Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking Forward

I know a lot of people use the end of the year to reflect on the past year, but I'm refusing to do that. Instead, I'm choosing to look forward. It doesn't matter what I did or didn't do during 2012. It doesn't matter what regrets I might have, or what successes I achieved. What matters is what's yet to come. Where will I go from here. Where will you go?

2013 is going to be a good year for me - a great year. Why? Because I'm trusting God to make it so. Of course I know there will be challenges and probably some heart ache - that's life. Jesus didn't promise us a life of ease, but told us that we would have trouble in this world (John 16:33). But He also says that He came so that we could have life - and have it to the full (John 10:10).

As I'm looking ahead to the coming year, I can't help but think of the things I want to do, and yet, this year I sense God telling me not my will, but His be done. I don't know where this year will take me, but as long as I keep my eyes on Christ, I know it will be worth it.

I do want to leave you with a few things that I'm looking forward to this year:
The launch of my newest book - "A Year of Book Marketing" is tomorrow and Mr. Monday is returning!

So for this first Mr. Monday post, I wanted to start a list of reason's that I'm thankful for my Mr. I invite you do join me as well if you want. You can link up at the bottom of this post. I'm planning on this being a series, where the last Monday of every month you can link up with new reasons you're thankful for your Mr. until we reach 100 :) Ready? Go.

10 Reasons I'm Thankful For Mr. Amazing:

  1. He loves me - I know, it's a selfish reason, but he does and I'm thankful for that!
  2. He doesn't smoke - We just moved to Texas, and I don't know why, but it seems like 90% of the guys here smoke! *Little known secret, when we first started dating, I smoked, Mr. Amazing never has. I quit when I got pregnant with the girls. I guess reason #3 would be that:
  3. He loves me despite my imperfections (such as past habits mentioned above) - I know I already said I was thankful that he loves me, but loving me despite my imperfections really is different. His love doesn't try to change me, he loves me just the way I am. And I'm thankful for that.
  4. He works hard to support our family - he really does. It isn't easy getting up every single day and leaving the house to slave away for people you don't care about. My first husband chose not to do so, and I'm thankful that Mr. Amazing isn't like that.
  5. He's the perfect snuggle partner - I know, it's mushy, but it's true. My favorite time of day is snuggling with him in the morning, and I'm thankful for that time - with his old job he had to leave for work at 2 am and we didn't have that. So this is nice.
  6. He's a great dad - he is. He helps the boys with their homework and teaches the girls new things all the time. He takes them for bike rides and blows bubbles so they can pop them. He's just all around awesome - I mean Amazing. ;)
  7. He's thankful for me - I know, that sounds selfish too, but he is - and I love it. He isn't one of those guys that wonder's what his wife does all day. He knows I work hard and he's thankful for it. He's thankful for my love, and he's thankful for what I do with the kids. So I'm thankful for his thankfulness.
  8. He's willing to help - Again, a little selfish. He helped me complete a work project this month that I was behind on, and he constantly offers to help with other things, or asks what he can do to help me out - not because he thinks I'm slacking, but because he knows it's not easy being me. He works hard all day, and is still willing to help out when he gets home. Go ahead, admit it, you're jealous.
  9. He pushes me to be better myself - he might not think that I'm thankful for this, but I am. He knows I like to stay in my comfort zone and pushes me to expand my horizons - and when I'm doing so...
  10. He encourages me - when I'm scared of doing something new, or feel like I'm failing at, well, everything, he encourages me and lets me know that he's there to support me and thinks I'm doing a fabulous job. :)

It's hard to stop at 10, but that's the first round. I can't wait to write more next month! What reasons are you thankful for your Mr.? List a few in the comments or write your own blog and link up below...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Trusting God When Bad Things Happen - Guest Post

Trusting God When Bad Things Happen
Guest post by Shelley Hitz

My heart continues to be heavy for all those grieving today across our country.  I don’t believe it was a coincidence that I published a book this past week called, “Trusting God When Bad Things Happen.”  And even before the tragedy in Connecticut, I felt led to offer it free on Smashwords this month. 

Trusting God In The Midst of the "Storms" of Life

When bad things happen, what is your reaction? Do you trust God even when you don't understand? 

There was a dark season in my life when it literally felt like an earthquake had occurred. Everything in my life seemed to be falling family, my finances, our church. And I asked God the simple question, "Why?" This book is the result of my own search for answers. In the end, God gave me illustrations that I will share with you and brought healing to my heart and my distorted view of Him. I was able to trust Him again, even though my circumstances had not changed.

I pray that God uses this short eBook to deeply impact you as well. I have included questions for reflection for you to go through individually or as a group.

