Sunday, August 7, 2016

God is

God so graciously meets me right where I am. Even when I have more questions than answers, I know He is hard at work and fighting my battles for me. I may not be able to see His hands at work but I trust in His love for me: a love that is deep, wide, long, lasting, unfailing, and unyielding. I just need to be still and allow His presence to surround me. When I want to run and hide, He is my strength that enables me to take a strong stand for what is right and just. When I want to give in, He encourages me to persevere. When my world is chaotic and messy, He is the calm and peace I feel holding me together. When life gets hard, the battle is real, I put on the full armor of God and trust in Him to guide me, to refine me, to save me, to redeem me, to seek me, and to fight for me. He is my anchor, my refuge, my salvation, my resting place. To Him be all glory, honor, and power.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Book Spotlight: Sword in the Stacks: The Ninja Librarians and Book Giveaway

Sword in the Stacks: The Ninja Librarians
By Jen Swann Downey
June 7, 2016; Hardcover; ISBN 9781402287732
Book Info:
Title: Sword in the Stacks
Series: The Ninja Librarians
Author: Jen Swann Downey
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Praise for Sword in the Stacks

“Dorrie's quest to join the heroic lybrarians in protecting intellectual freedom in all times and climes takes her literally and figuratively from Passaic, New Jersey, into deadly waters in this madcap sequel to The Accidental Keyhand… Never a dull moment in this lybrary school.” –Kirkus 

Now that Dorrie’s an apprentice, she has the power to save Petrarch’s Library—or destroy it.

Shelve This Book Under “D” for Dangerous.
(Also daring, dramatic, dashing, daft, and dazzling!)

After stumbling upon the secret society of time-traveling ninja librarians, Dorrie has finally joined Petrarch’s Library as an apprentice! One day, she’ll actually go on missions to rescue people whose words have gotten them into trouble. For now she’s taking some interesting classes:
-           First and Last Aid: When Nobody Else is Coming
-           Spears, Axes, and Cats: Throwing Objects with Precision and Flair
-           Codes, Invisible Inks, and Smoke Signals: Keeping Secrets 101

But on a training mission to 1912 England, Dorrie finds herself dangerously close to a member of the Stronghold – the Library’s biggest enemy. This is her opportunity! Dorrie can spy on the enemy, find the missing key…and become a real Lybrarian!

But if she makes a mistake, Dorrie could lead their enemy right to the very place she’s trying to save…and everyone she cares about.

Goodreads Link:

Buy Links:

About the Author:

Jen Swann Downey’s nonfiction pieces have appeared in New York Magazine, the Washington Post, Women's Day, and other publications. She’s never visited a library in which she didn't want to spend the night. Jen lives in Charlottesville, VA, with her husband and three children and feels very lucky they have yet to fire her. Visit her at

Social Networking Links:
Twitter:  @jenswanndowney

Excerpt from Sword in the Stacks: The Ninja Librarians:

Twelve-year-old Dorrie Barnes was on pins and needles.

And thumbtacks.

The thumbtacks were plastic—and scattered the length and breadth of Great-Aunt Alice’s shabby ballroom where the Barnes family did most of its living and dining and everything- else-ing. The reason that Dorrie, coffee can in hand, was crawl- ing among the thumbtacks—and occasionally upon them, feeling slightly mocked by their cheerful colors—was that she had a four-year-old sister. A sister who had thought it made perfect sense to create a thumbtack garden beside the sofa and even more sense to run over it with a vacuum. The results had been spectacular.

Only a minute before, the tacks had been zinging through the air, ricocheting with hard pings off windows and Great- Aunt Alice’s piano, embedding themselves in lampshades and couch cushions, and sending four members of the Barnes family streaking for cover. The fifth member—the perpetra- tor of the event—had simply squealed in delight. The sixth member—Great-Aunt Alice—had not been home at the time. Even if she hadn’t been halfway around the world, it’s quite likely she would still have escaped the need to streak for cover since, preferring order to chaos, she visited the Barnes on their side of her decrepit mansion as rarely as possible.

The reason Dorrie was on pins and needles was because a week ago, she’d been abruptly sent home from Petrarch’s Library, the headquarters of the Lybrariad, a society of warrior lybrarians who took very unkindly to people who set fire to books or tossed writers into rat-infested dungeons. Hypatia, the director of Petrarch’s Library, had given Dorrie only the haziest idea of if or when she’d be invited to return.

Since the lybrarians who occupied Petrarch’s Library were just as likely to spend a Monday morning rappelling down a cliff with swords clamped between their teeth as shelving books…

And since Dorrie had longed to chase down villains with a real sword ever since she could hold a fake one…

And since, while staying in Petrarch’s Library, Dorrie had unexpectedly served as the Unofficial Temporary Apprentice to  Hercule-Savinien  de  Cyrano  de  Bergerac—possessor  of the finest sword skills and grandest nose of the seventeenth century—and wanted to serve as Savi’s Extremely Official Until-the-End-of-Time Apprentice more than she wanted her heart to keep beating…
Dorrie was finding the uncertainty excruciating.

Much worse than the pain caused by the thumbtack that had just driven itself into her knee.

The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand
Available Now in Hardcover and Paperback


An Overdue Library Book Can Change Your Life. (So Can a Pet Mongoose.)

