Who You Are

This book by John Croyle is a story of second chances and subtitled: “Defying the Circumstances that Define Us.” It is the story of how Big Oak Ranch in Alabama was founded; it’s purpose, vision, and continuous mission. Croyle shares hard lessons learned over his lifetime. He shares difficult to hear and shocking stories of the children who come to the ranch. Every child who comes to the ranch has been abused, traumatized, neglected, abandoned, etc. They all need a chance to have security, love, care, support. Over the past 40 years, Big Oak Ranch has impacted the lives of 2,000+ children.

As the reader, I felt like I was a part of a personal conversation with the author. Croyle weaves scripture and Biblical truths throughout this book to encourage the reader and to explain the ranch mission, the choices he has made over the years, and how he has encouraged the children in his care. He also encourages daily Bible reading, prayer, and Holy Spirit guidance as important life elements that can help anyone face the circumstances in their lives. He also clearly defines character traits that the ranch hopes to instill in the children as they mature and heal from their past wounds (physical, emotional, and spiritual) I would recommend this book to teenagers and adults who have faced difficult circumstances or for those who want to be more aware of what some children face in life.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that B&H Books provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.



Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

I get credit for all purchases made through my CBD links!

Who You Are: A Story of Second Chances
By John Croyle / B&H Books


Blog Update!

We are finally home after a two week short vacation to Iowa, Delaware, and New York (City)! I am completely exhausted after driving (I was the only driver) all across the country. It was a good trip (even though it was too busy to really be considered a vacation)! The next few weeks I hope to play catch up on the blog and with everything else in life. Here is a list of what is coming soon (in no particular order):

More Frozen Birthday Party Photos/Ideas (from January)

Vacation Photos (including NYC 9/11 Memorial) 11049647_10206395823603538_4857885999379755572_n Book Giveaways!!! (Look for the giveaways closer to summer)

Book Reviews:

  • Brave Girls: Better Than Perfect
  • On Shifting Sand By: Allison Pittman
  • Who You Are By: John Croyle 
  • Boogs and Beans: Everyday Parables For God’s Children By: Britney Hawkings
  • The Pharaoh’s Daughter By: Mesu Andrews
  • BASH and the Chocolate Milk Cows By: Burton W. Cole and Illustrated By: Buddy Lewis
  • The (Desperate) Diva Diaries~ Catie Conrad: How to Become the Most Unpopular Girl in Middle School By: Angie Spady and Illustrated By: Channing Everidge

Resurrection Cookies

Originally posted on Heart Treasures:

Last year, I posted recipes for two types of Resurrection Cookies and how to teach your children the resurrection story through baking. You can read that post here. This year we are only going to make the following recipe which is the less complicated of the two types. This is a great & unique way to teach your children about the resurrection!



Large Marshmallows

Crescent Rolls (uncooked)

Sugar/Cinnamon Mixture

1. Wrap an uncooked crescent roll  around most of the marshmallow–leaving one side of the marshmallow exposed.

~~The crescent roll represents the tomb and the marshmallow shows that the tomb is not empty.

2. Roll the crescent roll/marshmallow tomb in the sugar/cinnamon mixture.

3. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake according to crescent roll directions.

~~Read the resurrection story (using a Children’s Bible or book on your child’s level).

5. As they bake; the marshmallow will…

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By Alysa Posted in Life


This book by: Dina L. Sleiman is the first book in the Valiant Hearts series. Valiant Hearts features strong females in traditionally male roles. In the case of this book, Lady Merry Ellison is somewhat of a Robin Hood figure. She leads protects a group of orphaned children who were forced from their homes and now live in the forest. Rumors spread and they become known as “The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest.” Her skills with a bow and arrow as well as secrecy allow her to provide for her friends. When she is captured by Timothy Grey, a childhood friend who thought she was dead, she realizes that her heart is torn between her life now and what it could have been. Timothy starts to question his loyalty to the throne when he encounters Merry and her “ghosts.” In an effort to try to protect them, he accidentally puts them in more danger.