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I (Jesus) have overcome the world!" - John 16:33 

One Reader’s Response:
"This book has Biblical answers to the 'Why?' we are hearing so much today after the shooting tragedy in Connecticut. Thank you, Shelley, for the timeliness and wisdom." ~Barbara

Download This Book for Free
For anyone interested, you can download the book "Trusting God When Bad Things Happen" FREE this month.

100% Off Coupon Code: HB95F
Expires: January 1, 2013

This book is also available for $0.99 on Kindle

Please feel free to share this book and coupon code with anyone you think could benefit from the topic.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Just a Heads Up

I've been organizing a Christmas Book Sale for the company that I work for. It's going on now, and I knew you would want to know about it - because you're awesome like that. So, here's the scoop:

By visiting our sales page, you can score up to $200 in savings and get over 60 books for free or reduced price. There are both fiction and non-fiction books listed and tons of Christian titles.

After racking up savings on books (or before) you can also enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

So hop on over and check it out at:

Monday, December 10, 2012

There vs. Here

I've been meaning to write this post for a while, maybe even making a series out of it. But since we just went through a major move - Denver, Colorado to Small-town,  Texas (exact location not disclosed) - I wanted to outline some of the differences. Here's a few:

Colorado - If you wave at someone you don't know, you might get shot, but at the very least, you'll get a dirty look.
Texas - Everyone waves at everyone. If you don't wave, people wonder why you're having a bad day.

Colorado - If you want to say hi to someone, you nod your head up.
Texas - You nod your head down - or just wave.

Colorado - The mail man leaves packages on the ground near the mailbox.
Texas - If you get a package, the mailman brings it to the door. If you don't answer and your door is unlocked, he'll just set it inside for you.

Colorado - If you want to have your electric turned on, you call them up and they need a credit card on file.
Texas - You must physically go in and fill out paperwork, then they don't do cards, you have to pay with a check or cash.

Colorado - If you have a birthday party, you send out invitations and people RSVP.
Texas - You send out birthday party invitations requesting an RSVP and no one responds, then several people show up anyway.

Colorado - The high on Thanksgiving: 62
Texas - The high on Thanksgiving: 87

And here's my favorite:
Colorado - they have already had their fair share of snow - it even snowed 4 inches in October before we moved. School isn't delayed or cancelled for anything under 2 feet, they don't even do indoor recess unless the temp is under 20 degrees.
Texas - we had a quarter inch of snow today and school was delayed 2 hours. Of course, we weren't expecting that anyway and took our son in. There were several other parents dropping off children, so Mr. Amazing let him out of the car and drove away. Little did he know the door was locked and all of the other kids would return to their cars... When he got to work, someone mentioned that school had been delayed for an hour, so he called me to inquire. We don't have T.V. so I have no idea how to find out other than calling the school. No one is at the school - assumingly because school has been delayed. It's 28 degrees, so I'm not overly concerned, but go about getting the small children ready to drive to the school and see what's going on. Planning on making sure he has some place warm to sit, or waiting with him until the door is unlocked. As I'm backing out of the driveway a police car pulls up... Kainen gets out of the back and the officer explains that they would have been their sooner, but Kainen only knew our house number - not the street name. Of course, we've lived here all of 1 week, I'm not surprised by this - actually, I was surprised he even knew the number already. Then the officer explains that school doesn't start until 10 because of the snow - the 1/4 inch that I mentioned. He also suggests registering for text messages from the school - GREAT idea.

Which brings me to the next difference:
Colorado - You want to register for mobile updates, you sign up online.
Texas - You want to register for mobile updates? You go to the schools website, find the number to call for instructions (which you had to search for because it isn't obvious). The man that answers the phone doesn't know how to do that, but thinks it has something to do with Twitter. I should call back after school starts at 10 when someone else is there that might know how I can get set up... I'm from Colorado. I just find them on Twitter (not listed on their website), and sign up to follow them and get mobile alerts for their tweets (as they only have three in their entire history, two being tests at the beginning of the year and one being about the delay this morning, I'm assuming I won't get a ton of updates I don't need).

So yeah... things are a bit different here.

Here's a nice photo of our new house
(still being remodeled, so it won't always look like this) 
with the nice snowfall that delayed school for 2 hours....

Monday, December 3, 2012

Guest Post: When Dealing with Infidelity

In Today’s society Christian women are not exempt of dealing with the ugly monster of infidelity. Unfortunately in many Christian homes women have had to deal with the fact that their husbands have shared intimacy with someone else.

Adultery breaks the heart of a woman, especially the one that believes that is living with a man after God’s heart. The first question on a woman’s mind is what did I do wrong? I came to bring you the answer. You did nothing wrong.