When Dorrie and her brother Marcus chase Moe—an unusually foul-tempered mongoose—into the janitor's closet of their local library, they make an astonishing discovery: the headquarters of a secret society of ninja librarians.

Their mission: protect those whose words get them into trouble, anywhere in the world and at any time in history.

Petrarch's Library is an amazing, jumbled, time-traveling secret base that can dock anywhere there's trouble, like the Spanish Inquisition, or ancient Greece, or...Passaic, New Jersey. Dorrie would love nothing more than to join the society, fighting injustice with a real sword! But when a traitor surfaces, she and Marcus are prime suspects. Can they clear their names before the only passage back to the twenty-first century closes forever?

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Rafflecopter Giveaway Link for 2 Copies of Sword in the Stacks: Ninja Librarians (Runs June 1-June 30;  US & Canada only):

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Book Spotlight , Review and Giveaway: I Wanna Be A Great Big Dinosaur!

I Wanna Be A Great Big Dinosaur!
By Heath McKenzie

May 17, 2016; Hardcover, ISBN 9781492632993

Book Info
Title: I Wanna Be A Great Big Dinosaur

Author: Heath McKenzie

Release Date: May 17, 2016

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Photo copyright: Angela Ginsberg

Book Summary:

Want to find out what it takes to be a Great Big Dinosaur? This book is for you!

More than anything in the world, one little boy wants to be a great big dinosaur. And he’s in luck! A great big T. Rex shows up to teach him how to stomp and roar just like a dinosaur. But dinosaurs aren’t so great at soccer or video games… Maybe being a little boy isn’t all bad?

A story about being whoever (or whatever) you want!

Goodreads Link:

Buy Links:






Photo copyright: Angela Ginsberg

About the Author:

Heath McKenzie is a bestselling author and has illustrated numerous picture books and children’s book jackets. He lives with his wife, Emily, and kids, Ava and Oscar, in Melbourne Australia. Visit him online at Heath also wrote My Rules for Being a Pretty Princess.

I Wanna Be a Great Big Dinosaur is a fun read for children, especially those who are enamored with dinosaurs. I had the honor of reading this book with my son, a true dinosaur lover. He enjoyed the illustrations of one of his favorite dinosaurs, the T-Rex, and the lively interactions between the boy and the dinosaur as they learned more about one another.

Moreover, this book teaches children a valuable lesson: while it is fun to imagine and explore new worlds and ideas, sometimes it truly is best to simply be who God created us to be.

You have an opportunity to win a copy of I Wanna Be a Great Big Dinosaur! to read to the precious child or children in your life.

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link for 2 Finished Copies of I Wanna Be A Great Big Dinosaur! (Runs May 1-May 31st; U.S. & Canada only):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for stopping by to learn more about this book, the author, and to enter for a chance to win your own copy.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

I Am A New Creature

Dear Ones: Today, I have the honor of introducing you to one of my dearest friends, Tracy Kratzer Rhoades. Tracy and I have been friends for thirty years. Not only did we attend the same school but we also went to the same church and youth group. Like me, Tracy has endured her share of medical issues throughout her lifetime. I have asked her to share her story with you today in the hopes that it will inspire you and encourage you. Through it all, Tracy continues to trust in God and give Him praise.

I stood in my living room desperately trying to comprehend how this could be happening. My world is crumbling. I am getting divorced, again. I am going to be a single mother, again. My body is exhausted from stress and the effects of epilepsy. My mind is reeling trying to grasp any bit of understanding. Am I this unworthy of love? Am I this lacking in worth? As I play back my life’s memories I search for any type of answer. A memory flashes through my mind, wait, what was that? How is that even relevant? Then I focus in, recalling the family down the street who took me to youth group as a teenager. What was that I learned about God and His son, Jesus? That they loved me? Oh, what was that verse, the one where He loved us enough to send His Son to die for us? I fall to my knees, wanting nothing more than to be loved and feel worthy of love. I cry out to God, “I’ve tried my way and it’s just not working! I’m ready to try your way! Please take my life and lead me!”

This is not where my story ends, it is only the beginning. This is the very day I died and came to life all in the same moment. “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22

I would love to tell you life has been perfect since this day. That is not what God has promised. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John16:33"

God has poured out his blessings abundantly in my life over the past 15 years. Those very same years have also been scarred with trials and tribulations. I have been blessed with four children and three additional children of my heart. I have said good-bye to loved ones at the beginning and end of their life’s journey. Relationships have crumbled, and new ones created. I have been diagnosed with multiple diseases and disorders, requiring 25 medical procedures and continuous treatment. I have stood in awe of medical miracles showing God’s power and grace. My sight has been restored in spite of an atrophied optic nerve and my brain has very few side effects following a ruptured aneurysm and repair. I rejoice in each and every day, praising God for his unconditional love and grace. He carries me spiritually through every blessing and trial of this life. I praise him for the amazing husband HE chose to give me who rejoices in each blessing with me and physically carries me through each trial of this life.

There is a clear contrast to the two lives I have lived within my forty years on this earth. I celebrate the new creation I am in Christ. The Bible clearly informs us, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things have passed away; behold new things have come.”2 Corinthians 5:17

It is only by God’s grace and love that I have weathered the storms of life. The Lord said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” Paul has the perfect perspective. “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses and in the insults, hardships, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

What Faith Can Do by Kutless

Even If by Kutless