The story of Robin Hood is one of my favorite legends (Robin Hood Prince of Thieves has been my favorite movie since I was 13 years old). I was drawn to this book first by the beautiful and unique cover. Then when I realized it had a Robin Hood type theme I knew I had to read it! It has action, suspense, emotion, miracles, and a hint of romance. The characters are believable and diverse. Merry is conflicted about whether or not God truly exists. Her spiritual struggle is apparent throughout the book yet her faith is deepened as the storyline continues. While reading, you can tell that the author researched the time setting and culture. She explains some of her writing decisions in her historical notes at the end of the book. The book is marketed as teen fiction but I am 32 and absolutely loved it! I think any teen or adult who like medieval settings will fall in love with this book!

I am really looking forward to book 2 in the Valiant Hearts series: Chivalrous. It will feature Gwendolyn Barnes, who wants to be a knight, in a Camelot setting! It is due to be released in September 2015!

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.




Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

I get credit for all purchases made through my CBD links!

Dauntless, Valiant Hearts Series #1
By Dina Sleiman / Bethany House




Seven Signs That You Need to Read Another Book


LOVE THIS POST!!! These are absolutely legit reasons for reading!

Originally posted on Bethany House Fiction:

Readers, we face a dilemma: not everyone understands our love for books. You know it’s true. There are those skeptics who will look askance at the piles of books on our coffee tables and say things like, “Didn’t you just finish a novel by that author?” or “Don’t you think you have enough books already?”

too many books

In case you have experienced this, you might be wondering if you really need to start another book. Well, I’m here to help. Here’s a handy list to help you evaluate that very question.

You know it’s time for you to read another book if…

One: The last book you read ended too soon. Or if it ended sadly or—hopefully not too often—throw-it-across-the-room badly. Or if it ended on a cliffhanger and the sequel isn’t coming out for a year. Or if it ended at all.

Two: There is housework to be done. As anyone…

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By Alysa Posted in Life

The World Needs More Love Letters

This book by: Hannah Brencher is actually not a book for reading. Instead it is a collection of All-in-One Stationery and Envelopes. Each page is both a lined page to write letters and an envelope. Simply tear out the page, write a letter, fold the page in half, moisten the glue strip and fold it over the letter, write the mailing address, and add a stamp! Then it is ready to send to the recipient! There are 40 of these pages and 40 sticker seals. On the inside covers, there are 40 suggested ideas for what to write in your letters. Some romantic, some to friends or family members, and some for personal reflection.

11083667_10206252238373997_159468354260121296_nI absolutely love the idea of the letter and envelope in one page. It is a  neat concept for stationary. There is nothing on the pages that distinguishes them as love letters so they can be used for any type of letters that you want to write. However, I was very disappointed with the colors and patterns used on the pages. The three main colors choices are salmon, yellow and grey. The designs in my opinion are ugly. I honestly do not know why these colors and designs were chosen for “love letter” stationary. I hope that more of these books are created but with much better color choices and designs to choose from.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Crown Publishing Group provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.



The World Needs More Love Letters All-In-One Stationary and Envelopes


Liar, Lunatic, or LORD

As we enter the Easter season, we reflect on the greatest sacrifice ever made since the beginning of time! Jesus came to us; both God and human. He lived a sinless life, showed us by example how to love and minster to others, became our sin as he died on the cross, and conquered the grave when he was resurrected. Unfortunately, there are many who still have not experienced the life-changing gift of salvation that God has offered. Most people recognize that Jesus lived as a teacher and prophet but many deny that Jesus is God. One of my favorite authors is C. S. Lewis. In his book, Mere Christianity, he states the following:

41w67GRujWL“I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him; ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic… or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”


May we remember who Jesus truly is! May we honor Him as Lord and Savior of our lives! May the Fruit of the Spirit grow and thrive in us so that the world will see Jesus in everything we say and do! Jesus is Alive!