Although it is true that in a troubled relationship there are two sides of a story and that both parties shared the responsibility, the final choice to act belongs to the individual. You did not make your spouse cheat, he chose to do that.

I think that’s a liberating thought, as many women blame themselves for the actions of their husbands in this particular. There’s no amount of conversation, intimacy or pleasing that would have made him make a different choice. Yes, those things may have influence his decision, but it was ultimately his decision to act on it. Adultery is not the actual problem; it’s just the symptom to major issues in the relationship that were not addressed on time.

Can a marriage be saved after one commits adultery? Yes, but it takes many of things and both parties need to be willing to work together to achieve it.
  • The husband needs to repent for his actions; to God first and to his wife.
  • The husband needs to end the adulterous relationship Hebrews 13:4 “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
  • The wife needs to forgive her husband. This is very important. If for the rest of your life you will be bringing the issue up is not going to make the healing process any easier. Yes, it’s not going to be easy and that’s where prayer and counseling will have to help. Remember the word on Ephesians 4:32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
  • The husband needs to make amends to his wife. Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift”
  • The wife needs to find her identity in Christ and her security in him and not her husband. When a woman finds out that her husband has cheated on her; many insecurities arise. Am I attractive enough? Was I intimate enough with him? Am I good enough? It takes a toll on her self-esteem. This is when she needs to remember that she’s not who she thinks she is or who her husband says she is. She is who God says she is.
  • They should seek counseling to mend the relationship and deal with the issues that triggered the situation.
In my new novella, “Season’s Greetings for Amelia” our main couple deals with the issue of infidelity. Can this marriage be saved? Find out by getting this intense story for your Kindle just 0.99 cents.

About Naty Matos:

Naty Matos was born in the city of New York. She grew up in the beautiful Island of Puerto Rico and now lives in the city of Atlanta.

She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Clinical Psychology with a Minor in Mass Media Communications and a Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling.

Naty writes Christian fiction and non-fiction. She maintains a blog on Christian Living Topics at

Copyright © The Rising Muse 2012

Book Description

Daisy has the perfect life, beautiful children and a wonderful husband. And Christmas is right around the corner.  Tis the season to be jolly... Or is it?

Daisy's life is flipped upside down by strange letters that are sent to her by her best friend, Amelia. And as her life continues to quickly spiral out of control, she realizes that something BIG is about to happen.  Can she put aside her confusion, hurt, and anger in order to solve a mystery that may have a horrific ending????

Can Daisy's life ever return to normal regardless to whether she does or doesn't?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Book Review: Christmas Uncut

I recently had the opportunity to review "Christmas Uncut: What Really Happened and Why It Really Matters..." by Carl Laferton, and I have to say, this was unlike any book I've ever read before.

Starting each chapter with a scene from a children's Christmas play and fun little drawing, this book was written for adults. It looks like it would be cute for kids, but there are certain parts that parents might want to use caution about.

After the cute little rendition of Christmas plays gone bad, the author covers what really happened during that first Christmas season. After he retells the story he gives the reader the verse reference so that they can look it up for themselves if they wish before plunging into the "Why it really matters" section.

I think my absolute favorite part of the book was the closing remarks. Mr. Laferton covered what to do with the information he presented, whether it was all made up, how we could know that Jesus was the Christ, and  the truth of the Resurrection.

All in all, this was a neat little book. You can get yourself a copy on
You might also want to watch the following video:

As I mentioned, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Cross Focused Reviews. You can read what other reviewers had to say at:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Book Review: Courting Cate

In the country outside of Paradise, Pennsylvania  Cate's life is anything but a paradise - but it could be, if only her father wasn't dead set on her finding a husband. Sure, it's the Amish way for women to wed, but there are those who are known to stay single, and that's what Cate has in mind. Besides, if she doesn't have to worry about the tedious jobs that come with being a homemaker, she can focus on her real dreams and interests. Will Cate be granted the life she dreams of, spend life slaving away to please her father, or will her true paradise be found where she least expects it?

You'll have to read "Courting Cate" by Leslie Gould to find out. You can get a copy from, but I got my copy free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review - and honestly, this novel was simply wonderful! I was captivated from the very beginning and finished the rather thick book in just over 24 hours. Where most novels give you insight to more than one character's POV, this one stuck with just one. I liked the simplicity to that. It left me in suspense to what was going on on the other side of things and really helped me relate more to the main character. Leslie Gould did an awesome job with this book.

Oh, and besides this book being awesome, LitFuse publicity is giving away a Kindle Fire on Tuesday. Find out more below:

A retelling of the Taming of the Shrew! Leslie Gould is celebrating the release of Courting Cate with a fun Kindle Fire Giveaway and a Facebook Author Chat Party (11/20)!

