“Of Stillness and Storm” by Michele Phoenix

 

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“I felt torn between two worlds. Each with its own mystery. One more captivating than the other, but the other more real and breathing.”

It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family’s undoing.

At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It’s thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.

Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry.

Michele Phoenix

Of Stillness and Storm is a tough but valuable read for anyone who’s married, a parent, or supporting a missionary.  That grouping may sound random, but Phoenix does an fantastic job of penning a suspenseful and dramatic story that will appeal to readers on many levels.

As the mother of someone determined to go to do mission work in another country, it was hard to read about the deprivation this missionary family – even though some of that was by choice.  I’m glad that my daughter, while just as determined, is more reasonable than Sam!

The submission and obedience that Lauren brings to her marriage is something that sounds incredibly controversial, and yet in each instance it seems reasonable when you’re reading about it – until suddenly it doesn’t.  I love the opportunities that this book presents for deep discussions about marriage and parenting.

Phoenix is a gifted writer.  As difficult as aspects of this story were to read, I didn’t want to put it down – and finished it in a single evening.  She’s definitely a writer to follow.

To read other reviews in this bloggy hop, click hereTo purchase your own copy now, click here.

{More About Michele Phoenix}

Born in France to a Canadian father and an American mother, Michèle Phoenix is a consultant, writer and speaker with a heart for Third Culture Kids. She taught for 20 years at Black Forest Academy (Germany) before launching her own advocacy venture under Global Outreach Mission. Michèle travels globally to consult and teach on topics related to this unique people group. She loves good conversations, mischievous students, Marvel movies and paths to healing.

Find out more about Michele at http://michelephoenix.com.
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I received a free copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity.  The opinions are my own.

Tanika Fitzgerald’s ‘Miscarried Joy’ Prize Pack Giveaway

Are you in a season of waiting—waiting for an answer from God, waiting for a change? Be encouraged by Tanika Fitzgerald’s new book, Miscarried Joy. Tanika transparently shares her deeply personal and disappointing experiences of losing her babies due to miscarriage. There were times when she felt God was the cause of her pain. Miscarried Joy has something for anyone who needs help pushing through incredible pain to conquer discouragement, walk in faith and birth their purpose. God’s delay in your life could be a set up for your greatest calling to be fulfilled.

Conquer discouragement with the help of Miscarried Joy and enter to win Tanika’s Hope Fulfilled Prize Pack.

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One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 18. The winner will be announced December 19 on the Miscarried Joy blog.

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Marlo Schalesky’s ‘Waiting for Wonder’ Blog Tour and Giveaway

Because God’s timing is so rarely our own and we lose the wonder in the waiting of life, desperation strikes, plans backfire, and we begin to wonder why God does not fill the emptiness. Be encouraged to find strength and hope in Marlo Schalesky’s new book, Waiting for Wonder. Journey into the heart of God where you will wrestle with personal questions, think deeply about God’s true character, and learn to appreciate His divine work as you discover your own path to the promised land. Recapture your hope, restore your soul, and renew your vision of a wondrous Savior when you learn to live on God’s time.

Learn the true purpose of waiting on God and living on His timeline and enter to win Marlo’s giveaway.

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One grand prize winner will receive:

  • Two copies of Waiting for Wonder (one for you and one to give to a friend)
  • A KEEP Collective watch set (with a band and watch)

 

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Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 23. The winner will be announced December 27 on Marlo’s blog.

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Michèle Phoenix’s ‘Of Stillness and Storm’ Bookworm On-the-Go Prize Pack

A tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry—don’t miss Michèle Phoenix’s new intimate and bold release, Of Stillness and Storm. It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. When a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again, the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past might be too much. Will it be the family’s undoing?

Take Michèle’s new book with you on your winter vacation and enter to win her Bookworm On-the-Go Prize Pack (because you can’t take a stack of books with you when you travel).

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One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 31. The winner will be announced January 3 on Michèle’s blog.

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Hearts for Home Blog Hop – December 14, 2016

Vote for President

We’ve been busy finishing up some school projects before we take some time off for Christmas.  Last week we had both book clubs, and voting is closing for the boys’ Kid President election tomorrow.  Won’t you please hop over, watch their super-short commercials, and cast your vote?  My kids are also working to make Christmas presents for family members, which keeps me super busy  –  which is why I’m happy that …

A Nest in the Rocks is now one of the co-hosts for the weekly Hearts for Home Blog link-up, which means that every Thursday you’ll find lots of great tips, recipes, and other family-friendly ideas listed throughout this post. If you’re a blogger, we’d love to have you link up your posts and join us. You can find information about the other co-hosts of this hop here.

The most clicked post from last week was Is It Time to Abolish Truancy Laws for Good?

