a Martha World
    * Having A Mary Spirit
    * Lazarus Awakening

Joanna will also select two additional contest entrants to receive copies of her trilogy. Enter soon by clicking the icons below and then tell your friends. Hurry the contest ends April 16th. The winner will be announced on Joanna's blog on April 18th.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Blog tour schedule
Link to buy the book

A copy of this book was provided for this review by...
Join the Flock! LitFuse Publicity Group blogger


Teaser Tuesday ~ Taking Charge of Parkinson's Disease

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme,  hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along, so I thought I would play for un! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers

Living with Parkinson's Disease (PD) is simultaneously gratifying and frustrating, rewarding and challenging.

~taken from p.3 of  Take Charge of Parkinson's Disease by Anne Cutter Mikkelsen


Monday, March 28, 2011

Thank You, God, for Mommy by Amy Parker; Illustrated by Frank Endersby

This is a very cute picture book.  Panda is thanking God for his mommy and all she does for him/her.  I think any child ages 2-7 would love this rhyming book reminding him/her of the perfect pair that they are along with mom and also reminding them of the good things that mommies do for them.  The pictures are bright and colorful on this hard cardboard type book.  Very durable for little ones to use.  Just in time for Mother's Day.  The message is very clear and presented right on the child's level.  Panda thanks God for Mommy can't get much clearer and spiritual than that.  I love this book and yes, I will tell others about it.  This copy will go in the church nursery.       

Book Description

Mommies do so much for us! It’s time to thank God for the blessing they are.

In this adorable board book, a little panda thanks God for his wonderful mommy—a mommy who gives hugs and cuddles, who takes great care of him, and most importantly, who offers love and guidance for her precious panda cub.

Thank You, God, for Mommy, And lullabies so sweet— The beating of her great, big heart Sings me right to sleep.

The love and sacrifices of mothers everywhere will be celebrated by mother and child as they snuggle up together and say Thank You, God, for Mommy.

For more information about this book click here.

A copy of this book was provided for this review by Thomas Nelson
I review for BookSneeze®


Mailbox Monday ~ Mar. 28, 2011

Join Mailbox Monday meme
@ The Printed Page

Adult Fiction & Non fiction books

Children's Books

See my other Scraps of Life blog for other non book items my mailbox had for me this past week.  Click here


Friday, March 25, 2011

The MS Project by Dr. Laina Turner-Molaski, PhD

Each chapter in this book is someone who has been diagnosed with MS and their story.  In reading I found that all these people had not only MS in common, but also time and time again they refereed to it's all in the attitude.  One person said, MS may have control of my body, but not my attitude.  Each person has their own story and how they are dealing with MS in their life.  It gave me a better understanding of what my friend, who has MS, goes through each day. While Dr. Laina Turner-Molaski did not write these stories each individual person wrote them, I must stay true to the curse word warning I have for each book I read and review.  There are a few writers that chose to use words that I consider curse words, (see post here) so be warned. It wasn't alot out of about 25 authors only a handful did use words I consider curse words.  This book did help raise an awareness of MS in me and learning a little more about the disease.  I loved the subtitle MS: Orange the new Pink. 
 Read DR. Laina's Finding Your Passion guest post here.  

The book is a compilation of stories by people who have MS or by people who have loved ones with MS. The purpose is to provide motivation and inspiration through sharing these stories and hopefully interest more people in learning more about the cause.

Dr. Laina Turner-Molaski is a Faculty Chair with Capella University. She is also an author of both fiction and non-fiction and is a business consultant.

Laina’s mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 1985. After her passing in 2000 Laina became committed to bringing more awareness to the disease.

You can reach Dr. Turner-Molaski through the website The MS Project at

 Read DR. Laina's Finding Your Passion guest post here

A copy of this book was provided for review by Virtual Book tours


Thursday, March 24, 2011

BtT: Series? or Stand-alone????


Series? Or Stand-alone books?

I guess I can go either way.  I read both.  Some series books though they are labeled series are stand-alones as well, because the plot and maybe even the characters are different.  Some just have different plots all together.  They don't pick-up where the last book left off.  Such as ~ Kathi Macias' series Extreme Devotion books are all about different people, places, time line, etc.  Where Josi S. Kilpack's Culinary Mystery series are different mysteries however, Sadie is the main character in each book solving the mystery.  And then you have Beverly Lewis' Seasons of Grace series that you might want to read book 1 before you read 2 or 3.  Which do I prefer?  I don't know I just love books so I read.  I love to read. 


Vicious Cycle by Terri Blackstock

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Vicious Cycle
Zondervan (February 22, 2011)
Terri Blackstock


Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.

Besides entertaining her readers, Terri tackles issues that she hopes will change lives. Her recent book, Predator, was inspired by her experiences on Facebook and Twitter, and her concern that people posted too much personal information about themselves. The book deals with an online predator who uses social networks as his playground. She hopes the book will change readers’ online habits. Her New York Times best-seller, Intervention, was inspired by her own personal struggles with a daughter on drugs. In the book, a mother hires an interventionist for her drug-addicted daughter. But on the way to treatment, the interventionist is murdered, and the daughter disappears. Barbara, the mother, sets out to search for her daughter. Terri modeled Barbara after herself, and poured many of her own emotions and experiences into that character. As a result, many families experiencing drug addiction have written to thank her for telling their story and giving them hope. Vicious Cycle, Book Two of the Intervention Series, releases February 22, 2011. She’s currently working on Book Three.