One lucky winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Courting Cate by Leslie Gould
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 19th. Winner will be announced at the "Courting Cate" Author Chat Facebook Party on 11/20. Connect with Leslie, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at an Amish trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of Courting Cate and join Leslie on the evening of the November 20th for a chance to connect with Leslie and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 20th!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Accidental Pharisee: Book Review

The Accidental Pharisee - We're all guilty of it in one way or another at one time or another. I know I am. But what is the accidental pharisee (other than a book by Larry Osborne, of course)?

It's judging other people because they aren't at the same point in life as you. It's that simple. We all grow at different rates, and God works in us in His time not ours, but where does that leave those who are a step down from us on the ladder of holiness? That's what really drove home for me in this book. Mr. Osborne did is an amazing writer, and I almost read this entire book in one sitting - I just had to stop because it was so convicting! It couldn't have came at a better time either. God most certainly used this book in my life, and I think it will do great things for Christ.

The Accidental Pharisee by Larry Osborne is a book that every Christian needs to read!

Here's what the author had to say about it:


I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. You can read what other people had to say at:

Friday, November 9, 2012

Guest Post from Vicki Tiede

I love being invited into someone’s home for the first time. Having the opportunity to join your blog today is a little like that. I get to meet new people, share a little bit about my book, and hopefully make some new friends. So, thank you, Heather, for inviting me to your home blog.

A friend recently asked, “What makes When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography different than other books written for women on this subject?” I explained that this book is not meant to give her tools and skills to fix her husband. It is for and about her, not her husband.

When I speak for a women’s conference or retreat, I always share my story. As a result, I meet many women who share their own stories. Too often they tell me that after their husband revealed his addiction, he went to counseling, joined an accountability group, used filtering software … in other words, he did all the “right” things, but she is still hurting, doesn’t trust him, feels betrayed, won’t let him touch her, is angry … There are great books that will help a woman understand her husband’s addiction, but I wrote my book to help her deal with her heart and these issues.

I’m not a counselor, but I am a wife whose heart has been restored after experiencing the betrayal associated with a husband addicted to pornography, and I have a deep love for the Wonderful Counselor. I feel strongly that Jesus is best equipped to tend to a broken heart and offer hope and healing to a woman regardless of her husband’s daily choices about pornography.

A husband’s use of pornography is not about the wife. I hope he has told her this, but I suspect that even if he did, she isn’t sure. She should believe it. Pornography is a selfish act meant to meet his own perceived needs. That means she is not in competition with digitally enhanced images of other women. This is not about her appearance, her sexual availability, or her competence in the bedroom. She does not need to be a size 8, get a tummy tuck, or engage in sexual acts that make her uncomfortable.

I want my reader to know that this is not her fault. In the end, we are all responsible for ourselves and how we walk in obedience to God’s Word—or don’t. She can’t control her husband’s choices. I also want to assure her that Jesus can and will take the broken pieces of her heart and make something beautiful of it. Psalm 147:3 confirms that “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

If we believe the statistics, 50-70% of Christian men are struggling with pornography. As I said on the video, it stands to reason then that the women who love them (wives, girlfriends) are also hurting. How has this been handled in your circles of influence? Do people (women) talk about it? Why/Why not?


More about Vicki: I am an author and speaker who has a passion for opening the Scriptures and pointing women to their true source of grace and faithfulness. For the past ten years, I have been honored to speak for numerous women at conferences, retreats, and women’s events. I am the author of three books including When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography (2012), Plug Me In and Let Me Charge Overnight (2009), and Parenting on Your Knees: Prayers and Practical Guidance for the Preschool Years (coming January 2013). I live in Rochester, Minnesota, with my husband Mike, daughter, and two sons. Visit her on the web.

You can access Sample Chapters from When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart by clicking above.
Links to buy the book:
Barnes and Noble (BN’s processing times are lagging, but it will eventually be available there as well)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I'm Moving

I'm moving... literally.

We have been working hard to pack up our house and do all of the necessary cleaning things.

It's a LOT of work.

But it's taught me something too.

I started out with my normal, "God can do this" attitude, but the closer the moving date came, that confidence started to fade.

Things were just going wrong - our vehicle had to go into the shop for over $1,000 worth of repairs. We were behind schedule cleaning and packing. We had promises to buy some of the big items that we didn't have room for in the moving truck, but no one had come to pick them up. The house we were hoping to rent fell through, and we were left with nothing. We found a new, better house, but it won't be ready for at least a month after we need it. Which meant finding temporary housing - another chore. We did find an affordable place to stay, but it will be a tight fit for our family of 6 while we wait for our new home to open up. It just seemed like one thing after another kept going wrong.

This move that God had clearly ordained, became stressful.