Some of my favorite posts from last week were:

12 Days of Christmas Activity Book

Dinner and a Movie: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

5 Fun Ways To Learn About Christmas In Germany

If your post is listed above, please grab one of our ‘Featured Blogger’ buttons! Congratulations, and thanks for writing such inspiring posts.

Please share your family friendly posts with us!


Girls’ Book Club: “The Last Holiday Concert”

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The girls’ book club met this week, and it was all about Christmas as we talked about Andrew Clements’ The Last Holiday Concert
It’s a great story about a boy who ends up in charge of his middle school’s holiday concert just as the music teacher is laid off.  We had a great discussion about the teacher’s reaction to the news, the way that the teacher motivates his students and is ultimately inspired by them, and then about ways to bring hope and joy to others, since that ended up being the message chosen by the students for their program.

The girls each made brainstormed ideas for things to spread those particular messages around town, and then we chose a few common themes to put into action right away.

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We started off with a foam kit for making snowmen.  We decided to turn them into Christmas cards, and the girls wrote messages of hope on them.  Some were handwritten on the back, while others had foam-sticker messages right on the snowmen’s tummies.

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My Big Helper and My Little Man are passing out these cards to people as we’re out and about this month.  Grocery store clerks, restaurant wait staff, fellow shoppers – anybody might get a ‘Merry Christmas!” and be handed a snowman.  Most people seem pleasantly surprised, and some quite happy, to be handed a card.

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The girls also rolled out some gingerbread I had made ahead.  They took turns cutting out cookies and ornaments both.

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Then they wrapped the bottoms of a few pizza boxes with Christmas paper, a project that turned out to be much harder than expected.

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After baking the cookies, they painted them with happy messages in a white icing and filled the trays.  We delivered one tray to our local fire department and the other to the library we visit.  Both were met with happy smiles.

The gingerbread ornaments were decorated with simple white paint and red ribbons.  These, like the snowmen ornaments, we’re passing out to people we meet.

While time didn’t allow for putting together their own concert or Christmas performance, the girls did a great job of choosing activities that would spread hope to the people we meet this season.  I wish that we could have passed out their creations together, but time didn’t allow for that, either.  Instead, I heard lots of giggles as they learned to roll out the gingerbread, attempted to paint icing only where they wanted it, and tried to get snowman arms to stick only to snowman bodies. 

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They are many activities that you could do with Andrew Clements’ The Last Holiday Concert, and these are only a few.  If you’re a fan of Clements’ and his creative takes on school activities, you’ll love The Last Holiday Concert.

“Pursuing Gold” by Cynthia L. Simmons

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About Pursuing Gold:  With his father dead and his business partner incapacitated, Peter Chandler inherits the leadership of a bank in economic crisis. With only a newly-minted college degree and little experience, Peter joins his partner’s daughter, Mary Beth Roper, in a struggle to keep C&R Bank afloat while the Civil War rages around Chattanooga. Political pressure for unsecured loans of gold to the government stirs up trouble as tempers and prices rise. Their problems multiply when Mary Beth discovers counterfeit money with Peter’s forged signature. Can they find the forger before the bank fails? The two friends must pursue gold on behalf of their business, as they learn to pursue their heavenly Father to find hope and peace.

Cynthia L. Simmons

Simmons has sketched a tale of deceit, loss, and love in the midst of the chaos of the Civil War.  I’ve never before thought about how banks survived during wartime before the FDIC was backing them, but Simmons examines that reality in great detail in this new story.

I’ve always wondered about the details of how our country converted from metal coinage to paper money, and that idea is discussed a bit in the book.  I enjoyed reading about the Peter’s struggle to grow from his book education to becoming a wise business owner, especially during such a turbulent time. 

Simmons’ writing style is a bit more abrupt than I’m used to; there were many transitions between settings and characters, and while it may not be more than other stories, the distinct labeling made it feel like many.  Those transitions often came on the heels of a revelation or announcement for the main character of that section, and those big ideas were followed with little information about how that character felt.  I think that including those emotions, whether directly or indirectly, fills out the story; however, after a few chapters, I adjusted to Simmons’ style and enjoyed the story greatly.

While I felt I could point out the guilty culprit with some certainty throughout the story, I was never sure how the crime was being accomplished.  In the end, Simmons surprised me completely.  I wasn’t completely wrong about the guilty party, but the motivation came completely out of left field.  It’s a great thing when the author can keep me guessing until the very moment that the ending is revealed!

Simmons chose a very unique angle when creating this story. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, you should definitely give Pursuing Gold a try.

Click here to read other reviews on this bloggy hop or here to purchase your own copy now.

Cynthia L Simmons and her husband, Ray, have five children and reside in Atlanta. She has taught for over thirty years as a homeschool mother and Bible teacher. She’s a columnist for Leading Hearts Magazine and she directs Atlanta Christian Writing Conference. Cyndi has a heart for encouraging women in today’s crazy, upside-down world. She loves history and peppers her speaking and teaching with fascinating vignettes from the past. Her first book, “Struggles and Triumphs,” was nominated for 2008 Georgia Author of the Year. She co-founded Homeschool Answers and hosts Heart of the Matter Radio.