Other recent books include a stand-alone novel called Double Minds, as well as Last Light, Night Light, True Light and Dawn’s Light (from her acclaimed Restoration Series). She is also known for her popular Newpointe 911 Series and Cape Refuge Series. Terri makes her home in Mississippi, where she and her husband Ken are enjoying their empty nest after raising three children.

Terri has appeared on national television programs such as “The 700 Club” and “Home Life,” and has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.


When fifteen-year-old Lance Covington finds an abandoned baby in the backseat of a car, he knows she's the newborn daughter of a meth addict he's been trying to help. But when police arrest him for kidnapping, Lance is thrust into a criminal world of baby trafficking and drug abuse.

His mother, Barbara, looks for help from Kent Harlan---the man whom she secretly, reluctantly loves and who once helped rescue her daughter from a mess of her own. Kent flies to her aid and begins the impossible work of getting Lance out of trouble, protecting a baby who has no home, and finding help for a teenage mother hiding behind her lies.

In this latest novel of suspense and family loyalty, bestselling author Terri Blackstock offers a harrowing look at drug addiction, human trafficking, and the devastating choices that can change lives forever.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Vicious Cycle, go HERE.

Watch the Book Video:


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Night Knight: Therapeutic Bedtime Stories by Emma K. Piers

 These stories are aimed towards helping children ages 5 – 11 years develop confidant, happy and peaceful self identities, particularly during challenging times. The stories explore four themes common to many children; childhood bereavement, separation, bullying, and childhood anxiety and depression. Written in third party to enable the child to impersonalise themselves from the story content, rich metaphor and imagery is used through out to help the child absorb healing messages that are helpful to them.

The author uses her background experience in counselling, to help children who are struggling with feelings like guilt, shame, depression, and other immobilising and self destructive emotions. During times of change and challenge, it is very easy, and often inevitable, that a child can assume they they’ve done ‘something wrong’ and there’s ‘something wrong ‘with them. The author uses various fantasy characters who undergo various challenges, and are shown by their friends, in ways that children can respond and relate to easily, that they are not the cause of the circumstances. The book has been carefully crafted to help children develop a sense of wholeness, happiness, peace and self confidance. This helps them avoid self injurious preoccupations with seeking other’s approval, or need to control and dominate, as they become older

 Enter the fantasy land of Wellness Island, Land of Happiness and the Dark Forrest with this wonderful author, Emma Piers.  It's all about elves, fairies, and hobgoblins,  good winning over evil.  If your child has been through a hard time (family or friend) help build confidence and strength, and courage through this wonderful therapeutic book.  Night, Knight helps your child go to sleep with good positive thoughts.  Your child will learn to feel good about his/her self, and finding their purpose in life.  This book includes two cd's with the story narrated.  This book will help your child open up and use it as a discussion tool. It is a different type of bedtime story.  It will help your child settle down and relax with very positive thinking.    

Deep within the shadows of the huge oak tree, the ground itself seemed to be alive. Leaves, twigs and ferns were flying about. They could have been helpless victims caught up in the winds of wild tornadoes! Even the tangled roots that lay bare above the ground were writhing and moving around like angry snakes amidst the chaos. All the while delicate rays of sunlight shone down through the tree’s branches. They pierced the shadows like dancing fireflies.

What was that – over there? Did you notice those ears? Those pointed ears. A little body was moving clumsily through the undergrowth.

“Orion, what are you doing?” A small and very beautiful elf with the shiniest, blackest hair you’ve ever seen suddenly appeared. Where had she come from? It was Rosador.

“You’re causing a right kerfuffle you know!” she said to her friend.

The tree shouted out, “Hey, bro, that hurts!” as her friend Orion tripped clumsily over its roots, half falling into the clearing to join Rosador. As soon as she saw him, she noticed a grey shadowy outline on his left shoulder. One moment it was there, the next it had gone. Completely disappeared. Rosador recognised the cruel dark figure straight away. Orion’s dark fairy. It had come to try and do him some real harm.

Emma Piers is an author, wellbeing coach and narrator. She lives in rural Dorset in the UK with her life/working partner Mark Turner. Emma was born in a rambling old vicarage in Kent, in 1958. Her father was a vicar, and she had two siblings. During her early years, the family moved five times. During these years, Emma developed a deep love and sense of connectedness with the natural world around her. Walking and writing stories about mythical creatures and people became a big preoccupation, alongside a love of English that was instilled in her by two teachers who were both passionate about their subject. As a counter balance, she managed to fail her Maths ‘O’ level three times. Friendships came and went with five different schools in short succession being attended. A working year exploring the USA and France was followed by another year feeling out of place in a technical college studying pitman script, shorthand typing and profit and loss accounts. Many years and several homes later, after her younger child started grammar school, Emma started studying counselling and creative writing. After a number of years in counselling practice, and travels in Australia, Emma’s more recent studies are encompassing both traditional therapeutic and mythological storytelling. This form of storytelling incorporates understandings of the holistic ways in which human and environment interact.

Her latest book is Night Knight: Therapeutic Bedtime Stories.

You can visit her website at
Read an interview with the author here.

Find the author on twitter and Facebook

A copy of this book was provided for review by...