I started getting scared that we weren't going to be ready in time, and that the finances weren't going to be there. I was still counting my blessings and glorifying God for all of the blessings, but I was worried - and it was effecting my outlook on everything. The pastor at church asked if it was okay to invite us up front to pray for us our last Sunday here, and I envisioned that no one wanted to pray with us. I was sure that we weren't going to get the house clean on-time and have to pay our landlords a bundle of money we didn't have in fees. I was controlled by irrational fear.

But "God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Tim. 1:7 - Young's)

This morning at church things went very well - people really did pray for us.

Not only that, but God showed me that even though I couldn't physically see Him working out the details, He still was. Several people volunteered to help us - in more ways than we had even thought of. All of the big things we couldn't take have been picked up. I can see that we are actually going to make it.

Earlier last week, I had read the verse in Matthew about seeking first the things of God, that verse is the only reason that we set aside the time to go to church today instead of continuing to work to try and get everything done on time. But it really did come true for us. We sought Him first, and everything else was added to us.

The only semi-bad thing that came from all of this is that I realized just how many friends and loved ones we would be leaving behind. We have a wonderful church family that will never be replaced in our hearts.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Update and Free Stuff

I haven't mentioned this yet, but my family is in the midst of moving. While we aren't technically moving until the end of the month, we are currently out of state pinning down some details. More to come on that soon. For now, I wanted to let you know about an opportunity to download our latest devotional book, for FREE along with 19 other Christian books. Here's the scoop:

For three days only, several best-selling Christian authors have joined together to offer their books for free to avid readers. October 17th through the 19th 2012, readers can download 20 Christian books worth over $60 for free and enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card to get even more free books here.

This sale is just one of many hosted by Body and Soul Publishing, who also posts free Christian books and giveaways on their blog daily. Here’s what one reader had to say: "I’m very grateful for this website. I’ve found many valuable books that have enriched my spiritual life immensely." - Diane Sidener 

During the 100% off sale this week readers will be able to download the following nonfiction Christian books for free on Kindle and Smashwords:

Psalms, The Sunrise of Hope by Bob Saffrin

Hola Happiness by Janet Eckles Perez

21 Prayers of Gratitude by Shelley Hitz

A Matter of Faith by Carol Round

Restore Your Marriage & Fall in Love Again by Krystal Kuehn

10 Keys to Happy & Loving Relationships by Krystal Kuehn

The Lighthouse of Asaph: Unforgettable Christian Reflections by Roberto Ornan Roche

Found Adrift:  40 Days of Recovering Grace by Pauline Creeden

Children of Dreams by Lorilyn Roberts

21 Teen Devotionals…for Girls! By Heather Hart and Shelley Hitz

Experiencing Joy by Patty Mason

My Scripture Journal: God's Promises by Heather Bixler

Amazing Grace as Christ Walks By, My Journey from Brokenness to Wholeness by Carol Cline

A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey to Medjugorje by Alberta Sequeira

A Love Story...How God Pursued Me and Found Me…an Impossibly True Story by Samantha Ryan Chandler

Finding Hope in the Midst of Tragedy by Shelley Hitz

Mission Possible by Deborah McCarragher 

Women of Strength – a devotional to improve spiritual and physical health by Kimberley Payne

Night Stories – 8 devotionals about dreams by Kimberley Payne

Growth Lessons by Naty Matos

Don’t miss out!  Download these 20 books plus enter to win the $25 Amazon gift certificate for 3 days only here:

So there you have it. Go, download to your hearts content, and please keep us in prayer as we pack up and move several states away. It will be a big adjustment, but it's totally a God thing. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Trouble with Cowboys - Review and Announcement

I'm thrilled that I had the opportunity to review Denise Hunter's new book, "The Trouble with Cowboys." This is the third in her "A Big Sky Romance" series and featured a skeptical dark haired horse trainer/author who needed help with her new column. Not sure where to turn, she strikes a deal with a local cowboy who needs help with his horse - training in exchange for help answering her letters. It sounds like a pretty good deal, but not everyone is so sure about the time they spend together or the content of her column. Will everything work out in the end, or will both of them end up worse off than before? You'll have to read the book to find out.

This is one of those books that is just plain hard to put down. From the first page I was hooked and read through it in one sitting (even if I did stay up until 3 in the morning). While this book fits in the classic pet peeve category of mine that the girl on the cover doesn't even have the same black hair as the girl in the story, the writing more than makes up for that flaw (which really is a giant pet peeve of mine... did I mention that?). My heart was touched by the characters. Whether they made me angry, happy, or brought on tears, I could totally relate to what they were going through. I totally enjoyed every moment of this book, and will forever remember some of the catchy comments made by the characters. 