Find out more about Cynthia at http://clsimmons.com.

I received a free copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity.  The opinions expressed here are my own.

Cast Your Vote for A Kid President!

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This month’s the boy’s book club read Dan Gutman’s The Kid Who Ran for President.  It’s a hilarious take on what might happen if a kid ran for president.  Throughout the story, the main character, Judson Moon, learns the ins and outs of being a part of a national election.  His campaign manager, a fellow student, handles his publicity and teaches Moon about propaganda.

 

That’s the angle we decided to take for this month’s book choice.  After the usual book discussion, we talked about a few advertisement propaganda techniques commonly used by the media.  We talked about how things like bandwagon, testimonials, and glittering generalities affect the choices we make each day.

And then things got real.  The kids split into groups and nominated candidates.  They chose names, so as to remain anonymous online, and began using the propaganda techniques we’d learned to create campaign posters.  They also designed their own platforms and a short commercial.

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They want to hold their own election – and that’s where you come in.  I’m sharing their campaign poster pictures and videos below.  We’d be honored if you’d check out their work and comment on the person you’d vote for below. Please consider the names that they chose, their platform, and their enthusiasm when you make your choice.

These are kids, though, so if you comment beyond the name of your choice, please keep it kind.

Choice A:  Victor

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This is Victor with his campaign manager.  You can watch his campaign video here.

Choice B:  Ray Price

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This is Ray Price with one of his opponents.  You can watch his campaign video here.

Choice C:  Justin Jay

Vote for President

This is Justin Jay.  You can watch his campaign video here.

So who has your vote?  Remember to comment with the name of your favorite candidate below by December 15th.  Thanks for helping to teach our kids about the election process!

 

Hearts for Home Blog Hop – December 7, 2016

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I’m enjoying Christmas movies by the fire this week!

I can’t believe that we’re already a week into December!  Christmas is zooming ever closer, and while I’m nearly done with the shopping and finished the decorating last week, there’s still lots of baking and wrapping to do –  which is why I’m happy that …

A Nest in the Rocks is now one of the co-hosts for the weekly Hearts for Home Blog link-up, which means that every Thursday you’ll find lots of great tips, recipes, and other family-friendly ideas listed throughout this post. If you’re a blogger, we’d love to have you link up your posts and join us. You can find information about the other co-hosts of this hop here.

The most clicked post from last week was 7 Clutter-Free Gifts for Kids.

Some of my favorite posts from last week were:

12 Christmas Cookie Recipes from Around the World

Bible Journaling Kit GIVEAWAY – Embracing Destiny

The Santa Clause Movie Homeschooling Theme Day

If your post is listed above, please grab one of our ‘Featured Blogger’ buttons! Congratulations, and thanks for writing such inspiring posts.


Please share your family friendly posts with us!

“Pray A to Z” by Amelia Rhodes

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Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Praying for Your Community will help you topically organize your prayer requests and lay the burdens of your community at the feet of our Heavenly Father. Whether you are praying for a friend’s adoption journey, a neighbor’s bankruptcy, or a family member’s cancer, this book will give you Bible verses, prayer prompts, and prayer starts to guide you through praying for even the most difficult issues that affect the people you know and love. Perfect for either individual or group prayer, Pray A-Z will help you experience the peace that comes from communicating with God.

Amelia Rhodes

If you’ve ever promised to pray for someone but had trouble following through, Pray A to Z is the book for you.  Rhodes has created a simple plan to help you keep track of your prayer commitments.  With lots of flexibility, it can easily be adapted to different schedules and amounts of prayer times.

I particularly like the details within the alphabetical format, though.  There are five categories for each letter of the alphabet.  Three of them are problematic areas which might require prayer.  Each of those includes scripture to ponder or pray and a prayer meant to be used as a springboard for your own prayers.  The other two categories are areas of praise, also with scripture and springboard prayers.  I like be balance between prayer concerns and areas for praise in each category.

Also included in the book are a variety of ideas about how to use it.  If you have a longer prayer time, you could work your way through the alphabet each day, but you could also do a letter at a time, a letter each day, week, etc.  This should make it quite doable to organize your prayer life in this way.

I’ve organized  my prayers in the past by type of prayer or by group of people, but it never occurred to me to sort my prayer list by alphabet.  This could definitely make it easier for me to keep track of my prayers and of who I’ve been praying for, and I love the flexibility for ways to work through your list after that.

If you’ve been wanting a better way to organize your prayer life, Pray A to Z is a great place to start.

Click here to read other reviews on this bloggy hop or here to purchase your own copy now.

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One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 20. The winner will be announced December 21 on Amelia’s blog.

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I received a free copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity.  All opinions expressed are my own.