I loved this book! It was the first of Denise Hunter's books that I had read and I can't wait to read more. The tidbits that she shared from the previous books in the series made me want to read them so I could hear the full story, and with her believable and well written story line, I imagine that every book she writes is well worth reading.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review. You can learn more about this book and read what other reviewers had to say at:

Meet Denise: 

Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

Find out more about Denise at

To celebrate the release of The Trouble with Cowboys Denise is hosting a fun Author Chat Party on Facebook. She'll connect with readers and give away some amazing prizes - including a Kindle Fire! 
Save the Date for October 11th!

Grab your copy of Denise Hunter's latest book and join her for an Author Chat Party on October 11th at 8:00 PM EST (that’s 7:00 Central, 6:00 MST, & 5:00 PST)! Haven't read The Trouble with Cowboys yet? That's okay, don't let that stop you from coming to the party! (You may win a copy!)

During the evening she’ll be sharing the story behind the book, posting discussion questions, testing your trivia skills, and of course, there will be plenty of chatting and fun giveaways – books, gift certificates and – a Kindle Fire! She’ll also be giving you a sneak peek of her next book too!

RSVP today and then come back on the 11th … and bring your friends!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Book Review: Bringing Up Girls

Peer pressure. Eating disorders. Decisions about love, romance, and sex. Academic demands. Life goals and how to achieve them. These are just some of the challenges that girls face today—and the age at which they encounter them is getting younger and younger. As a parent, how are you guiding your daughter on her journey to womanhood? Are you equipping her to make wise choices? Whether she’s still playing with dolls or in the midst of the often-turbulent teen years, is she truly secure in her identity as your valued and loved daughter? In the New York Times bestseller Bringing Up Girls, parenting authority and trusted family counselor Dr. James Dobson will help you face the challenges of raising your daughters to become strong, healthy, and confident women who excel in life.
That's that book description of Dr. Dobson's book "Bringing Up Girls." I requested a review copy of this book when it first came out from Tyndale. I had followed Dr. Dobson online and had his book, "Bringing Up Boys" recommended to me on a number of occasions, so I figured this would be a great one.

As the mother of two small girls, I was eager for godly parenting advice, but this book didn't quite reach the expectations I had for it. It was very informative, but not very helpful if that makes sense. It focused on the problems that our daughters would face growing up - the problems that encouraged me to want to read this book in the first place - but it didn't offer a whole lot of advice on how to address those issues and overcome them. After things calm down, I might read through it again and see if I maybe I just missed something.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Life is Good

The past week has been simply amazing for me. I've been recovering from a pretty nasty virus, but I just keep being blessed!

Last Friday I found out that I won a copy of Jody Hedlund's newest book, Unending Devotion (and I LOVE Jody's books), AND that afternoon I found out that I had won Christian Womens Voice Magazine's Christmas Moments essay contest (my essay "Keeping Christmas about Christ" will be featured in their next issue).

Shelley Hitz and I started a new book marketing community for the website that really took off over the weekend.

Our latest devotional book, "21 Teen Devotionals... for Girls!" was published on Sunday, AND that very same day we received a 5 star review of our first devotional book from Readers Favorite.

I guess that all of those amazing things happening in a row, especially when I've been over stressed and under the weather lately, have just really been showing me how blessed I really am.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Guest Post, Free Book, and a Giveaway

Healing the Brokenhearted and Setting the Captives Free

by Shelley Hitz

Over the past 12 years, God has taken me on a journey.  It has been a journey of Christ healing my broken heart and setting this captive free.  And now He is asking me to help others do the same.  Isaiah 61:1 says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”  In Luke 4:21 Jesus takes out the scroll and reads Isaiah 61:1 in the synagogue saying, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  Basically what Jesus is saying is that Isaiah 61:1 is his mission statement.  Jesus has come to heal the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives and release prisoners from darkness.

Freedom for the Captives

One of the main strongholds keeping our culture captive today is sexual sin.  Even in the church, many are getting caught up in struggles with lust, adulterous affairs and pornography.  As a married Christian woman, I struggled with internet pornography for two years.  It was a secret sin that no one knew about.  From the outside I looked like I was the good Christian wife.  But, I was living a double life.

However, the story doesn’t end there.  Although it took time and has been a process of healing, I have now been free for a decade.  God is using my story to help others find hope and healing in Christ.  As I’ve heard it so well said, "God can turn any mess into a message, any test into a testimony, any trial into a triumph, and any victim into a victor."

The Journey Continues…

My latest book, “A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free From Pornography:  It’s Not Just a Guy’s Problem” is one way God is using this dark season from my past for His good.  This book is not only for those struggling with sexual sin, but is also a resource for pastors, counselors and those in ministry.  According to statistics published by Education Database Online in 2011, of the 40 million Americans who regularly visit porn sites, 33% are women.  And in a survey we took of Christian women, of the 73% that admitted to being exposed to pornography, 25% said they were addicted.  

It is a growing issue that needs to be discussed and we aim to open the door to confession and conversation among women in the Body of Christ who feel as though they are alone in this struggle.   And our prayer is that God uses this book to heal many broken hearts and set many captives free.

Shelley Hitz has been ministering alongside her husband, CJ, since 1998. They currently travel and speak to teens and adults around the country. Shelley's main passion is to share God's truth and the freedom in Christ she has found with others. She does this through her books, websites and speaking engagements.  Shelley's openness and vulnerability, as she shares her own story of hope and healing, will inspire and encourage you.

Shelley has been writing and publishing books since 2008 including the book she co-authored with S'ambrosia Curtis, "A Christian Woman's Guide to Breaking Free From Pornography:  It's Not Just a Guy's Problem."  During their book launch on 9/26/12-9/27/12, you can download a free Kindle copy and also enter to win over $400 worth of resources.  Find out more at  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review: The Shorter Catechism Activity Book

I recently had the opportunity to review Marianne Ross's new activity book: The Shorter Catechism Activity Book. I was really interested in this book as a way to help teach my children about God's Word and the Christian faith. Here's the description of the book from Amazon:
This book uses the puzzle formats children are familiar with in school such as word searches; crossword puzzles and codes. It’s a fun way to work through the Westminster Shorter Catechism – one of the church’s statements of faith. Not only will they enjoy completing these work sheets; the truths that are presented here will be a strong foundation for their future life. The shorter catechism covers the following important doctrines: God; Sin; Christ; The Ten Commandments; Baptism; The Lord’s Supper and The Lord's prayer.
In my own words, this book is the Westminster Shorter Catechism laid out in puzzle form. In order to find out the first part of the catechism, you first have to solve the puzzle. Then it gives you a suggested Bible reading to accompany what you learned. There is no answer key, so unless you already have a copy of the catechism you just have to double check your work and make sure it makes sense. I think this is a fabulous tool for teaching kids about God's Word - especially if they are already into this stuff. If you were working on memorizing the catechism with your children, this would be a great way to introduce each reading.

Again, I did receive my copy free in exchange for an honest review from Cross Focused Reviews - however, I'm thinking about purchasing a second copy so that each of my boys have one - or, I might just keep it for myself as I love puzzles... You can get a copy for your child (or yourself) on

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Riddled Reflections

I have been really struggling lately. Really. It seems like I can't concentrate long enough to be productive at anything. I have been falling behind at work because I can't finish a complete thought. Between the constant "Mom. Mom. Mom," from my children, and the migraine that I have been battling for going on a month, I'm at a loss. It got so bad last week that I was almost ready to quit - just throw away everything that I have worked so hard for, and dreamed of. While any of you who have been reading my blog for a while know, most of my migraines are caused by chronic whiplash that I got several years ago, however, my chiropractor says that this one is probably caused by some stress going on in our family life. He says it is irritating my whiplash and the combination of the two is totally throwing me off my game. In other words, it's not a coincidence that the headaches started at the exact same time as every thing else... imagine that.

So I took the weekend off. I have two major projects due no later than Wednesday, and over a dozen smaller projects that I HAVE to finish up this month, and I took the weekend off... Was that a dumb move? Maybe, but my hope was that stepping away from part of the stress would help my head to stop throbbing - it didn't, but I am thinking just a bit clearer now. I'm confident (well, mostly) that will God's help I will meet all of my deadlines, and the stress in our family life will work itself out to the glory of God.

I guess that I should mention that part of my weekend off was helped along by a dear friend who volunteered to take the kids for a night - all four of them. She didn't get much sleep Saturday night and was ready for a nap when we picked them up on Sunday afternoon, but it was the first night I had had alone with Mr. Amazing since the twins were born (almost 5 years ago!). It was nice. We both had headaches, but it was still nice. Part of my (and him) felt guilty that I took the time off. With the kids gone there was great potential to get a ton done. But stepping back and just taking time to breath... well, that was worth it.

I was looking back, even just two years ago I was allowed lazy days. I didn't work from home back then... I did a lot of volunteer things, but when you volunteer you don't have as much to do, or deadlines with consequences. I spent a lot of time back then cleaning house and studying my Bible. Now I spend a lot of time working, a little time reading my Bible, and I clean a bit too. I thought my house was messy back then, I know it's messy now. But with all of the changes, I wouldn't change where I am for anything. Yes, I would gladly give up the headaches, and would love to have patient children, but despite all of that, I am blessed beyond measure. I have the opportunity to live my dream. No, it isn't easy, but it's worth it.

- I mentioned that with my headache I haven't been able to complete a thought... yeah, I just re-titled this post because I totally set out to write something else. Oops... At least you are a forgiving audience. :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Flower Pot Treats

Today is my eldest son's 10th birthday. 10. That means he was born 10 years ago and is now in fourth grade. There's nothing like your baby boy entering double digits to make you feel old. So - in my attempt to keep him my little boy, I made the world's best treats for him to share at school (you can quote me on the worlds best part, but it's possible that I'm biased).

Because they got so many wonderful comments from kids, teachers, family and other random people who saw them, I wanted to share the recipe here on my blog so that you can make your child the world's best treats too. :)

Disclaimer: They are the worlds best in taste, not nutrition. 

So without further ado, the recipe for Flower Pot Treats:

1 cup butter
16 oz of cream cheese
1 cup confectioners sugar
4 3.5 oz packages of instant chocolate pudding
7 cups of milk
1 16 oz container of whipped topping
2 packages of Oreo cookies
2 bags of gummy worms
2 bags of gummy slugs
28 flowers for decoration (I used flower rings from the King Sooper's bakery - they charged me $1.25 for 25 rings)


  1. In a large bowl, cream the first 3 ingredients together (butter, cream cheese, and confectioners sugar). 
  2. Add in the pudding mix and milk, mixing well (it should start to set up on its own). 
  3. Stir in the whipped topping.
  4. In your food processor (or a large ziplock bag with a hammer) crush the first package of Oreo cookies to make them look like dirt.
  5. Set out 28 6-9 oz cups (or just use a 9 x 13 casserole dish if you don't need individual servings) and place a spoonful of the Oreo crumbs in the bottom of each.
  6. On top of the Oreo crumbs (A.K.A. dirt), place one gummy worm in each cup.
  7. Next, fill the cups 1/2 way full of the pudding mixture (or mud), drop two slugs into each cup and drape a gummy worm up the side and over the edge and then distribute the remainder of the pudding equally between all of the cups. (Note: if you're making these in advance, you can cover and refrigerate them at this point and finish making them an hour or two before serving.)
  8. Crush the remaining package of Oreo cookies and sprinkle on top of the pudding in each cup.
  9. Top each "flower pot" with two slugs and and a flower.
Voila. You have the best treats ever. Go ahead, give yourself a pat on the back, you're a great mom! :)

(I bought extra gummys to use on top of the cake for home and tie it all together)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Book Review: Over the Edge

It's my mom's birthday today! Happy birthday, Mom!

I've been devouring fiction books recently, and I was totally excited when I heard about the opportunity to review Mary Connealy's book, "Over the Edge." It's the third book in her Kincaid Brides series, but the first book of hers that I have ever read. Before I get onto my review, I'll give you a quick breakdown of the book:

Is it possible to sell one's soul to the devil without remembering, or even being aware? Seth Kincaid believes so, and that's probably why he's forgotten that he was married to the beautiful Callie Kincaid. What's their story and will his spit-fire wife ever be able to forgive him for abandoning her? You'd have to read the book to find out.

As I said, this is the first of Mary Connealy's books that I've read, so maybe it would have been better to read the others first as this is the third in this series, but to me it came across to me as crazy, crazy and more crazy. Crazy people being mad at other crazy people for being crazy... kind of crazy in my opinion. It was still a quick read, and it was pretty easy to get into - it was just pretty crazy. There might have been a few sane people tucked away in the beginning pages, but none of them stuck around. Like I said, it probably makes more sense to those who read the previous books and knew the characters better. I might even see if I can find any of the previous books in the series at the library to read, but I wouldn't spend any money on them.
As mentioned above, I received this book free in exchange for an honest review from Litfuse Publicity. You can read what other bloggers thought of this book by visiting their tour page for "Over the Edge" at the following link: 

About the Author:

Mary Connealy writes fun and lively "romantic comedy with cowboys" for the inspirational market. She is the author of the successful Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages, and Sophie's Daughters series, and her novel Calico Canyon was nominated for a Christy Award. She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her husband, Ivan, and has four grown daughters.

Visit her on her Web site

Celebrate with Mary by entering to win a Nook Color with GlowLight!

One winner will receive:
  • A Nook Color with GlowLight
  • The entire set of Mary Connealy's The Kincaid Brides series
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 28th. Winner will be announced at the "Over the Edge" Author Chat Facebook Party on 8/29. Meet Mary, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at a trivia contest, and more. There will also be gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group.)!

So grab your copy of Over the Edge and join Mary on the evening of the August 29th for a chance to connect with her and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 29th!